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EAST HADDON HISTORY SOCIETY Northamptonshire, England

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EAST HADDON CHURCH

The village church is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. There has almost certainly been a place of worship in East Haddon since the 11th century - the Domesday Book documents the existence of a priest.

See some pictures here…

The original church was built on this site in the latter part of the 12th century, the only remains of that building being the capitals of the pillars which support the chancel arch, and the stone font. The font bears the figure of a man holding two winged serpents under his arms. This is believed to be an early sculptor’s portrayal of Christ crushing the serpent’s heads, and in so doing securing the redemption of mankind.

The first church was completely rebuilt towards the middle of the 14th century on the lines of the present building, except that over the porch was a “pervaise” or priest’s chamber. The west door, the tower arch, and the three clerestory windows at the top of the south wall of the nave are typical of the 14th century gothic style.

In the north wall of the nave is a blocked up doorway, which probably owes its existence to there being one of the three medieval manor houses in the village situated to the north of the church. The door was probably in use up till the middle of the 19th century, but by 1877 it had been blocked up.

In 1878 the old box pews were removed and replaced by the present oak pews, and in the same year the arch which accommodates the organ was added. The present organ was installed  in 1928 by Taylors of Leicester, and rebuilt in 1995.

The church has 6 bells, which are of particular interest. You can see full notes on these by clicking here. The tower was rebuilt in 1673 following a partial collapse.

The tower also houses a clock, which was built in 1863 by Moores of London, a renowned clock maker of the time, and installed in 1863 by Messrs J Cram of Daventry. In 2011 the original hand crank winding system was upgraded to an automatic electrically powered winding mechanism, which also incorporates a regulator to maintain good time keeping.

In 1889 there was an outbreak of diphtheria in the village, resulting in 17 deaths. In the same year, because of a suspected link between the disease and possible contamination from earlier burials the churchyard was closed, and a new cemetery opened in 1891.

Church records give us the names of all clergy since 1237, and a full list can be found by clicking here.

Recent years have seen continuing work to maintain the fabric of the church.