(OS 1:10000 aSP 75 NW, bSP 75 NE)
Collingtree is a small sub-rectangular parish of 278 hectares bounded
on the N. by Wootton Brook, on the W. by Milton Malsor and on the S.
and E. by Courteenhall. The parish is fairly flat, running from a height of
101 m. above OD at its S.W. end down a gentle slope to 70 m. above OD
at its N. end where it joins Wootton Brook. Most of the parish is situated
on sand and gravel with some alluvium at its N. end on the sides of
Wootton Brook and some Boulder Clay at its S. end. It has always been
closely linked to Milton Malsor (VCH Northamptonshire IV, 271–3), the two
parishes presumably having been formed out of a single larger estate.
Only that part of the parish which lies to the N. of the M1 motorway is
within the development area and only this portion, 120 hectares in area, is
included in this Inventory. For the remainder of the parish, see RCHM
Northamptonshire IV, 102, Milton Malsor.
Prehistoric and Roman
Worked flints have been discovered at five locations within the parish
(c. SP 756557; NDC P237. c. SP 753551; NDC P238. c. SP 755551; NDC
P239. c. SP 750561; also one (?) Belgic potsherd and one Iron Age or
early to middle Saxon potsherd; NDC P243. c. SP 749561; NDC P244).
Roman coins have been discovered at two locations within the parish
(SP 75185567; AE4 Urbs Roma felix; NDC R226. SP 75045582; AE4 Fel
temp reparatio; Northamptonshire Archaeol 15 (1980), 107; NDC R227).
Medieval and Later
Two sherds of early to middle Saxon pottery have been discovered
during field-walking at c. SP 749561 (NDC AS30) and an Iron Age or early
to middle Saxon potsherd was found during field-walking at c. SP 750561
b(1) Parish Church of St. Columba (SP 751557; fiche Fig. 24;
The building appears to have originated with an un-aisled Romanesque
nave of two squares; its S.E. corner is still visible externally in the angle
between the chancel and S. aisle. The present position of the S. doorway
may mark the original door alignment. The Romanesque S. doorway of the
chancel appears to be in situ thus establishing the line of the S. wall of
the chancel as 12th-century. The N. wall of the chancel lies in the same
relationship to the nave, so it is likely that the N. wall is also of 12th-century origin. At the same time, two-bay aisles were added to the nave.
The lack of N.-S. alignment between the position of the arcade piers
suggests the existence of a pre-existing arcade on one side or the other.
In the early 13th century the nave and aisles were lengthened one bay to
the W. The chancel had achieved its present length and the aisles their
present width by 1400. The tower appears to date from the 15th century,
although it may incorporate an earlier structure in its lower parts. The
clearstorey may be late-medieval in origin although the present, post-medieval, windows cut the wall plate. The present roof is lower than the
late medieval roof, a fragment of which survives behind the E. gable. The
N. aisle was removed in 1808 (Faculty, NRO 74P/37). The whole church
was extensively restored in 1871–4 (Builders' account, NRO 74P/38), and
the N. vestry and organ chamber added in 1891. (VCH Northamptonshire
Collingtree and Milton Malsor were closely connected tenurially in
1086 (DB f. 227b). The priest recorded as being on Geoffrey Alsein's
holding could have served a church in either vill, though Milton was clearly
the caput of the estate. When the episcopal records begin it is clear that
Collingtree and Milton were united and held in moiety under lay patronage
(e.g. Rot Gross, 203).
Fig. 24 Parish Church of St. Columba. Outline plan.
The church consists of a Chancel, North Vestry/Organ Chamber,
Nave, South Aisle, South Porch and West Tower.
In the N. wall are an archway and a doorway, both 19th-century
openings into the 19th-century N. vestry/organ chamber. To the E. is a
blocked doorway, chamfered, with a two-centred head, which opened into a
former vestry. At the E. end of the wall is a window of three cinquefoil-headed lights and below it, a straight-headed aumbry. The four-centred E.
window has five cinquefoil-headed lights. The E. wall has been extensively
rebuilt. At the E. end of the S. wall is a three-light window with
intersecting tracery of the 19th century. Formerly the window was
straight-headed with three trefoil-headed lights (Clarke). Below the
window are three ogee-headed sedilia with pierced cusps. The worn head
bosses appear medieval but the pinnacles are 19th-century. The S.
doorway, now blocked, has an unmoulded round head and simple impost
mouldings in the soffit. Inset in the external face of the wall to the E.
of the doorway is an arched tomb recess; the arch is much distorted. The
window to the W. of the S. door is of two lights with tracery of a
quatrefoil. There is a straight-headed low side window below. Between
the window and the S. jamb of the chancel arch is a small recess, possibly
a squint (VCH Northamptonshire IV, 241). The chancel roof is. 19th
century. The crease visible on the E. face of the chancel arch gable
indicates that the chancel roof was formerly of a steeper pitch and had
lower eaves. The height of the wall was raised in the 19th century when
the parapets were added.
The N. aisle was removed in 1808 but the piers and responds of the
three-bay arcade are still visible in the blocking wall. There is a late
19th-century single-light window in the blocking of each arch, replacing
similar but larger windows of 1808. The arcade arches are double-chamfered. The W. respond has a polygonal half-shaft with a simple
moulded capital, of the 14th or 15th century. The W. pier has a round
shaft and moulded capital, the E. pier a round shaft but square capital.
The E. respond is square and has a simple impost moulding. Above the
respond is the blocked, straight-headed opening of the former rood loft
doorway. The chancel arch is of two hollow-chamfered orders, the outer
continuous, the inner carried on polygonal half-shafts with crudely moulded
capitals. The S. arcade is the same as the N. However, above the arcade
are three straight-headed two-light clearstorey windows of the 17th
century. The W. wall is pierced by a tall tower arch, the three orders of
which die into the wall. The tie-beam roof of the nave is perhaps 18th-century.
There is a continuous moulding running above the S. face of the S.
arcade. A similar moulding, now cut away, formerly existed above the
external face of the N. arcade. The straight-headed E. window has two
cusped lights with pierced spandrels. The head of the E. wall is
battlemented. The two windows in the S. wall are similar in detailing to
the E. window but of three lights. Their moulded mullions and cusping are
19th-century insertions. Underneath the window is a piscina, the head of
which is a miniature shouldered arch. The S. doorway has a two-centred
head and is continuously moulded with addorsed ogees. Over it are visible
the voussoirs of an earlier doorway. There is a trefoil-headed niche above.
The W. window is similar to the E. The W. wall is battlemented. The
font is of 'table' type but has a round bowl. Grotesque heads are sculpted
at the junction of the bowl and the legs. The aisle roof is 19th-century.
The outer S. doorway is of two orders with continuous hollow
chamfers. There is a small niche above. In the side walls are two light
19th-century windows. There is a section of 17th-century panelling ex situ
against the E. wall.
The tower rises in three stages with diagonal buttresses and modest
set-backs. There is a deep plinth moulding. A blocked four-centred W.
doorway is moulded with three rolls and hollows and has crude foliage
carving in the spandrels. The W. window is of two lights with panel
tracery. Halfway up the central stage is a break in the fabric. The
belfry openings are of two lights with tracery of a quatrefoil. The tower
stair on the S. side appears to be added; it is carried on shallow, awkward
b(2) Saxon Settlement (centred on SP 75645575), E. of
Collingtree village, on fluvial sand and gravel, at 80 m. above OD. A
scatter of 13 definitely and seven possibly early to middle Saxon potsherds
was discovered during field-walking in 1980. Eighty per cent of the
sherds came from an area of approximately 0.75 hectares in the N.W.
corner of the field (centred on SP 75645575) though the settlement seems
likely to continue into the field to the W. and possibly that to the N.
(CBA Group 9 Newsletter 12 (1982), 40; NDC AS28). Possible ditches are
reported in the same field from an aerial photograph taken in 1979
(Northamptonshire Archaeol 15 (1980), 177; NDC A73).
(3) Cultivation Remain. The common fields of Collingtree were
enclosed, together with those of Milton Malsor, by an Act of Parliament of
1779 (NRO, Enclosure Map 1780). The S. part of the medieval parish of
Collingtree is now part of Milton Malsor parish (see RCHM
Northamptonshire IV, Milton Malsor (8)).
Ridge-and-furrow of these common fields exists on the ground or can
be traced on air photographs in a number of places in the area now within
Northampton. Some survives in Collingtree Park (SP 755558), and
elsewhere there are regular interlocked furlongs, many of reverse-S form
(e.g. SP 747555). At the latter location there is considerable variety in
the width of ridges which range from 5 m. to 9 m. across. (RAF VAP
CPE/UK/1920, 5024–7; 1994, 2177–80, 3172–4)