Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
Rushden Echo & Argus 19th March 1937, transcribed by Kay Collins
Mr George Stewart Mason
Council Clerk and Churchwarden
Rushden’s Indebtedness to the Late Mr. G. S. Mason
A Great Loss

George Mason Esq
George Mason Esq

Few men can have had a greater influence on the rise and development of Rushden as an urban community than did Mr George Stewart Mason, who died at his residence in The Hayway, Rushden, last Friday afternoon.

From the time that Rushden first exercised self-government in the form of a Local Board, Mr Mason was clerk to the local authority until his retirement just three years ago. He was thus the adviser of those who ruled the town almost throughout the period which has followed its emergence from village status, and the regularity with which his counsel was accepted was tribute alike to his ability and his character.

Son of the late Mr Stewart Mason, he belonged to a family which goes back in Rushden history for many generations. He was born at Rushden 75 years ago and after a good secondary education was articled at Higham Ferrers to the late Mr W H Simpson, solicitor. Afterward he became a partner and, round about 1890, opened the Rushden office of Simpson and Mason.

In 1888 Mr Mason became a member of the Rushden School Board, on which he served for a few years, and he was clerk to the Higham Ferrers School Board up to the time when it became a district sub-committee of the county authority.

Respect and Confidence

On the formation of the Rushden Local Board in 1891 he was appointed clerk, and in 1894, with the change to urban status, his position was confirmed. Unassuming, sometimes reticent, he nevertheless won the deepest respect and confidence of all who came into the work of local administration, and the excellence of Rushden’s services, equally with the Council’s reputation for decorous efficiency, can be ascribed in large part to his personal influence.

“He has been a very honest servant of the town—honest beyond reproach.”

This was the tribute of Mr John Spencer, J.P., the then chairman, three years ago, when Mr Mason retired from the clerkship. It was recognised and freely stated that the service thus rendered was born of a deep-rooted affection for the town and an earnest desire to advance its welfare.

Mr Mason was also clerk to the Higham Ferrers and Rushden Water Board since its formation in 1902 until 1934. The building of the Sywell reservoir was one of the greatest enterprises with which he was concerned. During the Great War he was clerk to the Rushden Tribunal.

Church and Sport

Apart from this official work Mr Mason filled several roles with distinction. In his younger days he was outstanding as a sportsman, showing proficiency in several games, but more particularly in Rugby football. Afterwards he was for some 40 years churchwarden at St Mary’s Church—loyal, dignified and the unfailing friend and support of every rector with whom he worked. He helped in the formation of the Rushden Conservative Club and was its first secretary and, to the end, its solicitor. He was also secretary to the Rushden and Higham Ferrers District Gas Company, and had held the position for a great many years. On many occasions the gardens of his residence were thrown open for church and charity fetes.

In spite of failing health Mr Mason remained in the firm of Simpson and Mason until quite recently.

It is a particularly sad circumstance that he died on the anniversary of the death of his only son, Mr Randall Stewart Mason—a young man of brilliant promise who was killed in action on March 12th 1915, while serving as an officer of the Rifle Brigade—and on the day following his own 75th birthday.

Mr Mason’s widow is a daughter of the late Ald. E B Randall, J.P., onetime Mayor of Higham Ferrers. She has one daughter, Mrs A L Sanders. Miss A K Mason is tha late Mr George Mason’s only sister, and the late Mr John S Mason, auctioneer, was the only brother.

The Funeral

In spite of inclement weather there was a large and representative company at the funeral service, which took place on Tuesday afternoon at St Mary’s Church and was conducted by the Revs. E A Green (Rector) and Travers S Stoney (recently Rector of Rushden and now Vicar of Thurnby, Leicestershire).

The choir attended, and the music included Psalm 23 and the hymns “Let saints on earth” and “Through the night of doubt and sorrow.” Mr Alfred Clarke, A.R.C.O., was the organist.

The interment at the Rushden cemetery, where the Rector read the committal sentences and the Rev T S Stoney pronounced the Benediction.

The principal mourners were Mrs Mason (the widow), Mr and Mrs A L Sanders (son-in-law and daughter), Miss Mason (sister), Mr W L Beetenson, Mr J C J Simpson, Mrs E White and Nurse Brown.

Representing the Rushden Urban District Council were Councillors J T Richardson (Chairman), W E Capon (Vice-chairman), J Spencer, J.P., A Allebone, J.P., C.C., J Hornsby, A Wilmott, L Perkins, M.B.E., F Green, T W Cox, J White, W J Sawford, J S Denton, J E Dilks and H Waring, with Messrs H Lack, F S F Piper, J W Lloyd, A Maclean, G+H J Gould, H C Allen, M S Boyd and G S Turner (officials). Councillors J Allen and E A Sugars were unable to attend.

Ald. F Walker, J.P. (Chairman) and Mr G W Battersby represented the Higham Ferrers and Rushden Water Board.

Those representing the Rushden and Higham Ferrers District Gas Co. were Messrs A O Groome, H R Patenall, R F Knight and A L Cunnington (directors), A T Watson, T Watson, W H Spicer and A T Chambers (staff).

St Mary’s Church was represented by Dr D G Greenfield and Councillor J Roe (churchwardens), Dr R W Davies (Church Council Secretary), Mr C F Tall (former warden), Mr C Clifton and many members of the congregation, the Rushden Conservative Club by Mr R R Brown.

The staff of Messrs Simpson and Mason, solicitors, were present and included Miss M Tailby, Miss T Keeler, Miss E Pickering, Miss K Parkin, Miss I Lawman, Miss E Leigh and Mr W Hankins.

[A long list of other attendees, and of the floral tributes follows]

The grave was lined with violets and narcissi on a background of evergreen.

Messrs Whittington and Tomlin carried out the funeral arrangements.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the People & Families index
Click here to e-mail us