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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Northamptonshire

by Peter Kessler, 1 January 2020

Daventry Part 1: Churches of Thornby, Cold Ashby & Winwick

Church of St Helen, Thornby, Northamptonshire

The Church of St Helen, Thornby, is set back from the western side of Welford Road and St Helen's Close, with the Thornby Road junction close to the south. A large part of the village still belongs to one family while the church originated in the 1200s, with fourteenth century additions and expansion. It employs squared coursed and regular coursed lias with ashlar dressings and a slate roof to form a nave, north aisle, chancel, vestry, and three-stage west tower.

Church of St Helen, Thornby, Northamptonshire

The substantial north aisle was added and the chancel restored by E F Law in 1870. The font is dated to the 1100s, with fragments of ancient carving around it. Its origins seem to be unrecorded, but there is no mention of a previous church building on this site so it likely came from elsewhere. In 2000 it was discovered that a major restoration had to be carried out on the church and, within a period of about fifteen years, conditions were right for the interior to be redecorated.

Church of St Denys, Cold Ashby, Northamptonshire

The Church of St Denys (or St Denis in older usage), Cold Ashby, sits inside the v-shape formed by the junction between Church Lane and Thornby Road to its north. This modest stone church is set high above the village centre. Its original structure is twelfth century, with additions up to the fourteenth. Built in regular coursed and square coursed lias with ashlar dressings and a lead roof, it consists of nave, chancel, and three-stage west tower with a two-light west window.

Church of St Denys, Cold Ashby, Northamptonshire

That tower was built no later than the fourteenth century, and probably towards the end of that period as with a large number of other English churches. The porch is seventeenth century and the vestry, north door, and organ gallery are nineteenth century. The building underwent restoration work around 1840. The walls and roof have also been restored so that they show the original stone and timbers. The 1778 Royal Coat of Arms of George III were restored in 1970.

Cold Ashby Monastic Grange, Northamptonshire

Cold Ashby Monastic Grange occupied grounds on the western side of the road on its southwards approach to Main Street from the direction of the A5199 (close to the 'N' of 'north' on the map). More formally known as the monastic grange of Sulby Abbey, both grange and abbey are known to have existed within the area but the precise location seems to have been lost. The abbey was founded in 1155 as a daughter house of the Abbey of St Mary and St Martial in Newsham.

St Michael's Church, Winwick, Northamptonshire

St Michael's Church, Winwick, is at the north-western corner of this hamlet, with the manor house on its north-western flank. It is a thirteenth century cruciform building, with a Perpendicular west tower and a chancel that was removed in 1853 and replaced with a larger, Gothic version by E F Law. Winwick is famous as the home of Sir Thomas Malory, lord of the manor in the late fifteenth century and author of 'Le Morte d'Arthur' which was printed by William Caxton in 1470.

Two photos on this page originally published on Lynne's 'Echoes of the Past' blog and reproduced here with permission, and three kindly contributed by Rex Harris via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group. Additional information from Lynne's 'Echoes of the Past' blog, and by Rex Harris.



Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.