The Kirby Muxloe village website

The Kirby Muxloe village website header image 3

Snippets and Snapshots

Schooling – This began in 1810 with some instruction on Reading, Writing and Religion.Parson’s Gallery By 1851 we had more “official ” tuition for 40 pupils or more aged from 4 to 13 given by Mrs. Elizabeth Chesterton, wife of the village blacksmith.
William Butterfield was the architect responsible for the design of the Swiss style school, though it was built by our then Lord of the Manor J.B. Winstanley on the corner of Glenfield Lane.
The Railway Company paid £10 costs towards the improvements of the school as it was attended by the children of the railway servants. By 1877 the school had 50 pupils who were all taught at the cost of 2d a week.
Transport – The Knighton-Desford loop opening on 1st May 1849 created the need for a station.

Kirby Station pre-1916

After the closure of Ratby station that provided a much used link for visitors to the castle, a Station that was sited at Blue Potts (the old Kirby wharf) named Braunstone. Blue Potts at Red Cow corner was a farmhouse and alehouse that took its name from the colour of the chimney pots. Blue Potts Lane ran the length that is now known as Kirby Lane, Station Road and Hedgerow Lane. Station Road. The Leicester – Burton line was complete in 1859 when the station was rebuilt and named Kirby Muxloe Station. The number of passengers continued to rise along with the number of trains. The first class carriages were occupied by professional and business men whilst the guards van, that smelt of fish, was left for the schoolboy season ticket holders. With the introduction of the diesel train in 1958 and economies prompted a much reduced service. Only 200 passengers a week were using Kirby Station in 1964 when it closed followed by demolition the year after. At that time a cheap day return would cost you 2s whilst a second class single was 1s 1d. ( I wonder how exorbitant a first class ticket would be?).

John Forman next to his carIn 1922 a 12 seater bus from the Red Cow was regularly overloaded by revellers who got the quick sobering treatment of pushing the bus up Shoulder of Mutton hill when it became too heavy. With no competition to this service the Parish Council received numerous complaints that the fares were too high. Records show us that in 1950 a single fare would cost you 6d whilst a workman’s return was 6 ½ d.

Medical Services – Two doctors attented Kirby three times a week for the provision of a medical service. Dr Garfitt upon his horseIn the winter this service was provided by a Dr. Wright from Newtown Unthank on a horse or dog drawn sleigh. Our first general practice was in 1870 who practiced from station road. Dr. Corringham was well known for his unhygienic methods of care including the use of rusty scissors and examining patients straight off his horse on a hunt. His favourite cause of death for the over 60’s which was registere on many death certificates was, “senile decay”. 1928 saw him in partnership with one of his sons in Leicester Forest East, the practice at Braunstone Cross Roads continues to serve Kirby Muxloe today.

Policing – The office of constable of a parish is of an ancient and little known origin. What is known is that the duties were variable dependent on the township. It is a certainty that for many centuries this position held the responsibility for law and order maintenance, and included such tasks as presenting the wrongdoers before the magistrates and taking people to the justices, but strangely he was also responsible for paying the expenses of the witnesses. Some duties however were a litle more obscure, for example he would have to be sworn into office and pay for the privelidge, he also paid 3d for a dozen sparrows. The latter refers to a 16th century law for the control of vermin. The Parish officers had the authority to pay fixed sums of money for the heads of animals and eggs of birds. He would pay the High Constable of the watch and he also had to pay Widow Boyer for the ale for the “watchmen”. Whilst it may appear that many costs were attached to this position, the end of the year accounts showed the witnessed collection of taxes to covered his charges at the price of one penny in the pound

Alehouses – Institutions like these date back as far as 1495 AD when sureties had to be provided for good behaviour of the customers and themselves. In 1750 they were prohibited from having a second trade such as a grocer. Opening times were strictly controlled unless the constable deemed it otherwise. The phrase, “time gentleman please” was then more a hopeful request than an order to finish drinks and leave. Ernest Prestnole the first common brewer to default the courts in 1572. Although Alehouse keeping was often only a part time ocupation it was subject to the control of the courts. It was in fact one of the tasks of the constable to give notice to renew their license and failure to do so would require them being brought to justice fo brewing without license. The Royal Oak became licensed in 1810 at which point it was acottage property, PhlipBosworth and George Upton were the longest serving and most well known landlords of the century brewing and serving ale for 20 years.The Royal Oak - 1970 Hunt meetings were periodically held there until 1913. September 8th 1970, saw the dilapidated Royal Oak superseded by The New Spanish Blade, however the name was reverted back in 1981 as the return of the village pub. The Red Cow dates from the mid-sevententh century though it has not always been an Alehouse. For 22 years it housed an inn and a buthers shop with a blacksmiths close by. The Bulls Head at Leicester Fost West was previously named The Halfway House. Licensed from around 1778 it was much used by catle drovers, and 44 years later a new landlord and a new name, “The Bulls Head” gave the Leicester Forest a cow and a bull. The Railway Inn, previously the Whitwick Colliery Arms was then also within the parish of Kirby, and previously mentioned was Blue Potts farm and Alehouse before the building of Blue Pots Station.

Religion – Our frst priest was Mathew de Cantaloupe in 1220 A.D. Glebe Farm was alloted to the clergy and together with profits from the land, his own labour or that of his tenants he would earn his living. Other dues were received from burial fees, otherwise named “soul Scot”; a Scot is a tax that was collected at the open graveside the relatives. Scot was the name givn to a levy or tax, hence the saying “scot free” means to get something for nothing. St Bartholmew is the Patron Saint of our Parish, the namesake of our 14th century churh who was one of the twelve Apostles.

St Bartholomews Church, Kirby Muxloe

The vestry of the church used to be a meeting place for all inhabitants, here is where the affairs of the parishioner’s were self managed. Positions of resposibility were elected at these meetings, the churchwarden, constable and the common keeper amongst them. These positions were given to ordinary people and usually lasted a year, immagine awaiting your turn to be the vilage policeman! One positio to be filled was that of. His main responsibilty was to relieve all want and need within the parish, whilst also ensuring that no poor people born outside the boundary of the village remained within becoming a charge to the parish. With the arrival of non-conformists from neighbouring villages holding open air bible readings, increasing numbers of followers prompted the renting of buildings such as Faith Cottage and Forest Lodge to accommodate inceasing numbers of followers. 1897 witnessed the opening of Kirby Muxloe Free Church to afford the rapid growth of the congregation.

Faith Cottage, Kirby Muxloe


Utilities – Following the arrival of gas in 1897 Sam Smith was paid £4 8s a month in 1922 as the village lamp-lighter. This increased to 27s a week with his 27th lamp to light on the corner of gullet lane. By 1970 we had natural gas some 44 years after mains electricity.

1893 witnessed seven years of planning and arbitration difficulties to overcome sewerage problems which exceeded the borrowing powers of the council. The District Authority reminded property owners that they were fully aware of the drainage circumstances prior to living there. Nearby Glenfield had suffered a typhoid epidemic and the ditches in Kirby were blocked with sewage. Creating not just a stench but more obvious consequences as cows drank from the stagnant and diseased ditches. As the population and number of houses increased so did the amount of underground cesspit’s and cesspools and the number of children admitted to hospital with Scarlet Fever. We eventually entered the twentieth century with mains drainage in 1924. At the personal cost of the owner at just £15 your home was built with mains drainage as an alternative to cess-pool drainage.