Lost Churches and Religious Houses of Northampton

Previously I have written about several of Northampton’s “lost” churches. This is an attempt to produce a gazetteer and interactive map of all known “lost” churches and similar institutions in the town.

Please click on the map to access the interactive map …

Lost Places of Worship in Northampton

The buildings that have disappeared can be categorised in at least two different ways. First by the time period and secondly by the specific purpose or use the building was put to.

  • Medieval churches and chapels falling out of use by the 16th century due to a reduction in population, possibly as a consequence of the Black Death. (1100 until before 1500)
  • Monastic houses, friaries and hospitals up to dissolution. (Circa 1100 until 1538)
  • Nonconformist meeting houses being outgrown by their congregations or moving to a new location. (Circa 1725 until 2016)
  • 19th-century Anglican expansion and later decline. (1841 until 1998)

A few premises have not been included as they still exist and have transitioned into a new use. For example, the former Quaker and later General Baptist meeting house on Kingswell Street is now part of a night club. The Baptist chapel in St Michaels Road is now a Buddhist temple.

The former Anglican chapel of St Gabriel that was within the parish of St Michael and All Angels is now partly used by the Wesleyan Holiness church is included.

There is the potential for some confusion as some church dedications were reused for another building, sometimes on or near the same site e.g. St Katherine in St Katherines Street; St Edmund first on Abington Square and later in St Edmunds Road/Wellingborough Road; and St Michael in Wood Street and later in St Michael’s Mount.

All Saints is included because apart from the lower half of the tower the large medieval church was lost in the fire of 1675 and rebuilt on the same site.

It should also be observed that although the medieval religious houses have long disappeared from the landscape of the town without a trace they still leave their evidence in the outline of some of the modern streets, notably St Andrews Priory precinct is complete and can still be easily walked; White Friars boundary is defined by Ladys Lane, The Mounts and Church Lane; and the Augustian Priory bounded by St Peters Way, Bridge Street and Commercial Street.

The former St John’s Hospital, Northampton

Of these religious houses, the most significant remains visible today are those of the former St John’s Hospital which is now a restaurant.

Bibliography

Several useful sources are available online where further details of Northampton’s religious heritage can be explored.

‘A History of the County of Northampton, Volume 2 | British History Online’, Victoria County History. Accessed 21 February 2021. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/northants/vol2.

‘A History of the County of Northampton, Volume 3 | British History Online’, Victoria County History. Accessed 21 February 2021. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/northants/vol3.

‘An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire | British History Online’. Accessed 21 February 2021. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/northants/vol5.

Tingle, Martin, ed. The Archaeology of Northamptonshire. Northampton: Northamptonshire Archaeological Society, 2004. https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/library/browse/issue.xhtml?recordId=1162953.

Gazetteer

TypeBuildingDescription(Building) Dates
Early chapelsSt GeorgeA chapel within the castle precinct. By the 17th century prisoners were being buried outside the castle. An extra-parochial area but within St Peter's parish.1100?-1550?
St Mary juxta CastrumSt. Mary's is first recorded at the end of the 12th century (Mon Angl V, 191) but was probably founded by 1100. The parish was incorporated into that of All Saints in 1590.1100?-1590
St Mary MagdaleneThe chapel, then a hospital, was mentioned at the time of the foundation of St. John's hospital c. 1138. It was dissolved by 1568. Medieval graves have been found on the site.1120?-1568
St ThomasLocated on the south side of South Bridge. First mentioned in the late 12th century (Mon Angl 5, 191). in a will of 1527 a chapel of St. Thomas is identified as the hermitage at the S. end of the South Bridge.1180?-1530?
St KatherineA cemetery on this site in St Katherine Street is known to have existed since 1205, and appears to be primarily used for plague victims. The chapel itself is not mentioned until 1471. By 1641 stone from the 'decayed chapel' was taken to repair the town walls.1200?-1641
St DavidA chapel that existed before 1200. Demolished in 1928.1200-1928
St MargaretThe chapel is first recorded in c. 1227. The chapel went out of use in the 17th and was no longer standing in the early 18th century. Several stone coffins were found in the mid 19th century and an adult male was found in 1977.1220?-1600?
St MartinLocated near this site in St Martins Street. In 1274 it was recorded as being "waste" but a new incumbent was appointed in 1372. There is a suggestion that the building may have been the house of the Cluniac monks before St Andrews was founded.1270?-1400?
HermitageThe 'Armitage on the West Bridge' is mentioned in 1602 and is located on Speed's map of 1610.1600?-1610?
Medieval parish churchesAll SaintsThe original All Saints (All Hallows) was largely lost on the fire of 1675 and rebuilt in 1680. The medieval church can be reconstructed as a large building, perhaps 70 m. in length, with a central tower and cruciform plan. Only the lower half of the tower and the crypt remains of the original building. The chancel which occupied the area of the present church E. of the tower, had a crypt under its E. end and a S. chapel. The nave extened a similar length as the chncel but west-wards from the tower.1100?-1675
St BartholomewThis church has complete .list of clergy from 1232 until 1509. It appears to have fallen out of use in the 1530s. Some time following its dedication appears to have changed to St Lawrence for administrative purposes. The parish was absorbed into Holy Sepulchre.1175?-1530?
St EdmundThe church is first mentioned by name in the late 12th century (Mon Angl V, 191). It had incumbents until 1535 (Valor Ecclesiasticus, 316). The church seems to have fallen out of use in the mid 16th century and absorbed into St. Giles' parish (National Archives: E 134/40and41Eliz/Mich6) by 1598.1175?-1550?
St GregoryThe church is first mentioned by name in the late 12th century (Mon Angl V, 191) although earlier Saxon graves have been found on the site. The last recorded institution as rector was in 1532. In 1556 the parish was annexed to All Saints' parish and the site and church of St. Gregory, was then in ruins. Some masonry remained visible above ground into 21st century. 1175?-1556
St MichaelThe church is first mentioned in the late 12th century (Mon Angl V, 191). Incumbents are known for this parish from 1229 until 1493). The parish was subsequently incorporated into that of Holy Sepulchre probably in the early 16th century. The building was in Wood Street (formerly Cock Lane and earlier St Michaels Lane). The precise location of the church has not been found although a cemetery was found to the west of Wood Street in 1972.1180?-1520?
MonasticPriory of St Andrew (Cluniac)The priory occupied a large enclosed site just to the north of the old Saxon town. The gatehouse appears to have lain to the N. of Grafton Street across Upper Harding Street with the priory church perhaps to the N. of the Lower Priory Street. The buildings were sold in 1550. ôThe cemetery of the priory lay in the area E. of Francis Street and centres on Upper Harding Street.1100?-1538
Delapré Abbey (Cluniac)Orginally known as the Abbey of St. Mary de Pratis. The site was a house of Cluniac nuns, founded by Simon de Senlis II, Earl of Northampton, in about 1145 apparently moving here from Fotheringhay. It was dissolved in 15381145?-1538
St James Abbey (Augustinian)The abbey was founded c.1145-50 by William Peverel II of Nottingham and dissolved August 1538. A housing estate now occupies site. Extensive remains and burials were uncovered on the site 1999-2002.1145?-1538
Blackfriars (Dominican Friary)Located in an area bounded north of Gold Street and east of Horsemarket. The friary was established c. 1230 and surrendered in 1538.1230?-1538
Greyfriars (Franciscan Friary)Located in an area north east of Market Square within the area of the former bus station and the Grosvenor Centre. On this site from c. 1235. The friary was dissolved in 1538. Significant archaeological remains have been found on this site during later developments including part of the church and numerous burials.1235?-1538
House of Poor ClaresThis was a small house probably opposite the Dominican Friars on the east side of Horsemarket. Only recorded between 1252 and 1272.1252?-1272?
Whitefriars (Carmelite Friary)Located in an area bounded by Lady's Lane, Newlands, Campbell Square and the Mounts. Probably founded by 1270 and dissolved in 1538.1270?-1538
House of Friars of the SackIn Derngate, the house was founded before 1271 and had come to an end by 1303.1271?-1303
Augustinian FriaryOccupying an area to the north of Commercial street and west of Kingswell Street. The discontinuity of alignment of Kingswell Street probably defines the eastern boundary. There is debate about the foundation of this house. It may have been in 1275 but existed by 1323. Dissolved in 15381275?-1538
College of All SaintsLocated on the west side of College Lane (later College Street) at the end of College Yard (later Jeyes Jetty). Founded in 1460 and dissolved in 1548. It was used as a hospital for the sick during the plague of 1603 to 1605.1460-1548 (1603-1605)
Medieval HospitalsSt John (Hospital)Some of the buildings remain on this site. It was founded about 1138 and remained in use until 1870. The former dormitory and chapel have been converted to a restaurant.1138?-1870
St Leonard (Hospital)Probably established as a hospital and chapel about 1150 it survived in that form until about 1550. At times it may also have served as a parochial chapel.1150?-1550?
Holy TrinityThe hospital, founded in 1200 by St. Andrew's Priory, consisted of a hospital building and two chapels; one of these, St. David's Chapel, was already in existence before 1200, but was attached to the hospital on its foundation. The hospital was dissolved in 1570.1200-1570
Walbeck HospitalThis was a leper hospital named after the stream that passes under the road at Kingsthorpe Hollow. Its precise location is unknown.1240?-1347?
St Thomas (Hospital)Also known as St Thomas the Martyr. The building was sited in the centre of the Victoria Promenade at the junction with Bridge Street. Possibly founded in 1450. The buildings were demolished in 1875.1450?-1874
SynagogueJewish SynagogueJews were evicted from England in 1290 and did not return until the mid 17th century during the Commonwealth. The building has been identified on Marcus Pierce's plan of 1632.1200?-1650?
NonconformistBaptist Meeting, South QuarterOriginally a house but used as an early Baptist meeting from 1697 until 1714 when the congregation moved to a new building in College Lane (Street). However a map of 1746 still shows the building as a meeting house.1697-1746
Strict Baptist & Methodist, The GreenAppears to be a house conversion. Between 1726 and 1768 was used by Strict Baptists who later moved to College Lane (Street). Then used by Methodists until they moved to King Street. Probably reverted to two houses.1726-1793
Moravian, St Giles StreetOpened in 1770 but ceased to be a chapel in 1812, later used as a school until demolished in 1893.1769-1893
King Street, CongregationalA breakaway group from Castle Hill built a new chapel in 1776 and remain there until moving to Abington Avenue in 1900.1776-1900
Strict Baptist, Fish StreetThis building was formerly a schoolroom and converted to chapel use by a breakaway group from College Street Baptist. The building was vacated when the congregation move to new premises in Abington Street.1805-1860
Gold Street, Wesleyan MethodistBuilt as a replacement for the King Street chapel.1816-1958
King Street, Methodist & UnitarianBuilding was originally built by the Methodists in 1793 but taken on by Unitarians when it became vacant.1827-1897
Commercial Street, CongregationalBuilt as a church plant from Castle Hill. Congregation re-joined Castle Hill after closure.1829-1959
Regents Square, Wesleyan MethodistIncreasing numbers at the Gold Street chapel warranted the erection of a new chapel. Originally known as Todds Lane chapel it was replaced by a larger premises in 1876. Renamed as Regent Square chapel and later as Central Methodist chapel. It was demolished to make way for a later aborted road-widening scheme.1834-1977
Princes Street, BaptistBuilt in 1839 for a congregation that had left College Street Baptist in 1834, originally known as Mount Zion. It was replaced by a larger and more prestigious building in 1890 and renamed as Princes Street chapel. It continued until 1972 when it was demolished to make way for a new shopping centre.1839-1972
Horsemarket, Primitive MethodistThis was the first Primitive Methodist chapel in the town. Although the Primitives cane from a split from the Wesleyans they were effective at growing the own churches with new converts. In 1933 the Primitives had rejoined the Wesleyan fold and the remaining congregation moved to other Methodist chapels.1840-1942
Baptist Meeting, Grafton StreetPurpose built chapel as part of a planned expansion by the Baptist Association. Demolished for road widening. Congregation moved to Reynard Way, Northampton1840-1973
Doddridge Memorial, CongregationalChurch building demolished in 1998 but congregation continues to meet in schoolroom.1855-1998
Adnitt Road, BaptistBuilt as a new Baptist chapel in 1896 it closed in the late 1970s. Reopened as Abington Christian Centre. Demolished after closure in 2016.1896-2016
19th century AnglicanSt KatherineA new parish created from within All Saints. This was the second building of the same dedication on this site. The congregation declined in the 20th century and was closed and demolished. Now officially designated a memorial garden.1838-1950
St AndrewA new parish created from within Holy Sepulchre. A Church of England response to the rapid population growth in the area and competition from Nonconformists. The congregation declined in the 20th century due to housing redevelopment.1841-1971
St EdmundA new parish created from within St Giles. Although near to this building was not on the same site as its medieval predecessor. Built 1851-2. Services ceased about 1978. The bells were transferred to St Paul's Cathedral, Wellington, NZ. 1852-1980
St LukeA mission church of All Saints. Used as both a church and a2n infants school at times during its short life.1871?-1930
St CrispinA mission church of Holy Sepulchre. Built by and for the local shoe making community. Church was little used by 1920s. In 1928 it was being used by the Salvation Army. Sold in 1930 and used as commercial premises. Demolished in 1980s.1883-1930?
St BarnabasA mission church of St Luke, Duston.1888-1980?
St PaulA Northampton Church Extension Society scheme. A new parish created from within Kingsthorpe. Designed by local architect Matthew H Holding.1890-1998
St GabrielA mission church of St Michael and All Angels. The building was sold in 1926 and was then used for education and warehousing purposes.1894-1925
Roman CatholicSt Margaret of Cortona (RC)A Roman Catholic church for the Kings Heath estate.1970?-2005?

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