From the outside the church initially presents itself as a confident 19th century rebuild of a medieval foundation. This is the outcome of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s restoration of the 1860’s.
In 1675 Northampton's principal medieval church was burnt down leaving just its 13th century crypt and large central tower. The rebuilt church, probably designed by Henry Bell of Kings Lynn, was based on Wren’s contemporary St Mary at Hill in the city of London. It took thirty years to complete and is built in the baroque classical style.
Externally there are a great columned portico, a dome, lanterns and very regular walls with lancet windows encased in classical arches.
Internally you encounter large square space, the elaborately plastered ceilings supported by four massive ionic columns. It is a splendid example of Carolean architecture. The rich plaster work was carried out by Edward Goudge whose work is also to be found in the adjacent Session House.
The majority of the fitments also survive including the Mayor’s Chair (really a throne), the pulpit, communion rails, organ case and even the original reredos (paintings of Moses and Aaron and the ten commandments) now though distributed around the church.
The principal benefactor was Charles ll and this is made clear by the unusually placed full length statue of the monarch by the local sculptor John Hunt which tops the portico. Beneath you will see an inscription 'This Statue was erected in memory of King Charles ll who gave a thousand tun of timber toward the re building of the church and to this town seven years chimney money'.
The very sensitive late 19th century restoration, principally in the chancel heighten the baroque effect with new reredos choir stalls and fluted ionic columns.