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St. Lawrence's Church, Towcester - Time line chronology
DateEvent Related to St Lawrence Church
c.120-400Romans in Towcester. A public building was erected and maintained on the site of St.Lawrence's.
c.700-800During the 8th century Watling Street became the frontier between the Kingdom of Wessex and Danelaw.
917Alfred the Great's son, King Edward, fortified the town and it seems possible that a Saxon church may have been established.
1170-1200A late Norman `Transitional' church laid and is the basis of the plan of the present church
c.1210Embellishment work of the `Early English' Gothic style.
13001300-1360. Extensions and embellishments in `Decorated' style.
1422Archdeacon Sponne becomes rector of Towcester.
1448Archdeacon Sponne died. His will stated that at his funeral 13 poor men were to carry 13 torches and wear white gowns with a hood. Also that the poor were to be fed and 1000 Masses were to be said for his soul [Baker p. 334]
c.1470Edward IV gave forty square feet of stone from his quarry at Handley in the forest of Whittlebury for building and repairing the steeple, church and churchyard at Towcester. [Baker p. 328].
1480-1485Major 'Perpendicular' style tower constructed in brown ironstone.
1483Richard III confirmed grant by Edward IV for stone for church.
1538Thomas Cromwell ordered that an English Bible should be set up in every parish church.
1548Rood dismantled.
1561The church register dates from the year 1561.
1614Date in roof, north aisle.
1626James Keene of Woodstock supplied a set of five bells for tower.
1627Gallery erected at West end of nave by Henry Newby, a citizen of London and native of Towcester. [Whellan 1874]
1640Chancel re -roofed by Sir Robert Banastre of Passenham.
1714Nave re-roofed.
1726William Henchman contributed a sixth bell.
1727Churchwardens accounts - six pence given to a woman and six children to leave the town.
175525th March - Rt Hon Earl of Pomfret gave a large bason & ewer double gilt for use of the church.
17745th April - £20 11s 6p paid for chandelier for church. [Hicks, Ref 1]
17769th October - making and putting up weathercock.[Hicks, Ref 1]
1781Church paved. [Ref 1]
178426th September - Painting and gilding weather cock £1 13s 0p [Hicks, Ref 1]
178616th October - For writing inscription on board of Richard Hicks, benefactor, and fitting in church £3 12s 4p [Hicks, Ref 1]
17905th August - Paid William Inns for a desk in church and stairs to the desk and pulpit in best Norwegian Oak [Hicks, Ref 1]
1795Whelan in his 1874 Directory of Northamptonshire records two side galleries added [Ref 2]
17958th June - Paid William Inns for erecting and furnishing a gallery in the North Aisle of the church £21 4s 0p [Ref 1]
179526th October - Gallery South Aisle £19 16s 11 and half a pence. [Hicks, Ref 1]
1798Church white washed [Ref 1]
17983rd September Window glass and lattice in belfry door. 8s 0p [Hicks, Ref 1]
179924th August - 2 chandeliers £10 10s [Hicks, Ref 1]
1807New bellframe installed at a cost of £70.
1823The tenor bell cracked and was recast by Taylors of Oxford. [TDLHS, Ref 3]
1817The Rt. Hon. George Earl of Pomfret gave the organ.
182626th October - `At a meeting it was resolved that the front seat of the South Gallery ought to be, and was agreed, for the sole use of Samuel Wood and his family. Being the present tenant of one of the houses belonging to this charity' [Hicks, Ref 1]
183621st October - Clock bill £60 0s 0p. Beer for men erecting scaffolding for clock 2 shillings. [Hicks, Ref 1]
1836The chancel of St Lawrence Church was lowered to the same level as the nave and seating provided. [Towcester burials register Ref 7.]
1836Church repaired and restored by E.F Law in 1835-36. [Whellan, Ref 2]
1836Archdeacon Sponne's grave was broken into. His skeleton lay perfect and then fell into dust. [Towcester burials register Ref 7.]
1837Lead relaid on chancel roof. High box pews introduced.
183723rd November - Cost of lighting church 2 shillings and six pence per sitting. [Hicks, Ref 1]
1847Restoring clerestory windows and other works £100 [Hicks, Ref 1]
184817th January - Mr. E. F. Law the architect employed in the restoration of the church window paid £9 0s 0p [Hicks, Ref 1]
1872The new chancel arch was inserted, there being none before. [Towcester burials register Ref 7.]. Lead re-laid on chancel roof. Chancel walls stripped of their whitewash and mortar.
1872High box pews from the chancel were removed and open oak benches arranged stall-wise instead. The choir was brought from the west gallery into the upper chancel. New chancel tiles.
1882Under-floor heating ducts installed.
1883Sponne monument decapitated and wooden hands and feet from Sponne tomb removed.
18851st April - Bill for rebinding and restoring the Bible £10 10s 0p [Hicks, Ref 1]
1885The church cemetery was closed [Kellys, Ref 4]
1886New public cemetery opened on Brackley Road. [Kellys, Ref 5]
1897Weather vane on church tower richly gilded.
1898New East window erected, by public subscription, to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
1903Chimes were added to the clock which strikes the hours and chimes the quarter hours. The cost was met by the Hicks Charity and public subscription.
1906In 1906, the vaulted crypt under the eastern part of the chancel was completely restored by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
1935The cracked treble bell was recast and the frame strengthened by Mears and Stainbank of Whitechapel [TDLHS, Ref 3]
1938Restoration of Sponne Chapel.
1955The tower and vestry roofs were restored in 1955-56.
1957The nave roof was rebuilt by G.Forsyth Lawson. It has heavy tie-beams whose ends are masked by feathery decorations carved like wings to conceal lighting.
1961Roof of north nave aisle renewed with oak beams and purlins and chestnut boarding.
1971South aisle roof and nave floors renewed.
1975South porch and roof renewed.
1978Organ from the redundant church of St Edmund in Northampton was installed.
1976Repairs after fire in Vestry
1981Crypt ventilation.
1982Automatic winding mechanism installed in church clock.
1983Ironwork to rood stairs, vestry, glass doors, alter crosses and candlesticks.
1984Renewal of floors in north and south aisles.
1987Restoration of tower windows, south aisle and chancel external repairs.
1990Twelve bells installed in the tower.
  1. Hicks Charity.
  2. Whelan 1874
  3. "Towcester, The story of an English Country town"
  4. Kelly's Directory 1940
  5. Kelly's Directory 1924
  6. Baker "Antiquities of the County of Northamtonshire".
  7. NRO: Towcester burials register 1842 - 1872.
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