If you like fonts, babies, and have one that needs Christening, then I should think it's worth getting in with the High Anglicans in Wellingborough. At first sight this Northamptonshire town doesn't appear to have an awful lot going for it, until you scratch beneath the surface a bit. And scratching around in the streets high above the railway station (a real Gothic bargeboarded treat) reveals a rather plain Perpendicular church in gingerbread Finedon ironstone with Weldon stone dressings. But to walk inside is to realise what John Betjeman meant when he said that the interior of St.Mary's is enough 'to force even an atheist to his knees'. This is Sir Ninian Comper's masterpiece of 1908-30, marooned amongst the terraced back streets of this boot and shoe town. Built with money given by three spinster sisters, you'll need to track down the key to get inside, but if you love this kind of thing then you will be overwhelmed. Golden angels trumpet over sumptuous screens, fan vaulting soars up to great heights to where Christ in Majesty presides over the nave. There's simply too much to talk about here, but the font is worthy of particular mention. We saw it on a flower and music festival afternoon, a brilliant blue and gold canopied structure completed by Comper's son Sebastian in the 1960s as a memorial to his father. And around the base is an octagonal screen swimming with gilded dolphins. So, all you atheists, get hold of the key and strap on your rubber knee pads.
Alan Aldridge: Come together.
2 days ago