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From the notebooks of J E Smith, transcribed by John Collins, 2008
Miscellaneous Notes about Churches

by Joseph Enos Smith

Old Barn, turned into a Chapel, School, Carpenters Shop, Primitive Chapel and Leather Warehouse, once called the Old Glory Shop which stood on the corner of the “Green” so Mr Fred Corby says. Also that he went school in the building when Mrs Wagstaffe kept it. He also told me that Mr Michael Mason’s house was built with stone and thatched, it stood opposite the “Waggon & Horses Inn” & near (now) 1927 to corner of Griffith St at the bottom of  Dr Davis’s Lawn. I well remember it when I went through Rushden to Souldrop.

J. E. Smith.

1603 John Roberts

The Sexton, Gilbert has just told me that one of Marriott’s men who have had ladders in Church this week on purpose for cleaning told him that the above name & date was written on a beam near the Angel with a Bugle near West Arch between Nave & South Aisle. Arch nearest West end.

D : S
1 7 6 ?

I copied this from a Stone in Floor, West end near Board with names of Rectors.
(The Register might explain who D.S. was).

“Old Rectory House”

The letters C and L and date 1696 are cut on a stone on Mr Fred Knight’s house, the Old Rectory House. I have just found out (Sunday Sept 12, 1915) what the letters mean: Charles Livesay. Rector of Rushden 1694-1702.

J. E. Smith.

1781 Wesleyan Methodist History

“The Old Chapel on the Green”. In a preachers’ plan of the Wellingborough Circuit in 1814, Rushden is entered with a Sunday evening preaching service at six o’clock, and in a Higham Ferrers Circuit Plan, 1831, it still had only one service. In 1850 the Services were at two & six o’clock and a fortnightly Monday evening Service at seven. In the year 1781 there were 15 members, in 1841 – 60 years later, the number was only 18. The class at Rushden in 1781 five of the 15 members were from Irchester & Wollaston. In 1838 Rushden had one class of 16 members, the leader being Mr Parker. At Rushden the preaching services were at first held in Cottages. Mrs Sarah Clarke says: “Meetings were held at the top of the village. Rebecca Clarke used to attend them, she has been dead 23 years (say 1884), she had turned 80”. There was a little chapel on the Green – originally a Barn. In a connection with the writer on Nov. 4th, 1907, Mr George Harris, born March 10, 1817, said: “Old Tommy Causebrook used to occupy the Barn. It was not his own property. I remember it being made into a Chapel. I should think I was about 12 years old then. I remember going to it when quite a boy with my mother. Before this the preaching was held in the house – before the conversion of Old Tommy Causebrook’s barn into a Chapel between the years 1825-1830. She was a member over 90 years ago. I was born on that bit of ground on the Green where Keller’s fruit shop now stands (1907) – just a few yards from the old Barn”.

Mrs Clarke says: “I was a scholar in the Sunday School at the old Chapel. I was taken there very young, perhaps about four years old. My father & mother, Robert & Eliza Dickens were amongst the first members of the Society. I have heard my father say there was a Society before he was connected with it. When I was a scholar there was on Sunday morning a prayer meeting from eleven to twelve and two preaching Services in the afternoon & evening. There was Sunday School in the morning from nine to eleven & in the afternoon from one to two. At the Sunday School Anniversary we would parade the village and sing our anniversary hymns. The tea for both children and adults was held in Mr Achurch’s barn in Duck St. He was a tenant of Squire (Frederick Urban) Sartoris. I do not remember it being held anywhere else. The school was started with ten scholars in, or about the year 1848. Mrs Ebenezer Claridge, Mrs Jacques, Mr Clark and I were amongst the first scholars. The Chapel was lighted with candles. My husband’s mother – Rebecca Clark used to go round twice during the service to snuff them. There was a Pulpit, with a Gallery opposite – and high-backed pews. The singers and the children were in the Gallery which was reached by very awkward steps. There were two square pews, one on each side of the pulpit, one occupied by the Dearloves of Higham Park and the other, I think, by the Sykes family living in Duck St. Mrs Clark remembered some of the old local preachers – Mr Haines, of Higham Ferrers, Mr Woods, of Souldrop, & others. They were entertained at her father’s house. Mr George Tailby, who died at Stanwick some years ago, was a very prominent person in the Old Chapel. He was Superintendent of the Sunday School and played a flute in the Chapel Choir. Mr Henry Dickerson played a bass viol. Mrs Wooding tells me it was called the “Old Glory Shop”. She met an old woman some time ago who asked her “if she was the Mrs Wooding who used to go to the old glory shop”. Mr & Mrs Wooding came to Rushden in 1880. In an appeal issued by the Independent Wesleyans in the year of 1898 on behalf of the New Church Building Fund it states: Previous to 1849 we visited as a Methodist Society, services being held in a Small Chapel near the Village Green. A Sunday School was started in 1848 with ten scholars. In consequence of the disruption in Methodism the Society became non-connexional. This is misleading. The Society did not sever its connection with the Circuit until the end of 1850, as will be seen from the Circuit Account Book, which show the effect of the great convulsion in the contributions to the Quarterly Meeting. In the March quarter of 1849 the sum was £2-1-7; September of the same year (23 members) £1-17-0; December quarter, 1849 £1-11-0; March 1850 £1-8-3; June quarter, 1850 £1-7-0; December 14/-. In the March quarter 1851, return. That the Chapel was not closed before the year 1850 is evident from the inclusion of Rushden in the Preacher’s Plan of that year. It disappears as a contributory to the Quarter Board in April, 1851. At the Local Preacher’s Meeting at Higham Ferrers on October 5th, 1851, “It was asked that Rushden be taken on the plan if a house can be obtained there”. After the collapse of the Methodist cause the Little Chapel had a chequered career. It was acquired by Mrs (F. U.) Sartoris, who opened an Infants’ Day School, of which Mrs Margaret Wagstaffe was the mistress. This was in Canon Barker’s time. On the building of the National Schools at High St South the little chapel was no longer needed. It was next used as a carpenter’s shop, and later, in the year 1880, the Primitive Methodists took possession, and two or three years later it was pulled down to make room for shops. The shop of Mr Knight, hairdresser, occupies the same site. In the Higham Circuit Returns, March 1851 of Chapel sittings, etc., Rushden is entered as a Hired Chapel and the date when first occupied, 1834. It had 60 free sittings and 46 other sittings. Congregation: March 30, 1851: 50, 40 and 40. Sunday morning, afternoon and evening. Sunday scholars, morning & afternoon, 72 and 72. In the tables showing the collections from the different Societies in the General Chapel and Wesleyan Education Fund for the years 1846 to 1856 inclusive, each year separately, the last collection from Rushden was in 1850. There is a pencil note “Chapel taken away”.

Copied from Rushden Echo, dated May the 20th, 1927, page 6 and is Article No. 11 by S.M.

1781 Chapel History

Travelling preachers from Bedford, generally on horseback went in all directions preaching the Gospel. Some of them passed through Rushden to Wellingborough. We know that at least as early as 1781 there was a Society at Rushden led by Thomas Angrave of Irchester, a Miss Angrave connected with the Irthlingborough Chapel was probably a relation of the same name who were members of the Rushden Society in 1781.

From the Wesleyan Methodist History, Article No. 12 in Argus dated May 27, 1927.

Annual Tea Treat In Churchyard

About the year 1850, I have been told by two old people who remember the Children’s Tea Treat being held in the Churchyard under the old Elm Trees close to the High Street & that it was supposed that the then Schoolmaster, Mr Phillips, caught a chill at that tea & died soon after. The Rev Doune was Rector at that time. Old Mrs Brightwell told me that this on Wednesday, Sept 1 1915 when I was showing Mr & Mrs Brightwell round the church & I pointed out to her Mr Phillips’ stone.


Parish Church

The Belfry stage is truly admirable, the graceful & Perpendicular Belfry window. Whilst the lights which are Decorated. From one of my 1st books dated 1908. “Church of St. Mary”.

Date 1718 in Label termination on West end of Aisle Extension. Note: I saw this date complete a few years ago. Now (1927) two of the figures are broken off. That is two figures 17, were on one end of Label & the others were (18) on the other. It is the window between North side of Spire and the West window of North End, not in Exterior end (West) of North Aisle.

J. Enos Smith. Jany. 31, 1927.

1915 Parish Church (St. Marys)

“Harvest Festival”

Held on Thursday Evening, Sept 23rd & again on Sunday Sept 26th. The Preacher on Thursday was our old Rector Ven. Arthur Kitchin, now of Hardingstone, nr Northampton. Sunday morning, Rev. Richards, of St. Peter’s, Rushden, in the Evening, Rev. Robson, Rector. The Anthem on Thursday & last night was the first Chorus out of S….’s “God Thou art great” went first class. This makes the 40th Harvest Festival I have played at in our old Parish Church as I was appointed in May 1875 & I have not missed one.

Joseph Enos Smith, Monday, Sept 27th, Rushden Feast


A visit to Peterborough Library of the Archdeacon over the old archway in Cathedral Precincts. I heard part of the 5.30 Service in Cathedral. Psalms chanted faster than at Rushden. Cup of tea in Rooms, Long Causeway, where Choir-boys had dinner year or two ago. Mr Will Smith, farmer, was with me. He had been to the Market & bought £300 worth of cattle. In the Cathedral a workman was carrying figures of Saints in west from Choir seats or rather the Screen. I had my sandwich for lunch walking round east end of Cathedral. The new Buttress on North wall was finished. I also went up to Free Library. Lots of hares, rabbits & pheasants in the meadows near Thrapston.

J. Enos Smith

Chapel Yard

Mr Lewis (one of our Council men) told me on Wednesday, May 25, 1927 that old Jeremiah Wood who used to keep a donkey & cart lived in the Chapel yard at the corner of the Green near Mr Knight’s the barber. Wood used to attend Wellingborough Market & do errands for people, so you see in those days he was a prominent useful man. I well remember the old small Barn which became a Chapel, also a carpenters shop. I knew the building from March 1873 when I first came through Rushden to play at Souldrop Church. I cannot say what year it was pulled down & do not remember ever going in it as I had no time when I went through.

Joseph Enos Smith

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.


The Workhouse, Stocks & one Factory

Old Mr John Cave said in 1902 that at the time of the Coronation of Queen Victoria (28th June 1838) there was a workhouse in the churchyard containing 6 or 7 women or poor people, also that the Stocks stood on the Green for wicked people & that there was only one Factory in Rushden at that time.

1928. The workmen clearing away the soil between Vestry Hall & Mr Whites Boot Factory found a well with a gravestone on top of it. It was the garden of the old Church House. The well is about 20 feet deep, stone built, is within a yard of the steps leading to the Porch of the Vestry Hall, just opposite of that first landing of the steps. The stones of the wall are very smooth on the face as if they have been there a long time. The friction of the bucket up and down made them smooth. The thick stone which looked like iron stone, lay on the top of well & has upon it: Here lieth ye body of Thomas, son of Moses & Mary Gobby, who departed this life May . . . 26 years of age 1728. ‘Death comes to all both rich and poor, To old and young He does not miss a door, To which He has to fetch them must away, Their glass being empty they now no longer stay’.

In August 1924

Mr Charles Clayton a son of the late William Clayton, who was as a lad in the garden at the Hall, many years head gardener at Rushden House (now Sanatorium) under Mr Currie, this William Clayton helped set the Chestnut tree in the centre of the Green, now pulled down for Memorial. He also helped pull down the old Round House which stood on the Green. His son told me this August that his father William Clayton had the old key of the Round House

I wonder where it is now, J. E. Smith

NRO Ref: 285P/297
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