Easton on the Hill
Parish Church of All Saints:-
stands in the S. half of the churchyard which was enlarged to the N.W. in 1862. It consists of a Chancel with North and South Chapels, Nave with Aisles, West Tower and South Porch. The church is built of limestone rubble with freestone dressings and buttresses, and the tower is faced with ashlar. The roofs are low-pitched, except for those of the N. chapel and the porch which are steep-pitched and stone-slated.
The earliest surviving feature is the rear-arch of a 12th-century window over the S. arcade of the nave. Only the head remains and this probably belonged to a tall, narrow opening in an aisleless nave rather than to a clearstorey window. This window, the form of the junction between nave and chancel and the position of the S. door suggest a 12th-century church consisting of an aisleless nave and short narrower chancel. At the beginning of the 13th century most of this earlier church was rebuilt: both chancel and nave were extended and an aisle was added on the S. In the mid 13th century a long chapel was added on the S. side of the chancel to which it was connected by an archway. Evidence for this development rests on the survival of the former external plinth of the S. wall of the chancel and on the character of the arch between chancel and chapel. The chapel's construction may be associated with Sir Richard de Lindon who died in c. 1255 (Gent's Mag. 1848, 163–4) and whose memorial tablet is on the S. wall (see brass indent (2) ). In the 14th century a chapel with an almost square plan was built on the N. side of the chancel, and an archway was introduced into the N. wall which was almost entirely rebuilt at the same time. The N. aisle and arcade are also of 14th-century date. In the second half of the 15th century, the W. tower was constructed, and clearstoreys were added to the chancel and nave. Probably in the 16th century the S. chapel was divided by a cross wall, and a small doorway inserted in the chancel wall to provide access to the E. part.
A number of restorations have taken place. The S. walls of the S. aisle and S. chapel were largely rebuilt in 1786 and 1848. In 1856 the N, aisle and N. clearstorey were reconstructed, and in 1846 and 1888 the chancel was repaired and restored (VCH, Northants. II, 567; Whellan; Kelly; NRO, Churchwardens' Accounts 1799– 1863).
The church is noteworthy for the 13th-century work, particularly in the S. chapel, and for the W. tower which is a noble example of a regional design current in the second half of the 15th century.
Architectural Description –
The Chancel, originally without buttresses, has at the N.E. corner a lateral buttress, probably of the 14th century, with chamfered angles and broach-type stops. The gable of the E. wall has a waggon-shaped profile with battlements which return over clearstoreys on the N. and S.; these features are 15th-century. The clearstorey on the S. is set back above the 13th-century wall below. Internally, a 13th-century moulded string-course is interrupted by the 15th-century E. window which has a four-centred head and vertical tracery with a central quatrefoil. In the N. wall is an early 14th-century window with a square head, cusped lights and tracery composed of roundels with alternate quatrefoils and mouchettes, under a triangular relieving arch. Its W. jamb is partly covered by the E. wall of the N. chapel implying a later date for the chapel. Leading into the chapel is a wide two-centred arch of two chamfered orders; the E. respond has a hollow-chamfered base and moulded capital, but the W. respond has a capital of crude shape and unknown date. The only clearstorey windows are on the S.; they have four-centred heads and are much restored since they were once masked by a lean-to roof over the S. chapel (drawing by Clarke, Churches, 104). In the S. wall is a doorway with chamfered jambs, probably of the 16th century, leading to the S. chapel. Further W. in the wall is a wide round-headed arch of two chamfered orders carried on responds, the E. being half-round with water-holding base and moulded capital enriched with nailhead ornament, and the W. having a capital of the 14th century of unusual design in that below the crown moulding is an octagonal element. The arch to the S. chapel may have been widened to the W. as implied by the later respond on that side, and possibly by the irregularity of the head of the arch. The chancel arch responds are set back in the thickness of the wall suggesting widening, possibly in the 14th century; the arch has three chamfered orders on the E. and two on the W., and half-round responds with simple capitals.
The North Chapel, projecting from the W. bay of the chancel, dates from the 14th century, but the N. wall and the N. lateral buttresses have been rebuilt. In the E. wall the head and casement-moulded jambs of a 15th-century window survive, but the tracery is entirely 19th-century. The late medieval N. window is square-headed with five trefoiled lights. The W. arch is 19th-century but a chamfered angle on the S. suggests a former lower arch.
The South Chapel has a plain parapet, slightly lower than the S. aisle parapet, and a modern gargoyle. The original roof was replaced at some unknown date by one of single pitch, rising to the height of the chancel parapet (Clarke, Churches, 104), but this later roof was removed in the 19th century. At the S.E. corner are 13th-century pilaster buttresses with chamfered angles and weathered tops. The E. wall was largely rebuilt possibly in the 18th century and the 13th-century work now only remains internally, but Clarke shows a faint outline of a blocked window.
The S. wall also appears to have been partly rebuilt or refaced, certainly after Clarke recorded a full-height pilaster buttress in the position of the present side buttress. Internally (Plate 34) the E. wall has a 13th-century wall-arch, presumably framing a former window. The arch has attached nook-shafts, water-holding bases, moulded capitals and a label with head stops (Fig. 68). The N. stop is carved as a male head, probably crowned, and the S. stop as a female head with veiled head-dress. The centre of the arch is destroyed but the assumed apex would indicate a former steeply pitched roof. In the S. wall is a similar but lower wall-arch and the springing of a second; between them is a triple-roll shaft with annulet. In the first bay is a late-medieval window with a four-centred head, and in the second is a modern window, copying that in the N. wall of the chancel. Between the chapel and the aisle is a modern arch perhaps replacing a wall. Dividing the chapel is a thick wall, about 3 m. high, of late-medieval date with provision at its N. end for the swing of a small door to the chancel.
The Nave has a three-bay N. arcade of the 14th century with octagonal piers, moulded capitals and chamfered bases; the arches are of two wave-moulded orders. The S. arcade of three bays was inserted into the 12th-century nave wall in the early years of the 13th century. Over the first pier is the deeply splayed rear-arch of a 12th-century window of which the head alone remains (Fig. 67). The arcade has round piers, water-holding bases and square plinths of rough masonry. The octagonal capitals have two simple coves, and the arches have two chamfered orders (Fig. 68). The 15th-century clearstorey has a plain parapet; each window, linked internally by a string-course, has two cusped lights in a four-centred head.
The North Aisle was rebuilt in 1856. Square-headed windows in the N. wall have three trefoil-headed lights and mullions continuing through the spandrels; a little original stonework remains. A doorway which now stands W. of the church is said to come from the centre of the aisle wall. It has a four-centred head with continuous wave-moulded and hollow-chamfered arch and jambs. The South Aisle of the early 13th century is without corner buttresses, as is the chancel of the same date. Some quoins and adjacent masonry at the S.W. corner are of Barnack stone. The parapet is plain. Much of the wall E. of the porch has been rebuilt. All the windows have square heads with internal wooden lintels. The first window, of four lights with cusped heads, is medieval but much restored. The early 13th-century S. doorway (Plate 15) has a round-headed arch of two main orders comprising numerous roll mouldings and a prominent keel-moulding, carried on a moulded abacus, nook shafts with bell-shaped capitals, and chamfered jambs (Fig. 68). The head of the arch has been mutilated to receive a later niche. Behind the E. respond of the arcade is a rood loft stair with a chamfered ogee-headed doorway, probably 15th-century.
The West Tower, of the second half of the 15th century, has five external stages separated by string-courses. Buttresses clasp the corners and the plinth is boldly moulded. The W. doorway has a two-centred head and continuous mouldings, and the W. window has three cusped lights, vertical mouchettes in the tracery and moulded jambs which include a prominent keel moulding in the outer order. On the N., S. and W. of the third stage are small square openings with quatrefoil tracery. On the fourth stage are two-light windows with pointed heads, and on the fifth are large four-light windows having wide central mullions rising to the apices. Below the embattled parapet is a deep band of quatrefoil decoration; on each face are two beast-gargoyles. The octagonal corner pinnacles are particularly lofty. The tower arch is of two wave-moulded orders, the outer continuous, the inner carried on half-round shafts, moulded and battlemented capitals, bell-shaped bases, and octagonal sub-bases. In the S.W. corner is a vice with a four-centred headed doorway.
The South Porch of the 13th-century has lateral buttresses, gabled parapet and an archway with an almost semicircular head, continuous hollow-chamfered orders and a label with mask stops. Inside there are stone seats against the side walls.
The Roof over the chancel is 15th-century, waggon-shaped, with moulded purlins, ridge-piece and principal rafters. At the intersections are foliated bosses and at cornice level are small modern figures holding shields. The nave roof is flat-pitched and 19th-century. The N. chapel roof is pyramidal, ceiled internally, and possibly 18th-century. The 15th-century roof of the tower has cross tie beams and a small king post.
Fittings – Bells: four; 1st and 4th by Thomas Norris, 1640; 2nd inscribed in black-letter 'Personet hec celis dulcissima vox gabrielis' with maker's mark (North, No. 14, pl. 11), 15th-century; 3rd by T. Eayre, 1749 (Plate 66). Bell-frame: down-braced, 15th-century. Benefactor's table: see monument (5). Brass indents: in chancel – (1), on N. wall, rectangular stone panel, blind cusped head, indents for kneeling figure at desk with inscription panel below, scroll for invocatory prayer, shield, the Holy Dove and an oval panel presumably representing the Trinity; late 15th or early 16th-century; (2), long limestone tablet with indents for Lombardic lettering, of Sir Richard de Lindon, died c. 1255, and Ivete his wife (Plate 34). In S. aisle – (3), slab of Alwalton marble with indent for foliated cross with stepped base and inscription plate, and with ecclesiastical figure in the cusped head; late 14th-century (Plate 43). Coffin lids: (1), over chancel arch, part of slab with foliated cross, medieval; (2), loose in S. aisle, tapering slab with relief decoration comprising crude lozenges at head and foot, central rib with fish-tail motif at centre; probably 12th-century (Plate 7). Cupboard: in S. aisle, modern but with 17th-century panelling. Doors to S. porch, double doors with fielded panels, 18th-century. Font: octagonal bowl, stem, base, high step-stone reset against modern foot-pace (Plate 39). The bowl is decorated alternately with cusped panels enclosing shields and panels containing two-light window forms; the lower edge is enriched with large paterae, and the stem and base have cusped decoration; mid 15th-century. Glass: in chancel – (1), in N. window, foliage conforming with mouchettes, in situ; fragments including part of nimbed head; other fragments; 14th-century. In N. aisle – (2) in first window, foliage, 14th-century. Image stand (?): in N. chapel, projecting chamfered stone, medieval. Inscribed panel: in chancel on N. wall, dated 1411, black-letter inscription on large grey stone panel with floral decoration, recording the amalgamation with the parish church, under Robert Senkel, rector, of the chantry founded in 1295 by Henry Sampson, rector, for the obits of Queen Eleanor, himself and his parents; the endowment, although substantial, proved insufficient to support a separate chantry priest (R. Hill, 'Two Northamptonshire Chantries', English Historical Review, LXII (1947), 203).
Monuments and Floor slabs. Monuments: in chancel – on N. wall (1), of Charles Bletso, 1753, white, grey and pink marble tablet with pediment and with arms of Bletso in a cartouche on apron; on S. wall (2), of John Skynner, Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and rector for nearly fifty years, 1805, and Sarah his wife, 1808, and his four sons; (3), of Catherine, wife of Charles Bletso, 1772, tablet as (1) with lozenge of arms. In S. chapel – on S. wall (4), of Bridgett Tampon (Bullingham), 1662, and of Mary Brudnell, 1662, recording the latter's bequests to the poor of Easton and Ketton, and of a communion cup to Easton church, painted stone monuments with two round-headed tablets and three pilasters combined under one cornice. (5), of John Jackson, 1772, painted stone, with shaped head and hanging swags. Attached externally (6), on E. wall of N. chapel, of George West, 1811, with obelisk and flanking urns, by I. Johnson; (7), of Susanna West, relict of above, 1838, similar to (6). Floor slabs: in N. chapel – (1), of Ann Dunch, 1699; (2), of Sarah Veitch (Broughton), 1815; (3). of Martha Thompson, 1747; (4), of Richard Thompson, 1728, and Richard Thompson, 1777, with foliage scrolls. In S. chapel – (5), slab with incised lines depicting female figure, upper part missing, and very worn and partly illegible marginal inscription in Lombardic lettering arranged in retro script and filled with pitch; it reads 'vous ke sur mo regardez par charit. . . '. The figure wears a flowing costume and stands between two architectural standards which originally supported a crocketed canopy, a fragment of which now forms part of the threshold of the doorway from the chancel; late 13th or early 14th-century (Fig. 69); (6), broken slab with incised lines perhaps depicting a cross, medieval; (7), of J. J[ackson], 1772; (8), of Rev. Gregory B[ateman], 18, rector; (9), of Isaac Jackson, 1779. In nave – (10), of Ann Sisson, 1731. In S. aisle – (11), of E.I., 1760; (12), of Martha Brewster (Sisson), 17–7; (13), of Henry -arker, 1780, and another, designed as a pair with volute decoration. There are several other floor slabs which are illegible.
Niches: in S. chapel – (1), in N. wall, with ogee head. Over S. doorway to S. aisle – (2), with trefoil head; both probably 14th-century. Organ: 1850 by G. M. Holdich, Euston Square, London, was originally designed so that a barrel could operate the keys; case carved with tracery forms. Paintings: in chancel – (1), above N. window, traces of red and white stripes. In S. chapel – (2), on E. wall, traces of red and yellow, late medieval. In nave – (3), over chancel arch, some coloured areas, said to be Elizabethan Royal Arms; (4), on S. wall simulated masonry in grey with red flowers and green stalks in centre; painted voussoirs representing additional order to the arch, 13th-century. Piscinae: in chancel – (1), in S. wall, with trefoil head and octofoil drain, 13th-century. In S. chapel – (2), in S. wall, with trefoil head, moulded label and mask stops, probably reset, 13th-century. Pulpit: oak, octagonal, may have been constructed in 1759 if the Rural Dean's Returns of 1843 are to be believed (NRO, X650/8, p. 883), but the woodwork is of various periods. The front panel is inlaid with IHS monogram, the door has fielded panelling and the cornice and lower part are heavily moulded. Recess: in S. aisle, with four-centred head, late medieval. Royal Arms: see Paintings (3). Screens: in chancel – (1), under N. arch, stone screen of six bays, the E. being a late medieval doorway with four-centred head, the W. perhaps 15th-century with a cinque-foiled head, and the remainder having trefoil and ogee heads with pierced spandrels and grooves for glazing; these last are probably from a 14th-century window. (2), under S. arch, stone screen of six bays, the E. being an ogee-headed doorway; the remaining openings have cinquefoil ogee heads with high spills; 15th-century. In nave (3), remains of an oak screen, now incorporated in pews, have moulded stiles with grooves for panels on which the silhouettes of former blind tracery survive in the staining; the main bays were sub-divided into two lights, 15th-century. In tower (4), loose fragments of tracery heads in oak, probably medieval. Seating: in nave, mostly 17th-century, consists of pews with moulded top rails. One pew-end has a wooden shield with inlaid inscription, 'Tho. Maidwel Rector Ihon. Adison Ihon. Wright CW 1631'; on W. side of this pew is an 18th-century seat with shaped arm rests. Some of these pews incorporate fragments of 15th-century stalls; they have short square posts with moulded capitals and bases and fragmentary arm rests carved with seated animals. In the W. part of the nave are 18th-century box pews with fielded or sunk panelling. Sundial: on S. porch, square stone panel inscribed 'Hora Pars Vitae 1797'. Tiles: in doorway of S. chapel, with green and yellow glaze, probably medieval. Miscellanea: in S. aisle – (1), two 15th-century gargoyles, formerly on tower; (2), stone panel carved with blind quatrefoil, trefoil and ogee forms with traces of red painting in the cusps against a dark background; 15th-century.
Easton-on-the-Hill Floor slab late 13th or early 14th-century
Easton-on-the-Hill Church E. end of S. wall of nave showing position of 12th-century window and later arcade