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Church of St Michael and All Angels, Northampton

Description: Church of St Michael and All Angels

Grade: II
Date Listed: 9 December 1968
English Heritage Building ID: 232209

OS Grid Reference: SP7649761390
OS Grid Coordinates: 476497, 261390
Latitude/Longitude: 52.2454, -0.8810

Location: Turner Street, Northampton NN1 4BL

Locality: Northampton
Local Authority: Northampton Borough Council
County: Northamptonshire
Country: England
Postcode: NN1 4BL

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Listing Text


(Formerly listed as:

1881-2 by George Vialls.

MATERIALS: Red brick with very small amounts of limestone dressings. Red clay tile roofs. Copper-clad spirelet to the bell-turret.

PLAN: Aisleless nave, SW bell-turret, W porch, chancel, N and S transepts, porches in the angles of the nave and transepts, two bays wide, S vestry, N organ chamber.

EXTERIOR: This is a large red-brick church designed to supply substantial seating accommodation on a modest budget at the end of the C19. It is generously scaled and has simple, economical detailing in the Early English style. The nave is of three bays, divided by buttresses and with paired lancets in each bay. The W end has, above the porch, four lancet windows, the middle pair higher than the outer lights. At the SW corner a slender octagonal turret rises to a belfry stage which has tall single-light openings in each face. It has a limestone top and is capped by spirelet with copper cladding laid chevron-wise. The transepts are substantial with a central buttress either side of which are three graded lancets while in the gable there is a large oculus with a central circle surrounded by eight foils. The E end is arranged in four tiers, the lowest plain and housing the foundation stone; then comes a pair of small lancets in the next tier, a row of seven further small lancets in the third tier and finally the main E window arrangement of three tall, graded lancets. The S vestry is under its own gable. Attached on the N is a modern addition of offices etc, designed to be in keeping with the lancet style of the church.

INTERIOR: Bare red brick also predominates in the interior with freestone being confined to such features as the roof corbels, the sedilia and the quatrefoil piers that carry the brick arches to the two bays of the transepts. Each bay of the nave is articulated with a row of four blind recesses for radiators; then comes a plain band of brick framed by two string-courses, and then a pair of lancet windows recessed under an arch. The E parts of the transepts are canted in to meet the walls of the chancel at the start of the sanctuary. There is an arch between the choir and the sanctuary. The nave roof is an impressive structure, longitudinally boarded with a concave lower section, tie-beams and an upper semi-circular section. The floor of the nave and transepts is laid with wooden blocks and the chancel with buff tiling.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The chancel has C13-style triple sedilia with shafts between the seats. The E end of the chancel is extensively lined with two tiers of traceried panelling below the window level and which probably dates from c.1900. The reredos depicting Christ in Majesty flanked by angles in separate niches is a memorial to the first vicar the Rev. Charles Gray (d 1894). The font has a circular bowl and stands on an octagonal base with angle shafts. The nave and chancel are furnished with modern chairs, the pews having been removed; a modern alter has been installed near the crossing.

HISTORY: This is church was built to serve the needs of Anglicans as this part of Northampton expanded in the late C19. Its use of red brick and the Early English style is typical of many urban churches of this time. The foundation stone was laid on 21 July 1881. The architect, George Vialls (1843-1912), was born in Northampton and, after schooling in Wakefield, returned to his native town to train under E F Law. He then moved to London to work for T H Wyatt until c1891. In the 1880s he was practising from Ealing and was a busy church architect. His commissions have a wide geographical spread and he is represented by work from Leicestershire to Kent and Bedfordshire to Devon. Disillusioned with life in London he moved to Yeovil, Somerset, by 1894. The schools to the E of the church were begun in date from the same time as the church (foundation stone 1 October 1881).

Nikolaus Pevsner (rev. Bridget Cherry), The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire 1973, p 338.

The church of St Michael and All Angels, Northampton, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is a red-brick town church in the Early English style designed to provide substantial accommodation on a modest budget.
* It is externally unaltered, and a strong composition.
* Internally, in spite of the re-ordering, it retains its spatial qualities.

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.