The Arts Society Oundle launches its Children’s Trail at ST Leonard's Church, Apethorpe, Northants

The Arts Society Oundle launches its Children’s Trail at ST Leonard's Church, Apethorpe, Northants

2 Oct 2023

After an extended gestation, exacerbated by the pandemic, we were finally able to complete the trail in November 2022. I say ‘we’, but it was Gill Murphy, the East Midlands Area Trails Rep who finally collated the trail questions and answers for us. Thanks Gill! Our particular thanks, also, to past member Sandra McAdam who did the bulk of the work on the trail content, and to Chris Cooke who stepped in to fill in the last picture and detail requirements.

So, on the morning of Thursday, 30th March several members of the Committee met Rev. Jane Tailby, Vicar of the Watersmete Benefice, at St Leonard’s where we greeted nine children from nearby Nassington School - all members of their School Council - and their teacher, Therese Cope and Office Manager, Sarah Rodger: they were to be our Trailblazers, the first to do the completed Children’s Trail!

St Leonard’s was rebuilt in 1485, probably on an existing 12th century site, and the tower added in 1633. The children were asked to answer 14 questions about what they saw and found in the church, which has some unusual features. Most striking is a monumental tomb to the memory of Sir Anthony Mildmay and his wife Grace, in the 1621 chapel built to house it by their son in law, Sir Francis Fane, who lived in Apethorpe Hall, now Apethorpe Palace - a favourite haunt of King James 1 who came to indulge his passion for hunting on numerous occasions. 

There are three interesting windows in the church, the most striking being the 1621 

‘Animals Window’, representing the garden of Eden, The Ascension and Christ in Heaven - the figures are imaginative representations in that the Lion and Tiger appear to have human ears! One of the other windows depicts not one, but two St Leonards, Leonard of Limoges and an English Crusader. The third window, the East Window, shows the last supper, unusual for being painted, not stained glass from 1732, restored at great cost in 1994.

The last question the children were asked to find an answer to concerned an entry in the visitors book in 2006 by two people who were known then simply as ‘ Charles and Camilla’ - they had been on a visit to Apethorpe Hall!

It was a very enjoyable occasion with Gill and Sandra McAdam able to join us which was much appreciated. Our thanks to Rev. Tailby and the Benefice for making it possible for us to create the trail and hold the launch to celebrate its completion.

The trail will be accessible for download via our website and on a QR code at the church. Entrance to the church, which is not left open, is via a telephone number which can be found at the church.

Download the trail questions here.

Download the trail answers here.

About the Author

Nigel Harper

Nigel Harper is the Chair of The Arts Society Oundle


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