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St. Lawrence's Church, Towcester

Notes by Sir Stephen Glynne (1807 - 1874)

Sir Stephen Glynne (1807-74), Gladstone's brother-in-law, was a country gentleman whose passion was visiting churches and recording detailed notes. His notes on St Lawrence Church were written in the 19th century.

"This is a plain but spacious church having a western tower, a broad nave and a chancel each of which have side aisles. There are portions of several styles, and some mutilation of parts. The tower is lofty and plain of rectilinear character, of four stages, with an embattled parapet. The west doorway has something of curvilinear character and very handsome. It is set in a square compartment and has a fine crocketed ogee head, the spandrels panelled and on each side of the door a hollow compartment containing a niche. In the moulding of the doorway arch is the squareflower ornament. Above is a three light rectilinear window with label over it and the belfry windows are each of two lights. The parapets in the body are plain. The south porch has its side windows curvilinear and within it is a good doorway of the same period, with plain but deep architrave mouldings. The windows are principally rectilinear with contracted arches but of large size. Those in the clerestory are of three lights of the same character. The chancel has some curvilinear windows, that at the east perpendicular of five lights, the others of three.

At the west end of the north aisle is a doorway with an ogee arch having a finial marked by a modern door. The interior is very gloomy, the pews and galleries crowded and irregular, but there are some portions of good coming among the ancient seats. The western gallery is very large and its front enriched with wood panelling, an inscription states that it to have been built in 1627 by Henry Newby, citizen and haberdasher of London. In it is placed a large organ, the gift of the late Earl of Pomfret in 1817. The nave is divided from each side aisle by four pointed arches with octagonal pillars, some of which have capitals clearly of Early English work. The ceiling of the nave is modern.

The clerestory extends unintercepted along the whole of the nave and chancel. Between the nave and chancel is part of the roodloft screen. The chancel is divided from its south aisle by two Early English arches with a circular pier surrounded by four shafts, and having the capital and base square. On the north side are two pointed arches with an octagonal pier having a circular pier surrounded by four shafts and having the capital and base square. and a third arch next to the nave of Norman character, and semicircular, springing from shafts and having the chevrons, lozenge and nail head ornaments in the architrave mouldings. The roof of the Chancel is of rather late date but handsome and curious timberwork, the spaces between the beam and the apex of the roof filled with open tracery and each beam enriched with a pendant. In the Chancel is a fine Rectilinear altar tomb, the sides of open panelling and the whole recently painted and gilt. On the upper slab is the figure of an Ecclesiastic in beatification and in the lower part seen through the open panelling a skeleton in a shroud. It commemorates William Sponne Archdeacon of Norfolk, Rector of Towcester.

The font is an octagon, with plain panelling on each face.

The tower is very strongly built and has large corner buttresses. The west door is perpendicular labelled, the arch slightly ogeed with a finial and excellent flowered mouldings.

A buttress at the corner of aisle of the nave has a canopied niche.

On the South of the chancel is a good flowing decorative window of 3 lights. The windows of the aisles of the nave are perpendicular and those of the clerestory continued along the chancel somewhat similar. The parapets have plain mouldings

The east window of the south aisle is of 5 lights with flat and rather odd tracery, which appears to be late perpendicular. The outer lights are much wider.

Under the east end of the chancel is a crypt which is vaulted and lighted with small windows above ground.

On the north corresponding with the rood lofts place is a projecting stair turret. The chancel is about equal in length to the nave, 5 bays."