St Wilfrid


Kinoulton appears in the Domesday Book as ‘Chineltune’ though there is no mention of a church.

A charter, dating to between the 10th and 11th centuries, describes a grant of land from two Nottinghamshire villages, ‘Hikelinge et . . . Kinildeton,’ to Ramsey Abbey.

In the reign of Henry II, Pagan de Vilers granted in frankalmoigne to the Church of St Peter of York and to Roger, Archbishop of York and his successors to the ‘use and entertainment of the Archbishop the church of St Wilfride of Kineldestone, with a garden and four oxgangs of land appertaining, the toft and 12 acres of land’.

The church of St Wilfrid may have been built by Roger, Archbishop of York some time during the 12th century. It was built on a hill a mile from the present village of Kinoulton and close to the Fosse Way. The church was dedicated to St Wilfrid an English bishop and then saint who lived c.634 – 709 A.D. In 1914 there were 10 churches dedicated to St Wilfrid in Nottingham and 40 in the north of England. 

In 1289 the Archbishop of York in a letter to the Master of Scholars in Nottingham and the Vicar of the Church of Kynewaldstone informed them that the Clerks of the Parish may keep a school.

The Taxation Roll of Pope Nicholas IV in 1291 makes no mention of Kinoulton or St Wilfrid’s.

On 18 April 1326 William de Melton, Archbishop of York, gave or sent order to the bailiffs of Beverly and Southwell to give two strong but not expensive colts, nine three-year old colts and timber to Thomas Whiteheade at Kinoulton. The colts were to plough the church fields and the timber was for repairs to the chancel.

Henry VIII’s Valor Ecclesiasticus valued St Wilfrid at £7 18s 11d yearly. Henry Kynfesmythe was named as vicar.  

17th and 18th century sources describe the church as being ruinous.

Thoroton says of the church, ‘whither the Parishioners do seldom resort,’ which suggests that by 1677 the church was already in decline, or that the church’s location, a mile outside the village, was undesirable to the parishioners. Either way, location was another motivation for abandoning the building.

The 1743 report for Archbishop Herring’s Visitation lists the parish as having 32 families, one of which was Presbyterian. It also included an account of how the then vicar, John Hardy, converted a Quaker man of 60 who had been swayed to Quakerism in his apprenticeship.

At the time of Archbishop Drummond’s visitation in 1764 Richard Hardy, the vicar, noted that there were 39 families in the village, and that ‘one man and his wife call themselves Methodists. A widow and her daughter are Presbyterians’. He also recorded the state of the church:

The church is half a mile from the village, and a chapel has been long since erected near the middle of the place for the convenience of the parishioners who keep it in repair. The chapel has no separate endowment. The parish church is very ancient and was in ruins when I came to the parish first; but I persuaded Mr Noel (who leases the Great Tithes) to repair the chancel, and afterwards brought the inhabitants to allow me a sum of money with which I was enabled to glaze the windows, white-wash the walls and repair the seats and floor. I discovered a most beautiful font whilst I attended the workmen, which was covered almost all over with hair and lime with design probably to preserve it from the depredations of fanatics. The Blessed Virgin, with the Holy Infant on her knee, forms one division in relief, and Our Saviour upon his Cross, another. This was probably a present from one of the 4 Archbishops of York, who resided sometimes at their palace here; no trace of which remains except the moat.

Despite Hardy’s efforts the church could not be saved. St Wilfrid’s had been abandoned by 1780 as being unsuitable for use as a church. At this time the parishioners were conducting worship in barn-like buildings on land that was never consecrated or in a near-by chapel. Sources provide conflicting information about which chapel they worshipped at; some refer to a chapel in Newbold and others to a chapel within the village of Kinoulton. It is likely that there was a small chapel in Kinoulton, described by Thorsby as “wretched” in the 1790s, and then another chapel in the medieval village of Newbold which was to the north-east of Kinoulton.

There was a small chapel annexed to the parish by Walter Grey, the Archbishop of York, during Henry III’s reign, but again, it is not clear to which chapel this refers.