Yarwell is a parish of 490 hectares on the W. of the
R. Nene. It has always been a chapelry of
Nassington, and served by a curate. Yarwell is not
named in Domesday Book but was probably
included in Nassington, a village attributed with
two mills, one of which may have been at Yarwell.
In the Middle Ages the village was in Rockingham
Forest. The extra-parochial forest area of Sulchay
Walk was always regarded as part of Yarwell until
it was transferred to Nassington in 1869.
By the late 15th century the manor had passed to
Sir Guy Wolston, and from him it passed to the
Earls of Westmorland, all of whom lived at
Apethorpe. The manor house seems to have
disappeared by the end of the 16th century (NRO,
W(A) 4.XVI.5; 6.XII); its site to the W. of the
church is indicated by the field names Dovecote
Close and Coney Garth. The village was never
very large, and had 39 houses in 1580 (NRO,
W(A) 6.XII), 49 families in 1719 and 58 families in
1801. It consists of a single straight street with
regular plots on the S. side, including the manor
site and glebe. The layout on the N. of the street is
irregular and doubtless secondary; hence, in 1778 it
included the only freehold land in the village. The
majority of three-room buildings of the 17th
century, including (11), were copyhold. In the 19th
century all the larger and fashionable houses were
copyhold or freehold; the only house of more than
average status built on Westmorland land was the
mill house (27).
The village has always been mainly agricultural
but a good bed of Lower Lincolnshire Limestone
outcrops in the parish; the large number of
stonemasons living here in the 18th and 19th
centuries probably indicates the period when the
quarries were most active. Of these masons
William Sanderson, who died in 1803, is
distinguished by his headstone carved with masonic
emblems. In the present century the stone has been
dug only for ballast.
Enclosure was in 1778 (NRO, plan 57). In 1881 a
new cemetery and mortuary chapel for both
Yarwell and Nassington were built to designs by J.
C. Traylen of Stamford (Mercury, 21 Oct.).
(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Fig.
219; Plate 32) stands on the S. side of the village street. It
comprises a Chancel, North and South Chapels, Nave and
West Tower. The walls are of limestone rubble with
freestone dressings. The nave and chancel roofs are steep-pitched and stone-slated, and those of the side chapels are
flat-pitched; in 1804 James French was paid £6. 10.0 for
thatching the chancel (church wardens' accounts in
Nassington) which remained thatched until 1892. The
building is mostly 13th-century. It formerly had N. and
S. aisles which were removed in 1782. The W. tower has
been rebuilt, probably in the 17th century.
Fig. 218 Yarwell Village Map
In 1760 the church wardens' Presentments (NRO, C
111/40/1) recorded that the church was in need of repair
but the necessary work was not carried out. On the 13th
and 14th April 1782 there was a heavy fall of snow and
much rain resulting in the coping on the N. side of the
nave falling on the aisle roof, and in the bulging of the
aisle wall (LAO. Faculty 9/93). The faculty states that the
main roof was decayed and damaged, and the S. aisle out
of repair. As the nave and chancel were 'more than
adequate to contain the inhabitants' the aisles with their
porches were removed and the arcades walled up
(Faculty of 20 June 1782). The work was in the hands of
Mr. Sanderson who was to make good the structure for
£105 and to provide pews and scats for £50. In the
church wardens' accounts for 1783 Sanderson received
not only the £105 but also £84 for the pews and flooring,
and £1.11.6 for new gates and the repair of the old one.
A plan by Sanderson of the church before the removal of
the aisles accompanies the faculty papers together with
drawings for the proposed alterations and for the new
roof (Figs. 14, 220). The work was generally carried out
in accordance with the drawings. The medieval piers are
now partly visible possibly as a result of the restoration
work of 1892 which also involved the rebuilding of most
of the N. and S. chapels (Peterborough Advertiser, 24 Sept.
Although the church has been much curtailed, a
considerable amount of the 13th-century building
remains, but the proportion of the chancel and the fact
that it is narrower than the nave suggest that the church
may date from the 12th century.
Architectural Description – The Chancel is abnormally
short for one of the 13th century. It has plain eaves and a
parapeted E. gable. The late 15th-century E. window is
set within the splayed jamb of a former window, the sill
of which survives; it has a four-centred head, graduated
cinquefoil lights and pierced spandrels. On the N. is a
two-bay arcade with almost round-headed arches of two
chamfered orders resting on a round pier and responds
with water-holding bases. Capitals are enriched with
nail-head. The S. arcade (Plate 32) has round arches and
the central capital an extra roll moulding. The chancel
arch has two chamfered orders and the responds are half
rounded with roll-moulded capitals and water-holding
bases. The arch has two housings presumably for fixing
a tympanum infilling. The North and South Chapels were
almost entirely rebuilt during the 1892 restoration. There
are offsets at the bases of the E. and side walls. Windows
have square heads and are of uncertain date. In the W.
wall of the S. chapel in the position of the opening to the
former S. aisle are the roughly reset stones of an arch.
The Nave is now aisleless, the three-bay 13th-century
arcades having been walled up in 1782. Externally, the
plain chamfered weathercourses for the former aisle roofs
remain. The arcades have arches of two chamfered
orders, circular piers, matching responds with roll-moulded capitals and water-holding bases: capitals on the
N. have nail-head decoration. In the faces of the first pair
of capitals are two cuttings, suggesting a former screen at
this point. The heads of the windows in the 18th century
blocking are formed by the centre sections of the arches,
but on the drawing of 1782 they are shown as
semicircular. In the N. wall is a round-headed doorway
with plain ashlar jambs and keystone. A similar doorway
on the S. is blocked.
The Tower, perhaps of the 17th century, has a tower
arch of two chamfered orders and the jambs have been
recently rebuilt (VCH, Northants. II, 603). The tower
rises without a break to the belfry stage which is set back
above a moulded string course. The parapet is plain with
water spouts at the corners. The W. window, 13th-century but reset, has roll-mouldings, lights without
cusping, a roundel in the head, and a label with mask
stops. The belfry openings have two round-headed lights
beneath a square label; the E. and W. openings have roll-moulded jambs, and the others are chamfered.
Fig. 219 Yarwell Church
The Roof over the nave, put up in 1782, consists of
four trusses with tie beams, king posts, queen struts and
staggered purlins and was presumably ceiled.
Fittings – Bells: four; 1st inscribed 'hi' in black-letter, a
tall and narrow bell, medieval; 2nd inscribed 'Cum voco
venite Edwarde Lisle 1714'; 3rd inscribed 'Multi Vocata
Pauci Electi . . .' by J. Eayre, 1754; 4th modern. Brass:
set in floor slab (7), small plate to George Arney, 1711,
with quarterly shield of arms for Arney and Wiltshire,
with crest. Door: screening S. doorway, fielded panelling,
perhaps early 19th-century.
Monuments and Floor slabs. Monument: in N. chapel (1),
of Humphrey Bellamy, 1715, tomb chest with fielded
panelled sides in limestone, inscribed black marble top
with shield of arms of Bellamy impaling Hopkins, with
crest, all in low relief within a circle. Floor slabs: in
chancel – (1), of Edward Bullock, 1826: (2), of W P.
1695; (3), of J E, 1681. In N. chapel – (4), of George
Law, 1766, black marble; (5), of Margaret Arney,
I703(?); (6), large uninscribed Purbeck slab. In S. chapel
– (7), of Ann . . ., rounded head; (8), of Thomas Tilton,
Feb. 1715(?) and Elizabeth his wife, 1742; (9), of John
Bullock, 1811, and Ann his wife, 1810; (10), of Ann
Tilton, March 1704. In nave –ss (11), of Mary Truss, 18th-century; (12), of C N, 1672; (13), of Frances . . ., 1728.
Paintings: in chancel, on N. arcade (1), false masonry
jointing; on S. arcade, (2), areas of red colour on soffit of
arches; on chancel arch (3), chequer patterns; on nave
capitals (4), areas of pink colour; all 13th-century.
Weather-vane: on tower, with lead globe, perhaps 18th-century. Miscellaneous: loose in church, a medieval
Fig. 220 Yarwell Church
Copy of plan before restoration of 1782
Fig. 221 Yarwell (2) Methodist Chapel
(2) Methodist chapel and Sunday school (Fig. 221),
built in 1840 (Whellan) the licence being granted on 23
July of that year (LAO, Faculty Book 5, 372). Originally
it had two doorways on the long E. side, but later these
became windows when an entrance was made in the S.
gable wall. In the mid 19th century a block with a
passage was built against this gable, and a second
entrance was made for access to a gallery installed at the
time. A Sunday school above the passage opened off the
gallery, but is now partitioned off and alienated.
Windows have cast-iron frames and glazing bars.
Fig. 222 Yarwell (11) Plan and reconstruction of S. elevation
(3) One storey and attics, class 4a, 17th-century with
early 19th-century extension. Fireplace with chamfered,
(4) Two storeys, parapeted gable with kneelers, class
1b with second stack on rear wall, 17th-century. The
front wall, W. of the internal stack, has three bands of
ashlar, and large quoins at the S.W. corner; the E.
section is in rubble throughout. The hood mould of a
window in the W. half is hollow-moulded, and one in
the E. half is cyma-moulded. Between these windows
was the entrance, now a window.
(5) Vine House, two storeys built in three phases in
the second quarter of the 19th century, has a class 6 front
range and a rear wing. Part of The Northampton Herald
for 1838, pasted in a cupboard, may indicate the
approximate building date. Freestone dressings, sash
windows; original fittings include architraves and a
reeded fireplace surround.
(6) Vine Cottage, one storey and attics, class 4a, 17th-century origin but recently rebuilt.
(7) House and former shop, two storeys. Welsh slate
roof, mid 19th-century. House set at right angles to long
range which comprises shop at one end and Methodist
Chapel at the other (2).
(8) Two storeys, freestone dressings, Welsh slate roof,
pointed window in W. gable, class 6 with outshut, mid
(9) Post Office, one storey and attics, class 4a,
probably 17th-century. A two-storey mid 19th-century
shop with a Welsh slate roof is at one end.
(10) Two storeys, class 4a, early 19th-century. Sliding
sash windows with wooden lintels.
(11) Sundial Cottage (Fig. 222), one storey and attics,
class 1a with small secondary two-storey rear wing,
17th-century. Two projecting ashlar bays on the front,
one containing a doorway flanked by blind windows, the
other a window, but much altered; both bays have
cornices below projections of ashlar, and were probably
originally of two storeys with gables. Windows,
formerly with mullions, accentuate an almost
symmetrical front. In the W. gable is an inscribed
sundial, and a small blocked window perhaps for a stair.
Inside, the central room has an ogee-moulded axial beam
with a chip-carved rosette in the soffit, and a 17th-century plank door with moulded battens and original
hinges. A large baking oven was added behind the W.
room in the 19th century.
(12) The Angel Inn, one storey and attics, class 4a,
probably 17th-century but with 19th-century windows.
Both rooms have axial beams, one wave-moulded, the
other with stops indicating a former, almost central
partition. In the wall of the adjacent house to the E. is a
reset mullioned window of the 17th century.
(13) Manor Farm (Fig. 223), two storeys, class Ib,
early 17th-century, has a wing of c. 1800 on the E. and
some later outshuts. The original range has parapeted
gables with urn finials on the kneelers. The nearly
symmetrical W. front had a door flanked by one and
three-light mullioned windows, the S. with cyma-moulded hood. Inside, in the N. room, an axial
chamfered beam has stops which define a cross passage
opposite the former entrance, but no opening exists on
the E. At the gable end is a wide rebuilt fireplace. The
central fireplace, now blocked, has one side removed,
but on the first floor, a fireplace has a four-centred head
and a moulded stone shelf (Plate 127). The Enclosure
Map of 1778 shows no building on the position of the E.
wing, but masonry at the S.E. corner of the original
house suggests the junction of some earlier walls. Fittings
include a reset stair with closed string and turned
balusters of the mid 18th century.
The group of Farm Buildings (Fig. 6) consists of a mid
19th-century barn on the N.W., an 18th-century barn
with triangular ventilation holes and clasped purlin roof
to S.E. of it and an early 19th-century cowhouse with
granary above; a second cowhouse, also with granary
above, was added to S. of the last in 1824. In yard to the
E., a third granary now used by Manor Farm was
formerly associated with a now demolished farm house.
Fig. 223 Yarwell (13) Manor Farm
(14) Yarwell House, two storeys, parapeted gables,
class 2, was built shortly after 1778 (Enclosure Map).
Windows have stop-chamfered wooden lintels. The
central and N. rooms have wide fireplaces and axial
beams, one probably reused, and the S. room a
chamfered cross beam. A mid 19th-century wing
contains a parlour with elliptically headed recesses
flanking the fireplace.
(15) Forge Cottage, one storey and attics, a three cell
house with stack on the rear wall, has a beam inscribed
'1598' flanked by fluting, presumably the building-date,
but the appearance of the house is 17th and 18th-century
due to general rebuilding. The 16th-century house was
probably of two rooms with a stack on the rear wall. A
window in the W. front formerly had mullions. The S.
compartment became a smithy and is now open to the
(16) Two storeys, freestone dressings, Welsh-slated
roof, sash windows, class 6, early 19th-century.
(17) Prebendel Farm, possibly a farm building
converted to a dwelling in the 19th century. Farm
buildings include a barn with triangular ventilation holes
which was probably built between 1776 and 1778 (NRO,
W(A) BOX.2.I.3B; Enclosure Map).
(18) Whitelands, two storeys, parapeted gables, early
17th-century, probably originated as a house and farm
building. The house, to the W., is class 3b with added
gable stack and has wall-beams and central fireplace with
four-centred head cut on the mantel beam. The long E.
section was made into a class 4c cottage in the 19th
century and has no early domestic features.
(19) The Farriers, one storey and attics, class Ib, 17th-century, with early 19th-century rear wing; much
altered. At rear, separate brew house, wash-house and
forge, of the mid 19th century.
(20) Mullions, two storeys, class Ib of generous
proportions, 17th-century, sub-divided in the 19th
century when the E. service room was increased in
height and drastically altered. The door, with moulded
stone frame, survives. The W. half has a two-storey bay
window with canted sides, mullions and gable, and a
gabled dormer above a three-light mullioned window, all
17th-century. Inside the room has wall-beams.
(21) One storey and attics, two class 4a dwellings,
built on the same plot, one on the street front and one at
right angles behind, second quarter 19th-century.
(22) Wendmuir, one storey and attics, parapeted gable,
17th-century. Wide fireplace in the E. gable wall. At
rear, large square Dovecote, date unknown. (Not entered)
(23) Ballaugh Cottage, one storey and attics, an
unusually deep house, probably of class Ib, now two
cottages. A stop-chamfered axial beam in the hall is
inscribed '1591' and may indicate the building date (Plate
126), but the house has been considerably rebuilt. The
date on the inscribed beam is flanked by fluting, and the
soffit is decorated with a shallow rosette. Within the
fireplace in the E. room is a stone bench.
(24) Row of three two-storey dwellings each class 4c,
(25) Two storeys, Welsh-slated roof, parapeted gable,
probably early 18th-century in origin, but refenestrated
in the early 19th century when the main entrance was
changed to the garden side. Plan of three rooms with
entrance compartment, perhaps originally class 5.
(26) Wansford Lodge Farm (TL 071992), consists of a
group of early 19th-century farm buildings around a
yard, the principal being a barn and a cottage.
(27) Yarwell Mill and house (TL 074973). The mill of
three storeys and a loft, with a Welsh-slated roof, has a
slab inscribed 'AD 1839'. The building is seven bays
wide with a wheel in the centre. To the S.W. is an early
19th-century barn with opposing doors and vertical
The house, of two storeys, attics and cellar, was built
in 1730–31 by John Dimbleby, mason, and Edward
Orper, carpenter, for the Earl of Westmorland; accounts
exist for ironwork provided by Robert Jordan in 1730 at
the 'miller's new house', and for the carriage of building
materials in 1731 (NRO, W(A) 7.XV; 4.VII.4; Misc. vol.
1). The house is L-shaped with the kitchen in the rear
wing; the plan was altered in the early 19th century
when a block was built in the angle where originally
there may have been a stair turret. Inside, all three rooms
have ovolo-moulded cross beams. The stair, with a
closed string and turned balusters, is mid 18th-century
and reset. There is some early 19th-century plaster
(28) Pound, rubble, wall now lowered, entrance at one
end. A pound is shown here on the Enclosure Map of
1778 but the present structure is of unknown date.