Kettlethorpe has a strong assocation with Katherine Swynford, mistress and later third wife of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the son of King Edward III. Katherine and John had a brood of children our of wedlock who were given the surname Beaufort. It was through Katherine's grandaughter Margaret Beaufort and her claim to the throne that her son Henry Tudor became Henry VII. Katherine Swynford's first husband, Sir Hugh Swynford, was lord of the manor of Kettlethorpe and Katherine spent the years up to her marriage to John of Gaunt at the hall here.
Although there is a good exhibition in the church regarding the Swynford connection, nothing now remains of the church Katherine would have known. A reused fifteenth century corbel, an angel holding the royal arms of England, is the sole reminder of this illustrious connection with the Plantagenet royal house. Of the rest of the building, which is approached by a fine yew avenue, there is little now that is medieval. The tower of the church is restored Perpendicular, but the remainder of the building is nineteenth century. The nave of yellow brick with an iron north arcade, dates from 1840-5 and the rest of the church was heavilt restored by Herbert Kirk in 1896.
Inside there are some minor eighteenth century tablets and in the sanctuary a tablet with a punning inscription, to John Becke a rector who died in 1597. In the chancel is also the extraordinary black oak pulpit. It is French seventeenth century and was brought to Kettlethorpe in the 1920s by Emily Cracroft-Amcotts the lady of the manor, who bought it in an antique shop in Brittany. When she bought it was covered in whitewash, but it was cleaned off by being immersed in a French river for a week. The panels are carved with scenes of Christ's passion.
Access: The church is kept open during daylight hours. There is ample parking outside the church gate.
If you want to see some more photos of Kettlethorpe have a look at my Flickr set.