Often known until 1888 as Sheepshed, or Sheepshead – the town originally grew as a centre for the wool trade. Many symbols to this heritage can be seen around the town.
Inside the 11th century Parish church of St Botolph, a wood carving exists in the church depicting a visit of Queen Elizabeth I though it is unclear if the Queen ever came to Shepshed itself, but if she did, it would have been the farthest north that she travelled in the country. The older part of the town is centred on the church.
There were many changes during the 19th century. Shepshed was briefly linked by canal to Loughborough, and to the coalmines of West Leicestershire when the Charnwood Forest Canal was opened in 1798, but success was only short lived. The Charnwood Forest Railway was opened in 1883, but regular passenger services ceased in 1931. However, the goods service did not close until 1963.
Shepshed Watermill, is an historic mill dating back and recorded in the doomsday book 1080. The mill was once part of the Garendon Estate until the mid-1970s, now under private ownership the mill has been restored and received a national award in 2003 from The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. It is open for visits several days a year. The town is also home to Morley Quarry, one of the most important geological sites in the country.