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St Lawrence, Towcester, Northamptonshire

(52°7′56″N, 0°59′15″W)
SP 694 487
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Northamptonshire
now Northamptonshire
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

St Lawrence's is a large ironstone church with a tall W tower, a clerestoreyed and aisled nave with four-bay arcades, and a chancel with N and S chapels and a N vestry. The S chapel contains the tomb of William Sponne (d.1448); the N now houses the organ. None of this is earlier than the 13thc. (the chapel arcades); the tower is Perpendicular and the windows 14thc.-15thc. Earlier material has been reused, however. Two elaborately-carved 12thc. shafts have been incorporated into the (largely 19thc.) chancel arch; three of the capitals of the nave arcades are recycled 12thc. pieces; and several chevron voussoirs have been incorporated into the masonry above the arcade in the S aisle.


Towcester was the Roman walled garrison town of Lactodorum on Watling Street. The A5 is still its main street. Until it was fortified by Edward the Elder in 917, the town lay on the frontier between Wessex and the Danelaw. Thereafter it remained a royal burgh. In 1086 it was held by King William. No church was recorded. In 1142 the possession of Towcester church (with its chapels) by the abbey of Saint-Wandrille in Normandy was confirmed by Pope Innocent II. The original gift may have been William I's, if a disputed charter is believed (see RCHME). The advowson was held by Saint-Wandrille until 1285, when it exchanged its in Towcester rights with Bradenstock Priory (Wilts).

Benefice of Towcester with Easton Neston.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches



Interior Decoration


RCHME Report, uncatalogued.
J. Atwell, Towcester Parish Church, Towcester, 1984.
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, I, 275-78.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Northamptonshire, Harmondsworth, 1961, rev. by B. Cherry 1973, 433f.