Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

St. Margarets Church (Leicester)

[An image showing St. Margarets Church]St. Margarets is one of the five ancient churches in Leicester's historic Old Town. The others are St. Martins Church (now Leicester Cathedral), St. Mary de Castro Church, St. Nicholas Church and All Saints Church.

A large and impressive church, St. Margarets stands in St. Margarets Way (which soon becomes Abbey Lane), just off Burleys Way, part of the citys inner ring road. St. Margarets Way is part of the A6.

The strange thing about St. Margarets is that it is actually outside the town walls of Leicester.

It is believed that this is because when the Danish people started to settle, they lived close to Leicester, but outside the town, so that they could trade with the English without living amongst them. When they converted to Christianity, they needed their own church, and it was built here.

Robert Grosseteste, the great scientist who became Bishop of Lincoln, was formerly a priest at St. Margarets, and the church has a special relationship with Lincoln Cathedral.

On the opposite side of St. Margaret's Way is a street named Sanvey Gate. The "Sanvey" part is a corruption of "Sancta Via", the Holy Way.

On Whit Monday every year, until the late 16th century, a religious procession used to make its way along this street from St. Mary de Castro, including an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This was joined by a similar procession from St. Martins Church (now Leicester Cathedral), with an effigy of St. Martin. They would make their way to St. Margarets church, making the street indeed a Holy Way.

In the churchyard is the 18th century tomb of Andrew Lord Rollo. A Scottish peer, he had become a formidable leader of men, but became ill, and was passing through Leicester on his way to Bristol, whither he had been advised to retire, when he died.

St. Margarets is still used for worship, and is normally open to visitors on Saturdays.

Where is St. Margarets Church?

View a map showing the location of St. Margarets Church.

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