The Coach and Horses Inn, an 18th century Coaching Inn, situated on the old turnpike road in Kibworth at the junction of Church Road and the A6 Harborough Road. The turnpike Road was built in 1726 and ran from Scotland to London passing through Leicester, Kibworth and Market Harborough. (see The Turnpike Route Through Kibworth Harcourt-Early Modern)
Originally a wooden pump and a horse trough with a mounting stone stood at the front of the Inn. The trough served as a watering place for horses using the turnpike Road and after the railway through Kibworth was completed in the mid 19th century many waggoners carrying coal and other goods from Kibworth Station, stopped to water their horse.
The horse trough is now part of the Victorian Street setting at the Newarke House Museum in Leicester.
The Coach and Horses has always played a central part in village activities no more so than in recent years.
In 2009 a representative of the production Company which made the Michael Wood TV series ‘The Story of England’, Maya Vision International, visited the Coach and Horses Inn looking for a location to use as a headquarters during the Big Dig (see The Story of England-Contemporary). They considered the Coach and Horses Inn, a historic building within the Kibworth Harcourt Conservation Area, was ideally situated on the A6 between Kibworth Beauchamp and Kibworth Harourt. From this time the Inn became a central point for the TV series and the later activities of the Kibworth Improvement Team (see wwwkibworthvillage.co.uk -About KIT).
In 2011 the then licencee of the Inn, Andrew Southerden, was the main organiser of astreet party to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday 29th April.
Following the success of this event and to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll in 2012, Andrew decided to transform the Coach and Horses Inn into a ship, the HMS Coach and Horses.
The ship was designed to support the Jubilee Regatta which was being held on the River Thames and was as also the centrepiece of the Kibworth Jubilee Street Party. (see Jubilee 2012-Contemporary)
The Coach and Horses Inn, currently owned by Star Pubs and Bars, still stands as a distinctive and attractive feature for travellers passing through Kibworth on the A6 road.
Andrew & Beverley Southerden
Unlike any before it, this was not the story of Kings and Queens and Lords and Ladies, but a history of ordinary people as told through collections of old documents and memories. The series was based around the ancient parish of Kibworth in the Gartree hundred, which today comprises three villages: Kibworth Harcourt, Kibworth Beauchamp and Smeeton Westerly.
The project began for the villages on a weekend in July 2009 with the Big Dig, organised by Michael’s production company (MayaVision International) and co-ordinated by Prof Carenza Lewis (a frequent presenter on Channel 4's Time Team), who, with local archaeologists, worked alongside over 150 volunteers to dig 55 one metre square test pits in their gardens and recorded everything they found as they worked their way back through time to the Roman period.
One of the pits, dug in the corner of the car park of The Coach & Horses Inn on the A6, where the team were based throughout the weekend, produced one of the most interesting artefacts – a tiny fragment of bone comb from the DarkAges. Moving between the national and the local narratives, Michael and the production team filmed until October 2010 to set the lives of the ordinary people from the three villages in the context of great events: from the Viking invasions and the Norman Conquest to the Industrial Revolution and the two World Wars.
Fittingly, the series finished in September 2010 with the burial of a time capsule in The Coach & Horses’ car park by Michael Wood and one-time landlord and his wife, Andrew and Beverley Southerden.