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Haselbech, St Michael

Haselbech, St Michael

The medieval church has a fine west tower circa 1500. Internally restored by William Slater in 1859/60 (he was born in the village) and later the chancel more elaborately by F. Butler with good external sculpture by J. Forsyth, the North chapel was added in 1872 to designs by Salvin for Lady Milton who painted the windows herself under the auspices of Heaton, Butler & Bayne.

Internally note the medieval bench ends and the continental gothic tower screen. The side aisles of the nave have a number of wall tablets, most by local carvers, John Hunt and Benjamin Button. That to William Wykes (d. 1742) by the former and that of George Ashby of Quenby Hall, Leicestershire (d. 1802) by the latter. This is a rather good wall memorial with a pair of classical vases on the top flanking a stunted obelisk with a very odd pair of flaming vases on peculiar stands to either side of the tablet.

There is also an earlier memorial, not signed, to William Wykes (d. 1721) near the door. A good classical work with carved and gilded curtains and rather charming armorials with swans waddling up red stripes. Another oddity including the animal world is the alabaster memorial to Elizabeth Pell (d. 1894), daughter of Sir Henry Halford and widow of the apparently rather eccentric Albert Pell of Wilburton Manor. This is at the end of the south aisle and is surrounded by a curious wrought iron fence with a spider busy weaving a web amongst the metal foliage.

Haselbech is one of the few churches where the monument hunter is rewarded in the church yard. Here you’ll find the extraordinary tomb to Charles Bower Ismay (d. 1924). It is a stone block of coffin shape resting to the south of the tower, with carved reliefs of running horses, birds, dogs and tropical animals. This reflects Ismay’s passion for horses, especially racing, and his love of big game hunting which took him to South America, Africa, India and to crossing the Sahara in his Rolls Royce.

The monument is by Alfred Horace Gerrard (1899 -1998). He is perhaps best known for the two pieces of sculpture in London which he executed in the 1920s when he was head of sculpture at The Slade: The Memorial to a Hunter which stood outside Tate Britain and the North Wind at 55 Broadway in Westminster.

The Ismays bought Haselbech Hall from Lord Liverpool in 1908. He was the son of the owner of the White Star Shipping Line and brother of Bruce Ismay who was its Managing Director at the time of the sinking of the Titanic. The brothers had married sisters, Julia and Constance Schieffelin, the daughters of the New York lawyer. After the disaster, Bruce Ismay lived partly in Ireland. His brother remained to live at Haselbech until his death in 1924. His widow, Matilda Constance Ismay (d.1963 ) is buried in a similar style, also by Gerrard, her tomb enriched with lines of poetry taken from a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

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

Contact & Opening Times

Haselbech, Northamptonshire, NN6 9LG


https://www.nasebygroup.org/hazelbech-st-michaels|
[email protected]|

Opening Times

The church is normally locked, see below for contact details.

 

The church lies close to a Country House which offers a restaurant and is open to the public. For opening times, please look at the Historic Houses section of our website under Kelmarsh.

 

Contact Details

Contact the vicar Revd Canon Miranda Hayes – 01858 525342 or the churchwarden, David LeSueur [email protected]

Explore the area

Click the pins on the map to see other attractions nearby

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