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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Warwickshire

by Peter Kessler, 18 April 2010

 

 

South Warwickshire Part 9: Churches of Coughton & Alcester

St Peter

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.

St Peter

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

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.

St Peter, St Paul & St Elizabeth Catholic Church

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

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.

St Nicholas Church

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 McRae Thomson.

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