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All Saints, Pitsford, Northamptonshire

(52°18′24″N, 0°53′43″W)
SP 754 682
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Northamptonshire
now Northamptonshire
  • Ron Baxter
25 August 2004

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Feature Sets

All Saints has an aisled nave with five-bay arcades, a chancel and a W tower. All of this is by Slater and Carpenter, dating from 1867-68, except the N nave aisle and the W tower, which are early 14thc. The only 12thc. feature is the important S doorway, with its figural tympanum. This is set under a 19thc. porch.


In 1086, three hides and a virgate were held by Fulcher from Walter the Fleming. A further virgate was held by Humphrey from the Count of Mortain. No church was recorded.

Benefice of Pitsford with Boughton.


Exterior Features



As far as the iconography is concerned, Pevsner suggests "St George and the Dragon, or perhaps Faith fighting Evil." The former seems to be ruled out by the fact that the warrior is fighting a lion, itself beset by dragons. As for the latter, one wonders which figure he had in mind as Faith, and which as Evil. The lion seems fierce, but is not invariably negative, whereas the dragons attacking it always are. Again, tangled foliage can represent the snares of sin, so something of the sort is probably intended. The discarded wings, so far as I know, are unique to this tympanum. For an explanation in terms of Gergory's Moralia in Job, see Webb (2012) in the bibliography. The capital designs, trefoil and tangled foliage, suggest a link to the Reading Abbey cloister workshop, as does the beakhead. If a workshop connection is indeed involved, then a date in the 1130s is likely. RCHME, however, suggests that the tympanum is of c.1120 and the rest of the doorway dates from the late 12thc. Elsewhere in the county, the beakhead ornament is also found at Roade and Earl's Barton but all three appear to be by different workshops.


G. Baker, The History and Antiquities of the County of Northampton, 2 vols, London, 1822-41, I, 64f.

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, 462f.

C. Keyser, A list of Norman Tympana and Lintels, London, 1904 (2nd ed. 1927), lxxxii, 42.

J. H. Parker, Architectural Notices of the Churches of the Archdeaconry of Northampton, London and Oxford, 1849, 245-47.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire, Harmondsworth, 1961, rev. by B. Cherry 1973, 374.

E. S. Prior and A. Gardner, An Account of Medieval Figure-Sculpture in England, Cambridge, 1912, 159.

RCHME Report, uncatalogued.

Victoria County History: Northamptonshire, IV (1937), 99f.

M. C. Webb, Ideas and Images in Twelfth Century Sculpture, Revised ed. 2012, passim., esp. 47-67. Only available online via https://lib.ugent.be