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The Execution of William Catesby


William Catesby was beheaded at the age of 35 in Leicester the day after the Battle of Bosworth. He was the son of Sir William Catesby of Ashby St Ledgers and Philippa Bishopston. Catesby was one of Richard III's closest friends and advisors and had been captured at the Battle of Bosworth or soon after.

Just before his execution Catesby made his last will, leaving its fulfillment entirely to his wife, 'to whom, I have ever been true of my body.' He wished his wife to restore all the land he had wrongfully purchased, and to divide the rest of his property among their children. 'I doubt not, the king will be good and gracious lord to them; for he is called a full gracious prince, and I never offended him by my good and free will, for God I take to my judge I have ever loved him.' And even more remarkable he wrote : 'My lords Stanley, Strange, and all that blood, help and pray for my soul, for ye have not for my body as I trusted in you. Perhaps suggesting he had surrendered to the Stanleys who had promised him protection but broke word and handed him to Henry for execution.

Catesby's lands were confiscated but eventually in 1496 restored to his son George. Catesby was buried in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin and Leodigarius in Ashby-St-Ledgers.


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