COMMENTS from book by Edwin Smith, G Hutton & Olive Cook, English Parish Churches, Thames and Hudson 1997


Page 37 “Norman Romanesque is conspicuous by its mass and solidarity. Norman towers – often enriched by arcading as at Castor, Northamptonshire, …are impressively broad and heavy.”


Page 43 “ Another set of contrasts can be seen in the central tower of the cruciform Norman church at Castor, Northamptonshire: a typical piece of Continental Romanesque work, massive, with elaborately carved and coursed stone panels and lights, rich groundwork of chevron-like panelling above the lower arcade, and fish-scale ornaments above. This is capped with an abnormally stocky Early English octagonal spire rising from a fretted stone parapet of later date; but if you look closely at the stone-coursing of walls and tower you see old Saxon work in the former, and fine late Norman jointing (with thin lines of mortar) in the latter. Nor are castor and New Shoreham singular in portraying so clearly this great transition and transformation of the English people and their churches between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. The story of that great change – as great as that from ancient rural  England to modern industrial urban England – is writ large in parish churches.


Page 44 note 19 St Kyneburgha, Castor, Northamptonshire: central tower

“This thrusting image embodies in the weather-resisting Barnack limestone of the district many characteristics of Norman church-building. The tower is the central feature of a true cruciform design (consecrated, an inscription records, in 1124) and combines mass with rich ornament. The whole surface of the structure above the roof-line corbel-table is covered with scale patterns and varieties of rhythmic arcading. It is typical that the central three-light window of the lower stage should be more deeply recessed and more elaborately moulded than the blind flanking arches (though with the same billet motif), and that the three bell-openings should be flanked by blank arcades.

The openwork parapet and short broach spire were added in the fourteenth century.