Holy Sepulchre 'St Seps' Northampton

Did you know that . . . . . . . . .

Church Lane and Palace Yard exposed -

 

"Whilst most of any Church history is embedded within the walls of the building, sometimes intrigue can be just as interesting on the outside. Take Holy Sepulchre as a case in question. Look at the old church rooms in Church Lane. Nothing extraordinary about it we might say...built in c1928...still in massive use but showing signs of its age in various ways...but what stood there prior to the aquiring of the land and building of the parish facility? Researching the past can open up many fields of interest...and PALACE YARD is certainly no exception. This was a run of six  three story terraced homes...absolutely typical Victorian and stood on the very plot of todays old hall. What did it look like and who lived there? Were they the property of the church? Some of the questions can be answered, some can't.

Below a photograph can be seen that was found on an excellent web site listed below for those into nostalia and are in possesion of a computer.Occupiers of the six homes in 1881 were as follows...No 1 the Kent family...No 2 the Jones family...No 3 the Welsh family No 4 the Spencer family...No 5 the Thorneycroft family and at No 6 the Hollomans. Some of the occupants were new born that year...we wonder if any decsendents can associate with those names. Whilst we are in Church Lane, does anyone remember the cottages facing onto the street. Black & Sons is recalled by the writer as he regularly visited in the period 1955 to 1960 for band saw repairs whilst in cabinet making apprenticeship at Jefferys in Woolmonger Street. A certain Bert Jones writes to me with some other memories of Church Lane. Born in 1922 he spent many years working at A & E Hibbert & Son followed by Victoria Garage dead opposite to our present halls. An outstanding memory for Bert was on walking to work seeing long queues of women waiting for the St Seps parish office to open on the corner of Newland " to be given ( I think ) a ticket to purchase food etc as they were so poor ". Poor, with a different meaning, if Joyce had to cope with that today. Bert also confirms that the corner of Sheep St and Church lane was occupied by Sigwarts the jewellers with Osbornes the Pawnbrokers next door.
      palace yard             

This along with many other photographs can be found on www.northants-familytree.net with acknowledgement to Alan Clarke:-

 

 
~~~~~~~~~~

Dr. William Kerr M. D.
Northampton Infirmary - Distinguished Physician Surgeon and MilitiaFounder. 

Visitors to Holy Sepulchre can be forgiven for "missing" some of the most interesting aspects of this ancient church. Over the years our mass of plaques have become soiled, gained much dirtiness and, sort of vanished to those looking for something very interesting. Tour guides of course can help to identify many of the most important remnants, but just take the Northampton Infirmary plaque of Dr William Kerr as an evidence. This has now been photographed, awaits cleaning if ever funds become available and the inscription 100% identified. These are reproduced here for the benefit of our readers and encapsulated copy now sits with the plaque location in church.


IN A VAULT ADJACENT ARE DEPOSITED THE MORTAL REMAINS OF WILLIAM KERR M.D. UPWARDS OF SIXTY YEARS A DISTINGUISH’D PHYSICIAN & SURGEON IN THE TOWN OF NORTHAMPTON ENDOWED WITH EXTRAORDINARY VIGOUR OF BODY AND ENERGY OF MIND AS UNCOMMON HIS PROFESSIONAL OCCUPATION WERE EXTENSIVE AND LABORIOUS CHARACTERISED ALIKE BY HUMANITY, PENETRATION, JUDGEMENT AND SKILL. THESE WERE NOT ONLY CONSPICUOUS IN THE PERFORMANCE
OF HIS PRIVATE ENGAGEMENTS, BUT EMINENTLY SO IN HIS PUBLIC DUTIES AT THE OLD AND NEW INFIRMARIES OF THIS PLACE. THE OBJECT OF WHICH HE FAITHFULLY AND ZEALOUSLY PROMOTED FROM THE YEAR 1763 TO WITHIN A SHORT PERIOD OF HIS DEATH. THE SAME ARDOUR THAT MANIFESTED ITSELF IN THE EXERCISE OF HIS PROFESSION WAS EVINCED ALSO ON SEVERAL PATRIOTIC OCCASIONS BUT PARTICULARLY IN RAISING AND CONDUCTING THE NORTHAMPTON VOLUNTEER TROUP OF CAVALRY OF WHICH HE WAS THE BELOVED, RESPECTED AND HONOUR’D COMMANDANT FROM FOUNDATION 1798 TO ITS DISOLUTION IN 1824. BENEVOLENCE AND KINDNESS OF DISPOSITION URBANITY AND SUAVITY OF MANNERS, UPRIGHTNESS AND HONESTY OF CONDUCT ADDED LUSTRE TO THE EMINENCE OF HIS CHARACTER AND HAVE FURTHER ENDERED THE MEMORY OF A LIFE WHICH HAS SELDOM BEEN SURPASSED  IN USEFULNESS TO MANKIND. 
HE WAS BORN IN THE COUNTY OF ROXBOROUGH
JAN 12th 1738, DIED SEPT. 4th 1824 IN THE 87th YEAR OF HIS AGE

 IN THE SAME VAULT IS INTERR’D THE BODY OF MARY, FOR FIFTY THREE YEARS HIS BELOVED WIFE, AND WHO SURVIVED HIM UPWARD OF SEVENTEEN YEARS. SHE WAS THE DAUGHTER OF THE LATE ALDN, GEORGE TOMPSON OF THIS TOWN, IN WHICH SHE PASSED A LIFE OF NEARLY 88 YEARS, MOST HIGHLY RESPECTED AND ESTEEMED, AND HAS LEFT A SORROWING BUT GRATEFUL RECOLLECTION OF HER EXTENSIVE AND PUBLICK AND PRIVATE BENEFICENCE;
SHE WAS BORN ON FEB 18th 1754. AND

DIED ON THE 26th DEC; 1841

~~~~~~~~~~

St. Georges Chapel(Regimental Chapel)
Dedicated The Warriors Chapel 21st May 1921

"Visitors to Holy Sepulchre during the tourist season seem to find the Warriors Chapel ,perhaps, one of the most interesting parts of the building. In this concentrated area there is so much to take in whilst the mind can run wild with imagination simply by looking at the Battle Colours of the former Northamptonshire Regiment in their carefully lit cabinets.
 
But it is the Book of Remembrance that brings us down to earth...the countless numbers of our brave forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice during the two great wars, are all individually listed...officers and men...batallion by batallion. When the writer gives a tour, one of a number of stories of St Seps inevitably surfaces...the one that relates to the Soldier of the Day who marched from the barracks in Barrack Road at 9.30 am every day of the week into church and up to the remembrance book, turned a page in honour and returned to barracks for the rest of the day off.
 
Alongside this article is a photograph of a soldier proudly before the book. Imagine our surprise at the Restoration Trust concert DDAY 60 when a gentleman from The Royal Hospital was brought in in a wheel chair and straight away asked to be taken to The Warriors Chapel. Resplendent in his red uniform, some how he managed to stand up from his chair, turn a page, sit down and wept saying " that is me in the photograph". Hindsight is a great thing..we failed to ask of his name or details in our hurry to get him seated for the concert.
We have now been advised that the soldier concerned was SAM SMALL. A transcript of the Eulogy at his funeral by Col. Peter Worthy..... really a lifestory, is now placed in our files. 
 
                         'That other Northampton Holy Sepulchre'

I doubt if Holy Sepulchre is the only church that had to sit up and take notice a couple of years ago in respect of the Church Inventory following Diocesan directions. Here at St. Seps, Churchwarden Mike Longman has been non-stop progressing a brilliant update that will be excellent upon completion. However, it is amazing what an excercise of this nature throws up. I happened to mention the 17th century model of (the third Jerusalem Sepulchre Church) 'given', 'permanently loaned', 'presented to' Holy Sepulchre Restoration Trust in May 1983(fully reported in the Chronicle & Echo May 12th 1983) by the Hutton family for a permanent home display in Holy Sepulchre Church. Many on the PCC had never heard of this wonderful and exquisite model of a church that again was partly destroyed in 1808. The questions were then fired in all directions...who owns this?...where is it now?...what is the value?... and many more besides including the major one of insurance and could the trust sell it. Fortunately, I had much of the background filed in the 10 huge pictorial files of all that has happened in the just completed five phase restoration ...but there were gaps. Permanent display never happened...  it transpired after presentation that the model was one of only (probably) six ever made by craftsmen in the middle east for travellers from the west as a souvenir and is absolutely irreplaceable and likely uninsurable. The model has however made two appearances at Holy Sepulchre Northampton... firstly on the occasion of the first flower festival in 1983 and again on the visit of  Their Royal Highnesses The Prince & Princess of Wales in 1989. On both occasions and, believing the model belonged to the trust, the decision was taken to have a 24 hour guard whilst in our possesion with a direct panic button link to Campbell Square police station.

For the purpose of determining ownership, insurance etc. the writer spent many months trying to trace firstly the legal owner or guardian. A breakthrough came courtesy of The Guildhall Road Museum along with help from Jon Culverhouse at Burghley House, The Archealogical Museum SBF Jerusalem, British Museum and the Palestine Exploration Fund. It transpired that the model was never in fact 'given' to Holy Sepulchre Restoration Trust but stayed in the legal ownership of the Hutton family with the present owner living in a South of England county.

The model has been in the possesion of the Hutton family since the 19th century (and has a very interesting history since) spending 10 years in a bank vault for safety prior to coming to Northampton. This 'other' Holy Sepulchre sits displayed secure on the second floor landing of the Guildhall Museum for visitors to enjoy. As to the inventory, we have no responsibility whatsoever, but have got permission to display subject to the owner's written permission and 24hour guard whilst out of the museum. As to value... this would /could only be determined by what any given prospective purchaser would offer on any given day at auction. 
  • Office Church Lane
  • Northampton, NN1 3NL
  • Tel 01604 627 988

Vicar 01604 230316
Email Us