Aston-le-Walls, Daventry, Northants
Built in 1827, this is an early (pre-Emancipation) but much-altered village church, paid for by the Catholic landlord.
In the late seventeenth century George Holman of Warkworth Castle (about eight miles south of Aston-le-Walls) retained a Catholic chaplain. The castle descended to the Eyre family, who sold it in 1805, providing a chapel and priest’s house at the adjoining hamlet of Overthorpe. The Catholic Plowden family owned the manor from the seventeenth century and in 1827 Edmund Plowden paid for the building of a chapel at Aston-le-Walls. A schoolroom was opened in 1832.
The church was restored in 1912, when the exterior was rendered in cement and marble chippings and the interior woodwork was varnished. In 1899 the Great Central Railway was opened, with a junction at Woodford Halse (about three miles from Aston-le-Walls); with the influx of railway workers a church dedicated to St Joseph was opened there in 1917 (now closed and converted to residential use). In 1991 an extension was added to the west end of the church at Aston-le-Walls and the bell turret added.
The altar faces northeast but for the purposes of this report all references to compass points will assume a due east orientation. The church comprises a nave and sanctuary in one with a two-storey south porch, a small room in a projection within the angle between porch and nave, a louvred bell turret at the west end and a large sacristy projection on the north side of the sanctuary. The sanctuary has diagonal buttresses with two set offs. The whole of the exterior walls are covered in cement render with marble chippings. The roofs are covered in Welsh slate.
The porch entrance has a plain chamfered gothic arch with hood mould, all cemented over. A crucifix above is set on a lozenge-shaped wooden panel beneath a gabled canopy. There are four windows on the south side, first a pair of gothic windows with stone dressings and Y-tracery, then two plain lancets (narrower to the sanctuary) with stone dressings. All have moulded hoodmoulds. On the north side there are four broad lancet windows, only the westernmost one with Y-tracery. The sacristy is a plain gabled structure of generous size, which just fits in between lancet windows. There is a domestic-style external door. On the north side opposite the porch is a doorway with moulded lintel and a spherical triangle window above. There are no openings in the east or west walls.
The interior has no division between the nave and sanctuary, has plain plastered walls and has a varnished boarded roof with exposed trusses. There is a deep west gallery supported on two slender columns of 1820s character and a simple gothic balustrade. Access is via a generously proportioned metal spiral stair set within a blind gothic arch in the west wall, part of the 1991 alterations when the west wall was moved several metres further west. The sanctuary has poor quality gothic panelling and curious applied gothic arches against the east wall in a tripartite arrangement. Stone altar rails of elaborate gothic design. Sacred texts on the eastern truss. Stone altar with integral gothic canopy over the tabernacle. Statues on brackets to either side. The chief interest of the interior is the stained glass, with a number of windows, several signed by J. Vosch of Brussels, 1921. Hanging lamps of traditional oil lamp designs.
Amended by AHP 24.01.2021
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1827
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed