A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1937.
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In 1900 the greater part of the civil parish of Kingsthorpe was added to the Northampton municipal borough while the remainder was amalgamated with Boughton and Moulton Park, but subsequently, in 1931, the remainder of the old parish was absorbed into the borough. The area of the old parish was 1,020 acres. Wheat, barley, rye, and potatoes are grown, while a small amount of market gardening is carried on by the villagers. The soil is light loam with a subsoil of lime and ironstone.
Kingsthorpe lies to the north of Northampton, with which it was formerly connected by an electric tramway, but this was replaced in 1935 by a motor-omnibus service. Except in the vicinity of the church and of the 'Green', where it retains some measure of its oldworld picturesqueness, the village has become largely urban. A few old stone houses remain. Nos. 16–18 High Street is a thatched 17th-century building with modernized windows, and No. 8 Welford Road, with end gables and pan tiled roof, is of about the same date. Within the last few years many villas and small houses have been built and entirely border one side of the hill which leads to Kingsthorpe. On the other side of the road, however, a more countrified air is preserved by Kingsthorpe Hall, the residence of Francis Thornton, esq., which stands in nicely wooded grounds, surrounded by a park wall. The older part of the village lies west of the road ascending from Northampton and includes the church of St. John the Baptist, surrounded by fine elms, the old green on which is a spring called Kingswell, which never fails or freezes, and one of the three mills, known in old times as the Nether Mill and now called Kingsthorpe Mill. Of the other two mills, that known as the South or St. Andrew's Mill stands in the extreme south-west corner of the parish, where the ground lies as low as 206 ft., close to the site of the ancient priory of St. Andrew; the North Mill is the farthest away from the village and is now in Boughton parish.
The medieval hospital (fn. 1) stood on the east side of the highway from Northampton at the entrance to the village. (fn. 2) It had been converted into a blacksmith's shop before about 1870, when it was turned into a private house; further alterations and additions were made at a later period but the house, thus enlarged, was demolished in 1928. The ancient portions appear to have been of the late 12 th century and included a wide blocked arch on the west side with two small lancet windows in the filling, a larger lancet (removed in 1897) in the west gable, and a diagonal angle buttress on which was an incised cross. Foundations of buildings, probably belonging to the chapel of the Holy Trinity, are reported to have been found to the south and southeast of the house and remains of stone coffins have been dug up. (fn. 3) The chapel of St. David, attached to the hospital, was situated nearer to Northampton, (fn. 4) and was a small rectangular building without buttresses measuring internally about 27 ft. long by 13 ft. 6 in. wide, with a plain continuous chamfered doorway at the west end and an east window of two lights. (fn. 5) The chapel was converted, probably during the 18th century, into two small cottages, a floor being placed at mid-height to form a second story and modern doorways and windows inserted in the side walls. (fn. 6) The roof was covered with thatch, but some of the timbers appeared to be original. At some later time cottages were built against the chapel concealing the greater part of the west and the whole of the east end. The eastern gable and part of the north wall still stand, but the rest has been destroyed.
In the upper part of the village where the ground rises to 329 ft. are one or two boot factories which give employment to some of the inhabitants, and outside the village on the Harborough Road lies the Northampton Borough Hospital for infectious diseases. Here is also a white freestone quarry which has provided stone for the barracks, the General Hospital, and several buildings in Sheep Street, Northampton. (fn. 7) It used to be of considerable importance and in 1464 Margaret the widow of Sir William Lucy died seised of a quarry in Kingsthorpe, presumably this one. (fn. 8) There are also limestone quarries and lime-kilns in the parish.
The name perpetuated in a street called Semilong is probably a corruption of South Millwong; for Henry Coup of Northampton in the reign of Henry IVmentions in his will 3 acres of arable land in the field of Kingsthorpe above the furlong called 'Southmylleuonge' and in 1555 John Bayley was ordered to enlarge his ditch at 'South mylle uonge' near his mill on penalty of 6s. 8d. (fn. 9)
Through Kingsthorpe Hollows runs a small stream, the Wallbeck, so called in the 16th century. In 1547 it was laid down at the court held at the manor that 'no man of no out Towne shall not digge nor dame nor fysche in the broke called Walbeck broke, from Swailuong hedd to Walbecke, in penalty of 3s. 4d.'
Several families of considerable wealth and importance resided at Kingsthorpe in the 17th and 18th centuries, among them being those of the Cookes, Morgans, and Lanes. A Robert Cooke was bailiff here in the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI and was one of the three inhabitants sent up in 1547 to bring the important case of the rights of warren before the Star Chamber. (fn. 10) His grandson Robert, who married Elizabeth Morgan, died in 1609 (fn. 11) and was succeeded by his son Francis, who, dying in 1658, (fn. 12) left several children, the eldest of whom, Francis, married Bridget the daughter of Sir Richard Lane and died without issue in 1704. (fn. 13) His sister Sarah married Sir William Pritchard, who was Lord Mayor of London in 1682 and Member for the City in the Parliament of 1702. He died in 1705, his widow surviving him till 1718; (fn. 14) she was a great benefactor to Kingsthorpe, for she repaired the church and built the tower house and by her will dated 26 April 1707 left £5 for apprenticing poor boys after they had been taught for 2 years in the free school. Her brother Thomas built the schoolhouse upon ground which he had purchased, gave it a neighbouring due, and settled £14 per annum upon the schoolmaster. (fn. 15) His grand-daughter Margaret married James Fremeaux, who built the present Kingsthorpe Hall, which descended with the property to his grand-daughter Susannah, who married Thomas Reeve Thornton, in whose family the Cooke estate has remained. (fn. 16) Mr. T. R. Thornton's grandson, Mr. Francis H. Thornton, resides at the Hall at the present day, while the elder branch of the family has its seat at Brockhall in this county. (fn. 17)
The Sir Richard Lane whose daughter Bridget married Francis Cooke was the son of Richard Lane of Courteenhall and Elizabeth daughter of Clement Vincent of Harpole. Richard the son settled in Kingsthorpe and was Deputy Recorder of Northampton in 1615. In 1634 he was made Attorney-General to the Prince of Wales and in 1641 conducted the defence of Strafford, when impeached in the House of Lords, with such ability that his acquittal was almost certain, and to prevent this a Bill of Attainder was hurriedly substituted. Lane joined the king in Oxford in the spring of 1644 and was knighted there and also made Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. He was one of the commissioners on the part of the king at Uxbridge in 1645, and later in the year was created Lord Keeper, a patent which was renewed by Charles II whom he followed into exile in 1650, where he died the same year. (fn. 18) In 1649 he had compounded for delinquency and his widow Margaret in 1650 took possession of the mansion house as her jointure, although it had been let by the Treason Trustees to Major Edward Houseman, militia commander, who wished to settle in it. (fn. 19) In 1654 this estate was discharged from sequestration (fn. 20) and Lady Margaret Lane lived at Kingsthorpe until her death there in 1669 and was buried in Kingsthorpe church. (fn. 21)
The parish has been inclosed under an Act passed in 1766. (fn. 22)
At the time of the Domesday Survey KINGSTHORPE belonged to the king and formed part of the ancient demesne of the Crown. (fn. 23) The royal rights were never permanently alienated, but the manorial privileges lapsed in the 19th century.
In 1086 'Torp' was assessed at 4 hides and 3 virgates, and 1½ hides 1 bovate of land at Multon and 1 hide at Weston [Favell] were dependent on it; (fn. 24) in the 12th century it comprised exactly the same amount of land. (fn. 25) It rendered £15 a year to the king (fn. 26) and the inhabitants themselves held their town, to which the Hundred of Spelhoe was appurtenant, at farm from the Crown at least as early as the reign of John. (fn. 27) The farm paid in 1240 was £60, (fn. 28) at which figure it remained for over 200 years. In 1373 the manor was committed to Sir Hugh Calvyle to hold during pleasure. (fn. 29) Again in 1450 it was granted to John Aleyn for 12 years, (fn. 30) but having reverted to the Crown was granted in 1484 to John Earl of Pembroke for 5 years, (fn. 31) each grantee paying a farm of £60, but in the reign of Henry VI the inhabitants petitioned for its reduction on account of their poverty, and an inquisition was taken in 1439, (fn. 32) shortly after which the farm was reduced to £50 for 40 years dating from the death of Joan, the widow of Henry IV, in 1437. This reduction was again confirmed from time to time down to 1594. (fn. 33) In 1616, at the suit of the tenants, the manor was granted to trustees for the township, in order to prevent the payment of increased rent which had been exacted from the tenants each time the lease was renewed. (fn. 34) In this manner the township continued vested in trustees, vacancies being filled up by the choice of the feoffees, and is so held at the present day. (fn. 35)
The fee-farm, which in the 12th and 13th centuries was often paid as castleward to the Castle of Northampton, (fn. 36) and which in 1252 was given for works at Northampton, (fn. 37) was afterwards frequently bestowed as dower upon the queens of England. It was granted by Henry III in 1270 to Eleanor wife of his son Edward, (fn. 38) and after her death it was bestowed in 1305 upon Margaret of France, the second wife of Edward I, in augmentation of her dower, (fn. 39) a grant which was confirmed by Edward II in 1310. After Queen Margaret's death it was given by Edward II to his wife Isabel in 1318, (fn. 40) In 1382 it was granted by Richard to his queen, Anne of Bohemia, (fn. 41) and although £40 of the farm was granted in 1400 to the Mayor of Northampton for 6 years to repair the walls of the town, (fn. 42) the grant was resolved in 1403, as the £40 was granted to Queen Joan of Navarre, (fn. 43) the mayor and burghers being compensated with 40 marks from the fee-farm of Northampton. (fn. 44) After Joan's death the abbot of St. James, Northampton, and the other executors of the will of Thomas Woodville received in 1439 a grant of £40 out of the fee-farm until the same amounted to £619, due to Thomas Woodville for keeping the lords of Stoutevill and Gaucourte. (fn. 45) In 1454, at the expiration of this term, the £40 was bestowed upon Queen Margaret of Anjou but rescinded in 1464, (fn. 46) and in the following year Queen Elizabeth, the consort of Edward IV, received the £40 in part support of the expenses of her chamber. (fn. 47) A few of these dowry grants must have included more than the mere fee-farm rent, as in 1314 Queen Margaret complained that her closes at Kings- thorpe had been broken into, (fn. 48) and in 1350 Queen Isabel lodged a complaint against divers persons who had broken her houses, carried away the timber there, and assaulted her servants. (fn. 49) On the accession of Henry VII, the whole fee-farm was appropriated to the maintenance of the royal household, (fn. 50) and was apparently retained for this purpose until 1665 when £40 of the rent was granted to Katharine of Braganza. (fn. 51) In 1672 it was sold by the trustees for the sale of fee-farm rents to Sir Richard Rainsford, (fn. 52) whose grand-daughter and eventual heiress Anne brought it in marriage to the Honourable James Griffin, afterwards Lord Griffin of Braybrooke. They had two daughters, Anne who married William Whitwell of Oundle and Elizabeth the wife of Henry Neville Grey, (fn. 53) who probably conveyed the fee-farm rent to Sir Joseph Jekyll in 1720, when they sold him the manor of Dallington, (fn. 54) for in 1820, a century later, it was in the possession of Miss Ann Barbara Wrighte, descendant and eventual heiress of Sir Joseph Jekyll. (fn. 55) Miss Wrighte died in 1830, when her estates devolved on her cousin Mr. George Thomas Wyndham of Cromer, Norfolk, who, dying the month after, was succeeded by his infant son George Thomas Wyndham, who, in the same year, obtained the right of using the name of Wrighte before Wyndham. (fn. 56)
As tenants of the ancient demesne of the Crown, the men of Kingsthorpe enjoyed special privileges, one of which was freedom of toll throughout England, which was confirmed to them at different times, in 1385, in 1438, and in 1650. (fn. 57) They were not so successful, however, in resisting the encroachment of rights of warren and the matter was the subject of a long controversy during the 16th century. The keepers of Moulton Park claimed free warren extending into the parishes of Boughton and Kingsthorpe and caused holes to be made in the walls of the park so that the rabbits might run out into the fields. This proceeding was much resented by the inhabitants of Kingsthorpe, who said that 100 acres of grass and corn were destroyed, 80 acres of ground lay fallow, and that if there were no conies they would sow 40 more quarters of corn. They attempted to keep down the rabbits but were severely punished by the under-keepers, who placed them in the stocks kept in Moulton Lodge, took away their guns and ferrets, even beating and wounding the shepherds and killing their dogs. (fn. 58) When Sir Nicholas Vaux was keeper of the park he withheld lands from the inhabitants of Kingsthorpe and occupied them as warrens for rabbits. Thereupon the men of Kingsthorpe 'did plough up a whole clapper of conyes lying upon the flat beneath the foxholes, lying next the place called Whyte Hills' and brought a suit against Lord Vaux which was decided in their favour. However, on the condition that Lord Vaux 'should be goode and lovying towards them for the sum of 13s. 4d. yearly', he was to occupy 4 'clappers' of conies in Kingsthorpe Heath from year to year at the will of the bailiff and inhabitants. After the death of Lord Vaux, the inhabitants ploughed up the ground, meaning to sow it for the 'relief of their pore chirche there', but the under-keeper, Henry Maye, cut the plough gears of the parishioners. (fn. 59) On the other hand, a good deal of poaching must have been carried on. On one occasion, at the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII, one John Lawford and another man 'went oute of Northampton towne in a darke nyght with a lantern and a candell lyght in the same, into the warren between the felds of Northampton and Kyngesthorp, intending to stele conyes with a ferrett and purse nette'. They met the under-keeper, told him they were looking for a lost bullock and he bade them go their way to look for it 'and after they were departed from hym, they had that that they dyd come for'. (fn. 60)
In virtue of their farming the manor, the inhabitants constituted a 'commune', of which the 14th-century seal has been preserved. It is of latten, bearing the head of a king and a fleur-de-lis, with the legend: sigillvm commvne de kyngesthorpe. They made many ordinances for the good government of their township, e.g. allowing licensed begging for the impotent but sternly punishing those who begged on false pretences, and regulating the sale of ale. (fn. 61)
There used formerly to be a king and queen chosen for May games, on Easter Day after Evensong, every one refusing to officiate to pay 6s. 8d., of which half went to the bailiff and half to the church; this order was laid down at the court held in 1547 but the custom long ago fell into disuse. (fn. 62)
At the entrance to the village from Northampton on the east side stood the hospital of St. David and the Holy Trinity. (fn. 63) As tenants under the hospital were the Butler family of Yelvertoft in the 14th century, (fn. 64) and in 1379 the master, brethren, and sisters of the hospital leased all their meadows in Kingsthorpe to EliasPecke. (fn. 65) In 1535 the hospital paid to the king's bailiff 34s. rent for land held from the Crown in Kingsthorpe, (fn. 66) and after its dissolution the Morgan family held some of the lands in lease from the Crown. (fn. 67) The Morgan estate in Kingsthorpe passed on the death of John, the last male representative in the direct line in 1721, to his daughter Mary, who brought it in marriage to Sir John Robinson, bart., in whose descendants it has continued, Sir Frederick Villiers Laud Robinson, of Cranford Hall, near Kettering, being the present proprietor. (fn. 68) In 1799 Sir George Robinson, the son of Sir John mentioned above, purchased some of the hospital's possessions in Kingsthorpe and Boughton, &c., comprising the site of St. David's, on which he built the house known as St. David's. (fn. 69)
The Friars Minor of Northampton received licence in 1278 to cover the spring of Froxwelle in the field of Kingsthorpe and to bring the water to their house in Northampton, (fn. 70) and in 1291 they were further allowed to unite the course of the spring, called Triwell, then running in three directions between Northampton and Kingsthorpe, and to lead it to their house by a subterranean conduit. (fn. 71)
The hospital of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist also held land in Kingsthorpe of the king for which it paid the bailiff 17d. in 1535. (fn. 72)
The three MILLS in Kingsthorpe already referred to are mentioned in the Survey of 1086 as worth 43s. 4d. a year. (fn. 73) They were held, with the rest of the manor, on lease from the Crown and were rented out by the inhabitants. The South Mill was let on lease to St. Andrew's Priory, to which it was in close proximity, but the tenants of the Crown resisted the priory's claim to free fishing in the river between the Nether and South Mills. On the court rolls of 1411 Richard Napton, the Prior of St. Andrews, his monks and servants, were accused of fishing in the 'Shote' of the South Mill and of making a weir to the harm of the town of Kingsthorpe. (fn. 74) In 1413 the prior promised to abstain from fishing until the matter was settled either by arbitration or by the Bench, (fn. 75) but evidently no satisfactory arrangement was come to, for between 1442 and 1449 the prior alleged that the bailiff and others came armed to the mill and then to the gates of the monastery to destroy it while the monks were at divine service. They then went to the field of Northampton and broke and dug up the head of the conduit and then came back to the gates, waiting to catch any of the monks. (fn. 76)
In 1439 the South and Nether Mills were rented at 80s. each, while the North Mill was worth only 40s. a year (fn. 77) and in 1457 the four water-mills called the South Mills, under 1 roof, 2 for grinding corn and 2 for fulling, together with the going gear (goyn geres), pond, fishery, and the produce of 1 holme of meadow lying between the water and the mill were leased to William Braunfeld for 10 years at the rent of 7 marks, 1 day's work at mowing and 1 cask of ale containing 26 gallons or 2s. 2d. (fn. 78) When the South Mill was let in 1529, the lessee was ordered to scour the ditches, to serve the inhabitants before strangers and as soon as the 'bene' should be empty; also to pay 2s. 2d. towards the mowing of the holmes. (fn. 79) In 1547 the millers were ordered to make a plank which could be crossed at all times, and to make sufficient meal and malt for the inhabitants who were obliged to have their corn ground at the town mills. (fn. 80)
During the 16th century the Cooke family were lessees of the North Mill. (fn. 81) In 1614 the three mills were leased to William Whitmore and Edmund Sawyer subject to a fee-farm rent of £12 12s. 4d., of which £2 10s. was paid for the North Mill, £4 4s. for the Nether Mill, and £5 18s. 4d. for the South Mill. (fn. 82) This fee-farm rent was granted to Queen Katharine in 1665 (fn. 83) and was sold to Sir Richard Rainsford in 1672, (fn. 84) together with that of the manor, and since then has descended with it.
During the 17th century, the Morgan family were lessees of the three mills, which passed with the rest of their estate to Sir John Robinson. (fn. 85) The Robinson family continued to own the mills, subject to the feefarm rent, until the end of the 19th century when they were sold to different purchasers. (fn. 86)
The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST stands north of the village green and consists of chancel, 50 ft. by 15 ft. 6 in., with north and south chapels; clerestoried nave, 35 ft. 2 in. by 12 ft. 3 in.; north and south aisles, respectively 14 ft. and 14 ft. 6 in. wide; south porch; and west tower, 12 ft. 3 in. square with spire, all these measurements being internal. The chapels cover the chancel for more than two-thirds of its length, and are continuations of the aisles: the total internal length of the church is 108 ft. and its width 53 ft. 6 in.
The first church was an aisleless building of c. 1100, with nave the same size as at present and small, probably square-ended, chancel. Remains of this early building exist in three small round-headed windows in the north and south walls of the nave over the easternmost piers and on the north side of the chancel over the first pier from the west. The heads only of the nave windows remain, but that in the chancel is fairly perfect on what was originally the outside. These openings are only 4 in. wide but splay out internally to 3 ft. 4 in. and finish outwardly with a narrow chamfer. What remains exposed of the ancient walling of the chancel is of rubble with roughly laid herring-bone work. (fn. 87)
About 1150–60 the north wall of the chancel was pierced at its west end (fn. 88) with two small semicircular arches of a single unmoulded order springing from a cylindrical pier and from half-round responds with large scalloped capitals and moulded bases, opening probably to a chapel. The nave arcades appear to have been pierced a little later, c. 1160–70, and aisles added. The arcades are of three bays with semicircular arches of a single unmoulded order on circular piers and halfround responds, but the capitals display soffit foliage of an incipient type, the square abaci are finely moulded, (fn. 89) and the bases show well-developed water moulding. Both chancel and nave arches have large nail-head hood-moulds on the inner side.
In the latter part of the 13th century, c. 1290, the south wall of the chancel was pierced with two pointed double-chamfered arches, (fn. 90) springing from a central pier composed of four groups of triple shafts clustered round an octagon, with moulded capitals and bases, and from plain half-octagonal responds. The chancel was lengthened at the same time, and during the first half of the 14th century the aisles and chapels appear to have been rebuilt and extended eastward, the chapels opening to the chancel by broad arches, the original chancel arch being taken down and a new one erected farther east between the piers of the arcades and the wall carried up above to form a new east end to the thus extended nave. (fn. 91) The clerestory was probably added at this time, extending as far eastward as the new arch with four windows on each side, and the south chapel is said to have been widened at the time of its rebuilding. (fn. 92)
The tower and spire were built late in the 14th century but much altered subsequently, and about 1380–1400 the chancel was again lengthened, the new east end being raised above a vaulted crypt. No further additions to the fabric have since been made, but the alterations in the 19th century were extensive. About 1851 changes were made in the east bay of the chancel, a window on the south side being removed, and other ancient features obliterated. (fn. 93) In 1863 there was a restoration of the whole fabric, amounting in parts to a rebuilding, the extent of which may be thus summarized: the 14th-century chancel arch was taken down and a new one erected farther west in the position of the original Norman arch, with a new east gable to the nave above it, to which the chancel roof was extended; the whole of the clerestory was taken down and rebuilt in its present form, the easternmost bay over the west end of the chancel being removed with the 14thcentury chancel arch; the west arch of the north nave arcade, part of the arch next to it, and the four nave piers were renewed; (fn. 94) the south aisle and porch were rebuilt, the aisle wall being then advanced in line with that of the south chapel; (fn. 95) and the nave, aisles, and chapels were newly roofed. The upper part of the tower was refaced with ashlar in 1923–4.
The roof of the chancel is of high-pitch and covered with modern tiles, but the other roofs are low-pitched and leaded behind plain parapets. The chapels have low gables at the east end. The porch is tiled. Internally, with the exception of the tower, the walls are plastered.
The chancel has a modern east window of four lights with vertical tracery; the diagonal buttresses are also modern and the two-light window in the south wall was inserted in 1901. (fn. 96) The floor of the late-14th-century extension is raised four steps and its north wall is blank, but in the usual position in the south wall is a good contemporary piscina. Farther west is a large trefoiled piscina of the late-13th-century chancel and opposite to it, at the north end of the steps, is a small trefoiled recess. The two broad early-14th-century arches opening to the chapels are of two chamfered orders, west of which are the earlier arcades already described. The modern chancel arch is carried on corbels, but the dwarf screen wall of the ritual chancel is a half-bay farther east. The altar rails are of early-17th-century date, with turned balusters, but the hammer-beam roof is modern. The 14th-century crypt, or bone house, (fn. 97) below the eastern bay, is approached from the churchyard on the south side, (fn. 98) and is 15 ft. 6 in. square and about 10 ft. high. It is vaulted in two bays each of two compartments, the chamfered ribs springing from a central octagonal pier and from half-octagonal responds, all with moulded capitals and chamfered bases. The crypt is lighted by two square-headed windows on the east and one on the south.
The east window of the south chapel is of three lights with intersecting tracery, (fn. 99) and if contemporary with the clustered pier on the south side of the chancel was moved eastward to its present position when the chapel was lengthened. The two square-headed windows of the south chapel are of three trefoiled lights with moulded jambs and mullions, the outer moulding being enriched all round with four-leaf flowers. West of these, in the modern wall of the aisle east of the porch, are inserted two pointed 14th-century windows of two trefoiled lights, but west of the porch the windows are modern. The whole of the north wall is of the 14th century, and has a good continuous moulded doorway and three two-light windows to the aisle with a quatrefoil in the heads. (fn. 100) In the chapel is a later window with depressed head, and east of it a single-light trefoiled window with ogee hood-mould.
Remains of medieval ritual arrangements are plentiful. There are two piscinas in the south chapel, one at the east end of early-14th-century date with trefoil head, and near to it an aumbry which retains its door, the other with a rounded head within a pointed arch probably of c. 1200. (fn. 101) In the north chapel a very beautiful late-13th-century piscina, with roll and fillet mouldings and trefoiled internal head retaining traces of colour, has been built into the south wall, and in the portion of 12th-century walling farther west, between the responds of the earlier and later arches, are the remains of another piscina and a consecration cross. In the north wall, opposite the chancel arch, is a trefoiled aumbry, and at the back of the south-east respond of the nave arcade, opening from the south chapel, is a recess (now blocked) for a processional cross, or banner stave, with pointed head and hood-mould. (fn. 102) Pointed doorways to the rood-loft occur west of the broad arches on either side and in the outer wall of the south chapel, the latter with a cusped canopy, the loft having extended across the church, but no steps remain.
The tower is of three stages with moulded plinth, clasping buttresses of two stages, and battlemented parapet. There is a vice in the south-west angle. The lower and half the middle stage are of ancient ironstone but at this height the modern ashlar facing begins. The west doorway is of two continuous moulded orders and the window above it of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery. (fn. 103) The tall bell-chamber windows are transomed and of two trefoiled lights with quatrefoil in the head, the hood-mould being taken round the tower as a string. The lofty tower arch is of three chamfered orders, the inner on half-octagonal responds, (fn. 104) and the ground story has an old wooden roof. Built into the tower walls inside are five consecration crosses—four in the north wall and one in the south. The spire has plain angles and three tiers of lights on its cardinal faces.
In the porch is a wooden cupboard with glazed front, for the loaves of George Cook's Bread Charity, inscribed: 'Mr. George Cook gave in ye Year 1690 the Interest of a Hundred Pounds to be gave in Bread, Every Sunday to 12 Poor People of this Parish for ever.'
On the north wall of the chancel is an alabaster monument to Dr. Edward Reynolds, rector of St. Peter's, Northampton, 1658–98, with long Latin inscription, and on the south wall tablets to Mabel wife of Francis Morgan (d. 1664) and others of the family, Mary wife of Sir John Robinson of Cranford (d. 1734), and to the Rev. R. W. Baxter, rector of St. Peter's (d. 18 50). (fn. 107) In the south chapel is a floor-slab with brass inscription to Francis Morgan (d. 1704) and Elizabeth his wife (1706), and a slab to Walter Faunt (d. 1695) and his wife Mabel (d. 1698), daughter of Francis Morgan. Other monuments recorded by Bridges have disappeared. (fn. 108)
There is a ring of six bells, the treble by Alfred Bowell of Ipswich 1911, the second and fourth by Robert Atton of Buckingham 1621, the third dated 1680, the fifth inscribed 'Paroecie campana ecclesie tuba 1622', and the tenor dated 1671. (fn. 109)
The plate consists of a silver cup and cover, paten, flagon, bread-holder, and alms dish of 1678 given in that year by 'Mrs. Mary Reynolds, relict of Edward, late Lord Bishop of Norwich, and mother of Edward Reynolds, D.D.', and a silver-plated chalice given in 1875. (fn. 110)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms June 1540–1789, marriages October 1539– 1750, burials March 1539–40 to 1789; (ii) marriages 1754–1812; (iii) baptisms and burials 1789–1812. There is a gap from 1653 to 1660.
The church of Kingsthorpe, together with that of Upton, had been attached from time immemorial to St. Peter's in Northampton, to which it was merely a chapel of ease, when in 1850 it was separated from the mother church and constituted a separate parish. (fn. 111) The history of the advowson is, therefore, similar to that of St. Peter's (q.v.).
There was a chantry within the parish church of Kingsthorpe founded by John Bacon in 1471 to maintain a priest to sing for ever at Our Lady's altar and to pray for the souls of John Bacon, his father and mother, and of his wife Agnes. (fn. 112) In 1530 its possessions were worth £4 yearly, (fn. 113) but towards the end of the same reign its lands were valued at £6 5s., of which 70s. 4d. was paid to the priests as salary, the ornaments being worth 3s. 4d. (fn. 114) The inhabitants of Kingsthorpe claimed the lands belonging to the chantry as copyhold (fn. 115) but were unsuccessful in their claim and the Crown appropriated the lands, part of which were leased to the Mottershed family who held an estate in Kingsthorpe. (fn. 116) John Mottershed by his will dated 14 April 1594 left his lands to his son William who died seised of them in 1625, (fn. 117) the latter's son Thomas obtaining certain lands in fee simple from the trustees of the manor in 1633. (fn. 118) One of the family called Edward, who died in 1643, gave five chained books to the church which are still there. (fn. 119) Other of the chantry lands were obtained by the Pilkington family, one of whom, Thomas, died seised of them in 1637 and was succeeded by his son Thomas. (fn. 120)
Margaret at Park c. 1389 gave to William Holcot half an acre of land above Northmill furlong for finding one candle of wax before the feast of St. Christopher in front of the altar of St. Katharine. (fn. 121)
The Bush Close or the Poor Close. An allotment of about 14 acres was set out on the inclosure of the parish in 1766, for the use of the poor. The land was sold in 1896 and the proceeds invested, producing about £30 yearly in dividends. The trustees consist of the vicar and four trustees appointed by the Urban District Council of Kingsthorpe in place of the churchwardens and overseers, and the Corporation of Northampton may appoint two additional trustees. The income is distributed to old people and widows.
The Bread Fund originally consisted of £230 Consols purchased in 1780 with £165, of which £100 was given by George Cook in 1690 and the remainder by persons of the name of Clarke and Gooding and other benefactors. The stock has been increased to £280 by the investment of accumulations, and the income amounting to £7 yearly is distributed in bread by the vicar and two trustees appointed by the Urban District Council in place of the churchwardens.
The Manor and Town Charity. An allotment of about 16 acres was set out on the inclosure in lieu of lands anciently appropriated to the repair of the highways and wells. There was also a schoolhouse known as the Manor House held for the same purposes. This latter property was sold in 1907 and the proceeds were invested in £208 3s. 6d. Consols producing £5 4s. in dividends. The land is let in allotments and produces about £35. The income is applied in the upkeep of the church clock and in paying the beadle's and clerk's salaries.
Dame Sarah Pritchard by her will proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in May 1718 gave £5 yearly to be applied in apprenticing poor boys. The charity is administered by the vicar and two trustees appointed by the Urban District Council in place of the churchwardens. The last premium was paid in 1917, and there does not appear to have been any boy apprenticed since then.
The Kingsthorpe Bounty was founded by the Rev. Robert William Baxter by deed poll dated 21 December 1842. The endowment originally consisted of £1,200 3 per cent. Reduced Bank Annuities and the deed directed that £24 a year should be distributed by the rector equally among 12 men and 12 women, £7 should be applied in apprenticing boys, and £5 to the parish clerk. The endowment now produces £30 yearly, and the income is applied as nearly as possible in accordance with the terms of the deed.
The Glover Augmentation Fund was founded by the Rev. John Hulbert Glover by deed poll dated 14 November 1900. This endowment produces £25 per annum, which is applicable by the vicar in augmenting in equal amounts the annuities payable under the Kingsthorpe Bounty.
Mark Bailey by his will proved at Birmingham 11 May 1888 gave a sum of money now producing 4s. 4d. yearly, to the vicar and churchwardens, the income to be applied in bread to the poor. This is distributed at the same time as the bread fund.
Mrs. M. A. Parker by her will proved at Northampton 13 December 1905 gave £100 to the trustees of the Kingsthorpe Baptist Chapel for the benefit of the poor of the church and congregation. The dividends amounting to £3 10s. 4d. yearly are distributed in cash payments of about 5s. each.