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The Wellingborough News, 7th February 1885, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Church Restoration and

Re-Opening Celebration

It is now ten years since Rushden Church was re-opened for public worship after being restored, and on Monday last this event was honoured by special parochial observances. It is noteworthy in connection with the celebration that the outlay thereby incurred; amounting to £5,807 has been fully met, and there now remains a balance of £30 towards further necessary work in the pointing of the spire. The proceedings on Monday were heralded by a merry peal upon the bells, and the short service held in the Church at six o’clock was fairly attended by parishioners and friends. The very appropriate hymn “Lift the strain of high thanksgiving” preceded the service at which the Rev. Canon Barker, and Rev. A. E. D. Disney, officiated. The psalms chosen were the xxvii and the lxxxiv respectively. “The Church’s one foundation,” having been sung the sermon was preached by the Rector, who took as his text “We will remember the name of the Lord our God.” – Psalm xx, v, 7. The rev. gentleman in commencing his discourse, said: - On this day ten years ago, we re-opened after three years work, and an expenditure of £5,057, this church, after its restoration. We then owed £1,103. Today we thankfully record that the work then done was done substantially and well, and that we have paid off the whole of that sum together with the interest accruing upon the amount which it was necessary for us to borrow.I shall have an opportunity elsewhere of putting the particulars of these accounts before you, but I just mention this now as one of the grounds for the thankfulness we would express in our service to-night. I put that before you in order to connect God with what we have done; that we may remember when we look back upon the past that the living God has helped us; that in the work that we have accomplished we take not the glory or the credit to ourselves, but we feel and thankfully acknowledge that the living God has prospered our lives, and so “We will remember the name of the Lord our God.” The rector then proceeds with his sermon. The service concluded with the hymn “Pleasant are thy courts above” and the Benediction pronounced by the Rector.

After the service an adjournment was made to the New Hall, where the manager, Mr. Martin, had provided a cold collation, served up in first-class style, and to which about 200 sat down. Ample justice having been done to the edibles, and grace after meat having been said by the rector.

Mr. F. U. Sartoris said he was sure they would appreciate the desire that they should not separate without rendering due honour to those who had promoted the great work they were celebrating that day. Some of those present might be new comers into the parish since the idea originated of the restoration of their noble fabric, but those who were long-standing residents before the restoration would remember the lamentable state of dilapidation into which the Church had fallen. They had no comprehensive scheme of restoration, but only did the work where it was absolutely necessary, until their very excellent and worthy rector took it in hand and put his scheme into action. (Applause.) They were well aware of the self-denial, the energy, and generosity with which the rector and his wife had approached this gigantic work. (Hear, hear.) They would receive a most able exposition of the expenditure from Mr. Barker, but he would repeat that none of them should separate without giving Mr. and Mrs. Barker their thankful meed of praise for all they had done in the parish. (Applause.)

The suggestion was responded to by three hearty cheers for Mr. and Mrs. Barker.

The Rev. Canon Barker, who was loudly applauded, then gave an account of the work done to the church. When he had made a little statement they would see how thoroughly stranded he would have been, and not able to accomplish the work they were celebrating that day had it not been for a band of willing and helpful guarantors, who had most nobly and generously stuck to him and paid up to the uttermost farthing. He felt that their thanks were due to the guarantors more than to himself, for though he (the speaker) had mortgaged his fields in order to get the money, he would candidly confess that he should never had done so if he had not had the names of good substantial men like Mr. Butcher and Mr. Skinner at his back. (Applause.) Now he was thankful to tell them the mortgage was paid off, which was a source of consolation, for perhaps some of them knew what anxiety it caused to have a man astride one’s house. (Laughter and cheers.)

Entering into financial matters, the rev. gentleman said that when they contemplated the restoration of the church, the outlay was estimated at £2,000, but it was a mournful experience that they could not trust either architects of builders in what they were about, for there were after all those unfortunate incidentals or “extras” which sometimes exceeded the contract for the whole work. (Great laughter.) He found that the total amount expended on the church was £4,795 0s 5d. At the end of the work they had to borrow £1,000, the interest of which in the course of ten years had increased the total expenditure to £5,057, and that was exclusive of the organ which was given by friends, of the nave seating, the east and other windows, the lectern, and communion rail, which gifts he estimated to be worth £750, showing a grand total of £5,807. (Cheers.) It seemed an enormous sum, but through the kindness of the guarantors together with friends, every penny was paid off. (Hear, hear). Their thanks were especially due to Mr. Sartoris, to Mr. and Mrs. Currie, Mr. G. and G. H. Skinner, Mr. Butcher, Mr. Munns, Mr. Ginns, Mr. Warren, Mr. Wyldes, Mr. Packwood, and others, between eighty and ninety, who had put their names down to the guarantee fund, and who, with one or two exceptions, had paid up the promised original amounts each year, and the result was that they had a small balance of £30 in hand at the bankers. In conclusion, he would ask the churchwardens, with the consent of the good friends who had subscribed, to allow this small balance to be appropriated to the pointing of the spire. (Hear, hear.) It had been remarked by those who passed through the village that the spire looked likely to come down, and that was an occurrence none would wish. They did not wish to alter the present appearance of the spire, but if they could only repair the crumbling portions, and put the bit of iron at the top straight, it would be the crowning of their work. With regard to the thanks so liberally accorded to Mrs. Barker and him-self, he could only say that they were the leading horses in the team, and if they had got the coach through well it was because they had good thillers. (Cheers and laughter) He would suggest that a show of hands be taken as to the advisability of putting the spire in order. On this being done, a unanimous vote was given in favour of the proposal. On the suggestion of the rev. gentleman, three cheers were then given for the guarantors, coupled with the name of Mr. G. Skinner, sen. – Mr. G. H. skinner, who responded on behalf of his father, said he had paid it willingly, feeling it to be a duty and pleasure. He thanked them for the kind manner in which the name of his father had been received. – Mr. Mason, who, through illness, was unable to be present, was also specially mentioned as a most liberal supporter in the restoration of the church.

The remainder of the evening was spent in dancing, and amongst those present was the Countess Marie de Lalaing, of Brussels. Mr. H. Paine of Irchester accompanied on the violin and Mr. H. Sharp of Rushden, on the cornet. Mr. Sharp’s solos were very much appreciated, and the violin solos by Mr. G. F. Packwood were rapturously encored. The campanological achievements of the day were also very creditable, and for the first time in Rushden 5,940 changes of plain bob doubles were rung at one spell, in three hours and two minutes; weight of the tenor bell, 20cwt. The ringers were stationed as follows, 1 H. Clayton, 2 J. Baker, 3 W. Hall, 4 A. Martin, 5 C. Baker, 6 J. Bailey.

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