Willoughby Waterleys St Mary

Willoughby x630

Chancel at Willoughby Church

The village of Willoughby Waterleys is approx 8 miles south of Leicester near to the villages of Peatling Magna and Ashby Magna. It lies in the district of Harborough and was originally known as Willoughby Waterless. The village consists of one street running north to south with several farms and some new housing developments mostly consisting of bungalows and large detached housing in a couple of cul-de-sacs.

willoughby 3

The church viewed from the east the church was heavily restored in 1875

There is one pub the General Elliott and there used to be a Methodist Chapel which is now a private home. There are also a number of fine buildings of which the Old Rectory and Old Hall stand out. The Old Rectory stands to the west of the church and occupies land around the church (Google Earth is a wonderful thing!), the church of St Mary’s is approached from the main street via some fine wrought iron gates and red brick walls lead up past the side of the Old Rectory to the north entrance porch of the church.

Willoughby Nave and West Tower

Willoughby Nave and West Tower

The church consists of a west tower, nave, chancel, north aisle and vestry. The last two probably added later than the main fabric of the church. The church has some remains of medieval painting around the north door, most of the plaster has recently been removed from the lower halves of the walls due to damp, but this no way detracts from the building.

Willoughby Font

Willoughby Font

The church itself has some interesting features and a pleasing aspect. Its history was tied in with the Grey family, and at one time the manor of Willoughby passed from the Augerville family to the Astleys who owned the manor at Broughton (hence Broughton Astley), this occurred in the 15th Century.
Access is fine with a gentle path leading up to the front porch and around the small graveyard, there is a new cemetery to the south-east. As stated there is a pub in the village down the main street where refreshments and food can be acquired.
This church is open at certain times as it is a Grant Aided Place of Worship through English Heritage. Link below with opening details.


The church at Willoughby is usually OPEN. More information here.

View Leicestershire & Rutland Churches 01 in a larger map

Address details – St Mary,  Church Lane, Willoughby Waterleys, Leics. LE8 0PP. 

Author: Chris Jones

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  1. I have a number of ancestors who resided and died in Willoughby Waterleys and I am trying to establish what church records exist. Thomas Ford (Forde, Foard)B1581, Ann (nee Paulmer)B1583, married Thomas on 11 May 1607. Eldest Son Thomas B28/5/1607, William D1617 as an infant. I can be contacted at darrenford71@sky.com, any help gratefully received.

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    • Hi Darren, I too have the same ancestors as you and I’m trying to research the same lineage, especially the Ford/Chamberlin side, as I’ve read that it links to the Seymour’s (Jane). I’d be interested in any information you may have found. My email is gail.moore@btinternet.com

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  2. Further ancestors include, all in the Willoughby Waterleys area Thomas Ford B1649, Elizabeth (Nee Chamberlin)B1627; Elizabeth Ford(Forde,Foard)B1655, baptised 1655.

    Any help to find any additional information will be helpful

    Darren Ford

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