Our District Churches No.14 – Christ Church, Smeeton Westerby

Christ Church, Smeeton Westerby

Smeeton Westerby sits in rural Leicestershire countryside between Kibworth Beauchamp and Saddington. It is 10 miles south east of Leicester and about six miles from the nearest market town at Market Harborough.

Originally Smeeton and Westerby were two separate hamlets but they merged some time ago to form the parish. Very little information on the early history of the village exists, which is unusual. Even less information on the earlier church at Smeeton Westerby can be found but if anyone has any historical information on the village and church I would be grateful for an update.

Floor plan of Christ Church, Smeeton Westerby

In the meantime we will concentrate on the present church itself. Christ Church was built in 1848-1849 by Henry Woodyer (1816-1896) and was based on a design praised by the Ecclesiologist; a plan of the church by Henry can be seen to the left. The church has north and south aisles, nave, chancel, vestry and an octagonal bell turret. The organ is sited at the west end of the church by the west window; the font has an elaborate carved wooden cover nearby. There have also been some modern upgrades including a kitchen area and toilet facilities. The church is usually unlocked so is available to visit. There is parking on the road outside and there is a pub – the King’s Head, nearby for refreshments.

The church has no great monuments or architecture of historical significance but it is a spacious building with a well-proportioned interior.

I have been there on a number of occasions, in particular on Christmas Eve for the 11.30pm service. Once, we stepped out on a very early Christmas morning (12.30am) to walk back to Kibworth with snowflakes dancing in the air; however they did not settle so we were not afforded the dreamy white Christmas.

Stephen (Editor)