The spacious and handsome church of Higham Ferrers was on Saturday the scene of a pleasant function which roused considerable interest in the neighbourhood and formed the occasion for numerous fervent good wishes. About two o’clock the merry ringing of the bells gave token that the time was approaching for the solemnisation of a marriage between members of families widely known and respected in the county. The bride who was thus summoned to play the principal part in a public ceremony, suggestive of rejoicing, was Miss Lilian Brenda Fisher, only daughter of Captain B. J. Fisher of New York, U.S.A. but better known as a member for many years of the family of Mr W. Hirst Simpson formerly of Chester House and recently of Chelveston. The bridegroom was Captain James Alexander Browning of the Queen’s Bays and younger son of Mr E. C. Browning of Knuston Hall and 70 Onslow Gardens, S.W.
The bride herself was wearing a gown of white silk net over taffeta silk, with deep shaped flounce. The bodice was delicately embroidered with silver and crystal, and sown with paillettes of lace and panne inserted. The full court train was of satin duchesse and she wore an old Brussels lace veil, lent by Mrs Bissell. Her bouquet was composed entirely of Lilies of the Valley, whilst she also wore a diamond and pearl star, a diamond and pearl crescent brooch, and diamond and pearl bracelet, all being gifts of the bridegroom. She was attended by six bridesmaids who presented a charming appearance in dresses of white taffeta silk with overgowns of floral chiffon, bodices and skirts trimmed with diamond designs of Valleta lace insertions with inlets of geranium ribbon velvet and transparent chiffon yoke and sleeves. They wore white velvet hats trimmed with white chiffon and shaded poppies. Each carried bouquets of scarlet geraniums and foliage and wore pearl and sapphire hearts on gold chains; gifts of the bridegroom.
The young ladies filling this interesting position were: Miss Simpson (cousin of the bride), Miss Browning and Miss Ethel Browning (sisters of the bridegroom), Miss Kathleen Green, Miss Norah Simpson (cousin of the bride), and Miss Margaret Ratcliff. The last named acted as train bearer, wearing a white satin frock with chiffon fichu and a white Dutch bonnet.
The officiating clergy were the Rev. J. Dunn (Vicar of Higham), the Rev. W. R. Morse (Rector of Rushden), and the Rev. S. Frost (Curate of Higham). The bride was given away by Mr W. Hirst Simpson.
The bridegroom was accompanied by Mr N. St.C. Allfrey of the Queen’s Bays who discharged the duties of the best man.
The service was fully choral and in addition to Psalm 67 chanted to the tune of ‘Wesley’ the following hymns were sung: ‘The Voice that Breathed O’er Eden’ (350 Hymns A&M), ‘O Father All Creating’ (579), and ‘O Perfect Love’ (578). Mr A. Wright presided at the organ and in addition to accompanying the songs, played the following selections prior to, during and after the ceremony: ‘Andantino’ by Lemaire, ‘Andante’ by Lefebure-Wely, and Bridal March from Lohengrin (Wagner).
A special train bearing Captain Browning and his friends arrived at Higham just before the ceremony and a large crowd of guests and friends witnessed the marriage in the church, whilst a large number of others assembled outside to greet the happy pair. The members of the Higham Fire Brigade, in uniform, formed the guard of honour and two or three police constables under Inspector Onan rendered help in marshalling the crowd in the church yard.
Under the direction of Mr G. Ellis of Rushden, the Bede House had been transformed into a cosy and pleasant reception room, chairs and lounges of various kinds with a goodly number of occasional tables being placed on the well carpeted floor. The walls had been relieved and brightened by art muslins, mirrors and flags whilst a number of ferns and plants furnished by Mr F. Betts added to the attractiveness of the room.
The platform had been transformed into a circular shaped bower with Japanese lanterns suspended beneath the canopy and here the large and handsome collection of presents was displayed. Carpets had also been laid from the Bede House to the church and along the nave to the chancel. A further merry peal of bells marked the conclusion of the ceremony.
A reception was held in the Bede House to which a large number of invitations had been issued. Amongst those who responded, in addition to those already named were the following: