St Margaret's Church

St Margaret's Church in Leicester

St Margaret's Church in Leicester

Situated on St Margaret’s Way on the busy inner ring road, St Margaret’s church is a large stately building with one of the best perpendicular towers in Leicestershire. Although St Margaret’s is one of the five historic ancient churches of Leicester’s Old town, its position is actually outside of the medieval walls of the city. It is the only Leicester parish church not to have been in the gift of Leicester Abbey and instead it came under the jurisdiction of the Lincoln Bishopric.

The present church is the third church to stand on this site: the first was a Saxon church established in 679 AD; when the Danes invaded in the 9th century jurisdiction passed to Lincoln; finally a major rebuilding programme was undertaken in the 13th century and the tower and clerestory were added in 1444. The oldest work in the church can be seen at the east end of the north aisle where an excavated area is exposed to show the foundations and a well from a much earlier Saxon Church.  In the chancel is the alabaster tomb of Bishop Penny, a former Abbot of Leicester.

In the large churchyard you will find the fine tomb of Lord Rollo, set in an architectural surround. The west end of the church faces Sanvey Gate and the word ‘Sanvey’ is thought to be a corruption of ’Sancta Via’, meaning the Holy Way. The road was given this name as every Whit Monday a solemn procession took place between St Mary de Castro Church and St Margaret’s Church.

 

Reference

Wade-Matthews, M. 1994 The Monuments of Saint Margaret’s Church Leicester, Leicester: Heart of Albion Press