Building » Raunds – St Thomas More

Raunds – St Thomas More

Marshall’s Road, Raunds, Northants

A typical late-19th  century Nonconformist simple Gothic brick chapel, acquired for Catholic use in 1967. A building of some local architectural and historic interest.

Until 1967 Raunds fell within Rushden parish, with Mass being said at Raunds four times a year. In 1965 consideration was given to converting the former Baptist church in Rotten Row as a Catholic church for Raunds, but this was not followed through. Instead the former Primitive Methodist chapel (closed in 1966) in Marshall’s Road, just off the market place, was acquired in 1967, where Mass was first celebrated on 3rd September. St Thomas More became part of Thrapston parish, as it remains today. The chapel had been built in 1870, extended at the front in 1899 and with a schoolroom (now the church hall) at the back built in 1907.

The original chapel was set further back from the street and is constructed of coursed rubblestone with a slate roof. In 1899 an additional bay was added, with a red brick front to the road with stone dressings. The side elevations were treated to nearly match the 1870s work, that is, of coursed rubblestone with timber cross-windows and stone lintels with Tudor-style drip moulds. The only difference is that the two older windows on either side have brick jambs whilst the new windows have ashlar jambs. A flight of steps leads to the centrally placed front door with Gothic arch with simple stop chamfer. Large Gothic windows to either side, with Y-tracery and a smaller, similar, window above. Above again is a date stone inscribed 1899. In a frieze along the plinth are stone panels engraved with the names of the various donors. The plinth has a blue brick chamfer band and the whole façade has brick pilasters and a pedimented gable. The front area is enclosed by a later brick retaining wall. The former schoolroom at the rear is lower but broader than the church and has mostly sash windows.

Entrance to the church is the side door, where the lintel is inscribed ‘School Erected 1907’ and once again there are stones inscribed with the names of donors. Access to the church is via the hall and the altar is placed close to the front wall with just a small enclosed area behind. So the altar is at the north end of the building against the front wall, which externally would be perceived as the west front. The interior of the church is simply finished and furnished, with plastered walls, exposed timber trusses.

None of the fittings is of artistic significance, though an attractive tapestry hangs on the rear wall.

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1870

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed