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Church of St. Mary

A Grade II* Listed Building in Benefield, North Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.4852 / 52°29'6"N

Longitude: -0.5463 / 0°32'46"W

OS Eastings: 498812

OS Northings: 288470

OS Grid: SP988884

Mapcode National: GBR FXT.0QX

Mapcode Global: VHFNG.HS1Q

Plus Code: 9C4XFFP3+3F

Entry Name: Church of St. Mary

Listing Date: 23 May 1967

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1189042

English Heritage Legacy ID: 232737

ID on this website: 101189042

Location: St Mary's Church, Lower Benefield, North Northamptonshire, PE8

County: North Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Benefield

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Benefield St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

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This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 29 April 2022 to remove superfluous amendment details and to reformat the text to current standards


Church of St. Mary



Church. Medieval origins, largely rebuilt c.1847 by John Macduff Derick for Watts-Russell family of Biggin Hall (q.v.). Restored 1897 and 1901. Limestone ashlar and squared coursed limestone with Collyweston slate roof. Aisled nave, chancel, north chapel, porch and west tower. Decorated style. South elevation of chancel is a three-window range of tall, two-light, windows. Two-stage buttresses between windows. Steep gabled roof with ashlar gable parapets and finial. Five-light east window has reticulated tracery and may be re-used from earlier building. Flanking two-stage buttresses and niche above.

North elevation of chancel of one-window range similar to south elevation. North chapel abuts two bays of chancel. Two-window range of two-light windows, all similar to the chancel. Separate gabled roof and lower eaves level. Two-light east window. Rectangular porch with lean-to stone roof in angle between chancel and north chapel. Doorway has Caernarvon head set in lean-to projection across outer corner.

South aisle of four bays; three-window range of three-light windows with four-centred arch heads. South door, in bay to left of centre, has two-centred arch head and chamfered and moulded surround. All openings to this side have carved label stops. Flat two-stage buttresses between windows have gablets to lower stage. Stone gutter with flower head frieze. Steep gabled roof with gable parapets, kneelers and finials. Three-light east and west windows with complex tracery.

North aisle of three bays. Two-window range of three-light windows under four-centred arch heads. Steep gabled roof has stone gutter with corbel table decorated with ball flowers. Ashlar gable parapets, kneelers and finials. Gabled porch, in centre bay, has doorways with two-centred arch heads and floret decoration. Three-light west window. North transept breaks forward to left. Three-light north window has geometrical tracery. Small door in return wall. Octagonal stone flue at intersection of north aisle and transept. All openings have carved label stops.

Nave clerestory of four-window range of three-light and curved triangle windows, not visible behind aisle roofs. Steep gabled roof with stone gutter, ashlar gable parapets, kneelers and finial. West tower of two stages with chamfered plinth and four-stage angle buttresses to lower stage. Lower stage is probably medieval. Small C19 west doorway, with Caernarvon head has two-light window above. Two stairway slits to right. Quatrefoil circle in north and south face. Upper stage is c.1847 with pair of two-light bell-chamber openings to each face. Moulded corbel table with gargoyles at corners. Octagonal, ashlar, broach spire has two tiers of lucarnes.

Interior: four-bay nave arcade of double chamfered arches with circular and octagonal piers, each with different capitals. Double chamfered chancel arch with continuous responds. Polygonal respond of medieval chancel arch is visible to left side in chancel. Triple-chamfered tower arch, with polygonal responds, is probably medieval, restored 1847. Double chamfered arches to north chapel and north transept. C19 roof structures. Nave has arched braced trusses with curved wind bracing; chancel and north chapel are panelled, and have painted barrel vaults. c.1847 chancel screen and rood loft with wooden spiral stair. The rood figures above are c.1904 by Sir Ninian Comper. Painted wall decoration behind. Similar north chapel screen and organ case in north chapel. North transept screen. c.1926 has reset openwork centre panel of c.1700 and flanking turned balusters. Similar reredos to altar in north transept. This chapel was designed c.1926 by Hon. C. Yorke in memory of Captain Arthur Egerton Watts-Russell of Biggin Hall (q.v.). Encaustic tiled floors. C19 stained glass to east windows and south aisle windows, other windows have painted and coloured glass. Two medieval misericords said to have come from Church of St. Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay (q.v.). Altar reredos by Comper. C19 stone pulpit and C19 octagonal font.

Monuments: Elizabeth Grant died 1698 inscribed brass tablet, north wall of chancel. Mark Lewis died 1620, marble slab in tower.

(Buildings of England: Northamptonshire, p.105; V.C.H.: Northamptonshire, Vol.3, p.76).

Listing NGR: SP9881288470

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