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Stoke Doyle, St Rumbald

Church in Stoke Doyle

The decline in the parish population from the late medieval period led to the demolition of the early parish church in 1722. In its place a fine early Georgian church was erected to the design of Thomas Eayre of Kettering (1691 – 1757) – surveyor, clock maker, and bell founder (the bells here are by him as well).

The new church was a classical box with large arched windows flanking its sides and a splendid venetian window at the east end. The pedimented porch is pleasantly rusticated and the well proportioned tower is topped by obelisks. It is here you will encounter the work of John Michael Rysbrack (1694-1770). He, like Roubilliac, was an import coming to England in the 1720s. His bust of Lord Nottingham of circa 1730 made his reputation and from then on, he was one of the principle sculptors working in England.

His statues include Sir Hans Sloane in the Physick Garden in Chelsea, Queen Anne at Blenheim, Palladio and Inigo Jones at Chiswick and Bacchus and Hercules at Stourhead. He left a series of sumptuous monuments of which the one at Stoke Doyle to Chief Baron Ward, sculpted in the early 1720s is almost his first.

It predates his celebrated tombs to Sir Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey. The tomb lies to the north of the altar in a small chapel created for it. Sir Edward Ward (1638-1714) was chief Baron of the Exchequer from 1694 until his death. The scale of the monument is a reflection of the fortune he made practising the law. He fell foul of Judge Jeffreys in the Pritchard Case in 1684. His rapid rise thereafter followed his support for William III who appointed him Attorney General in 1693, the same year that he was knighted. He lived at a great house in Essex Street off the Strand but was buried on his new country estate at Stoke Doyle.

The other tomb in the church is by Sir Francis Chantry and dates from 100 years later to Hannah Roberts, nearly contemporary with the tombs of Lord Malmesbury, Salisbury Cathedral, and Mrs Arkwright at Cromford in Derbyshire. Chantry was the pre-eminent neo-classical sculptor in England whose 1817 exhibit at the Royal Academy, a monument to the children of the Revd. Robinson, was so affecting that a special barrier had to be erected to support the fainting women!

St Rumbald Churchyard is managed for the conservation of wildlife, winning  the Gold Award in the county Churchyard Conservation competition for many years. The churchyard represents one of the best examples of limestone grassland in the area with Quaking grass, ladies bedstraw, knapweeds and many butterfly species in the summer months.  

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

Contact & Opening Times

Church Lane, Stoke Doyle, Oundle, PE8 5TH|
[email protected]|

Opening Times

The church is open during daylight hours in British Summer Time, see board for access information during winter months. below for contact details.


Contact Details

Access to the church can be gained through Liz Doherty - 07713396130 - [email protected]

Explore the area

Click the pins on the map to see other attractions nearby

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