Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1116877

Date first listed: 23-Mar-2011




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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Northamptonshire

District: Northampton (District Authority)

National Grid Reference: SP 76654 62138


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

DCMS agree yes list


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.



II Wesleyan Methodist Church of 1898-99 designed by Harry Hugh Dyer of Northampton (contractor William Heap of St. James' Street) with attached Sunday School of 1886 by Samuel James Newman of Northampton (contractor G. Tompkins). The Sunday School was extended in 1892 and 1898 by Dyer and the contractor J.W. Walls.

MATERIALS: The buildings are of red brick laid in Flemish bond with limestone dressings under gabled slate roofs.

PLAN: The church has a square plan with transepts to the north and south, two front vestibules with staircases and there is an additional staircase to the rear (at the liturgical east end) and vestries. The interior is galleried on all four sides and a passageway links with the main hall in the former Sunday school to the north-west.

EXTERIOR: The main elevation of the church to Kettering Road faces south-east rather than west and is a symmetrical essay in a free Decorated style. The centrepiece is defined by stepped brick buttresses which develop decorative flutes to the top two stages, between which are two four-light ogeed and transomed windows under raised segmental arches. These are separated by a stepped buttress which terminates in an ashlar gablet which extends into the main window. The lower stage of the main window has four square-headed lights with cinquefoiled ogees and above these is a rose window articulated by horizontal and vertical mullions with cusped mouchettes, cinquefoiled ogees and trefoiled lights. To the right and left are the arched entrance doorways, framed by moulded arches with gabled heads and side pinnacles, and on the inside of each is a cusped arched light. Over the doorways, lighting the upper floor of the vestibule staircases, are a two-light and a single-light arched window and above the latter is a gable head piercing the line of the main elevation gable. There are four foundation plaques all dated 24 October 1898.

The side elevations are similar, although there is limited access to the north-east side, but they are not strictly symmetrical. There are two tall gabled projections. That to the south has triple stepped lancets lighting the vestibule staircase, with an ashlar stringcourse at the sill and springers which wrap round into the entrance elevation. The wider and taller north projection, facing Milton Street, is the transept and has two, two-light, square-headed lights to the ground floor and two arched two-light windows above, with cusped Decorated tracery. Between these projections the main wall has two single-light square-headed windows to the ground floor and two pairs of arched windows to the gallery storey. At the liturgical east end is the tall narrow sanctuary bay lit through two pairs of plain lancets in the side elevations. On the south side is a single-storeyed entrance porch with a moulded arched doorway and a recessed nine-panelled door to the right of a two-light cross casement which leads to the minister's vestry.

Church Hall: The elevation of the church hall facing south-west to Milton Street is symmetrical with two central superimposed gables, each rising from pilasters, which have fluting under the cornice. The four pilasters divide the fa├žade into three bays, each with a tall, two-light timber cross casement, over a scrolled brick apron, under which are foundation plaques each dated 4 April 1886. The dentilled stone cornice develops into pediments over the hall windows. To the right and left returns are entrance porches under hipped slate roofs and against the south-east elevation is a single-storeyed gabled extension added in 1898, lit through two, two-light cross casements. The remaining elevations are not accessible owing to later building against them.

INTERIOR: The body of the church is a single space, with three circular cast-iron columns along the sides without bases but with moulded capitals supporting chamfered timber beams on which rest the galleries. There are panelled gallery fronts in pitch pine divided into bays with three or four openings in each bay, under flattened ogee heads. Further circular cast-iron columns rise to carry the deep pendants of the four-bay roof from which are arched braces to the collars. Over the braces are open trefoiled arcades below the principal rafters, and similar arcading is set over the collars. Further arched braces run longitudinally along the church and from the pendants are transverse plates carrying one raking brace to each bay. The sarking boards of the roof are laid in a herringbone pattern, and the entire roof is constructed of pitch pine. There are very tall and wide narthex and sanctuary arches corbelled out from the side walls above gallery level with wave mouldings and chamfers, enriched with short basal columns above the corbels, that have naturalistic foliage bases and capitals.

There is a wide canted President's rostrum at the liturgical east end in six bays carved from pitch pine, each bay with two cusped ogee lights to the frontages. It is elevated by five steps and the back wall has plain small-framed panelling, and dado plank panelling runs round the entire interior. A large pipe organ is set within the sanctuary arch, built and installed in 1932 by Peter Conacher & Co. with the console below it at the front of the gallery. Two stained glass windows in the north-east transept of 1931 depict the Nativity, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension, and in the south-west transept is a window depicting `Suffer Little Children' of 1902 and commemorates H.H. Dyer, the architect of the church. It was moved here from Queen's Road Church in 1962. The seating is of wooden benches which replaced the pews in 2002. To either side of the rostrum are six-panelled doors with glazed upper panels which lead to the vestries and the church hall, and at the narthex end is a single cast-iron column supporting the gallery. Nine-panelled doors to the right and left open into the small square entrance vestibules.

Within the vestibules are pre-cast concrete staircases to the gallery with cast-iron balusters and newels, and a moulded timber handrail, and a third such staircase exists at the sanctuary end of the church. Kingsley Park contains the earliest known examples of pre-cast concrete staircases in Britain. The galleries have plank dado panelling and plain benches for seating, as has the floor of the church. There are four working heating gasoliers hanging from the roof, with heat reflectors.

Church Hall: The door to the right of the President's rostrum leads to a passage which accesses the minister's and choir vestries to the left. The 1886 classrooms were modernised in 1988. The main hall lies to the extreme north-west. The four roof bays to the west mark the extent of the 1886 build, which was extended by two bays to the east to include a stage in 1892. Both phases have queen-post roofs with arched braces rising to the collars, two tiers of purlins, and herringbone sarking boards. Six-panelled doors lead to two further, smaller, halls, and various storerooms and service rooms.

HISTORY: The Methodist circuit established a Sunday school on Byron Street, Northampton, but in 1885 four building plots were bought at the south end of Milton Street, at the corner with Kettering Road. A temporary Sunday school was erected there, quickly replaced by a permanent building designed by Samuel Newman. The Northampton Mercury reported on 17 April 1886 that `the estate is made up of the best class of artizan in the community, and had neither church nor public house. The Sunday school was extended in 1892 and again in 1898 when the church was begun to the designs of H.H. Dyer of Northampton with the contractor W. Heaps). On 14 September 1899 the church was opened for worship. In 1900 the parish was amalgamated with that of Northampton.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The Kingsley Park Methodist Church and church hall, Milton Street, Northampton are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural Interest: The main elevation towards Kingsley Park Terrace is a striking example of Non-Conformist free Gothic design, with an unusually eleborate internal roof structure. The church and Sunday school to the rear form a complete group of Wesleyan Methodist practice and make full use of the prominent site. * Innovation: The three gallery staircases are the earliest known use of pre-cast concrete staircases in Britain. * Intactness: With the exception of the C19 box pews the church interior survives, including the suspended heating gasoliers. * Group Value: The church has group value with the listed Grade II* Anglican Church of St Matthew which faces it across Kettering Road

SOURCES Antonia Brodie et al (eds.), Directory of British Architects 1834-1914 (2001) L.F. Suzman (ed.), Victoria County History of Northamptonshire, Vol. IV (1937), 81-87 RCHME, An Inventory of Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting-Houses in Central England (1986), 143-145. Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, Buildings of England. Northamptonshire (1973), 324-325. Fred Warwick, Kingsley Park Methodist Church, Northampton (1985). Doreen Yarwood, Encyclopedia of Architecture (1985), 146-152. Obituary of John Alexander Brodie, The Times, 17 November 1934.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 505383

Legacy System: LBS

End of official listing