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CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE

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The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Northampton is one of only nine round churches with a circular nave built in England. Today (2009), only four of these have survived. The church was founded in 1098-1100 by Simon de Senlis, Earl of Northampton, in thanks for his safe return from the Crusades. Its design was based on the original Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

The original church had a round nave of eight columns, supporting a triforium, and a short chancel, probably apse-ended. In circa 1180 a north aisle was added and a second was added circa 1275. During the early 15th century a south aisle was built, the triforium of the round nave was replaced by a clerestory, and a western tower was added. The church was extended to the east during restoration work by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1860-4. The round nave (now the Baptistry) was restored in 1868-73 and the chancel screen was made by Oldrid Scott in 1880. Major restoration works which began in the late 20th century were completed in 2009.

Most round churches are associated with the Knights Templar or the Knights Hospitaller, however the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Northampton was built earlier as a parish church and has no connection with the Templars nor the Hospitallers.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.