|“The History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire”, J Bridges, 1791
RUS HDEN; in domesday book named Risdene a village of more than one hundred and fifty families hath Knotting and Wymington in Bedfordshire on the south and on the north Higham-Ferrers and the Nine, with Newton and Chelston on the east. The lordship is well watered with several springs.
At a furlong distance to the north-west from the town, is an house with grounds belonging to it, in some writings called Scanthorp, of which Mr. Henry Hall is the proprietor.
At the time of the conqueror's survey, Risdene was a member of Hecham manor. Here were six hides; the arable land was twelve carucates in the hands of nineteen socmen. There was a mill rented yearly at x s. and thirty acres of meadow. In the sixth year of Hen. III. fine was levied between Sara the daughter of Warine Falconer demandant, and Henry Billing and Wimar his wife deforciants of a moiety of three virgates of land in Rischeden to the use of the said Henry Billing. By the inquisition taken in the same reign Henry Billing was certified to hold a sixth part of one knight's fee in Risden of William earl Ferrars of the honor of Peverel. In the thirty fifth year of Edw. I. it was in the hands of Richard Faber who held it of the earl of Lancaster. In the ninth year of Edw. II. the earl of Lancaster was lord of Rushden. Upon collecting the aid for knight-ing the king's son, in the twentieth of Edw. III. William de Brabasoun accounted for a sixteenth part of one knight's fee here, of the earl of Ferrars of the honor of Peverel. In the thirty fifth year of the fame reign Henry duke of Lancaster, by licence from the crown, conveyed the manor of Rushden with the manors of Higham and Raundes in trust to the bishop of Lincoln and others. Coming to the crown, as part of the duchy of Lancaster, Edw. IV. in the fifteenth year of his reign levied a fine of it. It was afterwards settled in Charles II's time on the queen dowager Catherine, but reverting at her decease is now in the king, under whom John Ekins Esq; is steward for the manor. He hath here an old atone house, with adjoining woods and inclosures.
A court leet is held here at Easter and Michaelmas.
In Rushden are three sorts of land; freehold, of which there is but little; bondhold or born-hold, nativa tenura the old writings call it; and copihold which is near four fifths of the lordship. The bornhold land pays double rent, and double fine to the crown; the copyhold is gavelkind.
Norden tells us, that in his time there was in Rushden an antient house of the dukes of Lancaster, then inhabited by Mr. Pemberton, a gentleman intrusted therein by the queen. The family of Pemberton had considerable possessions, and were seated here for several generations.
The church, dedicated to the blessed Virgin consists of a body, north and south ile, a transept or cross ile from north to south, chancel, and south porch, all covered with lead. The north and south iles extend equal with the chancel. In the body of the church is an arch of fine stone-work, work-men call it a butment or strainer arch, crossing from one pillar to another. In the south porch is a good deal of stone work, with several arches crossing at the roof. Here is a west porch, arched with stone-work extending to the buttresses on each side. On a tower at the west end is raised an handsome spire. Upon the arch within the south chancel on each side the angle is this legend:-
Yis arche made hwe bochar and Julian hise wyf of whos sowlus god have mercie upon Amen.
On the other side within the church, two angels support the stone work with these labels in their hands, In god is all, and A. god help. In the lower window of the north ile, in twelve several pannels, are small portraits of the apostles, and in a label over their heads part of the creed in Gothic letters. And in the other windows of the church and chancel are fragments of painted glass, and imperfect figures of saints, prophets, and kings. At each end of the moulding, that runs round the window of the south chancel without doors, is a ring of stone, within one of which is The, in the other ??. The length of the church and chancel is ninety five foot two inches, of the cross ile eighty five foot fix inches; the breadth of the body and iles fifty foot; length of the tower seventeen foot four inches. In 1254. 38 Hen. III. the profits of Rushden rectory were rated at ten marks; in 1535. 26 Hen.Vlll. it was let to farm to Richard Throgmorton at xiii l.vi s. vii d. out of which was deducted x s. vii d. in procurations and synodals. The church of Rissenden, with the tithes and appurtenances, one virgate of land, and one villane who held the said virgate, was given to Lenton priory in Nottinghamshire by William Peverel the founder. This donation was afterwards confirmed by Edw. II. Upon the suppression of religious houses the advowson fell to the crown, and is now in the seals. It is in the deanery of Higham.
Of this name is a water-mill, with a bridge over the Nyne, in the parish of Rushden. By inquisition taken in the reign of Hen. III. of the fees which were held of William earl Ferrers of the honor of Peverel, Gilbert de Preston was found to hold one knight's fee in Quinton, Dodinton, and the mill of Ditchford. In the third year of Edw. III. the bridge and causey of Dicheford were presented as being in a ruinous condition, and dangerous to passengers; and it being found that the several town-ships of Irtlingburgh, Richendon, and Irencester with its members, were used to repair it, the sheriff issued out his precept to them for that purpose.
Within Rushden liberty is HIGHAM-PARK consisting of certain inclosures with one house. It appeareth to have been first imparked or at least enlarged by Hen. II. whilst the estate which had been possessed by William Peverel was in the hands of the crown. It was given in the first year of king John to the earl of Ferrers with the hundred and manor of Higham. The year following certain lands which had been inclosed by Hen. II. belonging to Richard de Niewton, William de Niewton, and Helenod Boscard, in exchange for which they had lands in other places, were restored to them, and the lands given them in exchange surrendered to the earl of Ferrers. Of this park mention is made in the thirty fifth year of Edw. I. and again of the park and capital messuage in the inquisition taken in the first of Edw. III. after the decease of Thomas earl of Lancaster. The yearly profits of the pasturage were then valued at iv l. and the underwood cut down every year at xx s.
In the twenty second of James I. a proclamation was issued for apprehending Edward Ekins of Stanwick, who with other persons had committed certain outrages in the king's park of Higham-Ferries, by killing and carrying away the deer, and beating and wounding the keepers.
It is now in the hands of Sir Robert Long Bart. whose ancestors became possessed of it by a grant from the crown. Higham-park-house pays tithes to Mr. Ekins, and Rushden parochial perambulation takes in a part of it.