STOUGHTON GRANGE AND LAND FORMERLY OWNED BY THE POWYS KECK FAMILY
Until it was put up for sale in 1913, most of Evington village belonged to the Powys Keck family who lived in the big house called Stoughton Grange, which was on land Evington people called Stoughton Farm Park or ‘The Farm Park’.
Stoughton Grange remained unsold and was eventually pulled down in 1926.
Besides the 466 acres which included Evington, the Powys Keck family owned an area of land of more than ten square miles, and mostly all grassland. This land was offered for sale separately from the House in 1913 and the only prospective buyer for the land was the Co-operative Wholesale Society, Manchester, who wanted it for dairy farming, but since this was a sporting estate, the owners withdrew it from the sale.
In 1919, the Co-op made another offer and this time it was accepted. The Co-op land started from the left-hand side of Shady Lane and was divided into 12 farms of about 500 acres each. About half of it was used for dairy farming – the milk being sent to a depot in Uttoxeter – and the other half for arable farming consisting mostly of winter wheat, winter barley and oilseed rape. The whole estate used to be managed from an office in Stoughton village and was Leicestershire’s largest farming enterprise. A separate Stoughton office also housed the headquarters of all the Co-operative Wholesale Society’s farms throughout England and Scotland. It was then the biggest farming concern in Great Britain!
The farm at Stoughton was developed as a Farm Park, but sadly closed down in 2001 after a dreadful outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease across the UK.
In 2006-7 The Co-operative Society published hugely unpopular plans for a 15,000-home eco-town scheme called Pennbury on land in the Stoughton area. This plan was dropped in 2009 after a two-and-a-half year local campaign against the development.
In 2014, 4,700 acres of land were purchased by the Wellcome Trust (the second highest spending charity in the UK) and this included Oadby Lodge Farm Estate of 3,860 acres. The land was bought as an investment and is used for arable, fruit and veg. crops. The Co-op retained 300 acres, including Stoughton Farm Park.
The dairy farming has now stopped and there are empty farm buildings. Recently many horses have grazed land on the corner of Shady Lane. There is now a planning application for 310 dwellings, including affordable houses.