Kilsby Village HISTORY

Iron Age and Roman Times

Excavations for the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT), which is within the Kilsby Parish, revealed both Iron Age and Roman settlements. The pre-Roman Iron Age settlement was probably occupied over a fairly long period.

The Roman farm was probably built here because of its close proximity to Watling Street. This important Roman road forms the eastern boundary of the parish and at one time marked the boundary between Danelaw and Saxon England. Kilsby is mentioned in the Doomsday Book as “Chidesbi” the Danish form of this is probably ”Kildesby” meaning, “the settlement belonging to the eldest son of the Lord.” It is thought that the eldest son of the Barby Lord, set up the village of Kilsby around 900 AD.

English Civil War

Kilsby shot into the national limelight on the 8th August 1642 when we believe Kilsby saw the first blood of the Civil War. Captain Sir John Smith led a troop of 30 or so horsemen early on this wet morning into Kilsby, but the people seem not to have been taken by surprise because the villagers met the troops, some with muskets and others with pitchforks and clubs. The villagers were asked to give up arms. In the skirmish that followed several villagers were killed, in particular who attacked Captain Smith with his pitchfork. During the Civil War there were several incidents within the village due to its buffer zone status between Parliament and Royalist zones.

Kilsby Tunnel

In the nineteenth century, Kilsby was invited by an army of 250 navvies who came to build the Kilsby Tunnel, George Stephenson, son of Robert Stephenson, lived in the village during the construction of this important 2400 yard north to south rail link. The tunnel caused various problems due to flooding and quicksand. It took six months of pumping to get rid of the water. The tunnel took approximately 30,000,000 bricks and was finished in 1838.

Many thanks to Gren Hatton our local Historian