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Places of worship

Northamptonshire is known as the county of spires and squires for its large number of churches and country houses. There are over 300 medieval churches across the county. These include examples of all the important architectural styles. With later-built churches and other places of worship, they also tell the history of religion and society in Northamptonshire.

Click on the photos below to learn more about the history, architecture, and significance of each building.

  • Aldwincle Aldwincle

    ​All Saints is a redundant, Anglican church built in the 13th century, with additions in the 15th century. It features an impressive tower and carvings of birds, animals, and strange creatures. The famous poet John Dryden was born in Aldwincle in 1631 and baptised at All Saints.

    Image © John Sutton, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Brixworth Brixworth

    All Saints Anglican church is the largest and most complete Saxon church in the country. It was built around 680 by the monks of Peterborough. The building has several interesting Saxon features, such as a ring-crypt (an underground tunnel around a crypt) and a stair turret (a staircase inside a tower).

    Image © Walwyn, under a Creative Commons licence

  • Canons Ashby Canons Ashby

    ​St Mary’s is a redundant, Anglican church within the grounds of Canons Ashby. It was built in the 13th century on the site of an earlier Augustinian (a religious order) priory. Parts of it have since been rebuilt. The west side of the church is a good example of Early English architecture. The church also features wall paintings, stained glass windows, and memorial brasses. It is part of Canons Ashby, which is managed by the National Trust.

    Image © Des Blenkinsopp, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Castle Ashby Castle Ashby

    ​St Mary Magdalene is an Anglican church within the grounds of Castle Ashby House. The oldest part of the church is a 12th-century door, but most of the building dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. The church features brasses and monuments to the Comptons, the family who built and owned Castle Ashby House.

    Image © seanofselby

  • Corby Corby

    ​The Corby Mosque was opened in 2012 by the Corby Muslim Association. Although there has been a significant Muslim community in Corby since the 1980s, there was no place of worship until 2012. The building was converted from the former church hall of the Lutheran Church of St Paul.

    Image © Corby Mosque

  • Corby Corby

    ​St John the Baptist is an Anglican church built in the 12th century on the site of an earlier church. It is the oldest building in Corby. The church has been restored several times and much of the building is a good example of Gothic Decorated architecture. In 1999, the church opened an Edwardian time capsule and replaced it with a modern one, to be opened in 2100.

    Image © Adam Balcomb

  • Deene Deene

    ​St Peter’s is a redundant, Anglican church built in the 13th century on the Deene Park estate. The Brudenells bought Deene Park in 1514 and the church features many monuments and tombs for the family. The famous architect Thomas Henry Wyatt restored St Peter’s in the 19th century, giving it its Victorian interior.

    Image © Philip Halling, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Earls Barton Earls Barton

    ​All Saints is an Anglican church with an impressive Saxon tower. The tower dates from 970 and is 19 metres tall. It is all that remains of the Saxon church and the rest of the building is Norman or later. The inside of the church features memorial brasses, a Norman chancel (the part of the church near the altar), and a 15th-century painted screen. All Saints is considered one of the most architecturally interesting churches in the country.

    Image © Kokai, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Fawsley Fawsley

    St Mary the Virgin is an Anglican church built in the 13th century on the site of an earlier Saxon church. Its tower holds the oldest ring of four bells from the same foundry. The church also features original stone carvings and stained glass windows from Sulgrave Manor. They show the coat of arms of American president George Washington’s ancestors.

    Image © Ian Rob, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Fotheringhay Fotheringhay

    St Mary and All Saints is an Anglican church built in the 15th century by the Dukes of York. It is a good example of Perpendicular Gothic architecture. It is known for its octagonal tower and its connections to the House of York side of the Wars of the Roses. The church houses several tomb monuments for members of the House of York.

    Image © Spencer Means, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Higham Ferrers Higham Ferrers

    ​St Mary the Virgin is an Anglo-Catholic church built in the 13th century. It is a good example of Early English Gothic architecture. It has many beautiful features, including wooden carvings, brasses, and a porch decorated with scenes from the New Testament.

    Image © Michael Garlick, under a Creative Commons licence

  • Higham Ferrers Higham Ferrers

    ​The Chantry Chapel of All Souls in Higham Ferrers was built in the early 15th century by Archbishop Henry Chichele. It is an excellent example of perpendicular Gothic architecture. King Henry VIII closed the chapel during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and it became a grammar school in 1542. Both inside and outside, visitors can see 17th and 18th century graffiti made by schoolboys. The building was restored in the 20th century and it was rededicated as a chapel in 1942.

    Visitors can find the building in the grounds of the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Higham Ferrers.

    Image © Philip Morgan Hurd, all rights reserved

  • Holdenby Holdenby

    ​All Saints is a redundant, Anglican church that was built in the 13th and 14th centuries. It is in an isolated location because Sir Christopher Hatton moved the local village in order to build Holdenby House. The famous architect Sir George Gilbert Scott restored the church in 1867. Scott built several workhouses and other public buildings in Northamptonshire, as well as iconic buildings around the country. All Saints Church features interesting monuments, painted texts, an Elizabethan screen from Holdenby House, and carved misericords (part of church seats).

    Image © Ian Rob, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Lamport Lamport

    ​All Saints is an Anglican church opposite Lamport Hall. It was built in the 12th century, with later additions and major changes in the 17th to 19th century. The church features several memorials to the Ishams, the family that owned Lamport Hall.

    Image © Richard G. Hilsden

  • Lowick Lowick

    St Peter’s is a medieval, Anglican church that was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries by the owners of Drayton House. It is a good example of Perpendicular Gothic architecture. Some of the original stained glass still survives.

    Image © Nick MacNeil, under a Creative Commons licence

  • Nassington Nassington

    ​St Mary the Virgin and All Saints is an Anglican church built in the Anglo-Saxon period. In the 12th century, the Bishops of Lincoln created a church estate called a prebend in Nassington. This made the church an important place. The church was restored or added to almost every century since it was built. It features part of a Saxon cross, medieval wall paintings, and many gargoyles. There is also a 17th-century clock and the five bells have been rung since 1552.

    Image © Jean McCreanor

  • Northampton Northampton

    St Peter’s is a redundant, Anglican church that was built in 1160 on the site of an earlier Saxon chapel. It is considered one of the most outstanding Norman churches in the country. Inside, it features carved capitals (the top part of columns), carved pews, and Victorian stained glass windows.

    Image © Richard Croft, under a Creative Commons licence

  • Northampton Northampton

    Holy Sepulchre is an Anglican round church built around 1100 by Simon de Senlis I. Senlis was the Earl of Northampton and he also built Northampton Castle and St Andrew’s Priory. The church was built from local ironstone and is one of very few remaining round churches in the country. It is known locally as 'St Seps'. It survived the Great Fire of Northampton in 1675. Inside, a stained glass window commemorates Caroline Chisholm.

    Image © David P. Howard, under a Creative Commons licence

  • Northampton Northampton

    ​The Castle Hill United Reformed Church (URC) is the oldest Nonconformist chapel in Northampton. Nonconformists are Protestants not part of the Church of England. The church was built in 1695 and enlarged in 1842. The famous Nonconformist minister Philip Doddridge led the church in the 1700s, when it was known as Castle Hill Chapel. Inside, it has galleries, box pews, and a memorial to Doddridge. There is also a plaque outside.

    Image © Northamptonshire County Council

  • Northampton Northampton

    ​Northamptonshire has a strong history of Nonconformism. Nonconformists are Protestants who broke away from the Church of England in the 17th century. In Northamptonshire, there were often as many Nonconformists as Protestants. This can be seen in the large number of chapels around the county. Kingsley Park is a 19th-century, Wesleyan Methodist Church. The two strands of Methodism, Wesleyan and Primitive, merged in 1932. The church is a good example of free Gothic architecture and it features the oldest known precast concrete staircases.

    Image © Jonathan Billinger, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Northampton Northampton

    ​St Matthew’s is a Neo-Gothic, Anglo-Catholic church built at the end of the 19th century. It was designed by the local architect Matthew Holding, who built churches and buildings across Northamptonshire. The Phipps family paid for the church as a memorial to Pickering Phipps II. Pickering Phipps II ran Phipps Brewery and also served as an MP and the Mayor of Northampton. He died before he could build the church himself, so his family donated land and money in his memory. The church was consecrated (declared holy) on St Matthew’s Day, 1893.

    St Matthew’s is known for its arts. It owns a Henry Moore sculpture and Graham Sutherland painting. The church has also commissioned music and writing by Benjamin Britten and W H Auden, among others.

    Image © Rich Lewis

  • Northampton Northampton

    ​Northamptonshire was one of the earliest centres of Quakerism and meetings have taken place in Northampton since 1668. Quakers are members of the Society of Friends, a religious sect that broke away from the Church of England in the 17th century. They are known for their pacifism and social justice. In Northamptonshire, Quakers fought to end slavery and protested the First World War. The site on Wellington Street in Northampton has been used for meetings since 1830, replacing earlier meeting houses on Swan Street and Kingswell Street. The inside has been altered several times. The house also has a burial ground, which was re-landscaped in 2012.

    Image © Northamptonshire County Council

  • Northampton Northampton

    ​The College Street Baptist church was founded in 1697. A chapel was built in College Lane in 1714 and in 1863 the present building was erected on the same site. Significant interior re-modelling was carried out in 1986. In the 18th century, father and son John Ryland were ministers, and in the Victorian era John Turland Brown was minister for 50 years (1843-94). The Victorian writer Mary Anne Hearn (pen name Marianne Farningham) was a member of the church. Currently, the church is owned by the New Testament Church of God.

    Text © Stephen Copson, image © Stuart Jenkins

  • Northampton Northampton

    ​The first record of Jews in Northamptonshire is from 1159. Evidence of a medieval synagogue and a Jewish cemetery have also been found. However, Jews were expelled from England in 1290 and they did not return to Northamptonshire until the 19th century. In 1888, George Leopold Michel, a German shoemaker, helped establish the Northampton Hebrew Congregation. The present synagogue was built in 1965. Although it is not architecturally interesting, it is the only synagogue in Northamptonshire and contains historic plaques from the original building.

    Image © Northampton Hebrew Congregation

  • Oundle Oundle

    ​At 210 feet (64 metres), St Peter’s Church has the tallest spire in Northamptonshire. St Peter’s is an Anglican church built in the 12th century on the site of an earlier, Saxon church. It was rebuilt and added to in most centuries since. The famous architect Sir George Gilbert Scott restored the church in 1864. Scott built several workhouses and other public buildings in Northamptonshire, as well as iconic buildings around the country.

    Image © Keith Evans, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Preston Deanery Preston Deanery

    ​St Peter and St Paul’s is a redundant, Anglican church built in the 12th century. It became a ruin in the 16th century and was used to keep animals, before being restored in the 17th century. It is best known for its chancel arch (an arch above the altar), which shows birds, a snake, and strange creatures.

    Image © Frank Pickavant, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Raunds Raunds

    ​St Peter’s is an Anglican church that was built in the 12th century, with later additions. It is a good example of Perpendicular Gothic architecture and has an impressive spire. It also features decorated doorways, a carved cross in the churchyard, and 15th-century wall paintings inside.

    Image © Bikeboy, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Rothwell Rothwell

    ​Northamptonshire has a strong history of Nonconformism. Nonconformists are Protestants who broke away from the Church of England in the 17th century. In Northamptonshire, there were often as many Nonconformists as Protestants. This can be seen in the large number of chapels around the county. Founded in 1655, and formerly known as the Independent Chapel and the Congregational Church, Rothwell United Reformed Church (URC) is the oldest. Independents later became known as Congregationalists and in 1972, they merged with the Presbyterians to form the URC. The present building was built in 1735, after the Riot Act protected Nonconformist chapels from attack. Before this, meetings were held in a barn on the site. The church features a classical interior and stained glass windows.

    Image © Geoff Pick, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Stoke Doyle Stoke Doyle

    ​St Rumbald’s is an Anglican church that was built in the 18th century to replace an earlier, medieval church. It features carved angels and monuments to local people. It is one of only two churches in the country named after St Rumbald. Rumbald is an Anglo-Saxon saint who was born in Northamptonshire and died as a baby.

    Image © Ben Keating, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Titchmarsh Titchmarsh

    ​St Mary the Virgin is an Anglican church built in the 14th and 15th centuries on the site of an earlier Norman church. A 12th-century doorway in the chancel (the part of the church near the altar) is all that remains of the Norman building. The North chapel houses many memorials to the local Pickering family and the famous poet John Dryden. The church tower is decorated with patterns and stone figures. It is considered one of the best towers outside of Somerset.

    Image © Chris Stafford

  • Wakerley Wakerley

    St John the Baptist is a redundant, Anglican church with a tower and spire. Inside, it features a Norman chancel arch (an arch above the altar) with some of the best carved capitals (the top part of columns) in England.

    Image © Michael Garlick, under a Creative Commons licence

  • Weldon Weldon

    ​St Mary the Virgin in an Anglican church built in the 13th century. It includes gargoyles, monuments to local people, and stained glass windows - one of which once belonged to Horatio Nelson. It also has an attractive churchyard with interesting gravestones. However, its most unusual feature is the lantern at the top of its 19th-century tower. It is meant to have been lit to guide travellers through Rockingham Forest. It is still lit on New Year’s Eve and special occasions.

    Image © Adam Balcomb

  • Wellingborough Wellingborough

    ​Northamptonshire was one of the earliest centres of Quakerism and meetings have taken place in Wellingborough since 1654. Quakers are members of the Society of Friends, a religious sect that broke away from the Church of England in the 17th century. They are known for their pacifism and social justice. In Northamptonshire, Quakers fought to end slavery and protested the First World War. The site on St John’s Street in Wellingborough has been used for meetings since 1751. It is also a burial ground. The current ironstone meeting house was opened in 1819. The inside was refurbished in the 20th century, but it retains its Georgian front.

    Image © Dave Bevis, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Wellingborough Wellingborough

    ​Northamptonshire has a strong history of Nonconformism. Nonconformists are Protestants who broke away from the Church of England in the 17th century. In Northamptonshire, there were often as many Nonconformists as Protestants. This can be seen in the large number of chapels around the county. The Wellingborough congregation was first part of the Independent Chapel in Rothwell, but started their own local meetings in the 1660s. Independents later became known as Congregationalists and in 1972, they merged with the Presbyterians to form the United Reformed Church (URC). The group had several meeting places and in 1812, split into two factions. However, in 1873, the congregation reunited and built the present building. In Wellingborough, it is fondly called Pork Pie Church for its shape.

    Image © James Alexander Cameron, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

  • Wellingborough Wellingborough

    ​The Swaminarayan Mandir is a temple for Hindus of the Swaminarayan sect, a modern branch of Hinduism that started in Gujarat, India. Wellingborough has had a Gujarati Indian community since the 1960s. The Mandir opened in 2009, replacing an earlier temple made up of several connected houses. It was built using traditional materials imported from India.

    Image © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

  • Winwick Winwick

    ​St Michael and All Angels is an Anglican church that was built in the 13th century. The high number of recorded marriages in the 16th century suggests that many couples eloped to Winwick and got married at the church. It is a cruciform (cross-shaped) church with a Perpendicular Gothic tower. One of its most impressive features is the Millennium Window. Artist Jane Campbell created the piece in 2000, inspired by an aerial view of Winwick, to mark the millennium.

    Image © John Salmon, licenced under a Creative Commons licence

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