Protestant Nonconformity in North Kilworth

North Kilworth is a village in south Leicestershire, about 20 miles from Leicester.

No illegal religious meetings are recorded in North Kilworth in 1669.[1] Six resident nonconformists were enumerated in 1676.[2]

In 1706 the 80 families in the parish included four of Presbyterians, two of Baptists and one Quaker. There was no meeting house.[3]


The 1829 Return for Religious Meeting Places recorded 80 Independents meeting in a chapel in the village, but only occasionally.[4] After this date, the main non-conformist denomination was Particular Baptists.

Particular Baptists

The first record of Particular Baptists is from the 1851 Religious Census, but the information provided is incomplete. It recorded the presence of a meeting place that was rebuilt in around 1830 and which was not being used exclusively for worship. The seating capacity was recorded as 250, with attendance marked at 60 for one service, held in the evening. However, a letter attached to the census form has been lost, and no other figures were given.[5]

A new chapel was built in 1856, and was known as the Union Chapel.[6] This was then followed by another new chapel, known by the same name, erected in 1896.[7] The name possibly reflects the merging of the two dissenting congregations in the village. Minister Richard Lowe who also served Husbands Bosworth and Walton from 1869 until his death in 1904 aged 76, was described as ‘father to the people in his quiet country villages’.[8]





[1] R.H. Evans, ‘Nonconformists in Leicestershire in 1669’, Trans LAHS, 25 (1949), p. 35

[2] A. Whiteman, The Compton Census of 1676: A Critical Edition (London, 1986), p. 336

[3] J. Broad (ed.), Bishop Wake’s summary of visitation returns from the diocese of Lincoln, 1706-1715. Part 2, Outside Lincolnshire (Huntingdonshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire) (Oxford, 2012), p. 853

[4] 1829 Return for Religious Meeting Places, entry for North Kilworth, QS 95/2/1/17.

[5] 1851 Religious Census of England and Wales, entry for North Kilworth, HO 129/408/26

[6] White, Hist. Gaz. & Dir. Leics. (Sheffield, 1877) p. 562; Kelly’s Dir. (1881) p. 540.

[7] Kelly’s Dir. (1908) p. 113; Kelly’s Dir. (1916) p. 112.

[8] G.T. Rimmington, ‘Baptist membership in rural Leicestershire, 1881-1914’, Baptist Quarterly, 37 (1998), p. 389.

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