St. Peter's Church
The church of ST. PETER consists of chancel, 23 ft. 9 in. by 15 ft. 6 in. with chapel on the north side, 12 ft. 9 in. by 13 ft.; clerestoried nave, 38 ft. by 18 ft. 9 in., north and south aisles, 10 ft. 2 in. and 11 ft. 2 in. wide respectively, south porch, and west tower 11 ft. by 10 ft., all these measurements being internal. The width across nave and aisles is 44 ft. 9 in.
The walling generally is of roughly coursed undressed limestone mingled with local ironstone, but the latter alone is used in the tower. The chancel and chapel have modern high-pitched overhanging tiled roofs, but elsewhere the roofs are of low pitch and leaded, behind straight parapets. Internally the walls are plastered and the floors flagged.
The building was extensively restored in 1869–70, when the north chapel, which had been long demolished, was rebuilt on its old foundations, the chancel and aisles re-roofed, the nave roof strengthened, a new east window put in the chancel, a west gallery removed and the tower arch opened out, and the old square pews replaced by open seats.
Plan of Cogenhoe Church
The oldest part of the building is the south doorway, which dates from c. 1180, but no other trace of the church of that date has survived. This re-used doorway has a plain round arch of two square orders, with hoodmould, the outer order on shafts with scalloped capitals and moulded bases. The rebuilding of the church was begun at the east end about 1225, to which period the present chancel belongs, and later in the century (c. 1270–80) the nave and aisles were built, probably by Nicholas de Cogenhoe (d. 1281) whose arms are on the pillars of the arcades. The chapel on the north side of the chancel appears to have been erected early in the 14th century, perhaps by William de Cogenhoe (d. 1313), and c. 1350 the aisles were widened, the north aisle being brought into line with the chapel. The porch was added about the same time, and in the 15th century a tower was built at the west end, a clerestory added to the nave, and two windows inserted in the north aisle.
The 13th-century chancel is lighted by three pairs of lancet windows on the south side and a single pair on the north, all with plainly chamfered jambs and dripstones following the line of the heads. The modern east window is a gradated triplet of similar lancets. Internally, however, the work is of a more elaborate character. The north and south walls are arcaded and the rear arch of the original east window, which is continued to the ground, has banded shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The south wall-arcade consists of three pointed arches resting on triple attached shafts, the capitals of which have square abaci, and on single shafted responds. The arches are of a single chamfered order, with chamfered hood-mould, and the capitals are quite plain, with round neckings. Within the arches the pairs of lancet lights are divided by circular engaged shafts, or columns, with square moulded abaci carrying the rear arches, which rest at the ends on square corbels similarly treated. The circular bases of both the arcade and window shafts are moulded. Below the window in the eastern bay is a plain stone bench, or sedile, but there is no piscina. On the north side the window is near the east end and the arcade consists of two arches only, the westernmost bay having been pierced in the early 14th century by a low arch to the chapel, and in the middle blank bay are three aumbries, an upper one with trefoiled head beneath a hood-mould, and two plain rectangular ones below, forming a single architectural composition. The pointed chancel arch is contemporary with the nave arcades; it is of two chamfered orders with a hood-mould towards the nave, and on the capitals of the responds are the faces of a knight and lady.
The late-13 th-century nave arcades consist of three pointed arches of two chamfered orders with hood-mould on one side, on pillars which are square on plan with an attached shaft at each angle and a hollow in the face of the intervening spaces. The responds are of similar character. The shafts have separate moulded capitals, in the spaces between which are shields and grotesque heads, each pillar having thus four shields or heads and each respond one: the necking goes round the whole of the pillar. In all there are ten shields, and, with two exceptions, these are confined to the easternmost pillars and responds. In all other cases the spaces are occupied by grotesque heads. The shield on the west side of the south-west pier is blank, and (a) the arms of Cogenhoe (a fesse between three mascles) occur on four of the others. The other armorial shields are as follows: (b) ermine a chief indented (Morteyne); (c) barry of ten a bend (Pabenham); (d) a bend sinister (probably meant for Hastings); (e) a fesse and in chief three martlets (possibly Cheyne); and (f) in chief two human hands displayed (unknown).
On the west side of the south-east pillar is a mutilated holy water stoup supported by a draped figure, and in the usual position at the east end of the south aisle there is a small trefoiled piscina recess, wholly restored, without bowl. The pointed 14th-century windows of the south aisle are of two trefoiled lights with quatrefoil in the head, but the tracery is modern: a square-headed two-light window at the east end is placed high in the wall and has a wooden lintel. Between the doorway and the window east of it is a small blocked trefoilheaded opening with wide internal splay, the purpose of which is uncertain, though it is usually classed as a low-side window, and immediately east of the doorway is a plain bracket on a moulded corbel.
The late-14th-century porch has a low-pitched gable and pointed outer arch of two chamfered orders, the inner order on half-octagonal responds with moulded capitals, the outer continuous: above is a niche, now blocked. In the north-east angle of the porch there is a later stoup with mutilated basin.
The plain round-headed doorway of the north aisle may not be older than the pointed window west of it, which is of two cinquefoiled lights with quatrefoil in the head, but the window in the west wall is of three lights with modern Perpendicular tracery. The other 15thcentury window, which is at the east end of the north wall, is square-headed and of three trefoiled lights, the mullions and tracery new. Farther east in the north wall is a plain oblong recess, or locker, about 3 ft. above the floor. The arch between the aisle and the north chapel is in part old, the original jambs on the west side having filleted shafts at the angles, with moulded capitals. The chapel is under a separate high-pitched gabled roof.
The clerestory has three square-headed windows of two trefoiled lights on each side. The carved corbels of the old nave roof remain in position, five on each side, those on the south a series of human heads, while those on the north side include an ox's head, a muzzled bear, and the head of a bishop.The low-pitched east gable has a pinnacle at each angle and at its apex a carved stone, said to have been the head of a churchyard cross, remains of which stood by the path to the porch. The four sides of the cross-head, which is of 14th-century date, have trefoiled niches containing original sculpture—on the east the Father seated holding between his knees the crucified Son, on the west a Crucifixion with attendant figures, and in the smaller niches north and south figures of St. Peter and St. Paul.
The 15th-century tower, which is faced with finely dressed stone, is of three stages marked by strings, the lofty upper stage being slightly set back. It has a moulded plinth and diagonal buttresses on the west side to the top of the second stage, and terminates in a battlemented parapet, the pinnacles of which were removed in 1870. The four-centred moulded west doorway is set in a square frame, with blank shields in the spandrels, and above it, breaking through the first string, is a tall four-centred window of three cinquefoiled lights and Perpendicular tracery. Over this, in the second stage, is a rectangular traceried opening. The middle stage has a plain pointed opening on the south side and a four-centred doorway to the nave roof on the east. The tall pointed bell-chamber windows are of two cinquefoiled lights with quatrefoil in the head and cusped transoms at mid-height; the hood-mould is taken round the tower at the level of the spring of the arches. There is a vice in the south-west angle. The lofty pointed tower arch is of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner on half-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases.
The font consists of a plain cylindrical bowl 14½ in. high, chamfered round the top, on a double masonry base: the flat cover is modern. The pulpit and other fittings are modern.
The late-13th-century effigy of Nicholas de Cogenhoe in the south aisle has already been described.
At the west end of the north aisle is part of a stone coffin, and a small coffin-shaped hollowed stone, 2 ft. in length, possibly for a heart burial.
In a glazed frame in the south aisle is a piece of fringed needlework in colour on fine canvas, temp. Henry VIII, which may have been the upper side of a long cushion for the sedile, and in the north aisle is hung a large cloth of coarse canvas covered with a repeating design in many coloured cruels, apparently of Elizabethan date, which may have served as a riddel, or curtain in the chancel.
There is a scratch dial on one of the east jamb stones of the porch, and another on the west jamb of the window east of the porch.
The east end of the south aisle is occupied by a 'shrine' in memory of fourteen men of the parish who fell in the war of 1914–18.
There is a ring of six bells cast in 1909 by A. Bowell of Ipswich.
The plate consists of a 17th-century cup and paten (c. 1682) with the maker's mark EB linked, and a flagon of 1743 inscribed 'Cooknoe 1743. The Gift of Bradley Whalley Rector of this Church.' There is also a plated bread-holder c. 1790.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1558–1657; (ii) 1661–1754; (iii) baptisms and burials 1755–1812; (iv) marriages 1754–1808; (v) marriages 1808–12.
A well-bound copy of the Great Bible printed by Robert Barker in 1617 and purchased in 1631 is in use in the church. The parish also possesses a volume of fifteen manuscript sermons preached at Cogenhoe church by Francis Smyth, rector 1637–56.
The first mention of the church found is in 1238, when it was descending with the manor (q.v.), three Cogenhoes being rectors in the 14th century, William, Nicholas, and William son of Sir Giles. It descended with the manor until about 1678 when the Bonds conveyed it to Samuel Freeman, ) probably trustee for the Whalley family, as, according to Bridges, Peter Whalley, who was rector in 1656 and died 1701, purchased it from the Bonds. Jane Whalley, widow, presented in 1701. Bradley Whalley, patron in 1720, dying in 1743, left the advowson in trust for his kinsman Eyre Whalley to William Freeman, who presented that year. Palmer Whalley presented 1762 and then the incumbency and patronage are again often found in the same person. John Watkin clerk presented in 1786, George Watkin, clerk, in 1796, and Edward Watkin in 1812; the last-named received a conveyance of the rectory from Henry Locock in 1813. R. Rogers, rector till 1863, had acquired the patronage by 1861 and George Burnham of Wollaston by 1863. George Burnham presented in 1864 C. H. Burnham, who had succeeded him by 1883 as patron. His widow presented 1903–20; and from 1921 to the present time it has been in the gift of Mr. W. LaneClaypon.
William de Cogenhoe founded a chantry for one priest to sing at Our Lady's altar. Its property was estimated at 67s. 4d. in 1535, and sold to William Cecil and Laurence Eiresbie in 1549.
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