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Kings Norton

The Church of St John the Baptist, King's Norton

The present church dates from 1757 when it replaced a medieval church about which we know very little except that it was maintained by the convent at Ouston.

The rebuilding of the church in 1757 was paid for by William Fortrey, a local squire who had it designed in a gothic style by the architect John Wing the Younger of Leicester. Fortrey is reputed to have loved the sound of church bells and was a keen bell-ringer and so some believe he wanted to rebuild King's Norton church in order to have somewhere to practise his hobby!

The original 1757 church with the spire still intact. Taken from J. Nichols: The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester.

The original church was topped by a tall spire, similar to that of Stoughton and would have been visible for miles around. Unfortunately, the height of the spire meant it was to be hit by lightning on two occasions. The first strike was in 1843 when repairs cost £191. However, this was followed by a further strike in 1850 when the spire fell into the church, crushing the eighteenth-century font and destroying the organ. It was decided not to replace the spire, leaving the silhouette of the church that we see today.

The London Illustrated News reported the lightning strike on King's Norton church in 1850.

Inside the church has a classical Georgian interior with the original wooden box-pews and three-tier pulpit. The fact that so little has changed in almost two hundred and fifty years means that the church is a very rare example of eighteenth-century Anglicanism.

In the twentieth century the parish was merged with the neighbouring parish of Gaulby and shares a rector.

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