Monday, June 13, 2011

St Andrew, Clay Coton, Northamptonshire

A picturesque small Dec church, much restored in 1866, and again in 1999-2002 when it was skillfully converted into a four bedroomed house (architect Derek Hartwell). I met the current owner by the church porch and spent an interesting time talking with him. Apparently the church is also designated an Ancient Monument because of the floor, he told me. A special membrane had to be laid to protect it and the present floor of the house is a couple of feet higher than it was previously. Framing inside has created a mezzanine floor for extra living space utilizing the steeply pitched roof area. Not many velux windows disturb the view from the south but there are many more on the north side of the church. The restoration work of the exterior is done with quality. Pevsner described the church as "disused and threatened with demolition" in 1971, the church continued to deteriorate until 1990 when it was purchased for conversion. The chancel at that time was covered by ivy, windows boarded up, slipped slates on the roof let in water and vandals had stolen the medieval bench ends which Pevsner mentions. (It is surprising they were left inside.) The next nine years were spent getting the necessary permissions from the various bodies. The path south of the church is a public footpath and the churchyard is also accessible. As much as I would have liked to see what had happened inside, no invitation was forthcoming and of course I respected the chap's privacy by not asking. However there are pictures online where people have not respected his property and have trespassed onto private land.

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