Lost village deserted during Black Death becomes secret tourist hot spot

A hidden village in Leicestershire bears the signs of humans living in the region centuries ago, but has been abandoned since the 17th century.

In Knaptoft, visitors can see the ruins of a church, the shadow of a farm and traces of a hall – all deserted after the countryside felt the impacts of the Black Death.

The traditional tale is the deserted village, its hall and the Church of St Nicholas were finally destroyed by fire by Cromwell’s forces after the Battle of Naseby in 1645, Leicestershire Live reports .

The church was built in the 13th century and is believed to have been destroyed by parliamentary forces.

Open-air services are now held in the ruins on the third Sunday each month in June, July, August and September.

It is known the church was standing and still in good order in 1630 but in ruins by the early 18th century.

This fact, together with evidence unearthed centuries later which included stained glass from windows affected by fire, gives support to the tradition the church was burnt by Cromwell’s men.

But no-one knows for sure.

In addition to the church, the deserted village was home to a manor, a windmill, two fishponds and 20 residents employed in a farming operation at the turn of the 14th century.

More than a century ago, in 1907, this isolated and forgotten village was rediscovered by Arthur Sharman, who stumbled onto the ruins while walking the fields.

He discovered the church remains being pressed into use as a pig-sty.

Mr Sharman taught a Bible Class in a church in the Highfields area of Leicester, so decided to call on those boys who cleared the site and brought it back into use.

Since that time, services are held at the church remains.

There is also a memorial garden in situ, which is used regularly during the summer, weather permitting as the roof is no longer there.

The village can be found if you head south along the Welford Road from Wigston for around 10 miles.

There is a signpost indicating a turn to the right which leads you right to this forgotten village.

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