“Understanding yesterday, for the benefit of  today and tomorrow”

Read reports from earlier years © 2005-2018, 2019  All Rights Reserved  Kibworth History Society and W.G.Weston

6th October 2011

Kibworth Cricket Club kindly invited members of the History Society to hold their meeting at the Clubhouse when a presentation was given by the Hon. President of the Kibworth Cricket Club, Robert Gilson, on the history of the Club.

The President began by describing the history of the game which started in the areas of Kent, Sussex and Hampshire on chalk downland with free draining soil and short grass.   Clubs were first formed at the start of the 18th century when bowling was underarm and bats resembled hockey sticks.  The score was kept by making notches on a stick until a maximum of 20 was reached.   The pitch was grazed by sheep, well before lawn mowers had been invented.  Another branch of the game was formed by the aristocracy which drew huge crowds and money changed hands for match fixing.   Frederick Prince of Wales, son of King George 2nd, was a keen participant and died after being hit on the head by a cricket ball.

In the 19th century it was so popular that a code  was drawn up the Marylebone Cricket Club - laws not rules.   The MCC continued to be responsible for their administration until the 1960s.

The President was able to show various slides and reports of matches held in the early days of the Kibworth Cricket Club.  On July 17th 1847 a match was held on the Rector's Glebe between Kibworth and Arnsby which was won by Arnsby who would appear to have had 2 innings against one for Kibworth and afterwards all retired to the Old Swan for supper!   Once the railway had arrived travelling to matches further afield became possible.   Although in 1860 the population was 1330 the Club had a 1st and 2nd team.   The Leicester paper reported a disgraceful occurrence in July 1873 when a match between Kibworth and Gumley ended in a free for all.

The Fleckney Road ground was opened on 28th July 1883 and in 1898 the Old Pavilion was erected.  From 1932 - 1949 the captain was Eddie Welton, headmaster of the primary school.  There was also a 2nd Club made up of local tradesmen who played on Sundays, which was not allowed for village cricket clubs.

The Club outgrew the Fleckney road site as passers by and double-decker buses faced the dangers of hard hit cricket balls.   Having sold the ground for houses the Club moved to its present site in 2006.

The Club, which has a professional coach, has enjoyed many successes in national competitions and we were able to see the magnificent display of silver cups etc.,which the Club has amassed.   4 teams now play each Saturday, and 120 local juniors are coached on Sunday mornings.   3 players have played in the national under 19 team and 5 now play First Class Cricket.

Thanks were expressed to the Chairman for the presentation and the hospitality received.

Next Meeting:   3rd November when it will be necessary to receive names of members wishing to attend the Christmas Supper and Quiz on the 3rd December.

3rd November 2011

This month, Ruth Tyers and Pat Thomas, both members of the Society, gave the second part of talks that they had been unable to complete at an earlier meeting.  In the first part of Ruth’s talk on ‘Kibworth’s Track Record’, she had referred to the ancient tracks that passed through Kibworth, the effect of Roman occupation on the area and the Via Devana or Gartree Road as it is now called, and the Scandinavian invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries.  This time she spoke about the improvement of the main Harborough to Leicester road during the first part of the 18th century, the arrival of the canal at the end of the century  and then the railway in the 1850s.

Pat continued her talk on the draining of Whittlesea Mere in Cambridgshire.  While various attempts had been made to drain parts of the fens since Roman times, Whittlesea Mere remained the largest inland body of water in the country until a Dutch engineer, Cornelius van Muyden, was employed by the Duke of Bedford in 1629 to undertake drainage work.  Though van Muyden commenced drainage work, the mere was not finally drained until 1852, by which time a whole way of life dependent on water, had disappeared.  Today, our attitude towards nature has changed and the Great Fen Project is attempting to restore parts of the area to its original state.

1st December 2011

The year concluded with the Society's Christmas party, at which members enjoyed a buffet supper and quiz. The quiz has become a popular part of every December meeting and was organised this year by Ken and Judith Greening. The theme, in the broadest sense, was 'something to do with Christmas', which taxed everyone's memory and knowledge to the limit.

There will no meeting in January so the next meeting will take place on Thursday 2 February at 7.30pm in the Methodist Church.         Visitors are very welcome at all our meetings.

D Holmes

2nd February 2012

The Chairman, Norman Harrison, welcomed members to the first meeting of 2012 in the Methodist Church.  The Roman helmet found with the Hallaton Treasure is on display until July at the Market Harborough Museum. One of the members, Sheila Leslie-Milller, had brought along a commemorative plate from the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 for all to see.   She reminded members that there have only been two monarchs who have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee - both women!

The speaker for the evening was Ken Day, a faithful visitor to the Society who gave a talk entitled 'Amusing Aspects of Wills'.   Now retired, Ken was employed by the Midland Bank executors division so had collected many amusing incidents from far and wide.   He advised everyone to make sure that they had made a will.

The vote of thanks was given by Bob Higgins.

Next Meeting:   Thursday 1st March in the Methodist Hall at 7.30 p.m. when Professor Christopher Dyer will give a talk on:

A History of Leicestershire:   a New Beginning for the Victoria County History.

P Thomas

1st March 2012

'Victoria County History a new beginning for Leicestershire' was the title of this month's talk which was given by Dr Pam Fisher.  Dr Fisher explained that the idea of writing the history of every county in the county goes back many hundreds of years.  The first history of Leicestershire was published by William Burton in 1688.  The Victoria County History series was started  in 1897 to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria and it was hoped that a complete history of every town and village in every county could be produced.  It was naively thought that all counties would have completed the work in about four years.  Dr Fisher explained that all counties started but none has completed the work.  Five volumes have been published on Leicestershire, the most recent in 1969, which covered south-east Leicestershire.  Some 300 towns and villages are still in need of research.

A new group, The Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust, has recently been established to complete the history of Leicestershire.  Virtually all the work is being undertaken by volunteers under the guidance of a professional historian.  These volunteers are at present working on some 25 parishes.  Volunteers are given training on all aspects of research.  The results of this research will be written up and published on the internet as soon as parts of it are complete.  Another aspect of the trust's work has been to apply for Heritage Lottery funding for community project in the Charnwood area which will involve over 400 people.

D Holmes

5th April 2012

The Chairman welcomed members and told them of the proposed involvement of the Society in the Celebration of the Queen's Jubilee in Kibworth.   It is intended that the Lychgate at the cemetery will be open and visitors will be able to have a guided tour which could  include the cemetery.   The various books which the Society have produced will be on show and available to purchase.

The speaker for the evening was David Holmes whose talk was entitled 'History under foot and round about' with particular reference to the Memorials in St. Wilfrid's Churchyard which he has been researching.

The Enclosure Map of 1780 shows that the church was not in fact built on the highest point in the village and only a very small area was the graveyard, an extension was added in the late 19th century. The OS map of  1904 shows the first stage of development around the church, in particular the railway.  Quarrying took place in the area below the Villas and a rail line is shown going from the station to the gas works. (One of the members, Joan Spain, clearly remembers in the 1920s the engine taking the coal to the gas works).  There were no houses down Weir Road and only a few Victorian buildings in Fleckney Road beyond where the Co-op now stands.   Harcourt was much as we see it today apart from the fact that Marsh Drive and Marsh Avenue are only shown as tracks.

The Spire was still there in a picture of c1800, the tower is now 80 feet high and the spire was a further 80 feet. The Church stands at 390 feet, and the highest point of the village is at 415 feet near the roundabout. From about 1870 graves were dug to the east of the churchyard which was further extended in 1904.

For Ordnance Survey purposes reference points were placed on buildings showing the height above sea level.  Few remain now but there is one on the north west corner of the church tower, one at what was the 'Fox and Hounds' and the third is on the Old House.

A plan was done in 1973 by Oliver Walsh who numbered all the headstones but failed to produce a list of names.    In 1981 the W.I. used the same numbering system but also did not produce a list.    The speaker has produced both a plan and a note of all readable inscriptions.

The first headstone dates from 1650, but one from 1681 is the oldest readable one.   From 1740 they become decorated and even more so from 1760.  Interestingly there is one stone which reflects the change from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar as it is dated 1746-47. Swithland slate headstones survive better than limestone/sandstone ones.   Now the slate headstones are made industrially from Welsh slate.

Some headstones are in memory of servants erected by their grateful employers. Many of the  headstones are deteriorating at a frightening speed and it is difficult to see what could be done to alleviate the situation.

Roy Bills gave a vote of thanks to the speaker and announced that he will be leaving instructions that he will require a slate headstone and will be writing his own inscription!

3rd May 2012

Today we hear or read little or nothing about wartime conscientious objectors so Cynthia Brown's talk was a reminder of a small but important group of people who refused conscription during the first world war.  When war broke out in 1914, Britain was the only combatant country that relied on a purely volunteer army and navy.  This remained so until 1915,  when, due to a reduction in the number of volunteers and the requirement for increasing numbers of men,  conscription was introduced.  

A small number of men declined conscription, some on moral or religious grounds, some on personal or family grounds and others for practical reasons such as running a family business.  To resolve disputes, the government established local tribunals to decide whether those who refused had a reason that could be justified in the national interest.  No tribunal records have survived and newspaper reports of the time are sparse.  However, Cynthia has been able to build up a picture of their work.  Few men were exempted totally but a fair number were given a short time to settle their affairs before being conscripted.  The largest group of objectors did so on moral or religious grounds, in particular Quakers, Christadelphians   and members of the Church of Christ, all of which were relatively strong in Leicestershire.

Though the demands of war required conscription and Britain followed the example of all other countries, it was the only country to permit any level of conscientious objection.  The exact number of conscientious objectors in Leicestershire or elsewhere in the country is unknown and can only be guessed at.

This was a most revealing insight into a subject that is difficult to research .  Following a lengthy question and answer period, a vote of thanks was given by Jean Chapman.

D. Holmes

7th June 2012

The Society met for the final meeting of the current programme on Thursday 7th June at the Methodist Church

The Chairman, Norman Harrison, welcomed members and visitors.   As part of the Diamond Jubilee events the History Society had organised tours of the cemetery and an opportunity to see the interior of the Lychgate, a fine Victorian building.   Mrs. Joan Spain, had brought along a copy of a drawing of the Lychgate done by Hugh Collinson and also, one of the commemorative mugs issued jointly by both Parish Councils in 1994 commemorating the 100th anniversary of the formation of parish councils and which depicts a picture of the Lychgate.

Dr. Len Holden together with his colleague, Roy Rippon, members of Market Harborough Film Society showed two films from their collection.  The first one, 'Tales of a Land Army Girl' featured Pat Fox who had been based at the Land Army Hostel in Lubenham.   When the Second World War began it soon became apparent that it would be necessary for the country to become as self-supporting as possible in food production.  The Welland Valley, long the home of cattle, was ploughed up and more hands were needed to grow the cereals, vegetables, etc.   Pat Fox was born near Sheffield and after some time in a cotton mill decided to volunteer for the Land Arny and requested to be sent to Lubenham as she knew someone all ready based there.   The hours were long and arduous, getting up at 6 a.m. and living in a dormitory for 40 girls with 4 to each cubicle.   They worked on farms in about a 10 mile vicinity, travelling either by bike or open lorries.

'The Paget Arms' and the 'Coach and Horses' in Lubenham provided entertainment and relaxation.   There were Italian and German prisoners of war, one of whom on his return to Germany left her a gift of several wooden items he had carved.   An American paratrooper with whom they planned for their future, was killed in the Normany landings.   The hostel closed in 1948 but various farmers in the area asked some of the girls to continue to work on their farms.   So she went to work for David Fox, they married in 1950.   The Land Army was disbanded in 1950.

The second film was the story of the Hallaton Treasure and is the film which can be seen by visitors to the Harborough Museum.   The discoveries made have completely changed our knowledge of life at the time of the Roman invasion, suggesting that Romans were all ready here before the invasion and had been supported by some of the local Iron Age tribes.   It has also changed dramatically the role which Leicestershire played and its importance in the history both before and during the Roman invasion.

David Holmes gave the vote of thanks and stressed the importance of this area in the ancient story of this country.

The new programme for the History Society will begin on September 6th with the AGM follwed by 'Unseen interview extracts' from the Michael Wood team working in Kibworth 2009/11.  

Pat Thomas