The City, Kibworth Harcourt
The City is an unusually named small cluster of dwellings situated in a lane to the left off Albert Street just before the junction with Carlton Road. The origin of the name is unknown however there is the thought that places called ‘The City’ were because they were towards ‘London’ so effectively south of the community, whereas areas called ‘Scotland’ were to the north. Burton Overy has a Scotland area! So maybe in Anglo Saxon or Roman times, the community stretched thinly from the Kibworths (south) to Burton Overy (north) resulting in the name ‘The City’.
Excavations to the north of The City have uncovered evidence that property existed in this area during and after the Roman occupation.
It is possible that some of the mud and thatched cottages existed in medieval times and there is evidence they were there in the latter part of the 18th century where the cottages had been built along both sides of the brook which flowed through The City towards and across Albert Street, then known as Hog Lane. (see Early Modern Kibworth Harcourt Village Centre- The Pig Market)
One of the original houses-No.1 The City (demolished in 1940’s)
The brook which flowed through The City often overflowed resulting in flooding of the lane and the dwellings, the people must have lived in poor unhealthy conditions at this time. It is believed that the poorest occupants of the village lived there. There was a pump in the City which supplied water during the rainy season, however drinking water had had to be fetched from the pump in Main Street opposite the Old House, quite a trek carrying water.
By the late 1880’s the brook had been diverted through a culvert under the lane and Albert Street.
The City was described by local historian, F.P. Woodford, in his book ‘History of Kibworth and Personal Reminiscences' as: “three mud thatched cottages and three small brick and thatched cottages as well as other houses”
Kibworth to Smeeton ‘A Stroll Down Memory Lane’ by Philip J Porter
History of Kibworth and Personal Reminiscences by F.P. Woodford
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 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.
The wide aisles and nave towards the chancel
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:
IN GRATITUDE TO THE LORD OF HOSTS
FOR VICTORY IN THE GREAT WAR
AND IN MEMORY of
(LIST of 11 NAMES)
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR KING AND COUNTRY?
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
Who was Blondin?
Jean-François Gravelet was born in 1824, changed his name to Charles Blondin and became a world famous French acrobat and tightrope walker. His fame and fortune followed his tightrope walk over the gorge below the Niagara Falls in 1859.
The Kibworth Connection.
Rumour has it that Blondin visited Kibworth Beachamp for a demonstration of his skills.
Myth or Fact?
Francis P Woodford in his book, A History of Kibworth, adds some weight to the story that Blondin gave a performance in High Street, Kibworth Beauchamp.
Woodford describes the event as follows:
‘The Royal Oak Public House (in High Street) was kept by Mr Staines. It was from the roof of this house to that of one of the houses opposite, that Blondin had a rope stretched, on which he walked blind-folded, and wheeled a barrow across; and also on which he balanced a stove and cooked a pancake, which he tossed in the air, to the thrills and wonder of a great crowd below but only to a small addition to his purse.’
The performance by Blondin followed his usually performed stunts. Woodford does not give a date for this performance but Blondin gave a number of performances in England including locations in and near Leicestershire.
12th July 1861 Derby ArboretuMr John Stain ham.
13th July 1861 Aston Park, Birmingham.
30th July 1861 Nottingham.
1st July 1862 Whitwick Cricket Ground, Leicestershire.
11th and 12th September 1862 Campbell Street, Leicester .
These performances indicate that Blondin was near enough to Kibworth to have given his performance, most likely between his performances at Whitwick and Leicester. There is no record of a Mr Staines as the landlord of the Royal Oak Public House, however on 28th May 1867 the licence for the Royal Oak was granted to a Mr John Stain. Blondin was in England during 1869 and gave a performance at the Crystal Palace in November that year.
So examining the evidence, if indeed he did visit Kibworth Beauchamp, it could have been in 1861 whilst in England giving performances at Whitwick and Leicester or during John Stain’s tenure as landlord of the Royal Oak when he was in England in 1869.
Myth or Fact-will we ever know for sure, but it makes for a good story.
NB. Blondin gave his last performance in Belfast in 1886.
Kibworth to Smeeton A Stroll Down Memory Lane by Philip J Porter
Smeeton House, 3 Main Street, Smeeton Westerby is a Grade ll listed building, first listed in 1989.
Smeeton House (front aspect)
Smeeton House was originally two small cottages built in 1734. Around 1800/05 the cottages were converted into one with the addition of a three-storey front extension.
The house is built of brick since rendered with plaster. It has a slate roof, a gabled chimney and a moulded cornice. There is a central four panel door with a glazed overlight. On each side of the door are single canted bay windows.
Smeeton House is now partially obscured by trees.
Following the extension to the house it became a school ‘The Smeeton House Academy’ and was one of the three schools in Smeeton Westerby during this period with the pupils attendance funded by their parents.
The following is an advertisement for the Smeeton House Academy:
By 1841 Smeeton House Academy was a successful boarding school run by James Buzzard. Studying at the Academy were 29 male pupils aged between 10 and 15 years.
In an advertisement for the school some years later Mr Buzzard said:
In September 1850 Mr Buzzard informed parents of his intention to move the school from Smeeton House to Peatling Hall, Peatling Parva, in September the following year. By this time there were 48 pupils at the school.
The Smeeton House Academy was closed until 22nd January 1852 when a Mrs Hacket ran the school until late 1856 when, once again, the school closed.
Miss Caroline Gimson, who had been running a school at West Langton, moved her school to Smeeton House where she reopened Smeeton House Academy on 19 January 1857. It is likely that the school finally closed in 1875.
The house is now a private dwelling.
Kibworth to Smeeton ‘A stroll down memory lane’ by Philip J Porter
British History Online
Approaching Kibworth Harcourt from Market Harborough along the A6 Harborough Road there is a lay-by on the left-hand side of the road nearly opposite Kibworth cemetery.
Before this lay-by was built the road had a sharp double bend designed to assist the horse drawn coaches navigate the incline as the road approaches the village. The double bend was the scene of frequent accidents.
A stream which flows from the vicinity of Carlton Curlieu to join the Langton Brook south of Kibworth Beauchamp passes under the Harborough Road and the lay-by at a point known as Rector’s Plantation. The land alongside, now Rectory Lane, was once a field that was part of the Kibworth Rector and parochial parish’s land.
On the 21st April 1834 at about midnight an accident occurred at Rector’s Plantation when an Express Coach travelling from Nottingham to London overturned at the sharp bends. Unfortunately, one of the passengers, Mr Michael Ingo aged 73 from Nottingham was fatally injured. His tombstone can be seen on the wall along the north side of St. Wilfrid’s churchyard (see below).
Kibworth Through Time by Stephen Butt
British History on line
THE KIBWORTH CONGRGATIONAL CHAPEL
Congregational Chapel on Leicester Road, Kibworth Harcourt
The Kibworth Congregational Chapel is located on the A6 Leicester Road, Kibworth Harcourt near the Wistow Road junction. The Chapel is a Grade II listed building, first listed in December 1966.
The two storey Chapel was built with red brick with a Welsh slate roof. The central entrance door to the west of the Chapel is dated 1759. The Chapel was extended to the east in 1811 to include a vestibule, a vestry, and a schoolroom. In 1815 a gallery was constructed in the Chapel. An organ was donated in 1930 and a few years later the pews were replaced with oak seats. There is a small graveyard to the rear of the chapel along with a building which was once a stable. The Manse is attached at a right angle to the north of the Chapel built in 1794 of red brick and is three storeys tall. Another house of similar style was built to the rear at a later date.
Inside the Chapel premises is a marble tablet dedicated to Phillip Doddridge DD.
Tablet dedicated to memory of Philip Doddridge DD
In 1841 Thomas Gook, the travel pioneer, was passing through Kibworth Harcourt, near to the Chapel, on his way to a Temperance Meeting in Leicester when he had an idea about organising a railway excursion from Leicester to Loughborough, possibly the forerunner of modern tourism. There is a plaque commemorating this on the outside of the Chapel.
THE ORIGINS OF THE CHAPEL
Following the Act of Uniformity of 1662 enacted by the Cavalier Parliament which required reordination of many pastors, gave unconditional consent to The Book of Common Prayer, advocated the taking of the oath of canonical obedience, and renounced the Solemn League and Covenant. Many Pastors, unable to accept these conditions, left the established Church resulting the growth of the dissention movement.
In 1672 after the Civil War and the Restoration a Meeting House situated in the yard at the rear of the Crown Inn Leicester Road, Kibworth Harcourt, was licensed for Presbyterian worship. (See The White House-Early Modern)
In about 1609 John Jennings became the Pastor of the dissenting congregation at the Meeting House until his death in 1701. He was succeeded by his son John Jennings Jnr. who established a dissenting academy at the Meeting House which opened in 1715. When John Jennings Jnr. moved to Hinckley in 1722 the congregation purchased the Meeting House.
From 1723 to 1729 Philip Doddridge, a former pupil of Jennings at the academy, became the minister and principal of the academy at Kibworth. (See Philip Doddridge DD-Early Modern)
The Dissenting Congregation at the Meeting House became Congregationalists and in 1759 the Meeting House was destroyed by a fire. Voluntary subscriptions raised funds for a new building, and the Congregational Chapel was licensed for dissenter’s worship in 1761. The Chapel was in use as a place of worship until the end of the 20th century and is now a private dwelling.
British History on line
The Story of England by Michael Wood
British listed buildings.com
The central cemetery pathway
The Kibworth Cemetery is situated on the A6 Harborough Road, Kibworth Harcourt in Leicestershire.
During 1891 an extension to the graveyard at St Wilfrid’s Church was discussed at Vestry Meetings. It was decided that an extension to the graveyard was not feasible and on 29th February 1892 a meeting of village residents was held in the Village Hall and a Burial Board was formed.
The elected members of this first Burial Board were:
- Rev. Charles Henry Thomas Cruttwell (Chairman, Anglican Minister)
- Rev. Edmund Hipwood, (Congregation Minister)
- Mr. William Henry Ward
- Mr. George Reginald King
- Mr. William Harcourt Lovell Clark
- Rev. John Newman (Methodist Minister)
- Mr. William Horton
- J.S. Dickinson, (secretary)
The first meeting of the Burial Board was held on 8th March 1892 when the secretary was instructed to enquire from the owners of 7 potential sites whether they would be willing to sell from 2 to 4 acres for a Cemetery. The 7 potential sites were reduced to 2, the current site on Harborough Road owned by Merton College, Oxford and allotment land between the Railway and Harborough Road belonging to Mrs. Haymes.
The Board decided that the sites should be subject to survey by A.J. Draper the Diocesan Surveyor to ascertain their suitability for a Cemetery having regard to the nature of the sub-soil and the facilities for drainage.
At the Board’s meeting on 5th May 1892 the meeting agreed to borrow money from the Public Works Loan Commissioner to fund the purchase of the land and the work required.
Following the report from Mr Draper the Board decided to purchase the Merton College site.
At the Board Meeting on 25th June 1892 a draft contract to purchase 4 acres 3 roods and 28 perches of land from Merton College, Oxford was accepted.
This decision was placed before a Vestry Meeting on the 4th July 1892 when some opposition to the draft contract was expressed.
At the Vestry meeting on 11th October 1892 the following was proposed:
‘that there should be only one building erected on the Burial Ground and that such building be a Lychgate on the unconsecrated land’, and ‘that two thirds of the Burial Ground should be consecrated and one third unconsecrated.
At their Burial Board meeting of 1st November 1892. Mr. Coleman, the occupier of the Merton College field, was awarded £26-10s-0d compensation for loss of the field.
A loan of £2,000 was granted and on 3rd January 1893, Charles Edward Hare, a Bank Manager, was appointed as the Burial Board’s Treasurer.
Tenders were issued as follows:
For Levelling & Draining: £202 to £398, was awarded to Edward Mason of Kibworth.
For Making & Fixing wrought iron fencing, entrance gates etc. £175 to £290, awarded to Edward Mason.
For the Lychgate £408 to £675-15s-0d was awarded to Mr Haycock of Great Glen.
Tenders 1 & 3 were withdrawn. Edward Mason submitted revised tenders of £235 for Contract 1 and £413 for Contract 3. These tenders were accepted, leaving Mason Builders responsible for all the construction work.
On 10th May 1893 the purchase of the site from Merton College was completed at a cost of £750.
The first phase of the cemetery was completed in 1893 and consecrated in June of that year. The first burial, Florence May Kimbell aged 4 years, took place in August 1893.
Improvements to the Cemetery have seen access improved and pathways upgraded.
The Kibworth Joint Burial Board is now made up of representatives from both Kibworth Parish Councils and they have regular meetings to discuss burial costs and further improvements.
In 2021, an Epitaph software licence was purchased from Edge IT by Kibworth Harcourt Parish Council for the Joint Burial Board, for all of the burials since 1893 and in future, to be recorded and when completed, the details are due to be made available online.
Natural Burial Area
Kibworth Joint Burial Board has reserved an area for natural burials. This area will not have any headstones and only biodegradable coffins and caskets will be allowed.
The Natural Burial Area
The Lychgate was built between July and October 1894 by Edward Woodford Mason, son of John Mason, one of Kibworth’s most celebrated builders and founder of the family firm. Historic England listed the Lychgate as a Grade II listed buulding in September 2022 ((Ref 1480910) - https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1480910?section=official-list-entry).
The Lychgate (front aspect)
Lychgate (rear aspect)
In February 1895 a wooden bier was presented to the Burial Board by Mr Haymes. This beautifully crafted trolley was pulled by the village Sexton. The bier would collect the coffin from the deceased's house and take it to the cemetery entering through the Lychgate into the burial ground.
Inside the Lychgate showing the bier and inside of the front doors
The Joint Burial Board agreed in 2021 to have the bier renovated and it is due to be cleaned, polished and any repairs made by a specialist from Lubenham in 2022.
After restoration the bier was returned to the Lychgate on 5th October 2022. (additional information by Kevin Feltham).
The Kibworth Chronicle
Kibworth Joint Burial Board and current chairman, Dr Kevin Feltham
Kibworth History Society
THE GREAT KIBWORTH HAILSTORM JULY 2021
At about 5.45 pm on Tuesday 20th July 2021 a freak storm hit Kibworth Beauchamp and Kibworth Harcourt without touching the surrounding area. The storm lasted for about one and a half hours and during that time 5 weeks’ amount of rain fell causing flash flooding in parts of the villages. Hailstones as big as golf balls rained down on the two villages resulting in smashed car windscreens and dents to the roofs and bonnets of vehicles. Conservatory roofs and greenhouse windows were smashed along with other damage to buildings. The hail also played havoc with garden plants and flowers. The Kibworth Community spirit came to the fore as people rallied together to assist those most affected by the storm.
The Local Resilience Forum for the policing area covering Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland is known as LLR Prepared. That evening after 8pm, they contacted both Kibworth Parish Council clerks to check the latest contact details in the Kibworths Emergency Plan, which was some 5 years old, for local halls that had been identified could be used to house residents affected by either flooding or failed electricity. Fortunately, no residents had to be temporarily re-housed. The Kibworths Emergency Plan has since been revised with updated contact details including mobile phone numbers.
The Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service received 17 emergency calls reporting flooding to premises. A similar number of reports to the county council were made over the next few days about drains and gullies needing to be cleared of detritus from the storm.
The fact that the storm only affected the villages of Kibworth Beauchamp and Kibworth Harcourt was quite bizarre. The Kibworth Garden Centre, to the west of Kibworth Beauchamp on Fleckney Road, had hundreds of annual flowers spread out across their site, but the hailstorm missed them completely!
Size of hailstones picked up on Kibworth Golf Course
Flash floods at bottom of The Lea, Kibworth Beauchamp
Whilst hailstorms are not uncommon in summer months this storm was unusual in its ferocity, size of hailstones and duration.
There were several factors which caused this storm: the atmosphere above the two villages was very unstable. This was caused when the air mass above the villages is warmer and/or more humid than the surrounding air thus causing instability. This led to strong updrafts in the clouds which allowed the hailstones to form and get bigger. The instability was also deep and in such an unstable environment that the weather could change suddenly as it did on this occasion.
The aftermath of the storm lasted for some weeks with repairs taking time to complete. The scale of the damage was such that, on the Monday after the storm, one company of insurance assessors sent 3 crews to the two villages to assess insurance claims. Claims have varied greatly depending on the number of dents and other damage plus the type of vehicle.
As an example, the Kibworth Parish Councils van had hundreds of dents
THE GRAND UNION CANAL - LEICESTERSHIRE LINE
The Leicestershire line of the Grand Union Canal meanders from Leicester to Market Harborough passing through the Parish of Smeeton Westerby from a point southwest of the Smeeton Road Bridge (No. 70) to Debdale Wharf.
In 1793 an Act of Parliament was passed enabling the construction of the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Union Canal. This new section of canal was intended to link the Soar Navigation near Leicester to the River Nene in Northamptonshire.
Debdale Wharf Inn
In 1799 James Barnes, an engineer working on the Grand Junction Canal (stretching from Braunston in Northamptonshire to the River Thames at Brentford), was asked to find a route for the to reach the Grand Junction Canal at Braunston in Northamptonshire. In 1802 he produced a proposal, to route the rest of the canal to Norton on the Grand Junction Canal, with a branch to Market Harborough. Another engineer, Thomas Telford, was asked for his opinion and he proposed a change of destination to Norton Junction for the join to the Grand Junction Canal. This route was agreed and in 1805 finance was raised and construction resumed. In 1809 the canal reached Market Harborough when once again construction was suspended.
By this time the Grand Junction Canal from London to Braunston in Northamptonshire had been completed and opened. A route for joining the Grand Junction and Grand Union Canals was discussed and it was decided that a separate company ‘The Grand Union Canal Company’ should be formed. A Bill was put before Parliament to authorise a new canal, known as the Grand Union Canal.
The Act of Parliament received Royal Assent on 24 May 1810. The Act was ‘An Act for making and maintaining a navigable Canal from the Union Canal, in the parish of Gumley, in the county of Leicester, to join the Grand Junction Canal near Buckby, in the county of Northampton.’
The canal link from Braunston to Foxton was completed and opened by 1814. This provided a direct route for the transport of industrial products and coal from the East Midlands to London.
The Grand Union Canal was never a commercial success and so with the development of the railways, trade using canals from the1830’s declined. In the years following, several proposals were made to speed up travel on the canal including the building of the Foxton Locks Inclined Plane.
During the 1950s and 1960s freight transport on the canal system declined rapidly. The Transport Act of 1962 transferred the canals to British Waterways. The 1960s saw the canal leisure industry begin to grow and this was acknowledged with the Transport Act 1968, Part Vll and Schedule 12, Part ll, ‘Cruising Waterways’. This Act required British Waterways to keep the waterways fit for cruising. This included the Leicester Line section of the Grand Union Canal. An example of the growth of the canal leisure industry can be seen at the Debdale Wharf Marina which has been operating at Debdale since 1974.
The Canal and River Trust
The Railway Arms, 6 Station Street, Kibworth Beauchamp
The Railway Arms
© The Bitterman and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence
The Railway Arms Inn, also known as The Railway and the Railway Tavern was built in 1845 shortly before the Midland Railway Company obtained powers to build a line from Wigston to Market Harborough via Kibworth. The Inn’s location at 6 Station Street was close to the Kibworth Railway Station. (see Kibworth Railway Station-Modern)
At the Market Harborough Petty Sessions on 3rd January 1846 the first licence for the Railway Tavern was granted to William Hall, butcher and licensee, of Kibworth Beauchamp. The Police Superintendent was not too happy with Mr. Hall and the Paynes Leicester Advertiser for The Midlands & Adjoining Counties report of the Court proceedings said;
‘During the Court proceedings the Superintendent complained that Hall had allowed gambling and drunkenness to a late hour annoying neighbours. When the Magistrates granted the licence, they cautioned Hall warning that if he continued to allow such practice the licence would not be renewed’.’
Paynes Leicester Advertiser for The Midlands & Adjoining Counties later reported:
‘On 4th November 1848 William Hall held a sale at the Railway Tavern of his furniture, brewing vessels and barrels before leaving the Inn’.
The Railway Inn 1903 - photograph by John Elcock
Behind the Inn was a large yard with stabling for 12 horses, pigsties and a blacksmith's shop. The original buildings were demolished along with an adjoining cottage in 1926 and replaced by the present building. A further extension was added in the 1960s.
The pub is situated within the Kibworth Beauchamp Conservation Area of the Harborough District, however it is not listed.
The Railway Inn was a former Ansell’s House and some years ago the individual rooms were altered to form one large room which consisted of a games area with a pool table and dart board, a central public bar area and a lounge bar area. There was a wall picture of railway themes and scenes of bygone Kibworth. The Inn also had a skittles long alley which doubles as a function room. The skittles alley was removed in 2020 and the area is now incorporated into a large walled beer garden at the rear.
Star Pubs and Bars (the pub business of Heineken) took over ownership of The Railway Inn in the spring of 2019 and closed the pub on 5th January 2020 for a £200,000 refurbishment project. The Inn reopened on the 22nd February 2020. The covid-19 pandemic meant the pub had very limited opening until mid May 2021.
Kibworth and Smeeton Inn and Innkeepers1753 – 1968 by Philip Porter