Collegiate Church of St Mary de Castro


A Grade I listed building, it has been described as "the jewel of Leicester's churches" and contains much fine work. Founded in 1107, St Mary de Castro stands within the precincts of the Royal Castle of Leicester, from which it gets its name and of which it was once the chapel. Sovereigns of England who came to Leicester stayed at the castle and worshipped in this church. Here too came Simon de Montfort, and Parliament heard mass here before its Leicester meetings. King Henry VI was knighted in St Mary's in 1426 and it is also thought that Geoffrey Chaucer was married here. Perhaps the last reigning monarch to worship in St Mary's was King Richard III, and here his body may have rested briefly after the Battle of Bosworth. In addition to regular worship, the church is also used for private prayer and thoughts. Concerts take place within the church, such as the Christmas Brass Band Concert, in which local schools take part. It is also used by De Montfort University for degree ceremonies. The major Cornerstone grant was to fund major repairs to the church spire. Significant cracking exists and was affecting the structural integrity of the spire.

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