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Wellingborough News, 5th July 1884, transcribed by Kay Collins
Old Baptist Church
New Baptist Schools at Rushden
Wellingborough News, 28th June 1884



Will lay the Memorial Stone of


On JUNE 30TH, 1884, in the Afternoon,

The above Service to be followed by


When Addresses will be given by the
and other Ministers and Friends. See Bills.

The School Rooms
The School Rooms & the Old Manse in Park Road
Laying of The Memorial Stone
For the past few years the want of new Sunday Schools in connection with the old Baptist Chapel, at Rushden, has been greatly felt. The accommodation was insufficient for the large number of children attending, and some of the classes were obliged in consequence to meet in the chapel. Between the chapel and the house of the pastor there was an excellent site for the erection of new schools, and a sufficient amount has been obtained to warrant the trustees proceeding with the erection of the schools Mr. E. Sharman, architect, Wellingborough, was instructed to prepare plans, and an excellent set of schools will be provided. The interior of the main building will be 54 feet in length and 28 feet in width. On the basement will be a large infants' room, and six class-rooms divided by a corridor. The upper room will run the whole length of the building, and at the end will be a platform approached by three steps. This will also be used for school purposes, and will be so built as to be useful for the purpose of holding meetings. Six lights will be placed on each side in the upper room and three in the lower room. There will be a gable front which will be built of Leicester brick, with Bath stone dressings. At the top will be a four-light arched window with a smaller window on either side, and three underneath. The remainder of the building will be of ordinary red bricks relieved with stone dressings. There will be an entrance lobby on each side. The roof will be covered with Bangor slates and ornamental ridge tiles. Boyle's patent ventilating apparatus will be used, and the heating apparatus will be placed underneath one of the entrances. The schools are estimated to accommodate over 400 children. The cost of the building will be about £1,000, of which amount considerably more than one-half is in hand. The builders are Messrs. C. Bayes and W. Foskett, of Rushden, and they are fast proceeding with the work.

The memorial stone was laid on Monday afternoon in the presence of a large number of persons, by "Miss Marianne Farningham" (Miss Hearn), of Northampton. The stone, which measures 3ft. 6in. by 2ft. 6in., was placed in the centre of the front of the building, immediately over the window. At each corner was a floral device, and on the stone the following was cut in relief:—"This stone was laid by 'Marianne Farningham,' 30th June, 1884. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Prov. 20." Among those present at the ceremony were the Rev. W. A. Davis (pastor), Rev. T. Bromage, Rev. I. Near, Rev. J. Scott James, Rev. J. Flanders, Rev. D. Llewellyn, Mr. R. Brice, jun., Mr. J. Taylor (Northampton), Mr. S. Knight, sen., Mr. S. Knight, jun., Mr. S. Chettle, Mr. W. Sargent, Mr. D. Darnell, Mr. E. Sharman, Mr. W. French, Mr. A. Halford, Mr. E. Knight, Mr. E. Elliott, Mr. W. Wilkins, Mr. J. Cane, Mr. W. Gross, Mr. A. Corby, &c. After singing the hymn "With holy joy now let us greet," prayer was offered by the Pastor, and the hymn "Great was the work assigned by God" followed.

Rev. W. A. Davis, on behalf of the trustees and teachers, then gave a hearty welcome to all friends from a distance. In the course of his remarks he observed that the future history of the country would be characterised by three great events which took place in the latter part of the 18th and the former part of the 19th centuries. The first was the establishment of Sunday Schools by Robert Raikes, of Gloucester, the second the origin of the great temperance cause, and the third, that of the introduction of popular education. He alluded to the great value of their Sunday schools, and hoped the success which had hitherto attended their efforts in that direction would increase and prosper in the future, and that the new schools would prove a blessing to the district.

Miss Marianne Farningham then laid the stone, and having done so addressed a few remarks to the assembly. She said she had great pleasure in declaring the stone well and truly laid. "Except the Lord build the house they labour in vain who build it. The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow with it." She wished that building might be the birthplace of many souls, and that there might come from it hundreds and thousands of good Christian women, and brave, honourable, and true men. If it be God's will, she hoped they might be able to keep up the traditions of the place, and have eminent people passing from the school. Who knew, she said, but there might be a Florence Nightingale, a John Bright, a Charles Spurgeon, go from those schools? At any rate she hoped there would be numbers go from the schools who would do their life's work well. Miss Farningham concluded her remarks by asking God's blessing upon the scholars and the building.

Mr. Harris who has been superintendent of the Sunday Schools for about 18 years, next addressed the assembly. He alluded to the many changes that had taken place during his connection with the school, especially referring to the loss of two deacons, and their beloved pastor. He remarked upon the inconvenience of the old schools, and pointed out the great necessity for the new building, the memorial stone in connection with which had that afternoon been laid. Their scholars were continually increasing, and now numbered some 350. The work of the Sunday School in connection with their chapel had, he was glad to say, prospered both numerically and financially, as the collection in aid of them were considerably increased from what they were in former years. In addition to 350 scholars, they had 45 teachers, most of whom, he was pleased to say, were members of the church, and did their utmost to promote the success of the cause they had at heart.

The Rev. J. Scott James, of Wellingborough, also addressed the meeting, and it was brought to a conclusion by the singing of the doxology.—The offerings placed upon the stone amounted to £12 10s.—Tea was afterwards partaken of in the old schools, to which about 240 persons sat down.

After the public tea had been held a meeting took place iii the chapel at half-past six o'clock. Rev. W. A. Davis, the pastor, presided, and on the platform were the Rev. A. James, B.A, (Thrapston), Rev. I. Near, (Ringstead), Rev. D. Llewellyn, (Burton Latimer), and Mr. Brice, (Northampton). The Chapel was well filled. After the singing of one of the special hymns.

The Chairman said letters of apology had been received from Mr. J. R. Wilkinson, (Addington), Mr. N. P. Sharman, (Wellingborough), Rev. H. B. Robinson, Rev. J. M. Watson, (Kettering), and Rev. A. C. G. Rendell, (Earls Barton). The Chairman then briefly expressed his pleasure at seeing so many present who had taken an interest in the work, and for the future of the schools. That day was suggestive of many thoughts to him as pastor, and now they were about to have improved accommodation for their Christian work he hoped God would fulfil their largest expectation. He then called on Rev. D. Llewellyn, who had to leave by an early train.

Rev. D. Llewellyn said he wished to address them on "Self-consecration." A man might give up all his worldly possessions, and even his "body to be burned," but yet not give to God what he demanded, and that was himself. Referring to the mistaken ideas of the old monks in retiring from the world, he said a man was a coward, who retired thus from the life he was called to lire, and spent his time in whining out Ave Maria, and Pater Nosier. If they would have true self-consecration their hearts must be bigger than themselves, and must have the love of God shed abroad in them. Teachers in the Sunday schools would not be able to sympathise with their scholars until they had God's love in their own hearts, and when they had that then the salvation of the scholars to Christ would surely follow. With the consecration of themselves to Christ, they would find a sacred joy in their work, and would be enabled to lead the children to the like consecration of heart and life. He urged them to have the same mind in them that "was in Christ Jesus," and concluded an earnest and impressive address by quoting Francis Havegal’s well known hymn, "Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee."

After another hymn had been sung, the Chairman said that some of the teachers of College-street Chapel, Northampton, had often shown a practical interest in this work at Rushden, and he was pleased to introduce to them Mr. R. Brice, the teacher of the class of young men in connection with the College-street Chapel.

Mr. Brice, who was cordially received, commenced by stating that he had known and greatly esteemed their former pastor, Mr. Bradfield, and was pleased to be present on that occasion. If they required a watchword for the place they lived in he should give them the word "forward." He had been to many places but he had not seen such a go-a-head place as Rushden, and at the present rate of progress they would soon call the place Rushden-cum-Higham, and perhaps when the redistribution of seats came about they might be able to have a member. (Laughter.) He was pleased to see such signs of progress, and that they were mainly based on the principles of religion and temperance. He felt gratified that in the spiritual life they were going forward. When the young people joined the church the question should be asked, "What wilt thou have me to do?" He believed the Sunday school was the right place for young members, There would always be a great number of children, and the difficult question was where they were to put them all. After referring to his observations as a member of the Northampton School Board, he proceeded to give his experiences since he commenced work as a Sunday school teacher 32 years ago by taking a small class in the gallery of a chapel. (Hear, hear.) He never regretted being a Sunday school teacher, as it had been a great benefit to him, for in teaching' others they learnt much themselves. Why should they become Sunday school teachers? Because Christ had said "Feed my lambs," "Suffer little children to come unto me," &c., and they were endeavouring to follow Christ's command in gathering the children around them and telling them what was right and what was wrong. In answer to the question of how to teach, he would say that they could not be too simple, too earnest, or too careful what they said to the children. Then they should try and interest their scholars in the lesson so that they would enjoy it. But the greatest thing was love, and he advised teachers to always recognise their scholars in the week day, and show them that they loved them, and they would then have better means of getting to their hearts and bringing them to the Saviour. The speaker next dwelt with the question. "What were they to teach?" and then spoke of the results of faithful effort, specially mentioning the conversion of the children, and that many of them might become Sunday school teachers. He urged upon teachers present not to take a class without first having asked the blessing of God on their labours, and concluded his speech by exhorting the young present to decide for Christ.

The Chairman said they were pleased with the words Mr. Brice had just spoken, and they were also pleased for the donation he had laid upon the stone. In introducing the next speaker (Miss Marianne Farningham) he alluded to the popularity of her writings in America, as well as in England, and also referred to the important work she had carried on in the College-street Sunday School, and expressed the hope that her useful life might be long spared.

Miss Farningham was received with great applause. She said she felt she had been highly honoured that day. She supposed it was because she was a Sunday-school teacher, for Sunday-school teachers came into all the good things. She began her work as a Sunday-school teacher even before Mr. Brice, and she hoped that it would be the last work she would lay down, even as it was the first she took up. She held no work so dear to her as that of Sunday-school teaching. It was a great advantage to be teachers when they were middle-aged, and greater still when they were grey-haired, for they ought to have learned something by the time they got to that age. In speaking to those working in the villages, she said she knew they had many discouragements, but she thought they also had many encouragements. In driving from Wellingborough with Mr. Cave, she noticed the corn fields looking very beautiful, and it was the product of those fields which keeps thousands of people from hunger in the towns. So she believed it was in village Sunday-schools where the harvest was plenteous, for almost all people who had done good work had lived in villages. There were great advantages in living in the country, and she claimed to be a country child, and a very wild one indeed. The chapel she attended was one like the present, and about as handsome, and it was there that she received her first impression. She advised them not to be discouraged because they did not live in towns. After further enlarging on the engagements attaching to Christian work in the villages, the speaker said that many of them knew that she was connected with the Christian World—(applause)—and she was not quite sure that it did not owe its origin to Rushden. Mr. Whittemore, who started that paper, walked about the fields surrounding that village, and it might have been that there he made up his mind to start the paper, that it was the outcome of thought suggested on the Sabbath.

Referring to Sunday-school teaching, she said that in teaching others they themselves ought to be improved. She would not have known half so much of the Bible if she had not been a Sunday-school teacher. It made them feel their helplessness when they were thrown upon their own resources in talking to others. It was very easy to make a mistake in talking, and afterwards they felt that they had misused another opportunity of speaking a word for their Master. Such feelings must have come to them on Saturday evenings. But God would help them in the work. She rejoiced that they were going to have new schoolrooms at Rushden, and she hoped that when they were built they would not lock them from Sunday night to the next Sunday morning, but that they would be used in the week as well. She was pleased that they had a flourishing Band of Hope in the village, and of course the Band of Hope would be able to meet there. In addition to that there were other meetings that might be held in the new Schoolrooms, which ought as far as possible to be open all the week. She would have every evening occupied. She had always for the last ten years met her class one evening a week, often when she had to travel a long distance to meet them. She had them in her own room, where they could get closer to each other. This was also important because children did not know so much of the Bible as the children did when she herself was a child. In speaking of the advantage of a knowledge of the Bible, the speaker mentioned the fact that Mr. Bright rarely made any of his great speeches without some apt Scripture reference. Proceeding, Miss Farningham urged that their great object should be to lead the children to Christ, making it a subordinate thing whether they became Baptists or not. She could not understand why good people were not Baptists, but whether Baptists or not they should all endeavour to bring the scholars to Christ. They, as teachers, were sometimes reminded that they were to remember three P's, viz., prayer, preparation, and piety; she always wanted to add another to that, and that was prosperity. They ought to expect success and look for it. Was it not the earnest wish of every teacher that the children should be saved. She did not know how it was with other teachers, but it was a long time before she ever asked one of her girls if she was saved. The girl in reply said she could not think why she had not asked her that question before. She believed that many of the scholars would only be too thankful to tell their teachers the difficulties which kept them from Christ. As Christians they must also carry out in their own lives what they taught. They should have faith in their work, and manifest love and sympathy. There was no need to be very learned to be Sunday school teachers if they only had the love of God in their hearts. The children had been invited to come to Christ, and it was their blessed work to lead them to Him. The speaker resumed her seat amidst loud applause.

As the previous speakers had to leave by an early train, Mr. Ebenezer Knight moved a vote of thanks to all who had attended the meetings that day, more especially to Miss Farningham, who had laid the memorial stone. Her name was well known to many of them. He remembered when she first came out thirty years ago, and he also recollected Mr. Whittemore. They all felt honoured by having such a person to lay the memorial stone. He would like also to include Mr. Brice, who had brought that lady from Northampton, and whose family he had long known and respected.

Mr. S. Knight, the senior deacon, seconded the proposition. He had been connected with the school for 60 years, but they had never had such a day as that before. They first commenced in a very small room, and then built the one at the back of the chapel, which was not large enough for their present requirements. He trusted that they would have God's blessing remaining upon them. They had been talking about this room for some years, and he was pleased to see the building rising.

The vote was unanimously carried, and briefly replied to by Mr. Brice.

Rev. A. James after expressing the honour he felt at being present, spoke briefly upon the perpetuity of the office of Sunday school teachers, remarking that until they had the millinium there would always be work for the Christian teacher. They were not to be afraid of the great strides that were being made in the secular education, this would be no difficulty to them, for if they came to their work with a loving heart they would be wise and efficient teachers. As Sunday school teachers they should attempt to draw out the moral faculties, and develop the spiritual life of the child. Their love should be assisted by thought, feeling, and action. They should endeavour to develop in the minds of the children a true and worthy conception of God. He advised the teachers not to be afraid of giving the children simple and moral teaching. He concluded his address by hoping that the children of their schools would be a blessing to Rushden and an honour to God. (Applause).

The Chairman, at this stage of the meeting, said that the collection of the afternoon amounted to £12 10s., and of the amount contributed Miss Farningham's class had collected £1. A collection, was then made which amounted to £5 8s. 2d.

Rev. T. Bromage, after congratulating those present, said he hoped the day was not far distant when they would be able to increase the school accommodation in connection with the Independent Wesleyan Chapel in the village, as they were also very limited for room. If at any time in the existence of the church that the work of Sunday schools were needed, it was at the present time, and he believed that the church was more than ever recognising, the supreme importance of Sunday school teaching. They should have the proper appliances that they might do their work in the best possible way; the devil knew the importance of that, for he had the biggest show of light and plate glass windows because it paid. He was pleased to see the progress that was being made in Sunday school work, and rejoiced that the vice-president of the Council of Education (Mr. Mundella) also held the office of president of the Sunday School Union. The rev. gentleman then proceeded to quote some of the statistics recently given showing the great increase which has taken place in both day and Sunday scholars since 1851. He believed that the Education Act had contributed largely to the progress of their Sunday schools. After alluding to the good work that was being done amongst adults in Birmingham and other places by the Society of Friends, the speaker said it was the first time he had had any opportunity of hearing Miss Farningham, and was very pleased with her remarks on the reading the Bible. There was so much literature now that filled shop windows and circulated that he was afraid in some cases it was pushing the Bible out. As teachers they might not be able to impress doctrinal questions upon their scholars, but they could do something by presenting God's word to the children, and exhibiting in their own lives the beauty of Christian life. (Cheers.)

Rev. I. Near expressed his gratification at present, and after alluding to the time the school was first started in Rushden, he said he would (as the hour was advanced) reserve his speech to the opening of the schoolroom.

After the singing of another hymn, the meeting was closed with prayer.

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