|Extracted from 'A Century of Witness 1895-1995'|
More Developments - 1940-1979
The Second World War
The Rev. P.Barwell Spriggs died in July 1940 after an illness of a few months and his successor, the Rev. E.Hirst, was appointed by the Church Pastoral Aid Society, in accordance with a long standing arrangement. There are no magazines available for the War period but, of course, the work and worship at St. Peter’s and at Highfield Hall continued, though there was apparently no curate to lead the work at Highfield.
The Rev. E.Hirst left in 1946 and was succeeded by the Rev. R.McPherson Heard who, in 1948, appointed Sister Lilian Branch of the Church Army to work mainly at Highfield Hall.
Windows and Memorials
Also in the chapel, the communion rail was given by the Mothers’
In the church itself on a pillar near the pulpit is a plaque, put in place in 1948, in memory of Mr Robert Marriott “the builder of our beautiful church and a wise master builder as a Warden and Councillor”. In the Children’s Corner is a memorial to David Dickens, while the moveable lectern was given in memory of Mr John Anderson. More recently, kneelers have been embroidered in memory of church members, including Mrs D.Curtis and Mrs S.Bates.
Many other thank offering gifts have been donated to the church over the years.
In 1950 the Rev. E.T.Hughes became Vicar and this immediate post-war period proved to be a time of expansion and growth. The magazine itself in these years took the title ‘ADVANCE’ as the Vicar himself said in his introductory letter “It is a kind of looking forward word … a going forward word … a going forward together word,” and he called on St. Peter’s members to take action.
Certainly the magazines of these years show a very busy fellowship at both worship centres, led by Mr and Mrs Hughes, and by successive Curates, the Rev. G.Calder and the Rev. B.Morley with Church Army Sisters, Sister L.Branch and Sister J.Mason. Notably, a branch of the
The work at Highfield Hall was also expanding; the first Communion Service was held there on November 22nd, 1953, during a mission entitled “Highway at Highfield”. In June 1954 the Bishop of Peterborough re‑hallowed Highfield as St. Mark’s Church and celebrated communion there. Following that there were monthly communion services and baptisms were also permitted.
The Rev. E.T.Hughes was succeeded by the Rev. J.R.Aspinall in whose time the Golden Jubilee was celebrated, and then by the Rev. W.G.Muir who had worked for the Sudan United Mission in
The Rev. J.G.Langham and the Rev. G.Jessop were Curates, while Deaconess Brandon succeeded Sister Joyce Mason. Mr Muir left at the end of 1965 and the Rev. G.T.Barber succeeded in 1966.
The Golden Jubilee was celebrated in 1957, when the Rev. J.R.Aspinall was Vicar, with a series of special services and a Gift Day to pay for various needs of the church building and its surroundings. Various needs were met including the provision of a new bell, a centre communion rail, a motor mower and a wall on the north side of the church.
Ten years later, with Rev. G.T.Barber as Vicar, the Diamond Jubilee was celebrated, again coupled with a Gift Day. By the end of 1967, £621 had been raised and this was used to purchase a gas fired boiler.
The 1960s and 1970s
Life continued at St. Peter’s in the usual way with many activities, spiritual and social. The 1970s were notable for the expansion of St. Mark’s as Mr Barber saw the needs of that area, where even more new building was taking place, along Grangeway and towards the
Curates’ Houses and St. Mark’s
By the end of the 1950s, when the Rev. G.Muir was Vicar, it became clear that if St. Peter’s was to have another curate, a house, rather than lodgings, would be needed. By that time most newly ordained men were married with families, therefore
In 1970, land in
These years also saw the introduction of the Anglican Hymn book and of red robes for the choir. In addition there were discussions about the new Prayer Book Services (Series II).
Towards One Parish Again
In February 1975 the Rev. G.Barber announced that he intended to move to a parish in
By the new constitution there was to be a PCC for all three churches (
The Vicarage was sold and
St. Peter’s / St. Mark’s Amalgamation
The new constitution had operated for only a short time when decisions taken by the Diocese to reduce its man‑power led to a projected reduction of the number of clergy in Rushden. This in turn led toa decision in 1979 to amalgamate St. Mark’s and St. Peter’s. Soon afterwards the Rev. D.Walker left, the curate’s house at
The work at St. Peter’s continued with the Rev. Gedfrey Stone followed by the Rev. Robin Pritchard as Curates‑in-charge.
During this period the west end gable was struck by lightning (in 1984) and the main church roof was repaired (in Feb.1985). The stone cross at the east end gable was removed because it was too heavy for the structure.
In 1993 a slight adjustment to the constitution was made, with the appointment of a Minister rather than a Curate for St. Peter’s to create greater continuity. We welcomed as our first Minister, the Rev. Nick Denham from Chester‑le-Street in the diocese of