One of the places featured in the book Northamptonshire A County of Spires is Kings Sutton.
Kings Sutton is an ironstone village in the valley of the River Cherwell, at the south west tip of the county, which Sir Nikolaus Pevsner in his ‘Buildings of England, Northamptonshire’ described as having ‘one the finest, if not the finest, spire in this county of spires’. At one time it was a fashionable resort with a spring in the hamlet of Astrop and has connections with the legend of St Rumbold.
The mineral spring known as St Rumbold’s in the hamlet of Astrop caused the village to become a fashionable resort. Two doctors ‘discovered’ the spring and recommended that their patients should take the waters there rather than at Tunbridge Wells. There was a time of fame and prosperity for over two hundred years. In 1668 a pamphlet published claimed the waters were beneficial to ‘all kinds of general disorders of the stomach, liver, spleen, kidneys, heart, brain, nerves, and muscles’.
According to legend St Rumbold was born here in 662. His mother was a daughter of King Penda of Mercia, and his father was Rumbald, King of Northumberland.
The Square is in the centre of the village where the green has a variety of interesting buildings around it including the Manor House, half timbered Court House, thatched cottages, and The White Horse inn. It also has the village war memorial, nineteenth century stocks, and the church of St Peter & St Paul stands on the west side of the green.
The fifteenth century tower and spire of the church is a landmark standing 198 feet high, with pinnacles and flying buttresses. A church has stood here for over 1,000 years. It has an oak screen designed by Sir Gilbert Scott who restored the church in 1866.
The church has been described as having a ‘spire remarkably elegant and neat’, ‘it is perhaps the most beautiful in whole of Northamptonshire’, and that it ‘must rank high among the best in England’.
One of St Peter’s vicars was the father of the poet William Lisle Bowles. William was born in the vicarage in 1762. He published a book of sonnets in 1789 which apparently Wordsworth could not put down until he had read the whole of the book.
A famous landlady of the former Three Tuns inn was Olga Kevelos. Olga lasting o became the only woman to win two Gold Medals in the motorcyclists International Six Days Trial competition and was Britain’s leading lady motorcyclist.
The wooden village stocks are protected by iron railings which carry a notice that this is a County Heritage Site.