St Leonard, Apethorpe, Northamptonshire

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Feature Sets (2)


Apethorpe church lies at the E end of the village, to the NE of Apethorpe Hall, former seat of the Earls of Westmorland. The building comprises a W tower (dated 1633), a nave flanked by N and S aisles, a S porch, a chancel and a S chapel (dated 1621). The fabric dates largely from the late 15thc. and early 17thc., and a single chevron voussoir re-set in the facing of the N aisle is the only hint that an earlier structure stood on the site. The S chapel (Mildmay Chapel) contains one of the finest and most imposing 17thc. tombs in England: that of Sir Anthony Mildmay, attributed to the sculptor Maximilian Colt. The base of a cross shaft fragment of indeterminate date, possibly 13thc. or 14thc., stands in the churchyard to the S of the porch.


In 1086 Apethorpe was part of the King's manor of Nassington (which had a priest). Apethorpe church was probably comprehensively rebuilt by Sir Guy Wolston, who acquired the parish in the late 15thc., and set about building Apethorpe Hall. The estate was acquired by Sir Walter Mildmay, an official in the royal service, in 1551, and remained in the Mildmay family until the male line failed, when Sir Francis Fane, Earl of Westmoreland from 1624, married the heiress, Mary Mildmay.


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration


Voussoir (set in rubble facing of easternmost bay of N aisle, to W of window)

This voussoir is carved with centrifugal face chevron, comprising two plain rolls and a hollow. Its intrados is obscured by mortar, and it is positioned too high to measure.


The 12thc. chevron voussoir is likely to have come from an earlier building on the site, possibly from a doorway.


  • 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.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. B. Cherry 1973, 83.
  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northampton, VI. Architectural monuments in North Northamptonshire, London 1986, 2-5.
Exterior from NW.
Interior to SE.
Mildmay tomb, view from NE.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TL 024 957 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Northamptonshire
now: Northamptonshire
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: Peterborough
medieval: St Leonard
now: St Leonard
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Kathryn Morrison