A glorious early Spring morning in 2010. The sun was blazing down, and just for the time being, this part of East Northants had almost forgotten the bitingly cold Winter that it had just shivered through.
My first proper trip out on the cycle for ages, and I headed out in to the East Northamptonshire countryside. Decided to hit some villages on the west side of Oundle, namely Wadenhoe, Pilton and Aldwinkle. This was my second trip to Pilton. The first was two years or so previous, so made the return trip armed with a better camera.
Pilton is a tiny hamlet, and would be one of the smallest villages within the catchment area of this site to have a church. I would think that Steeple and Little Gidding are both smaller but with a population estimated in the low 60's, this is a tiny place. It may be small, but there are some important houses to be found here, with no fewer than 10 buildings here being of special architectural or historic interest. Interestingly, the manor house at Pilton, located by the side of the church, was used on a few occasions to host meetings of those responsible for planning the gunpowder plot.
All Saints church itself, with the manor house at the side of it, is accessed through a field, which both times I have been there has been filled with sheep, with lots of lambs at this time of the year. As I was photographing the spire of the church, a Red Kite circled overhead. He/she stayed there for a few minutes before heading off in the direction of neighbouring Wadenhoe. I tried to get some photographs of the Red Kite but without success...think that I will stick to photographing gargoyles, they are a lot easier. If anyone does want to see a photograph of a Red Kite though, take a look at my page for Steeple Gidding where one strayed in to my exterior shot of the church!
The church itself is comprises of a chancel, nave, with clerestory windows, north and south aisles, a south facing porch and a broach spire. The church mainly dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. The south porch, dating from the last 13th century, contains the coat of arms of the Tresham family. It is thought that these were added to either side of the porch around 1560, when the manor house was built.
Much restoration work has been undertaken here over the years. The chancel was re-built by the then rector R. Hodgson in 1862. He added three new windows, and the large stained glass window in the chancel, pictured below right.
There are four bells in the tower. The treble is by Thomas Newcombe, of Leicester (1506–20), with the recurrent letter S alternating with a cross; the second and third are by Tobie Norris, of Stamford, in whom I have a particular interest. Both of these are dated 1610, and were cast by Tobias Norris I who set up the Stamford Bellfoundry, which was to remain in existence until the early 18th century. Both bells are dated 1610 and have latin inscriptions but are typically without the makers name
The tenor is very ancient, and has the inscription 'Nomen Magdalene Campana geret melodie,' with the marks of John Danyell, of London (1450–61).
A look at the corbel table around the tower shows many carvings, with some showing strange long eared creatures. These carvings are to be seen around all four sides of the tower. Similar can be seen in the windows on the second stage of the tower. On the north and south walls, some relatively poorly carved gargoyles peer out over some modern downspouts.
There are very few services held here these days sadly, but the grounds are well maintained. Sadly, this church is usually kept locked but a very helpful lady saw me taking photographs on my first visit here and kindly showed me inside. There are some very ancient looking graves and tombs here. The eldest of the graves are too worn to have any discernible dates on them but look to be late 17th century in date. The tombs have weathered better over the years and one remarkably crisp dedication to one William Brovghton is dated October 1653.
Interesting to see one headstone, with date worn away but possibly dating from early Georgian times, having an hourglass depicted on either side of the stone. This was fairly common imigairy in days gone by when the majority of the population couldn't read. This was basically a reminder to those who were looking that Man is mortal and that time runs out for us all.
An enjoyable time spent here. Beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery and peace and quiet. Had a nourishing and wholesome lunch of a bar of coocolate and a can of drink, then I was off following the Red Kite in the direction of neighbouring Wadenhoe.