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St John the Evangelist, Wicken, Northamptonshire

(52°2′56″N, 0°54′54″W)
SP 745 395
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Northamptonshire
now Northamptonshire
  • Kathryn Morrison

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Feature Sets

The square W tower of Wicken church was erected by Robert, Lord Spencer in 1617, but the remainder of the medieval building was taken down in 1753, after it was found to be unsafe. The cost of rebuilding was met by Thomas Prowse, described as the designer of the church on a tablet in the N aisle. It was completed by 1770, and comprises a nave with aisles of equal height, N and S transepts and a square chancel. The church was restored in 1838, and again by Matthew Holding in 1896-97. In the latter restoration the chancel was lengthened to the E, the S transept was added, and a boiler-room built at the W end of the N aisle. The 12thc. font may be the sole relic of an earlier structure on the site.


The Domesday Survey records two holdings in Wicken (Wicha, Wiche) in 1086. Robert d'Oilly held one hide and one virgate, and Roger from him, and Mainou held three virgates. The d'Oilly portion became Wick Dive, the next identified holder, in John's reign, being Guy de Dive of Deddington. The Mainou portion became Wick Hamon. It passed to Mainfelin in Henry I's time, was held by Mainfelin's son Hamon in 1185, and subsequently by Hamon's son William. The church is not mentioned in Domesday, but St John's was the parish church of Wick Dive. In 1130 Henry I confirmed the gift by Robert d'Oilly of two parts of the tithes there to the church of St. George which Robert founded in Oxford castle. The advowson passed with the manor until 1587, when the parishes of Wick Dive and Wick Hamon were united. The two estates were then held by Sir John Spencer. In 1619, St James Wick Hamon was demolished.

Benefice of Potterspury with Furtho and Yardley Gobion with Cosgrove and Wicken.





Many fonts of this type survive throughout S England, but particularly in Sussex where they are usually carved from Sussex marble. The material of this example is not known, Pevsner says Purbeck marble. Like others with this design, it can be dated to the second half of the 12thc.

Victoria County History: Northamptonshire. V (2002), 413-38, See also http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=22792#s1 (3 October 2004).
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire. Harmondsworth, 1961, rev. by B. Cherry, 1973, 461f.