Thorpe Road, Aldwincle, Kettering, NN14 3EA
A cavernous interior, adorned with birds and beasts
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This handsome square-towered church lies at the edge of the picturesque village of Aldwincle near the river Nene - the pinnacled and carved 15th-century tower dominates the surrounding countryside.
The elegant Medieval interior is almost cavernous in feel with few furnishings, offering a rare chance to see its beautiful limestone arcades and arches up close.
The 17th-century poet John Dryden was born nearby and baptised in the church - his grandfather was the rector.
Look out for strange carved birds, beasts and other creatures on the exterior.
The Chambre chantry chapel of 1489 is also of exceptional quality.
Opening times on the CCT website
Holdenby Road, Holdenby, Northampton, NN6 8DJ
Mansions may move villages, but the church remains
Sir Christopher Hatton, Elizabeth I’s Lord Chancellor, moved the village of Holdenby when he built his mansion; the church now lies remote and isolated beside fields and a pond, beyond the gardens of Holdenby House.
A fine building of local ironstone, it is largely 14th-century but the chancel was rebuilt in 1845 and Sir George Gilbert Scott restored the church in 1867.
Inside, there is much of interest:
an unusual series of seven painted texts, probably Elizabethan;
memorials from the 13th-century onwards, including an incised alabaster slab dedicated to William Holdenby (who died in 1490) and his wife;
an impressive 16th-century screen brought from Holdenby House around 1700.
Main Street, Wakerley, Stamford, LE15 8PA
Some of the finest carved capitals in England
This Medieval church, with its magnificent 14th- and 15th-century tower and spire, stands prominently on a hillside above the Welland Valley.
Inside, it has a spectacular 12th-century chancel arch (look for the zig-zag pattern), which rests on some of the most beautiful carved capitals in England.
The robust font is 13th-century.
Preston Deanery, Northampton, NN7 2DX
1,000 years of animals, both carved and real!
A snake with a protruding tongue, two fan-tailed birds and a strange animal, all Viking in character and 1,000 years old, are carved on each side of the chancel arch in this simple aisleless church.
In the 16th-century the church was partly demolished and converted to secular use - the chancel became a dog kennel and the rugged Norman tower a pigeon house! It was restored in 1620.
Main Street, Blatherwycke, Stamford, PE8 6YW
Dazzling stained glass and a plum pudding at Christmas
With its tower seen standing behind a curtain of trees, above a lake and close to the stables of the vanished mansion, this lovely church dates back to the 12th-century and enjoys a memorable setting.
The church is partly Norman but shows work from most centuries from the 12th onwards and its roofs are tiled with Collyweston slates.
The windows are filled with dazzling stained glass some by J R Clayton and C E Kempe and Co. In addition to monuments to the Stafford and O’Brien families who lived here, there is a 1650 tablet by Nicholas Stone engagingly commemorating the poet Thomas Randolf, who ended a short and dissipated life while visiting Blatherwycke.
There is also one with a bequest of 'a plum pudding on Christmas day’ to six old, poor men in the parish.
Grafton Road, Cranford, Kettering, NN14 4AD
Sumptuous memorials to 300 years of family history
Sumptuous memorials to 300 years of the Robinson family fill the south chapel of Medieval St Andrew’s, which lies next to the Robinson seat of Cranford Hall. There are also memorial brasses to various Fosbrokes, who were here for three earlier centuries.
This Jane Austen type image is, however, only a part of the story: a Norman arcade, additions from every subsequent Medieval century, some Flemish glass and a complete set of furnishings from the incumbency of a 19th-century member of the Robinson family give this church a rich and varied history.
Furtho, Old Stratford, Milton Keynes, MK19 6NR
An ancient road diversion left this Medieval church lonely
When enclosures diverted the London to Northampton road away from Furtho, it became a deserted village with only a farm, a Medieval dovecot, a few lumps in the land and this delightful 900-year-old church remaining.
The chancel is 14th-century but the nave and squat tower were reconstructed early in the 17th-century. The font and its cover also date from this time.
St Bartholomew’s ceased to be a parish church in 1920. Inside it is tranquil and atmospheric.
Upton Lane, Upton, Northampton, NN5 4UX
A curious relic of a deserted Medieval village
This curious box-like Norman church stands between the very busy A45 and the grounds of Upton Hall, now a school.
There are several memorials and hatchments mostly commemorating the Samwell family as well as effigies of Sir Richard Knightley (who died in 1537) and his wife, and a monument to the author of Oceana, James Harrington (who died in 1677).
Mounds and other signs of a deserted nearby Medieval village can be seen around the church.
Marefair, Northampton, NN1 1SR
The most outstanding Norman church in the country.
St Peter’s stands in a pretty grass churchyard in Northampton town centre, beside the buried remains of a Saxon palace. This 900-year-old Norman church is filled with glorious carved treasures.
Inside, great Norman arches of plain and banded stone rise and flow with zig-zag waves. They are supported by beautiful carved capitals, each overflowing with foliage, scrollwork, birds and beasts –- look for the man being swallowed by (or emerging from) a monster.
These carvings were plastered over in the 17th-century and were carefully unpicked with a bone knife in the early 19th-century by local antiquarian Anne Elizabeth Baker, a labour of love lasting 11 years.
Other highlights include a handsome brass lectern and carved wooden pews and monuments – including the bust of William Smith, the father of British geology.
Outside, strange half-human faces glare out from under the eaves, together with cruder, timeworn figures. There are other delights to be found include the 14th-century font, a 12th-century grave slab with astonishingly clear relief carving and some fine Victorian stained glass.
Deene, Corby, NN17 3EJ
Memories of he who lead the 600 in the Charge of the Light Brigade
This 13th-century estate church in Deene Park is the church of the Brudenell family, who bought Deene Park in 1514 and have lived there ever since.
It contains many monuments to Brudenells, including one to James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, who led the Charge of the Light Brigade. In 1868 the widow of James Brudenell commissioned T H Wyatt to rebuild much of the church. There is a splendid tomb of the 7th Earl and his wife in the South Chapel.
The church is a large building constructed using local stone and Collyweston slates, with a tall west tower and broach spire which probably date from the 13th-century or earlier.
Inside, the nave and aisles are austere but the chancel was sumptuously furnished and decorated by G F Bodley in 1890.
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