St Mary's has a nave with a two-bay N aisle without any windows and a S doorway under a porch. The square-ended chancel has a N vestry and organ chamber, and there is a W tower with a broach spire with two tiers of lucarnes. An 11thc. window in the W wall of the nave indicates an early date for the core building. The S doorway dates from the early 13thc., and the N arcade and tower are slightly later. The S porch is dated 1663, and at that date too the S nave wall was rebuilt. The clerestoreys to N and S were presumably added at that time too. At some point, probably in the 15thc., the chancel fell down, and the E nave wall was rebuilt without a chancel. Until the new chancel was built in 1902 on the old foundations, St Mary's was claimed to be the smallest parish church in England. Construction is of stone rubble and ashlar. The church boasts an exceptional font of the 1120s, which is the only feature described here.
Wansford does not appear in Domesday. A charter dated 664 confirms a grant of land there to Peterborough Abbey, but this is generally thought to be a post-Conquest forgery. It was certainly part of the Soke (or jurisdiction) of Peterborough Abbey in the relevant period.
Chapel of Ease to Thornhaugh, St Andrew. Now part of the benefice of Thornhaugh and Wansford.
|ext. diameter of bowl at top||0.78 m|
|h of bowl||0.53 m|
|h overall||1.17 m|
|int. diameter of basin||0.53 m|
F. Bond, Fonts and Font Covers. Oxford 1908, 37, 149, 153, 171, 182 (plate).
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough, Harmondsworth 1968, 361-62.
E. S. Prior and A. Gardner, An Account of Medieval Figure-Sculpture in England. Cambridge 1912, 157.
P. H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: an Annotated List and Bibliography. London, 1968, 68.
Victoria County History: Northamptonshire. II (1906).