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Rushden Argus, 30th August 1912 - Extracts from a long article by Joseph Enos Smith.

Early Music in Rushden

I have been asked to give a few notes relating to the music of Rushden, so thought it best to start from the beginning:

The Earliest Music I know of relating especially to Rushden is under date 1514 when John Pecke, in his will says: “I bequeath to Willm Bochn, priest 8 marks in money to sing for me (after my decease) and my friends in Rushden Church. Also I give to ye bells 11d.”

These extracts obtained from old church records:-

1601:  In his will Martin Tucke of Higham Park wished “his ‘horn’ to be sold to help bring him to the ground.” This I suppose, was used as a signal in the Park—at this time it was a deer park.

1776, March 25: Paid for a new book of Watts’s Psalms and Hymns for the use of the church, 3s.

1794: Enrolled in Northants Yeomanry (W’boro Division), Thomas Hildon, Rushden—cornet.

1813: Paid for the town bass (’cello), 8s.

1814: Paid for strings and reparin town bass, 7s 6d.

1818:Paid the singers at Xmas 10s.

1824: Paid for the book singers, 13s.

1830: Paid cleaner of ‘Pick and pitch pipe,’ 8s 6d.

1831: Paid for 12 hymn books, 15s.

Town Band

On April 2nd 1838, Coles, in his history says: “Of the musical talent of the place it is but justice to admit, as a self-initiated ‘band’ of no common order has been formed by the young men of the village, throws life and variety into the rural streets of the place, so often left vacant—a prey to dull monotony.”

Mrs. Anne Smart, of Ringstead, born in Rushden June 13th 1817, says: “We used to have a fiddle and bass viol when I was a girl in Rushden Church and my grandfather used to sing bass in the church choir.”

Baptist Church: “1846 A choral service.”

Parish Church: The first organ was erected in 1857. The first organist was, I think, the late Mrs. Owen Wagstaff.

Rushden Musicians

The late Mr. George Packwood, violinist and ’cellist, used to lead the music in the Parish Church ....

Mr Charles Packwood was no ordinary composer, and an arrangement by him of the old carol “A Virgin Unspotted” is the best I know of. One of his best tunes has the name of “Woolwich” – an L.M. in G.

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