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Celebrating St Matthew’s 125

Black Tie Dinner
Saturday 21 September 2019

Ninety people attended a special Black Tie Dinner inside St Matthew’s Church on Saturday 21 September. It was held as a fund-raising finale to the church’s 125th year of consecration.

The choristers of St Matthew’s started the evening with a selection of songs by Britten and Rutter before finishing with grace. Diners were then treated to a sumptuous three-course meal with bubbly and wine while being entertained by the acclaimed Simon Ferris Jazz Trio.

It’s the first time the Nave of this magnificent church has been transformed for such an occasion. Purple uplighters, matching chair sashes and giant candelabras helped to give St Matthew’s a truly majestic aura.

The evening, which coincided with St Matthew’s Day, was the culmination of six months of meticulous planning and preparation by the 125 committee. Special thanks must go to choir mum Laura Batchelor who planned the entire menu and rounded up a small platoon of colleagues and friends to help with the cooking and table waiting – all for free. One even travelled from as far as Liverpool. Laura also persuaded her employers, John Lewis, to donate fabulous prizes, including a 32inch Smart TV for the church raffle. Phipps Brewery also sponsored the event.

Altogether the evening raised a remarkable £2,001 and has been hailed as a great success.

Guests included Northampton Phipps Brewery Chairman Jeremy Phipps, whose Victorian ancestors gave the land and paid for the church to be built in 1893. The Rt Revd John Holbrook, Bishop of Brixworth, also attended.

Thanks also to all the volunteers who helped set up before the dinner and those who turned up early Sunday morning to clear up and rearrange all the church in time for the 10.15am service.





A Remembrance to Remember

Wednesday 7 November 2018


Lest We Forget?

We certainly did not forget the fallen of Kingsley as St Matthew's celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.

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 Remembrance chapel.

Haunting perspex silhouettes of soldiers were strategically placed on seats to represent fallen heroes.

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

A major 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 ways.

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 enthusiastic participants.”

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.”

The 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.”

For further information, email the St Matthew’s Music Foundation at;  tel 01604 791251


Local brewer leads the way
25 September 2018

It is 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 Church.

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.

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  Armistice and Remembrance  

Respect and honour to those affiliated to the parish who fell during the two world wars in the period 1914-19 and 1939-45.



  Remember Kingsley's Fallen WW2 Heroes  

(Updated 04.09.2020)



St Matthew's Church has been appealing for information to bring the stories of over 40 World War Two heroes from Kingsley to life.





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