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You are in: Leicester > History > Local History > Kibworth Dig

Michael Wood

Michael Wood

Kibworth Dig

A new BBC television series explores the history of Britain through the eye of Kibworth. Listen to the interview with historian Michael Wood and find out how you can get involved.

Acclaimed TV historian Michael Wood is filming a fascinating six-part history series for BBC Television which will be partly set right here in Kibworth!

'The English Story' will explore the lives of ordinary people against the backdrop of national events in history.

The gardens of willing local residents will be excavated as well as a major dig in the car park of The Coach and Horses pub in Kibworth Harcourt.

A chicken bone

One of Debbie's finds

Gallery: Kibworth Dig

BBC Leicester contributor Debbie Miles-Williams was one of the volunteers who lent a hand at the Kibworth dig on 25 and 26 July.

Debbie works as an Archaeological Illustrator and Outreach Officer for the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester, and is more used to drawing than digging!

Take a look at her photographs of the weekend and take a sneaky glimpse at some of their finds...

Michael Wood

Michael Wood

Listen: Grab Your Spade!

BBC Leicester's Chris Highton spoke to Michael Wood about the research proposals and how you can get involved…

"We're tracing the story of Kibworth all the way through English history, from the Romans and before, right through to the present day."

The weekend of 25-26 July 2009 kicked off a series of archaeological digs in the South-East of Leicestershire.

The filming team asked local people to literally open their gardens by digging a metre deep and wide hole, the progress of which was looked over by Time Team's Carenza Lewis.

Michael has travelled all over the world documenting the history of many exotic countries, but he’s always wanted to tell the story of England from one place.

After filming in Leicestershire a number of years ago, Michael was keen to get back and explore more of the history, "Kibworth is just fantastically well documented.

"In fact I was sitting in the Indian restaurant on the A6 last night in Kibworth and when the manager discovered what I was doing he came over and said, 'This is the most historic village in Leicestershire.'"

"It's a path breaking city, Leicester, with really interesting histories from India and Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Caribbean as well."

Michael Wood, television historian

A Historic Village

In 1270 art of Kibworth Harcourt was bought by Merton College, Oxford University after Simon de Montfort's defeat in the Barons Revolt.

This means there are documents covering nearly 800 years of the village’s history including details of each resident – a great starting point for the research team:

"You've got an incredible sort of searchlight that you can focus on individual families sometimes over three or four hundred years."

The focus of the filming will be in the old parish of Kibworth Harcourt, Kibworth Beauchamp, Smeeton Westerby, but Leicester will be featured too.

"It's a path breaking city, Leicester, with really interesting histories from India and Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Caribbean as well.

"So I think in the films they'll be a relationship between the villages and the city which will bring out those other histories."

Many local names in the history world have been involved in the project so far, including one David Attenborough, whose father was a great founder of Leicester history:

"David was telling me last week, as a 10 year old he’d been out on the hedgerows of Glen and Gumley and Kibworth counting flower species for his dad. We've even got a photograph of it."

Coach and Horses, Kibworth

Coach and Horses, Kibworth

The Coach and Horses

Leicestershire publican Andrew Southerden has already taken up the tarmac of his car park at The Coach and Horses in Kibworth Harcourt in preparation for the dig based there.

Victorian brickwork from cottages formerly on the site has been revealed as well as slate from their roofs. 

As the digging progresses, Andrew has high hopes of going back in time.

It's known that there was a thriving community here in Saxon times, and there's also the possibility of discovering more about how the villages fared at the time of Danish and even Roman occupation.

The Coach and Horses features prominently in Kibworth's history. It's on the main coaching route through the village and at a major junction connecting the neighbouring settlements of Kibworth Harcourt and Kibworth Beauchamp.

In 1834, a 73 year old passenger in a coach passing the pub at about midnight fell off and was killed. His tombstone can be seen today in the nearby churchyard.

Just up the road, Thomas Cook had his dream of worldwide travel for all while waiting for a coach to take him to his home in Market Harborough.

The bar is adorned with old photographs of the pub and its surroundings.  Andrew has now produced a DVD of archive images of the Kibworth area which is being shown on screens inside the pub.

It's a great attraction and talking point for both the regulars and for visitors travelling through this historic area of south Leicestershire.

"I'm hoping you'll get this impression of the fabulous richness of the history at the roots of ordinary people. "

Michael Wood, historian

Find Out More

Michael said, "I'm hoping you'll get this impression of the fabulous richness of the history at the roots of ordinary people.

"The farmers, the traders, the railways navis, the canal engineers, the sort of people who made our history not at the level of kings and queens."

Filming for the new series will take place between July 2009 and May 2010. The final programmes will be shown on BBC4 and BBC2 during the autumn next year.

For details of how the research is developing and how you can get involved  call  local member of the team, BBC Leicester's Stephen Butt on 07982 845112.

last updated: 05/08/2009 at 14:46
created: 22/07/2009

You are in: Leicester > History > Local History > Kibworth Dig



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