St Luke


The Church of St Luke in Kinoulton was built in 1793 by Henry, Earl of Gainsborough, to replace the derelict and largely abandoned church of St Wilfrid.

St Luke’s was consecrated by Dr William Markham, Archbishop of York, on Monday, 15 July 1793 and was described as a ‘mean and depressing red-brick church’ whose ‘ugliness is partly relieved by a luxurious growth of ivy’.

It consisted of nave, quasi-chancel with a small vestry, a west porch and a three-stage 63 foot tower containing 5 bells and a clock. The lower stage of the tower has a western entrance that forms a porch. Over the entrance to the nave is an inscription which reads ‘This Church was built by Henry Earl of Gainsborough A.D. 1793’. This was Henry Noel, 6th Earl of Gainsborough who was the then lord of the manor. He died in either 1796 or 1798 without issue; his death caused the extinction of the peerage until 1841 when the title was returned to his family.

In 1907 there were Royal Arms from the early 19th century (1810-1837) above the entrance to the nave. On the north wall, above the stairs to the ringing chamber was a board bearing a barely legible inscription stating that Elizabeth, Viscountess of Irwin, had given one rood, three perches of land to provide bread and wine for the Sacrament.

The nave has a slated rood and flat panelled ceiling. The middle of the north wall is plastered up internally, the centre of the wall having the Creed, Ten Commandments and Lord’s Prayer painted on it. The east end of the chancel is semi-octagonal, the only window being made of stained glass. Pevsner described the chancel as ‘nicely, domestically panelled’. The pulpit is of mahogany.

On each side of the nave are three round-arched window openings with raised cills, key stones and plain leaded lights. The middle window on the north side of the nave is blind. There are three similar windows in the chancel, one at the east end with more decorative glass, and a blind window on each side. Part way up the tower is a similar west window. There is an impost band to this which continues around the tower and becomes an eaves band to the nave.

In parish registers marriages held up to September 1792 often use “in this chappel” to indicate the marriage was held either at St Wilfrid’s or a near-by chapel. Marriages held after 1794 refer to ‘new church of Kinoulton’, St Luke’s. The first marriage solemnized in the new church was between William Woodward and Elizabeth Taylor on 27 November 1794.

In 1796 the parish had 25 houses, although it is not known how many inhabitants or how many of them worshipped at the church.

John Wright was vicar at Kinoulton from 17 October 1775 until his death on 8 September 1800. He would have overseen the abandonment of St Wilfrid’s, and the consecration of St Luke’s. On the vicarage land was a building that was thought to have been used as a chapel, John Wright gave permission for it to be used as a School House. It was fitted with a new gable end and a chimney at the parishes’ expense.  

John Wright was succeeded by his curate, Thomas Hoe on 20 September 1800. Thomas Hoe styled himself “Vicar of Kinoulton of Peculiar and exempt from Jurisdiction”.

The parish was a Peculiar, which allowed the vicar powers to hold a civil court, punish any offence committed against his church, grant marriage licenses and hold probate for his parishioners. The status of Peculiar may have arisen because the Archbishop of York once possessed a residence in the village, but it is not clear whether the privileges were given through a formal grant. There is some doubt over the accuracy of these claims; 19th century directories indicate that the vicar no longer held these powers or at least did not exercise them. Certainly, the vicar’s ability to hold probate would have been nullified when the probate of wills were transferred from ecclesiastical authority to the new Court of Probate in 1858.

In 1814 the abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte was greeted with much celebration in Kinoulton; the vicar at the time, Thomas Hoe, wrote an account of how on a hot July day they feasted from dawn to dusk, and had bell ringing, dancing, and bands playing on the green before they burnt an effigy of Napoleon. Thomas Hoe was vicar until his death in 1848.

In 1850 the vicarage was re-built on a new site. Reverend William Parsons, Architectural Commissioner to the Diocese of Lincoln, commissioned the Nottingham architect Thomas Chambers Hine to design a vicarage on a five acre plot in the middle of the village. This was one of Hine’s earlier commissions. The vicarage remained in the possession of the parish until the 1950s when the incumbent moved to Hickling after the parishes of Kinoulton and Hickling were combined.

The Rev. Thomas Charlewood was the vicar at St Luke’s from 1848 until his death in 1877. His death is referenced in an 1885 directory which mentions a stained glass window presented to the church by the late vicar. He was succeeded by the Rev. Stewart Byrth.

In 1851 there was a morning and afternoon service, the afternoon service more attended than the morning; the general congregation in the morning was 32 and 115 in the afternoon. There were 31 pupils attending Sunday school.

In 1858 the church was restored and refitted with open seats replacing the original closed pews. This cost £90 and the money was raised by subscription. There is reference to further renovation occurring but sources do not elaborate on what exactly was being done.

By 1864 the church was described as having a handsome gallery at the west end which would hold 200 sitting. This may have been the further renovations that were mentioned in earlier sources.

In 1877 the church was gifted 14 acres of glebe by the Crown. This was held by the vicar, the Rev. Stewart Byrth. In 1919 it was increased to 15 acres of glebe and held by the Rev John Philip Ivens, the vicar at the time. The land still belonged to the church in 1922.

In 1901 the population of Kinoulton was 263, rising to 267 by 1911. At this time the church was able to accommodate 200 worshipers. There were 52 students enrolled at the Church School, and 28 for Sunday school.

In 1949 the vestry was re-built, the foundation reinforced and drains re-laid. Previously that year the vestry had been damaged, probably due to a faulty drain and the foundations had been found to be in need of repair. 

In 1986 the ‘Domesday Reloaded’ project recorded an anecdote that a local historian discovered – a village baker was using gravestones to line his ovens. This was exposed when a customer noticed the loaf of bread had “IN LOVING MEMORY” imprinted on it!