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Grafton Underwood, St James

Grafton Underwood, St James

A royal village indelibly linked with Edward lV‘s Queen, Elizabeth Woodville and with Charles ll, who gave this crown property to his natural son Henry FitzRoy, Duke of Grafton. 

In the church there is a small museum collection of relics from the Woodville period together with useful explanatory notes. The monument to the Queen’s grandfather, Sir John Wydevyl (as it is spelled on his etched slab) is now situated at the west end of the church. It was he who added to tower to the building at around 1400. The FitzRoy family emerge in a number of handsome wall tablets, the best of which is by John Flaxman, R.A. to Charlotte, Countess of Euston (d.1808) – Grecian in style with a pair of protective white marble figures, Faith and Hope. In 2011 these memorials were extended when one to Vice Admiral Robert FitzRoy (d.1865) was put up by his descendant. He had been Captain of H.M.S Beagle on which Darwin served, the designer FitzRoy Barometer, and a pioneer of weather forecasting. All this to be found in a 13th century church which retains a good Norman tub faced font.

The new glory of this church are the three stained and painted windows in the chancel. These are the vision of David and Mary Laing, and the work of the leading artist in this field, Thomas Denny. Installed in 2020 they are a meditation Christ's exhortation 'Let your Light so Shine in the World'. The subtle use of colour is gained through the layering of the tinted panels of Lamberts Glass, enlivened by Denny's febrile draughtsmanship. In their landscape there is an echo of the English romantics from Samuel Palmer to Sutherland: whereas the figure style brings to mind Mantegna. This is the most recent major cultural addition to Northamptonshire churches and one not to be missed.

Please refer to the Glossary for any terms in the text that you are unfamiliar with.

Contact & Opening Times

Cranford Road, Grafton Underwood, Kettering, Northamptonshire, NN14 3AA|
[email protected]|

Opening Times

The church is open during daylight hours.

Contact Details

All enquiries about church services to churchwardens:

Paul Harris – 01536 330567

Rog Hatlem – 01536 771279


Email: [email protected]

Facebook: St-James-Church-Grafton-Underwood-516406642518643


Explore the area

Click the pins on the map to see other attractions nearby

Visitor Information & Facilities

  • Baby changing
  • Child friendly
  • Free parking
  • Premium experiences
  • Teenagers
  • The whole family
  • Wheelchair access
  • Young children

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