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Ashby St Ledgers

The Domesday Book entry gives the place name as Ascebi (ash tree settlement). 'St Ledgers' is a corruption of the name of St Leodegarius, the patron saint of the church, which stands at the east end of the village beside the manor house. Both buildings are of ancient foundation.

The manor was gifted to Hugh de Grentemaisnil by William the Conqueror and passed to various other occupants until about 1375 when it became the principal residence of the Catesby family, and remained so for nearly 250 years. William Catesby was one of the favourites of Richard III. After the defeat of Richard by Henry Tudor at the battle of Bosworth in 1485, William was beheaded. A Robert Catesby later became one of the leading figures in the Gunpowder Plot, and the half-timbered gatehouse next to the church is reputed to be the meeting place used by the conspirators.

(The above extract from 'The Northamptonshire Village Book', compiled by the Northamptonshire Federation of Women's Institutes, is reproduced by kind permission of the publishers, Countryside Books, Newbury, Berkshire)

(Updated 25 February 2010 - Maurice Kellner)