Sacred Heart

One of the few late 19th century Catholic churches in Northamptonshire, the church is distinguished by some highly original details and has a largely intact and lavishly finished interior.

About this church

Built in local stone by the London architect SJ Nicholl and opened in autumn 1886, so it has recently marked its 130th anniversary.

The Wellingborough Catholic mission had been active since 1869, thanks to the Arkwright family of Knuston Hall, but the building of this church was substantially helped by Mrs Lyne-Stephens of Suffolk, a former French ballerina who had been left a fabulously wealthy widow. From this base, the redoubtable Canon Bernard Murray developed missions in Kettering and Rushden, and said Mass for the Vaux family at Harrowden Hall, where a private chapel in the grounds is still used.

The church is richly decorated in late Gothic style, with several idiosyncratic features including a rood beam, unusual in Catholic churches. The sanctuary has an unusual arrangement of a baldachino integral with the east window.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Social heritage stories
  • National heritage here
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches


St Mary the Virgin

A thrilling experience: Sir Ninian Comper’s masterpiece built between 1908 and 1930 is a free essay in the gothic style fearlessly mixed with classical appropriations.

High Street URC

Built in 1874-5 for Wellingborough’s long established Independent (or Congregational) cause, its most striking feature is its ovoid shape, most unusual for a British place of worship.


St Mary the Virgin

Built of local ironstone, St Mary's dates almost entirely from the 14th century, with the nave and chancel from the beginning of the century and the tower and spire from about 50 years later.

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