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Art & History
A Brief History
     
 

St Matthew's, Northampton, is a parish of the Church of England in the diocese of Peterborough. It was consecrated on St Matthew's Day,
21 September, in 1893, with Canon Rowden Hussey as its first vicar. The tradition of the church has always been firmly Anglo Catholic, and a daily Eucharist was celebrated in vestments from the outset.

St Matthew's was built by the Phipps family as a memorial to Mr Pickering Phipps (1836-1890), the head of Phipps Brewery in Bridge Street, Northampton. Pickering Phipps took over the family business that had been founded in 1807. He became a prominent citizen of the town, being Mayor from 1860-1866, a Justice of the Peace, and MP from 1874-1880. Prior to his death he had begun to develop a new housing estate to be called Phippsville, on a site he owned bordering the Kettering Road. He indicated that he would give the land for a church and vicarage to be built for the new parish of St Matthew's. He died

before a permanent church could be built, but his family gave the land and finance for the church to be built in his memory.

His son, also named Pickering Phipps, became a friend of the first vicar, John Rowden Hussey, and carried the processional Cross, his first gift to the church, at the laying of the Foundation Stone in 1891, and then again as crucifer at the dedication of the new church 'To the Glory of God and in memory of Pickering Phipps, JP.'

The church quickly became known for its dignified worship and excellent music and both were developed further in the time of Canon Rowden Hussey's son Walter as second vicar. The latter commissioned for the church, often at extraordinarily low cost, an outstanding succession of fine works of art. Henry Moore's sculpture and Graham Sutherland's painting are the most tangible evidence of this in the church, but musical works by, among others, Britten, Rubbra, Finzi and Howells, and literary commissions by Auden and Norman Nicholson were also obtained. Canon Walter Hussey's pre-eminence in this field of the church and the arts was recognised by his appointment in 1955 to the Deanery of Chichester, where he was to continue his pioneering work.

Commissions under the following vicars of St Matthew's have contributed to this field, and whilst its congregation takes justifiable pride in the splendour of the building and cherishes the tradition of dignified liturgy and the excellent music, it nonetheless recognises that the church exists to bring the gospel to the local area of Kingsley.


 

 
  A Proud Past, a Bright Future  
 

Learn about the history of
St Matthew's church and its line of Vicars.
 

 
  Madonna & Child  
 

Read about Henry Moore's Madonna and Child, one of our adored possessions.
 

 
  The Crucifixion  
 

Read about Graham Sutherland's depiction of the Crucifixion of Christ.
 

 
  St Matthew  
 

Discover more about Ian Rank-Broadley's bronze sculpture of St Matthew.
 

 
  Stations of the Cross  
 

Read about David Thomas' Stations of the Cross.
 

 
  The Risen Christ  
 

Learn about the prominent Risen Christ by local artist Malcolm Pollard.
 

 

 

St Matthew's Church

 

 

Read about John Piper's painting of St Matthew's Church.
 

 
  A Spiritual & Cultural Hub  
 

Discover how the church serves as a spiritual and cultural hub.

 
 

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