Cotterstock is a parish of 286 hectares, standing on
the W. bank of the R. Nene. It formerly included
Glapthorn, which was probably a secondary
settlement, sharing the same field system until
enclosure in 1814. The village consists of a single
street, with a former green near the church;
originally the houses appear to have been wholly
on the N. side of the street. There were 24 families
in 1673 and 30 in 1801.
The manor fell in the 14th century to John
Gifford, a canon of York, who rose in the
household of Queen Isabella and founded a college
of priests in the church, the manor forming part of
the endowment. After the Dissolution this manor
was acquired with other college property by Sir
Robert Kirkham of Warmington. The Kirkhams
lived at Fineshade and appear to have used a house
built on the college site for junior members of the
family. A second manor, called Holts, developed
during the Middle Ages, and by the early 17th
century had passed to the Norton family. The
present Cotterstock Hall was built by John Norton
c. 1656–8, and is an interesting example of a house
being built by a small landowner and
parliamentarian during the Commonwealth.
In 1673 this was one of the smallest villages in
the area, and as many as four-fifths of the
population were exempt from Hearth Tax or were
living in single-hearth houses. The same pattern of
contrasting poverty and wealth persisted and is
expressed in the surviving houses; (13) and (14) are
associated with the miller and mill owner, (2) and
(12) with gentlemen, and the rest are small farms
Fig. 51 Cotterstock Village Map
(1) The Parish Church of St. Andrew (Fig. 52; Plate
36) stands at the edge of the village on the W. bank of
the River Nene. The churchyard has been built up to
form a terrace around the church. The church consists of
a Chancel, North Vestry, Nave with Aisles, West Tower
and South Porch. The walls of the chancel and the S.
porch are of ashlar and the remainder are of coursed
rubble. The chancel roof is steep-pitched and covered in
stone slates; the nave and aisle roofs are low-pitched. The
earliest part of the fabric consists of two small areas of
herringbone masonry at the E. ends of the N. and S.
walls of the nave; they may date from the late 11th or
early 12th century. Later, in the Norman period a W.
tower was added. slightly wider than the earlier nave,
the roof-line of which is visible in the E. wall of the
tower. The church at this stage was probably without
aisles. In the 13th century arcades and aisles were added
to the nave. Also in the 13th century, but somewhat
later, the present belfry stage was constructed and a wide
tower arch introduced. During the second quarter of the
14th century the chancel was totally rebuilt on a large
scale to accommodate the college of priests founded by
John Gifford in 1338. Slightly later in the 14th century
both aisles were widened and at the same time the
present clearstorey was built. In the 15th century the
porch was constructed and buttresses were added to the
tower. Extensive restorations were carried out in 1876
under the direction of G. E. Street (NRO, Faculty). The
work included the building of a vestry N. of the chancel,
on the line of earlier foundations. The interior walls of
the church were stripped of plaster.
Fig. 52 Cotterstock Church
The large chancel built in c. 1338 in association with
Gifford's college of priests is the outstanding feature of
the church. John Gifford was rector of Cotterstock until
1317 when he resigned the living to follow his career as a
royal clerk first to Queen Isabella and then to Edward
III. He purchased the manor and advowson in 1336 and a
Royal Charter was received for the foundation of the
college in 1338, and episcopal sanction in the following
year. The licence for alienation in mortmain (Cal. Pat.
(1334–38), 515, 2 Sept. 1337) shows that the college was
to have a Provost and twelve chaplains, and contains a
list of its considerable endowments which included the
advowson of the hospital at Perio. The object of the
foundation was to pray for the good estate of the king,
queen Isabella, queen Philippa and the king's children,
and John Gifford, and for the soul of Edward II. It was
dedicated to the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Mary and other
saints. The college prospered until the late 15th century
when it was stripped of its lands by Simon Norwich; it
was dissolved in 1536. The Provost's manor was granted
by Edward VI to Sir Robert Kirkham who occupied the
large chantry house near the E. end of the church (VCH,
Northants. II. 167–9).
Architectural Description – The Chancel has an ogee-moulded plinth, two-stage buttresses, a small buttress
beneath the E. window, and a modern parapet with
moulded string-course. The E. window (Plate 37) has
moulded mullions, flowing tracery and a label with mask
stops. In the N. wall are two 14th-century doorways,
one to the rebuilt vestry, the other external. Windows on
the N. and S. have flowing tracery comprising a central
cusped oval flanked by mouchettes (Plate 36); labels have
mask stops and the internal sills are continuous. The
chancel arch, remodelled in c. 1338, has wave-moulded
jambs (Fig. 53). On the N. of the arch is a square-headed
doorway entered from the chancel and serving a rood
loft stair; the upper doorway has an ogee head. On the
S. of the arch is a squint, square-headed on the E. and
ogee-headed on the W. The North Vestry, built in 1876,
stands on the line of a building, contemporary with the
chancel (NRO, Faculty and architect's drawings), which
linked the church with the residential buildings of the
college. The W. wall of this building survives in part as
the retaining wall of the churchyard; it has a buttress on
its W. side, below the ground level of the churchyard,
and the outline of a door and windows are visible on the
E. face. Blore shows this building standing to two
storeys in the early 19th century (BL Add. MS 42020,
The Nave has two-bay arcades of the early 13th
century. The long E. responds incorporating herringbone
masonry probably indicate that the arches were
introduced into an earlier aisleless nave; the early
masonry is visible on the outer sides of these responds.
In the S. wall, above the head of the E. arch are four
stones which may be jamb-stones of an earlier window,
coeval with the herringbone masonry. The arcades have
round piers and half-round responds, roll-moulded bases,
octagonal capitals and double-chamfered arches; the bases
on the S. have spurs, some being modern replacements.
The central capital on the S. is decorated with fleurs-de-lis in shallow relief added probably in the 17th century.
The late 14th-century clearstorey has a plain parapet
above a string decorated with paterae and carved heads,
and the rectangular windows are each of two lights with
The North Aisle of the 14th century has plain eaves on
the N., parapets on the E. and W., and diagonal
buttresses. The E. window has two ogee-headed lights
but with square heads. The N. doorway has roll-and-hollow moulded jambs and head. In the W. wall a
square-headed window, probably of the 16th century,
has lights with four-centred heads. Inside, along most of
the N. wall and returning on the W. are stone benches.
The South Aisle, also 14th-century, has an E. window
with a trefoil flanked by short mullions in the head,
implying a date late in the century. The window on the
S. has moulded jambs, square head, an internal wooden
lintel, but no label. Below it is a blocked square-headed
opening, the internal head being lower than the external;
its purpose is unknown. The S. doorway has continuous
wave-moulded jambs and head, scroll-moulded label
with head stops, and an internal wooden lintel. The W.
window is similar to that on the N. but is of three lights.
As with the N. aisle there are stone wall benches.
The West Tower is of two external stages, the lower
belonging to the 12th century and the upper to the 13th.
The parapet and diagonal buttresses are 15th-century. On
the E. is the line of a former steeply-pitched nave roof.
The tower arch, inserted in the 13th century, has a
double-chamfered head, responds with bell-shaped
capitals enriched with nail-head decoration, and bases
which are barely water-holding. The 12th-century W.
doorway has nook shafts with scalloped capitals and a
segmental head of two orders with chevron decoration.
In the S. wall are two blocked doorways probably of
post-medieval date, one in the lower stage and the other
above; another is recorded on the ground floor on the N.
where the walling is now plastered (VCH, Northants. II,
559). In the second storey, above the tower arch, is a
blocked square-headed opening perhaps contemporary
with the tower. In the W. wall is a small lancet inserted
above the W. doorway, the head of which may have
been altered and depressed in the process. Above is
another small lancet partly blocked by a 14th-century
niche with moulded corbel, side shafts and canopy. In
each face of the belfry stage is a two-light opening with a
central shaft, contained within an outer pointed arch with
side shafts; the tympanum on the W. is pierced with a
quatrefoil. The 15th-century embattled parapet is
enriched with panelling.
Fig. 53 Cotterstock Church
Chancel mouldings c. 1338
The South Porch (Plate 25) has embattled parapets,
gargoyles and diagonal buttresses terminating with
figures of beasts and on the gable is a third beast. The
quadripartite vault has ridge-ribs and tiercerons. Bosses
are carved with symbols of the evangelists and, centrally,
of the Trinity (Plate 45). In the side walls are rectangular
two-light windows. The archway has a depressed head
and the moulded jambs have caps and bases.
The chancel Roof is steep-pitched and hidden by a
raftered ceiling having tie beams, ridge-piece and side
purlins, 16th or 17th-century; bosses at the centre of the
beams are carved as grotesque and crowned heads, and a
shield of arms of Gifford. The simple nave and aisle
roofs of 1876 are said to reproduce the former roofs.
Fittings – Bells: five; 1st and 3rd by Henry Penn, 1708;
two others by Penn. 1708; were recorded by North
(1878) and may be those recast by Taylor in 1889.
Brackets: in N. aisle (1), on E. wall, grotesque male
figure, apparently stabbing himself, 15th-century (Plate
45); in S. aisle (2), on E. wall, chamfered bracket,
medieval. Brass: in chancel, of Robert Wyntryngham,
provost of the college of priests at Cotterstock, 1420,
figure in cope enriched with fleurs-de-lis, in an
architectural setting supported on shaft with bracketed
head and moulded base; black-letter marginal inscription
with evangelists' symbols in angle roundels (Plate 43).
Churchyard cross: base only with tapering sides and a
worn inscription, recorded by Stukeley as 'Johs Leek et
Kathlen uxor eius hac fecerunt fieri' (Surtees Soc. 80, 52);
14th or 15th-century. Coffin lids: in S. aisle (1) and (2),
flanking S. doorway and used as bench ends,
fragmentary, both with wheel cross and omega
ornament; loose in tower (3), fragment with butterfly
ornament; all 13th-century. Loose in tower (4), tapered
slab with female figure in relief, hands in prayer, with
trefoil ogee-headed niche, the feet resting on an animal,
the centre part of figure covered, 14th-century (Plate 7).
Font: octagonal, the bowl decorated with quatrefoil and
mouchette patterns, the stem with cusped recesses and
the base with vine-scroll, 15th-century, reset or possibly
a replacement. Glass: in N. aisle, fragments architectural
and foliage decoration, and a shield of arms (a chevron
between three squirrels), 15th-century. Locker: in chancel,
ogee head and rebated jambs, 14th-century, recut.
Monuments: in tower (1), of James Rickett, 1841, Sarah
his wife, 1845, and four children; (2), of John Simcoe,
1759, Commander of H.M.S. Pembroke, died at the
siege of Quebec which is depicted in shallow relief on
the apron (Plate 70); wall monument of grey, beige and
white marble with pilasters, gadrooned capitals, cornice
carrying naval trophies, obelisk background with a
cartouche of arms of Simcoe with an unidentified shield
in pretence; Pawlet-t-William and John, sons of the
above, are also recorded; (3), of Maria Berkeley
(Margetts), 1838 and infants; (4), of Sarah Rickett
(Richardson), 1850, and infant, inscribed 'Marble Works,
Esher Street, West'er'; (5), of Rev. Sir George Booth
bart., 1797, and Laetitia, 1823, his second wife and coheiress of John Rose of Cotterstock; (6), of Daniel
Chapman, 1820, his wife Susannah, 1811, and a son,
tablet with pediment and apron carrying shield of arms
of Chapman, signed 'Harrison Oundle'; (7), of John
Campion, 1766, with decorated pilasters and curved
pediment. In churchyard, gabled grave slab with central
rib and recesses at head and foot presumably for standing
Piscinae in chancel (1), unified with sedilia, cusped ogee
head with crockets and finial, sexfoil sinking, half-round
shaft support, early 14th-century (Plate 40). In N. aisle
(2), trefoil head, quatrefoil sinking, 13th-century. In S.
aisle (3), sinking in projecting window sill, drain through
wall, 14th-century. Seating: (1), stone wall benches on
side and W. walls of the aisles, 14th-century; in aisles (2),
four wooden benches without backs, shaped ends, post-medieval. Sedilia: in chancel three graduated seats, the E.
with plain arched head, the centre with trefoil head and
the W. with cinquefoil head, all with outer ogee heads,
crockets and finials, 14th-century (Plate 40). Miscellanous:
in churchyard, large rectangular stone trough, perhaps a
(2) Cotterstock Hall (Fig. 54; Plate 102) stands on the
N. side of the village street. It was built between 1656
and 1658 by John Norton whose family had become
established in the parish by the early 16th century. By
1599 one John Norton headed the tax assessment. In
1628 lands belonging to the families of Norton and
Kirkham (see parish introduction) were taxed equally; by
this time the Nortons had acquired Holts Manor from
the Norwich family and by 1639 they held land in
Southwick and Glapthorn as well (PRO, E179/156/229;
E179/157/362; E179/238/129). The builder of the hall
may have been the John Norton who inherited in 1621.
Unlike the Kirkhams he was a parliamentarian, and in
1646 he was a trustee of a fund formed out of Kirkham's
fines to maintain a preacher at Cotterstock and
Glapthorn, he being described as 'a gentleman of
approved fidelity and nearly concerned in the business,
where, in Glapthorn, he has a large estate' (PRO, SP23/
G263). He also persecuted Quakers.
In about 1693 the Nortons sold the Cotterstock estate
to Elmes Steward whose wife Elizabeth was sister of
Jemima Creed, foundress of Ashton school, and cousin
of Dryden. She persuaded the elderly poet to stay at the
hall for a few weeks in 1698 and 1699, and the S.W. attic
room was associated with him by 1857 (Scottish PRO,
GD/51/12/17/11). In the middle of the 18th century the
house was owned by John Rose (d. 1758) and then by his
widow (d. 1783) and his daughter Laetitia (d. 1823)
second wife of the Rev. Sir George Booth bart. (d.
1797). Occupied briefly by C. P. Berkeley, the house
was bought by Jane dowager Countess of Westmorland
in 1843, who, dying in 1856, left it to her younger son,
Col. H. S. Fane. He began alterations, principally the
addition of a new staircase block on the N., but he died
in 1857 leaving the house to a cousin Henry Dundas,
third Viscount Melville, who completed the work on the
house; subsequently it was let to a succession of tenants.
The house consists of a main range with three,
originally four, short wings giving an H-shaped plan.
This relatively conservative plan bears comparison with
some in John Thorpe's book of drawings (Walpole Soc.,
40 (1966), T55, T59, T61) compiled at the beginning of
the century. On the other hand some architectural details
are up-to-date for a non-classical house, the traditional
mullioned windows having eared cavetto-moulded
architraves, and the fireplaces bolection-moulded
surrounds. The original planning of the house is
generally clear; a central screens passage led to a hall on
the right and service rooms on the left with other service
rooms in the basement, and the kitchen in a rear wing at
a convenient mezzanine level. The parlour may have
been in the S.E. wing and lodgings in the S.W. wing;
the N.E. wing, now destroyed, may have had further
lodgings and possibly another stair giving direct access to
the main chamber above the hall. The arrangement of
the service rooms has been altered but a blocked passage
on the N. side leading to the stair is probably original.
Fig. 54 Cotterstock (2) Cotterstock Hall Plan and reconstruction of S. elevation
Architectural Description – The house is of two
storeys with basement and attics. The walls are of
coursed rubble, faced on the S. and E. with ashlar; there
is a set-back at first-floor level and the parapeted gables
have ball finials. The windows were originally all of
three lights, the principal having transoms. The entrance
front on the S. (Plate 102) has windows with ovolo-moulded mullions and cavetto-moulded eared
architraves; several windows are blocked but those on
the ground floor in the S. walls of the wings were
replaced in the early 18th-century by pairs of tall sash
windows with plain architraves and keystones. The two-storey central porch has a round-headed entrance flanked
by large console brackets carrying a semi-circular
overthrow containing the crest and motto of Viscount
Melville, possibly entirely of c. 1857 although based on
an earlier but similar design (early 19th-century
engraving at house); the arms of Norton were originally
over the entrance (Bridges II, 438). The porch has a
balustrade with symmetrical, square-section balusters,
and ball finials. Behind is a scrolled gable containing a
doorway with an eared architrave and a blind oval below
a lozenge inscribed 'I N M 1658' for John and Mary
Norton. The dormer windows have concave wooden
pediments, probably replacements. The E. elevation,
formerly symmetrical, has a gable now off-centre; there
are no original openings. Windows in the S.E. wing are
blocked, those on the ground floor, beneath the gable,
are early 18th-century with cavetto mouldings, and the
remainder are of 1857 in mid 17th-century style. The W.
elevation (Plate 102) with a similar central gable has
irregular fenestration comprising three and four-light
windows with mullions, transoms and eared architraves.
A central doorway has a flat four-centred head. The N.
elevation is partly masked by a central stair block added
in c. 1857 between the two N. wings; these wings were
slightly wider than those on the S. The absence of quoins
and a straight joint in the N. wall indicates the width of
the former N.E. wing. The modern doorway may be in
an original position; a first-floor blocked doorway is cut
by a 19th-century window. The staircase block has two
reset oval lights and a panel originally inscribed 1656 but
altered to 1856.
Inside, elliptical vaults in rubble and brick were
inserted in the 19th century in the cellars beneath the
main range. The kitchen in the N.W. wing has a lower
floor than elsewhere and therefore rises through one and
a half storeys. It has a wide fireplace with a rebuilt arch.
Throughout the house are chamfered beams and several
chamfered wooden door-frames of the mid 17th century.
On the hall side of the entrance passage are screens of the
early 18th century consisting of three round-headed arches
with key blocks and Tuscan columns; the outer arches
were blocked in 1857. On the other side an arcade
reflecting that on the E. survived until recently; the
arches were blind but that on the N. was originally open
to provide access to the stair by way of a passage on that
side of the house, and the central arch contained a door
to the central room. The stair (Fig. 55) of c. 1658 has a
closed string, turned balusters and panelled newels, and
one surviving pendant to a newel. In the ground-floor
rooms are three elaborate limestone fireplaces dating
from c. 1658: in the former hall, an eared and bolection-moulded surround with pulvinated frieze and moulded
cornice (Plate 103); in S.E. room, an cared surround with
flanking scrolls and central carved floral panel (Plate 103);
in S.W. room, a bolection-moulded surround. The room
S. of the stair has a fireplace, with bolection moulding,
perhaps of Alwalton marble, early 18th-century; the
ogee-moulded panelling is late 17th-century.
Fig. 55 Cotterstock (2) Cotterstock Hall
Staircase c. 1658
On the first floor the principal chamber, over the
former hall, has a ceiling restored to its correct height
after being raised in 1857. The fireplace has a bolection-moulded surround, pulvinated frieze and cornice-shelf of
c. 1658. The other rooms are mostly panelled and have
stone fireplaces of c. 1658: in S.E. room, fireplace with
eared surround, large scroll pediment with central panel
of crinoidal limestone (Plate 103); in N.W. and S.W.
rooms, ones with plain surrounds and friezes with
cornice-shelves. An attic room has reset 17th-century
scratch-moulded panelling; on the stair landing is a small
length of plaster frieze showing a rabbit and dog. c.
Included in the outbuildings W. of the house is a 17th-century rectangular Dovecote of rubble with about 250
(3) Two storeys, squared rubble front wall, ashlar
voussoirs to sash-window heads, Welsh slate roof, date-stone 'RE 1839', class 4a. (Not entered)
(4) A pair, two storeys, brick laid in Flemish bond
with glazed headers, sash windows, Welsh slate roof,
each class 7, mid 19th-century.
(5) Appletree Cottage, formerly three two-storey class
4c cottages of early 19th-century date; now a single
(6) The Corner Cottage and adjoining tenements, a
row of three two-storey single-room cottages with
scullery under an extended roof at the rear, early 19th-century. Sash windows with ashlar flat arches, Welsh
slate roof. (Not entered)
(7) Formerly a pair, one storey and attics, class 4c.
early 19th-century, now a single house. Original
doorways, now blocked, flank present entrance.
(8) The Cottages, two storeys, with thatched main
roof and Welsh slated lean-to at rear, perhaps originally
three single-room cottages, early 19th-century. Openings
with cambered arches of yellow brick. Formerly
bakehouse behind with similar details, early 19th-century.
(9) Former Gate Public House, a two-storey class 4a
house with Welsh slate roof, early 19th-century. Single-storey range to W. now raised to two storeys.
(10) Gatehouse Cottage, single-room cottage of one
storey and attic, extended on both sides. Thatched roof.
18th or 19th-century. (Not entered)
(11) Old Vicarage (Fig. 56; Plate 117), of two storeys
with stone and Welsh slated roofs, and set at right angles
to the road, has at its S. end a two-storey, two-cell
house with parapeted gables. A panel in the S. gable,
inscribed 'IMN 1651' indicates the building date (Plate
124). In 1831 the building was in a poor state of repair
and James Richardson of Stamford drew up a scheme for
partial rebuilding and for an extension to provide a
library and dining room in the 17th-century house, and a
kitchen, scullery and pantry in the addition; this was
estimated to cost £375 (NRO, Plans of Parsonages, Box
2). Shortly afterwards the N. room in the original house
was extended W. and the kitchen range extended N.
Internal fittings are of 1831 or later.
(12) The Manor House (Plate 105), of two storeys
with dormered attics, has a front elevation of squared
rubble with chamfered plinth and platband; the stacks are
of ashlar and gables have parapets. It is a T-shaped house
of 1720 with three rooms in line and a central stair turret
behind. The sash windows have flat arches with
projecting keystones, and these and the door-case appear
early 19th-century. A central panel is inscribed 'I C E
MDCCXX'. The rear service ranges appear 19th-century
despite the two 17th-century beams incorporated in the
N. part. Fittings are generally early 19th-century but a
moulded stone fireplace surround of c. 1720 survives in a
front room. The roof of the main range has collars and
staggered square-set purlins, and that over the original
stair projection has heavy clasped purlins.
Fig. 56 Cotterstock (II) Old Vicarage
From designs for alterations in 1831 by James Richardson of Stamford (NRO)
Dovecote, N. of the house, rectangular, providing some
1240 nesting holes, early 19th-century.
(13) Cotterstock House (Plate 118), two storeys, sash
windows with freestone dressings and flat arches, Welsh
slate roof, hipped with central valley, class 8, early 19th-century. Verandah with cast-iron standards and curved
roof, perhaps mid 19th-century. Coach house and stable
block to W. are later than the house. (Not entered)
(14) Mill House, of three storeys with hipped roof,
platband at first floor and freestone dressings and
door-case with segmental hood on Tuscan columns, class
8, early 19th-century presumably built by James Rickett
after the death of his father in 1841 (monument in
church). The house and mill were drawn by Clarke in
August 1847 but the mill has been considerably rebuilt.
(15) Church Farm stands on the site of the domestic
buildings associated with the college of priests established
in the church in the 14th century. The house itself does
not retain any medieval features but a wall now acting as
a retaining wall and running between the church and the
S. gable of the house has three blocked openings,
probably a door and two windows, and may be a part of
the medieval buildings. In 1615 the building on the site
contained a parlour, a pantry, the 'chauncell parlour',
each with a chamber above, a little dairy, a brewhouse
and a corn chamber over it (PRO, C.142/450/70).
The house, of coursed rubble with stone-slated roof, is
of two storeys, the N. part with semi-attics. The S. part
is of 17th-century origin and the straight joint against the
relatively late S. gable indicates that it may have been an
addition to a pre-existing structure standing to the S.
There is a blocked window with chamfered mullions low
in the S. gable. On the W. front is a four-light ovolo-moulded mullioned window with transom and king
mullion, partly blocked but formerly lighting a lofty
first-floor room. The N. part of the house is probably of
early 19th-century date with later rebuilding or refacing.
The house now has four main rooms arranged irregularly
with a pantry, passage and stairhall.
N. of the house a square Dovecote of coursed rubble
with brick nesting boxes (Fig. 7) and stone alighting
ledges, now roofless, formerly provided over 1000
nesting boxes, early 19th-century.
(16) Cotterstock Lodge (TL 036911). The buildings,
mainly late 19th-century, include a two-storey, two-room rear wing to the main house, a single-room
cottage, and a cowhouse and barn of the early 19th-century.
(17) Cross, base square with chamfered and stopped
corners, medieval, moved three times in the 19th century
and finally in 1897 set on a new plinth and furnished
with a new shaft at the expense of Viscount Melville
(Peterborough Diocesan Magazine vol. viii, Oct. 1896;
Peterborough Diocesan Calender, 1897). Its original position
may have been about 70 m. S.E.