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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Bulwick is a parish of 872 hectares, crossed by Willow Brook. In the Middle Ages it consisted of two settlements, Bulwick and Henwick, on either side of the stream, but apparently they formed a single parish. The hall, called Place House in 1677 (NRO, T(B) 265/1), was in Henwick on the W. side of the brook, but no manorial site is known on the E. side. A large part of the former village of Henwick has been engulfed by the park since the late 17th century.
From the 13th century the manor was held by the family resident at Harringworth, first de Cantelupe, then la Zouche and finally, from the early 17th century, Tryon. The manor house was apparently a subsidiary dwelling to that at Harringworth. In 1676 it was remodelled, new gardens were laid out and, from the early 18th century, it replaced Harringworth as the chief residence of the Tryons.
A charter for a fair and market was obtained in 1293 (Cal. Chart. (1257–1300), p. 432), but this seems to have been of little importance. The village had 99 families in the 1673 Hearth Tax assessment, and 92 in 1801, a high population for the area of the parish, giving about 20 acres (8.3 hectares) per family. This is reflected in the relative poverty of the village, as many as 60 per cent of families being exempt from Hearth Tax; there were at this time few houses of any size, a state which continued into the early 19th century. The parish was enclosed in 1778, but the few outlying farm-houses are 19th-century. The isolated group of houses at SP 976931 represents a settlement of at least the 18th century, and was originally extra-parochial. By 1845 a brick kiln had been established in the S. of the parish, using Lower Estuarine clays (mon. (28)).
(1) The Parish Church of St. Nicholas (Fig. 34; Plate 19) stands on the N. side of the village street. It consists of a Chancel, Nave with North and South Aisles, West Tower with spire, and a South Porch. The walls are mostly of coursed rubble with freestone dressings, but the tower and the S. wall of the S. aisle are of ashlar. The chancel roof is steeply pitched and stone-slated; the nave and aisle roofs are flat-pitched. Wide piers in the nave arcades indicate a church transeptal in origin, probably of the early 13th century. This church had an aisle, at least on the N., as attested by an early 13th-century pier in the nave with a capital having stiff-leaf decoration. The present chancel was built later in the 13th century, presumably replacing an earlier narrower one. In the early years of the 14th century alterations were made to the openings in the N. wall of the nave. The arch to the former transept was rebuilt, and the arches of the arcade were converted from round to pointed form and the responds refashioned. The first bay on the S. was also entirely rebuilt in the early 14th century. Alterations continued to be made to the church in the late 14th century or possibly in the early 15th century: the two W. bays of the S. arcade, the W. tower and S. porch were built and both aisles were reconstructed.
In 1863 the church was restored. A vestry was added on the N. and the chancel re-roofed. Most of the furnishings and fittings date from this period (diary of the Rev. Henry Holdich, rector, covering years 1861–81, in rectory). The late 14th-century tower with spire is the main architectural feature of the church.
Architectural Description – The Chancel of the late 13th century was heavily restored in 1863. It has single-stage buttresses at the angles, a modern eaves course and a rebuilt parapeted gable. The large E, window (Plate 37) has a moulded rear arch with side shafts and a label with head stops; the cusped intersecting tracery has been restored. In the N. wall is a late 13th-century window with Y-tracery. On the S. is a window with trefoil-headed lights and a quatrefoil in the head; the second window repeats that on the N. The priest's door is a modern insertion (Clarke, Churches). The chancel arch is 14th-century, of two chamfered orders, the inner carried on semi-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and high bases, and the outer continuous. On the soffit of the arch is the groove, now filled in, of a former wooden tympanum which was supported on a beam, the housings for which are traceable.
The Nave has a N. arcade of early 13th-century origin, but with alterations of the 14th century. A wide pier between the first two bays probably received the W. wall of a former transept. This first arch was modified in the 14th century and semi-octagonal responds with roll-and-hollow moulded capitals were added; the arch of two chamfered orders has a chamfered label with mask stops and a carved male head, probably of the 13th century, reset. The second pier is squat and octagonal with a moulded capital enriched with stiff-leaf ornament, and is early 13th-century (Plate 13). The responds of the centre and W. arch of the arcade have crudely carved capitals probably of the 14th century, but the base of the eastern is water-holding and 13th-century. A change in masonry below the E. respond capital may indicate the level of rebuilding in the 14th century. Both arches are wide and pointed; the lower parts of earlier round-headed arches survive giving rise to the present irregular shape (Fig. 35). The S. arcade has a wide pier similar to that on the N., but the first arch is taller. It has capitals corresponding with those on the N. and the label has male and female head stops. The two late 14th-century W. bays are tall with an octagonal pier and matching reponds with moulded capitals and chamfered bases; the arches are hollow-and-wave moulded. The late 14th-century clearstorey has on the N. plain eaves and four rectangular windows each of two lights with ogee heads and trefoiled cusping. The S. wall of the clearstorey has a plain parapet and six windows uniform with those on the N., but the sill of the first is steeply sloping.
The North Aisle, rebuilt in c. 1400, has tall narrow buttresses of two weathered stages. The wall is uneven and shows evidence of later strengthening. The windows have ogee trefoil-headed lights with vertical tracery and quatrefoils in the heads. The N. doorway has reset 13th-century jambs comprising attached and detached shafts, annulets and moulded capitals; the head, of two multi-moulded orders with a moulded label and a female head stop, is early 14th-century and meets the earlier jambs awkwardly. In the S.E. corner of the aisle is a rood loft stair with a small lancet above the entrance; it is late 14th-century. The South Aisle has a rubble E. wall probably of the 13th century but the later S. wall is in finely jointed ashlar. The windows on the E. and S. repeat the design of those in the N. aisle except that the main lights have cinquefoil heads. The S. doorway has a hollow-and-wave moulded head, imposts and moulded jambs; it is probably contemporary with the aisle, but the workmanship is crude. In the W. wall is a reset 13th-century window with trefoiled lights and a quatrefoil-roundel in the head.
The West Tower (Plate 20), c. 1400, is in four external stages with clasping buttresses and battlemented parapet. The tower arch has two chamfered orders on the E., the outer continuous, the inner with half-round responds having moulded capitals and bases. The W. window has a quatrefoil in the head flanked by short mullions; higher in the wall, on each face, is a quatrefoil opening within a rectangle. The belfry has tall twin openings each with two cinquefoil lights with quatrefoils in the head, and a transom with cusping below. Beneath the parapet is a band of recessed quatrefoils: at the corners are gargoyles. The octagonal spire with rolls on the arrises has two tiers of lucarnes, the lower of two lights, the upper of one light set on the diagonal faces, all with crocketed gables. At the top is a circular boss and a weathercock.
The South Porch is late 14th-century and has two-stage diagonal buttresses and plain parapets. The archway has a four-centred, hollow-and-wave moulded head, the inner order carried on half-round responds with moulded capitals and bases. Inside are stone benches.
Fittings – Bells: five; 1st, 2nd and 3rd with Latin inscriptions, dated respectively 1629, 1629 and 1630; 4th, modern; 5th with churchwardens' names, 1648. Bracket: in N. aisle, N.E. corner, chamfered stone ledge below monument (5), medieval. Brasses: small rectangular plates in nave (1), of Savile and Catherine Hatfield, January 1729, with rhyming verse; (2), of Catherine Atterton, 1783; (3), of William Etgos, April 1482, and Margaret his wife, black-letter inscription, fragmentary plate; (4), of William Walter, February 1817, with rhyming verse. Coffin lid: loose in S. aisle, fragment, cross paty at head, 13th-century. Font: circular bowl tapering steeply to a small circular stem, post-medieval. Glass: in N. aisle, N. wall (1), fragments including canopy work, foliage and silver-stain decoration; (2), fragments including fleur-de-lis decoration, covered cups and grisaille foliage; all 15th-century.
Monuments and Floor slabs. Monuments: in chancel – on E. wall (1), of Rev. Charles Nettleton, January 1718/19, and three children, and Sarah his wife, stone tablet with bolection surround. On N. wall (2), of Rev. Francis Jackson, 1770, rector for 49 years; (3), of Mary Jackson, 1732; (4), of Jeremiah Jackson, March 1731, husband of Mary; the last three are plain stone tablets. In the N. aisle, N.E. corner (5), of John Sculthorp, 1744. black-painted tablet with inscription on shield, crossed palm decoration above and drapery below. In S. aisle (6), of Henry Fowkes who died in 1612 (PRO, Prob. 11/120) and Jane his wife, 1609 (Plate 64), alabaster composition comprising two confronting kneeling figures, he in Greenwich armour, she in high-collared bodice, with double-sided prayer desk bearing a defaced shield and an inscription 'Nobis vita solus Christus est'; the classical surround consists of a cornice on brackets with jewel ornament and side pilasters enriched with pikes, axes, fruit and ribbons, and behind the figures is an inscription panel; above the cornice is an oval with an achievement of arms of Fowkes. Floor slabs: two in chancel, one inscribed 'F.J.'. Piscinae: in chancel (1), combined with sedilia, two-centred headed recess with trefoil cusping, miniature responds, capitals and bases, beneath a crocketed gable; the projecting shelf decorated with leaf ornament, sexfoil bowl, 14th-century (Plate 40). In S. aisle (2), plain recess with slightly ogee head and quatrefoil sinking, medieval. Sedilia: in chancel, three graduated seats with moulded heads, detached shafts, beneath crocketed gables and pinnacles, 14th-century (Plate 40). Weather-vane: cock, gilt. Miscellanea: loose in S. aisle, medieval architectural fragments including the spandrels of a trefoil-headed opening, probably from a recess: a moulded voussoir, 14th-century.
(2) Bulwick Hall (Fig. 36; Plate 104). In 1272 the manor house at Bulwick was described as 'a hall and great chamber and kitchen built of cut stone and roofed with stone; and two other houses, being a barn and a cowhouse, thatched with straw' (PRO, C133/2; NRO, T(B) 2). Nothing remains of this house and its site is unknown. From the 13th century onwards the manor was held first by the Cantelupes and later by the Zouches, whose main residence was at Harringworth. Both manors were bought by Francis Foxley, and after his death in 1617 they were bought by Moses Tryon, a London merchant whose father Peter had come from Flanders in the 1560s. Bulwick continued to be the lesser house. In 1646 it was settled on the wife of Moses' son Peter who bought Seaton in Rutland in the same year and lived at Harringworth, his son James being a minor.
Apparently in connection with James' coming of age in 1676 the house was partly rebuilt and enlarged; new gardens were laid out, and the house was formally conveyed to James. This new building forms the main range of the present house, but most of its architectural details have not survived. Before the rebuilding the house had, in 1673, 15 hearths but in 1694 it had 40 rooms, of which about ten may not have been heated (PRO, E179/254/14; NRO, T(B) 567). At this date it had on the ground floor a hall and lobby, perhaps two parlours, and a suite consisting of a withdrawing room, a bedroom and closet. Most of these rooms were doubtless in the main range, the service rooms being behind and to the N. The arcade, with its central gateway and flanking entrance lodges, may have provided a covered approach to the door at the E. end of the long range; inside the progression may have been from the lobby and hall on the E. to a parlour and the suite of rooms on the W.
James Tryon occupied his new house until his death in 1685. His heir Charles was a minor and the house was sub-divided and partly let. Charles died in 1705 leaving a three-year-old son as his heir, and it was this second Charles Tryon who modernized the house between c. 1723 and his death in 1747. Stylistic evidence and a few surviving bills suggest a date around 1730 for this work. An up-to-date architectural character was imposed on the 17th-century building with the introduction of new windows, and a new doorway on the axis of the garden. If this doorway is an innovation, it implies that the interior was replanned at this time. A large garden room was built at the S. end of the arcade. The house then remained the seat of the head of the family, the Harringworth house having been largely demolished.
In 1805 Thomas Tryon employed W. D. Legg of Stamford to design a new large room forming a small wing at the S.W. end of the house, and to modernize the service area. The work was done by John Boyfield of Stamford, with slating and plastering by John Tillson, also of Stamford, at a cost of £1378.14s. for the wing and £420 for the other work. After Legg's death in 1806 the work seems to have been supervised by John Walters (NRO, T(B) 636). About the same time an orangery was built and in the house a plaster ceiling installed above the staircase, probably by John Tillson.
The house was given its present form in c. 1838 when the service area to the N. of the 17th-century range was entirely rebuilt except for the kitchen built in 1805–6. An axial corridor was constructed along the length of the house, and the main range was extensively refitted. In the present century the service arrangements have been replanned and superfluous outbuildings demolished.
Architectural Description – The house, mostly of two storeys, of ashlar with hipped stone slated roofs, consists of a main range built in 1676 and a contemporary arcade with entrance lodges, terminating in an early 18th-century garden room. Behind the main range is a service range of 1805–6 and of c. 1838.
The Main Range, of 1676, is ashlar-faced with a platband and a hipped roof covered in green slates on the front slope and stone slates on the rear. The dormers with cambered heads are early 19th-century. A line of new masonry below the caves suggests that a more claborate eaves-treatment was removed some time after c. 1730, probably in the early 19th century. The single-bay E. end of the range retains its original mullioned and transomed windows. The S. front (Plate 104) is in 12 bays with doorways in the fourth and ultimate bays. Sash windows in the four W. bays have architraves of c. 1730 with no signs of the original openings, but those in the eight E. bays are inserted in the 17th-century openings; the ends of the transom blocks remain outside the moulded architraves of c. 1730. A door-case with a Gibbs surround is part of the 18th-century remodelling (Plate 125). The doorway to the arcade is also c. 1730 but a triangle of altered masonry above suggests that a more claborate composition, perhaps pedimented, once existed. Reset above the door is a late 17th-century wooden coat of arms of Tryon impaling Stydolf for James Tryon and his wife.
The W. wing, of 1805–6, is of ashlar with a hipped stone-slated roof. The bowed front has curved sash windows with a sunk panel between the upper and lower. Above the cornice is a low parapet. The rear range is in two parts: the ashlar-faced kitchen wing with sash windows was built in 1805–6 and the remainder with mullioned windows in c. 1838. The return wall on the E. is a careful reproduction of the adjoining wall of the 1676 range.
Internally, the main rooms of the house were redecorated in c. 1838 and the shutters, doors and plaster ceiling-cornices are of this date. The entrance lobby, with a staircase added in c. 1940, has a ceiling with plaster ribs and clliptical-headed openings. The Dining Room has a grey marble fireplace with enriched frame and a frieze carved with leaf-forms, of c. 1730. The Sitting Room entered by a secret door concealed by a bookcase, has an early 19th-century fireplace of orange marble with fluted pilasters and a panelled frieze. The stairhall has a staircase with plain balusters, scroll brackets and ramped handrail, and may date from 1809 when John Tillson of Stamford was paid for plaster work in the 'best staircase' (NRO, T(B) 637); the ceiling has a foliage centrepiece within an octagon enriched with a Greek fret (Plate 112). The smaller sitting room has a marble fireplace with reeded surround flanked by round-headed cupboards. The large room at the W. end, built by Legg in 1805–6, has a reeded marble fireplace. The early 19th-century kitchen in the rear range has a reset 16th-century window with two round-headed lights. In the first-floor rooms are several early 19th-century fireplaces. The attic rooms have plaster floors and one has a reset dado of bolection-moulded panelling of the early 18th-century.
Behind the stair hall, a doorway with chamfered jambs, possibly of 16th-century date, leads to a cellar below the small sitting room; it has a brick quadripartite vault resting on brick piers with stone caps. In the S.E. wall is a blocked two-light ovolo-moulded mullioned window. These features belong to the 1676 house.
The Arcade (Plate 104) is a single-storey structure of 1676 consisting of a seven-bay loggia with a central entrance flanked by lodges. Around the flat roof is a balustrade. It ends on an early 18th-century garden room which probably replaces an earlier building of similar function. The E. wall of the loggia is of coursed rubble with rendering. The central section incorporating the lodges breaks forward slightly and is of horizontally-channelled ashlar; the elliptically-headed entrance arch is flanked by Tuscan pilasters, and above the moulded keystone is a panel inscribed '1676'. The doors, probably of 1676, have bolection-moulded panels of varying shapes. Each lodge has a blocked window with a moulded architrave and a bold cornice. The S. lodge has a small spy-hole which commands the entrance. The loggia on the W. comprises seven clliptically-headed arches with projecting keystones; the central keystone is moulded and supports a panel with the date '1676'. The back wall of the loggia contains round-headed doorways and niches within rectangular frames, each with a bold cornice. The garden room at the S. end has ashlar walls and a plain parapet. Inside there is panelling in two heights and a reset fireplace of 16th-century date.
The Gardens were probably laid out in 1676, when James Tryon enclosed 226 feet (68.9 m.) of road which apparently ran in front of the present house (NRO, T(B) 260). They consist of two parterres in front of the house and a large garden, now the kitchen garden, to the S.W. The enclosing walls are of masonry faced internally with red brick, except for that on the E. which is entirely of stone. To the S. in the valley of the Willow Brook is a long canal. The upper parterre is bounded by the house and arcade. To the W. is a pair of ashlar gate piers with ball-finials, on which are hung a pair of wrought iron gates perhaps of 1676. They are of plain design with diagonally-placed bars and swept tops crowned by spiked finials. In the E. wall, and facing along the line of the path that formerly bounded the parterre on the S., is a pair of round-headed niches resembling those in the arcade. The lower parterre is flanked by terraces on the sides. On the S. the land falls steeply and there is a retaining wall of red brick, and a double flight of stone steps leading down to the level of the canal. The larger W. garden has a pair of ashlar gate piers with ball-finials, and hooks for gates; the present gates are early 18th-century and have a framework with an overthrow incorporating initials and a Tryon crest.
(5) Home Farm, of two storeys, thatched roof, has a main range of three cells, of late 17th-century origin. A range was added to the E. in the 18th or early 19th century to form an L-shaped house. Extensively remodelled in the late 19th century. The roof, of four bays, has principals resting on shaped brackets just below the wall-head; the purlins are carried on sprockets on the backs of the principals.
(8) Bulwick Mill House, originally of two storeys with parapeted gables but raised in the 19th century to provide attics, class 6, 18th-century. The mill, contemporary with the house, shares the same chamfered plinth, and has been largely dismantled. Repairs to a mill were recorded in 1698 (NRO, T(B) M 128) and in 1731 Edward and Thomas Ireson were paid for six 'roods' of walling at the Mill House for Charles Tryon (NRO, T(B) 784); this may refer to the building of the present house. (Not entered)
(9) Bulwick School (Fig. 38), of coursed rubble with freestone quoins, openings with cambered arches of rubble, Welsh slate roof and red brick stack, consists of a schoolroom, and a two-storey single-room teacher's house, all under the same roof; it is early 19th-century, and perhaps dates from 1831 when a National School was established. Kelly (1847 Directory) described it as a small Free School, suggesting that it was supported by the Tryons.
(10) No. 28, originally one storey and attics, class 5 plan, late 17th or early 18th-century, raised to two storeys in the 19th century. The W. room retains a wide fireplace and a transverse beam with notched ogee stops; much modernized. Datestone 'TB 1658' probably reset.
(12) Queen's Head Inn (Fig. 39) of two storeys, was built in the 17th century in two main stages, probably replacing an earlier building piecemeal, by Ralph Exton, yeoman, who also owned two cottages in Henwick (NRO. T(B) 296–306). It consists of a three-cell house with two rear wings, and staircases under lean-to roofs in the angles. The mullioned windows on the N. are arranged symmetrically, four on the first floor and three on the ground floor, the two E. windows linked by a hood-mould. The middle door, now blocked, is 18th-century, and the other two are later.
The part containing two E. rooms is dated by an arcaded stone panel inscribed 'RE 1683'; before alteration of the fireplaces the middle door probably opened into a lobby beside the stack (class 4). The roof is asymmetrical, covering an original lean-to passage along the S. The W. room, on a slightly different alignment, is dated by a panel identical to that on the E. inscribed 'RE 1675'. It does not have a passage on the S., and the wall between it and the central room has been removed, making a reconstruction of the original arrangement at this point impossible. The two rear wings are 19th-century in their present form, but the W. wing replaces an earlier one; the W. stair is apparently 19th-century.
(13) The Rectory, now an L-shaped building, consists of a two-room range with a stair on the S. It was built in 1827 by the incumbent, Rev. J. T. Tryon, across the N. end of an earlier building which was demolished in 1958. The L-plan was extended to the S. in 1862 by a range of rooms built by Rev. J. Henry Holdich. The N. range of 1827, of two storeys and attics in coursed rubble with flush dressings and parapeted gables under a stone-slated mansard roof, has traces of the earlier structure in the S. wall. The N. wall has bands of ashlar continuous with the flat arches of the window openings. A date-stone at the head of the wall on the N. is inscribed 'JTT ANNO DOM 1827'. A short wing on the W. is a modern replacement of a single-storey wing. Inside, the fittings include window and door surrounds with angle-paterae. To the N.E. of the house is a circular Dovecote of coursed rubble with stone-slated roof, now a summer house, probably 18th-century.
(15) No. 15, Post Office, single storey and attics, thatched roof, three-room house, now approximating to class 2. of 17th-century origin. The house has been re-roofed leaving a single truss, apparently a raised cruck, in the middle of the central room; the collar, now missing, was held by a notched lap joint. The later roof has a collar and principals, one of which rests on a wooden bracket below the wall-head.
(18) No. 12, late 18th or early 19th-century single-storey house set at right angles to the street, probably class 4a. In the early 19th century the S. room was rebuilt wider to form a parlour; it was given ashlar dressings and sash windows.
(19) Inchmore, one storey and attics, of 17th-century origin and obscure development. The front room, with gable entry and a canted bay window, has been demolished. Behind, two rooms in line have large fireplaces. Rooms to N. are narrower but still 17th-century. Across the N. end of the plot is an 18th-century Barn.
(20) No. 1, two storeys, some freestone quoins, thatched roof, 17th-century origin. Of three cells, the N. end has always been non-domestic. The house has been replanned; in the middle room the present large fireplace, with a reused 17th-century ceiling beam as bressumer, is 18th or 19th-century and may replace one originally at the N. end.
(21) Two storeys in red brick, now rendered, stone window lintels, sash windows, shallow central projection with round-headed central doorway, parapeted gables, Welsh slate roof, early 19th-century. Class 6 with rear service range giving a T-shaped plan. (Not entered)
(22) Top Farm, formerly of single storey and attics, with timber lintels and thatched roof, early 18th-century. The house was originally of three rooms with end stacks; it is roofed in four bays, the baying not conforming exactly with the ground-floor arrangements, and the principals rest on wooden brackets just below the wall-head.
(24) The Farmhouse, of two storeys and attics, with mullioned windows, Welsh slate roof, has a two-room range of 17th-century date set at right angles to the road, with date-stone inscribed '1626 IE'; a late 19th-century range at right angles may replace an earlier main range. On the first floor a transverse beam has a deep chamfer with bar stop. The Farmyard includes a 17th-century building now of two storeys with stone external steps, parapeted gables with moulded kneelers, and pantiled roof; also a 19th-century barn of rubble with rectangular ventilation slits and brick elliptical arch to the doorway.
(25) Carberry House, of two storeys, gabled porch with segmental-headed opening (cf. Laxton village), windows with cambered rubble arches, parapeted gables, T-shaped plan, early 19th-century. Part of the Laxton estate. (Not entered)
(26) New Lodge (SP 959952), two storeys with cellar, openings with cambered rubble arches, hipped roof, L-shaped plan with front range of class 6a but with internal stacks, early 19th-century. Blank windows in the E. side elevation preserve its symmetry; large fireplace and contemporary dresser in rear wing. Occupied in 1851 (Census) by William Bamford who farmed 300 acres (125 hectares) and had five labourers.
(27) Red Lodge (SP 945940), two storeys in pinkish red brick with chamfered rubble plinth, ground-floor openings with splayed rubbed brick flat arches, class 8, the rear rooms under a catslide roof, early 19th-century. (Not entered)
(28) Brick Kiln Lodge (SP 957928; Plate 117), of two storeys, hipped roof, with one-storey wing, was built in the early 19th century. Stacks are internal; the two main rooms have a pantry and stair behind. Openings are ovolo-moulded with returned labels. In 1847 the house was occupied by Thomas Barratt, farmer and brickmaker who in 1851 employed ten men (Kelly 1847; Census). The brick kiln and clay pit are to the W. where the Willow Brook cuts through the Lower Estuarine clays.
(29) Bridge over the Willow Brook, formerly a single-arch masonry bridge of 18th or 19th-century date, demolished in 1979. A bridge was recorded at Bulwick in 1482 (NRO, Early Northants. Wills, f.31). In 1721 the bridge here was of two arches (Bodleian MS. Top. Northants. f1, p. 36).