St Mary the Virgin

Built to the orders of one man, Anthony Catesby (1500-1554) of the significant Northamptonshire Catholic family whose main seat was at Ashby St Ledger and were later famous for their involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.

About this church

Anthony Catesby himself owned the Manor at Whiston and he built his new church adjacent to his house at the top of the hill.

The most striking element is perhaps the iron and limestone striped tower which can be seen from miles around. This abuts the open airy nave with a roof decorated with both the Catesby Shield and their family symbol, a cat.

The church has it's original font and benches. It is all of the highest quality which suggests a master architect probably London based.

The most surprising thing about the church though is its date. It was built contemporaneously with the English Reformation. Later the estate here came to the Irby family. The Lords Boston, whose tombs, particularly a handsome one by Nollekens, are to be found here alongside that of Thomas Catesby by William Woodman, 1700.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Magnificent memorials
  • National heritage here
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches


All Saints

All Saints has one of the most celebrated of all Saxon towers, dating from about 970, famous for its age as for the decorative stonework patterns of vertical lines and rounded and diamond shapes that rise up the tower.

St Mary Magdalene

The church which lies adjacent to the House but which it antedates by some 400 years, must have been used by the Bishops of Coventry whose seat this was before the advent of the Comptons in the 16th century.

St Mary Magdalene

A fine looking medieval church, built between 1200 and 1340, with a prominent interestingly decorated west tower.

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