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Rushden Echo, 13th December 1907, transcribed by Gill Hollis
The New Church At Rushden - 1907

Consecrated Yesterday - By The Bishop of Peterborough


Satisfactory Finances

Rushden’s new church was consecrated yesterday by the Bishop of Peterborough, and the proceedings throughout were of a most successful character. The new church, which is dedicated to St. Peter, occupies an excellent site in Midland-road, in front of the former mission church, which will in future be used for Sunday school purposes. Entrance to the church can be obtained from Station-road as well as Midland-road, and a very populous part of the parish of Rushden will be served by the new edifice.

Origin Of The Scheme

We have in previous issues of the Rushden Echo, described the building scheme in detail, and it will now suffice to state that the origin of the movement lies to the credit of the Rev. C. J. Gordon, who succeeded the late Canon Barker as Rector of Rushden. Mr. Gordon found that his health was not sufficiently robust to allow him to carry out his duties as he would have wished to perform them, and he felt compelled to resign the living of Rushden in favour of a less exacting sphere of labour. When he left Rushden he made a very generous offer of financial aid towards the erection of a church in the Midland-road end of town. This offer had the effect of stimulating the Churchmen of Rushden to eager efforts to raise the necessary funds, but the scheme was delayed at a critical juncture by the removal from Rushden to Peterborough of the Rev. W. R. Morse, who had succeeded the Rev. C. J. Gordon as Rector of the parish and who had taken a keen interest in the building scheme. Besides the removal of Mr. Morse, there was the season of commercial depression which came over the town. However, the new Rector (the Ven. Archdeacon Kitchin) set to work upon the scheme as soon as he possibly could, and he worked with the same enthusiasm and devotion as characterised his predecessors, with the result that the new church was yesterday formally opened for divine worship. The financial position of the scheme is a most encouraging one, and it is gratifying also to state that the new organ is now paid for.

Architectural Features

shortly before completion
Almost completed
From an architectural point of view, the new edifice is a notable addition to the public buildings of Rushden. Designed as a town church, in the spirit of 15th century Gothic, it consists of a nave and chancel 113 feet long, of the same width of 25 feet throughout, and under a continuous roof, with north and south aisles, morning chapel on the north side of the chancel, and organ chamber, clergy, and choir vestries on the south.

The nave consists of five bays with elongated octagonal piers and moulded arches dying into the same without moulded capitals, and is lighted by a large six-light traceried window in the west end and by three-light clerestory windows.

The chancel is divided from the nave by a high moulded and carved oak screen, with ornamental wrought-iron stanchions and saddle bars. The choir will be seated in oak moulded and carved benches, with seats for the clergy on either side, so placed as to give a return passage for communicants.

The organ, by Messrs. Nicholson and Co., of Worcester, has a specially designed oak case by the architects. The east traceried window of seven lights is placed high up to allow of a handsome dossal of tapestry. The remainder of the east end is panelled in oak, with a sedilia on the north side and aumbry on the south side.

The morning chapel has seats for 24 with separate entrance through the turret, and is divided from the north aisle by an oak screen.

An unusual feature is the panelling in oak of the lower part of the nave piers and the foundation stone on the north eastern one.

The church is built of brick, with Weldon stone dressings, and roof of tiles. The edifice has a lofty appearance, especially as viewed when approaching up the hill from the Station-road. The straight lines of the nave and aisles are broken by the bell-turret, the doorway in which forms a second entrance to the church and morning chapel. The principal entrance is through the north porch, which has a niche above the doorway for a statue of St. Peter. The church is seated with chairs and will accommodate 520 worshippers. It has been built by Mr. Robert Marriott, of Rushden (one of the sidesmen of the Mission Church), from the designs of Messrs. Talbot Brown and Fisher, of Wellingborough, under the immediate superintendence of Mr. Talbot Brown.

The carving of the screen, organ case etc., is by Mr. Reynolds, of Northampton, and the heating is on the warmed fresh air principle by Mr. John Grundy, of London. Messrs. Seckington and Son, florists, of Rushden, have planted the churchyard with trees and shrubs.

Although it may appear that this church is wonderfully well appointed, there are still some matters that await the generous-minded, and which the architects desire in order to make the church complete, as, for instance, a carpet for the sanctuary and morning chapel, a wrought-iron screen between the morning chapel and the chancel, a lectern, and font. A design for the latter is on view at the west end. The new church is a credit alike to the architect and the builder.

The Consecration Service - Sermon By The Bishop

The first service in the new church was held yesterday afternoon at three o’clock, the edifice being consecrated by the Bishop of Peterborough (Dr. Carr Glyn). The church was crowded. As the worshippers assembled, several voluntaries were rendered on the organ by Mr. W. P. Jolley.

Punctually at 3 p.m., the Bishop – who was preceded by the Rev. G. M. Davidson (Vicar of Higham Ferrers), acting as bearer of the pastoral staff, and followed by the Revs. S. Frost (Rector of Shelton) and H, W. Richards (Rector of Stanwick), acting as his lordship’s chaplains – was received at the main entrance to the church, in the Midland-road, by the Rector of Rushden (the Ven. Archdeacon Kitchin, RD.) and other clergymen. His lordship was accompanied by Mr. Magee, the Chancellor of the Diocese, who is a son of a former Bishop of Peterborough, the eminent Dr. Magee. The clergy present included the Revs. J. C. Dearden and E. G. Betenson (Curates of Rushden), C. J. Gordon and W. R. Morse (former Rectors of Rushden), F. E. Perrin (Vicar of Carbrooke, Norfolk, formerly Curate at Rushden), H. K. Fry (Vicar of Raunds and formerly Curate at Rushden), Canon Petit (secretary of the Additional Curates’ Society), W. K. Smart (Shefford, father of the Curate who is coming to Rushden), R. B. Ince (Curate of Higham Ferrers), C. Howes Smith (Vicar of Yelden), A. E. D. Disney (Stony Stanton, and formerly Curate at Rushden), R. C. Thursfield (Rector of Cranford), F. E. M. Girling (Souldrop), C. Brooke (Grendon), J. K. Taylor (Rector of Irthlingborough), F. Ball (Vicar of Easton Maudit), and others. The following accepted invitations, but were unable to attend : The Revs. Canon Hodson (Rector of Aldwinckle), W.W. Dennett (Rector of Twywell), Harcourt Powell (Vicar of Wollaston), W. Kitchin (Vicar of Podington), C.E. Drew (Rector of Wymington).

On his entering the church the Bishop was formally presented with a petition signed by the Rector of Rushden, the church warden Mr. G.S. Mason and Mr. G. Skinner, and others, pointing out the need which existed in Rushden for further accommodation for whose who desired to attend divine service according to the rites of the Church of England and praying that he would consecrate the new church which had been erected. This petition was read in a clear voice by the Chancellor, after which the Bishop said : In answer to the petition, we will now proceed to consecrate this church, and may God bless our efforts, for Christ’s sake.

A procession was then formed, consisting of the choir (surpliced) and clergy, the bearer of the pastoral staff, the Bishop, and the Bishop’s chaplains, and, while Psalm cxxxii was sung, a complete circuit of the church was made. At the conclusion of the Psalm, the procession halted at the main entrance, forming two lines, so as to allow the Bishop with his chaplains and the Chancellor to reach the door. Having repeated the Lord’s prayer, the Bishop said a suitable collect : “Grant that as we enter this place in lowliness of heart the evil spirits may be put to flight, and the angels of peace may enter in; and that Thou, O Lord of Hosts, wouldest take this to be Thine house for ever.”

With his pastoral staff in his right hand, the bishop, who was now outside the church, knocked three times upon the closed door, using the words of the Psalm. “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up , ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in.” the door was then opened, and the Bishop, standing at the west end of the church said :

Peace be unto this House from God our heavenly Father.

Peace be unto this House from His Son Who is our Peace.

Peace be unto this House from the Holy Ghost the Comforter.

The procession next walked through the church from west to east, singing Psalm xxiv., the clergy and choir then taking their places in the chancel. The Bishop laid the keys upon the Table, and then knelt down in silent prayer. The Bishop, clergy, and congregation still kneeling, the hymn “Come Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,” was sung. After the litany had been said by the Rector, the Bishop, with his chaplains, proceeded to various parts of the church – the font, the chancel steps, the lectern, the pulpit, the clergy stalls, the choir seats, and the communion table – offering up an appropriate prayer at each, suitable sentences from the scriptures being said by the clergy, choir, and congregation. After further prayers, the Bishop seated himself in his chair in the chancel, and ordered the Sentence of Consecration to be read by the Chancellor. This declared that the edifice was for ever set apart from all profane and common uses.

“I now declare this church of St. Peter’s, Rushden, to be duly consecrated,” said the Bishop, and he ordered the document which had been read by the Chancellor to be enrolled and preserved in the muniments of the Registry of the Diocese.

The hymn, “We love the place, O God,” was sung, after which the Bishop preached. The sermon, which was couched in homely, simple, but impressive language, lasted only ten minutes. “My House shall be called the House of Prayer” was the text.

The Sermon

We come together to-day – said his lordship – for the consecration of this church. You have long had it in your minds and in your prayers, and to-day you see the fruition of your hope. This church is built and consecrated for yourselves, and I believe everyone of you will be thinking now how these walls will outlive all of us, and our children, and our children’s children. Generation after generation will pass through these doors and kneel at the holy table. Long after our time, this shall be called “the House of Prayer.” Think of the old men, the old people, the young ones with life before them, the children to be confirmed, the mother with the little babe in her arms – all yet unborn – who will come through those doors to this house that you have built. Don’t you like to think of that? Here is the church, to be passed on long after we have gone, and they will say that in this year 1907 this church was built, and in those far away ages they will say “Who was alive at that time?” and they will remember some of the names. Your work will thus go up and meet you there – in heaven – and bring back all the joy and thankfulness of to-day.

And now I have only a moment, for the service is the best sermon to-day. I look at you, and you are all different. You are each of you an individual with a separate life. You have your individuality. You may be sitting next to your husband, your brother, your sister, but you are each different. No two are alike; each has his own character. And as I go about this diocese with my 600 churches, I have to remember that every one of that great family has its own character. What sort of a character will this church have? You have got to make that character. You have got to lay the foundation stone of the character of this church. I go into some churches, and I see there is a lack of reverence; we go into others, and we feel that the church is full of God. I want you to form the right character for this church. See that your services are full of God; see that in those services you speak to Him and remember Him; see that you let others understand that you are coming here, not for anything else, but to Him, to seek Him and to worship Him and to pray to Him. And come here with everything for Him, keeping nothing back, having no secrets from your Father who knows you, and, knowing you, loves you; Who knows you within and without, knows every thought, every idea, every intention of your mind, and yet loves you. Have no secrets from Him. Tell out to Him the very lowest, innermost secret of your life; tell it to Him; and then, as the years pass by, you will be getting ready for that other world, that real world that lies beyond, and you will so pass through things temporal that you finally lose not the things that are eternal, to which of His mercy, may He bring us all, for Christ’s sake.

During the Hymn, “Christ is made the sure foundation,” an offertory was taken for the building fund, the sum collected being £37.

The Bishop, holding his pastoral staff in his left hand, and with his right hand upraised, solemnly pronounced the Blessing, and the recessional hymn, “Now thank we all our God,” was sung.

Public Tea

Speeches by The Bishop, The Rector, and Former Rectors

A public tea was held at the Public Hall at five o-clock and was attended by a very large number, the Hall being filled to its utmost capacity.

Archdeacon Kitchin, after tea, expressed pleasure at the presence of the Bishop and thanked him for his interest in the parish. He went on to say : This is a great day in the history of Church work in the town, a day to which we have looked forward and for which we have worked very hard. You all know the history of the little church built by a former Rector who will speak to you in a few minutes. (Applause.) When that little church became insufficient for the needs of the parish, Mr. Gordon made a magnificent donation, and your late Rector, Mr. Morse – (applause) – began to collect funds for the new church. The people of St. Peter’s collected £200 amongst themselves, and Mr. Morse obtained a grant of £150 from the Oakham Church Extension Board and £100 from the Church Building Society. When I came to Rushden I was told that the first thing I should have to do would be

To Build A New Church

Before Mr. Morse left extensive preparations had been made for the bazaar which was held in May last year, and which was a phenomenal success. Thanks to the wonderful energy of the workers £755 was realised and we found ourselves then £2,500 in hand. It had been intended to build only half the church, and it was calculated that a debt of about £600 would remain. A debt is a very unpleasant thing and I felt that to have only half a church would be hardly satisfactory, so we laid our heads together and in August last year the four years’ guarantee scheme was started. By December last year we were able to raise £960 by that scheme, and a parishioner who wished to be nameless came forward, helped largely, and promised further help. The Oakham Church Extension Board increased their grant from £150 to £400, and the Church Building Society increased theirs from £100 to £130. a large number of donations also came in, with the result that during the last two years we have been able to get together £2,850 for the church. (Applause.) We have

Collected £4,600 Altogether

I believe I am within the mark in saying the total expenditure will not exceed £4,800, and so, at the present time we only need something less than £200. Towards that we have received at the church this afternoon rather over £37. (Applause.) Then the St. Peter’s people said. We must have an organ. On the recommendation of Mr. Talbot Brown, Messrs. Nicholson and Co. prepared a specification at a cost of £340. There is a wealthy gentleman, Mr. Andrew Carnegie by name, who spends part of his wealth in giving whole libraries and half organs. (Laughter.) he gave the town a library and I thought he might provide us with half an organ. In reply to a letter he wrote that he would give £170 as soon as the other £170 had been raised. Last Saturday I was able to announce in church that the whole sum for the organ had been collected. (Applause). I think we have

Great Cause For Thankfullness

I wish to thank most earnestly and sincerely all who have worked so hard and have contributed with so much self-denial to the building of the church. In Mr. Talbot Brown, the architect, we have one who has saved us all the expense possible but has succeeded in giving us a beautiful, dignified, devotional church – a very wonderful church when we consider the comparatively small sum of money it has cost. (Applause.) I should like to thank the builder of the church, Mr. Marriott. (Applause.) We are sorry that domestic affliction prevents his being with us this afternoon. Mr. Marriott has built the church as a labour of love and has put most excellent materials into it. I should like to thank the large number of workmen who took part in the building of the church for the keen interest they took in the work, and I am glad to know there were only two very slight accidents among them. Lastly, I must thank Mr. Betenson, curate-in-charge of St. Peter’s for all his assistance in connection with the building of the new church and his

Whole-Hearted Support

I consider myself fortunate in having as a colleague one who is so earnest and able as Mr. Betenson – a gentleman in every sense of the word. I hope that he may minister in the new church for many years. (Applause.) As for you, my friends, what shall I say to you? You have your church building, at the cost of considerable self-denial – value it, use it, and prize it. We are entering to-day upon a new chapter in the history of church work in the town. Let us show a united front and show a keen interest in everything that pertains to the church, resolved that the work in which we are engaged shall go forward. (Applause.)

The Bishop of Peterborough voiced the pleasure of the parishioners that the late Rectors had brought their ladies with them and went on to say : I think you are to be congratulated on many things – first of all on that beautiful church we have consecrated this afternoon, and which I am sure you will use faithfully and fully. Then you are to be congratulated not only on the builder but also on the architect. The work has been

Most Admirably Done

and it is a matter of great gratification that the cost has been so small. Then you are to be further congratulated on the fact that you have one of the best of good Rectors at the head of affairs, and I wish him long life and happiness and a successful ministry in the service of Almighty God. (Applause).

The Rev. C.J. Gordon said : I have no claim to be remembered by many of you as having had a share in the church work of the parish, seeing that it is nearly 20 years since I first made acquaintance with Rushden, the most interesting place in which I have ever lived. (Applause). It is a very serious thing to undertake the building of a new church among the fine churches of the Nene Valley, and it was with fear and trembling I looked forward to seeing the church which had been consecrated to-day. But though you could not rival the art of the 14th century, you could raise a church suitable for

The Needs of To-Day

and that has been your aim. You have achieved your ambition, and I congratulate you on your work. What you have achieved will, I know, only be vantage-ground for further action. Though the new church has no antiquity to endear it to the worshippers, there is hopefulness in the idea that all its work and history lies in the future. (Applause).

The Rev. W. R. Morse said : I can hardly tell you what my feelings are, to be back again in the old place, where I spent nine happy years, to find myself among so many friends and to have the privilege of rejoicing with you in a matter I know to be very near your hearts. I well recall the time when we first contemplated this scheme. How overwhelmed we were at the vastness of our idea. It

Seemed Impossible

of realisation, but it has been realized and you have a church of which you are justly proud. All the difficulties have been faced and you are now looking back on them. (Applause.) Shall we not go back to our individual lives with greater thoughts and larger hopes? I trust sincerely that the same joy which fills all hearts to-day as we witness the completion of this great work will also settle in the homes of the people and bring peace and gladness. (Applause.)

Canon Petit also addressed the gathering. He was glad to be in Rushden to give a greeting to the people of a parish of which he had heard a good deal. The Church of England might be likened to an ancient tree, of which St. Peter’s Church was the latest twig. He congratulated them on their prominent position, which they might occupy for a few days perhaps, till another twig appeared. (Laughter). He was sure that the people of Rushden were contributing to the real and permanent welfare of the nation. (Applause.)

Last Night’s Service

The Rev. C. J. Gordon preached last night to a large congregation, the Rector and the Rev. E.G. Betenson taking part in the service. Mr. Gordon’s sermon, which was listened to with the keenest interest, dealt with the foundation stone of character, and he also alluded to the training of St. Peter, to whom the new church was dedicated.

The collection realised over £6.


A Century of Witness Developments to 1940 More Developments - 1940-1979 Church Life

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