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Blatherwycke, Holy Trinity

Blatherwycke, Holy Trinity

Stunning medieval church in Blatherwycke

This pleasantly remote church stands at the end of a short walk shaded by ancient trees, with the vestiges of the 18th century mansion of the O’Brien family to your left. Beyond its park and lake recently restored.

On an adjacent hill can be glimpsed the rather unlikely figure of the Apollo Belvedere in the middle of a corn field. The church ante dates all this with it’s Norman west tower, it’s palimsest of Early English and Perpendicular architecture, with 17th century improvements. The building was twice restored, 1819 and 1854, which also adds to it’s charm – stained glass windows by Clayton & Bell, Heaton, Butler & Bayne, and Kemp and Co. The north chapel is almost as big as the chancel and here you encounter the burial place of the Stafford, later Stafford-O’Brien, family who acquired the estate in the 16th century (Humphrey Stafford was also the builder of nearby Kirby Hall).

The monuments seem to have somewhat rearranged and restored in the 19th century which accounts for some uncertainty as to who is being commemorated. The earliest is a brass memorial set in to an architectural surround which would appear to be of Sir Humphrey Stafford (1497-1558) Knight of the Body to Henry VIII, who was born at Grafton Regis to the south of the county, but acquired the estate. It also commemorates his wife, Margaret Tame, of Fairford in Gloucestershire. They are recorded as being married in this church. To their right is a large stone memorial erroneously inscribed on the 19th century addition to the top as being of John Stafford, his wife and children. This shows a man and a woman with children in prayer surrounded by all sorts of classical details from floriated capitals to egg and dart decoration. Further tombs line the walls of many members of the family, stretching up to the 19th century.

Do not miss the marble tablet to the poet, Thomas Randolph, by Nicholas Stone, 1640, and commissioned by his friend, Sir Christopher Hatton of Kirby Hall. It is decorated with laurel leaves with a poem “pinned” to the tablet. It is of the highest quality, typical of the work of this London based sculptor who is perhaps best remembered for his shrouded memorial to Sir John Donne in St Paul’s Cathedral, although Northamptonshire has his masterpiece in Lady Carey at Stowe IX Churches. Thomas Randolph (1605-1635) was a poet and dramatist who grew up in Northamptonshire as his mother’s family came from Newnham cum Badby. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he became a friend of Ben Johnson and through him the literary stars of Carolean London. His poem Aristippus includes a rollicking defence of tippling. Randolph seems to have been a rather jolly version of Milton. Not surprisingly he was very popular at court but died when only 29 whilst paying a visit to William Stafford at Blatherwycke. The memorial note attached to the monument is by Peter Hausted.

Please refer to the Glossary for any terms in the text that you are unfamiliar with.

Contact & Opening Times

Holy Trinity
Blatherwycke
Peterborough
Northamptonshire
PE8 6YW

Opening Times

The church is open at weekends during the summer months only.

 

Contact Details

The church is looked after by the Churches Conservation Trust website. Visit: www.visitchurches.org.uk

 

Key holder: 01223 324442

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