An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 6, Architectural Monuments in North Northamptonshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1984.
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Woodnewton is a parish of 565 hectares in the Forest of Rockingham. The village lies on the N. side of Willow Brook and consists of a single street with a back lane on the N. Closes shown on the Enclosure Map of 1778 suggest an early extension of the village to the E., which had apparently contracted by the mid 16th century (NRO, W(A) XVI. 5). The sheltered position and fertile soil on the S. side of the street gave rise in the 19th century to a market gardening business based on the rapid transport of early radishes by local carriers. By the 16th century there were mills at both E. and W. ends of the village, but the E. mill was demolished in the mid 18th century. At the E. end of the village the road crossed the river by a ford until 1735 when the Earl of Westmorland replaced it by a bridge, designed by George Portwood of Stamford, on the site of the present one (NRO, W(A) 7. XV). The church was part of the endowment of the prebend of Nassington; along with the house to the N. it occupies a compact block of glebe within the regular layout of the village. In the Middle Ages the manor belonged to Fineshade Abbey, the manor house having been the W. tenement on the S. side of the street. Sir Guy Wolston gained possession of 17 tenements which came to form a separate manor in the 16th century. Both manors were acquired by Sir Walter Mildmay in 1551, and passed thence to the Earls of Westmorland. The amalgamation of the manors seems to have led to the extinguishing of the copyholds of Wolston's holdings; comparison of the survey of 1574 (NRO, W(A) XVI.5) with the Enclosure Map of 1778 shows that the 21 copyholds of 1551 had been reduced to 14. The concentration of vacant plots and wide-frontage farms on Westmorland's property indicates a policy of amalgamating holdings to form larger farms. Although the copyhold houses are generally smaller on average, by the early 19th century they included the more fashionable and up-to-date houses; only one copyhold house is thatched. The Westmorland estate appears to have been spending less money on its houses in the village during the 19th century than it had done previously.
By 1673 the village appears to have been socially depressed, for it had a high proportion of families rated at one hearth and few at three or more, in the Hearth Tax returns. This did not imply poverty, for few were exempted. In 1551 some 53 tenements were listed (NRO, W(A) XVI.5); there were 70 families in 1673 and 88 in 1801.
(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary (Fig. 213; Plate 18) stands on high ground at the W. end of the village. It comprises a Chancel, Central Area, South Transept, Nave with South Aisle, West Tower and South Porch. The walls are of limestone rubble with freestone quoins and dressings. The stonework of the tower and of the N. wall of the nave is more carefully coursed than elsewhere and the stones are larger. The chancel roof is steep-pitched and stone-slated, the remainder are low-pitched. The church in its surviving form dates mostly from the first half of the 13th century although two earlier features survive. The first, a triangular-headed rear arch of a window, may be of Anglo-Saxon date, and if so, an aisled church of this period is indicated. The second feature is the arch between the central area and the S. transept, which probably dates from c. 1100. Although this arch is the only tangible survival from this period the proportion of the nave, and the relationship of its N. and S. walls to those of the central area imply a church of the Norman period with a chancel arch on the W. side of the central area. It may be assumed therefore that this arch opened off the chancel to a transept or chapel, and that a similar arrangement probably existed on the N. side.
Rebuilding during the 13th century was extensive. Firstly, the chancel was extended eastward and the arch into the N. transept was rebuilt. In the middle of the century the whole of the S. transept and the S. aisle were also rebuilt and the S. nave arcade was reconstructed. Nothing on the N. side of the nave remains of this period but there is evidence of a N. arcade and N. aisle being built in the 14th century. Also of the 14th century are the S. respond of the tower arch, part of the S. wall of the tower and its plinths. A thin arch was built in line with the E. walls of the transepts to carry the E. wall of the 15th-century clearstorey, thus unifying structurally the W. part of the chancel with the nave. It is assumed that the old chancel arch was removed at this time.
In the 17th century the N. transept and N. aisle were demolished, and the N. transept arch was blocked. A new wall was built on the N. of the nave, slightly inside the line of the former arcade and most of the tower was rebuilt; this work involved narrowing the medieval tower arch.
In 1808 the S. transept was curtailed, the S. wall being rebuilt in continuation with the aisle wall (LAO, Archdeacon Bonney, private register). Ten years later the chancel roof was said to be out of repair (LAO, Woodnewton, C 111/40/1) and by about 1830 it appears to have been roofless (Clarke, Churches). An organ chamber was built on the site of the N. transept in the early 20th century. Restorations in 1910 resulted in the removal of the internal plaster, much to the disfigurement of the building.
Architectural Description – The Chancel (Plate 24), of c. 1200, has a chamfered plinth, roll-moulded string, pilaster buttresses and a low buttress beneath the E. window. The high gable and side parapets are 19th-century and meet incongruously, the former E. gable being of low pitch and of 15th-century type (Clarke, Churches). The 15th-century E. window is set within the jamb of an earlier, presumably 13th-century, window. It has cinque-foiled lights, vertical tracery and a quatrefoil in the head. In the N. wall are two lancet windows, one having a label with mask stops; similar lancets on the S. have labels with dog-tooth ornament. A priest's door (Plate 14) on the S. has a round head enriched with chevron ornament on the face and on the soffit, the points of which meet on the arris, moulded imposts and plain chamfered jambs. Between the doorway and the S. transept is a late medieval low-side window with round head and flat rear arch. The 15th-century chancel arch has two orders, the outer continuous, the inner wave-moulded, carried on half-round responds. The archway, of unusual thinness, is built over an earlier roll-moulded string which runs below the windows. There are housings for a rood beam above the capitals. The Central Area, originally part of the chancel, has an arch on the N. formerly leading to a transept. This arch of the early 13th century, has an almost round head of two chamfered orders and semi-octagonal responds with coved capitals. Short spur walls and a flat-pitched roof-weathering of the N. transept survive. Set into the W. spur wall are two large carved brackets of the 14th century, one relating to a former N. nave arcade, the other to an arch between the aisle and the transept. The semicircular arch S. of the crossing consists of square recessed orders, square responds, moulded capitals and renewed bases; its 'classical' form suggests that it may date from c. 1100 (Plate 3).
The South Transept is of the mid 13th century. The S. wall was rebuilt in line with the aisle wall in 1808. The parapets are plain, that on the E. being altered since it was recorded by Clarke. The E. window and the reset S. window have intersecting Y-tracery and head stops. On the W. the arch leading to the aisle has plain chamfered orders; half-round moulded capitals are supported by a cone-shaped corbel on the N. and a semicircular respond on the S.
The Nave is not divided from the central area. The N. wall built in the 17th century slightly inside the line of the arcade it replaced, has two square-headed windows with ovolo-moulded mullions and timber rear lintels. Between them is a reset head corbel. Beneath the W. buttress is a large stone possibly associated with the former N. arcade.
The S. arcade of the mid 13th century has arches of two chamfered orders; the first pier is circular and the second is a cluster of four half-round shafts, both having capitals enriched with nail-head decoration, and water-holding bases. The responds are half-round, that on the E. having a capital enriched with heads (Plate 13). Labels terminate on head stops. The 15th-century clearstorey extends over the nave and the narrower central area. The parapet is embattled except where it has been replaced over the N. wall of the nave. There are two clearstorey windows on the N. and S. of the central area and three on the S. of the nave; all have triangular heads, two trefoiled lights, vertical tracery and head stops to the label.
The South Aisle, mostly of the second half of the 13th century, has angle buttresses at the S.W. corner and plain parapets. The form of the original roof is not known. The first window on the S. has three lancets with trefoil sub-cusping, and above are three sexfoil roundels in an acute triangular head, the label terminating on head stops. The second window has twin lancets and a sexfoil roundel in a two-centred head (Plate 27). The S. doorway (Plate 15) has a semi-circular head of two orders with nail-head ornament which also enriches the label; the imposts are moulded and the shafts have small capitals decorated with nail-head. The W. window is a lancet. At the N. end of the W. wall, and visible internally, is the N. jamb and one sloping stone of a triangular-headed rear arch, possibly of Saxon date.
The West Tower is mostly 17th-century. It was rebuilt on the foundations and plinths of an earlier tower probably of the 14th century. The earlier plinths are those of a tower having a S.W. part-octagonal stair turret; plinths of shallow buttresses on the N. and S. do not relate to this or the present tower and the arrangement of the chamfered plinths, as restored, is confusing. The present tower, of two stages with buttresses on the W., has battlemented parapets and crocketed pinnacles. The two-light belfry windows have round heads in square recesses. The tower arch has a 14th-century S. respond above which can be seen the outline of the springing of a pointed arch. The N. respond and the arch were rebuilt in the 17th century to form a narrower round-headed opening. The arch, of three chamfered orders, is now off-centre and is set in a rectangular recess; on the S. side is a shallow 14th-century buttress. The S. respond is of three orders, the inner part-octagonal with a moulded capital and roll-moulded base; the N. respond is similar in outline to that on the S. but the capital and the base are crude copies. Above is an unexplained rectangular recess with large jamb stones.
The South Porch (Plate 25), of the mid 13th century, has two-stage side buttresses, but that on the W. is a restoration (see Clarke, Churches). The eaves are plain and the gable parapet is modern. Over the archway is a panel inscribed 'EC LS 1660'. The archway has two orders and a label is enriched with dog-tooth ornament; the jambs consist of attached and detached shafts with continuous capitals decorated with nail-head, and roll-moulded bases.
Fittings – Bells: 1st by Thomas Norris, 1640, recast in 1910 when the inscription was incorrectly repeated (North, 451); 2nd by Henry Penn, 1720. Coffin lids: three in porch, all early 13th-century with omega ornament and crosses with brackets between the arms, and scroll terminals; one lid is almost complete (Plate 7), two are fragmentary. Font: octagonal but irregular, with an incised cross on the W. face, standing on a low moulded base, probably 13th-century. Glass: in S. window of S. transept, fragments, medieval; already in fragments in 1808 (LAO, Archdeacon Bonney, private register). Image stand: against E. respond of S. aisle, moulded, perhaps 15th-century. Inscriptions: (1), on tower arch, '1777'; (2), on N. wall of belfry, oval panel of mortar, inscribed 'TS Thomas Spencer 1843'; (3), on jamb of W. belfry window, 'J. Briar 1843'. Monument: in central area, marble tablet of James Cheesman, 1810, and Margaret his wife, 1835, signed 'Pocock, Huntingdon'. Niche: over S. doorway, with trefoil head, 13th-century. Piscinae (Plate 41): in chancel (1), twin recesses with trefoil heads, central pillar with capital carved with volutes and a mask stop, sunk quatrefoil with trefoil sub-cusping, and round bowls, 13th-century; in S. transept (2), round-headed recess with trefoil sub-cusping enriched with floral terminations, reset, 13th-century.
(2) Methodist Chapel, Main Street (Fig. 214), was built in 1840, licensed in July (LAO, Faculty Book 5, fo. 372) and opened on 14 October of that year (Notice in chapel). It is a rectangular building with a three-bay gabled front elevation. The walls are of coursed rubble with roof of slate and dressings of freestone and brick. Later in the 19th century the front windows were altered, the rear gable wall was rebuilt, and the interior refitted. Reset in the N. wall is a stone slab inscribed 'WESLEYAN, CHAPEL. ERECTED. AD. 1840'.
(3) Former mill and mill house. A mill is mentioned in Domesday Book; in 1574 (NRO, W(A) XVI. 5) and 1706 (NRO, W(A) 2.IV.5) two mills are recorded in the village. The present building is early 18th-century and comprised a mill and class 4a mill house, all under one roof. The two parts were combined in 1936 (Brassey letter 1940, at Apethorpe Hall). The door jambs are incised with dates including 1732, 1733, 1737. The bridge to S., with a single unchamfered arch, is later than the house.
(5) Stone Cottage, one storey and attics, originally class 1b, 17th-century. Reset in the garden: two pilasters with chamfered capitals and bases and round-headed semicircular niches removed from the fireplace; tombstone to John Desbrow, 26 October 1719, found as hearthpace on first floor.
(9) Two storeys and attics, W. gable parapet, heightened lean-to at rear. Class 4a, probably c. 1800 but with wide fireplace. Behind the house, an early 19th-century Dovecote for 412 pigeons; a single-storey wash-house with date-slab inscribed 'IH 1832' was added against the S. side.
(10) Two storeys, formed from two pairs of early 19th-century class 4c houses. The front doors of the N. tenements have been converted to windows. The E. tenements have been much altered and have rear outshuts. (Not entered)
(11) The Manor House (Fig. 215; Plate 108), of two storeys and attics with ashlar front elevation and coursed rubble side and rear elevations was built c. 1740 when the manor was held by the seventh Earl of Westmorland. The house is Palladian in inspiration, and it is significant that the seventh Earl was adding ranges in the Palladian manner to Apethorpe in the middle of the century. The S. front, of three main bays beneath a pediment, breaks forward in the middle. The central projection contains a doorway flanked by sash windows without architraves; above are three blank panels and a broken pediment enclosing a sash window with moulded architrave. The side bays have sash windows with broad unmoulded architraves, those on the ground floor with round heads enclosing blind tympana. There is a platband at ground-floor sill level. The gable is defined by a heavily moulded cornice and moulded parapets, and is truncated below a chimney stack with pulvinated frieze. Two other chimney stacks are similar. The rear and side walls are plainer in design and have wooden mullion-and-transom windows but the projection of the front wall is mirrored in the rear elevation. Inside, the large entrance hall and kitchen have substantial unchamfered ceiling beams; the rooms are tall. With the exception of the wide kitchen fireplace and an early 18th-century sash window frame no early interior features remain. On the E. is a single-storey extension of c. 1895.
(12) Knight's Cottage (Fig. 216), one storey and attics, limestone rubble with some courses of ironstone, originated in the 17th century. The bay window predates the adjacent fireplace, but the house was apparently of class 4b plan. The original door with iron swing-bar remains in the former gable wall. In the first half of the 18th century the house was re-roofed and extended to the E. to give a class 1a plan, apparently entered only from the N. The W. room was largely reconstructed and refitted in the early 19th century.
(15) The White Swan Inn, two storeys and cellar, neatly coursed rubble walls with freestone dressings, at right angles to the street, early 19th-century. Class 6b with third room on N. and a single-storey kitchen beyond.
(16) Rosedene, one storey and attics, coursed rubble with some ironstone, two rooms with internal stack, 17th-century; a class 4c cottage to W. is early 19th-century. Detached is a building of one storey and attics, latterly a bakehouse and now a garage with date-stone inscribed '1684'. Behind the house is a Barn with ventilation slits; the walls consist of coursed ironstone blocks externally and limestone rubble internally, early 19th-century.
(17) Former Horse and Jockey Inn, coursed rubble walls with much ironstone, thatched roof, originated in the 18th century as a class 4b house of one storey and attics; extended to S. and N. in 19th century.
(18) Sunnyview, one storey and attics, originally class 4a, early 19th-century. The unheated E. half is partitioned to two small rooms. The main doorway has been blocked. The original staircase was probably beside the stack.
(20) A pair of class 4c cottages now united, one storey and attics, mansard roof with stone slates, late 18th or early 19th-century, but earlier than those to N. (19). The party wall between the cottages is dog-legged.
(21) Willow Brook Farm, formerly the Hare and Hounds Inn, two storeys, 17th or 18th-century, perhaps originally class 5 later extended to E. (Not entered). On the S. is a walled garden, formerly the village Pound, but with the N. wall removed.
(23) Manor Cottage, one storey and attics, rear and gable walls with much ironstone, front wall rebuilt in 19th century. Class 4a, 17th-century with date-stone '1688' on E. gable. Attached on the W., former village reading room of 19th-century date with reset mullioned window on the W. gable.
(24) Manor Farm, two storeys, coursed rubble with Welsh slate roof, apparently late 19th-century in present form. The chimney stacks with pulvinated friezes and the chamfered mullioned windows may be reused; the large stack at the E. end may also be earlier. Entrance formerly from rear into central stair compartment; a large room at each end, giving a plan approximating to class 5. S. of the house is a Barn with triangular ventilation holes and large opposed doors, 18th-century but with 19th-century roof. To W. of the yard are the remains of the Tithe Barn with high weathered plinth and triangular ventilation holes, 17th-century.
(25) Two storeys with front wall of banded masonry and W. gable of ironstone rubble, class 4c with narrow service rooms; 17th-century origin but much altered. Two-room rear range of early 19th-century date.
(26) One storey and attics, coursed rubble with some ironstone, parapeted gables. Probably originally class 1b, 17th-century, recently modernized. A small blocked window resembling a fire window suggests a former central chimney stack.
(27) One storey and attics with parapeted W. gable with moulded kneelers. Symmetrical front elevation with central entrance above which is a panel inscribed 'John Franey 1745', the date of the building. Franey was a stonemason. Two-room plan. (Not entered)
(28) Dovecote behind (27) (Fig. 7), dated 1769. Ironstone footings, lower part of the walls of limestone, the upper half in bands of limestone and ironstone. Parapeted gables. The interior facing is entirely of limestone and has nesting boxes for approximately 250 pigeons in the upper half of the wall. Square opening high in the E. gable has a lintel inscribed '1769'.
(30) Two storeys, coursed rubble with some ironstone. It comprises two rooms of different builds and may incorporate part of a building shown on the 1778 Enclosure Map. The house is 19th-century in its present form but possibly has an earlier non-domestic origin.
(31) Broughton House, two storeys, coursed rubble and sandstone, is now L-shaped. Parapeted gables have roll finials. It consists of a two-cell house, possibly of class 3b plan, of early 17th-century date which was extended to N. by an unheated one-room wing later in the century; the fireplace has a mantel beam with pyramid stops. The gable wall of the later wing is in banded masonry. A lean-to, added in the late 17th-century fills the W. angle between the extension and the main range; it has a cellar with a blocked ovolo-moulded window and on the ground floor a single-light window with cyma and ovolo-moulded frame.
(35) Spinney Farm Cottage, one storey and attics, thatched roof, class 2, early 17th-century, later extended to W. and the original gable wall removed. Above a former partition between the centre and E. rooms is a cruck truss, the blades of which emerge from the wall at a steep angle; the upper part is concealed.
(36) Two storeys, ashlar front wall, parapeted gables and thatched roof, class 4a with additions at rear, early 19th-century. Reset 17th-century features including ovolo-moulded surrounds to the windows and an axial beam carved with a diamond pattern. On a building behind is a reset slab inscribed 'W and M STRICKSON 1808'.
(38) The Gardens, one storey and attics, class 2 with the entrance passage defined by masonry walls, early 17th-century. The small middle room has wall beams along the passage wall and against the stack. Behind the house is the W. gable wall of a former rectangular dovecote.
(39) One storey and attics, walls of rubble and ironstone, thatched roof hipped at the W. end. Probably of 17th-century origin with added wing at rear, now in two tenements each with two rooms in the main range. The E. part has square unchamfered beams and may be an 18th-century reconstruction. The window in the W. part has a slightly projecting ashlar base and may have been a bay window. The E. tenement has a cellar. (W. part not entered)
(40) Sunnybank, one storey and attics, walls of rubble with some freestone, formed from the N. two of three 19th-century one-room cottages. The Enclosure Map of 1778 shows buildings on the site and the present house may be partly 18th-century.
(41) Meadow View (Fig. 217), one storey and attics, class 3b, 17th-century. The original stair was probably in the E. room where there is now a recess in the N. wall and scar on the cross beam. Beams have ovolo-moulded stops. The compartment on the W. is later.
(42) The Yews, two storeys, with front elevation of squared ashlar and with openings with slightly segmental heads, class 6, mid 19th-century. An earlier but illegible date-stone with mouldings top and bottom is reset in the E. gable. (Not entered)
(44) No. 21, ironstone and coursed rubble with freestone quoins and pantiled roof. A pair, each class 4c, now one dwelling, first half of the 19th century: possibly converted from a non-domestic building. (Not entered)