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Church of St Stanislaus and St Lawrence, Northampton

Description: Church of St Stanislaus and St Lawrence

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 9 December 1968
English Heritage Building ID: 232034

OS Grid Reference: SP7575861201
OS Grid Coordinates: 475758, 261201
Latitude/Longitude: 52.2438, -0.8919

Location: Craven Street, Northampton NN1 3DZ

Locality: Northampton
Local Authority: Northampton Borough Council
County: Northamptonshire
Country: England
Postcode: NN1 3DZ

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Listing Text

725/11/118 DUKE STREET

(Formerly listed as:

1877-8, designed by Burder and Baker.

MATERIALS: Red brick in English bond with some freestone dressings and bands. Red tiled roofs. Cement tiled roof to narthex. Bare brick interior with more freestone detailing.

PLAN: Clerestoried nave and square-ended chancel in one, narrow lean-to aisles to nave, NE vestry and organ chamber, SE chapel, SW, NW and SE porches, NE tower, W end baptistery.

EXTERIOR: The style of the building throughout derives from the C13, whence the lancet windows for all but the W end which has three pairs of tall, two-light Geometrical windows. The nave and chancel are tall and of equal height with low, lean-to passage aisles flanking the nave. The SE chapel is also tall and contrasts markedly with the adjoining S aisle. The N elevation is punctuated at the junction of the nave and chancel by a short, four-stage tower with an entrance on the N and a tall two-light window over it. The square plan of the lower parts turns octagonal in the short belfry stage which has corner projections rising to pinnacles above the base of the short spire. The buttresses of the nave all terminate in gables and their continuation across the roofs of the aisles is an indication of the fact that they are also constructed internally (see INTERIOR). The aisle buttresses, too, terminate in gables.

INTERIOR: The interior is characterised by the great width and height of the chancel and four-bay nave which have no chancel arch separating them. At the E end the focus is the two tiers of plain triple lancets. The aisles are mere passages cut through the internal buttresses. The moulded arches of the nave are of bare brick, like nearly everything else internally. Exceptions are the freestone bases, capitals and band in between to the piers which add a significant horizontal emphasis at low level. Freestone also appears at high level in the wall-shafts to the principal rafters and also in capitals at the springing of the clerestory windows. Below the wall-plate there is a terracotta cornice and frieze with flower decoration. Unusually the panelled roof has no demarcation or change in construction between the nave and chancel. Each of the seven bays is separated by cusped principal rafter, the peak of the lowest cusp being created by a hammer-beam. The roof is of very light construction which adds greatly to the sense of spaciousness: indeed this lightweight construction requires horizontal and vertical iron ties to create stability. The Lady Chapel also has a hammer-beam roof. On either side of the chancel there are very tall two-bay arcades with octagonal piers. The chancel is steeply stepped up and is floored with encaustic tiles. At the W end there is a triple arcade with the central opening leading to the baptistry in the W narthex.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The choir is bounded on both N and S by most unusual and attractive coved and crested wrought-iron screens. Another wrought-iron screen stands on the top of a low stone wall at the entrance to the chancel and the lectern and altar rails are also good wrought iron pieces. The three-bay timber reredos has painted figures of the ascending Christ flanked by angels: it is no doubt later than the original church. The hanging rood figures are dated 1933. The three rows of stalls with their simple bands of arcading are the major feature in the chancel.

HISTORY: The church was built to serve the Anglican population of this area of Northampton in 1877-8. It has been used as a Polish church since about 1980 when the dedication was changed from St Lawrence Martyr. Unfortunately almost nothing is currently known about the architects and this church is the only one of their works mentioned in all of the Pevsner Architectural Guides to England. Burder was, presumably, Alfred WN Burder whose address was 14 York Chambers, London in 1879. Their achievement here was a remarkable one, admired by Pevsner as `notably good and impressive'. He sees the building as being in the style of JL Pearson, as indeed it is, although it also draws upon other strands of mid-Victorian church architecture. The most notable of these is the use of passage aisles and internal buttressing which had recently been used to such splendid effect at GF Bodley's great church of St Augustine, Pendlebury, Lancashire (1870-4). The idea of using ordinary brick to create a cheap but imposing church had been used by Pearson at his pioneering church of St Peter, Vauxhall, London (1863-4) and James Brooks at various inner London churches in the 1860s

Brodie, A et al., Directory of British Architects 1834-1914 (2001), 297
Cherry, B. and Pevsner, N., The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire (1973), 336
Goode, M., The Compendium of Pevsner's Building of England: CD-Rom, (2005)

The church of St Stanislaus and St Lawrence, Northampton, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It is an impressively scaled late C19 town church with advanced planning for its time and ranks among similar work of the most famous architects of the day
* It has fine ironwork in a number of the fixtures
* It provides an important visual focus for this area of the town

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.