The Thistleton area has shown evidence of Romano-British occupation including a large temple precinct and a possible small market settlement. To the north of the village there has been extensive mining for ironstone, a stone that has featured very prominently in the building of many churches and other buildings in the area for centuries. It was thought that the mining had obliterated evidence of the former greater extent of the village but much archaeology has survived showing that the original Romano-British settlement extended some at least. Extensive surveys, brought about by the planning of a haulage road to the quarry to pass through the site of the ancient township, revealed features including a well preserved Roman road and the skeleton of a child buried well away from the cemetery. The archaeology is ongoing as the mining continues.
The village contains several listed buildings including the Old Rectory and the Church of St Nicholas. Many of the village’s buildings are stone walled and thatched. Although the church is of medieval origin only the 14th century, three stage tower, complete with gargoyles, remains. The church has been rebuilt in the late 18th by the Brudenells, and the rector, the Rev Sir J Henry Fludyer, Bart to whose family the elaborate chancel is probably a memorial. The newer building is fourteenth century in style however the shape of the apse is, unusually, half an octagon externally and a semi circular shape inside. Most of the internal fittings, including the font and the organ, are relatively modern.
Close by, to the south of the village, lies the RAF Cottesmore airfield established a few years before WW2. The airfield is now the Army's Kendrew Barracks.