The Church family tree can be traced back to as early as 1675 when Stone Church, the company founder’s great-grandfather, was born in Northampton, a town that has been known for its thriving leather and footwear industry since Cromwellian times. The skills and mantle of Master Cordwainer were passed down from generation to generation, all the way to Stone’s great-grandson, Thomas, who would establish the world-renowned eponymous brand nearly two centuries later.
In a small workshop at 30 Maple Street in Northampton on the 1st of May, Thomas, his wife Eliza and his two sons, Alfred and William decided to set up a small factory, marking the official birth of Church’s Shoes. This structure would house the company only until 1880 when they would eventually expand to a larger premise on Duke Street. At this point, the majority of work was still being carried out in the homes of individual craftsmen, though over the next twenty years, all of the manufacturing processes would be brought in-house.
The early years of the 21st century saw the opening of several boutiques in international capitals throughout the world, including Milan and Paris in 2001, Rome and St. Moritz in 2002 and New York City in 2003.
Starting in 2008, the brand set a new development strategy in motion, leading to a slew of international openings in Venice, Bologna, Leeds, Edinburgh, Hong Kong and Singapore. In July 2011, the first shop totally dedicated to the women’s collections was inaugurated at the heart of London’s luxury shopping district in New Bond Street.