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St Nicholas, South Kilworth, Leicestershire

(52°25′51″N, 1°6′47″W)
South Kilworth
SP 604 818
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Leicestershire
now Leicestershire
medieval Lincoln
now Leicester
  • Richard Jewell
  • Jennifer Alexander
  • Ron Baxter
21 Oct 1989 (RJ), 6 March 2022 (RB)

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Feature Sets

South Kilworth is a small village in the Harborough district of south Leicestershire. within a mile of the Northamptonshire border to the S, and 8 miles SW of Market Harborough. The church consists of a nave wth N and S aisles, a S porch a SW tower with a broach spire and a chancel. The earliest fabric is in the late-12thc N arcade. The tower is 15thc and the chancel is 19thc, replacing one of 1799. The S arcade is also 19thc. There was a major restoration in 1868-69 by G F Bodley in which the chancel, N aisle and the medieval S aisle were replaced. The church is of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings. Romanesque features describe her are the N arcade and a late-12thc font.


Robert, Earl of Mellent in Normandy, accompanied William the Conqueror, his near relation, in 1066, and was rewarded for his prowess at Hastings with sixteen lordships in Leicestershire, including the manor of South Kilworth, and by Henry I with the title, Earl of Leicester. One Roger de Kenelyngworth held South Kilworth under the Earl's successors in 1220, and had presented William de Akerville as rector of the church. Both de Akerville and the vicar Le Benevie, who held office at the same time, had been instituted by the famous Hugh the Burgundian, Bishop of Lincoln. prior to his death in 1200. The font, of c.1200, could have been commissioned by them.





The font is of a fine grained whitish limestone (Barnack or Ketton); its leaf ornament has rather a late 19thc. look to it, like Arts and Crafts simplified gothic. As Pevsner suggests it has probably been retooled. Both Pevsner and the 1955 LIst Description date the font to the late 12thc or early 13thc. The arcade is dated to the Late Norman period by Pevsner, presumably on the basis of the moulded capitals. A 1792 print in Nichols shows the church without its aisles (indicating the extent of the restoration required), and the font in a simpler crocketed capital form, suggesting that it was retooled, probably under Bodley's direction.


Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID: 191461

J. Nichols, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, 4 vols, London 1795 – 1810-11, 4, 201-07 and pl.xxix.

  1. Pevsner and E. Williamson, The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, New Haven and London 2003, 383.