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St. Mary's Church - Reports

From one of Joseph Enos Smith's note books. Transcribed by Jacky Lawrence

1873      Parish Church Restoration (accident)

On Monday last, November the 3rd 1873, as the man employed at the restoration of the parish church in the village when letting down a piece of timber weighing about half a hundredweight, it by some means fell a distance of between 20 and 40 feet striking a young man named George HILLSON on the side of the head and by the shoulder. Stimulants were administered and he was assisted home and medical assistance procured and he is progressing better than it was at first thought he would. If the timber had struck him on the top instead of on the side of the head in all probability he would have been killed on the spot.

From ‘Mercury’ dated November 8th 1873.

1873      Rushden Parish Church

‘Church Building Association’s Annual meeting, Peterborough Diocesan Church Building Association 35th Annual Meeting, 8th December 1873 £50 promised to RUSHDEN PARISH CHURCH.

From ‘Mercury’ dated December 13th 1873

From ‘R22’ Note Book of J E Smith, transcribed by Kay Collins

Page 62 - extract from the weekly paper Jun 19 1914

Mrs M A Smart of Ringstead late of Rushden.
Born at Rushden June 13 1817. Died June 18th 1914. She lived under 6 Monarchs, Born when George III was on the throne. She remembered the Stage Coaches thro’ Rushden, she remembered Rushden St Mary’s Church being draped in Black at the death of King George IV. At Coronation of Queen Victoria they had legs of Mutton, pieces of Beef & Cherries for Dessert. At that time population was about 1,200.

June 25th 1914 “Airship”
An Airship passed over Rushden on Thursday between 12 & 2 o’clock. It came over Rushden Hall Park about 12.30 (during the SALE of Furniture at Hall) it went towards Wellingboro Station, turned back to Park, curved round again towards Sanders’s Lodge & grounded near Wymington Ballast-hole, he ascended again about 1.30 for Higham & Raunds. I had a splendid view from up the Park. J E Smith

From ‘R22’ Note Book of J E Smith, transcribed by Kay Collins

Page 99

Rushden Church
The very top of the Spire (before it was restored in 1885, when a few feet were taken of the top) is at present on the wall of Church-room yard near the Rectory.
The next stone from the top is at present inside of the organ. (My Museum)

An Old Stone Clock weight is also inside the organ. Mr. Fisher who has charge of the Church Clock told me that the weight once belonged to the old clock. I found it in the Churchyard covered by grass grown over it, 2 or 3 years ago.

Mr. Ginns, Blacksmith has at present one of the old Bell-Clappers taken down in 1874-5 at the great Restoration of the Church. It belonged to the great or Tenor Bell & I think it was the clapper which was rung at the death of the Prince Albert (Abert as the Registers puts it) “paid the ringers 6s. for tolling for Prince Abert.”

Page 119

14 Aug 1844 - Rushden Church St Mary’s. Answers to an Enquiry.

Rushden Church? Date about 1350 I think

Population? About 1400

Patron? The Lord Chancellor

Rector? Rev. G. E. Downe

Where does he reside? At the Rectory

Services? Two full Services generally. The same on Xmas Day. The Baptisms after 2nd Lesson.

Weekday? None.

Lent? On Good Friday. Prayers Easter-week.

“Church Fabric”? Is large and handsome.

Town & Spire? Of one character, most magnificent with flying Buttresses, the Spire is crocketted.

Porch? The North Porch is very elegant, with pointed roof, and chamber above, with an excellent window. From Door Early English.

Walls? Leans tolerably good.

Windows? Several very beautiful of perpendicular style.

Roof? Of Lead, some of it not very good.

Walls of Chancel? Are tolerably good, want pointing.

Windows? Three excellent of Perpendicular style at the East-end.

Roof? Of Lead.

Drains? Should be opened.

Spouts? Are long leaden ones.

Graves? Have been made too near the Fabric.

Crenulations? Have in some degrees been removed, but are still considerable.

Doors & Locks? Are old but in tolerable state.

Aisles? N & South with n & South Transepts having back screens.

Inside Walls? Stone colour.

Arches? Very good, pointed 8 Columns, across the Nave is a very rich pierced “Strainer Arch” as at Finedon.

Windows? Diamond Panes & pretty good.

Floors? Of stone colour & a good deal broken. There is a Piscina in South Transept also in the South Aisle.

Roof? Timbers open, not covered in some places.

Belfry? Closed up, arch is good.

Galleries? One for Singers.

Inside walls of Chancel? Stone colour, 2 arches on each side which lead into the side Aisle, these are flush with end of Chancel. There are 3 good Sedilias & a Piscina.

Windows? The East is good but dingy.

Arch? Good, pointed.

Floor? Stone and broken.

Roof? Open timbers.

Casements? A few.

Vestry? In North Transept.


Pews? Open Seats? Both, chiefly pews.

What wood? Of Oak & deal, the “Hall-Pew” is railed round the upper part with a Sounding Board.

Regular? Only middling.

Floor? Several in a bad state.

Pulpit? Oak carved, & painted, Stairs very bad.

Sounding Board? No.

Reading Desk? Stone colour.

Font? Handsome of stone, carved, and octagonal, said to be Early English.

Communion Table? Oak, old and dirty.

Carpet for floor? Nothing.

Hassocks for Communion? Low Benches – covered with mats.

Communion Rails? Of deal painted stone colour.

Iron Register Chests? Yes.

Where kept? At Rectory.

Organ? No.

Clock? In bad condition, Frames & wheels said to be bad.

Ropes? Middling.

A Rate was granted legally the [space] the payment [space] because parties promised to defend themselves in a High Court. Won’t interfere.

Bible? Toteroth, Oxford 1807.

Prayer Book? Very bad.

Prayer Book? Middling.

Communion Book? Very decent. The ten Commandments are on the Chancel Arch.

Normities? No. Table of Degrees ? No.

Is there any Passages of Scripture? One on Chancel Arch.

List of Benefactions? Yes, in South?

Surplices? 2 both fair.

Communion Cloth? Green baize.

Linen Cloth & Napkins? Are of diaper & decent.

Pulpit cushion? Of purple cloth with worsted fringe, very much moth eaten. Cloths Pulpit & Desk ident.

Flagon? A good pewter ….

Cup? Cup & cover of Silver.

Paten? Large pewter.

Basin? Pewter.

Benefactions? None whatever for repair of church.

Churchyard & Fencing? The south consists of buildings and a stone wall. West wall under repair but cannot be completed for want of funds.

To whom belongs? Mr. Daniel.

Gates? Tolerable.

Churchways? Are pretty well.

Trees? Several good.

Parsonage? In bad state but the Rector talks of rebuilding.

Parochial library? No.

Parish Clerk? Joseph Packwood.

Conduct? A drinking man. In other respects good, a good reader. I spoke to him privately about his conduct.

Stipend? About £20, the Parish allows about £7.10.0.

Schools? No, but several DAMES Schools.

Sunday School? Yes. Scholars? About 100.

Church Rate? Will raise about £80.

General Observations.
In a most unsatisfactory state thro’ the want of a Church-rate, and WALTER ROOKSBY a farmer & a Baptist refuses to pay, therefore the rest do the same. They are said to be backed by Mr. HILL a Magistrate, a rate was legally granted, but because the parties promise to defend themselves in a higher Court the Magistrates do not interfere.

Accumulations should be removed, the floor & roof repaired as well as the floor of the pews, and stairs of the Pulpit. The clock, frame and wheels of the Bells should be attended to. Another Prayer Book for the Clergyman is wanted. The Cloth for the Communion Table and the Pulpit cushion are in a shabby state. The Fence of the Churchyard needs repair.

Everything remains as before. I wrote to this gentleman (Walter Rooksby) August 28th 1844 according to promise but with slight of success.

From a Book marked Higham, Oundle & Weldon on the back in the Archdeacon’s Library at Peterborough Cathedral on Wednesday Aug 21st 1918 by kind permission of Mr. Gray, Registrar. J E Smith Organist and Choirmaster, Rushden Parish Church.

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