It is known mainly for its Race Circuit, Mallory Park, a one-mile (1.6 km) track where car and motorbike races take place. Its church is All Saints and is located near the entrance. Numerous lakes and farms are situated in and around the village and the lakes are popular fishing areas.
There is a yearly firework display at the circuit which is well attended by residents and locals.
Kirkby was named after the Mallory family, most prominently Sir Anketil Malory (1341-1393), a knight and governor of the castle and town of Leicester in the time of Richard II. In 1564, the population consisted of 25 families.
In the 17th century, Sir Thomas Neale inherited Kirkby Manor from Baronet William Neale. In 1696, Thomas's descendant, Sir John Neale, left an interesting rent roll listing the tenants and their rents and referring to Sir John’s mansion house or hall with attached woods worth 3,000 pounds and “a large park, very well wooded, and stocked with deer”.
Ada Byron, daughter of Lord Byron and colleague of Charles Babbage, lived in the now demolished Kirkby Hall during her childhood with her mother, Annabella Milbanke. A tree in the grounds of Mallory Park is reputed to be where Lord Byron wrote some of his most famous work.
According to Nichols, Kirkby was enclosed in 1771, the award listing 780 acres (3.2 km2) and naming Edward Wentworth as Lord of the Manor. The parish was notable for its fine new Hall, rebuilt by the Lord Viscount Wentworth but demolished in 1952.
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