Famous associations

 Wormleighton - via the Spencer family - has associations with the families of a number of people, who have assumed important roles in British and World history, which includes the ancestry of America's First President George Washington, one of whose ancestors was married here in St Peter's church in 1596 , when visiting Wormleighton from his home at Sulgrave in the neighbouring County of Northamptonshire and another Washington family member called George, who was in fact the great, great grand uncle of President George Washington, was also christened here in our church. The Spencer name is also associated with the Churchills, whose most famous family members include John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough – the highly successful English general during the War of the Spanish Succession, which lasted some 13 years from 1701 to 1714 and who served 4 different English monarchs. The connection with the Churchill family came about because of the fact that the first Duke of Marlborough had no male heir and the third Earl Spencer's wife and her elder sister Henrietta were made co-heiresses by special dispensation. Her son the fourth Earl of Sunderland died in 1729 without having married and so her second son Charles became the fifth Earl and when Henrietta, who had since become Duchess of Marlborough died without issue, the fifth Earl became also the third Duke of Marlborough. In 1734 the fifth Earl left Althorp and with him went the Sunderland title. His younger brother the Honourable John Spencer the inherited the house and the Spencer title but even greater fortune awaited him however as the favourite grandson of Sarah Jennings Dowager Duchess of Marlborough he was bequeathed all her personal property and this included Hollywell House near St Albans and a fine villa at Wimbledon as well substantial land. It was the Honourable John Spencer who used his wealth to become one of the leading artistic patrons of the era. He built the fabulous Spencer house overlooking Green Park and also commissioned Sir Joshua Reynolds for the family portraits which are now so valued. We will not go further into the history of the Spencer family in the 18thg and 19th centuries as it does not have any significant relevance for Wormleighton. However a 20th Century connection must be mentioned of course which is that owing to the family connections mentioned above Sir Winston Spencer Churchill - Britain's famous 2nd World War leader- was also an illustrious member of the family whose origins are to be found in our small hamlet in Warwickshire. There are also further significant connections of the Spencer family within the USA and indeed a large house was erected in Richmond Virginia modelled in part on the original design of Wormleighton Manor. And then, of course more recently, Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales became perhaps the most famous member of that family. It was even suggested at one stage after her separation from the Prince of Wales that she might come to live in Wormleighton, but she was reportedly not keen on the idea of burying herself in the English countryside, thus Wormleighton did not in the end re-attain some of its former fame by becoming a Royal residence. Currently Princess Diana's brother Charles Earl Spencer is our patron and in December 1998 he and his family attended a service of commemoration for the tablet erected in the church in memory of his sister The Princess Diana.