Conservation Areas in Harborough district - Kibworth Harcourt Conservation Area

Record details

Title Kibworth Harcourt Conservation Area
Description (character statements)

Kibworth Harcourt, though now smaller and less significant than its neighbour Kibworth Beauchamp, was for centuries of greater significance being on the main Leicester Road. The core of Kibworth Harcourt village has remained the same since mediaeval times but the line of the principal route has changed; the present A6 Leicester road having been built to act as a bypass around most of the earlier core of Kibworth Harcourt. The dog leg pattern of roads by the present Main Street and the Nook existed in 1484. Hidden between the present A6 and the Main Street, behind the gardens of frontage properties is a grass motte, now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. This early core has been surrounded on the south, west and east sides by 20th century development.

The Conservation Area embraces the discernible mediaeval core and extends across the present A6 Leicester road into Kibworth Beauchamp civil parish to incorporate the medieval church of St. Wilfrid and the grouping of older buildings opposite and between the church and the A6. The church is shared between the two Kibworths; its white limestone tower of 1832 forms a significant feature in the street scene. The buildings to the north of the church are vernacular dwellings of the late 18th century and early 19th century in a variety of sizes and materials, mainly of red brick but with slate, Swithland slate and pantile roofs.

The groupings on the corners of Church Road and the A6 are significant: to the west is the low Coach and Horses Public House set at an angle to the road junction facing downhill. This with the adjacent houses including the cast iron railings and gate to the Grey House and the separating red brick wall are a significant group. To the east of the Church Road/A6 junction is a large red brick house, No. 39, with Swithland slate roof and two distinct frontages; the east facing the garden with trees and the approach to the village from the A6, the west facing Church Road. This house forms one corner of a large triangle of land included in the Kibworth Harcourt Conservation Area, the western side of which, Church Road extends through a row of varied dwellings to St. Wilfrids Church. The north side is bounded by the A6. The churchyard, garden to No. 39 and an open area of paddock behind form a significant open space. The only other area of land within the Conservation Area on the south side of the A6 includes the large late 19th century mansion of The Gables with its outbuildings and grounds and other later 19th century cottages as well as the entrance to Hall Close formerly flanked by two mature beech trees of which only one remains.

The Conservation Area north of the A6 includes the mediaeval core (now Main Street, Albert Street and the Leicester Road and extends northwards to include the farmlands formerly attached as arable strips to the properties along the east-west line of Albert Street, Main Street and Leicester Road.

The buildings along the north side of this alignment are a mixture of sizes and ages, predominantly in red brick and slate and Swithland slate but with vestiges of the timber framing tradition and some surviving thatch. They include farmhouses and substantial dwellings as well as smaller cottages and terraces. Some of the finer houses are on Leicester Road including Paddocks Farm whose buildings incorporate early 16th century work. The Conservation Area extends along the Leicester Road to the end of the mediaeval core where the vista is stopped by the former Congregational Church and Manse of 1764 and 1794 respectively, two good buildings with hipped and Swithland slate roofs. Along much of the south side of the A6 new development is screened by high brick walls. This includes the brick wall with granite plinth opposite the large houses on the Leicester Road by Paddocks Farm. These brick walls form a visible finite closure edge to the Conservation Area.

A key area of the Conservation Area is where the present Main Street joins Albert Street. The road widens at the junction and is fronted by The Old House, a superb Carolean Grade I Listed house of 1678, looking westwards up Main Street. Its curved iron railings encroach on the space which once formed a market area and where stood a market cross dating from the 15th century or earlier. Two centuries after the cross disappeared its base stones were re-erected close by in 1994 having been found in nearby gardens. The land north of this early market, now containing the cross, is an important grass open space having an 18th century red brick wall fronting the road. The ancient lane to the west runs between red brick walls and with a row of mature horse chestnuts alongside. These trees, as well as those in the plot facing the Old House make a significant contribution to the scene, both immediately from the roads as well as from the important grass open space with motte. This grass area occupies the land within the area bounded by Main Street, The Nook and the Leicester Road and overlooks the rear of houses in Main Street and the smaller terrace cottages of The Nook. Access to it is only by footpath; it is not visible from Leicester Road and only visible through the car park of “The Horseshoes” on Main Street. 

Within the core area are a number of red brick walls, the most impressive being those in Main Street and Albert Street to the Old House. The granite kerbs are retained. A further feature are river pebbles used for foot pavements. The cobbles are partially covered by asphalt, near the Old House but are exposed in the Nook - the mediaeval alleyway leading south off Main Street.

Although historically significant and economically related to the former agricultural activities of the village, the 17th century post windmill and Windmill Farm are excluded from the Conservation Area because they are physically separated from the built up area and historic core of the village.


Map of Conservation Area