Monthly Archives: August 2013

Stoke Doyle

If I were to mention the name Stoke Doyle I would imagine that you would be transported to The Republic of Ireland, perhaps to County Clare, Galway or Sligo.

It could even conjure up a fictional detective of Irish decent who is partial to a Jamison’s for breakfast, has a practice in handling sordid divorce cases in New York’s Irish quarter and whose immediate relations emigrated to America in the depression.

So do not be surprised when I tell you that Stoke Doyle is a picturesque village in East Northamptonshire.

It lies around two miles south east of Oundle, famous for its School and The Talbot Hotel built from the stones removed from Fotheringhay Castle where Mary Queen of Scots lost her head.

The River Nene runs to the east of the village which used to be on the edge of Rockingham forest before deforestation in 1638.

We have passed through this village more times than I care to remember having always failed to stop but today we headed the car down the lane opposite the village inn to the church of St Rumbald’s.


St Rumbald’s Church, Stoke Doyle, East Northamptonshire, England

The church exterior has its own charm and has been described as having a plain classical structure, it is when you enter through the south door into the nave that you feel you have arrived at somewhere special, but it is only when you walk towards the chancel and look left that you are presented with the unexpected.

The mortuary chapel is gated and contains an elaborate marble monument to Sir Edward Ward, Knight, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer reclining in judge’s robes, said to be by Rysbrack, adding to the  element of surprise.


 The Mortuary Chapel, St Rumbald’s Church, Stoke Doyle, East Northamptonshire, England


Memorial Collage, St Rumbald’s Church, Stoke Doyle, East Northamptonshire, England

On leaving the church it is your choice but before taking the main road to Oundle you could indulge in a small dram of Jamison’s at The Shuckburgh Arms, as long as you are not driving.

Aldwincle Northamptonshire Revisited

In a time gone by there were two Aldwincle Parishes, Aldwincle St Peters and Aldwincle All Saints they were joined together in November 1879.

Aldwincle Village Sign

Aldwincle Village Sign Northamptonshire

To all appearances it is St Peters that is now the center of village life as All Saints sits a world apart opposte Dryden house on the way to Thorpe Waterville across  Harper’s Brook and over the Nene river by Brancey Bridge.

All Saints Church Aldwincle Northamptonshire

John Dryden poet, playwright and critic was born in the house that sits in the shadow of church on the 9 August 1631. Dryden House Aldwincle Northamptonshire

Dryden House Aldwincle Northamptonshire

Son of Erasmas Dryden and Mary Pickering of Titchmarsh he was Christened in the Church of All Saints where his grandfather Henry Pickering was Rector were there is a tablet commemorating the event.


Church Commemorative Tablet

All Saints Church is now in the care of The Church Conservation Trust as it is no longer needed for regular worship but remains as consecrated buildings and is of historical importance, it is a delight to walk round and has always been open when ever we have visited.


All Saints Church Striking Interior


All Saints Church Stained Glass Window

Samuel Johnson summed up the general attitude to John Dryden with his remark that

 “the veneration with which his name is pronounced by every cultivator of English literature,

 is paid to him as he refined the language, improved the sentiments,

and tuned the numbers of English poetry.”

and tuned the numbers of English poetry.”

And T. S. Eliot wrote that he was

‘the ancestor of nearly all that is best in the poetry of the eighteenth century’,

and that ‘we cannot fully enjoy or rightly estimate a hundred years of English poetry

unless we fully enjoy Dryden.’