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I've visited an awful lot of lovely St Mary's Churches in Northamptonshire; 30 of them. I think I must have got to every one! August 2021 - since I've just visited another five, this is obviously nonsense (and another three in August 2022!). I've prob'ly been given duff info by my researchers!

Click on a picture to read a bit more about the church (and maybe see more pictures of me!).

Ashley (392)

 

Badby (37)

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Barby (113)

 

Blakesley (42)

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Bozeat (49)

 

Brampton Ash (394)

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Burton Latimer (126)

 

Canons Ashby (40)

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Culworth (121)

 

Dallington (338

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Dodford (53)

 

East Haddon (114)

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Easton Neston (324)

 

Everdon (38)

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Farthingstone (41)

 

Fawsley (39)

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Finedon (127)

 

Gayton (35)

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Grafton Regis (34)

 

Great Houghton (325)

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Grendon (50)

 

Little Addington (130)

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Little Houghton (326)

 

Moreton Pinkney (120)

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Northampton (337)

 

Roade (33)

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Staverton (36)

 

Stoke Bruerne (32)

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Thenford (122)

 

Titchmarsh (128)

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Wappenham (43)

 

Weston-by-Welland (391)

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Whiston (51)

 

Whittlebury (44)

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Wilby (52)

 

Wollaston (48)

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Woodford (129)

 

Woodford Halse (119)

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37. Badby

big ted sitting on fontThis is a nice notice board, but it doesn’t say “St Mary’s” at the top which is a shame.

I went inside this church and sat on the top of the font to have my photo taken. I think I will start collecting photos of "fonts I have sat on" or even "bears on fonts" (of course, there would only be one bear on the fonts - ME!), what do you think? I could produce a calendar!

113. Barby

big ted sitting in a treeBarby has got nothing to do with an unnatural plastic doll - it's spelled differently anyway!

As you can see, the church has a rather nice wooden notice board. I also sat in a tree to have my photo taken.

42. Blakesley

big ted sitting beside the millennium windowAfter having my photo taken sitting on the notice board, I went inside this St Mary’s.  (I've used a close-up of me on the notice board here 'cos the other photo was blurry and didn't do justice to my splendid fur!).

This St Mary's has a really impressive new window that was a gift from the parish.  It was put in the church to commemorate the Millennium.

So I had my photo taken beside the window as well. Isn't it pretty?.

49. Bozeat

Well really, what a silly name for a village.  Another photo of me sitting on top of a notice board.

I'm not sure that this is a good idea, it's a long way down and it makes reading the notices very difficult 'cos they're all upside down.

126. Burton Latimer

shoe scraperAnother nice church. It has wrought iron gates that were a gift in memory of a local shoe manufacturer. It also has a shoe scraper that was probably from him too.  Sadly, the church was locked.

40. Canons Ashby

I hadn’t planned to visit this St Mary’s because it wasn’t on my list. That’s because it’s a private church - one of only a few in England.

There used to be an Augustinian Priory here but a lot of it has fallen down; the bit of the building that remains is now St Mary’s Church. The notice board is a bit boring though.

121. Culworth

big ted sitting on fontbig ted sitting on windowsillAnother old church. I like old churches 'cos they have nooks and crannies I can explore (and sometimes bats! But not in this case fortunately.)

I sat on the font and then I sat in the sun on a windowsill and chatted with the local bears (and a dog and a pink thing). It was all rather pleasant.

53. Dodford

big ted sitting in front of organ partsThis was really interesting. Two men were taking the organ apart to make it better [they were restoring it, Big Ted].

You can see the inside of the organ behind me in this photo. I hope they remember where all the bits go 'cos there were lots of them in different boxes all round the church!

114. East Haddon

big ted sitting on fontAnother St Mary's in Northamptonshire. Golly, there are an awful lot of them!

Nice font though!

38. Everdon

big ted sitting on fontThe least said about this St Mary's the better - I fell off the wall TWICE when having my photo taken, and it was a long way down.  I think I look remarkably cheerful under the circumstances (the notice board wasn’t brilliant either).

I sat on a font here as well (to recover from the fall).

41. Farthingstone

big ted sitting on fontwinckles haynes gravestoneThis was another church where I fell off the wall! But I went inside and had my photo taken on the font.

Then I saw a gravestone for a man called "Winckles Haynes" [snigger].

39. Fawsley

big ted sitting on fontThis St Mary’s is in the middle of nowhere but it’s a really interesting church. In 2015 some rotten people stole metal off the roof of the church and now it is all covered in plastic sheeting. The notice board has a footpath sign next to it.

The church has something called a "squint" (it's really a hole in a pillar) so that the landowner and his family could sit apart from the smelly congregation but still see the priest. You can see all the family memorials behind me in my font foto [snigger].

127. Finedon

who's gravestoneThis is a big church up a hill going out of Finedon. Sadly, it was shut and I couldn't get in. But I had a good look round the outside. I found this odd memorial stone that says "Who?". I thought, "Why?" [snigger].

The Vicar here is Revd Richard Coles, who I understand is quite well known and dances a bit. I don't dance; I think it's silly - I mean whoever heard of a dancing bear?

35. Gayton

big ted sitting in the churchyardGayton is a village near to the Grand Union Canal.  It has a marina for boats to park in.

This St Mary's had a really nice churchyard where some of the grass had been left to grow long and attract wildlife (such as insects and travelling bears).

Uncle Les got all artistic talking about backlit grass and stuff; but I think this photo of me sitting on a seat in the sun is quite good.

It would have been an ideal place for a bear to snooze, but I had to move on, to another St Mary's.

34. Grafton Regis

This has a really big notice board with lots of stuff in it.  It took ages to read it all as I was looking over the top and so it was all upside-down!.

50. Grendon

big ted sitting on fontWow! I've only been doing this since July 2015 and St Mary's in Grendon is my 50th St Mary's - how exciting is that!

And I took along a little bottle of something fizzy to celebrate as well. [Fizzy water of course!] There was a nice lady cleaning the church 'specially for the occasion.

At least I had a safe wall to sit on for my photo. There was also a splendid square font in the church so I had another photo taken for my new "fonts I have sat on" collection.

130. Little Addington

This notice board is rather nice, apart from the bit that's blank. You'd have thought they would have drawn a picture on it or something. I don't like the foliage getting in front of me in the photo (I must have another word with Uncle Les about this).

120. Moreton Pinkney

Another village with a very silly name. And another very nice sign, but I'm stuck behind a fence post - WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!!!!

33. Roade

Roade was just down the road from Stroke Bruin [snigger] and it had a St Mary's church too; so I visited it.

As you can see it was a very sunny day which made my splendid fur look particularly splendid.

36. Staverton

big ted sitting in porch windowThey were ringing the bells for me when I arrived at this St Mary's [For YOU, Big Ted?].

I had my photo taken looking at the notice board and sitting in the windows in the porch. There's a big window and a little one; this is me sitting in the little one.

32. Stoke Bruerne

I was staying in a canalside cottage near this church.  It's in a place called "Stroke Bruin" (something to do with cuddling bears) which somehow seemed appropriate. [It's called STOKE BRUERNE, Big Ted, as you well know.].

122. Thenford

big ted sitting on fontWell this is odd. This church doesn't have a notice board or anything with its name on except this bit of paper. I did really go there, honest Guv!

It also has this rather old font.

128. Titchmarsh

big ted sitting on fontUncle Les was oddly reluctant to visit this church. I'm not sure why. He kept muttering about plants and decking which made no sense to me.

This is another big church in a small village. It was open for me to look around which was good. It has a splendid font cover.

43. Wappenham

big ted sitting on fontbig ted sitting on fontThis St Mary's has TWO fonts, well that’s just greedy!  I had my photo taken on both of them bas part of my new "fonts I have sat on" collection.

I think I might do a calendar called "Bears on Fonts". It could raise money for CAKE for needy bears.

51. Whiston

big ted with candlestickThe notice board for this St Mary's is right at the bottom of a hill. Then to get to the church itself you have to walk for ages up a narrow path.

Luckily the church was open and I was able to go inside to recover from the climb. Actually, the door was wide open and things were covered in plastic to protect them from bat poo (yeuch!).

There's no electric lighting here, only candlesticks like this one.  I can imagine singeing my splendid fur on one of these (ouch!).

44. Whittlebury

big ted sitting on grass rollerThese railings were very pointy and rusty, my trousis got a bit grubby; 'nuff said. I sat on a rather splended grass roller for my photo (a bit more grubbiness on the trousers though!)

This church is nice but it is near to Silverstone racing circuit and I could hear the noisy cars on the track going "nnnnyeeeeaawww, nnnnyeeeeaawww, nnnnyeeeeaawww"!

52. Wilby

big ted sitting on a benchSadly, I couldn't get inside this church (so no font opportunities).

Uncle Les took an artistic photo of the windows in the porch (he'll show it to you if you ask him nicely).

Meanwhile I sat on a bench in the churchyard and enjoyed the warm sun on my splendid fur.  I may have had a short snooze as well; I couldn't possibly say.

48. Wollaston

This St Mary's has a really impressive spire with sticking up bits and lots of windows.

I couldn't get into the church but I met a man who was there to wind the clock; I could hear it rattling from outside.

129. Woodford

big ted sitting on fontbig ted sitting on fontThis has a very smart notice board with lots of interesting notices in it. It also has a very spiky fence next to it (another sore bottom!).

This is another church with two fonts, an old one and a new one. I sat on both, just to check them out.

It also has a resident bear.big ted sitting chatting to a bear He is rather large and sits in a big red chair. But he is very friendly.

119. Woodford Halse

This St Mary's is having lots of work done on it 'cos the roof isn't very well. I couldn't go inside or anything here.

338. Dallington

This is a village that's part of Northampton city. There were plenty of notice boards here, but sadly I couldn't go into the church.

324. Easton Neston

big ted sitting in the porch windowbig ted sitting in a treeThis was my third attempt to find this St Mary's - and it took some doing. It was all a bit hush hush as I was given a secret bear code to get through a gate and then there was a long drive to find the church, but I got there in the end.

It's a rather nice-looking church, next to a very posh-looking house, and had a handy porch with a window (which I sat in) and a splendid tree (which I also sat in). The church is near to Towcester (which, for some silly reason, is pronounced "toaster").

It was good to be able to finally cross this one off my extensive list!

325. Great Houghton

I couldn't get into this church, but it has a very interesting tower (some of which you can see in my photo).

326. Little Houghton

big ted sitting on a fontIt was getting a bit blowy and drizzly here, so it was really handy that I met with a very nice churchwarden lady who said "hello" and let me look around inside.

Font photo completed (I like the pillars at the bottom); we had a really good chat before she started polishing the silver. There's also a lovely new window here depicting the Tree of Life.

337. Northampton

This is a big parish church with a big notice board. I had to sit on some very pointy railings for my photo (a bit hazardous I must say) and I couldn't go inside the church..

391. Weston-by-Welland

On a trip out from home in Kib – this is quite close but is actually in another county (which made Auntie Fiona grumble a bit - snigger). Sadly, the church was closed so I couldn't go inside, but it was sunny and there was a nice wall for me to sit on which made up for it.

392. Ashley

big ted sitting on a fontThis is a lovely church and it was open for me to look around! It was really surprising inside with this big pink marble font to sit on (nice and cool on a hot bear's behind on a sunny day – or should that be "a bear's hot behind"?)

There is a lot of decoration, 'specially in the chancel (that's the bit where the altar is and where the choir sit), which was done by Sir George Giblet Scott (who I've come across before) and there is more marble there (some of it is pink too). [I think that's quite enough brackets for one sentence. Think of your poor reader and try to be concise, Big Ted].

394. Brampton Ash

I came here so's I could fill the gap in this table (the gap was left when Auntie Fiona had a strop about moving all my churches around when I visited one beginning with "A" - Ashley; and she only did three rows).

Anyway, I came here for a photo but couldn't get inside the church. There was a handy place to park outside which was good as this St Mary's is on quite a fast road.

 

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