St Mary the Virgin, Nassington, Northamptonshire

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Feature Sets (3)


It is evident that the nave is Anglo-Saxon, since it has a blocked triangular-headed window high in its W wall. A tower was added by the late 12thc. (to which the tower arch belongs), and the reset N doorway dates from the same period. Aisles were added to the nave with four-bay arcades dating from the late 13thc. The aisles have been extended W alongside the tower, incorporating fragments of 13thc. dogtooth, and these spaces are now used as vestries.

The chancel arch dates from the same period as the nave arcades, and the chancel itself was rebuilt in the 15thc. The S nave doorway is set under an early-13thc. porch. Finally, the tower has three storeys of rough stone masonry with a 13thc. W doorway. Above this is a square storey of ashlar and an octagonal storey with battlements. These are Perpendicular, as is the crocketed spire recessed behind the battlement. The church was restored in 1883-85 by J. C. Traylen. Romanesque work is found in the tower arch and the N doorway.


Royal connections with the manor are recorded in the reign of Cnut, and there was apparently an important Anglo-Saxon church. Nassington was held by the king in 1086, when a priest was recorded. It became the seat of a prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral c.1107-16.

Benefice of Nassington with Yarwell and Woodnewton.


Exterior Features


Nave N doorway

Round-headed, two orders.

First order. Angle rolls on the jambs with attic bases and worn stiff-leaf capitals with roll neckings. The imposts have a quirked hollow chamfer, and the arch has an angle roll.

Second order. En-delit nook-shafts on attic bases. They carry worn waterleaf capitals with roll neckings and imposts as the first order.

The arch has a keeled angle roll with face and soffit hollows. On the arch face outside the hollow id a thin roll, a thin hollow and a row of beading. The label is hollow chamfered, the chamfer decorated with a row of quatrefoils with drilled centres.

h. of opening (ignoring step) 2.03 m
w. of opening 0.89 m

Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

Tower arch

W arch


Single-order embrasures with half-columns on water-holding attic bases with spurs carry capitals with tall square abaci and roll neckings. The N capital is carved with flat leaves on the angles and worn flat leaves with multilobed tips on the face; the S is a modern replacement on which some attempt has been made to begin carving a similar design.

The imposts have a hollow below a face with a chamfered lower edge and a central groove.

The arch is of two chamfered orders, each with chamfer stops, and has a plain chamfered label.


The tower arch and doorway were both carved at c.1180-1200. Capitals and spurred bases similar to those on the tower arch are found at Croughton, associating Nassington with a group that also includes King's Sutton, Kingsthorpe and Hinton-in-the-Hedges.


  • Victoria County History: Northamptonshire. II (1906)

  • 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, II, 468-69.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. B. Cherry 1973, 309-10.

  • P. A. Poyner, A Guide to St Mary and All Saints' Church, Nassington. 1979, repr. 1996.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northampton, VI. Architectural monuments in North Northamptonshire, London 1986, 119-23.

  • RCHME Report, uncatalogued.

Exterior from SE.
Exterior, W end from SE.
Interior to W.
N nave, arcade from SW.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TL 063 962 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Northamptonshire
now: Northamptonshire
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: Peterborough
now: St Mary the Virgin and All Saints
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter