All Saints' Church, Northampton
|All Saints' Church|
All Saints' Church, Northampton
|Denomination||Church of England|
|Rector||Oliver J Coss|
|Organist(s)||Jem Lowther (Director of Music), Laurence Caldecote (Assistant Organist)|
|Churchwarden(s)||David White and Robin Sheppard|
Simon de Senlis' church of All Hallows, Northampton, England, lasted with medieval alterations until 20 September 1675 when much of the old town was destroyed by the Great Fire of Northampton. The fire began in St Mary's Street, near the castle, and the inhabitants fled to the Market Square, but then were forced to evacuate, leaving the buildings to burn, including All Hallows:
All Hallows Bells jangled their last and doleful Knell, presently after the Chimes had gone Twelve in a more pleasant Tune: And soon after the wind which did flie swifter than Horsemen, carried the Fire near the Dern-Gate, at least half a Mile from the place where it began, and into St Giles-street in the East, and consumed every house therein, save one, whose end-Walls were higher than the Roof, and by them preserved.
The new church
After the fire, Charles II gave a thousand tons of timber for the rebuilding of All Hallows Church, and one tenth of the money collected for the rebuilding of the town was allocated to the rebuilding of All Hallows under the management of the King's Lynn architect, Henry Bell. Bell at the time was resident in Northampton, and he set to rebuild the church in a manner similar to Sir Christopher Wren's designs.
The central medieval tower survived the fire, as did the crypt. The new church of All Saints was built east of the tower in an almost square plan, with a chancel to the east and a north and south narthex flanking the tower.
Visitors enter the church through the existing tower into a barrel vaulted nave. At the centre is a dome, supported on four Ionic columns, which is lit by a lantern above. The barrel vault extends into the aisles from the dome in a Greek-cross form, leaving four flat ceilings in the corners of the church. The church is well lit by plain glass windows in the aisles and originally there was a large east window in the chancel, that is now covered by a reredos. The plasterwork ceiling is finely decorated, and the barrel vaults are lit by elliptical windows.
The comparison between this building and Christopher Wren's building of the London churches after the Great Fire of London cannot be ignored. After the Great Fire of London, the rebuilding of the city churches was initiated by financing of the second Building Act of 1670. Wren, as Surveyor General of the King's Works, undertook this operation, and one of his first churches was St Mary-at-Hill.
The interior space of St Mary-at-Hill is roughly square in plan, and of a similar size to All Saints. To the west is the tower, again flanked by a north and south narthex. Wren spanned the square space by a barrel vault in a Greek-cross plan, with a dome at the centre, supported on four columns. If Henry Bell drew his inspiration from any one of Wren's churches, then this would be the one. The barrel-vaulting though in All Saints is much flatter than in St Mary-at-Hill, which has semi-circular vaulting. The dome in All Saints is more hemi-spherical, and the columns at St Mary-at-Hill are Corinthian with fluting. The Mayoral Seat dominates the pews on the south side, and in the north aisle there is a Consistory Court. Two icons – of Saint Peter and Saint Katharine – are situated at the east end before the steps in to the Quire, and these were written for the church in 2001 to reflect the parish boundaries, which include the site of St Katharine's Church (demolished) and St Peter's Church. St Peter's, which was given to the Churches Conservation Trust in 1998, can lay claim to being the most outstanding Norman church in the county.
The rebuilt church of All Saints was consecrated and opened in 1680. In 1701, a large portico was added to the west end, in front of the narthex, very much in the style of the Inigo Jones portico added to Old St Paul's Cathedral in the 1630s. The All Saints' portico was added as a memorial to Charles II's contribution to the rebuilding of the church after the fire, and a statue of him was erected above the portico, dressed in a Roman tunic. At noon on Oak Apple Day each year, the choir sings a Latin hymn to Charles from the roof as the statue is wreathed in oak leaves by the Mayor of Northampton; a similar ceremony takes place on Ascension Day at 7.00am.
In 2006, the Chancel Organ was installed to accompany the choirs, alongside a new ring of 10 bells in the key of E, replacing a heavy ring of 8 bells which dated from 1782. In 2008, the Narthex, vestries and lavatories were refurbished, and a privately leased coffee shop operates from its north and south areas, and on the space under the portico. The north end of the coffee shop is named the John Clare Lounge, after the poet who sat outside this space, composing his poems.
All Saints is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm throughout the year, with extended opening on days with choral services.
The choir of All Saints' Church was formed in the 1100s for the old church of All Hallow's, lost in 1675. There are currently three groups which make up the choirs: the boys choir, the girls choir and the Choral Scholars and Lay Clerks. The boys choir ranges in age from 7 to 15, and the girls from 8 to 18. The lower parts consist of Choral Scholars with an age range of 15 to 18, some having previously sung in the treble line, and lay clerks.
These choirs sing at 5 fully choral services a week: Mass on Sundays mornings at 10.30am (Boys or Girls and Choral Scholars/Lay Clerks), and Evensong on Mondays (Girls), Wednesdays (Boys) and Thursdays (Girls), all at 6.00pm, and Compline (Choral Scholars/Lay Clerks) on Fridays, at 7.30pm. The Music Department is led by the Director of Music (Jem Lowther), and supported by an Assistant Organist (Laurence Caldecote), and Organ Scholar (Matthew Foster).
Over the years, the choir has toured extensively to the USA, France, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Poland. They have sung in many cathedrals including Chester Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, York Minster, Ely Cathedral, Lichfield Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, Peterborough Cathedral, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin as well as the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace, St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, and King's College Chapel, Cambridge.
In recent years, they have performed in concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Henryk Wieniawski Orchestra of Lublin, members of Queens' Park Sinfonia, Fiori Musicali, and the Stephen Petronio Company in a performance of Rufus Wainwright's Bloom. They gave their first full performance of Handel's Messiah in 2008, and in recent years have given concert performances of Monteverdi's Vespers, J. S. Bach's Cantata Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, Haydn's Nelson Mass, Vaughan Williams' "Five mystical songs", Britten's "War Requiem", "Friday Afternoons" and "Ceremony of Carols", and Requiems by Bednall, Duruflé, Fauré and Rutter. In March 2010 they performed J. S. Bach's St Matthew Passion alongside the Northampton Bach Choir and the period orchestra Charivari Agréable, and the Choral Scholars and Lay Clerks's joined the Northampton Bach Choir to perform Rachmaninoff's Vespers in November 2010. In January 2011, they sang again alongside the Northampton Bach Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Requiem (Fauré) and Handel's Zadok the Priest; in March 2011 they gave a concert performance of Franz Schubert's choral works with the Tyburn String Quartet; in July 2012 they gave a concert performance of the Coronation and Sparrow Masses by Mozart. In February 2014 they performed Mozart's Requiem with the Northampton Bach Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and in December 2015 they performed a Christmas concert with the Northampton Symphony Orchestra, including the première performance of a number of carols by Dan Forrest, Jr., whose music has been championed by the choir.
The liturgical repertoire is wide and varied. Masses by Haydn (St Nicholas, Little Organ), Langlais (Messe solennelle, Missa in simplicitate, Missa Dona nobis pacem), Mozart (Coronation, Sparrow, in D, in F), Schubert (in G), and Vierne, as well as the more familiar settings of Darke in E, Darke in a, Jackson in G, Leighton in D, also regularly feature, as part of the Music Department's continued commitment to providing the choristers with the widest possible musical education.
All choristers have access to theory lessons and, if they wish, individual vocal tuition with a professional choral-singing teacher.
They have a considerable catalogue of recordings: all three choirs recorded a disc of their commissions – Omnes Sancti – in St Mary's Church, Wellingborough in July 2010; in 2011 all three choirs recorded their fourth CD of Christmas carols, Carol of Joy, and in 2012 the girls' released Notre Père, featuring French music for upper voices. In April 2014 they joined the Northampton Bach Choir to record their fifth new carol disc Be Merry! featuring a wide selection of sacred and secular carols with piano accompaniment from the United States and Canada. There are two CDs available of the West Gallery Organ, one of three organs in the building.
All Saints' has produced many successful musicians, including Lay Clerks and Organists who hold or recently held positions at Blackburn Cathedral, Birmingham Cathedral, Grosvenor Chapel, Mayfair, Guildford Cathedral, Nativity Cathedral, Bethlehem PA, Magdalen College, Oxford, New College, Oxford, Peterborough Cathedral, Robinson College, Cambridge, St Albans Cathedral, St Paul's Cathedral, St George's Chapel, Windsor, The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal College of Music, Wells Cathedral and York Minster.
Commissioning of new music
The choirs of All Saints have a diverse repertoire and since 2002, have commissioned new works for choir and organ. On 22 November 2013, they gave the first performance of their 2013 commission, a Festival Anthem by Jonathan Dove lasting nearly twenty minutes. In 2014 a competition was held to compose an anthem to mark the sesquicentennial anniversary of the death of the poet John Clare, and in 2015 Paul Spicer was commissioned to write the first carol commission since Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's ("The Holly and the Ivy" and "The Shepherd's Carol") in 2010.
Principal commissions are listed in bold.
2015: The All Saints' Carol, SATB a capella, Paul Spicer
2014: With a glorious eye, SATB+org, Ivan Božičević
- 2014: Bring all Heaven before mine eyes, SATB+org, Francis Jackson
- 2014: A Song to David, SATB+org, Anthony Fort
- 2014: Preces & Responses, SSS a capella, Ashley Grote
- 2014: A Prayer of Saint Julian of Norwich, SSS+Jazz Trio, Robert Busiakiewicz
- 2014: Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in B minor, SS+org, Laurence Caldecote
- 2014: In the Cross of Christ I glory, SS+org, Tim Noon
- 2014: Cantare amantis est, SATB+org, Bruce Neswick
2013: Out of the Whirlwind, A solo, STB verses, SATB+(2)org, Jonathan Dove
- 2013: Missa Placare Christe servulis, SS+org, Adrian Self
- 2013: Three Anthems (Hymn to Saint Katharine) SATB+org, (Formam Columbae Caelitus) SATB+org, (When morning gilds the skies) S+org, Laurence Caldecote
- 2013: Hymn to Saint Joseph, SATB+org, Vernon Hoyle
- 2013: The Lord's Prayer, ATB a capella, Robert McCormick (for extant setting of Preces & Responses)
- 2013: The All Saints' Service, ATB+org, Andrew Parnell
2012: Magnificat and Nunc dimittis (Third Service), S+org, Michael Finnissy
- 2012: Three short motets (Lov og tak og evig ære ske dig, Skriv dig, Jesus, på mit hjerte, Som hønen klukker mindelig), S+org, Adrian Self
- 2012: Preces & Responses, S+org, Ronald Watson
- 2012: O sing unto the Lord a new song, SATB+org, Malcolm Archer
- 2012: Holy is the true light, S+org, Vernon Hoyle
- 2012: Nunc dimittis, SSA a capella, Robert Rice
2011: Messe pour Saint-Sulpice, S+SATB+(2)org, David Briggs
- 2011: Ecce sacerdos magnus, SSATB John Caldwell
- 2011: O Jesu, blessèd Lord, to Thee (O Jesu! søde Jesu, dig), S+org, Humphrey Clucas
- 2011: Sussex Carol, SATB+org, Alan Spedding after an incomplete score by Trevor Hold
- 2011: God be in my head, SATB+org, Philip Moore
2010: Two Carols (The Holly and the Ivy; The Shepherd's Carol), SATB (with divisions), Sir Richard Rodney Bennett
- 2010: Jubilate Deo in E, SATB+org, Gordon Lawson
- 2010: Two Benediction Hymns (O salutaris hostia; Tantum ergo), S+org, Norman Caplin
- 2010: Dei virgo Catharina, S+org, George Haynes
- 2010: Rhapsody, org, Gordon Lawson
2009: Ave Maria, SATB+org, James MacMillan
- 2009: Little Mass of All Saints, SS+org; Ave verum Corpus, SS+org; Preces & Responses, SS+org, Adrian Self
- 2009: Man be merry, SATB, Barry Ferguson
- 2009: Magnificat and Nunc dimittis (The Northampton Service), SS+org, Gordon Lawson
- 2009: Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, SS+org, Andrew Bryden
2008: The Passion according to Saint Matthew, S+SATB+(2)org, David Bednall
- 2008: O soft self-wounding Pelican! S+pf/org, Stephen Hough
- 2008: Prelude and fugue on 'Kingsfold', org, Richard White
- 2008: Make here a little quiet, SATB; Magnificat and Nunc dimittis (The All Saints' Service), S+org, Barry Ferguson
2007: Two anthems (Ecce sacerdos magnus, SSAATTBB; O living bread, SATB+org) Ian Colson
- 2007: Fünf geistliche Lieder, SSS+org, Lee Dunleavy
2006: O praise God in his holiness, SATB+org, David Bednall
- 2006: Berceuse, org, David Briggs
- 2006: Quam Dilecta, SSSAA, Simon Whiteley
2005: Missa 'Omnes Sancti', SATB+(2)org, Malcolm Archer
- 2005: Dominus illuminatio mea, SATTBB+org, Matthew Martin
2004: For Remembrance, SATTB, Robert Walker
2003: Two anthems (Drop, drop, slow tears; The Bethlehem Star), SATB+org, Robert Walker
2002: O where can I go from your spirit?, SATB+org, Malcolm Archer
- 1998: Father, we thank Thee, S+org, David Sanger
- 1996: Bread of the World, SATB+org, John Hoyle
- 1995: The Song of Saint Francis, SS+rock band, Kendal Kirkland
- 1993: May the road rise up to meet you, SATB+org, Russell Jackson
- 1844: Psalm 150 (O praise God in his holiness), SATB+org, Charles McKorkell
The church contains 3 organs, and 3 pianos:
- West Organ by J W Walker, 1983, using 4 ranks of pipes from the previous organ by William Hill 1848/Brindley & Foster 1912/1926, and the front part of the main case is from an instrument by Schwarbrick, c.1730.
SWELL: Tapered Flute 8ft, Viola-da-Gamba 8ft, Voix Celeste (A10) 8ft, Principal 4ft, Wald Flute 4ft, Nazard 2-2/3ft, Octavin 2ft, Tierce 1-3/5ft, Furniture V (18.104.22.168.29), Bassoon 16ft, Echo Trumpet 8ft, Tremulant, Orchestral Trumpet [en Chamade] 8ft (on Swell). GREAT: Quintaton 16ft, Open Diapason 8ft, Chimney Flute 8ft, Octave 4ft, Super Octave 2ft, Grave Mixture IV (22.214.171.124), Acuta III (26.29.33), Mounted Cornet [tg#] V (126.96.36.199.17), Trumpet 8ft, Clarion 4ft, Tremulant. CHOIR: Stopped Diapason 8ft, Prestant 4ft, Spindle Flute 4ft, Principal 2ft, Larigot 1-1/3ft, Sharp Mixture IV (188.8.131.52), Cremona 8ft, Tremulant, Orchestral Trumpet [en Chamade] 8ft (on Choir). PEDAL: Violone 16ft, Bourdon 16ft, Quint 10-2/3ft, Octave 8ft, Gedackt 8ft, Tenor Octave 4ft, Mixture IV (184.108.40.206), Trombone 16ft, Trumpet 8ft.
- Chancel Organ by Alfred Monk 1893, rebuilt by Hill, Norman & Beard, 1939 (originally for St Andrew's 'Scotch' Church Bournemouth, with 6 new stops by Kenneth Tickell, who installed it in 2006.
SWELL: Violin Diapason 8ft, Rohr Gedackt 8ft, Gamba 8ft, Voix Celestes (C13) 8ft, Principal 4ft, Lieblich Flute 4ft, Mixture III-IV (15.19.22), Contra Fagotto 16ft, Cornopean 8ft, Oboe 8ft. GREAT: Open Diapason 8ft, Dulciana 8ft, Clarabella 8ft, Principal 4ft, Open Flute 4ft, Fifteenth 2ft, Mixture III-IV (19.22.26), Tromba 8ft (Ch.). CHOIR: Lieblich Gedackt 8ft, Viola-da-Gamba 8ft, Viole d'Orchestre 8ft, Wald Flute 4ft, Piccolo 2ft, Clarinet 8ft, Tromba 8ft (enc.). PEDAL: Open Wood 16ft, Violone 16ft, Sub Bass 16ft, Echo Bourdon 16ft, Octave Wood [ext] 8ft, Bass Flute 8ft, Trombone 16ft, Tromba 8ft (Ch.).
- Memorial Chapel Organ by J W Walker, 1983, two ranks (Gedackt and Diapason)
- Model B Bechstein grand piano in the Song School
- Model B Bechstein grand piano in the South Aisle (owned by the late Sir Clifford Curzon)
- D'Almaine, baby grand piano in the Choir Robing Room (used for singing lessons)
Directors of music
- 2015–pres: Jem Lowther MA (Oxon), ARCO (Corpus Christi College Oxford)
- 2006–2014: Lee Dunleavy MA (Oxon), FRCO (DipCHD), ACertCM (Hertford College Oxford, and York Minster)
- 2002–2006: Edward Whiting MA (Oxon), FRCO (Queen's College Oxford, Norwich and Wells Cathedrals)
- 1998–2001: Simon Johnson FRCO (St Albans Abbey, Norwich and St Paul's Cathedrals)
- 1993–1998: Richard Tanner MA (Oxon), FRCO, ARAM, Hon FGCM (Exeter College Oxford, St Albans Abbey, and Blackburn Cathedral)
- 1991–1993: Russell Jackson FLCM (Nativity Cathedral, Bethlehem PA, USA)
- 1981–1991: Ian Clarke MA (Cantab), Mus.B, ARCO, ARCM (Trinity College Cambridge)
- 1973–1981: Jeremy Suter MA (Oxon), FRCO (Magdalen College Oxford, Chichester and Carlisle Cathedrals)
- 1972–1973: Gary Sieling MA, BMus., FRCO (Peterborough Cathedral, and Dunstable Priory)
- 1962–1972: Graham Mayo MA (Cantab), FRCO (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge)
- 1960–1962: George Millar FRCO
- 1920–1960: Ralph Richardson Jones FRCO, FTCL (St James Chapel Royal)
- 1914–1920: Dr Albert Charles Tysoe Mus.D (Leeds Parish Church (now Minster), and St Albans Abbey)
- 1898–1914: Brook Sampson Mus.B (Oxon), FRCO
- 1878–1898: Ebenezer Law
- 1836–1878: Charles McKorkell
- 1774–1836: John Barrett (son of William)
- 1743–1774: William Barrett
- 1706–1743: Mr Morris
- Mid–C.16th: William Cockin
- 2018–pres: Laurence Caldecote BA (Hons), FGMS
- 2014-2015: Charlie Newsome-Hubbard MA(Cantab), FRCO (York Minster and Trinity Hall Cambridge)
- 2013-2014: Hilary Punnett MMus, BA, ARCCO (Southwell Minster and Lincoln Cathedral)
- 1992–2013: Roger Palmer FTCL, FLCM, ARCO (St Mary's Luton)
- 1992-2013: Ron Gates BMus, FRCO (St Matthew's Northampton)
- 2018-pres: Matthew Foster
- 2008-2010: Chon-Meng Lam BMed., ARCO (Grosvenor Chapel, London)
- 2007-2008: Adam Dickson MA (Oxon.), ARCO (Robinson College Cambridge)
- 2005-2007: George Haynes BA, ARCO (Chichester, Peterborough, and Wells Cathedrals, York Minster)
- 2004-2006: Stephen Meakins BA, ARCO (St Paul's Cathedral Melbourne(Aus.))
- Daniel Turner MA (Oxon.), ARCO (The Queen's College, Oxford)
- Richard Pinel MA (Oxon.), FRCO (Magdalen College Oxford, Jesus College Cambridge, St George's Cathedral Perth (Aus.), St George's Chapel Windsor)
- Magnus Williamson DPhil, FRCO (Magdalen College Oxford,
Departure of Fr David McConkey
On 30 August 2015, the Revd David McConkey, SSC, resigned from his post as parish priest due to "animadversion, rancour, and vilification experienced at All Saints, Northampton." Stating in his weekly newsletter that "There are some in this congregation, including some of its lay leadership, who ought to—and perhaps do—feel heartily ashamed of their behaviour." This was commented on by the Revd Richard Coles on his public Facebook.
Appointment of new rector
On 13 March 2016 it was announced that Fr Oliver Coss has been appointed Rector of All Saints' with St Katherine and St Peter, Northampton. In his letter to the people of All Saints' he "acknowledged how challenging the recent past has been for the people of All Saints’ Church" and "how very good it was to hear about the enthusiasm that greeted the announcement of his appointment, and to receive some warm messages of welcome from members of the congregation, individuals, and future colleagues in the area."
- Historic England. "Church of All Saints (1372129)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- Northampton (1675) A True And Faithful Relation Of The Late Dreadful Fire At Northampton,... Printed for J. Coniers, Duck Lane, London.
- "Head priest of All Saints Church in Northampton announces intention to resign in emotional letter".
- "Richard Coles - A colleague's final word in his church... - Facebook".
- Colvin, H.M. (1997) . A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600–1840. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. not stated. ISBN 0-300-07207-4.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (1973) . Northamptonshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 317–319. ISBN 0-14-071022-1.
- Royal Commission on Historic Monuments (1985). Archaeological Sites and Churches in Northampton. London: HMSO. p. not stated. ISBN 0-11-701190-8.
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