In 1609 William Parker (the elder) purchased the land where The Old House is currently situated. There were several cottages on this land and by 1635 they had been replaced by a stone house which faced to the north (not the present Old House). William Parker was succeeded by his son William Parker (the younger) and by 1678 he had built the Old House.
When William Parker the younger’s son Geffrey, who had inherited the estate, died in 1714 the estate in Kibworth Harcourt included two mansions (The Old House and the stone mansion on the site of current White House, Leicester Road, Kibworth Harcourt), 3 cottages, 2 gardens, 2 orchards, 100 acres of land, 30 acres of meadow, 15 acres of pasture and common pasture for all cattle of Kibworth Harcourt. Geffrey was the last male heir and with his death the Parker name in Kibworth Harcourt died and the estate was inherited by Geffrey’s five sisters. Thomas Peache, an Attorney of Market Harborough purchased the Parker Family estate from Geffrey Parker’s five sisters during the period 1737 to1743.(see The Parker Family of Kibworth Harcourt, part 1 - medieval)
In 1742 John Aikin rented The Old House and opened a nonconformist school charging his pupils £12 a year for board and teaching. His two children, John and Anna Latetia (later Barbauld) were born in 1743 and 1747 respectively. Anna Latetia Barbauld and her brother John were remarkable intellectuals and authors. Their writings ranged from political commentary to children’s books and from poetry to medical matters. They were possibly the most famous residents who lived in The Old House. The Aikin family left the house in 1758. There is a blue plaque commemorating the lives of Anna Latitia Barbauld and John Aikin on the Old House garden wall in Main Street. (See Anna Letitia Barbauld and John Aikin-Modern)
From 1756 to 1760 the house was held by Thomas Peache in trust for a Mr and Mrs Fisher who continued to rent the property to John Aikin until 1758.
In 1760 Lebbeus Humfrey, a wealthy Yeoman from Gaulby, a small hamlet near Kibworth Harcourt, acquired the estate including The Old House. In 1764 he purchased land in Albert Street opposite the Old House and in 1765 he married Anna Maria Smalley from Kibworth Harcourt. They had two sons, John Benjamin and Lebbeus Charles. In 1770 Lebbeus Humfrey built stables and barns on the land he had purchased in Albert Street opposite The Old House where the Old Barn dwelling stands today. He was appointed High Sheriff of Leicestershire in 1773. Hunting parties were held at the stables opposite The Old House.
Lebbeus Humfrey died in 1790 and his son and heir John Benjamin Humfrey and his wife Charlotte lived at the Old House with his mother Anna Maria Humfrey until she died in 1824. John and Charlotte moved into the newly built Kibworth Hall on Carlton Road, Kibworth Harcourt. (see Kibworth Hall -Modern) The youngest son Lebbeus Charles Humfrey had moved to Gumley in 1819. .
After John Humfrey moved to Kibworth Hall the Old House was rented and records show that Col. Hardinge (Equerry to Queen Victoria) rented the house in 1860.
John Benjamin Humfrey died in 1864 and his son and heir Richard Buckley Humfrey inherited the estate including The Old House. On the death of Richard Buckley Humfrey the estate was inherited by his two daughters, Florence Marianne and Latetia Blanch.
In 1870 The Old House and the estate passed to the Hunt family through the marriage of Roland Hunt MP to Florence Marianne Humfrey but they did not occupy the house. Rowland Hunt was head of a family which owned property and land in Shropshire and was the MP for Ludlow.
From 1888 to 1891 The Old House was leased by Major H Palmer for the sum of £120 per annum.
In 1893 The Old House was rented by Mr. H Jefferson and in 1916 it was rented to a Major Travers.
The Old House and the estate was still owned by Rowland Hunt, MP however the tenancy of the House was held by Mrs. Milwardby and by June 1918 by a Mr O B Fisher.
On 27th August 1918 and again on 16th December 1919 J Toller Eady, Auctioneers, of Market Harborough offered The Old House for sale by auction on behalf of Rowland Hunt MP. The results of the two auctions are not available.
In 1923 Brigadier General Jack purchased The Old House and estate. Jack and his wife settled in Kibworth Harcourt to take advantage of the area’s reputation for excellent fox hunting. (See Brigadier General Jack-Modern)
In 1962 following the death of Brigadier General Jack his widow Jeanette continued to live in the Old House until 1986 when the house was offered for sale by auction on behalf of the trustees of Brigadier General Jack and Mrs Jack. The house was bought by Mr and Mrs Flower who carried out a renovation of the property.
In 1991 The Old House was purchased by Mr. D F Boyd and Mr. P Burfoot. The next owners were Mr and Mrs Cooper who sold the house to the current owners, Mr and Mrs Langan in 2011.
Written by David Adams
Steve and Clare Langan