Sackville Street, Thrapston, Northants
In the early 1940s Mass was said at the Girl Guides’ Hall in Grove Road, Thrapston. A temporary church was opened opposite (in an ex-army hut) on 23 January 1949, dedicated to St Paul the Apostle. About the same time, nearby Apethorpe Hall was established as a Catholic Approved School for Boys, dedicated to St John Bosco. The foundation stone of the present church in Sackville Street was laid on 5 May 1963 and the completed building opened the following year. The architects were Wearing and Hastings of Norwich and the builder K. G. Wright of Islip. From 1948 the parish was Thrapston with Oundle but from 1968 it was Thrapston and Raunds, as it is today.
The church is built of red brick and local stone to those parts visible from the west. The roof is of very steep pitch clad in concrete pantiles. To the west an open porch is recessed beneath the main gable, with blind splayed wings, with flat felted roofs, to either side; combined with the roof this gives a very striking form to the church. The whole of the west gable is glazed. The wings contain ancillary spaces of a chapel and storeroom to the north and a ‘crying room’ to the south. The rear side of both wings are fully glazed but the other external sides are without windows. The church has flat roofed aisles with continuous bands of high-level glazing. A further flat roofed block (probably a later extension), containing sacristy, WC and a lobby, project from the southeast corner. The sanctuary has three tall windows to either side (one on the north side is blocked) and the main east wall is blind.
The interior is dominated by two immense A-frame trusses which support the structure. These are clad in stained timber boarding. The main body of the church is open to the roof and because of its sheer height the church does not appear to gain much natural light form the extensively glazed aisles. The effect of the internal structure is yet more striking than the external appearance. In the north aisle is a foundation stone, laid on 5 May 1963. There is no division between nave and sanctuary. The latter is carpeted and raised up two steps. There is a ciborium or tester over the altar. At the west end is an internal porch or narthex beneath a gallery accessed by a tight staircase to the south. Beyond is the ‘crying room’ with a glazed partition to the church. To the north are a storeroom and a small chapel. To either side of the main west doors are glazed bookshelves and cupboards recessed into the wall. The furnishings are generally plain and of the time of the church building. The stone font has a rustic tooled finish to circular bowl and tapering square stem, reminiscent of outdoor medieval crosses. The chapel appears to have older furnishings brought from elsewhere. Interesting tabernacle, the front with a design in tooled metal (probably brass). A small lobby on the south side gives access to the confessional, sacristy, toilet, lobby to external door to ramped access and a store cupboard.
Architect: Wearing and Hastings
Original Date: 1964
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed