West Street, Oundle, Northants
A late nineteenth century church built for Anglican worship, from designs by (Sir) Arthur Blomfield. The adoption of the Byzantine ‘quincunx’ or inscribed cross plan was an ingenious response to the island site location. Built of good quality local materials.
In the late nineteenth century Mass was said at Jenks House, served from Peterborough, until the Jenks family left in 1894. During the First World War Belgian refugee priests said Mass in the town, and in 1924 the Dominicans from Laxton reopened the Oundle mission, soon followed by seculars from Peterborough. Mass was said in the old Town Hall. In 1948 a former Nonconformist chapel in West Street was acquired for Catholic use, and this served until 1971, when the present church was acquired. This had been built in 1878-9 for Anglican worship, from designs from prolific establishment architect (Sir) Arthur Blomfield.
The list description (below) is correct but very brief. The roofs are of Collyweston slate, the style is Early English Gothic. The east window is of three stepped lancets; the west window is of two lancets with a mandorla above set beneath a single arch. The main north and south windows are composed of a stepped three-part composition with outer lancets and a broader central arch embracing two lancets and an encircled quatrefoil. Elsewhere there are single lancets. The octagonal tower has two lancets to each face. The sacristy at the southwest corner was added in 1971, closely matching the nineteenth century work.
Inside the centralised plan is impressive and the tower lantern is all dominating. The projecting arms appear insignificant, apart from the eastern arm containing the sanctuary. Despite the powerfulness of the centralised cruciform plan the arrangement of seating and the altar is conventional. The western arm is divided off with a glazed timber screen to form a narthex. Above is the organ, an impressive instrument built in 1994 by Richard Bower of Norwich. It was commissioned by the Oundle International Festival director James Parons and partly funded by the Douglas May bequest. Stone cylindrical font in the south transept. In the southeast chapel a stained glass window dated 2004 and signed by G. Masseni. The main east window has good nineteenth century stained glass, Christ in the centre, surrounded by alternating panels of text and of foliage designs with a strongly yellow palate. In the northeast chapel a modern carved wood sculpture of the Virgin, of good quality. The sanctuary altar and tabernacle stand appear to be recent and of modern design.
1879-9 by Arthur Blomfield. Byzantine quincunx plan. Stone with stone slate roof. C13 style fenestration. Square centre with octagonal tower on squinches. Clustered red stone piers carry tower. 4 low corner spaces have pointed arches. 3 lancet lights to each gable. Holy Name of Jesus Church forms a group with 1 to 13 (odd) Stoke Hill and 96 and Waggon and Horse Public House. Listing NGR: TL0368388098
Architect: Arthur Blomfield
Original Date: 1879
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Grade II