2011 News Archive

St Ragener’s Eve

On a fine November evening, 18th November, the Bifrost Guard set up their camp in St Peter’s churchyard and before a large crowd re-enacted the martyrdom of St Ragener, the kinsman of St Edmund, King & Martyr. St Ragener is believed to be buried at St Peter’s and we honour his memory each year near his Feast Day which is 21st November. The audience enjoyed a session of storytelling and were able to view the new exhibition of Saints and Altars on display in the church. We are grateful to Gerald Porter for the photographs.


Shine at St Peter’s

A large crowd assembled in the church yard on the evening of 8th October to enjoy the audio-visual display projected on to the outside of the church building. Spectacular light effects were accompanied by commentary on the history and life of St Peter’s. There followed a rousing concert by the Royal & Derngate Community Choir. It was a dry and (for October) warm evening, with benevolent moonlight,   a most enjoyable occasion.


Parchment Conservation

With the permission of the CCT, the Friends commissioned Louise Drover to undertake the cleaning of the Rectors’ Roll which lists the incumbents of St Peter’s from the 12th century down to the last rector. The Rectors’ roll was re-installed in the south aisle in August 2011. At the same time, a commemorative Bell Ringers Roll was cleaned; it can be seen on the north wall inside the tower.


Restoration of the Churchyard Gates

The churchyard gates were removed on Tuesday 3rd May for repair and repainting. They were re-installed on June 1st. This project, undertaken by the Friends, will contribute to the improvement and security of the churchyard. The gates were formally re-opened on Sunday 26th June at 3pm by Lady Juliet Townsend, LVO, Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire and Patron of the Friends of St Peter’s in the presence of the Archdeacon of Northampton, the Ven. Christine Allsopp, during the annual Midsummer Tea Party organised by the Churches Conservation Trust.


Petertide Eucharist 26th June 2011

A service of solemn eucharist was held to celebrate our patronal festival at 6pm on 26th June. The celebrant and preacher was Dr Nicholas Aldritt and the All Saints’ choir, directed by Lee Dunleavy, sang a mass by William Byrd and motets by Thomas Tallis. Members of All Saints’ congregation joined Friends of St Peter’s and others in tea and cakes after the service.


Music at St Peter’s

The three concerts of 2011 have taken place in front of enthusiastic audiences. Kosmos on 9th April and Wind Ensembles from the Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Service on 7th May produced exciting and very enjoyable music. Quintabile Brass Ensemble gave an inspired performance of classical and jazz numbers on September 10th.


Friends’ AGM 2011

The Annual General Meeting was held at St Peter’s on Friday 24th June.The Annual Report & the Financial Report were approved. Mr John Dickie was re-elected to the committee and Mrs Jean Hawkins, Mr Robert Tilson and Mr Merrick Baker-Bates were also elected; they join Mr John Rigby and Mr Robert Webb, who were re-elected last year. The chairman, Dr Peter Smith, is standing down after 10 years’ service. A vote of thanks was passed expressing gratitude to Dr Smith for his huge and effective contribution to the Friends and for his patience and good humour.

The meeting approved a draft replacement Clause 2 of the Friends’ constitution, The objects of the Society. This widens the scope of the Friends’ field of interest to embrace the Friends of Northampton Castle. The proposed new clause is as follows:

The objects of the Society shall be to maintain, restore, improve and beautify for the benefit of the public the fabric and contents of St Peter’s Church, Marefair, Northampton (hereinafter described as “the Church”) and its churchyard. The Society shall support and encourage investigation and research into the buildings, history and archaeological remains in the locality of the Church. The Society shall seek to raise public awareness of Northampton’s heritage, especially amongst young people, and to preserve and protect it for the benefit of the Town, its people and its visitors. The Society shall support and advise The Churches Conservation Trust (hereinafter described as “the Trust”) in which the Church is vested (or any successor body in which the Church may come to be vested). The Society shall assist the Trust in enabling the Church to be open and welcoming to the general public as much as possible. The Society shall encourage and organise appropriate events to promote the enjoyment and appreciation of the Church, its churchyard and other local places.

This clause requires the approval of the Charity Commission and will be submitted to an EGM of the Friends’ in due course.


Officers of the Friends

At the committee meeting held on 18th July, the following officers were elected:

Chairman: Jean Hawkins

Treasurer & Membership secretary: Robert Tilson

Secretary: Robert Webb  (robert@fostp.org.uk)

Conservation Adviser: John Rigby

Events and Publicity Officer: John Dickie

Fundraising adviser: Merrick Baker-Bates


Evensong on Sunday 25th September 2011

A festive peal of the bells provided an invigorating welcome to St Peter’s for the evensong on 25th September. The Boys and Men of All Saints’ choir, under the direction of Lee Dunleavy, led the musical worship with power and sensitivity. Canon Geoffrey Neal gave a moving sermon on his experience of harvest festivals.

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