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William Wigston was born in Leicester in 1467. He became mayor of the town in 1499, and again in 1510. He was the wealthiest person in the time, his tax bill being over 1/3 of that paid by the rest of the town. He had no next of kin, so he bequeathed all his fortune to charity. He founded a Chantry chapel in the Newarke Collegiate Church. The church was demolished in the 19th century, and the house is now part of Newarke Houses Museum. In 1515, he founded an almshouse for 24 people. He died peacefully at his Leicestershire home in 1536.

The Almshouse is still in existence, but the original building was demolished years ago. The Chantry Chapel is also long gone, but the Chantry House where the priest would have lived is still around, forming the central building of Newarke Houses Museum and is well worth a visit.