|Rushden Echo, 17th July 1931, transcribed by Kay Collins
American Donor at Irchester Mr. John Austin, of Hartford, U.S.A.
Munificent Gift to Parish Church Recalled.
Mr. John Austin, of Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A., who gave £1,300 for the restoration of Irchester Parish Church Bells visited Irchester last week and spent an interesting time looking over the church. He is on a visit to this country, accompanied by Mrs. Austin.
Mr. Austin left England some forty years ago, but during that time has retained his quiet, unassuming, almost reserved manner. He has a remarkable knowledge of the church and remembers it before its restoration 40 years ago. "At that time," he said to an 'Echo and Argus' representative "the arch before the belfry was hidden from view, a gallery in which the choir used to sit being in front. The pews were also very high, and they could only see the people's heads when they stood up."
Mr. Austin drew attention to the reconstructed pews of low and simple design and pointed out the different, woods used in their construction, some showing signs of great age, while others were, perhaps, only 50 years old. His knowledge of the interior construction and its alterations was revealed when in pointing out the endeavour made to bring the body of the church into true perpendicular, he showed the leaning arches super-imposed upon by straight and recently built columns.
Mr. Austin also remarked on the beautifully carved pulpit and spoke of the time when in its former state torn brass was to be seen at the base. "Cromwell's men," he said, "tore brass from the bottom to make cannons but they could not get beneath the pulpit."
Continuing round the church, Mr. Austin drew attention to the beautiful reredos behind the altar, given by his aunt, Bessie Turnell; to the niches upon which a gallery for the monks once rested, and to the church" insignia upon the wall.
Mrs. Austin, who visited the church at the same time, is, with her husband, truly grateful for the way in which the restoration has been carried out; and delighted by the recollections occasioned by a visit to this fine Northamptonshire church.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Austin are on holiday in England, and the fact that the former visits the country every two or three years indicates his interest in his native country.