A brief History of Kyre
In 918 Kyre was sacked by the Danes, led by Earl Hakon. Domesday in 1085 records a mill, 5 villagers, 4 small holders, 3 slaves. They had 9 ploughs and 3 large farms, but by 1340 Kyre was untaxed as it had less than ten inhabitants. Edward I gave permission to John Wyard in 1275 for a deer park to complement the castle at Kyre. The bridleway to Hanley Childe runs through the centre of the original park. Kyre Pool was created in the park in 1584 to enhance the new house built by Sir Edward Pytts incorporating the castle ruins. The house was extensively altered in the C19 by the Baldwin Childes and joined to the church by a cloister. In the 1930s with the death of Mrs Baldwin Childe the house was sold and its contents stripped. It has had various uses since. The Almshouses were founded in 1675 by Ann Pytts and originally housed 8 agricultural pauper widows.
Changes in boundaries mean that Kyre is now part of Stoke Bliss, Kyre and Bockleton Civil Parish.
The Church of St Mary
The earliest parts of the church are Norman C12. there are traces below the chancel of an earlier apse. In the C14 much of the church was rebuilt in the Decorated style with trussed rafter roofs. The chapel was added then
One Norman window remains. (1) From the churchyard can be seen the remains of a blocked up doorway. (2). The plain circular bowl of the font (3) is also C12 and is placed here so that people can surround it during baptisms. In the C14 the nave was rebuilt and a new west doorway (4) and window (5) were added. The thick oak seats (6) are probably C16 and show marks of the adze. The pulpit (7) is early C20.
One Norman window (8) remains. The chancel was rebuilt in the C14 with new windows of lovely tracery. The glass in the East window (9) is Victorian, featuring St George and the coats of arms of the owners of Kyre. The C14 piscina (10) used for washing sacred vessels and the aumbry (11) to contain the consecrated bread and wine are near two other holes in the walls whose purpose is not known. The chancel arch was widened in 1833 from the narrower Norman arch and a rood screen removed to give a better view of the altar. The altar rails (12) date from about 1750, the Geneva Bible (13) was printed in 1578. The Pytt’s monuments (14) record several family generations. The South African flag commemorates when the house was used as a Red cross hospital during WWII, when it was owned by Lord Clarendon, High Commissioner for South Africa.
This was built in C14 when the arch was cut into the Nave and the decorated witndows inserted. The glass in these windows is Victorian and depicts ‘I am the Way’ the Truth and the Life.’ With the spirit of man being represented by the butterfly and the life by the maze. The painting of a female saint (15) on one jamb of the window is a fine example of C14 work and traces remain of other paintings. The heavy truss beam (16) supports the bell turret built about 1700 when the bells were moved from over the nave to here. The treble bell is inscribed M Corbett CW, Isaac Hadley Fecit 1703. The oak chest (17) was carved from a single log in about 1300.