A thrilling experience: Sir Ninian Comper’s masterpiece built between 1908 and 1930 is a free essay in the gothic style fearlessly mixed with classical appropriations.
Built in local stone by the London architect SJ Nicholl and opened in autumn 1886, so it has recently marked its 130th anniversary.
The Wellingborough Catholic mission had been active since 1869, thanks to the Arkwright family of Knuston Hall, but the building of this church was substantially helped by Mrs Lyne-Stephens of Suffolk, a former French ballerina who had been left a fabulously wealthy widow. From this base, the redoubtable Canon Bernard Murray developed missions in Kettering and Rushden, and said Mass for the Vaux family at Harrowden Hall, where a private chapel in the grounds is still used.
The church is richly decorated in late Gothic style, with several idiosyncratic features including a rood beam, unusual in Catholic churches. The sanctuary has an unusual arrangement of a baldachino integral with the east window.