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Warkton, St Edmund

Stunning village church in Warkton

In the mid 18th century the medieval church was radically altered as it took on the mantle of the mausoleum of the Dukes of Montagu of nearby Boughton House. This had only slight effect on the body of the church where the nave received a plaster ceiling and in any case the 1868/9 restoration by Slater intensified it’s medieval qualities. Beyond the chancel arch though everything changed following the death of the second Duke in 1749. Here an entirely new chancel was formed with pairs of huge alcoves either side of the altar. In due course four magnificent monuments were raised- two by Roubiliac to the 2nd Duke and to his Duchess, the daughter of the great Duke of Marlborough, and then by 1782 to their daughter Mary, Duchess of Marlborough by Montagu by P.M. van Gelder and finally her daughter Elizabeth, Duchess of Buccleuch by Thomas Campbell, 1827. The first, that to John Duke of Marlborough was completed by Roubiliac in 1752. It shows charity erecting a sign to the Duke's memory with the Duchess grieving below. In the upper area a putto is busy hanging up an oval medallion containing the Duke's portrait. Charity stands with two children in the lower right corner about to receive ducal help. One of the children weeps whilst the other extinguishes the torch of life. As a momento of the Duke's military career various armaments make up the decorative show. The second monument, that to the Duchess completed by Roubiliac in 1753 is dominated by the three Fates arranged around a large garlanded urn. These mythical figures control everyone's destiny even that of the Duchess who was the grand daughter of the great Duke of Marlborough. Nearer the altar on the left side is the third tomb that of Duchess Mary's daughter Mary, Duchess of Montagu. It is by the Fleming P.M van Gelder, 1777 - 82. Unlike the two former tombs the sculptor takes advantage of the deep space and creates a neo classical stage set with the Duchess seated to the right with two children and an old woman and a large angel with outstretched wings. In contrast is that to the Duchess of Montagu's daughter which stands opposite. Elizabeth, Duchess of Buccleuch died in 1827. The sculptor entrusted with filling the final alcove was Thomas Campbell. The spirited qualities of the 18th century monuments are now absent. Replaced by sober classism. The duchess sits straight backed in the centre in a pose reminiscent of Campbell's Roman antecedent Canova

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

Contact & Opening Times

Pipe Lane, Warkton, Northamptonshire, NN16 9XH|
[email protected]|

Opening Times


The opening dates for visitors for 2019 outside August will be available soon.

Monday – Saturday August 1 – 31

The church lies close to Boughton House which offers a tea room and is open to the public. For opening times please see

Contact Details


For individual visits outside of these opening times, please contact Michael Jeans, Church Verger, on 07860 719367.

For group visits, please contact Boughton House on 01536 515731 or via email: [email protected]

Explore the area

Click the pins on the map to see other attractions nearby

Visitor Information & Facilities

  • Baby changing
  • Free parking
  • Gift shop

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