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Church of Saint Mary, Kettering

Description: Church of Saint Mary

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 14 April 1976
English Heritage Building ID: 230114

OS Grid Reference: SP8743179037
OS Grid Coordinates: 487431, 279037
Latitude/Longitude: 52.4024, -0.7163

Location: Bridge Street, Kettering, Northamptonshire NN16 8XN

Locality: Kettering
Local Authority: Kettering Borough Council
County: Northamptonshire
Country: England
Postcode: NN16 8XN

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Listing Text


1893-5 by Gotch and Saunders of Kettering. The same firm added the SE chapel of Christ the King in 1932.

MATERIALS: Coursed ironstone with freestone dressings. Red clay-tiled roof.

PLAN: Clerestoried nave with narrow N and S aisles, lower chancel with transeptal NE vestry over a boiler room, transeptal SE organ chamber, SE chapel (sited S of the organ chamber), S and N porches forming a narthex from which a three-sided W baptistry projects.

EXTERIOR: The style of the building is a freely and imaginatively treated version of late medieval Gothic. The nave has narrow lean-to aisles. Their seven bays are punctuated by buttresses which are stepped across the aisles and rise to the top of the clerestory windows. These form a continuous run of glazing interrupted only by the buttresses. The clerestory lights have five lights per bay and are squared-headed with lozenges in the tracery. By contrast the aisles have no fenestration. Towards the E end of the nave an octagonal turret straddles the roof ridge: its base and spirelet are red-tiled with timber louvres in between. The chancel terminates with angle buttresses and a broad, seven-light, late Perpendicular window. The foundation stone in the E wall records the date of 10 June 1893. On the N side a large vestry-cum-boiler room has a stack against the N wall of the chancel with stone shafts and chamfered corners. The stacks are connected at the top creating a bellcote between. The vestry has a shoulder-headed N doorway with an overlight and an inscription on the lintel: `Laudate Nomen Domini: Laudate Servi Domini'. There is a large, transomed, square-headed four-light N window to the right of the door. The transeptal SE organ chamber is attached to the 1932 chapel. This is of three bays and at its E end has an octagonal turret carrying a C17-style cupola. The W end of the nave has a curious Venetian Gothic window with an arched central light with Flamboyant tracery, flanked by lower cinquefoil-headed lights in square frames. The narthex and baptistry have three-light cusped windows in square-headed frames.

INTERIOR: The arcade piers and lower parts of the aisle walls are plastered and painted while the rest of this area has exposed bare stonework. The chancel masonry is painted white. Separation of the nave and chancel is by a wide semi-circular arch on stone corbels. The nave arcades have segmental-headed moulded arches on octagonal piers with simple capitals decorated in relief. The broad clerestory windows are the chief means of lighting the nave in the absence of any windows in the aisles. Spanning the aisles are stone half-arches which are the internal expression of the buttresses delineating the bays outside. There is a low, coped stone wall between the nave and chancel. The nave and chancel have canted, boarded wagon roofs divided into panels by ribs and the SE chapel has a segmental ceiling also divided by ribs into panels. The truss, on demi-octagonal shafts is decorated with fretwork and the walls are lined with wooden panelling with a frieze of symbols in roundels.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The most prominent feature, the rood beam and rood were designed by Sir Charles Nicholson (drawing in the church archives). The reredos has gilded columns supporting a semi-circular cornice with a gilded dome over the altar. The nave is seated with chairs but the chancel has a set of stalls with C17 detailing (two rows per side). The pulpit too has C17 detail but this is mingled with Gothic elements: above is a tester. The plain octagonal font is possibly medieval. The First World War memorial reredos in the S aisle originally formed a fireplace in Rushden Hall and was re-sited here with adaptations by Sir Thomas Graham Jackson with sculpting work done by Sir Hamo Thornycroft. The S chapel has a stone altar and a reredos with a gilded, sculpted, seated figure of Christ under a niche. This chapel and W end have a fine series of stained glass windows, including, in the porch, patterned jewel-like glass. The latest date on the porch windows is 1981.

HISTORY: Built to provide additional Anglican church accommodation in this area of Kettering towards the end of the C19. The architects, Gotch and Saunders, were a local partnership. John Alfred Gotch (1852-1942) was born in Kettering and set up an independent practice there in 1878. He went into partnership with Charles Saunders (d 1928). Gotch became, in 1886-7, the first president of the RIBA from a provincial practice. Apart from his architecture, he is also as a prolific writer on historic architecture, notably of domestic work of the C16 and C17. In common with other major provincial practices his firm undertook a great variety of work, both large and small, and in many building types. St Mary┬┐s, however, is one of its finest achievements.

Brodie, A et al., Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, vol. 1 (2001), 757-9 and vol. 2 (2001), 540
Cherry, B. and Pevsner, N., The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire (1973), 272
Information from Fr Raine, the incumbent in 2005

The church of St Mary, Kettering, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It is a fine example of a late Gothic Revival church deriving its inspiration from freely and imaginatively treated late medieval architecture
* It is a major work by an important and well-respected local architectural practice
* The original building has been enhanced by work added by leading designers in the C20

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.