To begin with the Established Church of England: The four ancient churches were, and still are: All Saints, in the town centre; St Peter’s, towards the West Bridge; St Sepulchre (the round church) to the north in Sheep Street and St Giles to the East – all within the area of the old town walls.  In 1839 St Katherine’s was built. It was a very fashionable church near the town centre, it had 1000 sittings but by the end of the last war it was closed, became derelict and vandalised and, in 1950 was demolished. St Edmund’s was built in 1846 along the Wellingborough Road; it had its day and has now been pulled down.

Other churches were: St Andrew’s (now closed); St James (1872); St Mary’s, Far Cotton, (1875); St Pauls, Semilong (1877); St Lawrence (1879 – now closed); St Michael and All Angels (1883); St Crispin’s (1884 – now closed); St Matthew’s (1893); Christ Church (1907) and Holy Trinity (1908). As the suburbs expanded, new churches were built in the twentieth century, as the town has extended; St Alban’s, Broadmead Avenue; St Augustine’s, King’s Heath; and even more recently, Emmanuel in the Eastern District and St Benedict’s at Hunsbury Hill. Town centre churches have closed, but the growing town now includes the ‘village churches’ of Abington, Dallington, Duston and Weston Favell.

There were also small mission rooms set up in the terraced street, most of them attached to one of the larger churches.


St Lawrence in Duke Street, now St Stanislaus & St Lawrence. (© CC BY-SA 4.0) CLICK TO ENLARGE

In the 1851 Religious Census there was evidence of the increasing importance of the Non-conformist Churches’ the numbers attending more or less equalling those quoted for the Established Church.

By the turn of the century there were the following Baptist Churches in the town: College Street Chapel, founded in 1693; Providence Chapel in Abington Street, founded in 1792, rebuilt in 1860 to seat 550 but now closed; Princess Street Chapel, rebuilt in 1890 to seat 750, but demolished for the new Shopping Centre. Others were: Mount Pleasant in Kettering Road; Grafton Street, Union Chapel in St Michael’s Road, Abbey Road in Far Cotton, Adnitt Road and Kingsthorpe Chapel – altogether about 6,000 sittings. Later chapels have been built in the suburbs, whilst others are used for other purposes.

Congregational Chapels around 1900 numbered 6: the 1695 church of Philip Doddridge at Castle Hill (shown above), the 1895 Doddridge Memorial Church in St James’ and churches in Victoria Road (1888); Commercial Street (1829), Abington Avenue and Primrose Hill

The Unitarian Church was built in Kettering Road in 1897 for 400 people, but had been founded in 1869 in King Street, which was around the site of the present Hotel. That vanished from directories after 1894, so presumably the Kettering Road church incorporated the King Street congregation.

The nine Methodist Churches were in the Horse Market (1872), Kettering Road (1879), Far Cotton (1888) and Harlestone Road (1899), these being Primitive Methodist Chapels. The six Wesleyan Chapels were in Gold Street (1815), Regent Square (1877), St Catherine’s (1885), Queen’s Road (1899), Osborne Road (1895) and Kingsley Park (1899), with one on the Wellingborough Road in 1900. A number of these have now closed. There were Mission Churches in Scarletwell and Hester Streets and the Park Avenue Church was built in 1926.

Of course, in addition to these were the Catholic Churches – the Cathedral in Barrack Road and the tiny, ancient Church of St John on the London Road by South Bridge, once the chapel of a hospice for travellers and now, a restaurant. There were also the Jewish Synagogue, the Friends’ Meeting House, the Salvation Army Headquarters and the Halls of the Plymouth Brethren. Modern Northampton has still others.

Very few of the new town churches or chapels had their own burial grounds, with the exception of St Katherine’s, St Edmund’s, the Society of Friends and Castle Hill Chapel.  After 1843 when the new Northampton Cemetery opened in Billing Road, the majority of burials would have taken place there.

Surviving registers for many of these places of worships and for the local town cemeteries can be found at the Northamptonshire Record Office.