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Shackerstone is a village and civil parish in the Hinckley and Bosworth district of Leicestershire, England. It is situated on the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal and the River Sence. According to the 2001 census the parish, which also includes the village of Barton in the Beans, had a population of 811.
In the Elizabethan era the Halls were the prominent family in the village. They occupied the hall next to the church.
During the Civil War Shackerstone was near enough to Ashby de la Zouch to attract the attention of both parties. Parliamentary soldiers from Tamworth and Coventry stole horses, including a mare worth ten pounds from Mr. Hall. The local vicar, the Rev. John Hodges, was ejected from the living in 1646 and brought before the parliamentary sequestration committee for deserting his parish to join the royalist garrison at Ashby for four months. The commissioners charged him with frequenting the village alehouse on Sundays, and of being "a companion with fidlers and singers".
In the early eighteenth century John Nichols records a fine church, a water mill and an absentee parson, Dr Adamthwaite, a prolific and energetic letter-writer, who was vicar from 1779 to 1811. This was a poor parish. By 1789 time the parson complained that he could not afford to live there, residing instead in Hampton in Arden, in Warwickshire some 24 miles away, where he had a curacy. He claimed that the parsonage had been "miserably beggared" by the previous incumbent who died insolvent in a gaol. The vicarage was "so entirely let down as that no sign remains of there ever having been one".
By 1 April 1805 the population seems to have slightly increased, a local census counting 51 families in Shackerstone, 53 families in Odstone and six in Barton, providing a total population of around 375.
In 1804 the Ashby Canal was opened and Shackerstone is passed by it on the east. There are public moorings prior to bridge 52, and between bridges 52 and 53 are private moorings. The sharp turn by the station has been known to cause a certain amount of entertainment for the unwary boater.
During World War II the remains of the motte and bailey castle in the village had an air raid shelter dug into it. It is believed that this still has a rocking chair within it.
Shackerstone is probably best known nowadays as the home of the Battlefield Line Railway, a preserved steam and diesel museum, that runs trains to Bosworth Battlefield. The railway came to Shackerstone in 1873 and continued providing passenger services until 1931 after which only freight ran on the rails of the Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway. The line was finally closed by British Rail in 1970 at which point the railway society arrived and has restored the station and reopened the line to Shenton Station, the terminus for Bosworth Battlefield.
Shackerstone also hosts a large family festival, usually in the first week of September that covers everything from vintage cars to aerobatic stunt planes. This charity event is based around the three organising parties: the village, the canal and the railway. The festival is usually well attended by the public.
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