“Understanding yesterday, for the benefit of today and tomorrow”
Chairman, Norman Harrison, welcomed a large number of old and new members to the Annual General Meeting at which the existing officers
anything in the time capsule that will be buried on 12 September. He then took a group photograph for inclusion in the time capsule.
Following this, Pat Thomas spoke about the history of Whittlesea Mere that
lies to the east of Peterborough and was originally the largest area of fen,
covering some 150 square miles. Various attempts at draining the fen were
made over the centuries but it was not finally drained until the end of the 17th
century. As the land has dried out, the level is now much lower.
Ruth Tyers spoke about the history of Kibworth, using 'trackways' as the
ingenious means of connecting the different periods of time. She started
with the ancient paths or trackways that followed the high ground from
from Leicester to Colchester. Then the A6 evolved with the establishment
of Market Harborough, becoming more important when it became a turn-
pike road in 1726. Rail tracks and the railway brought Kibworth into the
19th and 20th centuries.
Both talks were very interesting and left members wanting to learn more
about the subjects.
“Remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder treason and plot”; a rhyme well known to us all: was it “The most horrible treason that ever entered the realm” or was Guy Fawkes the only honest man ever to enter Parliament?
Our speaker, Sally Henshaw, explained current thinking surrounding the plot. Facts are sparse and come mainly from the King’s Book and the so called confession of John Gerrard, one of the conspirators.
The plan was to blow up the House of Lords and to install James I’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth as head of a Catholic State. During the reigns of Elizabeth and James, Catholics were persecuted and had very few rights. A group of plotters: Robert Catesby, Thomas & Robert Wintour, John Gerrard, John & Christopher Wright, Robert Keyes, Thomas Percy, John Grant, Thomas Bates, and the most well known, Guido or Guy Fawkes, embarked on the plot in 1604. Catesby had previously tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade Philip of Spain to invade England in an attempt to gain tolerance of the Catholic faith.
Along with his fellow plotters, Catesby began tunnelling under Parliament. Progress was slow until suddenly, a room above the tunnel and below Parliament, became free. It had been a coal cellar and appeared the ideal place to store the 36 barrels of gunpowder that Catesby and Fawkes had purchased to blow up Parliament.
Catholics were under constant surveillance from spies working for Robert Cecil, Secretary of State, and, with the benefit of hind-
On 5th November 1605, troops searched the room, found the gunpowder and captured Guy Fawkes. After two days of torture, Fawkes eventually named his fellow conspirators, most of who fled from London as they learned of the plot's discovery.
To this day we celebrate the discovery by the burning of a Guy Fawkes effigy on the anniversary of the discovery of the plot.
This month, members enjoyed a light-
We all know about the simple palindrome, where a word such as ‘eve’ reads the same backwards as forwards, but David gave much longer examples where the same applies, ‘Panda had nap’ or ‘A man, a plan, a canal – Panama’. Anagrams are to be found in most crossword puzzles, but who is aware that there is a Society of Anagramists. Lipograms are another form of intellectual challenge where one leaves a letter out of a complete sentence. This was taken to extreme limits when E.V. Wright wrote a novel of 50,000 words without using the letter E. David ended his talk by giving a number of humorous examples of newspaper headlines that had a double meaning.
This talk showed how flexible English is in the way it can be used and for those of the audience who did not know what the longest word is (and only one person did), with 29 letters, it is ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’.
Over twenty members braved the weather to enjoy the annual supper and quiz at the Methodist Church. After an excellent supper came the quiz, which was set by Wayne Coleman. As usual, the quiz was a mixture of general and local knowledge. In the absence of an overall winner, the chairman decided that the prize, a box of chocolates, would be enjoyed by everyone in the hall.
Beryl Tory was our speaker at our February meeting, providing an insight into the history of Kibworth Bowling Club.
The club was started in 1927 by some of the older ex-
The club thrived, and, in 1954, was able to buy the land on which it played, for £300. A ladies’ section was started in 1932 but disbanded 5 years later, to be re-
In 2001 the club moved to its existing site on the edge of the village, into a fine new clubhouse with wonderful facilities and off-
Our speaker this month was Mary Essinger who spoke about being a teenager during the 1940s and 50s. This was a light-
The Saturday night dance at the Palais, Leicester’s favourite dance hall, was much enjoyed in the time before discos, when every dance hall had a live band, boys and girls gathered on opposite sides of the room. Girls were expected to be home by a given hour and parents were often there to ensure that it happened. Mary spoke amusingly and affectionately of that time, since she met her husband there. She also referred to the way that sex was discussed at the time unlike today, when anything goes, rules were strict and most discussion was in the form of innuendo.
Mary read extracts from her book, In My Fashion. A most enjoyable evening.
The Chairman, Norman Harrison, welcomed everyone, in particular visitors, to the meeting, especially a visitor from Devon who had been in the village researching the Goodman family. Several apologies had been received. The Chairman reported that the Annual Skittle Match against the Kibworth Harcourt Conservation Trust had taken place at the 'Railway' Inn. After 3 successful years for the History Society the Conservation Trust had won the competition by 2 rounds to 1 and the cup had been awarded to them.
Members were reminded of the proposed 8 mile walk from Kibworth to Great Bowden which will take place on Whit Saturday 11th June. The original walk had taken place annually at Whitsuntide and both villages were keen to have a reconstruction of the event, but not the fight which ensued after the 1264 walk!
Ruth Tyers would be grateful for any information on the brickyards both in Kibworth and Smeeton and for any knowledge of local houses which may have been constructed from the bricks produced.
Jean Chapman, one of the members, had recently visited her daughter who lives near Rouen in France and had visited the ancestral castle of Robert de Harcourt who fought against Harold in 1066 and was awarded the manor of Harcourt by William the Conqueror. Members were able to look at photographs of the present day castle.
The speaker for the evening was Pat Grundy from the Leicestershire Records Office who gave an interesting presentation on 'Tracing Family History'. Pat had been able to assist Michael Wood on his research and featured in the subsequent production of 'The Story of England'. To begin the research one should talk to members of the family and friends, locate old documents, letters etc., which may be in the house. Make a note of the information using a blank roll of wallpaper and a pencil for the project. Information on births, marriages, deaths and wills is held by the County Records Office in Wigston and available on request.
At our last meeting we were very fortunate to have an interesting, informative talk and slide show given by George Weston about the Kibworth web-
It was particularly poignant to see photographs and read the family history of the many local, brave young men who died in two world wars. All those named on the memorials in Kibworth and Smeeton had been investigated and information compiled, thanks to the hard work of researchers. Everyone thought it was a wonderful and lasting achievement. All over the world, people have logged on to our website and records show that in 2005 there were 550 'hits' increasing through the years to 2010 when there were 8,338. That could be something to do with a certain Mr. Michael Wood of course! The title on the web-
We welcomed back Dr Wendy Freer to speak at our final meeting before the summer break. She gave an entertaining talk about life for servants in a large house during the nineteenth century. Wendy chose to illustrate her talk with examples from Calke Abbey.
Apart from agriculture, domestic service was the largest source of employment, especially for women and girls. While relatively modest townsmen might have one or two servants, Calke had 17 females and 12 males. In charge was the House Steward who was responsible for running the house and, at Calke, also seems to have been the land agent. Unlike all other servants who lived in, the steward had his own house on the estate. The senior female was the Housekeeper. Below these two, there was a pecking order where everyone knew their place down to the most junior maid. While the work was hard and unrelenting and the pay was minimal, domestic servants always ate well and had their uniform provided. Senior servants even took afternoon tea at the same time as the family.
Examination of census returns show that there was a considerable turnover of labour; it also shows that few of the staff were local, some coming from as far as Cumbria and Wales. No doubt this illustrates how individuals continually sought to improve their position by moving from one house to another. Dr Freer referred to many other aspects of domestic work, such as the production of household cleaning agents, the week-
The next meeting will be held on Thursday 1st September at the Methodist Church when, following the AGM, members will talk about items of historical interest that they possess. Members of the public are welcome to attend any of our meetings.