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Tour of St. Lawrence's Church, Towcester

The Sponne Chapel

Sponne's coat of arms in East windowSponne's coat of arms.
Medieval stained glass windowStained glass fragments
Wooden panellingOak panelling in south chap
The niche bracketBracket supporting the niche
Wall paintingPainting of a Pelican in Piety
Drawing by TrotterDrawing of the same by T. Trotter
Sponne's tombSponne's monument.

Bequest Board text

Archdeacon Sponne's bequests to the town are noted on a board in the northeast angle of the chapel.The text is reproduced below.

"13th January. 29th H 6.th 1437
Wm. Sponn [sic] sometime Archdeacon of Norfolk and Rector of Towcester gave a Mefsuage Close and Lands in Towcester to certain Feoffees their Heirs and Afsignes and declared the Uses thereof to be in Trust to releive [sic] the Inhabitants from a Tax to be granted by Parliament then called a fifteenth on the Goods amounting to ten Marks as one fifteenth. if [sic] none granted then at the sound discretion of the said Feoffees to be applied as well in repairing the said Mefsuage and the Pavement of the said Town as by distribution among the Poor residing in the Parish of Towcester."
On the south wall of the Sponne chapel a Pelican in Piety is painted in a canopied niche (above left). This mural of a pelican feeding her young with her own blood was a popular symbol for Christ feeding the Church.

Trotter's 1802 drawing (below) is inscribed at the bottom:

"Antique and Curious Painting in the Church of Towcester Northamptonshire. This Painting of the Pelican in a Gothique niche on the South wall, feeding her young with her own blood on a wreath in the form of a crest, in all probability was placed there in compliment to the memory of William Sponn Rector of this Church in the Reign of Henry VI for his Parental care not only in a Spiritual but in a Temporal sense in his donations to the Poor and benefactions in general to the Town and inhabitants of Towcester, it is well preserved and is certainly a curious relique."

The bracket at the bottom is made of three different stones and retains much medieval colour. It is of an angel holding a shield. The angel's wings would have been red and the bracket mouldings green, red and blue, but unfortunately it has been damaged. Fr J Bertram F.S.A. believes the painting is mid 15th century.

In 1627 an oak gallery was given by "Henrie Newby, Citizen and Haberdasher of London, born in this towne of Towcester" Later it became an organ gallery and some of the panels from it can be seen behind the altar of the south chapel and also in the pulpit.
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