Building » South Wigston – St Mary

South Wigston – St Mary

Countesthorpe Road, South Wigston, Leicestershire LE18

The original modest early twentieth century church was built to cater for the working population of Wigston, an industrial suburb of Leicester. It was one of many Catholic churches in the diocese built by the Leicester builder F. J. Bradford KSG. The character of the building has been much changed by alterations and enlargements carried out in 1980.

A mission was established in Wigston in 1880 in the depot of the Leicestershire Regiment at Glen Parva. In 1883 the Midland Railway decided to locate their engine sheds at Wigston and during the next ten years streets of terraced houses were built to accommodate the  railway workers and the workers in other factories which followed the establishment of the railway works. A site for a Catholic church was purchased in 1901, plans were drawn up in 1904 and the building was opened the following year. According to an account in the Leicester Mercury for 6 July 1905 it was ‘a small and compact brick building   which outside is exceedingly plain and simple…the nave is 65 feet by 25 feet and the chancel 15 feet by 25 feet with an elegant Gothic moulded arch separating the two parts. The roof is pitch-pine with the principals or main vertical supports resting on stone corbels’.  The architect was a Mr Culham of Leicester, the builder F. J. Bradford, also of Leicester. The church was served by the Dominicans at Holy Cross, Leicester until 1937, when the parish was handed over to the Diocese of Nottingham. The presbytery was not erected until 1953, on land bought for the purpose and in the early 1960s the old church was extensively refurbished and a porch erected across the street frontage. In 1980 a large new addition was made on the south side of the old church and the building was re-orientated. The front porch has been altered and extended recently.


The body of the old church of 1905 with its red brick walls, slated roof, wide pointed windows and apsidal sanctuary still survives but is largely hidden behind a brick porch and a large single-storey modern addition on the liturgical south side of the building. The addition has no external presence and is hidden from the street by a blank red brick wall. The interior space is surprisingly large. Once again the body of the old church can be distinguished and the handsome chancel arch still survives, but the old sanctuary has now been partitioned off to form a crèche. The old timber nave roof is hidden by a suspended ceiling which ties the old church to the addition, and the interior has been re-orientated, with the sanctuary in the new part of the building. The walls are plastered and painted, the floor is parquet, the windows are mostly clear glazed and the fittings probably date mainly from the 1960s.

Heritage Details

Architect: Culham; Reynolds & Scott

Original Date: 1904

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed