Heart of Albion

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Books, booklets and CD-ROMs on local history


How to Write and Publish Local and Family History Successfully



A history of the Hamiltons

John Hamilton

Noble Prospects tells the story of a Scottish family's move from its home village to the wider world. It starts by the River Tweed in the beautiful Border country of southern Scotland and covers the family of handloom weavers in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as they find the comparative comfort of an acknowledged status in village society turned to increasing poverty in the newly industrialised world of mid-nineteenth century Britain.

As a result the family, like so many others at this time, left its historic home and scattered. Some moved just a few miles and prospered in Melrose, but many sailed away to Australia or America. The varied fortunes of the American branch of the family are explored, before the story returns to Scotland. In Glasgow William Hamilton's unavailing struggles to look after his family end in his leaving his young son William Robert with his in-laws to bring up.

The third part covers the life of William Robert and his family in England. Their story is in many ways typical of a prosperous middle class family either side of 1900, but also very individual. Following his early difficulties, and eventual success, it describes his marriage to Hattie Bousfield and their life together in Nottingham, and the close involvement of Hattie's parents and her wider family. It relates the pleasures this brought and the stresses it engendered particularly for their children.

Finally the momentous changes brought about by the First World War, William Robert's early death and just the passing of time lead to the family experiencing very different circumstances thereafter.

A description of life in Lowland Scotland from 1650 to 1880 is appended to give some background to the family story.


ISBN 978-1-905646-32-6. December 2017.
235 x 155 mm, 349 + xiv pages, 15 colour photographs, 39 b&w photographs, paperback.




A history of the Tates

John Hamilton

Sign of Good Birth is the story of modest people, going about their daily lives like millions of others the world over, as modest in their expectations as in their achievements, but each unique and each worthy of some memorial.

The story starts in the wild Border country where Scotland meets England just north of Carlisle, the scene of many battles and other violent happenings over the centuries, yet also where the local people struggled to make a living in good times and in bad. The wildness in fact was made by humans. The actual countryside where the people lived and farmed was much of it undramatic, and the weather mild if rather wet.

Over time the bad men, both high and low, were brought under control. But life remained hard and, while the industrial revolution brought new kinds of jobs to this rural area, there was no real prosperity. But it did offer better prospects elsewhere. Liverpool was the great magnet for these northern folk, and it was here the Tates moved in the 1870s to start a new life.

From then on the story mainly follows the lives of George Joseph Tate and his wife Edith Watts, their tale of success and suffering taking them briefly to Australia and then Nottingham, before finally ending once again back in Cumbria via Germany.

The story is backed up by substantial extracts from family letters, which allow the various individuals to speak for themselves.


ISBN 978-1-905646-31-9. December 2015.
235 x 155 mm, 269 + xii pages, 47 colour photographs, 35 b&w photographs, 2 maps, paperback.







Gavin Smith

Every village or town has a name. We use them every day, even though most were created at least 1,300 years ago. Yet, until now, we knew little about how these names were given and even less about the people who originally used them.

The innovative research in Surrey Place-names brings to life this little-known era of the past, the so-called 'Dark Ages' when Britons and Anglo-Saxon peoples coexisted and arrangements for administering the land evolved. Gavin Smith shows that geography is key to understanding these arrangements as river crossings, soil types and the need for trade at recognised places are all important. His work reveals that many parishes reflect patterns established in the Iron Age.

There were many influences on the naming of Surrey's places: early paganism, multicultural mixing, economic development, land management, ecclesiastical history, regional politics, the influence of London, and a gradual shift from Celtic to the Old English language. Surrey Place-names unravels these influences for the first time and reveals hitherto unknown aspects of the county's history.

Gavin Smith was born and brought up in Surrey. He is a geographer by training and a long-standing member of the Surrey Archaeological Society and the Surrey Wildlife Trust.

'This book is a very absorbing read indeed.'
David Rose Surrey Advertiser

ISBN 978 1872 883 847. 2005.
Demy 8vo (215 x 138 mm), 131 + xii pages, 6 photographs and 8 maps, paperback.






A history of the Bousfields of Newark and Bedford to 1903

John Hamilton

Glad for God is the history of the Bousfield families of Newark and Bedford from the late eighteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth. It first traces the origins of the Newark families they married into and then tells the story of two brothers, Edward and Thomas Bousfield, and their descendants. Charting their triumphs and disasters, their loves and losses, their jobs and good works reveals how some of these descendants found a new religious ideal which transformed their lives, while others stayed with the faith of their fathers.

As the years passed, their differing beliefs and lifestyles led to a widening gap between the two families. In Newark one family remained Anglican and became publicans. The other converted to Methodism, moved to Bedford and became energetic Temperance campaigners. By the early twentieth century all contact between the two had been lost.

Glad for God includes an account of the career of Edward Tenney Bousfield. During 45 years working for J. & F. Howard of Bedford, he was at the forefront of the development of agricultural equipment internationally, making major though unacknowledged contributions in many areas including both steam ploughing and sheaf-binding reapers.

This is the story of nineteenth century England in microcosm, showing how the lives of both ordinary and extraordinary people were fundamentally reshaped by the new society that emerged and by the new opportunities and new beliefs that helped to form it.

ISBN 978 1872 883 724. 2003.
234 x 156 mm, 260 + xiv pages, 26 b&w photos, 1 map, paperback.






A study in Somerset stone carving

Peter Poyntz Wright

High up on the famous church towers of Somerset, almost lost to the eye except for their silhouettes, are an amazing series of grotesque stone figures. Carved in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, to ornament corners and break up straight sections of masonry, these figures are known in some rural areas at hunky punks.

This book combines a fascinating historical and architectural study with a stunning collection of photographs. Peter Poyntz-Wright's research provides the first thorough account of the hunky punks and gives us a direct insight into the medieval mind. He examines the techniques and influences of the medieval masons, and considers methods of attachment and the effects of weathering.

The author has recorded a host of hitherto unknown and inaccessible medieval carvings the first time and possibly for the last. They include such creatures as dragons, griffins, hounds, stags, heraldic creatures, a basilisk, the devil, a woman in childhood, and many others. However many of the hunk punks are suffering seriously from the effects of wearing, and some, without costly restoration, may not survive for many more years.

ISBN 978 1872 883 755. 2004.
A5 (210 x 148 mm), 156 + x pages, 76 black and white photographs; 3 line drawings, paperback.
(new edition with revised photographs)







edited by Bob Trubshaw

Discovering the Wolds offers new insights into the history in the western half of the Leicestershire Wolds. Starting about 1500 years ago, the twenty-four chapters steadily moved closer to modern times, discussing a wide variety of topics. Although we do not always know the names of the people involved, the history of the Wolds – as indeed anywhere – is the sum total of how people for dozens of generations have lived their lives and the changes, minor or major, which they brought about. The Wolds is how it is because of those living before us, just as we too will leave a rich legacy for those who follow after.

ISBN 978-1-9517343-4-0. Septembr 2017.
245 x 175 mm, 100 + iv pages, 28 colour photos, 79 b&w photos; 9 line drawings, 2 maps, paperback.


Distributed by Heart of Albion on behalf of Wolds Historical Organisation



Memories of an Edwardian childhood

Sarah Dallaston

One of Heart of Albion's earliest booklets, first published in 1991, is now available as a free PDF. Anyone who knows Foxton Locks in south Leicestershire will be intrigued by this account of life there a century ago. Sarah grew up at the Bottom Lock Cottage, later the shop and now part of the Foxton Locks Inn. She later worked on farms in nearby villages, such as Clipston, and moved to Stoneygate and then Braunstone.


Originally published 1991. Now available as a free PDF download only. Note that the original edition only had blck and white illustrations whereas in PDF version they have been replaced by full-colour versions, where possible.

Download Around Foxton for FREE (12.5 megabyte PDF)



The story of the lost sons of Wymeswold

Ivor J. Perry

Over a hundred years have passed since the 'Great War' engulfed thousands of small communities. Around eighty men from Wymeswold, out of a total population of under eight hundred, are known to have served with the army during the hostilities.

The tide of history has receded, leaving thirty names on memorials to the fallen. Who were these 'lost sons'? What was the story of their lives and deaths? The numbers of deaths as a proportion of those who served is almost three times the national average. How did the village react?

Most people assume that villages were composed of families that had lived locally for generations. This book shows that then, as now, 'old' families and 'incomers' lived and worked side by side. As well as discovering the stories of these 'lost sons', Ivor Perry brings to life the diverse community of people who lived in Wymeswold around the start of the twentieth century.

Ivor Perry's first loves were History and then English – the subject he read at Jesus College, Cambridge. Two more degrees and several careers later he has returned to those first passions. He now researches and gives lectures about the First World War and its literature. He has lived in Wymeswold for seventeen years.

ISBN 978-1-951734-35-0. Nov 2014.
245 x 175 mm, 201 + viii pages, 62 b&w photos; 10 maps, paperback.


Distributed by Heart of Albion on behalf of Wolds Historical Organisation


A selection of photographs by George Moore Henton 1861–1924

Anthony Wibberley

Village pumps, shops and market places, places of work, churches, local monuments, hostelries and other places of refreshment, recreation and relaxation and even on boundaries these are the places where people have met for time out of mind. George Moore Henton photographed people at such places in Leicestershire in the last ten years of Victorian England, through the reign of Edward VII, and for the first thirteen years of George V's sovereignty.

Selected from George Moore Henton's collection of photographs held at the Leicestershire Record Office by Anthony Wibberley. Henton concentrated his photography on some parts of the county more than others and this selection therefore reflects his omissions, though an attempt has been made to give as wide a coverage as possible.

Published in 2011 to commemorate 150 years since Henton's birth

ISBN 978-1-905646-19-7. April 2011. Royal 8vo (253 x 158 mm), 81 + x pages, 129 b&w photos.


second edition

Bob Trubshaw

Drawing upon nearly twenty-five years of research, Little-known Leicestershire and Rutland provides a unique source of information on the counties' holy wells, standing stones, ancient crosses and medieval carvings. arranged as twelve bicycle or car tours, with introductory information. The second edition is fully revised with entirely new illustrations and maps.

ISBN 978-1-905646-17-3. October 2010. Demi 8vo (215 x 138 mm), 147 + x pages, 71 b&w photos; 2 line drawings; 11 maps.




Six Hills and Vernemetum, Leicestershire

Bob Trubshaw

Little is known about the Roman small town on the Leicestershire:Nottinghamshire borders except its name: Vernemetum. This means the 'Great or Especially Sacred Grove' and tells us there was a regionally or perhaps even nationally important Iron Age ritual site in the vicinity.

In trying to understand more about this Iron Age site Bob Trubshaw also looks at the likely Anglo-Saxon successor, the hundred moot site at Six Hills a mile or so to the south.

This detailed look at these places is based on current academic research combined with twenty-five years of fieldwork and personal research. By looking closely at these places he also helps us to understand more clearly Anglo-Saxon ritual sites elsewhere.

The Especially Sacred Grove both draws upon and supercedes Bob Trubshaw's previous publications about Six Hills and the Leicestershire Wolds.

Published March 2012. Revised and published as Volume Seven of The Twlight Age March 2016. Available as a free PDF download only.

Download The Especially Sacred Grove for FREE (4 megabyte PDF)



Life in the Women's Land Army at Lubenham, Leicestershire

Pat Fox

The members of the Women's Land Army better known as the 'Land Girls' worked to make Britain self-sufficient in food when most men working on farms went off to fight in the Second World War. From the backbreaking effort of haymaking and picking potatoes through to learning to drive tractors, the Land Girls were asked to take on everything that 1940s farm work entailed.

Pat Fox was seventeen when she joined the Land Girls and came to Lubenham. She quickly learnt all the necessary skills even how to plough with a tracked Caterpillar tractor. Billeted in a hastily-built hostel, mostly far from their families, the girls quickly developed a strong camaraderie and, despite all their hard work, found time to socialise. Pat courted an American serviceman towards the end of the war; she tells of the evening when his commanding officer informed her that he had died on the second day of the D-Day landings.

Many of the Land Girls did not want to leave the farms at the end of hostilities. Pat was among them, and she married David Fox, a Lubenham farmer, in 1950. In Bless 'Em All she brings to life the highs and lows of being a Land Girl in the fields of the Welland Valley in the 1940s. The thirty-seven photographs are mostly from Pat's own photo album.

ISBN 978 095 5768 613. May 2010.
210 x 210 mm, 64 + xiv pages, 37 b&w photographs, paperback.


Distributed by Heart of Albion on behalf of Market Harborough Historical Society




Andrew James Wright

A white lady who waits at a bus stop by the ruins of a nunnery, but vanishes when the bus stops. A coach drawn through Bradgate Park by four black, headless horses. Factories on Frog Island that have been exorcised. 'Ordinary' houses with inexplicable sounds of chains rattling and doors slamming. A multitude of pubs and rectories with supernatural 'residents'.

Leicestershire has a wealth of tales of ghosts, hauntings, poltergeists and other anomalous events. In Ghosts and Hauntings in and around Leicestershire the experienced paranormal researcher Andrew James Wright recounts these reports and attempts to understand what is really going on.

Andrew James Wright was born in Leicester in 1955. His previous publications include The Ghosts of Braunstone Hall, The Lively Ghosts of Leicestershire and Haunted Leicester. An active ghost researcher for 30 years, although these days he prefers lecturing about the subject.

ISBN 978 1872 883 991. 2006.
215 x 138 mm, 104 + viii pages, 12 b&w photographs, 8 drawings, 1 map, paperback.



2nd edition



2nd edition

Bob Trubshaw

A vast compendium of information on little-known aspects of the counties – such as holy wells, medieval carvings and crosses, standing stones, castles, moated sites, windmills and much else!

This CD-ROM contains information on over 250 places, with about 600 photographs and illustrations. All cross-references hyperlinked, with introductions to various obscure topics.

N.B. All the information and illustrations in the now out-of-print CD-ROM Interactive Gargoyles and Grotesque Carvings of Leicestershire and Rutland is included in this CD-ROM.

Changes for the second edition include:

  • 'Search this CD' option
  • Nearly 150 places added or updated
  • About 50 new illustrations
  • New indexes of castles and windmills

Reviews of first edition of Interactive Little-known Leicestershire and Rutland

Runs on Windows, Mac and Linux OS. Requires Flash-enabled Internet browser software (such as Internet Explorer 5 or 6) to view. All very computer- and user-friendly!

ISBN 978 1872 883 823. September 2005.
Retail price £14.95 (incl. VAT). Mail order customers save 2.70 (because Heart of Albion is not VAT registered) = £12.70.




retold by Black Annis

'Let's you and I get a thing or two straight. The name's Black Annis, but you may call me 'Cat Anna' between yourselves but not to my face, if you value the appearance of yours. There've been days when the aches and pains make me a bit awkward at times, I'll admit as much myself. I've been known to get a bit upset when silly little kids used to play around outside my cave and shout rude remarks like me being an old witch.'

But is she or isn't she? Just an old woman with an attitude problem or actually more of a witch? Herself one of Leicester's best-known legends, Black Annis never quite lets on if she really knows more than she is prepared to say about the Old Ways. But in her direct manner, and with a bit of help from some of her friends, she retells some of the tales of Leicestershire in a way they've never been heard before, with local phrases and dialect rather than written out all posh.

Phantom black hounds, weird goings on where saints were murdered, very odd ways of finding water, pipers who enter underground tunnels and are never seen again, stories about stones, strange lights in the sky, and any number of ghosts it's all happened in Leicestershire and much more besides, at least if these legends are to be believed.

Black Annis's engaging way of telling of these Leicestershire legends will appeal to all ages and especially to those who think they've heard all this old stuff before.

Specially illustrated by Jenny Clarke, one of Britain's leading tattoo designers.

'I really enjoyed reading this collection. The stories are so well told and the printing is so well done that you can feel you are actually there listening to conversations about ghosts, UFOs, old Leicestershire witch trials, phantom hounds, silent sentinels, and so much more. There's just enough of local dialect to add to the reality... Highly recommended.'
Francis Cameron Pentacle

'... a rattling good read... '
Anna Franklin Silver Wheel

'Although seemingly light-hearted with its glorious cover art, whimsical storytelling manner and presentation as the ramblings of an old witch, Leicestershire Legends has the same serious intent as the other books produced by Heart of Albion Press. Whilst the form may belie it, the content is an important work recording both local lore and its likely interpretation... all told in marvellous prose.'
D J Tyrer Monomyth

'A bit of fun, and a good selection of local curiosities... '
John Billingsley Northern Earth

ISBN 978 1872 883 779. 2004.
Demy 8vo (215 x 138 mm), 99 + xiv pages, 10 line drawings, paperback.





Medieval Carvings of Leicestershire and Rutland

Bob Trubshaw

Grimacing gargoyles adorn many of the churches in Leicestershire and Rutland. Alongside them are a wide range of imaginary beasties, foliate faces and Green Men, face-pulling heads, contortionists, and other imaginative figurative carvings. While those on the outside of the churches may be badly weathered, their counterparts inside are usually near-perfect examples of the medieval mason's skills.

Leicestershire and Rutland is fortunate in having more such carvings than in adjoining counties, although this wealth of medieval art has been unjustly overlooked by church historians. These depictions provide a unique insight into the often rather disturbing thinking of the craftsmen who carved them many hundreds of years ago, people who are otherwise almost entirely invisible from historical records.

The aim of the Good Gargoyle Guide is to encourage people who would not normally take an interest in church architecture to get out and about hunting further examples of these extraordinary sculptures.

'This excellent guide... is a typical Heart of Albion publication: thoroughly researched, nicely presented and also affordable!'
John Hinks Leicestershire Historian

ISBN 978 1872 883 700. 2004.
Demy 8vo (215 x 138 mm), 100 + xii pages, 151 b&w photographs, paperback.





Jill Bourne

We take for granted the names we use for places. Yet these names are a valuable part of our cultural heritage, providing a detailed insight into the early history of the region. Place-names reveal the otherwise lost voices of our forebears who settled here.

Understanding Leicestershire and Rutland Place-Names analyses the whole range of place-names which occur in Leicestershire and Rutland, most of which were coined between 1,000 and 1,500 years ago. These place-names describe, often in fine detail, the landscape, geology, rivers, buildings, flora, fauna, boundaries, meeting places, roads and track-ways. This book also looks at the distribution of the names, the languages from which they are derived, the successive waves of conquerors and migrants who fought and settled here, and the society they created.

Jill Bourne is an historian, archaeologist and museum professional who has specialised in the area of place-name studies and landscape history for over 20 years.

'... this will surely be the standard reference work on its subject for many years to come.'
John Hinks Leicestershire Historian

'... a useful little handbook... '
Veronica Smart Nomina

ISBN 978 1872 883 717. 2003.
Demy 8vo (215 x 138 mm), 145 + viii pages. 5 maps, paperback.





Bob Trubshaw

A guide to the history of all the villages in Rutland, with the emphasis on places that can be seen or visited. Based on the author's sixteen years of research into the little-known aspects of the county.

Bob Trubshaw's Heart of Albion Press has made a significant contribution to local history publishing in the East Midlands and this latest offering maintains the publisher's reputation for informative books, attractively produced and, importantly, at an affordable price. This A to Z account of the villages of Rutland – a county unsurpassed, in the words of W.G. Hoskins, for its 'unspoiled, quiet charm' – is both readable and very easy to use. Introductory material includes a short outline of Rutland's history and a brief glossary: very useful if you need to check the meaning of architectural terms...
John Hinks Leicestershire Historian

ISBN 978 1872 883 694. 2003.
Demy 8vo (215 x 138 mm), 73 + x pages, 53 b&w photos, paperback






Max Matthews

A massive collection of interesting historical information about the city centre.

Contents include:

  • Over 1,800 images.
  • Detailed histories of all city centre streets.
  • Nearly 800 biographies of notable citizens.
  • Full text of 1804 A Walk Round Leicester

Runs on Windows, Mac and Linux OS. All very computer and user friendly!

ISBN 978 1872 883 748. Published by Heart of Albion 2004. Previously published by Tomax Publications.
Retail price £11.75 (incl. VAT). Mail order customers save 1.75 (because Heart of Albion is not VAT registered) = £10.00.





Max Matthews

The first comprehensive study of the sepulchral effigies of Leicestershire and Rutland. Over 500 full-colour photographs of about 177 effigies in 85 churches, with full descriptions of the effigies and biographical information about those depicted.

There is a wealth of superb effigies in the counties and this CD-ROM is the first publication to catalogue, describe and illustrate them all.

Runs on Windows, Mac and Linux OS. All very computer and user friendly!

ISBN 978 1872 883 540. 2002.
Retail price £14.95 (incl. VAT). Mail order customers save 2.70 (because Heart of Albion is not VAT registered) = £12.70.




Max Wade-Matthews

There was an amazing diversity of music-making in Leicester during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, involving many nationally and internationally renowned performers. Musical Leicester describes the evolution of such diverse forms of music-making as 'classical' music concerts, minstrel troupes, oratorios, local orchestras, brass bands, bell ringing, organists and church choirs.

Many notable citizens contributed their energy and enthusiasm to the growth and success of music-making in Leicester, although almost all of them are now unjustly forgotten.

Max Wade-Matthews' research reveals many aspects of Leicester's history that would otherwise have remained overlooked. The detailed information on the concerts, musicians, promoters and venues, combined with a lively style of writing, ensures that Musical Leicester will inform and entertain all those interested in music making, social history and local history.

Undoubtedly this will be of immense value to anyone interested in the cultural development of the modern city as it is a mine of information about all sorts of musical activities that have long been forgotten and of some that are still going strong today... Altogether this book is a treasure house of musical history highly recommended.
Leicester Mercury

ISBN 978 1872 883 519. Published 1998. A5, 253 pages, 43 b&w photos, 58 line drawings, full colour laminated cover, paperback.




David Williams

Thorough research into the early cinemas of the city; fully illustrated.

An enormously detailed and extensively illustrated survey of cinema in Leicester from the earliest times... Meticulously researched... destined to become the definitive work on the subject. It is also an enjoyable and entertaining read...
Leicestershire Historian

ISBN 978 1872 883 205. Published 1993, A5, 260 pages, 233 illustrations, paperback.

Download two-page addenda for Cinema in Leicester as PDF.




Recorded by Max Wade-Matthews

The most extensive of the series, covering the Cathedral's many notable interments.

ISBN 978 1872 883 304. Published 1994, A5, 76 pages, card covers.




Jonathan Wilshere

Produced for the centenary of the present Town Hall in 1976, the history of the earlier Town Halls and Gildhalls is also considered in some detail.

1976, 8vo, card covers, 16pp with illustrations.




Jonathan Wilshere

A useful glossary of photographers' names, addresses and dates to assist in the dating of family photographs with illustrations of the work of several studios and samples of some of their advertisements.

1988, A5 landscape, laminated covers, 20pp with illustrations.




J.D. Bennett

1984, A5, 16 pages, 3 photos, card covers.




Jonathan Wilshere

1986, A4, 3 pages.




Jonathan Wilshere

1970, 8vo, 8 pages, card covers.




Jonathan Wilshere

A fascinating insight into a leading Leicester citizen who was known as a hosiery manufacturer, musician and dilettante.

1970, 153x250mm, 35 pages plus 7 photos, card covers,




Bernard Elliot

1984, A5, 16 pages, 4 photos, card covers.




Jonathan Wilshere

1986, A5, 8 pages, 5 photos, card covers




Jonathan Wilshere

c.1986, 8 pages.

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