All Saints Church


In this section I have provided as much information as I can regarding the parish church of All Saints. Unless otherwise stated all photographs were taken by myself in 2021.

May garlanding 1913 All Saints Church Great Addington. The balcksmiths house can also be seen in the background. Photograph taken by the Rev. Stuart Montulle. Source unknown.

Banner found in All Saints Church in 1991. Suspected to have been used during early to mid-19th century. Image from Brian Duncan collection, c1991

Norman or Early English Porch, 2021

Interior 2021

Interior of Porch with stone benches, 2021

East window. 2021

Early Norman external walls now within the church and used as base for the nave pillars when the Church was enlarged and the aisles added in the 13th century . 2021

Elaborate and unusual font dates from the 13th century. 2021

Henry de Vere's effigy. 2021

Traces of original Medieval paint on Henry de Vere's tomb. 2021

History of All Saints

No trace now remains of the original Anglo-Saxon church that was in Great Addington - and we are making an asusmption that it was even on the same location, though most likely. It is perfectly possible that when the Norman church was built as some point circa 1150 that stones from the earlier church were reused - it would have been sensible to do so. It may be that the the original Norman church was built on the foundations of the Anglo-Saxon church.

Much of the information in this section comes from BHO with updates from Historic England and myself.

The Church of All Saints is a Grade II listed building and consists of chancel 28 ft. by 14 ft. 4 in., with north chapel 15 ft. 3 in. by 10 ft., the nave is 39 ft. by 14 ft. 9 in., north and south aisles each 9 ft. 6 in wide, south porch, and west tower 11 ft. 4 in. by 12 ft., all these measurements being internal. The width across nave and aisles is 38 ft. 6 in.

The chapel (the chantry of Our Lady) is a continuation of the north aisle and covers the chancel about half its length: it is now used as an organ chamber. Further east is a vestry that was added in the 19th century, replacing an earlier structure.

The church is built of a mix of squared and irregular limestone and ironstone with lead roof. The interior is plastered. The chancel was restored in 1891, and the nave roof renewed.

Of the 12th-century aisleless church there are traces in the large (and quite rough) plinths beneath the pillars of the nave, embodying fragments of the former walls which shows how small the Norman church would have been. The main south doorway of that building, with a round arch carved with a row of chevron, and jamb-shafts with foliated capitals, is now the outer doorway of the south porch.

The process of enlarging the chancel and adding aisles to the nave was begun in the later part of the 13th century, and further alterations were made in the two following centuries, including the addition of the south porch and of the tower.

The work of rebuilding appears to have started with the nave. The chancel and north chapel were built about 1300, and the string-course beneath the windows is of this approximate date. At present the east window and the three two-light windows in the south wall are 15th-century insertions, much restored in modern times. The eastern window on the south side, however, is the original opening with inserted tracery: the sill is lowered to form a sedile (a seat for the priest), and from the east jamb of the window, within the opening, there projects the bowl of a piscina (a water trough used for blessing) with a cinquefoil (flower pattern) headed niche behind. On the north side of the chancel there is a small oblong squint (a gap so that certain acts of mass could be viewed) from an old vestry, the place of which has been taken by the modern building.

The chancel communicates with the north chapel by an arch of c.1300, which is filled with early 15th century screen-work. Another screen, later and more formal in design, separates the chapel from the north aisle - this may have been inserted following Henry de Vere's bequest for a dedicated chapel. Immediately to the east of the arch from the chancel, in the south wall of the chapel, is a projecting half-octagon piscina (a water trough used in mass) with roses on the bowl - with traces of the original paint - resting upon a cluster of attached shafts, and having a small ogee-headed (a style of arch from the 14th century) hollow behind. There are two windows in the north wall of this chapel. One, a two-light 14th-century opening, contains glass with shields of arms. The other, set low in the wall, contains fragments of 15th-century glass, and lights a recess in which is the alabaster effigy of Sir Henry de Vere (d. 1493), founder of the chantry.

The arch between nave and chancel is contemporary with the nave arcades. South of the arch a doorway was inserted in the 15th century, leading to a steep stair by which the rood-loft (display gallery) was approached. The stair is corbelled out towards the south aisle, and infringes upon an earlier bracket in the east wall: it is lighted on this side by a small double opening. The upper doorway remains, but the rood screen is gone.

The nave arcades are plain late 13th-century work. The pillars are octagonal, with slender half-octagon responds; but the eastern arch of the north arcade springs from a corbel; and the pillar on its west side is formed by a cluster of four shafts. The arches are very wide, and much ironstone is used in them.

Both aisles underwent some alteration after their original construction, and the outer wall of the north aisle, which is now continuous with that of the north chapel, has been practically rebuilt. There is a plain round-headed north doorway. The windows of the north aisle are 14th-century two-light openings with flat heads: the west window is of a later date. In each case, the tracery has been considerably renewed.

The south aisle was partly rebuilt in the 14th century and was probably repaired in the 15th century, to which date belong the east and west windows, both of three lights (openings). The two windows in the south wall are each of two lights: the western, with a round quatrefoil in the head, is contemporary with the arcades: the other has ogee lights and a pointed quatrefoil, and is of the early 14th century. Between this window and the east wall of the aisle is a very large tomb-recess, practically rebuilt.

The south doorway is of the 14th century, with mouldings on the chamfer. It is covered by a porch which is partly of 13th-century date. The stone benches on either side stop short of the outer doorway, which is a fine late 12th century arch. It is clear that this arch was at first rebuilt in the south wall of the aisle and was covered by the porch, and that, when a new doorway was made in the 14th century, the porch was slightly lengthened and the old arch added to its outer face. This work formed part of the repair which included the east part of the aisle, but was apparently not continued west of the porch, where the older window was left undisturbed. The porch has a plastered barrel-roof, apparently of the 18th-century.

The clearstory - high wall with windows - consisting of two-light windows, three on each side, was added in the 15th century, below the high pitch of the older roof, which appears above it externally.

The tower was built towards the middle of the 14th century, and has diagonal buttresses and a finely moulded west doorway. Above this is a vaulted niche. In the second stage there is a lozenge-shaped opening with reticulated tracery. A similar lozenge is pierced in the lower stage of the south wall, which is lighted in the second stage by a two-light window like those of the belfry above. The second stage in the north wall has a plain single light. The bell-chamber windows are of two lights with rather formal reticulated tracery. The carved band and high parapet with cross-loops above seem to have been added in the 15th century. The tower communicates with the nave by a chamfered arch of three orders.

As with all Medieval churches at one time the interior would have been richly painted, but at some point during the reformation the wall would have been whitewashed.

The font is of the 13th century, with a circular bowl upon a circular stem furnished with four attached shafts, the capitals of which are joined to the bowl by grotesque head-shaped projections. A description of the church from 1849 says "the basin ornamented with heads and corbels in a singular and unusual manner".

There is a good early 17th-century pulpit, and there is some old glass in the heads of the north aisle windows, in addition to that already mentioned.

In the chancel, upon a marble slab placed upon a low stone table north of the altar, is the brass of the priest John Bloxham in mass vestments, carrying the chalice and wafer, with a scroll inscribed 'Ih[es]u fili dei miserere mei' (Jesus, son of God have mercy on me). In medallions at the corners are the emblems of the four evangelists. The inscription reads: 'Orate pro a[nim]a magistri Joh[an]is Bloxham primi Capellani istius Cantarie beate marie qui obiit quinto die mensis decembris Anno xp[ist]i mill[es]imo quingentesimo xix° cuius anime propicietur deus amen. Henricus Veer erat fundator istius cantarie.' (pray for the soul of John Bloxham who died on this day in December 1519 whose soul may God protect for ever. Henry Vere is the This brass evidently was originally in the north chapel, where the effigy of the founder, as already mentioned, still remains.

There are mural tablets in the chancel to William Lambe (d. 1762) and two of his sons, one of whom of the same name was rector (d. 1767), and to William Lambe (d. 1780).

There is a ring of six bells, by J. Taylor and Co., of Loughborough, 1899. They take the place of four bells (fn. 81) which were then recast, to which a treble and tenor were added.

The plate consists of a cup of 1835 and paten of 1845, both London make, and an almsdish made in Birmingham in 1832, the gift of Mary Tyley, wife of the Rev. James Tyley, rector, in 1846. There are also two plated almsdishes given in 1863. (fn. 82)

The registers before 1812 are as follows: (1) baptisms, 1694–1767; marriages, 1692–1754; burials, 1692–1767; (ii) baptisms, 1768–1812; burials, 1767–1812; (iii) marriages, 1754–1812.

Sir Henry de Vere's Tomb

The alabaster effigy of Sir Henry Vere is not of such a high quality as that of his cousin, the Earl of Wiltshire, who died around the same time and whose tombs is in Lowick church. However, it still shows a lot of fine details and is one of only sixteen alabaster effigies to be found in churches within Northamptonshire.

In addition it has suffered over the years, "having been much scraped and mutilated to provide Vere powders for the children of the village" - according to the 1902 edition of the The Victoria History of the County of Northampton, volume 1.

The knight is shown bare-headed and with the long hair of the time. He wears a standard of mail—epaulieres (armour on the shoulder) reinforced by pauldrons (chest and shoulder armour), a cuirass (a section of armour that covers both back and front) with its lance-rest, tassets (hip and thigh armour), channelled tuiles (thigh armour) and a skirt of chain mail. The coudieres (elbow armour) are of moderate dimensions and the gauntlets, with fingers of leather, have single plates shaped to the back of the hand, and plain cuffs. The wings of the genouilleres (knee armour) are quite small, and the feet, protected by articulated sollerets (ffot armour), rest upon a muzzled bear, and the head upon a helm (the sallet or armoured helmet) from which the crest is gone. The suit here represented is of the period when Sir Henry Vere flourished, and may consequently be taken to represent the harness in which he fought on the field of Bosworth in 1485.

Just underneath the figure traces of the original paintwork can be seen as, with the interior of teh church, this efficy would have originally been richly painted.

The will of Sir Henry de Vere contains this entry :

' Also I will that my tombe be made in our Lady's Chappell, with a vault in the wall of alybaster, and tomb of the same with a Picter insolid (carving) on them.'

Images from Historic England Archive, c1948

Image shows Medieval stain glass - including angel - in original position. Image from Historic England Archive, c1948

Views of All Saints Church Great Addington

Date unknown, but taken after 1921 as clock was moved at that time. From Brian Duncan collection.

Date unknown. From Brian Duncan collection.

Circa 1955. From Brian Duncan Collection.

Circa 1990. From Brian Duncan Collection

One of two stone coffins alleged to have been found on Shooters Hill burial site and moved to the churchyard in mid-19th century. The one shown here is outside the church and is in poor state of preservation. The coffin is upside down. Note drain hole. The other coffin in within the church.

January 2021.

Second stone coffin, inside the church. Difficult to date but could be Romano-British or Anglo-Saxon. January 2021

Entrance to Henry de Vere's Chantry Chapel. The wooden screen is 15th century. The chapel now houses the pipe organ, 2021

Fragments of Medieval glass, 2021

Medieval Gargoyle, 2021

19th Century Etchings of All Saints Church Great Addington

All Saints, circa 1846 by George Aycliffe Poole

South Porch. Etching c1848

Detail of the tower windows

Etching c1848

Tower detail etching c1848

John Bloxhams Memorial Stone

Etching c1848

Font etching c1848

Date unknown, but prior to 1899 as clock was moved after this date.

From Brian Duncan Collection.

Date unknown, but clock now in new position so at some point after 1921. From Brian Duncan Collection.

Piscina in Chantry Chapel. 2021

Traces of Medieval paint on decorative detail of Piscina. 2021

Remnant of Medieval glass. This used to be in the Chantry Chapel overlooking Henry de Vere's effigy. See the 1948 Historic England Archive image showing original placement. 2021

Floor tiles. 2021

Unknown Coat of Arms. 2021

Wake family Coat of Arms. Robert de Vere married Margaret Wake around 1166. Through this marriage Thrapston came to be part of the de Vere's land holding. 2021

Stairway to Rood Loft. 2021

Mary Isobel Viscountess Downe

Gave me


JohnTaylor made me


Image: Nick Palmer, 2017

Letter from John Taylor & Co to the Dowager Vicountess Mary Isabel Downe

Image: Nick Palmer, 2017

Invoice from John Taylor & Co to the Dowager Vicountess Mary Isabel Downe for the six new bells.

Image: Nick Palmer, 2017

The Bells

Nick Palmer of Great Addington has supplied much of the following information and associated images related to the bells of All Saints Church.

Thomas North's book, The Church Bells of Northamptonshire, printed 1878 by Samuel Clarke of Leicester, refers to Great Addington on pages 97 and 175.

In 1878 the bells are recorded as having the following inscriptions:



Which translates as "many are called, but few are chosen".

The 3rd bell was cast by Bellfounder Tobias (Tobie) Norris of Stamford. There is still a very old public house in Stamford called The Tobie Norris, the building dates back to 1280 and was owned by bell-maker Tobie Norris and made into a bell foundry.

The recasting and installtion of the 1st and 2nd bells is recorded by the Rev. James Tyley in the parish register in 1808.

January 1, Two out of the four bells in the tower of this Church being broken, they were recast by Mr. Taylor, bell-founder of St. Neots, Hunts, and put up this day.

The inscription of the churchwarden name, would indicates that they perhaps paid for the recasting of the bell. The T. Colson mention is Thomas Colson who lived in what was known, prior to 1803, as Colson's Lane, which became Cranford Road following the inclosure of 1803. Thomas was a farmer and lived with his wife Sarah in a house that was on land where Huxloe House now stands.

In August 2017, parts of one of the bells fell out. The pieces were gathered up from the belfry floor and taken to the original manufacturers, John Taylor & Co in Loughborough to be repaired. John Taylor & Co. continues a line of bell founding which has been unbroken since the middle of the 14th Century. Whilst visiting their offices in Loughborough Nick Palmer took the opportunity to look at the records they have for the Great Addington bells.

The six bells we now have were installed in 1899. They were donated to the church by the Dowager Viscountess Mary Isabel Downe who lived at Great Addington Manor at this time with her husband Sydney Leveson Lane.

A letter in Taylor’s archive written to the Viscountess following a visit to Great Addington by Mr E D Taylor of John Taylor & Co, on January 24th 1899 tells us that Mr Taylor:

“…respectfully begs to report that although the bells appear sound they are so very much out of tune with each other…the old bells are alas all rather too light for their notes… ".”

Mr Taylor continues to say that the bells need to be recast in order to:

“… endure a pure and true tone in each bell like each one of the Thrapston peal or like Raunds tenor.

The original enquiry to Taylor was for five bells, but Mr Taylor stressed that:

“… the music of a ring of six is so much more melodious and varied than five …. your Ladyship would be pleased with this peal and would find it very sweet & musical.”

Clearly a master salesman, this argument prevailed and an order was placed on January 26th 1899 for a ring of six bells at a cost of £307 9s 8d. (£307.48).

Taylor’s bell hanger arrived at Cranford station on 31st January by the 8.29 train to remove the earlier four bells which were returned to the foundry to be melted down to provide some of the 1 ton 16 cwts, 6qtrs. and 7 lbs or 1,908 kg (nearly two metric tonnes) of bell metal needed for the new six. In one of the letters of correspondence, it says:

…should be much obliged if it could be arranged for a cart to be at the station so that our man could see to the loading up of the tools”.

The bells were installed in March ready for Easter Sunday on 2nd April 1899 fell on April 2nd. The tenor bell is inscribed:

Mary Isobel Viscountess Downe

Gave me


JohnTaylor made me



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