Karen Levell Part 6

The Alms houses

Six Alms houses were built in 1842 by the Marcus of Bute for the poor of the village. Later they were used as a nunnery and as a catholic school with a resident school mistress. They also housed others connected with the estate.

By 1900 they were again occupied by aged farm labourers. In the late 1960s they were taken over by the council.

The Roman Catholic Church

This was built in 1877 and a house was also erected for the priest. In the west window of the church there is some 16th century painted glass showing the crucifixion. It used to be in the chapel of the hall. It was given to the chapel by the first Lord North in 1536 and has his and his wife’s initials on it. This chapel was pulled down in 1801 and the glass was moved to Kroselen Abbey, Oxfordshire. It was returned to Kirtling in 1904.

Other Chapels

Kirtling also had a baptist and a methodist chapel. The baptist was closed and demolished just before the Second World War. The other, a primitive Methodist chapel, was built in 1870 and closed in 1975 and had a seating capacity for eighty people.

The Protestant Church

The earliest documentary evidence shows an established church on the site of the present church by 1251 but, even before the time of the Great Survey (1086), Kirtling was a well-organised estate belonging to Earl Harold Godwinson, who later became King Harold. It is quite probable that an earlier church, other than the present one, existed on the site.

The porch has a very fine Norman doorway with the original iron work being fixed to a later door. Opposite to the door there is an octagonal plain stone font of unknown date. When you look to the west you can see the 14th century roof line clearly against the tower. To the east a long cool interior shows the beauty of a medieval church. On the south arcade the three plain round arches, with octagonal piers and having stone carved shields above them, are Norman, c.1200. The fourth arch is perpendicular.

Next: Part 7