Charwelton is relatively unusual in having two Anglican places of worship. The Church is situated in the fields about a mile from the village along a gated road, and it is used regularly for worship. There is also a small Chapel-of-Ease in the village itself in which there are also regular services. This is an interesting building, originally a Methodist chapel, having a mural on the Chancel wall depicting the Nativity, but in which the figures depict people living in the village at the time it was painted (by Henry Bird) in the mid-1980s. In 2000 the Chapel was refurbished as a Village Millennium project.
Dedicated to the Holy Trinity, the church is a building both ancient and relatively modern. Built largely in the Decorated style the earliest part dates from around 1290 The body of the church is made up of the Nave, with both north and south aisles, and a chancel with a north chapel, now used as a vestry. The nave consists of two arcades of arches, each with three bays.
In the south aisle the west window has three steeply stepped lancet lights which date from 1300. There is also a late, square headed south window, along with a similar south aisle east window, both appearing to be late Perpendicular.
In the west end of the nave, there are a few remaining 18th century “upright” pews, and the fine Elizabethan font is adorned with motifs and oak leaves – the emblems of the Trinity. Behind the font on the west wall of the north aisle is a fine mural monument of 1590 of Reigate stone which was erected by Thomas Andrewe in memory of his two wives. Originally positioned in the north chapel, the centre compartment shows Thomas Andrewe in armour with a ruff, kneeling before a covered altar on which his helmet and gauntlets are placed. His two wives and their twelve children are behind him in various attitudes, and the whole group gradually recedes in size.
There are three magnificent brasses in the centre aisle of the church dating from the 15th and 16th centuries and depicting the rise of the Andrewes family up the social scale.
Between the vestry and the chancel is a large alabaster tomb dating from the mid-1500s. This tomb was in 2001 the subject of major conservation prior to its inclusion in an Exhibition of Medieval Sculpture at the Tate Gallery. This revealed magnificent hidden colouring and decoration, and other features of great interest, and is the subject of a separate leaflet available in the church.
Broadly speaking the church is used for all summer services, with the Chapel being used in the winter. Details of the services are posted outside the Chapel and the Church every month, and in “The Link” magazine which is a benefice magazine distributed, without charge, to every household in the five parishes.
The parish is part of the benefice known as The Knightley Parishes. It was formed in 1991 by the amalgamation of two existing benefices, namely that of Badby with Newnham, which had recently become vacant, and that of Charwelton with Fawsley and Preston Capes which had been without a permanent incumbent for nearly 10 years.
The first Rector of the new benefice was the Revd. Stephen Adams who moved in 1997 to be Rector of Abington in Northampton, and he was followed in September 1998 by the Revd. Michael Petitt. Mr. Petitt moved to a new post in Guilsborough in September 2008, and the benefice was then without an incumbent for two years. The present Rector, the Revd. Sue Faulkner took up her post on 6th. November 2010. She lives in Silverstone with her husband who is Vicar of the Whittlewood Benefice, but she has a base here in the Benefice Office at Newnham.
Further details of the church and village are given in a booklet on sale in the church and also on the Knightly Parishes website: