Northampton, Northamptonshire

St. Giles' Church, Northampton, Northamptonshire

Northampton’s oldest church, St. Giles dates to the very early Norman period at the earliest. It is first mentioned in a charter of Henry I granting the church to St. Andrew’s Priory. This implies it was already built by then and the tower at the centre of the church is definitely 12th Century (at least the bottom part is) implying that the whole of the church dates to this period.

The nave was rebuilt during the 14th Century and has a five-bay arcade, the three eastern ones date from the 14th Century, the two western ones from the Victorian rebuild in 1853-55.

The upper part of the tower collapsed in 1613 and landed on the roof which necessitated another rebuild, by this time the church was no longer attached to the Priory (having been repeatedly granted, taken away and then granted again. The church past to Royal ownership at the Dissolution and James I sold it in 1614 (no doubt to avoid the costs involved in rebuilding after the collapse).

The rebuild was in 1616 and the north side of the nave dates from this period, implying this is where the tower landed. All was rebuilt and fiddled around with by the Victorians, but we are still left with one of the few structures in Northampton that avows the age of the town.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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