|from Post Office Directory for Leicestershire 1876
St Simon & St. Jude's, Earl Shilton, Leicestershire
The Church of SS Simon and Jude was rebuilt and enlarged in 1856, and consists of chancel, nave and aisles, with a tower spire which was restored 1874, and 5 bells. The Register dates from the year 1552. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the rectory of Elmesthorpe, yearly value £200, in the gift of trustees, and held by the Rev. Ferdinand Ernest Tower, M.A., of St. John's College, Cambridge.
History of the Church
It was originally a chapel of ease for Kirkby Mallory Parish Church which has given Earl Shilton a connection with the Byron family . Lady Byron was the estranged wife of the famous poet, the sixth Lord Byron . It was Lady Byron who appointed the Revd. Ferdinand Tower as first Vicar of the living in 1854. He painted the walls of the church with murals of which some remain today and also painted the chancel ceiling , which is worth seeing as fine Victorian art. He rebuilt the Parish Church of Earl Shilton in 1854 and the medieval tower and steeple from the 13th and 14th century still remain attatched to the Victorian Church.
There are four very famous stained glass windows designed by Charles Kempe. It is thought by some that the Revd Ferdinand Tower's son, Walter Tower, (see the notes on Walter Tower below) married into the Kempe family but in actual fact he was a distant relative of Charles Kempe, who eventually became Managing Director of Charles Kempe & Co. Ltd. and hence the reason why the church had Kempe glass. There is a Kempe Society for those interested in Kempe glass.
A famous personality who visited the church to preach was the Revd G.A .Studdert Kennedy better known by his nickname, "Woodbine Willy" an army padre in the First World War so named for he gave Woodbine cigarettes to dying soldiers whilst offering spiritual help to them. He has written several books and poems.
At one time the church would have belonged to the castle in Earl Shilton belonging to Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester. The castle would have been his hunting lodge. Nothing remains now of the castle except the mound where the keep stood and the Hall Field next to the church, the site of the castle. The village of Earl Shilton is so named because of its association with the Earls of Leicester. They retained the manor after the Norman Conquest until the forfeiture of the great Simon de Montfort in 1265. (Battle of Evesham).
from the home page of St. Simon & St. Jude's
With thanks to the Revd Graham Gittings
and Earl Shilton Parish Church