The striking 14th century tower of St. Catherine's Burbage with its magnificent spire is a the most notable feature of the village. Rose Allinson has drawn the illustration as the cover for this edition. A richly shafted chancel arch probably dates back to the late thirteenth century and is the oldest part of the building. Over the succeeding centuries the people of Burbage have seen their church develop as a permanent record of the changing village community.
The nave arcades and the font are some six hundred years old and within the church is an incised slab to Richard Wightman and his two wives dated 1568. The Wightman family was very significant in the Burbage community as David Knight makes clear in his article in this edition and in a later article on the family itself. Another memorial recalling landowners and clerics of the past is that to the Ninth Earl of Kent, Anthony Grey, dated 1643.
Roger Cotes, the Rector's son, who was born in Burbage in 1682, became the first Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge but died at the tender age of 34 in 1716* Isaac Newton is reputed to have said, " Had Cotes lived we might have known something".
Dr. James Duport, another Rector of Burbage, had an interest in zoology and acted as tutor to the first great English zoologist, John Ray.
St. Catherine's was subject to Victorian restoration both early and late. The first work was carried out by Habershon in 1842 and later work was done by Smith in 1879 when a vestry and organ chamber were added to the medieval church.
Author: Hugh Beavin
Written for: Hinckley Historian Magazine