Tuesday, 27 October 2015


Corner House Grade II listed
Well, I must say Kneeton came as a bit of a surprise.  I had never been before but for some strange reason I had a mental image of a tiny place ... just five or six houses at the end of a country lane: I wasn't expecting to find such a lovely place with an old school house, church, beautiful old rectory, farm houses and large residental properties.  There are ten listed buildings in the village (including the cottages above) as well as a number of listed slate grave stones.

Here is another listed structure: a mid 18th century barn ....

Listed barn
Domesday records Kneeton under the name of Cheniueton.  It has been suggested that this derives from the name of the Saxon gentlewoman who owned the area at the time: her name was Chengifu plus the Saxon word for farm which is ton.   Another suggestion for the meaning of the name is "settlement of the servants" ... well, everyone in the village would have worked for her ...they needed to know their place!  

Chengifu was a Christian and built the church next to her house.  By Norman times the patronage of the church had passed to Welbeck Abbey  and the Abbey of Neubo (at Sedgebrook).  After Henry VIII's  Dissolution of the Monasteries it was given to the Molyneux family (also connected to Hawton), then the Earls of Carnarvon, before passing to the Neale family.

St Helen's Church
 The Grade II listed Church of St Helen's sits in the centre of the village.  In the Domesday Book it is listed as a moiety or "half a church".  The present building has elements from the 14th and 15th century but most of it is from the 1879-80 restoration and rebuild by Ewan Christian, who also restored Southwell Minster.  The work was paid for by the 4th Earl of Carnarvon.

Now here is a fascinating man. Born in 1866 his full name was Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert, 4th Earl of Carnarvon, also known as Lord Porchester.  He was a Conservative MP and Member of the Privy Council. His nickname was Twitters on account of his nervous twitches but he was far from being a figure of fun.  He would have been highly regarded here not only for his contributions to the church but also for setting up the village school.  Even today there is a Carnavon Primary School in nearby Bingham named after his family. Unfortunately he was not all good ... he resigned his Government post in protest when Benjamin Disraeli's Reform Bill was giving the vote to the working classes! Even worse than that, according to Wikipedia, his actions caused the Boer War! He believed that the continued existence of independent African states in South Africa posed an ever-present threat of a "general and simultaneous rising of Kaffirdom against white civilization".  He attempted to impose the same system of rule over South Africa that he had set up for Canada.  Unfortunately the South African's had other ideas ... he didn't listen!

Incidently, the Herbert country seat is Highclere Castle, location of the hugely popular Downton Abbey.  

 Henry Howard's son was George Edward Herbert who was the chief financial backer for Howard Carter when Tutankhamun's treasure was found.

St Helen's Church
Inside the church are a number of memorial stones dedicated to the Story family who had connections here and at East Stoke.  John Story was brother in law to Dr Robert Thoroton of Car Colston, who wrote 'The Antiquities of Nottinghamshire' [1677].

Memorial to the Story family
The windows are mainly plain glass with the exception of this one by Heaton, Butler and Bayne .... we came across their work at Whatton ...  and you can see some more in Westminster Abbey!  It is dedicated to the memory of John and Charlotte Neale.
Heaton, Butler & Bayne window
Just inside the door is a Poor Box made from an old hollowed out tree trunk .... it dates back to the 15th century.  Nearby is a "completely plain, large medieval font" [Pevsner Nottinghamshire  1951] He wasn't very impressed by the place when he visited -  "The best thing about the church is the view down to the Trent valley."  I think that is a bit mean but the view is impressive.

View over the Trent valley to Hoveringham
After looking at the four gargoyles on the church tower we went in search of the collection of listed slate grave stones in the churchyard ....

Slate headstone by Wood of Bingham

Slate headstone by Wood of Bingham
As you can see these two are by Wood of Bingham ... a very skilled engraver ... we have met him before too.

We wandered off down the lane past the 18th century farmhouse towards the beautiful Old Vicarage.

The Old Vicarage    Grade II listed
The lane stops here so we went back ...

Street view
.... passed the horses and the farm buildings, passed the site of Kneeton Hall which was demolished in 1781 ....

Street view
 ... passed the old school building and up to the cross roads.  Here the cottages are beautifully decorated with flower baskets on the walls but photographing them was difficult because of the parked cars.  Round the corner was a very old building ...

Street view

Street view

... and a little further still we walked passed the original village well.  It was a typical fairy story well with a tiled roof ... or it WAS until the milkman reversed into it and damaged the side!

Street view
The village noticeboard informed us that the Nottinghamshire Bat Group had found two rare species in the area:  Barbastelle and Nathusius pipistrelle bats. They will be going into hiberation about now so we will have to return next year.

Victorian pillar box

Map of Kneeton: click here.


  1. It's a place of my dream. Thanks for sharing these amazing photos! It's really fabulous in autumn. I like it in this season most. So many yellow leaves and a special outlook of the architectural part.
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  2. i have lived in this village for the first 18 years of my life and my mum still lives here. it is a beautiful place to live and full of lovely people.