St Andrew, Harlestone, Northamptonshire

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Feature Sets (2)


St Andrew's has an aisled nave with clerestoreys, an aisleless chancel and a W tower. The tower may date from the 12thc., although the present windows are 13thc. work. The bulk of the rest of the building is dateable thanks to the estate book of Henry de Bray, who owned the manor (see Pevsner, Forrest). The chancel was built by Magister Ricardus de Het, the vicar, in 1320, and the remainder of the church in 1325, Henry providing the stone and timber. The only later work is the clerestorey of c.1500 and the geometrical E window by Sir G. G. Scott, who restored the church in 1853. The only earlier work is the font, described below. The church is fascinating above all for its decorative features including the reticulated ogee-headed windows, securely dated as noted above.


In 1086 land in Harlestone was held by William Peverel, son of William I. This is not the only holding, but is clearly the relevant one in view of later events, and in view of the mention of a priest. In 1107 the advowson passed to William's new foundation of Lenton Priory (Notts).

Benefice of Brington with Whilton and Norton and Church Brampton with Chapel Brampton and Harlestone and East Haddon and Holdenby.




At W end of nave, a tub-shaped bowl standing on a modern chamfered impost, which in turn stands on a low barrel-shaped drum with four heads diagonally disposed. This stands on a chamfered plinth. The bowl is entirely plain with an irregular circular inner bowl with lead lining. The four heads are generally worn.

SE head: a youthful bishop (?) with pointed beardless chin, hooked nose, slightly bulbous almond-shaped eyes, and a low mitre with curly hair sticking out around it.

NE head: beardless but fleshier than the SE head. The hat is a beret-like soft cap with a broad headband.

NW head: very eroded, similar to NE head.

SW head: again similar to NE head, but the nose is markedly hooked.

ext. diam. at rim 0.71 m
h. of bow 0.44 m
h. of drum with heads 0.22 m
int. diam. of basin (irregular) 0.52 - 0.56 m
overall h. 0.97 m


Pevsner dates the font 'early c13 ?', and Forrest also plumps for the 13thc. This looks like a compromise, and it is not certain that the bowl and the drum are contemporary. The simple bowl could, of course, be any date but the form was apparently popular in the earlier 12thc. and not really thereafter. The interior is irregularly hollowed out, and the crude bowl sits ill with the refined aesthetic of the heads.


  • M. Forrest, A History of St. Andrew's Church Harlestone. Harlestone 1995.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. B. Cherry 1973, 246-47.
Exterior from SW.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SP 701 647 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Northamptonshire
now: Northamptonshire
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: Peterborough
medieval: not confirmed
now: St Andrew
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter