I have to say that the church here, and at neighbouring Easton On The Hill are probably the most difficult to photograph out of any church within the catchment area of this site. Church grounds here are pretty tight and there are plenty of trees about. It is easy to get a decent shot of the elegant pinnacled tower poking up over the top of the trees, but the rest of the church is another matter!
There was once a Royal Palace at Collyweston, which was built betwwen 1412 and 1441. All that remains these days are some earthworks, garden terraces, two fishponds and park boundary banks. The palace was demolished and cleared in 1720. It was a favourite place to stay for Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII and grandmother of King Henry VIII. It was the principal residence of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, from 1531 until 1536. Nothing remains of the building itself, but it is thought that the clock mechanism at the church came from the palace. With regards Margaret Beaufort, it is suggested that she was responsible for the late 15th century south chapel.
There was a church here in the 11th century, but most of the structure dates from the 13th to the 15th centuries. The tower is perpundicular and three stage. Two bells hang in the tower with one dated 1903 by Taylor of Loughborough, the other dated 1636, and made locally by Thomas Norris of the Stamford Bellfoundry. At the time of North's Victorian study of the church bells of Northamptonshire, two bells were hanging here, both by Thomas Norris, and dating from the same year. Looks as if one of them was re-cast by Taylor.
North notes that there were originally four bells hanging here and in the late 1540's two....."bellys (were) takyne doune owt of the steple and sold to Rychard Harryson of Owndyll" who was a shopkeeper in Oundle at that time. Parhaps, Norris re-cast the two remaining bells in 1636. Still on the subject of North's look at Collyweston, it seemed as if he was less than happy about the safety of the tower.... "the ascent to these bells is not a pleasant one. A perfectly perpundicular, and very tall ladder leads to the first floor from whence a second ladder, with wide intervals between the "rounds" leads to the bell chamber, where the floor is "crazy" and unsafe" Little in the way of health and safety in the 1860's so it seems!!
There is very little information on this church on the internet. Victorian restoration was undertaken here in the mid 1850's though and stained glass here dates from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A single gargoyle, open mouthed and frog like in appearance, still does his duty despite looking well past retirement age!
This church is kep locked and a notice on the south doorway expalins that this is done reluctantly, but there had been repeated thefts. Two keyholders are listed for those with a genuine reason to visit the church.
The church grounds here are an absolute delight. It looks as if there hasn't been burials here for many years and there are some superior quality carvings on many of the stones present. Some stones have toppled, many years ago in some cases by the looks of it, and every now and again a worn cherub face looks up at you from where it has toppled, whilst other stones lean over at impossible angles.
Looking out from the north of the church grounds, horses graze and the sounds of birds and bees are all around. Summer flowers carpet the ground and this really is a joyful place to be. The pinnacles of the church tower stand out from various vantage points within the village and I was quite taken with the most magnificent old cottage, with the tips of the pinnacles just visible over the roofline. Would like to go back one day and see inside.