The borough of Northampton
Nonconformist chapels

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Victoria County History

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Author

William Page (editor)

Year published

1930

Page

61

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'The borough of Northampton: Nonconformist chapels', A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 3 (1930), pp. 61. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=66257 Date accessed: 23 August 2014.


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NONCONFORMIST CHAPELS.

THE CASTLE HILL MEETING is probably older in origin than 1662, (fn. 1) though it was augmented by secessions from St. Giles' and St. Peter's in that year. In 1672 licenses were granted for worship in 6 houses in Northampton, of which three were Presbyterian and two Congregational. (fn. 2) The definite history of the Castle Hill congregation begins with the ministry of Samuel Blower in 1674; and his meeting house was one of the few that escaped the fire. The present Castle Hill Chapel was built in 1695 and is now known as Doddridge Chapel. It is a rectangular building with hipped roof. On the south side is a sundial on which was originally the motto, 'Post est occasio calva, 1695.' Within, the roof was propped inside by two great wooden pillars, and there was a heavy white pulpit with soundingboard and galleries. In 1852 the building was enlarged and newly roofed, the pillars removed and new galleries put up. A spacious vestibule was added on the south side in 1890 covering the doorways. There are five other Congregational chapels, of which one was built in the 18th, three in the 19th, and one in the 20th century.

COLLEGE STREET CHAPEL is the second oldest Free Church centre. In its origin it was a secession from Castle Hill Meeting, though friendly relations were maintained between the two, and the members met for some seventeen years at Lady Fermor's house in the south quarter. The 'Church Covenant' at the time of the formal establishment of a Baptist church is dated 27 October 1697, (fn. 3) and the chapel in College Street was built in 1712. Beginning as an Independent, it became a Baptist community. As Castle Hill is associated with Doddridge (1729–53) so College Street is connected with the Rylands, father and son, the elder famous for his ministry (1759–86) and his school; the younger (minister 1786–93) for his friendship with Carey and share in founding the Baptist Missionary Society (1792). (fn. 4) There are eight other Baptist chapels in Northampton besides the College Street Chapel, which was rebuilt in 1863. Of these one, Providence Chapel, Abington Street, was built in the eighteenth and the rest in the 19th century.

There are six Wesleyan chapels, four Primitive Methodist chapels, two chapels of the Plymouth Brethren, one Unitarian chapel, and two Salvation Army barracks.

The Friends were early persecuted in Northampton, and several died in Northampton gaol. They have a meeting house in Wellington Street.

The cathedral of the Roman Catholic diocese of Northampton, opened as ST. FELIX CHURCH in 1844, now the church of St. Mary and St. Thomas of Canterbury, is in the Kingsthorpe Road. The chapel of St. John's hospital in Bridge Street is also used as a Roman Catholic place of worship. There is a Jewish synagogue in Overstone Road.

Footnotes

1 V.C.H. Northants. ii, 69; T. Gasquoine, etc., Hist of Castle Hill Ch. Northampt. 1896.
2 Cal. S. P. Dom. 1671–2, p. 306; ibid. 1672, 238, 379; ibid. 1672–3, 178, 259, 261.
3 J. Taylor, Hist. of College St. Cb. (Northampt. 1896), p. 3.
4 V.C.H. Northants. ii, 74; Dict. Nat. Biog.