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From the note books of J E Smith, transcribed by John Collins, 2008
The Choir, Organ and Organist

In Year Order

Advert from 'Northampton Herald, July 17 1852

A Sermon in Rushden Church will be preached on Tuesday next, July 20th 1852, by the Right Rev the Lord Bishop of Peterborough, in aid of the repairs and fittings of the above Church, upon which occasion an organ, presented by John Cooke, Esq. will be opened.
N.B. Service will commence at Four o'clock p.m.

1852-53 Rushden Church Organ

Mrs Ratcliffe (wife of the Revd. Ratcliffe, Curate at Rushden in Rev. Downe’s time) had organ lessons from a Gentleman from Wellingborough, I suppose to get used to the new organ in Parish church put up in 1852 and opened on July 24th, 1852. This Mrs Ratcliffe gave lessons to Mrs Samuel Knight who is living up Kimbolton road near corner of Hayway, Rushden. Mrs S. Knight is 94 years of age & she was 17 or 18 years old when she had the above mentioned lessons & she was allowed to practice on the new organ, the latter was presented by a Mr Cook, farmer, then at Bencroft Lodge, Bedford road, Rushden where Mr Whittemore (junior), now lives. J. W. senior was buried last Thursday, Jany. 27, 1927. So Mrs Knight when a girl must have been the first one to learn on the New Organ with the exception of Mrs Radcliffe, the curate’s wife. Mr Ratcliffe, I think, wrote the inscription which was on the front of the Organ case. This 1st organ was taken down in 1874-5 & the present organ put up & opened 2nd February, 1875 by Ric. Harrington, organist of Wellingborough Parish Church, St Lukes. I had a few lessons (piano) of him in his house in Sheep St., Wellingborough, just opposite Lacks the nurseryman. A Mr John Foster of London opened the 1st mentioned organ in 1852. Mrs Ratcliffe, I think, was the first organist to Rushden Church, Mrs Walter Wagstaffe, I think, was next, then Mr Walter Spong, farmer, of Higham Ferrers who lived near the old Walnut Tree, then a Miss Margaret Packwood, daughter of George Packwood, old fiddler and cellist. The 1st time I had a lesson at Wellingborough, Mr Harrington was not in when I called, I was asked to go up to the Parish Church, he was giving an organ lesson to the above Miss Packwood. I little thought I should succeed her at Rushden in a few weeks because she could not manage the new organ in 1875, at Rushden, so Canon Barker told my uncle Abel Clarke at Stanwick when  he, Canon Barker, came over to see if I would play at Rushden. He invited me to come over & try it by playing at the Service the next Sunday morning, which I did, then had dinner at the Rectory, then walked to Souldrop (where I was organist), for the Afternoon & Evening Services, when I got home to Stanwick Monday morning having stayed the night at Souldrop, the Canon had sent a note by Swan the gardener to say he hoped I would accept the appointment which after a little thought I accepted and now February 1st, 1927, it is about 52 years I have been organist and Choirmaster here. I came last week of May 1875, leaving Souldrop the Sunday before (Trinity Sunday) also their Feast Sunday. I lived in Willmott’s house first, top of Fitzwilliam St. facing Wellingborough road. Then to John Clayton’s house, corner of Wymington road, old house, then to Ginn’s blacksmith, then to John Scott’s, close to Claridge’s factory. Married from this house to High St almost opposite Denton’s factory (where Harold Miller now lives, 1927). Then to house Wellingborough road which belonged to Sparrow the builder & where Carrington (the Palace manager, now lives), back to High St house, then back to old house, Wellingborough road, then down Church St no. 22 on corner of John St where I am writing this, opposite Dr Muriset’s & where Dr Baker used to live. Paul Cave offered me the High Street house because he had built the house where Mr Hyde now lives North end. When Arthur Cave married he wanted Paul’s old house so I had to leave & went Wellingborough road house, the only house to be let there & when Arthur Cave built his house, Kimbolton road where Mr White, bootfactor lives, he offered me the old High St house again. I liked it and went nearer my Church work & pupils, rent put up very high after I got in so soon left again, went back to Wellingborough road house, then home, 22 Church St. Joseph Enos Smith.

Wellingborough News, 19th July 1884, transcribed by Kay Collins

SUCCESSFUL LOCAL COMPETITOR—We are pleased to notice that Mr. J. E. Smith, the organist of the Parish Church of Rushden, has been successful in obtaining the first prize in the competition offered by the Orchestra for the best tune to the well-known hymn, "Hark, hark, my soul."

Sunday Sept 17th 1916

The Rev E Braley of Nottingham, late curate of Rushden Parish Church, preached 3 times; in the afternoon very large congregation of "Friendly Societies &c" filled the Church, the choir boys had to stand in front of their Choir seats to allow some of the men to sit, the Choir ladies 6 of them had to stand throughout the time, large congregation in the Evening too. I think the afternoon was the largest Congregation but one since I have been organist here (over 41 years) the largest was about 30 years ago at the end of a great Mission which Bishop Magee preached; people sat all along in front of the altar, on the steps & around the organ. I had one beside me on the organ stool.

1921 - A month before Easter this year when tuner from Messrs Nicholson’s, Palace-yard, Worcester, came to tune the organ he found the [Bourden] pipes partly blocked up with fungus, so a portion of it had to be removed, this was about 5 weeks being put in order. Mr Nichols & James Carpenter had floor up at back of organ, cleared out the fungus, put in tar & concrete. The fungus is spread again in June same year, so the Rector got Marriott builder to check it: he said it was want of a ventilator & his men cut away the bottom of the oak foundations & also put in a small grating at back, but I am afraid this will not stop it. J Enos Smith, organist of the same.
The organ was used in public for the first time on Tuesday Feb 2nd 1875, when the Church was re-opened after construction. I was appointed in May 1875, same year.
1924 March - Parish Church, St Mary’s, Rushden, Choirboys

Decani South: Reginald Hall, Harry Ginns, Morris Warren, Derrick Hollis, Percy House, Robert Butcher, Jack Pearson, Reg Langdon.

Cantoris North: Joe Ekins (leader), Bert Butcher, Hugh Whitworth, Sam Ekins, Stanley Whitworth, Ted Bird, Bernard Langdon, Dennis Ginns.

Probs: Eric Ginns, R. Robinson, Cecil Whitworth, Rodney Barker. Fred Bird.

Men: H. Geary, John Scott, E. Pashler, Lilley, Ball, Wollard, W. Ginns, Ernest Robinson, Coleman.

1925 Rushden Organist’s Outing To London

Saturday, July 11th, 1925. Beautiful day. D.O.P. met me at corner of Station Road – High Street and went with me by 7.27 train to Wellingborough, met Mr Essam of Kettering (organist of St Andrew’s Church), & 3 ladies, by train to Northampton, arrived about 8.20. Met Mr King, organist of St Matthew’s, Northampton & Mr Wood, organist of All Saints, Wellingborough & other organists. Went by charabanc from Market Square to Windsor. Peg Essam & myself sat in back seat of 1st motor, the scenery was very good especially near Windsor. We had to stop half way there to do a slight repair to engine. We arrived at Eton at about 12.30, went round the College. The organist showed us the organ which was very fine & then in the Chapel, no students about, from there to Castle Hotel for dinner, Sirloin Beef Salad. Peg had lettuce (which she is very fond of). We went and inspected state apartments at the Castle in afternoon, throne room & several others. Peg admired the paintings more than anything. We also went into the Chapel & the Memorial Chapel. The Chapel was under repair, the scene was very fine on the terrace, the way we went in. We had tea at Castle Hotel & then Peg & myself went shopping for a present while the other organists went to a special service in the Chapel, we went into Parish church almost opposite. I think we left Windsor about a quarter to 7. We sat together with two or 3 nice old ladies who gave us cherry sweets. Arrived at Northampton about 9.30. I think by bus to Wellingborough & just caught bus to Rushden, home about quarter past 11 after a splendid day just went in Pegs house then to 22 Church Street. Joseph Enos Smith, Organist & Choirmaster of St Mary’s Parish Church, Rushden. The holiday outing was in connection with the Northamptonshire Organists’ Association, they invited me & Peg. London is to be the outing in 1926.

1926 Rushden
Risdene St Mary's Church Choir - 1926
Lady Members of the Choir: Boys:
Miss Nellie Ginns Percy House
Miss Marjorie Sayers Teddie Bird
Miss Edith Warren Jack Pearson
Miss Kathleen Coe Reg Langdon
Miss Winifred Coe Rodney Barker
Miss Audrey Coe Jack Rivett
Miss M. Coe W. Woods
Miss Jessie Wheeler Cecil Whitworth
Miss Gladys Butcher Dennis Ginns
Miss Wrighton Dennis Brumwell
Miss Garley Stan Whitworth
Miss Mole Ron Robinson
Miss Jerry Rivett Dennis Ekins
Miss Pashler Edw Bozet
Miss Kitty House Ron Geary
Miss Blanche House Eric Ginns
Miss Doris Robinson Jack Morris
Miss Maggie Bailey B. Woods
Choirmen to Matlock. On Saturday July 3rd, 1926, some of the Choirmen of St Mary’s went to Matlock (not an official outing). We met opposite West front of Church at 6.30 a.m. It rained rather fast. D. O. Peg went with me & we met bottom of Church St, went up by the Green, Scroxton’s new Charabanc called the “Safety”, it held 24 with two drivers, which took it in turns being 84 miles to Matlock Bath. Started at 7, still raining. Charabanc covered in. By Higham Ferrers, Irthlingborough, Burton Latimer, Kettering (Rushton), Market Harborough, Kibworth. Stayed at Loughborough 30 minutes or more. D. O. Peg went to Park, saw new Bell Tower. I did not go (not knowing they were going there). A lady from Wollaston (Miss Rivet I think) greeted me as we sat in the Charabanc ready to leave Loughborough. We went through Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough, Derby, Duffield, etc. We arrived at Matlock Bath, the 1st place, about 11.30. Parked Charabanc against river, not far from railway station. I had 2 cups of tea in Tea Rooms near by. Peg would not go in, we sat on seat by river in the gardens close to. Had sandwiches & some of the party went one way, some another. Mr Lilley, Mr Geary, Mr Coleman, Mr Ginns, Mr Simmons & their wives, Mrs Hensman & a French young lady (or rather who teaches French at Rushden School), she comes from Stroud, Gloucestershire, Walter Bates & 22 altogether (besides drivers). Peg wanted to go up the Hills, we took tickets against the Iron Bridge, walked along by the river then up the hill to top & got a magnificent view looking toward Arkwrights Castle. We rested a bit on seat. Peg cut her “initials” on seat O.M.B. and J for Joseph. We went down to Garden again by river, then up another hill with Flagstaff on top where we stood, very fine view, we could see the other Matlock close by. Peg admired the scene very much indeed, down again we had to pay 4d each up this hill. Then we went up to the Heights of Abraham with Tower on top dated 1844. Lots of people up & down the tower & about. Peg would not go up, we sat down a minute or two opposite the Castle-looking house on the cliff close to the Cave. A lady met me against this Tower who used to live in Rushden in Hewitts old house opposite CoffeeTavern, she was from Wollaston. Down again. A tea at restaurant in large room, red wallpaper, red cups and saucers, red artificial flowers, room full of tea-people. Hot day. Bread, butter, small cakes, jam (we had to pay for Heights of Abraham), we had tea far corner of room as you enter to right against windows looking into a yard. Sat in garden a few minutes then Peg wanted to go up hill again opposite side of river over Iron Bridge same as before. We rested again on old seat, then down to gardens about a quarter to 7. Wallie Bates & his young man friend came along & sat with us. Peg & I went and sat in the Charabanc ready to start home. I being 75, a hard day for me to climb 3 mountains after 85 miles ride & yet 85 to come. We left for home at 7.30. Same way back but near Kettering, stayed 80 minutes at Leicester in a wide street (trams up & down all the time), about a mile (or less), from Market place. We walked down to the Clock Tower & along a street. I got cup of tea. Peg would not have one. Back to Charabanc. Sat in it and had to wait a long time for some of them. We sat in back seat there & back. It was cold & windy going home. Home at 12.30. We got out near Rushden Railway bridge, that is Station road & I went up to Wellingboro’ road with D.O.O., stayed a minute, then down Wellingboro’ road to 22 Church St., got supper, cup of tea, wash, to bed at 1.30. Rained to Loughborough going then fine all day & warm. Peg’s first time to Matlock. I went about … years ago with D.O.D. J. Enos Smith. This written here Sunday, July 11th, a bright, warm day & the Sunday School Children’s Festival of Flowers & Services. D.O.P. played at Chapel this morning. In my Music room, Church St overlooking Mrs Sartoris’s Park. Peg saw Bell Tower at Loughborough. I bought 2 walking sticks at Matlock, one for Peg.

We had a full practice at Church last evening, Wednesday, Sept 22, 1926. Another for next Sunday on Feast – “While the Earth remains to”. Psalms & Hymns. Rector at Oundle, Curate out. (Rev. Lipscombe).

1927 Rushden “Choir Outing” (Men only)

On Saturday, June 25th, 1927, Mr Fred Lilley who arranges these Choir outings, that is (they are not “Official”) or arranged by the Rector. Messrs Fred Lilley, H. Geary, Will. Ginns, Coleman & their wives, John Scott, Simmons & Walter Bates, all the above men are members of Parish Church Choir, St. Marys. A few others went including Mrs Bettles & Miss Olive Bettles, my assistant & pupil & myself Joseph Enos Smith, Organist & Choirmaster of St Mary's since March 1875. May not March. We went in Scroxton’s Safety Coach & another. We met opposite the Church at the old Green at 7 AM. I was in time as usual. We started off in Scroxton’s Motor Coach & a second Coach of Robinson. 31 of the party at 7.15. Not a bright morning but fine. I sat in back seat with Mrs & Miss Bettles, Harold Geary & his wife. To Higham, Stanwick, we saw the ladder up Stanwick spire ready to restore it. To Ringstead, Thrapston, Titchmarsh to Oundle. Stopped in Long Causeway at Peterborough. Some of the party including Peg tried to get into the Cathedral but not open (too early). I got glass of hot milk just opposite Motors in Long Causeway, then on again for Hunstanton. We stopped at Wisbech for refreshments & all had cup of coffee & roll of bread & butter I think, not far from Market Sq. The old River Nene looked almost empty, the road close to that is very dangerous & narrow. A large monument in Market Sq. We stopped at Sandringham and Photo taken of the party, we stood back to a garden gate leading to a very beautiful long path, rockery & flower arches. Peg came out well, I stood behind. I being the oldest (much), of the party being 76, grey headed. We had a look at the front gates with “Coat of Arms” opposite Sandringham House. Everything beautiful especially the Rhod(odendrons). We reached Hunstanton about 12.30. Put motors up at Hotel (top of the “Green”).

Extract from a note book of J E Smith NRO Ref: 285P/300 - taken from a locally held photocopy

Organists’ Association Outing to Cambridge
1928 June 9th, Saturday. The Organists’ Association from Northampton, Wellingborough & Rushden went by Charabanc to Cambridge. Mr Addis the Secretary of Northampton sent circular asking me to meet them at the ‘Hind’ Hotel, Wellingborough at 9.30. My assistant teacher & friend Olive Marie Bettles (who went with us to Windsor in 1925, to Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth, not Kenilworth, but Stratford-on-Avon in 1926, June 19th, also went with us. She came by bus from Rushden Hill where she lives & met me at bottom of Church St where I live at 22 (corner of John St). The bus came along at 8.30 to Wellingborough by way of Sanders Lodge. We arrived at Wellingborough about 8.50, waited in the new ‘Bus Shelter’ opposite ‘Hind’ Hotel. The Northampton people came along about 9.50, stopped opposite the ‘Hind’ with a nice Motor Charabanc. We got in the 4th seat from the front. The Rothwell organist, Mr Bloodworth & his wife met us, & the assistant organist Mr Archer from Wellingborough chapel. The weather cleared up (after a very wet early morning) whilst Peg & I were in the shelter down Sheep St. To Sanders Lodge opposite turn to Rushden, to Higham, not thru’ Rushden, down Higham past Chicheleys old College, up Kimbolton Road, Chelveston, Hargrave, saw Three Shires stone just opposite a cottage, to Tilbrook, Kimbolton, to St. Neots into Cambridge about 11.30. Streets crowded, last day of May, Boating week, driver got lost in Wavey? Street. We stayed at Matthews Restaurant. We went into Round Church first, 8 great Norman Pillars, but the modern part spoilt it. To dinner at Matthews at 12 o’clock, upstairs in oblong room with oak beams. Peg & myself sat at small table at far end with Mr Hulme, assistant at St. Matthew’s, Northampton & one other young fellow. I had cold roast beef & salad, tarts & cheese. Peg had ham & ox tongue. After dinner the ladies, including Olive, left us to visit the Ladies College with one of our party who had a daughter at the College. The men went to various places. I went with Mr Addis & Mr Robinson of St. James’s, Northampton & the two young fellows to ‘Kings’, ‘Trinity’ & ‘St. John’s’. We met a clergyman who knew Mr Addis & he took us back to see the kitchen. We had photos taken in St. John’s College grounds near the Cross in centre of lawn. We walked round other parts, I forget where, we went back to ‘Kings’ for service about 2.30. The others went into Choirs in East part, I was on the West side of organ screen. After some time Olive came in with other ladies & a gentleman. I sat with them on left side facing organ not far from Choir-boys vestry. I saw the choirs go in for Service & Olive saw return, about 15 boys in scarlet cassocks & 15 or 16 men from vestry on opposite side. Service unaccompanied, organ out of order. To Matthew’s for tea, we sat at centre, oblong table, sat at one end. I next with Mr Robinson of St. James’ on my right & a gentleman & lady opposite. After tea we had orders from Mr Addis our Secretary to meet at 8 o’clock against All Saints Church. Peg & I went into the Church & then up to Motor which stood opposite Parkers Piece, the driver was resting. He asked us to get in & rest, we did so and set there almost an hour watching hundreds of Motors pass. We started about 8.20 for home from All Saints Church, the same way back by way of St Neots, Kimbolton, Chelveston, Higham Ferrers. Peg & myself got out bottom of Higham, the others went on to Wellingborough & Northampton. We walked up the hill. I left Peg at her new home. A nice day’s outing. Supper & off to bed. Peg & I went to Marker Place after tea, Jesus Lane, Trinity Street. Old end of Cambridge, bought a few presents for Jeffes?, Mr & Mrs Bettles.

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NRO Ref: 285P/297
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