often pointed out that St Matthew’s Church was built on
the proceeds of beer, in fact as a memorial to Pickering
Phipps, the local brewer who had twice been Mayor of
Northampton and twice an MP. To recall the Phipps
family’s endowment, Jeremy Phipps, the current chairman
of the reinvigorated brewery, kindly consented to carry
the silver processional cross at the head of this year’s
procession. Among the family’s many gifts to the parish,
the silver cross and matching acolytes where given on St
Matthew’s Day 1891. Later, on the same date in 1893,
Pickering Phipps’ son (of the same name) carried it into
church on the day of consecration. (The cross is one of
a pair; its larger bejewelled brother is in Westminster
Abbey.) It must have been a great moment in the life of
the local church and community. With hindsight, we might
also say that the founding of St Matthew’s was an event
which has proved to be of significance to the wider
Here follows an excerpt from a contemporary account of
the opening ceremonies:
After two years of arduous labour, at length
arrived the long looked for return of September
21st (St Matthew’s Day), 1893. In the early
morning, the last of the busy workmen departed,
and the whole building was ready for the
important ceremony of the day. At 7.30 a.m.
there was a celebration of Holy Communion in the
Temporary Iron Church. At eleven a.m. came the
Consecration of the new Church, followed by the
Institution and Induction of the Rev. J. R.
Hussey as Vicar.
The Bishop, attended by his Chaplain, together
with the Clergy, which came from all parts of
the Diocese, robed at the Temporary Iron Church,
and, with the choir, proceeded to the West Front
of the new Church in the following Order,
singing the hymn “Forward be our Watchword,” Mr.
Pickering Phipps carrying the processional cross
which was his gift on the day of the foundation
stone laying …
That occasion would have been full of hope for the
future, as indeed was this historically resonant and
moving moment in this year’s anniversary celebrations.
We give thanks to God for the foresight and generosity
of our benefactors, and for the faithful of the
intervening and continuing generations who have nurtured
and sustained God’s Church into the future.
A Remembrance to Remember
Wednesday 7 November 2018
We certainly did not forget the fallen of Kingsley as St
Matthew's celebrated the 100th anniversary of the
On Wednesday 7November, the church hosted a special
evening entitled ‘We Will Remember Them’ to honour the
126 young men from our parish who gave their lives in
the Great War.
Researcher Martin Stone who, with genealogist wife
Lindsey, has spent the last year looking into the
stories of all the heroes, talked about his work to a
large crowd, while Fr Nicholas spoke about the role St
Matthew's played during the war, holding multiple daily
masses, each attended by 1,000 people.
Veteran broadcaster Paul Vaughan recited verse and poems
from the war and read an incredible first-hand account
of Christmas 1915 in the rain-sodden trenches.
Composer and pianist Piers Connor Kennedy accompanied
countertenor Hugh Cutting for a series of beautiful
songs based around WW1.
The church looked magnificent with its wonderful poppy
cascade, handmade by members of the congregation and
local schoolchildren, plus the beautifully-lit
Haunting perspex silhouettes of soldiers were
strategically placed on seats to represent fallen
Many who attended said they found the evening
spiritually uplifting and very moving.
Martin's research has caused quite a media frenzy. Both
he and Fr Nicholas were interviewed about the Kingsley
fallen live on Radio Northampton on Tuesday 6 November.
The next day a BBC Look East TV crew came to film them.
The programme was aired that night. There was also
extensive coverage in the local Chronicle and Echo.
It meant that on Remembrance Sunday, after Martin and
Lindsey had placed their research files on the
Remembrance Chapel altar, Fr Nicholas was able – for the
first time – to read out the full names and ages of the
WW1 fallen on our Roll of Honour.
It was an immensely moving tribute, followed by The Last
Post – perfectly timed to end as the church bells struck
11am. Then came the two minute silence, and Reveille.
With a rousing God Save The Queen to finish, I'd like to
think we did those Kingsley lads proud.
Lord Lieutenant Launches St Matthew’s Music Foundation
Thursday 22 November 2018
new local music charity, the St Matthew’s Music
Foundation, was launched by David Laing, Lord Lieutenant
of Northamptonshire, at a St Cecilia’s Day concert given
by the illustrious choir of the famous St Matthew’s
Church, Kingsley, at 7.30pm on Thursday 22 November.
The choir performed several famous anthems
commissioned by the church, including Benjamin Britten’s
internationally known piece, Rejoice in the Lamb.
Solo performances were given by Sophie Stringfellow, a
finalist of the BBC Radio 2 “Young Chorister of the Year
competition” and Joseph Hirst, a talented young organist
who is also a chorister in the choir.
Simon Toyne, Chair of the St Matthew's Music
Foundation, said, “We have set up the Foundation to
develop a wider support base, nationally and
internationally, attracting funds to develop the music
programme of the church in innovative and far-reaching
Our aim is to widen access to the English choral
tradition through increasing the church’s musical
partnership work with schools, funding an organ
scholarship scheme to generate the church organists of
the future, establishing choral scholars in partnership
with the university, and enhancing the offer to adult
singers through dedicated singing tuition. We want to
enable St Matthew’s to be a hub for the community at
large to connect to our rich cultural heritage as
Justin Miller, Director of Music, said, “If we
want to expose every child in Northampton to the joys of
a chorister education, we must first let them know that
the opportunity exists right here on their doorstep.
With proper training and commitment there is no reason
why they shouldn’t be able to sing difficult music to a
high standard. But we will never know if we don’t try
first. It is hoped that through the Foundation we might
be able to reach every child in town and build upon the
important work that we’ve been doing for 125 years.”
Vicar, Canon Nicholas Setterfield, said, “St
Matthew’s is a parish church of significance and
national reputation, famed not only for its remarkable
tradition of commissioning new music, art and
literature, but for the dignity of its worship, the
integration of the English choral tradition, and the
quality of its choir. We owe a debt of gratitude to that
great patron of art and second Vicar of this Parish, Fr
Walter Hussey, for his remarkable perception and
foresight in initiating this venerable tradition.
St Matthew’s continues to provide often career building
opportunities for young musicians to flourish and
progress, also to participate on a par with adults. A
distinguished succession of singers and cathedral
directors of music have received their formative
experiences here; they have gone on to offer their gifts
in the service of the wider Church. Countless others,
now dispersed far and wide, remember their musical
experiences at St Matthew’s with genuine affection, and
a smile on their face. They have discovered the
potential for music to enrich lives and elevate worship,
raising the whole self to God. Their current successors
will doubtless this evening more than justify their
place within the living tradition in which they stand.
With the creation of the Music Foundation we honour the
past and – crucially – we look to the future. We seek to
develop and expand our musical offering, to fulfil the
potential of this sought-after venue in new and
imaginative ways, to create a cultural hub, to pursue
excellence for the many, provide new opportunities for
shared learning and community encounter, and to
stimulate a wider appreciation of and engagement with
the musical endeavour.”
David Laing, Lord Lieutenant, "in launching
the Foundation, congratulated committee members for
raising the £22,000 to purchase the wonderful new
concert piano for the church. He then compared the
nurturing of children in the musical education that the
Foundation will develop to the biblical parable of the
sowers. He said, “we all know that seed scattered on the
ground does not grow into a fruitful harvest if it is
not encouraged, tended and nurtured.”