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Gallery: Churches of Warwickshire
by Peter Kessler, 18 April 2010
South Warwickshire Part 9: Churches of Coughton
St Peter lies between Coughton Court and
Coughton Fields Lane, immediately east of the village of Coughton.
The church originated with a Saxon building of about the eighth century,
and the base of the font may be a survivor from this period. At the
Dissolution, the advowson passed from Studley Priory to the former
steward of the priory, Sir George Throckmorton. The church was completely
rebuilt in the fifteenth century and into the early sixteenth century.
It was rebuilt in the Early English style, probably
starting with the tower, and is reputed to have been the work of Sir
Robert Throckmorton (died 1518), but it is more likely that he completed
the ongoing work. The church contains monuments to the Throckmortons,
being famous for its Throckmorton table tombs, its brasses and ancient
stained glass. The church is now a Grade I listed building, with a ring
of six bells, all cast in 1686 by Bagleys of Chacombe and rehung in 1991.
St Peter, St Paul & St Elizabeth Catholic
Church is also in Coughton Court, close to the northern side of
Coughton Fields Lane and just metres south of St Peter. The village
lies on the Birmingham-Alcester road, which here follows the line of
the Roman Icknield Way, and Coughton Court lies about 400 metres to the
east. The court was built during the reign of Henry VIII, during which
time St Peter would have been its Catholic church until the English Reformation.
The wait for a replacement Catholic place of
worship lasted until such a thing became legally allowed again,
although in 1676 Coughton was recorded as having '67 Papists'. In
Charles II's time the Roman Catholic community here was served by
Jesuits of the 'Residence of St George', which included Warwickshire
and Worcestershire. The present, private, church was erected about
1853-1855 and consists of a chancel, north chapel, and nave, as well
as a priest's house.
St Nicholas' Church, Alcester, lies between
Church Street and Butler Street, in the centre of the town. The church
was most likely built about 1100, and in 1140 it was given to the newly
founded Alcester Abbey. The Chantry of Our Lady, founded by the Botelers
of Oversley, was added to the present north aisle and sacristy about 1286,
while the Chantry of All Saints, founded by the Beauchamps, was added to
the present south aisle and Lady Chapel in the fourteenth century.
The chantries were closed by Henry VIII, and
during the following century statues and wall paintings disappeared
from the interior of the church. By about 1720, the Puritan neglect
of the church was such that rebuilding became essential and in
1729-1733 the old building was replaced, with only the fourteenth
century tower surviving the work. In 1870 the Gothic chancel replaced
the apse and the huge three-decker pulpit and galleries were also removed.
All photos on this page contributed by Aidan