So where is Warwick Road and why?

26/12/2018

The Warwick Road Play Area in Kibworth is nowhere near Warwick Road. It's much nearer School Road. In fact, no part of what we call the Warwick Road Recreation Ground is near Warwick Road, and what we now call Warwick Road doesn't go to Warwick!

It is best not to refer to the 'original' route of any road. Most of the highways and byways of Britain have moved over the centuries. What we do know about the early route of Warwick Road is that it ran along the edge of two of the great fields of Kibworth Harcourt, and part of it may have been the very ancient track which linked land-locked Midland villages to the east coast.

It probably became known as Warwick Road because of the Kibworth Beauchamp connection with the Earls of Warwick. In the 1200s, William de Beauchamp married Isabel, daughter of the 8th Earl of Warwick. Their son, also William, became the 9th Earl. Generations later, his descendant, the 16th Earl, Richard Neville, known as 'Warwick the Kingmaker' is said to have established the Grammar School ibworth Beauchamp. Neville was the wealthiest and most powerful man in the country during his lifetime.

This is where the recreation ground enters the story.  For many years, part of the land was used by the Grammar School as a sports field. In the far southwest corner, the remnants of the long jump sandpit can still be seen. A main entrance to the fields was later created off Warwick Road which, until the development of Kibworth Pastures, was little more than a field entrance.

The David Wilson Homes development moved the road. The route of the former Warwick Road is the one followed by the Arriva X3 bus today, along the line of Polwell Road and Barnard's Way. The length of today's Warwick Road from the railway bridge to the roundabout at Wistow Road was constructed before the houses in the estate were built, and is, in effect, a bypass.

There is another bypass in the news. That stretch of the present A6 between the Main Street junction opposite Lodge Close, and the second Main Street junction at Raithas, formerly the Rose and Crown. It was built as a bypass in about 1810 to address the danger to residents of stage coaches hurtling through the narrow streets of Kibworth Harcourt. It worked, so well that now another solution is needed for the sake of those who live along its route.

As for Warwick Road, is it time to rename the recreation ground? Perhaps not to forsake the Earls of Warwick entirely, but maybe to drop the word 'road'?