All Saints, Harpole, Northamptonshire
- Site Location
- National Grid Reference
- SP 691 610
now: Peterborough from 1539
All Saints 1511
now (or name of monument): All Saints
- Type of building/monument
- Parish church
II General Description
All Saints' has an aisled and clerestoreyed nave with four-bay arcades of c.1300 and a Perpendicular clerestorey. The S doorway, reset under a porch, is 12thc., but the N doorway is 13thc. The chancel is also 12thc., with an original priest's doorway, although Perpendicular windows were added on the south. The chancel arch is 12thc. but remade with a pointed arch c.1300. On the N of the chancel is a chapel of the late 13thc., now housing the organ, and there is a vestry to the E of this. The W tower is 13thc. except for a later parapet. The tower is of rubble; the remainder of ashlar. Romanesque features are the S nave and chancel doorways, the chancel arch, and an elaborately carved font.
III Exterior Features
(i) Nave S doorway
Round headed, two orders.
First order: Plain square jambs with square double-scallop capitals with recessed shields, wedges between scallops and a plain roll necking. The imposts have a tiny hollow chamfer and a tall face decorated with a row of sawtooth between angle rolls at top and bottom of the block. The sawtooth on the W impost has equilateral triangles decorated with drilling; that on the E has right-angled triangles. The inner faces of the imposts have been shaved off. The arch is plain and chamfered.
Second order: En-delit nook-shafts on worn bulbous bases with block capitals decorated with foliage. The W capital is worn and appears to have an angle mask of a small head with long pointed ears. Issuing from the corners of the mouth are two broad flat bands decorated with beading, which curve symmetrically down and out to terminate in large fluted leaves, which occupy most of the two faces of the capital. There is another horizontal band of beaded strapwork just below the mouth. The capital has cable necking and an impost like that of the first order E jamb, with the right-angled sawtooth. The E capital is very irregularly carved and worn. It has a large angle mask, apparently occupying the full height of the capital, with a small straight mouth surrounded by incised lines suggestive of a beard. The nose is triangular, no eyes are discernable, and at the top is a pair of hooked shoots. This head is menaced by two snakes, one to each face of the capital, with writhing bodies decorated with incised transverse grooves. The necking is decorated with beading, and the impost is decorated with equilateral drilled sawtooth, as on the first order W jamb.
|h. of opening||2.10 m|
|w. of opening||1.26 m|
(ii) Chancel S doorway
Round headed. The arch has two plain orders, the inner order chamfered, with a triangular-section label sharply chamfered to the intrados. The jambs, however, have a single order on nook-shafts, positioned at the inner arch order but projecting flush with the outer, so that there is a deep shelf on top of the impost blocks. The nook-shafts are en-delit with low chamfer and necking bases, and the capitals are worn waterleaf with roll neckings and quirked hollow-chamfered imposts.
|h. of opening||1.80 m (ignoring step)|
|w. of opening||0.74 m|
IV Interior Features
a. Chancel arch/Apse arches
(i) Chancel arch
At the W end of the nave, a cylindrical bowl on a modern cylindrical shaft and step. The bowl is lead-lined and carved with a complex and lively design of beasts, foliage and fish scale ornament. The design is centred on a large tree on a small mound at the E of the bowl. Its central trunk and four pairs of more-or-less symmetrical branches are decorated with incised grooves and terminate in fluted, multilobed leaves or daisies. The trunk itself terminates in a large multiple fruit. To either side, and entangled in the stems from the tree is a pair of confronted lions, shown in profile and each eating a branch of the tree. They have long bodies with heavy shoulders and manes, with their tails ending above their backs in tassels. Behind the right-hand lion, towards the NE of the bowl, is another beast shown in profile but with its head turned back to bite its own tail. This has no mane but a row of beading along its spine. Behind the left-hand lion, towards the S of the bowl, is a small thicket of trees with grooved stems and umbrella-like canopies of leaves. Behind this again, to the SW of the bowl, is a Tree of Life with beaded trunk and branches and large fluted leaves. The W part of the bowl is covered with a fish-scale design. Around the rim, and partly covered by the overlapping lead lining, is a running foliage scroll with a fleshy stem, clasps at the nodes and furled leaves.
|h. of bowl + stem||1.01 m|
|h. of bowl||0.44 - 0.46 m|
|ext. diam. at rim||0.75 m|
|int. diam. at rim||0.56 m|
Harpole is a rare example of an estate held by the same man before and after the Conquest. This is Bisceop, who held it freely in the Confessor's time, but from William Peverel in 1086. A priest was recorded at that time. Harpole remained a rectory with the advowson in the hands of the lord of the manor throughout the Middle Ages, although some tithes were granted to St Alban's abbey. Disputes with St Alban's, presumably connected with these tithes, are recorded throughout the 14thc.
Benefice of Kislingbury and Harpole.
Pevsner describes the font decoration as "'a remarkable tangle'. In fact the font and the S nave doorway outer capitals are products of the same lively workshop, perhaps active in the 1140s or '50s. The doorway also has scallop capital similar to those of the chancel arch, which suggest that this is contemporary too, but the waterleaf capitals of the chancel doorway point to a date at least thirty years later.
- G. Baker, The History and Antiquities of the County of Northampton. 2 vols, London, 1822-41
- J. Bridges, The History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire. (Compiled from the manuscript collections of the late learned antiquary J.Bridges, Esq., by the Rev. Peter Whalley). Oxford 1791.
- N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. B. Cherry 1973, 248.
- RCHME Report, uncatalogued.