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Second Edition by Francis Whellan & Co., transcribed by Peter Brown 2014
Whellan's Directory 1874
Village History : Rushden

Rushden Parish is bounded on the south and west by Bedfordshire, on the north by Higham Ferrers and the river Nene, and on the east by Newton.  It contains 3570 acres; its population in 1801 was 818; in 1831, 1245; in 1841, 1311; in 1851, 1460; in 1861, 1748; and in 1871, 2122 souls.  The rateable value of the parish is £6900, and the gross estimated rental is ,£8000.  The soil varies from a strong clay to a light sandy land, and Fred. U. Sartoris, Esq., is the principal proprietor. Messrs Nicholas Fisher, Thomas Sanders, Michael Mason, George Denton, Joseph Hill, and Alfred Manning, are also considerable owners.    The lordship is well watered with excellent springs.

Manor—At the time of the Domesday survey, Risdene, which contained 6 hides, was a member of Higham manor, and in the ninth of Edward II (1315), Richard Faber held the manor of Rushden of the Earl of Lancaster.  With the Lancaster family it came to the Crown, as parcel of the duchy of Lancaster, in the person of Henry IV.  In the reign of Henry VIII the tenants and inhabitants of Rushden and Higham obtained of Sir Thomas Cheyne the right of fishing those lordships.  George H. Burnham, Esq., is steward for the several manors of Rushden, Raunds, and Irchester, and holds courts baron annually in each place.

The Village of Rushden, which is large, straggling, and irregularly built, but rather handsome, stands on elevated ground, 1 mile south of Higham Ferrers.  The inhabitants are chiefly employed in boot and shoemaking. It is lighted with gas by a company  formed in 1864, with a nominal capital of £1600.  The number of public lamps is 45, and the present price of gas is 6s. 8d. per 1000 cubic feet.

The Church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, was formerly collegiate and consists of a nave and side-aisles, transepts, choir or chancel, north, south, and west porches—(the latter is rather shallow and has a pointed arch supported by ribs rising from corbels)—an octangular turret at the north angle of the east end, and a beautifully proportioned tower in the Perpendicular style, containing a peal of six bells, and surmounted by a lofty octagonal spire, with pierced crockets up the several angles,—up which adventurous youths of the parish have been known to climb.  The whole is 192 feet in height.  The boldness, loftiness, and perfect elegance of this magnificent steeple, surpasses that of Higham, in the greater elegance of its taper spire, which is 96 feet high.  Over the windows of the upper division of the tower is a moulding composed of a double series of trefoiled blank arches possessed of excellent Perpendicular character; above which is a battlement ornamented with pierced quatrefoils presenting a light and rich appearance.  The general aspect of the interior is very striking; there are evidences of there having been originally 5 altars in the church; the sedilia and piscina of the high altar are of singular beauty, and the reredos in the north chantry remains in good preservation, though partly hidden by a monument.  The wide and lofty chancel-arch is very effective; but the most singular feature in the church, and one which immediately strikes the eye upon entering is a stone arch richly pierced with tracery, which acts as a double buttress between the nave walls.  Only two other examples of similar arches have been observed, at Finedon in this neighbourhood, and at Wells Cathedral.  The Rood screen is in good condition, and there are four other screens in the church—that to the north chancel aisle having a very rich cornice.  The whole fabric exhibits a mixture of the Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular styles; the north transept, which is the earliest part remaining, dates from about 1270 ; the church not having assumed its present form till about the beginning of the sixteenth century.  There are some very interesting remains of stained glass, especially four figures of apostles in the north aisle.  Amongst the monuments there are two to the Pemberton family, who resided in this parish for several generations.  The church is now (1874) undergoing a rough restoration at an estimated cost of £4500, from plans by Gordon Hills, Esq. The living is a rectory in the deanery of Higham Ferrers, rated in the king’s books at £12, 16s. 3d., and now worth about £400 per annum.  The Rev. John T. Barker, M.A., is the rector and patron of the living.  The old Rectory House was sold in 1869, and a commodious one was built by the present rector, a little to the north of the church in the years 1870-71.  The tithes were commuted for land in 1778.

The Baptist Chapel dates from 1796, and has accommodation for about 600 persons; the Sunday-school adjoining was built in 1860 at a cost of about £250.  The Rev. Jonathan Whittemore, who started the Christian World and other publications, was minister of this chapel from 1832 to 1852.  He died in 1860.  

The Wesleyan Chapel was erected in 1873 at a cost of £1000, including the purchase of the site.  It is a neat building of white brick, with stone dressings, capable of seating about 350.

Rushden Hall, the seat of R U. Sartoris, Esq., is situated near the village, on an elevation, surrounded by fine plantations, gardens, and pleasure grounds.  The house is quadrangular, and principally consists of a retreating centre, and two projecting wings.  On the south side is a square embattled tower, presenting much the appearance of a castellated edifice.  This mansion once possessed one of the finest old halls in the county, but it has of late years been incorporated with other apartments, and thus entirely swept away.    Norden tells us that “there was in Rushden an ancient house of the Dukes of Lancaster.”  This house is supposed to have been built by the renowned John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster; and upon its site the present mansion in the Elizabethan style has been erected.

Rushden House, the seat of H. W. Currie, Esq., is a handsome mansion, erected in 1870-71, in the Domestic Gothic style of architecture.

The Charities of this parish are £25 per annum, derived from property purchased with £100 left to the poor, &c., in 1619, by William May ; £5 per annum given to 6 poor persons, which was left in 1619, by the Rev. Nicholas Latham, and £3 per annum, left to the poor by Mary Greaves.

A handsome National School in the Gothic style was built in 1870-71 at a cost of £1100, on land given by F. U. Sartoris, Esq., who also contributed largely to the building fund.  Grants were also made by the Committee of Council on Education, the National Society, and the Diocesan Society.  It is built of stone, and consists of a large schoolroom, measuring 51 feet by 20 feet, class-room 20 feet square, infant school 49 feet by 18 feet.  The interior is elegantly fitted up with the latest appliances — the desks especially being on a novel principle, and are called Hockerill from the designer.  It possesses accommodation for over 250 children, and is well attended.  The General School, established April 1872, is at present held in the Temperance Hall, and is attended by an average of 100.  The Temperance Hall was built in 1871 at a cost of about £600, raised in £1 shares by the Temperance Hall Company Limited; the large room will accommodate about 300 persons.

Post, Money-Order, Telegraph Office, and Savings Bank - Charles Hewitt postmaster.
Letters arrive from Higham Ferrers at 7.10 A.M. and 12 Noon, and are despatched at 11.5 A.M. and 5.15 P.M.  On Sunday there is no despatch, but the letters arrive at 7.10 A.M.

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