Kirby Muxloe Churches

St Bartholomew's Church, Kirby Muxloe

The following history is an extract from "Church Guide - St Bartholomew's, Kirby Muxloe" by the late Jonathan Wilshere (pub.1969). It is reproduced here by kind permission of the Wilshere family.

St Barts from air

St. Bartholomew's in its Setting (1963)

St Barts in 2006

St. Bartholomew's in 2006

KIRBY, later Kirby Muxloe, founded by the Danes probably in the late ninth or tenth century, appears in Domesday Book (1086) as Carbi, "Caeri's settlement"; it then contained a working population of eight. Although this place-name does not have the same derivation as the common "Kirk-by," denoting a place with a pre-Conquest church, it would be wrong to infer that Kirby may not have had its small place of worship at this time. The advowson of the mother church at Glenfield (Clenefeld), where Domesday Book mentioned a priest, was one of six Leicestershire churches given to the Normandy Abbey of St. Evroult by Hugh de Grantesmesnil in 1081. Kirby is known to have had a church by 1168, but the present restored mid-nineteenth century building, dates from the Early Decorated Period, the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century.

The Lincoln Bishops' Registers disclose (in Latin) in the Rolls of Hugh of Weller that between c. 1209 and 1220 "Matthew de Cantelupe was presented to the living of Glenfield by the abbot of St. Evroult" and that "he has Braunston Chapel which has a resident chaplain, also Kirby where he should officiate three days in the week." Glenfield, with its two chapelries, remained under the Bishops of Lincoln until Leicester Archdeaconry was transferred to the Diocese of Peterborough in 1839. A further transfer took place with the creation of Leicester Diocese in 1927, and within the next ten years both chapelries became separate livings.

Kirby, though a chapelry for at least eight centuries, has seen the rites of baptism and burial administered for at least the last 450 years. It is recorded that in 1306 the baptism of Simon Pakeman, son of the Lord of the Manor, of Pakeman's Place (the site of Kirby Castle), took place at Glenfield.

Ralph Petch, in his will (1508), though asking for burial in the chancel of Glenfield church, bequeathed 3s. 4d. "for the maintenance of the Chapel of St. Bartholomew of Kyrby" and also gave one ewe and a pullet to the Sanctuary of that chapel. Three years later Elizabeth Kent, also buried at Glenfield, left 3s. 4d. and "a torche" to Kirby chapel. Another interest­ing early bequest, that of a quarter of malt, was made by Robert Duckett, rector of Glenfield, who died in 1531. Other wills show that burials were taking place both in Kirby Church and churchyard by 1514. Kirby churchwardens are first mentioned in 1510 complaining about Glenfield church­yard fence being out of repair.

THE earliest known reference to the dedication of Kirby Church to St. Bartholomew occurs in the Petch will (1508) mentioned earlier. Other churches within Leicester Diocese similarly dedicated include Foston, Quorndon, Snarestone and Sproxton.

Bartholomew, the name means son of Talmai, was one of the twelve Apostles, but little is known about him. Some theologians identify him with the Nathaniel mentioned in St. John's Gospel. Bartholomew is supposed to have been flayed to death in Armenia. In the western Church, St. Bartholomew's Day is kept on 24th August.