The thatched cottages and Georgian houses of tiny MARKET BOSWORTH, some eleven miles west of Leicester, fan out from a dinky Market Place, which was an important trading centre throughout the Middle Ages. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, the dominant family hereabouts were the Dixies, merchant-landlords who mostly ended up at the church of St Peter.

The Dixies were not universally admired, however, and the young Samuel Johnson, who taught at the Dixie Grammar School – its elongated facade still abuts the Market Place – disliked the founder, Sir Wolstan Dixie, so much that he recalled his time there “with the strongest aversion and even a sense of horror”.

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