Those who know me will know of my love of East Northamptonshire. Perched on top of high ground a mile and a half from Polebrook, my only company being a few grazing sheep, and with the tower and broache spire of the church commanding the surrounding area, I have to say that there are few places that I would rather have been.
On entering the village the church of All Saints is set on raised ground in the centre of the village, surrounded by delightful stone cottages. A lovely scene, and personally one that I would never tire of seeing!
The church here dates from the 12th century, and is thought to stand on the site of an earlier wooden Saxon church. There was mention of the village having a priest in the Domesday Survey of 1086. The church was enlarged in the 13th century. Restoration was undertaken here in the 1840's. The church consists of aisles nave, chancel, tower with spire and north and south transepts.
The elegant buttressed tower leads to a three broache spire. There is a one handed clock on the west side of the tower. Local legend states that this clock used to be the most tempramental in the country, sometimes striking 23 times in a row! Evidently, those problems in the past had started after the spire had been struck by lightning. An old newspaper report also stated that Polebrook's one handed clock was unique. This is just not true, and the visitor does not have to travel all that far, to Stoke Doyle neat Oundle, to find the next nearest!
Five bells hang here. One was cast by Henry Penn of Peterborough in 1717 and is inscribed "THIS : BELL : WAS : GIVEN : BY : WILLm : TAWYER : GENT : 1717". Two bells were cast in St Neots by the Joseph Eayre foundry. The earlier of the two bells, dated 1765, has the names of John Hunt and Henry Negus, the Churchwardens of the day inscribed in to it. The later bell is dated 1771. John Hunt's name again appears as Churchwarden, along with John Groom.
Two 16th century bells complete the ring here, both from Leicester. One of these was cast by the Newcombe foundry, with the other courtesy of Francis Watts.
Gargoyles can be seen dotted here and there, with these having been repositioned at some point. Was also interested to see (after having had it pointed out to me) a carving of a bear on a corbel string that otherwise just consisted of blank ornamentation. Other corbel strings consisted of grotesquely pulled faces.
Church grounds are large and well maintained. Many graves here are from Georgian times, but the vast majority are very weathered. What carvings can still be seen indicate some very fine work.
Moving inside, and the font, with with trefoiled panels and circular pedestal, dates from the later part of the 13th century. The American Stars and Stripes fly in the north transept, where there are plaques on the wall commemorating the outstanding courage of Walter Truemper and Archie Mathies who were members of the 510th Squadron based at Polebrook airfield during World War Two.
There is a bier in the north transept, these days used as a table for serving tea and coffee from. A bier is a cart used to transport a coffin to the graveside. On the west wall of the north transept there is just the merest trace of a wall painting. Nearby a twisted face with bulbous nose and closed eyes sticks its tongue out in typical medieval gesture of insult.
The south transept is smaller than the north transet, and has some very old wooden seating in it, along with various memorials to the Ferguson family. Lots of stained glass on show here, mostly from Victorian and Edwardian times. Some very high quality stained glass here, with one window showing Christ with a lamb around his shoulders is stunning.
A glance upwards shows a couple of interesting wooden bosses. One in the nave shows a pair of crossed keys. The other is a very aged looking wooden head.
This is a lovely church, and I enjoyed my stay here very much. Had a quick bite to eat, finished the emergency chocolate ration and got back on the cycle and headed off towards Luddington In The Brook. Polebrook is an essential visit if you are in the area.