Stephen Butt

Stephen Butt


This blog is about my interests in history and photography. I have always enjoyed discovering something new about the past, and there is always much to discover.

I am always pleased to chat about the subjects covered in my books and to hear about new historical research projects which I may be able to help you with.

I can also present illustrated talks to local history and heritage societies on a variety of subjects, some quite obscure, and I have my own audio-visual equipment.

If you would like to chat about a book, project, visit or idea, in the first instance, please contact me by email here.


ImagesPosted by Stephen Sat, June 17, 2017 17:10:29
With the heatwave set to continue all next week with temperatures forecast to rise to 28C on Tuesday and Thursday, here's a sultry summer image from Kibworth. The view is from the A6 looking easterly across the West Langton Road towards Tur Langton.

I took this photograph just after dawn, with the mist still lying across the fields. Fortunately, this is not near the section of the A6 which was deemed an Air Quality Management Zone in June 2017, so this is the cool air of the countryside, not the Nitrous Oxide from the thousands of diesel engines trundling through every day.

The Rose and Crown

ImagesPosted by Stephen Thu, February 02, 2017 07:04:28
At the moment, many drivers on the A6 in Kibworth are being delayed by roadworks near to the former Rose and Crown, more recently known as Raithas, and some are no doubt wondering about its past and its future because the building has been empty for some time.

This old coaching inn has a long history. The oldest part is the section facing Main Street, which dates to the late 17th century. In 1815, the route of the turnpike through Kibworth was changed to avoid the dangerous bends along Main Street, effectively making a 'bypass' and the A6 route as we know it today. This made the elevation facing the A6 more important. It was the busiest of the many inns along the route because the bypass diverted business from the inns along Main Street.

Since the closure of Raithas, the building has deteriorated. One hopes that the present owners will soon develop the site and retain at least some of the historic features that remain.

St Michael's Blaston

ImagesPosted by Stephen Tue, January 31, 2017 14:23:12
Just a few miles from Market Harborough is the quiet village of Blaston. The ecclesiastical allegiances of the two modest little chapels in Blaston, separately dedicated to St Giles and St Michael, echo the ancient rivalries of the neighbouring villages of Hallaton and Medbourne.

St Giles has been long associated with Medbourne, and St Michaels with Hallaton. It was not until the twentieth century that they were united to create one ecclesiastical parish. It is said that St Giles was founded by Richard I. John Nichols informs us that this was in recognition of the gallantry of Hugo de Nevill:

By king Richard I, the lordship of Blaston was given to Hugo de Nevill, a valiant knight, who being a servant in court to king Richard the First, was in 1193 with that king in the Holy Land, where he performed the part of a stout soldier; and likewise flew a lion by a shot with an arrow into the breast, then piercing his body with a sword.

St Giles served the greater part of the valley in which Blaston lies. For centuries it was associated with Medbourne but maintained its independence as a free chapel with no obligations other than the payment of a pension of 5s per year which allowed parishioners from Blaston to be buried there. Nichols believed that the chapel's independence arose from being founded on royal demesne.

It was rebuilt between 1710 and 1714 with a round-headed doorway, two-light mullioned windows, and a small bell-cote, and it is this building that is illustrated in Nichols with a nave and small chancel and measuring just 50 feet 6 inches in length.

Both chapels were rebuilt again in 1878 by the Revd. G. C. Fenwicke. The architect was George Edmund Street who also designed the Parish Church of St Peters in Highfields in Leicester.

The chapel of St. Michael is first mentioned in about 1220 as belonging to that part of Hallaton church owned by the Martival family, and was even smaller than St Giles, being only 33 feet 6 inches in length and 17 feet 6 inches in width.

The small chapelry of St Michael comprised the eastern part of the village and a number of fields, and was served for three days of each week from Hallaton. The paddock, to the south of the main street, in which the chapel is situated, was owned by the rectors of Hallaton until it was sold in recent years.

St. Michael's seems to have been kept in very good condition in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Longmate’s engraving in Nichols shows it as a simple post-Reformation building with square-headed windows and gables with parapets; but in 1838 the archdeacon reported that the roof was in disrepair and the east and west ends cracking away from the side walls. In 1842 he described St. Michael's as ‘a most mean building in a dilapidated condition, its timbers rotten, slates loose, and ceiling falling.’

The chapel was allowed to fall into worsening repair. In 1858 it was described as 'dilapidated, dirty and dangerous'. Finally, in 1878, it was rebuilt, and services continued to be held there until about 1922. It was partly demolished in 1967 and is now an evocative ruin in a very peaceful setting.