Groby has its origins way back in time before the Norman Conquest. Groby – GROBI in the Domesday Book – from Old Norse “GROI” – “a torrent and its gully”. Also, groo is a Viking word for pit, which may well refer to the quarry situated next to the village. Add to this the suffix “BY”, the commonest Scandinavian element in English place names meaning homestead or village, and we have GROBY.
The earliest permanent settlement of the Viking invaders in this country is recorded in “The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle” in the year 876 when a Danish army settled in Northumbria. In 877 the Vikings (Danes) occupied Mercia, presumably the five boroughs of Derby, Lincoln, Stamford, Leicester and Nottingham. This became known as The Danelaw, ie. the area subject to Danish Law.
Groby was mentioned in Domesday Book of 1086, when it was described as having "land for 4 ploughs, 10 villagers with 1 Freeman and 5 smallholders have 3 ploughs...the value was 20s; now 60s." The estate was held by the Ferrers family until 1445 when it passed to the Grey family. By 1800 the village had expanded with the population reaching 250, and by 1920 it had reached 1,000. Employment in the village was largely in the local granite quarries and in farming In the mid 19th century, the whole village was owned by the Earl of Stamford, who had the church and the original village school built, the latter to replace the cottage in which local children had previously been taught (now known as 'The Old School House') He also had Bradgate House built in the 1850s, a large country house to the north-west of the village. A later Earl sold part of the estate in 1925, including Bradgate House, which was demolished (although the ruins of its extravagant stable block remain), with many villagers buying their homes. Plots of land in the area were subsequently sold to builders, leading to a significant expansion of the village.
Historically, the village is noted for its connection with two Queens of England. Groby Old Hall, built in the 15th century, was owned by the Grey family whose estate included Bradgate Park. Sir John Grey of Groby married Elizabeth Woodville. After his death, in battle, she married Edward IV of England. Bradgate Park was the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey, who became Queen of England for nine days in 1553. The Grey family held the barony until it was forfeited in 1554.
Picture - Elizabeth Woodville
widow of Sir John Grey wife of King Edward IV and Queen consort of England, grandmother of King Henry VIII
Before the Norman Conquest, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, (1004-1006), Groby was a place of some consequence, worth 20 “shillings “a year. By the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086, it was valued at 60 shillings and was held by Hugh de Grandmesnil. In Groby, at the Domesday Survey in 1086, there were 10 villeins, 1 sochman and 5 bordars – there were a few others as well, for women and children were not included in the count. For the Poll Tax in 1377 there was a population of 75, of which 66 were paying tax. For the Hearth Tax in 1670 the householders paying were 66 whilst 33 were exempt.
In 1801, the first government census, Groby had a population of 299 and there was a steady increase in population shown each census year; when in 1871 the total was 515. In the first census as a parish in 1901, the population was 928 (Groby was created as a Parish in 1896 hitherto it had been a hamlet of Ratby). In 1931 the population had risen to1122 and in 1951 it stood at 1,921, in 1962 it was 2,340 and the total assessment for the parish numbered 1,032 including the farmsteads and a few commercial places. From then on hundred of houses had been built and are still being built, and the population at the time of the 2001 census was 7,301.
The village has expanded vastly since the 1970s and is now part of the Leicester Urban Area. The southern side is dominated by new housing estates, built upon what was formerly farming land between the historic part of Groby and the neighbouring village of Glenfield. The old village centre still retains some character, with some cobbled lanes and thatched cottages. The church of St Philip and St James, built in the lancet style by George Harry Grey, the seventh Earl of Stamford, dates from 1840 and stands on the site of Groby Castle. The architect was William Railton. No remains are left of the castle, other than a slight rise in ground to the east of the main church building, and the manor house (Groby Old Hall), the stone-built parts of which are thought to have been part of the castle's outer buildings. In April 2010 archaeologists from the popular Channel 4 television show, Time Team excavated the area behind the old hall and the Church. They were looking for Groby Castle. The episode was aired on 20 March 2011.
The village centre around 1920, The Stamford Arms, former home of the Everard family became a pub in 1921. According to Groby Heritage Group, the tall chimney belonged to a quarry.
The village centre has a few shops, including a Co-op supermarket, Co-op Chemists, Pricegate, Chaplins (traditional family butcher), a bakery, greengrocers, Cathy Stevens Jewellery, Mark Jarvis, Wilson & Sons Newsagent, Barclays Bank, Alliance and Leicester, Flint. There is also a fish and chip shop as well as other takeaways, a pub (the Stamford Arms) and various other shops. The Lawnwood shopping parade has Henson's hardware shop, Greens sandwich shop and a hairdresser. There is a Budgens supermarket a few minutes away from the village centre.
The old quarry in the village centre is now an industrial estate - mostly owned by the company GE Sensing formerly Druck Ltd, which makes pressure transducers.
Groby Quarry is located on the narrow lane which leads through to Newtown Linford, and is still used to quarry granite. Lawn Wood Quarry, on the A50, is now largely disused and is being filled in with landfill.
Groby Pool, an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) is located opposite Groby Quarry on Newtown Linford Lane. There is a public car park and it is possible to walk along the side nearest the road, which has been opened. Feeding the ducks at Groby Pool has long been a tradition for local people. The pool has a strict no fishing rule.