Monday, June 17, 2013

Northampton Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of St Mary and St Thomas stands in Barrack Road. As Borough Council page about the area says:
Barrack Road provides a splendid entry into the town from the north and is a perfect example of Northampton’s grand era of town building in the 19th century. The conservation area extends along a half kilometre of attractive Georgian terraces, once the proud homes of Northampton’s ‘stout and wealthy’ citizens. In the 1930's it was widely regarded as being the finest approach to Northampton, and the prestige associated with this regal terraced avenue has remained. 
The name of Barrack Road is derived from the Gibraltar Garrison, the headquarters of which were established in the late 18th century as a cavalry barracks, and its large Irish contingent is thought partly to be the reason for the location of the Roman Catholic Cathedral in the vicinity.
The cathedral has its origins in a chapel built by Pugin in 1844 and extended by one of his sons 20 years later. Some of this original building was lost when the cathedral was enlarged after the Second World War.

But I am still glad that Northampton has a cathedral. And the story about the barracks being a factor in its siting may well be true as the first Roman Catholic cathedral in York was placed in the heart of an area of poor Irish immigrants.

I looked around St Mary and St Thomas on Saturday afternoon and had the place to myself.

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