I can’t say that I stumbled on Harpole by accident: I did know that it had a Norman font and made a special journey to it and nearby East Haddon which has another. Old photographs I had seen, however, did no justice to Harpole’s font. It is one of the best I’ve seen, better than many more celebrated examples, in my view. The Churchwarden told us that the V&A had visited the previous week to do a reappraisal of it, so it seems I might not be the only one who believes it deserves more fame.
Harpole has other late Norman fragments including both south doorways, but this is essentially a Gothic church. It shares with many other Northamptonshire churches the gorgeous warm ironstone masonry that gives it a real glow and makes it visually attractive within and without.
I find this church a bit of a puzzle. Pevsner put the two south doors as Norman. This implies, of course, a Norman south wall. He suggests the north door is c1200, and indeed it appears to be Early English. It is, however, set into the north aisle, implying that this too was from around 1200.
The tower appears to be Early English. It has an unusual arrangement of triple lancets on the west side (the outer two blank) - a sure-fire pointer to EE. The chancel arch too, with its tall narrow profile and clustered responds seems to be from this period. There is also a very Norman