Islip.  church : st nicholas

I first visited Islip on a blisteringly hot day in the Summer of 2010. I immediately fell in love with this part of Northamptonshire, and have visited several times since.  There are some beautiful churches in this area, with neighbouring Thrapston, Lowick and Sudborough all worth a look at.

Islip stained glass

The photographs included on this page came from a later visit, in the summer of 2013. Islip runs in to Thrapston, and it is difficult to see where one starts and the other finishes. Some very attractive views of St Nicholas can be seen from a bridge a couple of hundred yards to the south east, the river Nene running past close by.

 The present church here was built towards the end of the 15th century and very little has been added to it since that time. The setting is exquisite, with a glorious old thatched cottage to the north side of the church grounds. Entrance to the church grounds is via a lych gate on the east side.

    The tower is of four stages, with gargoyles at each corner of the top stage of the tower. There are also gargoyles lower down on the south and north walls. These are in good repair and are well made. Some Victorian restoration was undertaken here in the mid 1850's, and my suspicion is that these gargoyles might date from that time.

    At the time of North's Victorian study of church bells in Northamptonshire, there were five bells hanging here, with three of these being attributed to Northamptonshire founder Henry Bagley, all three being dated 1678. One of these is inscribed with the name Thomas Medbury, the Rector of the day. One bell is recorded as being damaged with no founders name. The other bell is dated 1621, with no founder attributed. A look at the situation today shows that six bells are now here. Two of Bagley's bells are still hanging but the other four are from Taylor of Loughborough, with three of these being re-castings of previous bells and one new bell being added at that time.

    The church was open to visitors, and inside there is a wall monument in the chancel to one Mary, the wife of Sir John Washington of Thrapston. Dame Mary was the great grandmother of George Washington.

    A modern brass lays in the chancel, to John Nicoll and his wife Annys. John died in 1467 and the brass here is modern and was placed here in 1910 by his descendents in the United States.

   The stained glass here is Victorian and is very good quality. Was particularly fond of panels depicting the raising of Lazarus and the crippled man being lowered through the roof by his friends to be healed by Jesus. Two other scenes show the infant Jesus with the Virgin Mary, with Jesus holding a globe. A more traditional nativity scene is depicted close by, with the star of Bethlehem shining it's light directly on to the baby Jesus.

    Church grounds are well maintained and have some fabulously carved headstones, particularly alongside the path that leads up to the south porch. One grave in particular caught my eye and is unique to the churches within the catchment area of this site to my knowledge. This grave is for John Coles of Thrapston, with the date of his passing being very weathered, but I think reading 1810. This is an interesting grave as it depicts the tools of the deceased's trade. Set squares, compass and parchment lead me to assume that he was an architect. Old Father Time stands at the top of the grave, this in itself being a fairly rare depiction in surviving graves in this area.

   This is a church that I am very fond of. Open to visitors each time I have been there. A lovely church in an attractive part of Northamptonshire.

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