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THE JOURNAL

OF THE

British Archaeological Association.

JUNE 1899.

ORTON LONGUEVILLE CHURCH.

BY THE REV. PETER ROYSTON, M.A.

(Read at the Peterborough Congress, July 15th, 1898.)
HE village of Orton Longueville lies two

miles west of the City of Peterborough,
on the high road to Oundle, and is
beautifully situated on rising ground.
The church and the hall nestle under the
protecting wing of a fine collection of

chestnut trees, seen from the road leading to the village. It has been asserted that the name is derived from one Long, who resided here, as also that it was known as “longa villa,” but I am more inclined to think and put it down to another source. We know that the retainers, who came over with the Conqueror, had often grants of land made to them, and that they gave

their name to the same. The Longuevilles, of Prestatyn, claim that they “were formerly lords of Overton Longueville, in the county of Huntingdon ” (Burke's Landed Gentry); and my old friend, Mark Antony Lower, in his Patronymica Britannica, confirms this when he says : “ From Longueville, a small town in the department of the Lower Seine, in Normandy, of which the Longuevilles, Earls of Buckingham, were

[graphic]

anciently lords. This family gave the suffix to Overton Longueville, co. Huntingdon," and in this derivation I entirely concur.

Orton is contracted from Overton, i.e., the village on the other side of the river Nene from Peterborough.

The Church of St. Botolph (this part of the parish is now known as “ Bottle Bridge ”) having become a ruin, the parish was merged in Orton Longueville in 1721 by the deed of Bishop Gibson, of Lincoln (Sweeting), and the stone removed from there went to enlarge the south aisle of our church for the accommodation of its parishioners. The site is marked by an upright gravestone.

We now come to the Parish Church, which is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. It is an interesting structure of uniform date, being of Early Decorated character, of about 1320 to 1330, and is, according to Mr. Traylen, unique. The first object which attracts our attention is the fine east window, with its five lights, and an excellent. specimen of the earliest form of what has been called “net tracery.” The lights are cinquefoiled in the head, and a broad fillet extending round the innermost arch, with moulded interior arch and jambs, with a base but no capital. The south-east window is a very unusual window, of highly satisfactory design of the Decorated Period, with three lights, cinquefoiled and having a double-feathered trefoil in the tracery. On the north wall is a single window of two lights with a quatrefoil in the head, a very beautiful design of fourteenth-century work. On the west side of the priest's door is a low side window of three lights, now blocked, two of which were originally glazed, and the third had a moveable shutter. Adjacent is a stone seat, from which the priest administered his alms, whilst near to this window are three “ Ball-flowers” of exquisite design, all different in appearance. It may here be noticed that on the opposite north side is a like seat to the one on the south, and it has often been conjectured why it should be there. Might it not have been the seat from which the sanctus bell was rung? On the same side, just outside the altar rails, there is a sharply-pointed recess 7 ins. wide and 2 ft.:

10 ins. from the base to the apex of the arch. Many conjectures have been made as to its use. May it not have been for the depositing of the “ Pyx,” the ornamental box, or casket, in which the consecrated “ Host was reserved in the pre-Reformation Church for the use of the sick? To the north and south of the reading desk and pulpit have been two openings, the former of which is now blocked up. It is presumed that the ascent to the rood screen was originally here.

The south of the nave aisle has been enlarged; this was done for the accommodation of the parishioners living at St. Botolph's, when the church there was abandoned. In the east are two windows of three lights, of the same date as the church.

Attached to the pillar in the south arcade, opposite the south door, is a brass money-box, which is generally used for offerings of women who have been churched.

In the tower, on the north side, is a recess about 9 ft. high and 4 ft. in diameter, which has puzzled the brains of many archæologists to determine the use to which it was put. It is arched at the apex, and was evidently not intended as a staircase to the belfry, as this was on the opposite side. My own opinion, which may be adopted or not, is, that it was used as a confessional.

On the north side of the nave is a shallow cupboard in the wall. Upon opening the door there is displayed to view a painting of St. Christopher bearing Christ. It is in a very perfect condition, and is one of the largest known in this country: Beyond this is a marble tablet to the memory of Lord Douglas William Cope Gordon (by H. H. Armstead, R.A.), fourth son of the tenth Marquis of Huntly, who was M.P. for West Aberdeenshire from 1876 to 1880, and for the county of Huntingdon from 1880 to 1885.

In the chantry is an elaborate monument to Lady Elizabeth Conyngham (daughter of the first Marquis of Conyngham) and wife of the late Marquis of Huntly. There is also a window placed to his memory by the tenantry, and a monument erected by his wife and family. There is also a sitting figure, a beautiful tribute to Lady Mary Seymour, the wife of Lord Aboyne, by Chantrey. But we must not omit to mention the effigy of a cross-legged knight, somewhat mutilated, but very interesting as being of a date coeval with the erection of the church, and probably representing the founder of it. Tradition says this was Sir Overton Longueville. The head and neck have the usual chain hauberk of the period (about 1330); a kite-shaped shield, suspended by a strap from the shoulder ; the baudrick, or sword-belt, holds also a dagger in a sheath; the figure has a long surcoat; the legs seem to be partly cased in plate-armour, and the foot (only one remains) has the prick-spur. There is not a doubt that this effigy belongs to the early part of Edward III. We must not omit to mention that above a magnificent slab of Alwalton marble is an extraordinary monument with sixteen quarterings, erected to Elizabeth Rayner, only daughter and heiress of William Rayner of the county of Huntingdon, and wife of Henry Talbot, who died in 1629. He was a close connection of George, sixth Earl of Shrewsbury, who had the custody of Mary Queen of Scots committed to his charge in the 11th of Elizabeth, when confined at Fotheringhay; and it is said that he passed through the old gateway at the south of the hall, and signed her death-warrant on the night before her execution. He had been appointed January 16th, 1571-2, at the arraignment of the Duke of Norfolk, Lord High Steward of England; and after the execution of that nobleman, Earl Marshal.

And now for a few words on the exterior. The tower has the appearance of being oblong, rather than square; but this it due to the buttresses, which widen it somewhat on the north and south sides,

The two niches on the south side of the chancel may have been used for the figures of saints, or, as someone has suggested, been originally a part of the sedilia, removed and placed there after some restoration of the church.

The priest's door in the chancel has an excellent specimen of floriated iron-worked hinges. No doubt this is de Leghton's work, of about 1294, and most probably belonged to an older door, and was put on here when the church was built. They have the distinctive features of the stamped ornaments and the curious lappets.

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