Displaying items by tag: Christ Church

Christ Church is a grade ll listed building situated on Saddington Road, Smeeton Westerby. Prior to the building of Christ Church, residents of Smeeton Westerby attended the benefice church of St Wilfrid’s in Kibworth Beauchamp.

The Laying of the Foundation Stone:

The foundation stone was laid on 1st August 1848 with considerable ceremony.

The following is a report of the proceedings published in the Leicester Advertiser:

“They commenced with a divine Service at St Wilfrid’s Church, Kibworth Beauchamp, which was crowded with a respectable congregation including nearly 50 of the Clergy of the neighbourhood, amongst which (besides the Rector and Curate) were Revs. W. C. Humphery, & F. Apthorp, R Fawssett, C. Gutch, J. Parker and Morris of this town. The whole of the congregation at the Service had the deepest of attention and interest, and a hallowed feeling to pervade the heart. The prayers were said by the Rev. Stuart Eyre Bathurst, the Rector, assisted by the Rev. J.R. Shortland, Curate, the Communion Service by the Rev. W.H. Anderton, the vicar of St. Margaret’s, and the epistle by the Rev. Charles Gutch, Curate. The Rev. W. H. Anderton then delivered a very appropriate and impressive discourse from the 11th verse of the 2nd Psalm. The Sacrament of Holy Communion was administered by the clergy, and a great portion of the congregation. The collection at the doors and the offertory amounted to nearly £80.

After the service a procession was formed by the clergy, walking in their robes two abreast, followed by the school children, while the inhabitants brought up the rear, the whole forming a most cheering and delightful sight. On approaching the site of the new church, the officiating clergymen, in their surpluses, chanted the 132nd Psalm and on arriving at the site, the 122nd and the 127th Psalms, the 7th and 8th verses of the 3rd chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians were said. After prayer for the Bishop, the Priest , who shall be appointed to Minister at the altar of the new church, the architect, benefactors, and all, who whether by counsel or by labour, shall aid in the erection, the Rural Dean asked the question – Who is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord? When J. B. Humphrey, Esq. one of the laymen present, on behalf of the donors, offered a stone , as a foundation stone for the church, and J. Marriot, Esq. delivered a very appropriate address. The Rector then proceeded to lay the stone, and the 8th Psalm was sung. This was followed by prayer for unity, for the preservation of the church from all common and profound uses , and for a blessing on the good work, and the interesting ceremony was concluded with the Benediction. The procession was re-formed, preceded by the Duke of Rutland’s band to the Rectory (Kibworth Beauchamp) , where the clergy, the children, and the inhabitants partook of the refreshments provided for them, and enjoyed themselves during the remainder of the day with the worthy and benevolent Rector.”

Christ Church

Christ Church SW
Christ Church front aspect

 Christ Church was designed in 1848-1849 by Henry Woodyer, a graduate of Merton College, Oxford, and built by G. Myers using grey stone in the decorated style of the 14th century.  An example of this style can be found in the west elevation which has a single large window with flowing tracery set within an unusual and heavily moulded pointed arch with an octagonal bellcote above.

The church has north and south aisles, nave, chancel, vestry and an octagonal bell turret.


Inside Christ Church SW 1

The wide aisles and nave towards the chancel

Inside Christ Church SW 2

Photographs by kind permission of Leicester Photo Ltd.

The font is situated by the west window and has an elaborate carved wooden cover.

The Service of Consecration for the Church was held on 31st August 1849 with The Bishop of Peterborough accompanied by his Chancellor, and the Rev. E  T Vaughan, Vicar of St. Martin’s, Leicester, were welcomed by Rev. S E Bathurst, Rector of St. Wilfrid’s, Kibworth.

In the years following the Consecration the  Rev. E Loch and then the Rev. Aretas Ackers were appointed curates of Christ Church.

At a meeting on 12th April 1852 at St Wilfrid’s Church the Rector announced that  the Smeeton Westerby part of his property would be for the sole use of the Minister of Christ Church. He also announced that the Rev. R Fawcett of Christ Church, Leicester, had been appointed Curate at Christ Church, Smeeton Westerby.

The township of Smeeton Westerby became a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1852.  The advowson remained with the Rector of St Wilfrid’s Church, Kibworth Beauchamp.

During the latter months of 1894 and into 1895 severe gales had swept across the district causing damage to the Church.  In July  that year a fete was held in the village to raise funds for repairs to the roof of the Church.

In 1907 a new organ was purchased at a cost of £320 and a service of dedication of the organ was held on 11th April 1907. In 1921 the burial ground was extended. Over the years extensions to the Church have included a kitchen area and toilet facilities.

There is a marble wall mounted World War l memorial in the church with the following inscription:




(LIST of 11 NAMES)


1914 – 19



Leicester Photo Ltd.
Kibworth to Smeeton ‘A Stroll Down Memory Lane’ by Philip J Porter
British History on Line
The Leicester Advertiser
The Imperial War Museum
Historic England

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