St. Helen’s Church

Sthelens ashby east.JPG

St Helen’s Church is the Anglican parish church of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, in the deanery of North West Leicestershire and the Diocese of Leicester. A previous church on the site was rebuilt beginning in 1474 by William Hastings, while he was converting his neighbouring manor house into a castle. The church was refurbished in about 1670 and again in 1829 to create more space, and a major rebuild in 1878–80 added two outer aisles, making the nave wider than it is long. The sandstone church has a tower at the west end. Other fixtures include ancient stained glass at the east end, some important funereal monuments, and a font, pulpit and carved heads by Thomas Earp. The finger pillory is a rare item, once seen as a humane form of punishment. The church has a long association with the Hastings family, its patrons for four centuries, and became a centre for Puritanism under Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. The church’s architecture has earned it a Grade I listing, denoting a building of “exceptional interest”.

 

A finger pillory

Alabaster tomb to Francis Hastings, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon

 

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