St Peter

Despite being in the busy Nene Valley between Wellingborough and Thrapston, Irthlingborough church seen from the far side of the river retains a timeless and surprisingly isolated quality, its extraordinary tower remains the highest building in the area.

About this church

The tower which starts as a square develops into an octagon and ends with a stump is a physical reminder that a college was founded here in 1388, even proceeding that at Higham Ferrers. The tower is separate from the church joined to it by a large ground floor room which acts as a porch to each. In medieval times a beacon was lit at its apex for travellers to know where safe ground was to be found in this flooded landscape.

Its architecture is even more idiosyncratic through the builders’ use of bands of light limestone against the local rich ironstone. This banding also appears in the internal arches of the church itself giving them an almost Saracenic quality.

From the same period you will find choir stalls with their misericords, the font, and some rather warm alabaster effigies. The church also contains some good late 19th century/early 20th century stained glass by Kempe in the chancel and Morris & Co in the north chapel. In the south chapel you will discover the chest tomb of Sir Thomas Cheney (d1513) which has been transformed into the altar with interesting early 16th century gothic work.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches

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Built of local ironstone, St Mary's dates almost entirely from the 14th century, with the nave and chancel from the beginning of the century and the tower and spire from about 50 years later.

St Mary

One of the outstanding late medieval churches in the county.

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St Mary the Virgin

A thrilling experience: Sir Ninian Comper’s masterpiece built between 1908 and 1930 is a free essay in the gothic style fearlessly mixed with classical appropriations.

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