LUTTON. CHURCH : ST PETER

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The church of St Peter was one of the first churches that I visited when deciding to set up this site back in the Autumn of 2006.Over the years, it has become a favourite place of mine to visit. The church is kept open and welcoming, and at times over the years I have taken advantage of the peace and quiet there when times proved to be troubling.
  The church of St Peter is situated at a junction to the west of the village, with Great Gidding four miles or so to the South, Polebrook and Oundle off to the West. There are some lovely old cottages to be found in Lutton, with a Grade II listed thatched cottage immediately to the west of the church catching the eye.
  It is thought that no part of St Peter dates from earlier than 1220 AD. The chancel and the north arcade is thought to date from then, with the south arcade dating from the end of the 13th century. The tower dates from 15th century, and houses a ring of four bells. All of these were made by the Stamford bellfoundry, with three being cast by Tobias Norris in 1604, 1610 and 1619. The former of these three was subsequently re-cast and is one of the earliest bells that was made by Norris. He cast bells at Wadenhoe, Tydd St Giles and Sutton St James in 1603, when he was about 17 years old, and the bell at Lutton, and at neighbouring Warmington, were cast in the following year. The other bell was cast by Tobias Norris III in 1682, this bell also being re-cast at a later date. Some very sad looking gargoyles surround the tower. Very badly weathered and past their best.
  Inside, there is a real sense of peace. A quite beautiful place to spend some time. Most of the jewels to be found inside this church are in the chancel, and come in the shape of monuments to the Apreece family. Monuments to this family appear on North and South walls of the chancel, and I was particularly pleased to see a painted monument on the south wall to one Adlard Apreece, with figure wearing armour kneeling in prayer with symbolism of Man's mortality in the shape of two human skulls, depicted at the bottom. Opposite that, three generations of the Apreece family have been lined up in silent prayer for more than 380 years, this monument being installed in the church in 1633.
  Many years ago there used to be a church standing at nearby Washingley. This village was decimated during the plague, and the church was believed to have fell in to disrepair and was pulled down, with building materials being taken to Lutton and Yaxley. No trace remains. Some say that two of the monuments in the chancel at St Peter might have been removed to here from Washingley. Certainly, the Apreece brothers lived in Washingley, but whether their monument originally resided elsewhere is a matter of conjecture.
Several carved heads can be seen in the nave. At the entrance to the chancel, a female head with one sightless eye looks down the nave, this being beautifully lit by the February sun which streamed in through the south windows. High up on the north wall of the nave, a squat figure with huge nose and a bulbous stomach, crouches.At the west end of the nave, a head with mouth open in anguished scream, has dounbless given nightmares to the local children for the last few hundred years!
A floor slab caught the eye, to the wonderfully named Wildbore Rowles Wilkinson, who died in April 1811 aged 30 years. The script at the bottom of the slab reads 'Take ye heed, watch and pray, for ye know not when the Lord calleth'
A glance upwards will show carved angels and ceiling bosses in the foor of the nave. A small piece of carved Saxon interlaced sculpture is re-set in to the north wall of the tower.
The church grounds are well cared for are are especially lovely in Spring when the bulbs are out. There are some very finely carved gravestones, with one or two looking as if they might date back tot the seventeenth century. The churchs grounds are built up high, so that they are at the level of the top of the church wall. This gives an uninterrupted view in the same way as the sunken walls at Marholm and Orton Waterville do.
Interesting to see an old red telephone box on the opposite side of the road from the church. This was built in 1935 and has a grade II listing in its own right.
  Have spent some pleasant times here over the years. This trip was one of the colder ones and the half hour cycle home was completed with a very cold and blustery head wind. The church here has been open each time I have visited and is well worth a look should you be in this part of East Northants.

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