History

The Parish of Thrapston
History   •    HOPE Together   •    Mothers Prayers   •    James Club   •    Operation Christmas Child   •    Downloads

 

Thrapston is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) with the spelling Trapestone. A church appears to have been in existence at least by the mid 12th century. The present church was built in the 13th century although only the chancel remains from that period. The patronage was granted to the Abbey of Bourne in Lincolnshire until the Abbey was dissolved in 1534. Since then it has belonged to the Crown.

The tower dates from the later years of the 14th century. The parapet recalls the days when, the settlement being under attack, the population could retreat into the church for security, archers firing from above. The sloping floor recalls the medieval practice of bringing ploughs into the porch. To celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee a new peal of eight bells was dedicated by the Dean of Peterborough in 1897.

On the left wall as you enter are the arms of Sir John Washington. Sir John, who is said to have held one of the Thrapston manors in the 17th century, was great, great, great uncle of George Washington, first President of the United States of America. He married Mary Curtis of Islip, who is buried in Islip churchyard, and they lived at Montague House in Chancery Lane, Thrapston. The 'Stars and Stripes' National Flag of the United States of America is said to have its origins in the Washington family arms. They are also reflected in the town's civic badge and the flag of Thrapston.

In 1841 the nave and aisles were rebuilt and between 1841 and 1843 the galleries with their box pews were installed. The finally carved oak pulpit on a Portland stone base dates from 1911 and the beautiful carved oak screen was given to the church in 1929. The font is of Clipsham stone and was dedicated in 1888. The chancel dates from the 13th century and is the oldest part of our church. Its little priest doorway (with clearly its original door) and the double piscina (Latin for 'pool') are from that date. Most double piscinae such as ours date from the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). In one side the priest's fingers were washed before he consecrated the Holy Communion bread and wine, in the other the Communion vessels were washed after use. The sedilia (Latin for 'seats') are three seats which were used by the priest and his assistants, the deacon and subdeacon. Our sedilia are 14th century but appear too close to the ground for comfort. That is because the floor of the chancel was raised a foot in 1843 to make it level with that of the new nave.

In the 14th century the east window of five lights and reticulated tracery were inserted as well as the windows in the north and south aisles. The choir stalls, the paving and general layout of the chancel dates from 1902 while the present two-manual organ dates from 1888.

The fine stained glass east window was given in 1863. The five main panels of the window depict Gethsemane, Jesus carrying the cross, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension. Below are Old Testament scenes: Jacob receiving news of the apparent death of Joseph, Abraham leading Isaac to the place of sacrifice, the angel preventing Abraham from killing Isaac, Joseph being lifted out of the pit for sale to traders, and Elijah being taken up to heaven. Each corresponds in some way to the main scene above. The smaller stained glass window in the south wall dedicated in 1870 depicts eight miracles of Jesus recorded in the Gospels.

The Church is open every Saturday between 10.00 am and 12 noon. Visitors are always welcome. An historical guide book is available together with prayer cards and helpful information about the Christian faith.

For further information please contact the Rector, the Reverend Charles Jefferson (01832 730814).