As part of the Mayflower 400 project we have been completing historical research around the UK. One of our topics has been the Reformation and its impact on local churches.
We recently went to look at six churches with Roger Wilson, an expert in Church history, to see how they have changed over the last 400+ years. The churches we visited were spread across Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire.
The fifth church we went to see was St Mary the Virgin in Ashley in Northamptonshire. This is a 13th Century medieval church which was restored by the Revd Richard Pulteney in the 1860s to conform to the principles of the Oxford Movement and the Ecclesiological Society (which at that time was known as the Cambridge Camden Society). The restoration was supervised by Sir George Gilbert Scott.
In addition to the churches restoration the Revd Pulteney also built a number of houses in the village together with a school and schoolmaster’s house so creating a Victorian model village using local Northamptonshire ironstone and limestone.
The chancel is highly ornate. It is decorated with marble, alabaster, gold-leaf and semi precious stones with designs by Clayton & Bell.
The barrel ceiling has been painted and decorated.
Clayton and Bell also produced the stained glass windows.
The interior flooring has highly glazed tiles with metal decorative fittings on railings and light fittings
Some of the medieval features have been retained.