Many thanks to Mr.
S. Sowman of Kirkby Mallory and to the Hinckley Times for use
of material used in compiling the following description.
The estate covered an area of approximately
160 acres and was described in 1921 as having "thriving
areas of Oak woodland, first class hunting and good partridge
Inventory and site
perimeter was mainly made up of woodland with Church Spinney forming
a boundary to the East. against the Barwell Lane, then turning
South for a distance, parallel to Mill Lane. Then, traversing
on in a clockwise direction we come upon Kirkby Wood, a mixed
woodland covering some 30 acres . Further round to the West the
landscape becomes more open with marshland and natural lakes fed
by a brook running from North to South. To the North of the estate
we have more plantations bordering on the Stapleton Lane.
To the North
and South of the Hall, set further back from the buildings, the
ground drops away sharply. Here woodland walks are set around
three large rectangular fishing lakes each approximately 90 x
60 yds, well stocked with Roach. On the East side of the Hall
a central ornamental fountain was surrounded by lawns which in
turn were bordered by rhododendron bushes and a beach grove.
An avenue of lime trees led off to the North stretching some
120 yds to a summer house. The immediate front of the Hall overlooked
an approaching driveway flanked by spacious lawns and flower
beds with overall open view of parkland interspersed with coppice
Photo left taken about 1960 after
surrounding woodland had been cleared
The Lime Tree Walk
to the Summer House
Inside The Mansion. The
main building consisted of an Inner hall, a ballroom
( 34 x 14ft.), plus library ( 34 x 14ft.) the latter
having a secret doorway leading to a lobby and private staircase.
The hall had an internal telephone line linked to the stables.
Also located on the ground floor was a Billiard and Smoking room
( dimensions not given). Moving up to the 1st floor, there were
9 principal bed and dressing rooms av.(20 x 20ft), 6 secondary
bed and dressing rooms av.(17 x 9ft). The 2nd floor accommodated
the servants quarters being 5 Maid servants bedrooms, 5
men servants bedrooms and 5 spacious attic and box rooms.
At the rear of
the building. The ground floor contained the
domestic offices, Servants Hall and Kitchen (21ft x18 ft)
"Plate Room",and "Still
Room", plus 2 Larders, a China Cupboard. 2 "Housemaids
Cupboards" and a "Boot Hole".
Underground, were storage cellars
for wine, beer and minerals plus an Outside Game Larder and Ice
House. The later to be found about a half mile away, see map
Seems strange but apparently it
was the practice at the time for these stately houses to have
their ice storage facilities built quite some distance from the
property. A mile was not unheard of.
The water supply. Drinking
water was supplied by pump from a Well in the grounds. However,
domestic water was obtained from a water course about a half a
mile away, as mentioned above at the far end of the lakes.This
was forced up by an Hydraulic Ram Pump up into tanks at the top
of the house. A high level water tank mounted on a supporting
tower, was also used, this too was supplied by the Ram Pump. This
tower was situated near the Gardeners Cottage (North Lodge) and
stored water for the outbuildings and stables etc.
Hall was equipped with electric lighting supplied from
a 110 volt battery bank, kept charged by a 16 HP. Horsby Oil Engine
driving a D.C. generator set.
The Garden and Outbuildings.
The Hall Map
The above plan shows the position
of the various outbuildings in relation to the Hall
at Kirkby Hall November 1904
The large culinary
garden, shown right on the map, was walled in on two sides and
contained Potting and Tool Sheds plus a small orchard. There
was a small inner garden to the North, walled on all sides. This
contained two glass houses, and a three quarter span greenhouse
with vinery, both heated by a stoke- hole boiler.
important source water for the garden was obtained by means of
a hand pump drawing water from a nearby Well located just outside
the enclosed garden.
The Outbuildings consisted of Stables for 16 horses. Above
the stables, two rooms with fireplaces were provided for the
grooms plus bedroom accommodation. A laundry was available with
washing and drying facilities. The complex also contained a Brew
and Bake house, various store rooms, a Slaughter House and a
Blacksmiths Shop. The Northerly quadrangle
contained 4 cow houses, 6 bull houses, 2 loose boxes, piggeries
together with a 2 bay barn and Granary. Other outbuildings consisted
of a 2 and 3 bay open shed and cart shed respectively. Dog kennels
were also provided ,these consisted of 4 brick and tiled kennels
with integral iron railed runs with an adjoining boiler house.
Many thanks to Mr Tim
Parry for sending in this photograph of the Atherstone Hunt Meet
at Kirkby Hall.
The enthusiastic group of onlookers
would have been mainly estate workers and farmworkers from the
local farms all of which were owned or rented out by the Manor
estate as was all of the property in the village of course.
When attending the village church, the occupants
of the Hall did so by means of a private driveway then lined
with Elm trees, (see photo below) that ran almost parallel to
the pathway used by the villagers, This path was, still is a
continuation of the four mile footpath that runs between the
villages of Earl Shilton and Newbold Verdon . The short section
leading up to the church was later widened, and had a circular
wrought iron seat installed about half way along, possibly courtesy
of Lady Byron. This pathway then became known in the village
as the "Church Walk".
The above watercolour gives some
idea as to how Church Walk may
have looked back then. On the extreme left are the Elm trees,
then the newly planted holly bushes. On the right is the metal
semicircular seat as mentioned above. And then just in view to
one side is the Parsons Gate and path leading to the Rectory.
The gate and the seat I remember
well, back in the nineteen fifties, The seat then was in very
poor condition with sections having rusted away, well beyond
private driveway used by the Hall residents would have had facilities
to enable the horses and coach to turn around in readiness for
the return journey, a manoeuvre not possible for villagers using
the "Church Walk" entrance.This remained a problem
long after the demise of the Hall and its occupants. The inconvenience
was particularly apparent prior to funeral services when the
coffin had to carried the length of the walk. It was not until
the early 1950's that the village Church Council drew up plans
to have a turning circle constructed around the Horse Chestnut
tree at the top of the drive. My father "Jack" Perridge
played a major part in digging it out I remember. There were
no "J.C.B's in those days, it was all pick and wheelbarrow.
The picture left shows the
line of elm trees that once bordered the private driveway, The
picture right shows one of the original gate posts with top hinge
still visible marking the entrance to the church yard.
Mr "Jack" Perridge having just
completed the "cutting and layering" of the Church
Walk hedge, as shown
The above photograph
together with the outline drawing, give an indication as to the
relative position of the buildings .The small white building (right)
in the photograph was originally the engine room for the electrical
day view of part of the remaining outbuildings
Indicates angle of