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St. Wilfrid's Church, Kibworth Harcourt - - 589764.jpg
St Wilfrid's Church, Kibworth Harcourt
Grid reference: SP684943
Location: 52°32’32"N, 0°59’34"W
Postcode: LE8
Local Government
Council: Harborough

Kibworth is a village or pair of adjoining villages in Leicestershire. Its two parts are:

  • Kibworth Harcourt to the north and
  • Kibworth Beauchamp to the south.

Each village forms a separate civil parish though both are in one church parish According to the 2011 census, Kibworth Beauchamp has a population of 5,433, and Kibworth Harcourt 990. The two villages are parted by the A6.

The Midland Main Line runs through the area. Kibworth railway station, which served both villages, closed in 1968.

Kibworth is close to Foxton Locks, Market Harborough, and Leicester.

Parish church

The parish church is St Wilfrid's, which dates mostly from the 13th century. It has two 14th century porches and entrances; traditionally the north porch was for Kibworth Harcourt and the south for Kibworth Beauchamp.

The ancient stone font was removed from the church by Captain John Yaxley, a puritan minister, in the 1650s, and was used as a horse trough until it was re-instated in 1864. The plain 17th century font given to a church in Zanzibar.

The steeple collapsed in 1825 and was replaced with the current tower in the 1830s. Of the late nineteenth century is a gallery of stained-glass windows portraying biblical scenes including the wedding at Cana, and also a wooden rood screen and the carved pulpit and choir stalls in the nave.


In 1270 Walter de Merton, the founder of Merton College, Oxford, bought a large part of the parish of Kibworth Harcourt from Saer de Harcourt, who had been forced to sell the estate following his support for the unsuccessful "Second Barons' War" led by Simon de Montfort. A large part of the parish has remained property of Merton College, Oxford to the present day. There is a stained glass window depicting Walter de Merton in the bell tower of the parish church, St Wilfrid's, and the warden and scholars of the college are joint patrons with the Bishop of Leicester.

Kibworth Harcourt was the birthplace of the writer/reformer Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743–1825) and her brother John Aikin. Their father, John Aikin (1713–1780), kept a dissenting academy there and served as minister of a nearby Presbyterian chapel. The family moved in 1757 to Warrington in Lancashire.

About the villages

Kibworth has a number of shops, a community newspaper (The Kibworth & District Chronicle),[1] and since 2002 new shops. There were also new houses built on the edge of the village.


  • Cricket: Kibworth Cricket Club
  • Snooker: Kibworth Snooker, based at the Working Men's Club

In the village there are clubs for golf, bowls and football, and dance schools.

Michael Wood's Story of England

In September 2010, Kibworth was the central feature of Michael Wood's Story of England, a documentary aired on both BBC Four and BBC Two, presented by Michael Wood (historian)|Michael Wood about the history of England framed through Kibworth. [2][3]

A book of the same name was published by Viking (Penguin Books).[4] The series was likened to Who Do You Think You Are? for a whole community. Villagers (Kibworth Improvement Team - KiT) have created a new website[5] and successfully requested a grant of £48,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to continue the legacy of the TV series by creating a Kibworth Guide Booklet (heritage trails for Kibworth Harcourt, Kibworth Beauchamp and Smeeton Westerby), several interpretation panels around the three villages, ongoing study materials for the three tiers of local schools and an online Archive (Virtual Museum) to be produced during 2011 and 2012.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Kibworth)