An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.
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5. ALWALTON (B.a.).
(O.S. 6 in. V N.W.)
Alwalton is a parish and village on the right bank of the Nene, 4 m. W.S.W. of Peterborough. The Church and the reconstructed porch (4), are the principal monuments.
(1). Roman site. Burials by inhumation have been found here, one in 1863 of a man and woman with two bronze bangles, a coin of Alexander Severus and a Samian cup stamped GEMINM, and another, at the foot of which was a small urn containing two sestertii of Pius and Faustina. Other objects of Roman date have been discovered, including some bricks, near the river, which may indicate the site of a house. (K. Gibson, Castor, p. 62, 171; Camden, Magna Britannia (Ed. Gough 1806) 11, 256.)
(2). Parish Church of St. Andrew stands in the middle of the village. The walls generally are of a local yellow stone with Barnack-stone dressings; the walls of the clearstorey are faced externally with brick covered with a thin coating of plaster; the roofs are covered with lead and slates. The form of the 12th-century church is uncertain but about 1190 the North Aisle and arcade were built. Early in the 13th century the Nave and N. aisle were lengthened and the South Aisle and West Tower were added; the nave was probably widened towards the S. at the same time. The Chancel and North and South Transepts were re-built c. 1300 was vaulted in stone. The W. arch of the crossing and built c. 1330. The Clearstorey was added to the nave in the 15th century and probably at the same time the vaulting over the chancel and transepts was taken down and in the same alteration the chancel-arch was removed and the chancel-walls, above the springing-level, continued W. to the crossing and finished with a plain arris; this arrangement would be masked by the former rood-loft. In 1840–41 the building was completely restored and re-roofed, the South Porch added and a new chancel-arch inserted. All the parapets were then re-built together with portions of the walls to the transepts and the upper part of the S.E. corner of the tower. The building was again restored in 1903.
The evidence that the chancel and transepts were at one time vaulted is of interest and the N. arcade of the nave and the W. tower are good examples of their periods.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (30 ft. by 15¼ ft.) has in the E. wall a window of c. 1330; it is of three trefoiled and ogee-headed lights with net-tracery under a two-centred head with an external label; the tracery has been partly restored. A moulded string-course runs across the wall below the sill of the window and is continued along the side wall; in the angles are the remains of the chamfered vaulting-shafts; above the string-course they have been cut back flush with the walls but the springing of the vault can still be traced on the S. side. In the N. wall is a window of c. 1300 and two lights, each with a trefoiled head and a quatrefoil above in skeletontracery and a quatrefoil in the main spandrel, all under a two-centred arch with a moulded label and mask-stops; at the W. end of the wall is a blocked 'low-side' window with pointed head and wide splays; over it is a rough internal relieving-arch; both the middle and W. vaulting-shafts have been cut back flush with the wall-face but can still be traced, as can also the springing of the vaulting over the middle shaft. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost of c. 1300 and of similar character to the window in the N. wall but without the quatrefoil in the spandrel; the middle window (Plate 11), also of c. 1300, is of two ogee-headed trefoiled lights each with a trefoil above under a two-centred head with a moulded label and mask-stops; the westernmost window (Plate 11) is a 14th-century 'low-side' the lower part of which has been blocked; both upper and lower lights have trefoiled heads and above on the outside is a flat moulded label, partly restored; the segmental-headed doorway has chamfered jambs and a flat lintel over the inner head; the upper stones of the middle vaulting-shaft with the bottommost stones of the vault and the lower stones of the S.W. vaulting-shaft are visible, though all have been cut back flush with the wall-face. The chancel-arch is modern but the responds, which are of two chamfered orders, may be of c. 1300.
The Crossing (Plate 18) (12¾ ft. by 17½ ft.) has on the E. wall, on either side of the chancel-arch, the quoins of the chancel before the erection of the modern chancel-arch. The 15th-century N. arch is shouldered, of segmental-pointed form and of two chamfered orders. The inner order is carried on the original 13th-century vaulting-shafts which now act as responds; they are each of three grouped and chamfered shafts with a common 15th-century embattled capital; the outer order abuts against the side walls. The S. arch is similar to the N. arch and has similar responds. The W. arch is modern but the semi-octagonal responds are of c. 1330.
The North Transept (12 ft. by 13 ft.) has in the E. wall a window of c. 1300 and of two pointed lights with a plain spandrel under a two-centred head with moulded label and mask-stops; the head has been restored. In the N. wall is a window of c. 1300 and of three trefoiled lights with three trefoils over, under a two-centred head with a moulded label; the tracery has been restored and the sill and mullions are modern. In the W. wall is an opening with a two-centred arch of two chamfered orders on the E. and one chamfered order on the W.; it dies on to the N. wall of the aisle but on the S. the inner order is carried on the capital of the E. respond of the N. arcade to the nave. On the N. and E. walls a moulded string-course is carried round below the level of the windows. On the W. wall the outline of the former vault can be traced and the stones of the N.W. angle-shaft are visible below the string-course but in each case the stones have been cut back to the general wall-face.
The South Transept (10¾ ft. by 13 ft.) is now used as an organ-chamber and has in the E. wall a two-light window similar to that in the E. wall of the N. Transept. In the S. wall is a modern window similar to that in the N. wall of the N. Transept; some of the jamb and splay-stones are probably old stones re-used. The arch into the S. aisle is similar to the corresponding arch in the N. transept. There is a moulded string-course running round the E. and S. walls below the level of the window-sills. In both angles the stones of the original vaulting-shafts are visible though cut back flush with the wall-face and on the W. wall the lines of the vault at the N.W. springing remain. There is an external moulded string-course round both transepts below the level of the window-sills.
The Nave (34½ ft. by 17½ ft.) has a N. arcade (Plate 18) of four bays, the three eastern of c. 1190 and the westernmost of early 13th-century date; they have semi-circular arches of two chamfered orders carried on circular piers and half-round responds with carved capitals and moulded bases of varying section; towards the nave the arches have a chamfered hood-mould springing off carved stops; the stop over the first pier is of a crowned male head, that over the second pier a female (?) head and that over the third pier a plain pendant; the first and second arches have shaped stops to the chamfer of the inner order on both sides and to the outer order on the nave side only; the third arch has, over the second pier only, shaped stops to the chamfer of both orders on the nave side. The abaci to the first two piers are cruciform on plan, the capitals carved with scroll-foliage (Plate 111) and the E. respond is of similar character; the abacus of the third pier is octagonal and of different section to those described and the capital is carved with plain water-leaves (Plate 111); the lower part of the base is also octagonal; the capital to the W. respond is similar to the capital to the E. respond but is not carved. The S. arcade is of early 13th-century date and of three bays with semi-circular arches of a single chamfered order with chamfered hood-moulds; the arches are carried on circular piers and half-round responds with moulded capitals and bases; the base to the first pier has been partly broken, and that to the E. respond is also mutilated and the base to the W. respond is modern; below the second pier is a rough stone foundation; the hood-mould is mitred above the first pier and over the second pier it springs from a circular foliated stop. The 15th-century clearstorey has a modern parapet, below which are original gargoyles carved in the form of grotesque beasts' heads. On each side is a range of three windows each of two cinque-foiled lights with a pierced spandrel under a four-centred head with a moulded label. The first window on the N. side has the E. jamb restored and the corresponding window in the S. wall is also partly restored.
The North Aisle (5¾ ft. wide) has in the E. end of the N. wall the splays of a blocked window and further W. the jambs of a blocked doorway, the upper part of which has been filled with a modern window. In the W. wall is a modern window the jambs of which may contain a few old stones re-used.
The South Aisle (5¾ ft. wide) has in the first bay of the S. wall a 15th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights under a square head with a moulded label; the inner lintel is modern. The S. doorway is of early 13th-century date and has a two-centred head of two orders with a chamfered label; the inner is chamfered and continuous and the outer is enriched with re-used zig-zag ornament and is carried on detached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the shafts, and rear-arch are modern and the capitals are much mutilated; further W. are the splays of a former window, now partly blocked and filled by a single-light square-headed window of 17th-century date. In the upper part of the wall between the doorway and the westernmost window is a damaged moulded corbel and on the E. wall the lines of the original roof are visible.
The West Tower (12 ft. square) stands on a chamfered plinth and internally is of three storeys and externally in two stages (Plate 17) surmounted by a modern embattled parapet carried on a corbel-table of small trefoiled arches resting on mask-stops; some of the corbels may be original. The tower-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders with a chamfered hood-mould towards the nave; the responds are of three grouped and keeled shafts with two detached circular shafts between, with moulded capitals, the bells of which rise to a common upper member, semi-octagonal on plan and having a moulded abacus; the bases are moulded and stand on common modern plinths; the base of the S. respond is modern as are also the lower stones of the hood-mould to the arch. In the N. wall of the ground-storey is a small lancet-window with an internal rebate and a modern sill and in the S. wall is a similar window; in the W. wall is an early 16th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred head with a moulded label; it has been almost completely restored. The second stage has a lancet-window in both the N. and S. walls; above the tower-arch is a blocked opening with ashlar jambs and rough relieving-arch; it was probably originally finished with a lintel. Built into the S. wall at the level of the floor of the ringing-chamber are a number of re-used shaft-stones laid at right-angles to the wall. The bell-chamber has on each face between the buttresses a wall-arcade of three bays; the arches are two-centred and chamfered and have moulded labels and are carried on detached octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and chamfered bases; the middle bay of each arcade is pierced by a louvred opening of two lights each with chamfered jambs and two-centred head carried by a central octagonal shaft with moulded capital and base; in the tympanum above the lights is a quatrefoil opening but on the S. side this is trefoiled. The tower has been considerably restored, much of the wall-face being patched with modern stone, and the whole of the S.E. corner above the nave-roof has been re-built. In this rebuilding the E. half of the easternmost arch in the arcade on the S. wall has been cut away as has also part of the S. arch in the E. wall. The sills and central shafts to the E. and S. windows are modern as are also the capital to the shafts and the head of the W. window. Projecting from above the corbel-table in the middle of each wall is a carved gargoyle.
Fittings—Bells: five; 1st, 2nd and 3rd by Thomas Norris, 1661, 5th by Thomas Norris, 1672. Bell-frame: of oak and inscribed "WI. MI. IO. CH. CH[URCH]WA[RDENS]. 1674." Communion Table: Now in S. transept—of oak with turned legs, slightly ornamented top rail and plain lower rails, first half of 17th century. Door: In tower—to stair-turret, of oak in two plain boards only, mediæval, with modern board-facing. Font: with plain four-sided bowl slightly tapering from E. to W. with chamfered angles and slightly tapering sides, moulded below and resting on plain stem with hollow-chamfered base, 15th-century. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Margaret, wife of Clement Gregorie, 1634, and Ann his daughter, 1695; (2) to Clement Gregorie, 1639, and Pears his son, 1703; (3) to William Checkly, 1711. Glass: In S. 'low-side' window in chancel—fragments of ruby, green and yellow and figured flower-designs in brown line, probably 14th-century. Piscina: In chancel—with two-centred head of two chamfered orders springing off re-used capital to small shaft on one side and re-used base on the other side, quatrefoil drain, 13th-century. Plate: includes a cup and cover-paten of 1569, and a salver of 1688, with inscription recording gift in 1739, and monogram. Recess: In chancel—below first window in N. wall, tomb-recess, with chamfered jambs, segmental-pointed head and moulded label with mask-stops, late 13th-century. Sedilia: In S. wall of chancel—in three bays divided by re-used hollow-chamfered mullions supporting trefoiled two-centred heads, middle one of ogee-form, made up of re-used 14th-century material.
(3). Manor House, 300 yards E.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of coursed rubble and the roofs are covered with slates. The house was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, probably on an E-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. The S.W. part of the house has been destroyed and there are late 17th-century and modern additions at the back. The S. front has late 17th-century windows mostly of three lights with rusticated dressings. The roof has a modillioned eaves-cornice. The two-storeyed porch-wing has been much altered. The windows on the E. side of the house have original moulded stone mullions. Inside the building the late 17th-century staircase is of well-type with turned balusters and square newels with ball-terminals. The plaster ceiling of the attic of the S.E. wing is keyed on to reeds instead of laths.
(4). Porch (Plate 47), now a lodge or cottage, 80 yards S.W. of (3), is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and Ketton stone. The porch is of late 16th- or early 17th-century date and is said to have formed part of the Drydens' House, Chesterton, destroyed about a century ago. The S.W. front has a round archway with moulded imposts and archivolt and an ornamental key-stone; flanking it are Doric columns, standing on pedestals and supporting an enriched entablature. The second storey has a three-light window of stone, with moulded frame, mullions and transom; flanking it are Ionic columns, standing on pedestals and supporting a plain entablature. The porch is finished with a curvilinear gable with terminal and base ornaments and enclosing an ornamental design of a square and circles, executed in stone ribs on the face of the wall. On the S.E. side of the lower storey is a transomed window of two lights and there is a similar window of three lights, re-set in a modern annexe on the N.W. side.
(5). Lynch Farm, house nearly 1 m. N.E. of the church, appears to be a modern building, incorporating a considerable quantity of late 16th- or early 17th-century material on the N. and E. sides. This material, like the Porch (4), is said to have come from the Drydens' House, Chesterton. The N. front incorporates a bay-window and two four-light transomed windows all with moulded jambs, mullions and label. There is also a small gabled dormer of stone. At the N.E. angle is a small turret with an embattled top, and on the E. front is a small gabled dormer with shaped terminals at the base and apex.
(6). Cottage, on the E. side of the road, 40 yards N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are covered with stone slates. It was built c. 1645, the date which appears with the initials H.S. on a panel over a blocked doorway in the S. wall; the doorway has moulded jambs, square head and label. The W. end has an original stone window of four lights with moulded jambs, mullions and label.
(7). Cottage, two tenements, N. of (6), is of 18th- or early 19th-century date, but incorporates some 17th-century material including a stone window of three lights and an oak door of six moulded panels with a moulded and dentilled lintel.
(8). The Maltings, house 150 yards N. of the church, is modern but re-set in a chimney-stack are three square stone panels of c. 1500; they are quatre-foiled and enclose a rayed Tudor rose, a portcullis and a four-leaved flower, respectively. On the same side of the house is part of a square-headed window with moulded reveals.
(9). Wheatsheaf Inn, 110 yards S. of the church, is of 18th- or early 19th-century date but incorporates two early 17th-century stone doorheads with flat four-centred arches.
(10). House, two tenements, on S. side of main road, 300 yards S.E. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are thatched. It was built probably early in the 17th century and perhaps formed only part of a larger house. On the S. side is an original stone window of three lights, with moulded mullions and label. Part of the central chimney-stack is also original.