14. BYTHORN (A.d.).
(O.S. 6 in. XVI N.W.)
Bythorn is a small parish and village 6 m.
N.N.E. of Kimbolton. The church is the principal
(1). Parish Church of St. Lawrence stands in
the middle of the village. The walls are of Weldon
rubble and cobbles, squared Weldon stone and
ashlar; the roofs are covered with slate and lead.
The presence of 12th-century detail incorporated in
the walling suggests a former church of that date.
Late in the 13th century the church was re-built
with a chancel, Nave and N. aisle. The S. arcade
and South Aisle were added early in the 14th
century. About 1340 the Chancel was re-built and
probably widened, the North Aisle was also re-built
and the West Tower and South Porch were added.
The clearstorey is an addition of the 15th century.
In the 16th century the North Chapel was built.
The church was restored in 1870 and the chancel in
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (21¼ ft.
by 15¼ ft.) has a modern E. window incorporating
some 14th-century work in the splays, jambs and
mullions; the upper part of the E. wall has been
re-built. In the N. wall is a 16th-century arcade of
two bays with two-centred arches of two orders,
the outer hollow-chamfered and continuous and the
inner chamfered and springing from semi-circular
shafts to the central pier and responds and having
moulded capitals and defaced bases. In the S. wall
are two two-light windows both modern except the
splays, rear-arches, and parts of the sills and moulded
jambs which are of 14th-century date; the upper
part of the wall is modern. The much restored
chancel-arch of c. 1340 is two-centred and of two
chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the
inner carried on semi-octagonal shafts with moulded
capitals and chamfered bases; on the W. side the
arch has a moulded label, repaired and with modern
stops; both arch and responds have been considerably restored and the N. capital is modern;
on either side of the arch is a squint, that on the N.
side has chamfered jambs and a trefoiled ogee head
on the W. face and a square head on the E. face;
the S. squint is similar but with a two-centred
trefoiled head on the W. face.
The North Chapel (21¼ ft. by 7¾ ft.) has in the
N. wall two re-set 15th-century windows, the
eastern of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical
tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label,
and the western of two trefoiled lights with vertical
tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label.
In the W. wall is a modern archway into the S.
aisle springing from old shaped corbels.
The Nave (39 ft. by 14¾ ft.) has a late 13th-century N. arcade of four bays with two-centred
arches of two chamfered orders with a moulded
label on the S. side. The piers are alternately
circular and octagonal with a semi-octagonal E.
respond and semi-circular W. respond, all with
moulded capitals and bases. The early 14th-century S. arcade is of four bays with two-centred
arches of two chamfered orders with a moulded
label on the N. face; the piers are quatrefoil on
plan with moulded capitals and bases but have
been repaired and the capital to the first pier is
modern; the outer order of the end arches dies
on to the end walls and the inner is carried on
moulded corbels with modern carving; the W. side
of the westernmost arch was probably re-built when
the W. tower was added. The 15th-century clear-storey has an embattled parapet and four windows
on each side, each of two trefoiled lights with blind
tracery in a square head with a moulded label.
The North Aisle (4¾ ft. wide) has in the N. wall
three windows; the easternmost is of early 14th-century date and of two trefoiled lights with a
quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded
label; the middle window is similar but with modern
repair; the westernmost is of mid 14th-century
date and of two trefoiled lights with modern
tracery in a square head with a moulded label and
defaced head-stops. The re-set 13th-century N.
doorway has chamfered jambs, moulded imposts
and a two-centred chamfered head with a moulded
label and crude head-stops. A straight joint marks
the junction of the W. wall with the older W. wall
of the nave.
The South Aisle (9 ft. wide) has in the E. wall a
restored mid 14th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head
with a moulded label; the rear-arch and splays are
modern. In the S. wall are three restored windows
each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a
two-centred head with a moulded label and mask-stops; the easternmost window has one head-stop;
the re-set and restored 13th-century S. doorway has
chamfered jambs, moulded imposts and a two-centred chamfered head with a moulded label and
defaced stops. In the W. wall is a two-light
window similar to those in the S. wall but mostly
The West Tower (about 8 ft. by 7½ ft.) is of c. 1340
and is of three stages with a moulded plinth; it is
surmounted by an octagonal spire splayed into a
square at the base. The tower-arch is two-centred
and of two continuous moulded orders, with a
moulded label returned along the wall to the side
walls of the nave; above the arch the line of the
former roof to the nave is visible. In the W. wall
is a window of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil
in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and
label and grotesque head-stops. The second stage
has in the W. wall an equilateral triangular window
with tracery and a continuous moulded label.
The third stage has in each wall a two-light
transomed window with the lower lights trefoiled
and the upper lights cinque-foiled and with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and
label and grotesque head-stops; the transom of
the W. window is modern. Above the windows is a
frieze of quatre-foiled panels surmounted by a
moulded frieze with grotesque carved bosses. The
spire rises from a plain base, the angles of which are
splayed back from a square to an octagonal plan.
Between the spire and the base is a moulded string-course. Lighting the spire are three tiers of spire-lights towards the cardinal points. The windows in
the first tier are transomed and each of two ranges
of two trefoiled lights with a cusped panel in a
gabled head; the windows of the second tier are
each of two trefoiled lights with cusped panels in a
gabled head; and the windows of the top range are
each of a single trefoiled light in a gabled head. The
spire is surmounted by a moulded finial.
The South Porch (8½ ft. by 7½ ft.) is of 14th-century date. The outer archway is of 14th-century origin but, except for part of the moulded
jambs and the bases to the semi-circular responds,
is of modern work. In the E. wall is a single-light window with hollow-chamfered jambs, two-centred head and moulded label but the splays
and rear-arch are modern. In the W. wall is a
similar window which retains part of the original
The Roof of the nave is of late 15th- or early
16th-century date and of four bays with moulded
and cambered tie-beams, curved and moulded
braces, short king-posts beneath which are carved
bosses of foliage and heads, and carved grotesque
faces at the junction of the tie-beams and purlins.
Fittings—Bells: four; 1st by Henry Bagley,
1682; 2nd by Henry Penn, 1711; 3rd by T.
Norris, 1620; 4th by Thomas Norris 1674.
Bracket: In S. aisle—on E. wall, with deep
chamfer on a mask-corbel, 14th-century. Brass
and Indent: Brass: under tower—to Sillina,
wife of William Parris, 1658, inscription only.
Indent: under tower—of inscription-plate, probably 17th-century. Communion Table: with plain
top having modern addition at each end, carved
and moulded rails and heavy turned legs, mid
17th-century. Font: octagonal bowl with chamfered upper and lower edge, plain octagonal stem
and chamfered base on modern plinth, 16th- or
17th-century. Monument and Floor-slabs:
Monument: In churchyard—in angle between
chancel and S. aisle, head-stone to John Pierson(?),
1710. Floor-slabs: In N. chapel—(1) to Thomas
Hill (?), 1693, also to Elizabeth, wife of . . . . . (2)
to John Hustwait, 1653. Niche: In N. aisle—in
N. wall, with two-centred chamfered head and
moulded label, 13th- or early 14th-century. Piscina:
In chancel—with hollow - chamfered jambs and
trefoiled head with soffit cusping and chamfered
label and projecting bowl with octofoiled drain,
13th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1614,
given 1639, with baluster-stem and enriched
steeple-cover. Recess: In chancel—in E. wall,
small rectangular recess with modern sill. Sedile:
In chancel—sill of S.E. window carried down to
form seat, 14th-century. Sundials: On buttress,
S. wall of chancel, scratched, with gnomon missing.
On S.W. buttress of W. tower, carefully cut dial
with figures, gnomon missing. Miscellanea:
Fragments of 12th-century cheveron - ornament,
re-used in S. wall of S. aisle.
The following monuments, unless otherwise
described, are of the 17th century and of two
storeys; the walls are of coursed rubble and the
roofs are tiled or thatched. Some of the buildings
have exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good.
(2). Scott's Farm, house 100 yards N.N.E. of
the church, is of two storeys with attics. The
building has been extensively altered.
(3). Cottage, 25 yards, N.E. of the church.
(4). Cottage, 40 yards S. of (3), is timber-framed
(5). Cottage, S. of (4).
(6). Cottage and shop, 60 yards S.E. of (5).