Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

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

East Northamptonshire (District Authority)
Higham Ferrers
National Grid Reference:
SP 96140 68527


HIGHAM FERRERS MARKET SQUARE SP9668NW (East side) 18/52 Church of St. Mary 23/09/50 (Formerly listed as Parish Church of St. Mary) GV I

Church. C13 to mid C14, restored C17 and C19. Squared coursed limestone, part banded with ironstone, and limestone ashlar with lead roofs. Aisled double nave, chancel, Lady Chapel, south porch and west tower. South elevation of chancel of 3-window range of 3-light ogee-head windows with reticulated tracery. Trefoil-head south door to right of centre. 3-stage buttress between windows, one has circular stone dial. Shallow gabled roof with castellated ashlar parapets, corner pinnacle and 2 gargoyles. East elevation has twin gables of chancel and lady chapel. Two 5-light ogee-head windows with reticulated tracery and niches above. Chancel window has cluster shafts. 3-stage buttresses between window. Castellated ashlar parapet with pinnacles. North elevation of Lady chapel of 2-window range with 5-light window with intersecting tracery and cusping to left and 3-light ogee-head window with reticulated tracery to right, both have carved label stops. Shallow gabled roof with castellated ashlar parapet, corner pinnacle and 3 gargoyles. South aisle of 5 bays, 4-window range with one 4-light window with reticulated tracery and roundel to right and three 3-light ogee-head windows with reticulated tracery. 2-stage buttresses between windows. Lean-to roof with castellated ashlar parapet, corner pinnacles and 2 gargoyles. Gabled porch in bay to left of centre is now a vestry. 3-light east window with panel tracery and 2-light west window with Y-tracery. Double chamfered outer arch with circular responds. 2-light windows in return walls and castellated ashlar parapet. North aisle of 4 bays; 3-window range of 3-light square-head windows. Chamfered and moulded north doorway to right of centre. Lean-to roof with plain ashlar parapets. 3-light east window with mouchettes and 3-light west window with 4-centred head and panel tracery. 5-light west window to nave with intersecting tracery with cusping. Small C19 boiler house attached to east end of north aisle. South nave clerestory of 5-window range and north nave clerestory of 4-window range, both with 2-light square-head windows, some restored C19. 2 shallow gabled roofs with castellated ashlar parapets. Fine mid C13 west tower of 3 stages with subdivision in the upper stage. Set-back 6-stage angle buttresses to south-west corner and similar plain buttress to south-east corner. Similar 2-stage gabled buttresses to lower stage of north-west corner. North-east corner has C19 polygonal stair turret. West door has roll-moulded outer arch with cluster shafts. Pair of inner doors with segmental heads have bands of carved figures around jambs and heads. Tympanum, above, has central C20 figure of Virgin Mary surrounded by 6 and 4 half roundels depicting Biblical scenes. Return walls between inner and outer doorways have double blank arches with trefoil heads and shafts. Rib vault above with squared decoration in panels. 2 trefoil-head shallow niches to left of doorway. 2-light window above with carving of Our Lord in apex and shafts. Flanking pinnacles. North face of lower stage-has 2-light window with carving of musician in apex. Single blank arcade to left and double to right; both with trefoil heads and shafts. Second stage has roundel with clock face surrounded by quatrefoils. 2-light north window. Tall: 2-light bell-chamber openings to each face of upper stage have transoms and shafts. Fragments of carving to left and right of west opening. Corbel table, open quatrefoil parapet and ribbed corner pinnacles with crockets. Octagonal ashlar spire rises from behind parapet and is linked to pinnacles by flying buttresses pierced with open quatrefoils. 3 tiers of lucarnes with 2-light openings, lowest tier has transoms. Inscribed tablets in south and west faces of tower. Interior: 4-bay nave arcades. South aisle arcade of double chamfered and hollowed arches with quatrefoil piers. Arcade between the two naves and between the nave and north aisle are of double chamfered arches with octagonal piers. No chancel arch. Triple chamfered tower arch with shafts. Double chamfered arch between chancel and Lady chapel has fine moulded arch with cluster shafts and pinnacles to right. Small doorway with 4-centred head between. C19 roof structures, parts painted C20. Line of earlier roof is visible above tower arch. Screens: remains of Perpendicular screens, all restored C19 and C20, to chancel Lady chapel, between chancel and Lady chapel and to chapels at ends of aisles. Rood loft early C20 by Sir Ninian Comper. 20 C14/C15 stalls in chancel all with misericords. Niches to left and right of chancel altar. Trefoil-head piscinas to right of Lady chapel and south aisle altars. Mid C14 floor tiles to steps in chancel. C19 and C20 stained glass windows to chancel east and 2 south windows, Lady chapel east window and 2 south aisle windows. South chancel windows are by Kempe and Tower. C13 octagonal font with cross and fleur-de-lys decoration. Monuments: chest tomb in arch between chancel and Lady chapel has 4-panelled sides with shields. Fine reset brass on chest is to Lawrence St. Maur died 1337; ogee-head surround with figures and pinnacles. Other brasses include Archbishop Chichele's brother, died 1425, and wife: figures with twin ogee head surround, to right of Lady chapel; Archbishop Chichele's father, died 140i), and another foliated cross to centre of Lady chapel; and William Thorpe, died 1504, wife and children alongside. 3 brasses without inscriptions in Lady chapel, 2 civilians c.1540 and Edith Chancellor c.1435 is headless. Richard alleys, Warden of College, c.1500, and Civilian c.150t to left and right of chancel altar. Henry Denton, died 1498, in south aisle east bay and Thomas Rudd, died 1656, north aisle east bay. 2 brass matrices in nave. Ieabell Foster, died 1796: marble tablet with urn to right of chancel altar; 2 C19 tablets alongside. The design of the tower and spire were probably changed during the construction, evidenced by the architectural irregularities of the tower. The spire was partially reconstructed after a collapse in 1631. The stalls in the chapel were most probably used by Chichele College (q.v.). (Buildings of England: Northamptonshire, p.254).

Listing NGR: SP9614068527


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

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire, (1973), 254


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 26 Nov 2004
Reference: IOE01/13378/22
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Roger Ashley. Source Historic England Archive
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