Rockingham Church, Northamptonshire

The origins of the church seem to be that of a chapel for Rockingham Castle built by at least 1095 when William Rufus attending the Council of Rockingham. There seems to be little other evidence of what this may have been until the new church was started in 1217.

This 13th Century church seems to have survived until the Civil War. The Roundheads occupied Rockingham Castle and demolished the church for fear it might be used as a mount for cannon by the Royalists. A small chapel took its place around 1650.

At some point soon after the Restoration the Watsons of Rockingham Castle undertook to rebuild the Church and it is this version of St. Leonard’s Church that forms the basis of what stands today. In 1776 a wooden tower was added to the church, but that was taken down in 1845 and the little bell tower put in its place. More work was undertaken in the 1860s and again in 1902 after a fire.

More recent work has been undertaken to restore the roof which was infested with dry rot. Work is still going on today, but on a much smaller scale.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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