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Kay Colllins 2007
Methodists - Court Estate

When the Compton Census was compiled in 1676 there were 600 conformists with just 6 non-conformists in the village of Rushden. By 1781 there were 15 Methodists attached to the Bedford Circuit but they were transferred to the Higham Ferrers Circuit in 1814 when they joined with Wellingborough Methodists. In 1817 services were being held in a barn on the green oposite the Parish Church and ten years later the barn was converted into a chapel. The Circuit Register from 1814 shows the wide area covered by the preachers. A chapel was established at Higham Park by 1828 in a room in the farmhouse. In 1955 an attempt was made to build a chapel in Avenue Road for the Court Estate area.

A Minute Book covering Souldrop, Knotting Green & Court Estate Methodist Churches at NRO gives some details. The dates are 1937 - 1955 for Souldrop & Knotting Green; these entries are then followed by a few pages relating to Court Estate beginning 20 Jan 1955. The following notes are extracted:

Higham Ferrers Methodist Circuit - Court Estate
NRO Ref: HFMC 30
Minutes of Knotting Green Annual Trustees Meeting held at Rushden Feby 5th 1937.
Rev Herbert G Reynolds presided.
The accounts were examined & audit passed. Mr W E Capon was elected Treasurer & Secretary.
Minutes of Souldrop Annual Trustees Meeting held at Rushden Feby 5th 1937
Mrs Gulliver re-elected Treasurer & Mr W E Capon Secretary.
These meetings are recorded until 1955 when the book is then taken for Court Estate.
Annual Meeting 20 Jan 1955 at Higham Ferrers: Rev John W J Scott presided.
Mr W E Capon reported the land was not now being cultivated or let to any one, but was laying derelict. It was agreed a few months back when the Trustees met on the spot to erect a board, owing however to the hedge, it was not considered any useful purpose would be served.
No business other than the report of 11 Trustees & one death in G Langley during in the year.
Annual Meeting 12th Jan 1956
The land was infested with thorn and bramble scrub and had been cleared at a cost to the Circuit of £25.0.0. The contractor had generously granted us £5.0.0 on his first quotation and Mr Espin was asked to convey the thanks of the Trust.
The Chairman reported that Mr Norman Groome had wondered whether in view of the impending sale of the adjoining land the Trust would consider selling our plot.
The meeting advised against selling. It was reported that there were 11 Trustees.
Annual Meeting 10th Jan 1957
Some building was going on around our site so it was agreed that the plot should be enclosed.
Meeting 5th October 1960
The Chairman reported that there were now 130 houses on the Estate.
On the 23rd Aug 1970 the Trustees agreed to sell and it was to be auctioned on 20th October 1970.
HFMC 31 & 32: Two Bank Books - Court Estate Methodist Church Building Fund.
The first was opened on the 8th January 1930 with "Bal of old a/c £60.5.8" by Rev Francis George Gray & Robert Hallett Esq. for Court Estate Wesleyan Chapel. It was closed on 2nd December 1931 when £61.4.5 was drawn out.
The second book was opened in the name of C W Horrell Esq & Rev F G Gray (this name has been crossed through) re Court Estate Methodist Church Building Fund. This account opened on 13th Jan 1938 with £14.5.1 and on the 21st June was credited with £63.12.1 from "3½% Stock making £77.17.2". On the 11th of July in the same year an entry "Paid to Simpson £77.0.6" and charges of 1s 9d left the balance at 14s.11d; this sum was drawn out on 7th May 1949 by the executors of C W Horrell.
So the Chapel was never built.

The first page of the book has a list of Trustees that was perhaps added to over the years but there are no dates given to confirm this. Then a longer list of names has been glued inside the front cover, again with no dates. Both lists are transcribed here with the annotations.

Names of the Trustees
Groome G H Hazelwood, Oak Street deceased 1941
Patenall J Bron Donas deceased
Horrell C W The Laurels  
Groome A O Lancaster Street, H F  
Groome C E High Street, H F  
Sanders Jno   deceased
Knotting Green      
Groome G H Hazelwood deceased
Patenall J Bron Donas deceased
Bates A E 15 Essex Road deceased 1950
Capon W E    
Cobley Hugh 31 Westfield St [H F]  
Gadsby R C    
Huke E J 27 Moor Road  
Lawman S E 56 Park Avenue  
Sanders A 4 Duck Street  
Slater C 7 Pightles Terrace USA
Valentine E Field House, Riseley  
Watson A T Gas House Villa deceased
Williamson S Riseley  
Wooding H W 68 Oakley Road  
[The list glued inside the front cover has no heading]
Bagshaw Reginald 45 Pratt Road  
Bates A S 15 Essex Road  
Capon W E 56 Grove Road  
Espin C 42 Robinson Road  
Groome A O Lancaster Street, H F  
Groome C E High Street, H F  
Gulliver Mrs S R Church Farm, Souldrop  
Horrell C W The Laurels, W'boro Road deceased
Horrell W M Wymington Road Westhill, W'boro Road
Langley G 15 Manton Road  
Larkinson A G 26 High Street  
Pack F J 5 Wharf Road, H F  
Patenall H R Foxhill, Hayway  
Rich H Souldrop  
Sanders Arthur 4 Duck Street  
Skeeles C 9 Essex Road  
Smith L G 52 Park Avenue  
Wood E E 63 Queen Street Kimbolton Road
Wooding C R 11 Talbot Road  

Knotting Green Chapel
(From an unidentified newspaper)

A group of youngsters from Rushden Park Road Methodist Young People's Fellowship have been visiting the tiny Knotting Green Methodist Church recently to carry out repair and redecoration work.
At a cost of about £70 the young people have restored plastering, put in new window frames and painted the church over the past four months.

Rushden Echo, 19th October 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Knotting Green—Harvest thanksgiving services were held on Sunday in the Wesleyan Chapel and there were large congregations, especially in the evening. Mr. C. Cross, of Rushden, was the preacher. The chapel had been prettily decorated with the fruits of the earth. At the afternoon service Miss Frances Marks, of Rushden, sang two solos in pleasing style, and Miss I. L. Scott, of Rushden, was the organist. At the evening service Miss Marks and Miss Alice Partridge, of Rushden, each sang a solo, and a duet was given by Misses Partridge and Scott. Several of the old favourite harvest hymns were sung, besides a number of the newer hymns appropriate to the occasion. On Monday evening the Rev. H. Shaw, of Rushden, presided. Musical items were contributed by Misses F. and A. Partridge, and Mr. W. E. Capon recited. Miss I. L. Scott was at the organ. The sale of fruit etc., followed, and the total proceeds of the festival were about £4.

The Rushden Echo, 27th January 1928, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Court Estate
The second anniversary of the Court Estate Chapel was celebrated last Saturday and Sunday. Tea was served on Saturday by the ladies of the cause, and afterwards a meeting was held under the presidency of Mrs. Bernard J. Harris, of Rushden. Mr. R. Hallett, in presenting the financial statement, said they commenced the year with a balance in hand of £12 5s. 7d. in the building fund and that during the year this had increased to £46 9s. 1d. Mrs. Harris, in her address, said that she and her husband (the Rev. Bernard J. Harris) had a great affection for the Court Estate cause. Alderman T. Patenall gave a forceful address on "Effective Christianity." Mrs. Cheffings, of Wellingboro', gave two solos, "Love's Own Sweet Song" and "Just a Song at Twilight," and Misses Rose Peck and Gladys Riseley, of Rushden, sang a couple of duets, "When I Survey" and "When the Wind Blows in from the Sea." Miss Peck was the pianist for the meeting. Mr. H. F. Norman expressed hearty thanks to all who had assisted. Services were conducted on Sunday by Mr. H. Dickeson, of Rushden. At the afternoon service Miss D. Cunnington, of Rushden, sang the solos "Beyond the Dawn" and "My Prayer," and at the evening service her solos were "O Divine Redeemer" and "Thanks be to God." Mrs. Norman was the accompanist, the collections for the week-end amounted to £4 7s. 2d.

10 June 1927 - Northampton Mercury

Methodist Chapel?
Alderman C. W. Horrell reported that the site originally offered for a church at the Court Estate, Rushden, was too far out, but Mr. Norman had offered a site next to his house large enough for a church for all the residents ..............

Extract from Council Meeting - 17th June, 1927

Housing, Etc., Act – Building Society Guarantees

  A letter was received from Mr. H. F. Norman, of the Court Estate, stating that he was making application to the Northampton Building Society for the release of a portion of land (about 250 square yards) from his mortgage for presentation to the Wesleyan Methodist church as a site for a church.  Before granting the application, however, the Society required the consent of the Council.

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