Leicestershire is a county of gentle landscapes where sheep have grazed for centuries, its topography altered over time by quarrying, mining and fox-hunting. It is criss-crossed by Roman roads, and occupied by picturesque market towns and ancient hilltop settlements as at Burrough and Breedon. There are the ruins of castles and priories, the remnants of the later textile industry, and the evidence of conflicts, from the Norman invasion to the Second World War. The National Forest is now taking root and promising a new prosperity for the former mining communities. Traditional products, including Melton Mowbray pork pies and Stilton cheese blend with cuttingedge industries and the research activities of three major universities. And watching over this developing history are the parish churches and country houses, still an essential aspect of this ancient land.
Stephen Butt is a well-known local historian. After a career with the BBC, he now enjoys writing and research, with over twenty books in print combining local history with an interest in photography. Stephen's first degree was in Psychology and his MA degree is in English Local History. He has served as Hon Secretary of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society. He lives in Leicestershire.