For centuries this was an estate church to a succession of families; the Burnabys, Clerkes, and then the Henley/Eden family who successively owned the Watford Estate and Manor here.
The family, though, had held the manor here since mediaeval times and it was John Catesby who refashioned the church in the early 15th century. So much has that work been venerated that he might easily recognise his church today despite later enrichments. Not only does his architectural form survive but also the rood screen, pews, the wall paintings and even the iron studded oak door.
The Catesby’s tenure of these estates ceased shortly after Robert Catesby’s death. In 1612 the manor was sold to a prosperous London draper, John Jansen, who may well have been responsible for commissioning the triple decker pulpit and contemporary pews.
Almost a century later in 1703 the Jansen family sold the estate to another London merchant, Joseph Ashley. The Ashley family were to make room for themselves, or at least their memorials, along the chancel walls.
The final changes to the church were brought about by the next owner, Ivor Guest, 2nd Lord Wimbourne who acquired the Estate at the end of the 19th century. He not only commissioned Lutyens to transform the manor house and to build cottages but also to add further to this spot. Lutyens worked on and off at Ashby St Ledger for 30 years, 1908 to 1938.