A brief guide to our Church and village...(Rothersthorpe)


Extacted from A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 4.
Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1937.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

The Church

The church of ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL consists of chancel, with north and south chapels,
clerestoried nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower.
The width across nave and aisles is 46 ft. 2 in.
The chapels belong structurally to the aisles and overlap the chancel on each side
for about half its length.
The north chapel is now used as a vestry.

The walling is all of roughly dressed coursed limestone mingled with local ironstone,
and, with the exception of the porch, all the roofs are of low pitch and leaded.
There is a parapet to the north aisle,
(parapet = a low protective wall along the edge of a roof, bridge, or balcony.)
but elsewhere the lead overhangs.
In the church is preserved the head and upper part of the shaft of a 12th-century
wheeled cross, which was found in 1869 in pulling down a barn in the village.

(Assoc. Arch. Soc. Rep. xx, 89.)

The cross proper, which bears the figure of Our Lord, rises from beautifully
carved foliage, with projecting heads at the sides above a horizontal moulded
and sculptured band.

(63 Markham, Stone Crosses of Northants. 103, where it is figured.
See also drawing by Sir Henry Dryden, dated November 3, 1884.,
in Northampton Public Library.
The total height is 2 ft. 9 in. and the width at the top 15 in.
The cross was placed in the church in 1884.)

In the churchyard is the base of a cross consisting of a square socket stone
with chamfered edges, containing a small portion of the shaft.

The Nave

The 12th-century font and the sculptured crosshead,
point to a church of that period on the site,
but no part of the existing fabric can definitely be assigned
to so early a date.
The 12th-century font has a circular bowl ornamented with an
arcade of intersecting round arches and with a cable moulding
round the top.
It formerly stood on a plain circular drum and two steps, but is now on a
small roughly shaped pedestal and base.

(Four. Brit. Arch. Assoc. (1846), 2.
It is so shown in a drawing by Sir Henry Dryden dated June 1838,
in the Northampton Public Library. The bowl is 2 ft. 6 in. diam.
at top, narrowing to about 2 ft. at the bottom, and is 17 in. high.)

The present nave may be considered to represent that of a 13th-century
aisleless church, the quoins at the western angles of which remain.
(Quoin - One of the stones, alternately long and short, that make up the corner
of a building or that form the sides of a window or doorway.
They are often decoratively treated, and emphasised by making them project
from the wall surface)
Internally the walls are plastered, except in the tower and at the west end of the nave.
About 1300, a clerestory was erected (The upper part of the nave walls
in a large church, rising above the aisles and pierced by
large windows).
In the 15th century, other changes were made, the nave roof being
perhaps then lowered to its present pitch.

The lines of the two older roofs are on the east
face of the tower, the lower one being that of the 13th-century nave.)
In 1841 the nave and aisles were re-pewed, but no extensive
reparation was undertaken until 1910-12, when the north aisle and
the east end of the south aisle were rebuilt,
an arch turned across
each aisle to resist the thrust of the chancel arch, and the tower repaired.

(In 1841) Some of the ancient furnishings were unfortunately removed.
The condition of the church in 1835 is thus described: 'The chancel
arch was boarded up and the King's arms placed thereon; part of
the rood-loft screen remained.
The screens of the chantry
chapels divided them from the aisles and were of Perpendicular
character': (Four. Brit. Archael. Assoc. (April 1846), p. 6.)

Before the introduction of the new pews part of the floor was paved with
red glazed figured tiles forming quarters of circles, the designs
on which comprised running deer and fighting cocks:(ibid. 9-10.))
The nave arcades are of three pointed arches of two chamfered orders
springing from pillars composed of attached triple shafts grouped round
a cylindrical core, which fills the spaces between the four sets of
The pillars have moulded capitals with plain bells and the
bases a simple double roll upon a square plinth. The responds are
half-octagonal, and the arches have hood-moulds on both sides.

At the east end of each arcade, high in the wall, in the usual
position near to the chancel arch, the rood-loft doorways remain,
but the lower doorway on the north side is either hidden or removed.
The arches between the aisles and the chapels, as already stated,
are modern, and the former screens have been removed.

(The thrust of the chancel arch is still active, and the nave walls
immediately to the west of it are bolted together with iron rods.)

There is a piscina in each of the chapels,
that in the south with continuous-moulded pointed head and fluted bowl,
and the other with trefoiled head and bowl with orifices placed round
a central boss.
The south chapel has a restored pointed east window of two trefoiled
lights, the splayed jambs of which widen out at the bottom internally

(In the lower widened part the jambs are wave-moulded.).

and in the south wall a single-light pointed window near the east end,

(It has wave-moulded jambs and its sill is 5 ft.6 in. above the plinth.)

and a later elliptical-headed window of four
trefoiled lights.
On each side of the east window is a moulded
bracket, and below the four-light window a wide wall-recess
with moulded ogee arch and crocketed hood-mould.

(It is 7 ft. wide and 4 ft. high.)

The much-restored east window of the north chapel is of two trefoiled
lights with quatrefoil in the head,
but in the north wall is a pointed three-light window with good
original curvilinear tracery.
The 13th-century south doorway, moved outward when the aisle
was built, has a pointed arch of two orders, the inner with a
continuous half-roll edge moulding and the outer with a plain chamfer,
on nookshafts with moulded capitals and bases: the hoodmould is keel-shaped.

The original oak door has been faced with deal,
but retains a good iron ring-handle with circular pierced plate.
The pointed north doorway is of two continuous moulded orders
with hoodmould.
The pointed aisle windows are much restored: that
at the west end of the south aisle consists of a single trefoiled light,
the others of two lights, varying only slightly in detail.
The clerestory windows, three on each side, are small quatrefoiled
circles, but on the south side the easternmost one has been replaced
by a long squareheaded window of four lights with wooden lintel.

(The stone tabling below the eaves is cut away for the wooden lintel.)

The east gable of the old nave roof,
surmounted by a sanctus bell-turret, still stands, though the
roof itself no longer remains.
The restored porch is without buttresses and has a pointed
outer doorway of two chamfered orders, the inner order on half-octagonal
responds with moulded capitals and bases.

(The porch was described as 'in bad repair' in December 1892.)

A disused sun-dial in the plain coped gable
occupies the place of a former niche. In each of the side walls
is a small nondescript opening cut from a single stone.
The plain panelled oak pulpit has a moulded top and base and on
the front panel is incised 'F.S. 1579', within a shield.

In the nave and aisles are sentences of scripture painted on the walls.

(One over each pillar, and over the north and south doorways.),

and the pillars are painted grey with orange-coloured capitals.
In the north aisle is a memorial to seven men of the
parish who fell in the war of 1914-18.

The Chancel

About 1300, aisles were added and the present arcades built,
the aisles being carried eastward so as partly to
cover the chancel, the arch to which was rebuilt.
The walls of the chancel are in the main of the same period, (13th-century)
a portion of a 13th-century string-course, originally external,
being now within the south chapel.
(String - A horizontal projecting
band or moulding on the outside of a building, often corresponding
to a division between two storeys.)
In the 15th century new windows were inserted in the chancel.
Some alterations were made in the chancel in 1932.
The chancel has a chamfered plinth and keel-shaped string at sill
level all round.
The large pointed 15th century east window is of four cinquefoiled
lights with vertical tracery and hood-mould,
and the two-stage
diagonal angle buttresses were no doubt added when the window was inserted.

(The jambs are double chamfered and may belong to a 14th-century window.
The window in the south wall has a casement moulding.)

On the south side is a tall pointed
window of three cinquefoiled lights,
and on the north side,
high in the wall, a square-headed window of three ogee cinquefoiled
lights, with pointed rear arch.
The piscina and double sedilia form a single composition of three
continuous-moulded ogee arches without hoods, the bowl of the piscina
being fluted and the seats on one level.
(sedilia - A group of seats, usually three, situated in the chancel
of a church for the use of the clergy. They are generally built into
the wall, and have elaborate canopies.)
Immediately west of the sedilia is a splayed flat-arched
opening, about 3 ft. wide, forming a squint from the aisle, or chapel,(*)
and in the north wall is a rectangular aumbry, which retains
its original oak door and beautiful iron hinges with snake-head terminations.(**)

((*) The sill is about 2 ft. from the floor; towards the chapel
it is formed by the string of the originally external chancel wall.)

((**)The opening is 1 ft.8(and a half)ins. high by 14 in. wide and is
rebated all round. The hinges are of 'omega' shape.)

At its western end the chancel opens to the north and south
chapels by early-14th-century pointed arches of two chamfered orders,
the inner order on halfoctagonal responds with moulded capitals and
bases; and the wider chancel arch is similar, all the bases having
double rolls.
The chancel has an old open timber roof of plain character,
and turned oak altar rails.
The floor is flagged.

The Tower

The tower has a leaded saddle-back roof,
and the porch is covered with red tiles.
About 1300, the tower was heightened or its upper part reconstructed.
The tower, which is undivided by strings below the bell-chamber,
has pairs of three-stage buttresses at its western angles, and a
wide single-light pointed west window, below which a doorway with
wooden frame is cut through the wall.
The north and south walls are
blank, except for a small pointed louvred opening in the upper part.
There is no vice.
The bell-chamber stage is much restored; the pointed windows
are of two trefoiled lights, with plain pierced spandrels,
and hoodmoulds.
On the north and south sides the tower
terminates with straight parapets, and the coped east and west
gables of the saddle-back roof have each a small pointed window
of two lights.

(The height of the tower from the ground
to the top of the gables is given as 'nearly 60 ft.':
Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc. (1846), 7.)

Internally the tower opens to the nave
by a 13th-century pointed arch of two chamfered orders, the inner
order on half-round responds with moulded capitals and bases.
There is a ring of five bells cast by Gillett and Johnston of
Croydon in 1914.

(They are recastings of a former ring of
four, to which a new treble was added.
Of the old bells one was dated 1630, two 1638, and one 1719:
the inscriptions are given in North, Ch. Bells of Northants. 393)


The silver plate consists of a cup of 1570 and a paten of 1591;
there is also a pewter flagon, and a pewter plate dated 1702.

(Markham, Ch. Plate of Northants. 252.)


The registers before 1812 are as follows:
(i) all entries 1562-1653;
(ii) December 1655-95;

(Inside the cover of vol. ii are baptisms from
July 1702 to February 1702-3.)

(iii) burials February 1678/9-1759;
(iv) baptisms 1706-49;
(v) baptisms 1750-1813;
(vi) marriages 1754-1812;
(vii) burials 1773-1812.

(Markham, op. cit. 104.)

(in ecclesiastical law) the right to recommend a member of the
Anglican clergy for a vacant benefice, or to make such an appointment.
William II, le Roux, advocate of Béthune, gave the church
to the abbey of St. James, outside Northampton, by 1209.

(Dugdale, Mon. vi, 114.)

The abbey presented to the vicarage in 1227, saving a portion to themselves.

(Rot. Hug. de Welles (Cant. and York Soc.), ii, 135, 222.)

St. Andrew's priory had received a grant of
tithes from Michael de Preston,

(Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xvii, fol. 79.)

and when this church was appropriated to
St. James's Abbey in 1277 the pension was reserved and still paid in 1535.

(Rot. Ric. Gravesend (Cant, and York Soc., 131.)
(Valor Eccles, (Rec. Com.), iv, 331.)

The vicar, it was arranged in 1277, was to
have the manse on the south of the church and the house that
'Sarra called the nun' used to dwell in.
The abbey held the advowson and rectory until its surrender in

(fn. 70 Ibid. 319; Rot. Roberti Grosseteste (Cant. and York
Soc.), 162, 219; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), 404; xiv (1), p. 605.)

They were sold by Edward VI to Matthew White
and Edward Bury,

(Cal. Pat. Edw. VI, iii, 151.)

and purchased from them by Francis Samwell,

(fn. 72 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccx, 69.)

of Upton, who presented in 1555,

(Bridges, loc. cit.)

and the rectory and advowson descended with Upton (q.v.) until 1865,

(fn. 74 Feet of F. Northants. Mich. 28-29 Eliz.; ibid. Div. Co.
Mich. 27 Chas. II; ibid. Hil. 7 Anne; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccxlii, 27;
Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.); Clergy Lists.)

after which the advowson was acquired by the
Rev. J. L. S. Hatton.
From 1903 until now it has been in the
possession of P. Phipps, esq.,

(Crockford, Cler. Dir.)

the present patron.
The living is a vicarage.


Parishes: Rothersthorpe Pages 285-288
A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 4. Originally
published by Victoria County History, London, 1937.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Citation: 'Parishes: Rothersthorpe', in A History of the County
of Northampton: Volume 4, ed. L F Salzman (London, 1937),
pp. 285-288. British History Online
[accessed 9 August 2017].

The civil parish has an area of 1,275 acres of land and water.
The soil is mixed, the subsoil Oxford Clay, the chief crops
turnips and barley. The population of 240
must have been stationary since the early 18th
century, when there were about 54 houses,
including two set apart for the poor.

The old-world village stands high among its
poplar trees and with its saddle-back church tower to the south,
and quaint cottages, is the delight of artists.
Behind the manor-house at the entrance to the village is a
circular stone dovecote, probably of 17th-century date, with
leaded roof and octagonal wooden cupola.

The village is divided into two parts, one north
and one south of the Berry, an entrenched space of about 4 acres.
The parish slopes upward from 214 ft. in the north to 300 ft.
in the south-east.
It is traversed by Banbury Lane going
south-west and the Northampton canal in the north.

ROTHERSTHORPE lay in Collingtree Hundred in 1086. Geoffrey Alselin
was overlord of a half hide that had previously belonged with
sac and soc to the English thegn Tochi, son of Outi, and was
appurtenant to the manor of Milton Malzor.
In 1086, Winemar the Fleming held the soc of this half hide of
Geoffrey Alselin.
The major part of the vill, two and a half hides, was held in
demesne by the tenant-in-chief Gunfrid de Chocques (Cioches).

In the 12th century the 'Chokes' fee had been
increased by a quarter hide, and was held by Ascelin, or Anselm,
de Chocques.
From him it descended to the family of Béthune, hereditary
advocates of the church of St. Vedast of Arras;
and in 1209 at the request of William of Arras, advocate of
Béthune, King John granted the manor and all appurtenances
to Simon de Pateshull and his heirs for £10 yearly as 1 knight's fee.
The overlordship continued with the honor of Chokes until 1428,
and it was afterwards held in chief.
In 1252 its tenant owed castle-guard.
All the royal lands in the parish became annexed to the honor
of Grafton in 1542.
Andrew. Gules a saltire or voided vert.
From Simon de Pateshull, the judge, who died in about 1217,
the manor passed to his eldest son Walter, whose son Simon
succeeded him in 1232.
It then descended with their manor of Pattishall
(q.v.) through the family of Fauconberge to that of Strangeways
until 1539, when Sir James Strangeways and Elizabeth his wife
conveyed it to Edward Pureferey and John Yate.
James and Philip Yate had licence in 1541 to alienate it to
Elizabeth Englefield, widow, for life with first remainder to
her son John in fee, then to her son and heir Francis in fee.
On her death in 1543 her younger son John entered into possession.
He died seised in 1567 leaving a young son Francis,
who was created a baronet in 1611,
made several settlements, and died seised in 1631. His son and
heir Sir Francis alienated the manor by a conveyance in 1639 to
Sir William Willmer and others, evidently trustees for Sir William Andrew,
bart., of Little Doddington.

In 1647 it was sequestered for his recusancy; and Peter Stringer
of Rainham, Norfolk, and John Watson of St. Andrew's, Holborn,
stated that they had purchased it of him and begged to compound
for it.
The manor descended, however, in the Andrew or Andrews family until 1723.
It later came into the hands of Peter John Fremeaux, from whom
it had passed by 1773 to James Fremeaux and Margaret his wife;
and in 1798-9 it passed with the marriage of Susanna Fremeaux to
Thomas Reeve Thornton to the Thorntons of Brockhall.
The manor included in 1295 Thorpe Wood in Salcey forest, with
housebote and heybote by view of the foresters and verderers.
In 1359 14 cottars paid 16s. yearly rent for a common oven;
and there were then customs called 'beaupleyt' and 'yeld'.
In 1675 free fishery and free warren, view of frankpledge and
court baron were descending with the manor.
Winemar's successors held of the honor of Huntingdon of the Hastings pourparty.
Walter, son of Winemar the Domesday tenant, and his brother
Michael, with consent of 'A.' his wife, gave two thirds of the
tithe of their demesne in Thorpe and Wootton to St. Andrew's priory, Northampton.
Three-quarters of a hide was given to the Hospital of St. John of Northampton
soon after its foundation in about 1138, the Preston family retaining the mesne lordship.
The Hospital held 10 virgates in 1284, was returned as joint lord
of the vill in 1316, and had a quarter knight's fee in 1376.
In 1535 it paid Sir James Strangeways 34s. annually for land
here and in Tiffield, and had a bailiff for these places.
The £10 fee farm rent from the manor was granted by Henry III
in 1231 to St. Mary de Pratis near Creak, Norfolk, as a
temporary gift, confirmed by Edward I; and that house remained
in possession until it came to an end automatically in 1507,
'because there was no convent in it'.
John de Pateshull in 1349 held £42 13s. 5d. rent and rents of
3 capons and 14 hens of the Abbot of Creak by the service of
30s. yearly and to John Cook 12d., these sums being presumably
the proportion of the £10 chargeable on his tenements.
Henry VII gave the £10 rent to Christ's College, Cambridge,
with the rest of the abbey's property; and the Englefields,
as lords of Rothersthorpe, were still paying it in the late
16th century.

Picture of the Church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rothersthorpe is a small village of medieval
origin, in South Northamptonshire, England, with a population
of 500 in the 2001 Census, reducing to 472 at the 2011 census.
It is 4 miles (6 km) from the town of Northampton.
The Berry ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied
from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century.
They are situated between the junction of North Street and Church
Street and were small defended areas of buildings surrounded partly
or completely by large ditches and earthworks topped by wooden
palisades. They are rare nationally.
The Berry is the site of a ringwork which stood at the centre of
medieval Rothersthorpe.
The site is irregularly shaped with a
wide ditch on the north and west sides.
There are the remains of an inner rampart in the north east corner and southern end.
Features in the west of the interior of the works show the locations of former buildings.
Remains of ridge and furrow farming are on the eastern side.