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

© 2005-2018, 2019  All Rights Reserved  Kibworth History Society and W.G.Weston


Roger Yates, son of local historian the late George Yates, has been re-united with his cousins, Valerie Pathan nee Yates, and her brother David, after 49 years, thanks to the help of Kibworth History Society.

The cousins had last seen one another in 1963 despite Roger’s attempts at tracing Valerie, but when Valerie, who now lives in Nuneaton, was searching the internet she found the History Society’s website and was delighted to discover ‘Memories of Kibworth High Street and Fleckney Road’ by Joan Spain, on the ‘Memories’ section of the website. Valerie contacted the History Society and was put in touch with Roger’s son, Mark. Several emotional telephone calls have since taken place and they are looking to meeting in the near future.

Roger, Valerie, and David Yates in 1963 when they last saw each other.


A blue plaque was unveiled on 18 February 2012 as a memorial to Sir Harold Ridley, born here in Kibworth in 1906.

Harold Ridley trained as an ophthalmic surgeon and had many achievements in his career, but most notably the development of the operation to correct eye cataracts.  It took many years for his pioneering work to be recognised by the medical fraternity but now it has given fresh sight to millions of folk around the world.

The plaque was unveiled by Sir Harold’s son, Nicholas, at a public ceremony witnessed by some 70 people including representatives from The Ridley Eye Foundation. Fascinating speeches were made by Nicholas Ridley (who recalled family episodes as well as his father’s career), Margaret Stowe (now a Kibworth resident who in her younger days was a nurse working with Sir Harold at Moorfields Eye Hospital), Geoffrey Woodruff (consultant ophthalmologist in Leicestershire, who has taken a special interest in Sir Harold’s achievements and more recent applications for children), and Edward Garnier MP.  The event was also attended by the press and film crews.

The idea for the erection of the blue plaque came from Bob Haggerty, a village resident who underwent cataract surgery in July 2011, Kibworth History Society successfully researched and identified the house where Sir Harold was born, and the blue plaque was paid for by the Kibworth Improvement Team.

Nicholas Ridley, Bob Haggerty and Edward Garnier MP outside Little Lebanon, formerly The Gables, birthplace of Sir Harold Ridley.

Saturday 13th April 2013 saw the unveiling of a blue plaque as a memorial to Philip Doddridge, well known theologian, who lived and worked in Kibworth Harcourt for several years between 1719 and 1725.

The unveiling was conducted by Malcolm Deacon, biographer of Doddridge, at the White House, Leicester Road, previously home to the Dissenting Academy, and was attended by local residents, members of Kibworth History Society, and representatives of Kibworth Improvement Team.  

After the ceremony Malcolm kindly presented copies of his book ‘Philip Doddridge of Northampton’ to the assembled group.



Kibworth’s third blue plaque, in honour of Anna Laetitia Barbauld and her brother, John Aitkin, was unveiled on Saturday 11th May 2013 by Edward Garnier MP.

Anna Laetitia was born on 20th June 1743 at 'The Old House' in Kibworth Harcourt, the eldest child of John and Jane Aikin.  She is remembered especially for her splendid literary works, prose and poetry, and was a pioneer in writing for children. John Aitkin was a renowned physician, botanist and author.

Short speeches were given by Barbauld expert Professor William McCarthy, eminent historian, Dr Michael Woods, and Sessional Lecturer at Birbeck College, University of London, Dr Naomi Lightman.

Debbie James of Kibworth Bookshop gave a couple of readings from Barbauld’s works.


The plaque was paid for by Kibworth Improvement Team and uses the modern day spelling of Anna’s second name.

Professor William McCarthy at The Old House



For some time now the Society has been seeking a grant to enable it to purchase its own laptop computer and electronic projector.  The aim is to secure in one place our historical records for the benefit of present day and future generations.


The Society is delighted to announce that a grant has recently been awarded by Leicestershire County Council from the Big Society Fund.  This enables us to proceed with the project.


Photographic prints and archive documents will be digitised to supplement and expand the Society’s website which is already used by numerous organisations and individuals, both local and international.  The material in digitised format will greatly enhance our ability to show local history to groups.

Older News items may be read on the News Archive page.


Following the final meeting of our 2014/15 season, when we heard the fascinating true story of the German U-boat, U570, that was captured by a Hudson aircraft of the Royal Air Force and was then taken into service with the Royal Navy, the Society closed its year with a very lively table skittles match at the Railway Inn on Tuesday 11th June .

Twenty-two members and friends crowded the alley at the Railway, where they enjoyed an excellent supper, prior to a very competitive match.


On Friday 26th June 2015 a private family ceremony was held at the grave-side of Private Bertie Pell at Kibworth Cemetery.

The ceremony was organised by Harry Tharp, nephew of Bertie Pell, and was attended by Harry and Ann-Marie Tharp, Lars and Gillian Tharp, John and Pauline Whitaker, and Margery Whait.


On Saturday 17th December 2016 46233 Duchess of Sutherland worked the York Yuletide Express through Kibworth from London. This was the first steam locomotive to travel through Kibworth on  a revenue earning service for many years and was a last minute diversion as the Kettering to Nottingham line over Harringworth Viaduct was found to be out-of-gauge for the locomotive.


After being out-of-print and unavailable for over ten years the Society is pleased to announce that it has produced a pdf file of this book. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy should send a cheque for £6.50, together with their email address, to the Society. Upon receipt of the payment the pdf file will be sent as an attachment to an email and the recipient will be print the work on a home printer.


Eight members of the Iliff family from Kansas visited Kibworth on Thursday 7th September 2017, their interest sparked by Michael Wood’s ‘Story of England’ series and the references to the Iliff(e) families. Their ancestor, Richard Iliff, had emigrated from England in the eighteenth century but the family had been unable to establish from where he had originated.

Norman Harrison led a walk around Harcourt in the morning and George Weston led a walk around Beauchamp in the afternoon that included a visit to an old framework knitter’s cottage (through the generosity of Celia Pemberton), with tea and biscuits at St Wilfrid’s, provided by Sue Bradbury.  

The photograph shows: George Weston, Patrick Iliff, Chris Iliff, Doug Iliff, Paul Iliff, and Norman Harrison after the History Society’s meeting. The other members of the party, Theodore, Seth, James, and Justin, unfortunately, had to depart prior to the photograph being taken at the evening meeting on the same day.