|Rushden Echo, August 24th 1923, transcribed by Kay Collins
Chelveston Baptist Chapel - A Forward Movement Rushden Assistance
The Baptists of Chelveston, who for many years have worshipped in a small mission room, up a flight of stairsa room which has had to serve for both public and Sunday school purposes, as well as for such social gatherings as have been possibleare now taking a decided step in advance, being engaged in the erection of a new chapel. The edifice, which, though small and unpretentious, will be well adapted for the objects for which it is intended, is conveniently situated near the entrance to the village not far from the W.M.C.
A start has now been made upon the work, and the new premises will comprise a chapel, a schoolroom at the rear of the chapel, a vestry, and the usual offices. The chapel, which will accommodate about 100 worshippers, will be 27 feet by 22 feet area space; and the schoolroom, accommodating about 40 scholars, will be 20 feet by 21 feet. There is to be a porch at the west end of the chapel, and the platform and pulpit will be at the east end. The building is to be of plain brick work, with slated roof; leaded-light windows will be inserted; and the interior will have a match-boarded dado all round, and plastered walls. The whole of the premises are to be heated by hot water, and lamps will be used for lighting. Mr. H. Adnitt, of Rushden, is the architect, and the builder is Mr. R. Marriott, of Rushden. As advertised in this issue, the stonelaying is on Thursday next.
Among the trustees of the new chapel are Messrs. J. T. Colson, F. Corby, and C. A. K. Green (Rushden), Lack, and Hinson (Chelveston). The trustees have given up a portion of their ground for a public improvement, in the form of the widening of the roadway, and improvement will be carried out at the expenses of the Northants County Council.
|Rushden Echo, August 24th 1923, transcribed by Kay Collins
Chelveston Baptist Chapel
The Stone-Laying Ceremony Yesterday
The History of the Cause
Yesterday the stone-laying ceremony in connection with the Chelveston new Baptist Chapel took place amidst the rejoicings of a large company of Rushden, Higham Ferrers, Stanwick, and Chelveston Baptists.
Some are still living who remember the beginnings of the Baptist Mission at Chelveston. Up to about 60 years ago the Baptists of Chelveston used to go to the services at Rushden, Raunds, and Irthlingborough, and on Sunday evenings meetings would be held in Chelveston cottages. Then, about the year 1863, a large upper room (seating about 80) of a dwelling-house, at that time occupied by Mr. James Farrow, was built for the purpose and was offered as a place of regular meetings and services, instead of going to different cottages, until a permanent “home” could be erected. To the services in the large room many worshippers, including those who had been to the churches in neighbouring towns, regularly gathered. The late Mr. William Gross, a farmer of Caldecott, a man much respected and revered in the district, generally conducted the meetings, and occasionally Rushden friendsMr. Ebenezer Knight, Mr. Andrew Corby, Mr. David Darnell, and otherswould take charge of the services. The late Mr. John Cave, of Rushden, was a not-infrequent worshipper at the services. Mr. James Browning, farmer, of Caldecott, a contemporary of Mr. Gross, was also an ardent Baptist worker at the time. Week-evening meetings were sometimes led by the Rev. E. E. Bradfield, who is described by one who was then a boy as resembling Oliver Cromwell, and a man who did much to further the cause at Chelveston. Mr. Gross, who was superintendent of the Rushden Old Top Meeting Sunday-school for 28 years, would many times attend a 6a.m. prayer meeting at Chelveston and three other services at Rushden on the same Sunday. After some years Mr. Gross became ill, and he asked the Rev. W. J. Tomkins (then minister at Rushden) to accept the charge of the new cause, and, from the death of Mr. Gross (Oct. 4th 1887), it formally became a mission, or auxiliary, of the
Rushden Top Meeting.
Services were still conducted on Sunday evenings in the room, the oversight for the time being locally in the hands of Mr. Charles Thew.
On Sept. 22nd 1889, a Sunday-school on modest lines was started, the founders being Mr. Thew, Mr. T. Wilson, and Mr. J. T. Colson, and met twice a day, in the morning the founders being the teachers. The afternoon assemblies were led by Mrs. Colson and Miss H. Firman. The school now numbers 40 scholars and six teachers.
During Mr. Thew’s term of office preachers continued to be sent from Rushden, amongst others being Mr. Darby, Mr. A. Dickens, Mr. D. Crick, and Mr. Thomas Surridge.
The afternoon school being over, public services were held, also in the evenings, and these have been kept up ever since. The school meantime was slowly but steadily growing, under the superintendency of Mr. T. Wilson, who relinquished the duties in 1898. For the last 25 years Mr. John Mayes has faithfully carried out the duties of the office. Some of the first scholars are now local preachers, Mr. L. Allen (of the Rushden Park-road Baptist) and Mr. Arthur Baxter (connected with the Higham ferrers Wesleyan Circuit). Others associated with the Chelveston Mission who are now lay preachers are Mr. H. Hinson and Mr. H. Watts, the latter a valued worker amongst the Sunday-school scholars. Mr. E. Lack, of Caldecott, is an energetic Band of Hope worker at the Mission.
About 20 years ago an American organ was purchased, and it still serves the purpose. Miss Hinson has for some time been organist.
Some changes (not all for the good, so the older members fear) have entered the lives of the Baptists of today, as compared with the original members of the Baptist church at Chelveston. Those earlier Baptists were “enthusiasts all the week,” one of their contemporaries says. In their little
they would make a pair of boots, complete from beginning to end, in a day. Their conversation would be chiefly of the Bible which was always with them, and mostly open. Rippon’s hymns were also constant companions. Those old worthies are described as “typical Northamptonshire Carey men.” They used to look on the deacons of the Rushden church almost as patriarchs.
As time went on the members felt the necessity for a larger and better place. The offertories, after the modest expenses had been met, were put aside, and, the amount increasing year by year, members eventually felt justified in launching out. About 30 years ago, Mr. J. T. Colson was requested by his fellow-members to be leader of the Mission, and this task he has faithfully carried out, and is still in office. To his enthusiasm and hard work is due much of the prosperity of the cause and the possibility of the early erection of the new chapel. The accumulated building fund had been added to by the legacy of about £14 (rent received by Mrs. Gross for the room up to the time that lady died), and in 1919, some property being sold in the village, members were able to secure the site on which the new chapel is being erected. The trustees are Messrs. J. T. Colson, F. J. Sharwood, F. Corby, (cont. on p8 of the newspaper!!)