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Brington, Northamptonshire

Historical Description

Brington, a parish comprising two villages in Northamptonshire. The villages are Great Brington and Little Brington, and the former stands 1 mile N of the latter, in the western vicinity of Althorp Park, 1 SW from Althorpe Park station on the L. & N.W.R., and 7 miles NW of Northampton, under which it has a post, money order, and telegraph office. The parish includes also the hamlet of Nobottle. Acreage, 3068; population of the civil parish, 742; of the ecclesiastical, 852. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Peterborough; net yearly value, £413 with residence. Patron, Earl Spencer. The church contains some fine monuments of the Spencer family, has a fine set of open benches of the 15th century, and is an ancient building of stone in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles. In the chancel there is a stone with an inscription and family arms (stars and stripes) to Laurence Washington, great-great-great-grandfather of George Washington. There is a chapel of ease and a Baptist chapel at Little Brington.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyNorthamptonshire 
Ecclesiastical parishBrington St. Mary 
Poor Law unionBrixworth 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The register of marriages dates from the year 1558; baptisms, 1560; burials, 1573., in association with the Northamptonshire Record Office, have images of the Parish Registers and Bishop's Transcripts for Northamptonshire online.


Church of England

Little Brington Chapel

The chapel of ease, erected in 1856, at the sole expense of the 4th Earl Spencer K.G. is a building of stone in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, nave, south porch and a tower with spire at the north-east angle, containing one bell, and has 150 sittings.

St. Mary (parish church)

The church of St. Mary is an ancient edifice of stone, in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel with north chapel, clerestoried nave of six bays, aisles, south porch, and an embattled western tower containing 6 bells and a clock: the greater part of the church is Decorated, but the clerestory, chancel and chapel are Perpendicular, and were probably the work of Sir John Spencer kt. who died April 14th, 1522: in 1846 a bay of five sides, with a tall window in each, was added to the north side of the chapel by Frederick, 4th Earl Spencer K.G. as a memorial to his father, mother and brother; it has fan vaulting of stone and stained windows, including one erected by Earl Spencer in memory of his wife (d. 1903): the chancel retains double sedilia and a piscina, and there is another piscina of unusual size in the south aisle and near it a winding stair, probably once leading to a rood loft: nearly all the original benches remain; they have heraldic and other devices upon the poppy heads and date from 1445 and 1457, as may be determined from the shields they bear; new benches after the same pattern and a pulpit and desk were added by the 4th Earl Spencer in 1846, who in 1848 presented a new organ: the porch was built in 1832 by George John, 2nd Earl Spencer K.G.: the east window is stained: on the north side of the chancel, under the easternmost arch of the arcade, is the tomb of Sir John Spencer kt. ob. 1522, and Isabel (Graunt) his wife, which consists of a lofty arched canopy of Late Perpendicular date, with quatrefoiled entablature finished by an elaborate cresting, and flanked by panelled and crocketed turrets, and below it an altar tomb, the sides of which are divided into compartments, containing shields within enriched quatrefoils; on the upper slab are recumbent effigies of the knight in armour, with heraldic surcoat and mantle, and his lady: at the east end of the canopy is an inscription, and on either side are shields of arms; opposite is a low altar tomb with a partially mutilated inscription in brass round the ledge to Sir William Spencer kt. his son, ob. 1532, and Susan (Knightley) his wife; around the tomb are shields, and on the wall above a tablet with inscription: adjoining the tomb of Sir John Spencer, under the next arch westward, is that of his grandson, also Sir John Spencer kt. ob. 1586, and Katherine (Kitson) his wife, a structure of Italian design with recumbent effigies of both on an altar tomb, with tall obelisks rising from pedestals at the angles and a semicircular canopy, surmounted by a frieze, entablature and pediment, covered with shields; the knight is in armour with heraldic surcoat and shield, and his wife wears a very singular hood which partially covers the face and descends below the waist; a long inscription is placed at the east end: on the north side is a very stately structure of Elizabethan character to Sir John Spencer kt. son of the preceding, ob. 1599, and Mary (Catelin) his wife, consisting of a low altar tomb, enriched with shields, and bearing effigies similar to those just described, over which is a lofty coved canopy, upheld by square stilted pillars, and at each outer angle rises a Corinthian column supporting an engaged frieze and entablature; the inscription, as before, is at the east end: under the westernmost arch, on the south side, is the tomb of Robert, 1st Baron Spencer of Wormleighton, Warwick, where he died October 25th, 1627, and Margaret (Willoughby) his wife, ob. 1597; it consists of an altar tomb, bulging outwards from the base, upon which are laid recumbent effigies of both, Lord Spencer in a complete suit of armour, with an heraldic skirt or base, and his wife in a large spreading hood; the lower part of her figure is covered by a kind of apron charged with the quartered arms of eleven families; at the angles of the tomb are stilted Corinthian columns, supporting an entablature from which, on each side, rise three obelisks; and over the effigies is a semicircular canopy; at the foot of the tomb is an inscription, from which it appears that Lord Spencer erected it during his lifetime, in 1599: on the north side is that of William, 2nd Baron Spencer of Wormleighton K.B. ob. 1636, and Penelope (Wriothesley) his wife, ob. 1667, which consists of a large basement table of marble, on which is placed a low altar tomb sustaining recumbent effigies of both in white marble, and very delicately sculptured; Lord Spencer is habited in his state robes and wears the Order of the Bath; the other figure is in a flowing gown and enriched mantle; above is a lofty arched canopy upheld by eight Corinthian pillars; this tomb, the work of Richard Hargrave and John White and designed by Nicholas Stone, was erected by Lady Penelope at a cost of £600; at the east end of the tomb is a genealogical inscription in Latin; the remaining sides bear minor inscriptions and arms: all the effigies above mentioned, with the exception of the two last, are executed in Totternhoe stone, and are in perfect preservation: in 1846 the addition of a new bay to the church rendered it necessary to move the tombs on the north side, and on the coffin of Sir John Spencer (1599) being opened it was found that his features and the disposition of his hair and beard were accurately represented in the effigy; these tombs, both on account of the wealth of heraldry they display, comprising not less than 375 distinct quarterings, as well as the varied costumes of the figures, rank very high among the monuments of the period: there is an inscribed marble on the floor to Margaret, daughter of Sir Robert Spencer kt. 1st Lord Spencer; she died 1613; and at the east end a large urn placed on a pedestal flanked by two columns; from the urn rises the demi-figure of a man in white marble, and upon the urn is an inscription to Sir Edward Spencer kt. 1655; there is a monument in memory of John 1st Earl Spencer (d. 1783), from a design by Cipriani, and representing "Benevolence" standing in the clouds and suspending a medallion, on which is a profile of the deceased Earl: there is also a mural monument with sculptured figures by Flaxman to Margaret Georgiana (Poyntz), wife of the above mentioned Earl; a bust and inscription to Capt. the Hon. Sir Robert Cavendish Spencer K.C.H., R.N. 1830; and inscribed brasses to Lady Georgiana Frances Spencer, 1852; Frederick, 4th Earl Spencer K.G. 1857; Elizabeth Georgiana (Poyntz), his countess, 1851; and Adelaide Horatia Elizabeth (Seymour), his and wife, 1877: in the chancel is a floor stone with arms to Lawrence Washington, 1616 (who removed here from Sulgrave), and Margaret (Butler) his wife; and there is also an inscribed brass, with the same arms differenced by a crescent, to Robert Washington, younger brother of the above, ob. 1622, and Elizabeth his wife; Lawrence Washington, above mentioned, was the father of the Rev. Lawrence Washington M.A. of Sulgrave, and rector of Purleigh, Essex, 1633-43, whose two sons, John and Lawrence, emigrated in 1657 to Virginia, and from the former descended George Washington, the first President of the United States: the Washingtons of Sulgrave and Brington were related to the Spencers through Catherine (Kitson), Lady Spencer, first cousin of Lawrence Washington, mayor of Northampton in 1532 and 1545: the arms of this family, "arg. two bars gu, in chief three mullets of the second," were adopted with modifications as those of the United States of America: there are also brasses to the wife of Viscount Althorp ( d. 1818), and to her infant son; to Charlotte Frances Frederica, wife of the 5th Earl Spencer (d. 1903), and to Margaret, wife of the present Earl Spencer (d. 1906): during the years 1903-4 the church was restored, the walls being renovated; the western gallery removed, the seats remodelled and the floor relaid: the chancel was provided by Earl Spencer with a marble floor, and panelled in oak along the south wall: a new lectern and carved oak pulpit were also presented by the late Sir W. H. Humphery bart. K.C.B. (d. 1909): there are sittings for 300 persons.


Baptist chapel

The Baptist chapel here, an edifice of red brick, erected in 1825, seats 280 persons; adjoining is a large room, built in 1887 by subscription, and used as a Sunday school, and for concerts and meetings.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Brington from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Northamptonshire is available to browse.

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Northamptonshire papers online: