History in Structure

Church of St Columba

A Grade II* Listed Building in Collingtree, West Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.1946 / 52°11'40"N

Longitude: -0.9029 / 0°54'10"W

OS Eastings: 475087

OS Northings: 255721

OS Grid: SP750557

Mapcode National: GBR BWV.6KH

Mapcode Global: VHDSC.93JF

Plus Code: 9C4X53VW+VR

Entry Name: Church of St Columba

Listing Date: 3 May 1968

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1293721

English Heritage Legacy ID: 232093

ID on this website: 101293721

Location: St Columba's Church, Collingtree, West Northamptonshire, NN4

County: West Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Collingtree

Built-Up Area: Collingtree

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Collingtree St Columba

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

Tagged with: Church building

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725/22/406 HIGH STREET
03-MAY-68 (West side)


The church was probably built in the early C12, and the western part of the chancel and the nave walls date to this period. The N aisle and all or part of the S aisle were added in the later C12. The chancel was extended eastwards and the aisles apparently rebuilt in the C14, at which time new fittings including the chancel sedilia and the font were also installed.

There was further remodelling in the C15, when the tower and clerestory were added and the E window replaced. The N aisle was pulled down in 1808, preserving the N arcade and reusing some older materials including windows. Restoration of 1871-73 included the construction of the S porch. The N organ chamber was added in 1891, and the nave and aisle roofs were renewed in 1929, reusing much of the old timber.

Largely coursed limestone stone rubble with stone dressings, with some ashlar. The tower is uncoursed limestone rubble. Lead roofs to nave, aisle, porch and tower, slate to chancel. Nave interior stripped, chancel plastered with exposed stone dressings.

Nave with 2-bay S aisle, S porch and blocked 2-bay N aisle. W tower with shallow, rectangular SE stair turret. Chancel with N organ chamber.

Three stage, C15 embattled W tower with very high, moulded plinth, the stages separated by strings. Diagonal buttresses and rectangular stair turret like an over-sized buttress. Blocked 4-centred W door with continuous moulded arch, square hood mould and carved spandrels. Above it is a tall, 2-light Perpendicular window; there are similar, smaller 2-light windows in each face of the bell stage and a very small, rectangular opening in the 2nd stage on the W face.

Nave has a shallow pitched roof and small plain parapets. There are 3 plain 2-light windows with square heads on the S only. E nave gable rises above the roof line. S aisle is unbutressed and has much restored Perpendicular windows with trefoiled ogee lights under square heads with hood moulds. Those in the S wall have 3 lights, and those in the E and W walls 2 lights. The C19 S porch has a pointed outer opening with continuous mouldings under a hood mould, and 2 light Perpendicular style windows with 4-centred heads. The nave S door has a continuous double ogee moulding and a trefoil headed niche above.

The chancel has diagonal SE and NE buttresses of two stages. There is a blocked late C12 doorway in the N (the VCH suggests this led to a former chapel or sacristy, though this need not have been the case and it may have been simply a priest's door) and to the right of it a round-headed recess, probably for a tomb, and perhaps also dating to the late C12. To the left is a square, later medieval low-side window or squint. The chancel S windows are both heavily renewed, but are C14 Decorated in style. That to the W has two ogee lights with an ogee quatrefoil in the head, and the other to the E has 3-light intersecting Y-tracery. The masonry is too heavily renewed for any building break between the C12 and C14 work to be visible. Chancel E window of 5 lights with a 4 centred head; chancel N window is similar but of three lights. The N vestry in a harsher Gothic Revival style with a plate tracery trefoil in its E window.

The N aisle, which has a plain parapet and a small, two stage buttress at the W end, preserves the outline of the former N aisle. There is a single C19 lancet with a trefoiled head in each arch, but these are set within blocked openings, the westernmost rounded headed and probably a former Georgian or churchwarden┬┐s gothic style window of 1808, the other two four-centred and probably reused C15 windows removed in the C19.

The nave and aisle walls are stripped stone, the chancel is plastered and painted. Tall, pointed tower arch the full width of the tower, with three chamfered dying orders of C15 form. The nave has a very shallow, plain roof probably of the C15, much restored in the C20. Tie beam, short posts, curved arch braces to the tie beam and arched braces up to the roof. The roof is boarded behind the rafters. The former N arcade is visible inside the nave. Both N and S arcades appear to have been built in the late C12 and altered in the C14. The E respond and 1st pier of each arcade has a square, C12 capital, while the other capitals on each side are moulded. The arches are of 2 hollow chamfered orders with a hood mould on the nave side and date to the C14, perhaps suggesting that 2 bay C12 chapels were lengthened to aisles in the C14, retaining the E responds and 1st piers, but rebuilding the rest including new arches.

Tall, C15, pointed chancel arch of two hollow chamfered orders, with a hood mould to the nave side. The inner order is supported on half-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases. A blocked rood stair door is visible to the N of the chancel arch. The blocked C12 door or opening to a former chapel is visible in the S wall of the chancel, and in the S chancel wall there is a blocked rectangular opening, apparently a former squint. C19 doorway to the vestry and arch to the organ chamber on the N. The chancel has a 3-seat, C14 sedilia and an aumbry, but no piscina.

Very fine, though very worn, early C14 font. The rounded bowl has a king's head in the style of Edward I, a winged figure, a monster and one unrecognisable motif on its lower corners. It stands on a cylindrical central shaft and four moulded corner shafts, the latter apparently replacements. The cover with ogee traceried buttress forms is C19. Three seat early C14 sedilia in the chancel, each niche with a trefoiled ogee head and the seats level. There is a hood mould with head stops and finials over each arch, and the niches are divided by moulded shafts very similar to the outer shafts on the font, suggesting a similar date for the font and sedilia. There is a plain aumbry in the N chancel wall. The S aisle has a piscina with a shouldered head. C19 encaustic tiles in chancel. Simple C19 choir stalls with shouldered ends decorated with sunk roundels. Polygonal C19 timber pulpit with traceried sides. Unusual late C19 or early C20 brass lectern with a winged female figure supporting the bookrest. E window of 1893, possibly by Clayton and Bell. The NE and SE windows of the sanctuary are signed by A Stoddart of Nottingham, one is dated 1916. One lancet in the N nave wall by Powell. A brass to Horatio Woodhouse (d.1679), rector for almost 37 years, in the chancel and some C19 wall slabs.

Collingtree is a small parish whose history is closely linked to that of neighbouring Milton Malsor, and for much of the middle ages, the advowsons (the right to appoint the rector) of both parishes were held jointly but divided into shares or moieties with rights in each. This arrangement was altered, and advowson of Collingtree fully separated from that of Milton Malzors, in the mid C15.

The late C12 aisles at Collingtree are the earliest evidence for a church there, but Collingtree itself existed at the time of Domesday and the aisles were probably added to an early C12 church comprising an aisleless nave and square chancel. The chancel was extended and the aisles remodelled in the C14, and other features of this period, including the font and the sedilia, suggest a fairly comprehensive reworking of the church. The tower dates to the C15. The N aisle was pulled down in 1808, leaving the arcade buried in the nave N wall, and the whole church restored in the later C19, with further work in the C20.

Salzman, L F, ed, The Victoria County History of Northamptonshire, vol 4 (1937), 240-42.
Pevsner, N and Cherry, B. The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire (2nd ed., 1973), 153.

The church of St Columba, Collingtree, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Excellent medieval fabric, including a restored C15 roof.
* The surviving medieval fittings, notably sedilia and font, are very fine.

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