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Extract from THE GENTLEMANS MAGAZINE, August 1825
Kibworth Rectory - 27July, 1825
The awful event which has recently taken place at Kibworth, Co. Leicester, together with the causes that led to it, having been previously represented, I deem it proper to request your insertion of the following particulars authenticated by my own personal observation.
At 9.0 oclock in the forenoon of Saturday last (Ed. 23rd July, 1825), the ancient and venerable tower and spire of Kibworth Church fell to the ground. Various symptoms of decay, about the lower part of the S.W. angle, had been discovered, and partially remedied, above 2 years ago. The originally defective materials having, since that period, more visibly yielded to the pressure of the superincumbent mass, Mr. Wm. Parsons, of Leicester, was called in about a month ago to inspect the state of the tower, and, under his direction, the masons had made considerable progress in the work of reparation. On Thursday last, however, the fissures and which had appeared in numerous places - were found to have increased in so alarming a degree, that Mr. Parsons was again summoned without loss of time. On his arrival on Friday morning, he ordered that the tower should be propped with inclining beams, till permanent support could be given, by removing all the decayed parts and supplying their place with strong masonry. The carpenters began their operations on Saturday morning, but were almost immediately compelled to desist. Violent disruptions in various places, accompanied by threatening sounds were now incessantly going on, and the site was left to its inevitable fate.
A short time before the final event, I had been informed at the Rectory that Mr. Oldfield, who had just arrived from Leicester, for the purpose of beginning to paint the pews, desired to see me at the Church. Unacquainted as yet with the imminent danger, of which Mr. Oldfield had been equally ignorant, I immediately went to Church, entered at the Chancel door, advanced towards the West end where the mischief was gathering, heard the noises before mentioned, suddenly retired by the same door, proceeded round the East end towards the North gate of the Church yard and there found the different workmen with a few other persons intensely watching the steeple, and, as they told me, every moment expecting its fall. I took my station among them, and in less than a minute after several premonitory crashings, the whole fabric bowed from the summit over the base, paused for a few seconds, and then, as with one collective effort, came down in a thundering cataract of ruins. A thousand years could not efface the impression made upon soul and my senses by the grand, the astounding catastrophe.
Through the immediate and most merciful interposition of Gods providence not a life was lost, not the slightest bodily injury sustained by human being.
Praise be to His Holy Name!
James Beresford, Rector of Kibworth, 1812-1841
The church and spire from the north-east, 1791.
Immediately following the disaster in July, 1825.
|Pinnacle problems in Autumn 2008|
Clock Wise Professional (1997)
When Richard White (of Smeeton Westerby) first asked Steven Lee (Rector 1995 to 2006) in early 1997 if he could create the third clock face on the west side of St. Wilfrid's Church tower, little did he think this would lead to a co-operative venture that culminated in the unveiling of the new clock face in late October.
Richard White set himself the challenge to complete the job that John Hanbury started in 1836 when the other two clock faces were installed after the re-construction of the tower. The Friends of St Wilfrid's offered to underwrite the costs and Richard called upon the help of various others - Alf Herbert, of Market Harborough, who gold leafed the numerals on the clock face; Jim Watts, of Market Harborough, gilded the new clock face; David Illson, of Gumley, produced photographs for scale reproductions of the new hands; John Burbidge, of Kibworth, boxed the new drive mechanism; and Colin Kilbourn, of Lubbenham, loaned and erected the scaffolding.
Richard met with the Diocesan clock expert on 8th April 1997 and the project was agreed. The clock mechanism had to power three sets of hands instead of the original two sets. By October, Richard and his helpers had completed a magnificent project and the three clock faces have worked in unison ever since. Thank you Richard for your expertise, patience and the time to undertake this restoration.
St Wilfrid’s Church Tower News - 2008/9
On Thursday 27th November, 2008, we received the good news that the work to the pinnacles is now complete, and Jamie has arranged to have the upper level of the scaffolding removed on 1st December so that work on the roof repairs can proceed.
CHURCH TOWER - LATEST NEWS 2009
The 170 year old pinnacles on the tower have been mended. Jamie Witcombe did a fantastically quick job, meeting the architect's specifications, and delighting villagers by leaving a cross shape in Christmas lighting on the scaffolding until after Christmas.
There are some minor repairs needed internally now and we still have some funds to raise, but all in all, a job well done. Unfortunately the flag could not be raised on St George's Day (23rd April) because the internal ladder has been declared unsafe.
Last updated on Sunday, 31 October 2010 by Kevin Feltham (Webmaster)
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