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St Andrew, Spratton, Northamptonshire

(52°19′27″N, 0°56′52″W)
SP 718 701
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Northamptonshire
now Northamptonshire
medieval St Andrew
now St Andrew
  • Ron Baxter
13 October 2004

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St Andrew's has an aisled and clerestoreyed nave with four-bay arcades; the N of the late 12thc., the S 13thc. with pointed arches and moulded capitals. The N and S doorways are 12thc., the N doorway under a porch. The aisle windows are renewed in an early 14thc. style. At the E end of the nave, above the chancel arch, is a large blocked window, apparently 14thc. The chancel has 14thc. sedilia. On the N side of the chancel, and separated from it by a two-bay arcade, is a chapel added by John Chambre between 1495 and 1505, now housing the organ and a vestry. This extends the N nave aisle as far as the E end of the chancel, but is screened from it. There is a 12thc. W tower with a contemporary tower arch. It is of three storeys; the lowest containing an elaborate W doorway and a blind arcade on the W face only, the next decorated with blind arcading, and the topmost with double bell-openings flanked by blind arches and a corbel table at the top. The belfry-stage lancets are Scott's replacements of Decorated windows (see Parker). It has a later recessed spire behind a battlemented parapet. The church was restored by Scott before 1849.


In 1086 the main estate consisted of 3 hides less 1 virgate held by William and Durand from the Count of Mortain. In addition Rohais held 1 hide from Countess Judith, and Ralph held 3 virgate less 1 bovate from Robert de Bucy. No church or priest was recorded in any of these parcels. The church was in the patronage of the Augustinian house of St James, Northampton until the Dissolution.

Benefice of Spratton.


Exterior Features



Exterior Decoration

Corbel tables, corbels

Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches



The masonry including the sculptural decoration is in a mixture of three stones, a grey limestone, an orange-yellow stone and purplish ironstone. In some places, as in the arch orders of the W and S doorways, a single stone type has been used. Elsewhere there is no readily discernable pattern to the distribution of stones. The question is further confused by the restorations, where as many different stone types were employed. Of the three doorways the W is the most elaborate and certainly the most interesting. The label revives Anglo-Saxon decorative forms and the Corinthian capitals of the outer order, sad wrecks now, indicate the presence of a sculptor of considerable virtuosity. This is hard to reconcile with the ill-planned chevron of the arch and the strange treatment of the inner order capitals. The arch of the S doorway matches that of the W in both its orders. The N doorway has little in common with the other two. The N arcade and tower arch must be contemporary, but there are few parallels to be drawn with the work on the doorways. The corbels are largely human or composite human heads, but with the occasional beast (e.g. the dog at S2 and the snake at S7). S6 is a more or less acrobatic figure, but the head is damaged and there is no obvious exhibitionism involved. Some of the heads display the features of comic or tragic theatrical masks (e.g. N4, S3, S12), seen elsewhere, for example on the nave and transept corbels of Ely Cathedral. There are signs too of the kind of late 12thc. expressionism seen on the Ely W transept corbels, with fleshy heads showing marked nasolabial folds (e.g. W5.)


J. H. Parker, Architectural Notices of the Churches of the Archdeaconry of Northampton, London and Oxford, 1849, 243-45.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Northamptonshire, Harmondsworth, 1961, rev. by B. Cherry, 1973, 406f.

Victoria County History. Northamptonshire, IV (1937).