Leicester (anc, Ratae), a manufacturing town of England, capital of Leicestershire, situated near the centre of the county, on the right bank of the Soar, which is here crossed by three ancient bridges and a handsome modern one, 87 m. N. N. W. of London; pop. in 1871, 95,220. It has a Latin school, an insane asylum, an orphan house, a school of design, a philosophical society, a mechanics' hall, a museum with Roman antiquities, a theatre, a public library, and 54 places of worship, of which 11 belong to the established church. The staple manufacture is cotton and worsted hosiery. It is the centre of a great agricultural and wool-raising district, and fairs are held for horses, cattle, and sheep 12 times a year. Under the Romans as well as under the Saxons Leicester was a place of importance; and numerous vestiges of those ancient times are still in existence. In 1851 tessellated pavements and other Roman remains were discovered. The name Leicester is derived from the river Leire (now Soar). Leicester had formerly a mint in which were produced a succession of coins from the time of the Saxon Athelstan to Henry II.
Magazine and Newark Gate, Leicester.