Holy Sepulchre, Northampton

The Holy Sepulchre is a Norman round church in Sheep Street, Northampton, England. Simon de Senlis, Earl of Northampton, was responsible for making Northampton a Norman stronghold by building a castle (now destroyed) and a town wall (approximately on the site of the inner ring road). It is also probable that he was responsible for the building of All Hallows Church by the market place in the centre of Northampton and the church of the Holy Sepulchre to the north.

In around 1096, Simon de Senlis joined the First Crusade to the Holy Land. There he would have seen the Holy Sepulchre, located near the centre of Jerusalem. He would have seen it as a round church supported on eighteen columns or piers with an ambulatory around the perimeter on the west of the church, and the well attested site of Christ’s tomb at the centre. There would have been four apses at each of the cardinal points, and on the east side there would have been a facade, so that the east apse was accessible directly from the rotunda. After restoration, this church is what would have remained of a 4th-century church built by Constantine I, with the rotunda replacing an earlier Roman temple.

It is likely that after his return to Northampton, Simon de Senlis built the round church of the Holy Sepulchre in Northampton, and it is approximately half the size of the church in Jerusalem. The rotunda is supported on eight round piers with an ambulatory running round the full perimeter, without apses. The remains of a Norman window in the present nave however suggests that the original round church had a chancel to the east Throughout the ages, a nave, chancel, and aisles were added to the east of the round church at Northampton, and in the nineteenth century, the prolific architect Sir George Gilbert Scott was involved in extensive restoration to bring the church into its present state. Our task for heating the church was to install an efficient and effective system that allowed the two distinct areas of the church to be heated independently. The system also had to be discreet and harmonious with its surroundings. There was also the need to work with a tight budget which resulted in certain compromises having to be made.

The final scheme consisted of a single wall mounted condensing boiler serving sixteen high output radiators working in conjunction with approximately 100 metres of gilled heating tubes in the existing floor grilles to heat the Victorian part of the church as zone one.

The round Norman original part of the church had new radiators fitted approximately fifteen years ago and after flushing and cleaning were deemed serviceable and after some pipework modification this formed zone two.

As is normal on our new heating systems the Churchwarden control system was installed to maximise fuel efficiency. The end result was a warm church heated quickly and efficiently with running costs a fraction of what they were.


Wall mounted condensing boiler with an output of 150kW and manufactured by Ideal.


The radiators come from the Minster triple panelled range, with low level units running under the pews. The radiators were colour coded to match the walls

Gilled Tube

The Victorian floor ducts have been fitted with high output gilled tube.

Ancillary Equipment

Four Grunfoss pumps are filed with the boiler for zone control System cleansing and air separation is via a Spirocross unit made by
Spirotec NL.


Churchwarden two zone intelligent control system

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Christopher Dunphy Ecclesiastical Ltd
9 Salmon Fields Business Village
Druggitt & Harding

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