Jul 292019
 

A “lost church” hidden in plain sight

In some streets in London today there are so many coffee shops of one particular chain that you can see the next one further down the same street. In earlier days the same was true of churches, chapels and mission rooms along some streets of Northampton. The St Michael’s Road area is a good example.

Figure 1: Plan of St Gabriel’s, St Michael’s Road, Northampton. Goad’s Insurance Plan, 1899
© British Library Board [Maps 145.b.12.(3.)]

The first question that needs to be addressed is why it is called St Michael’s Road when St Michael and All Angels church is some little distance away on the east side of the Kettering Road? The Church Extension society had purchased a plot of the north side of St Michael’s Road before the houses we built in the early 1880s. As a temporary arrangement an “iron church” was erected in Lower Mounts, presumed to be on the north side. However, the gift of a benefactor a Mrs Whitworth secured the site which became known as St Michael’s Mount and the church was erected there. The St Michael’s Road site was subsequently sold. This area of the town was rapidly expanding and by 1894 the parish had a population of 13,000 but its parish church had only 620 places. Not that the area was short of a Christian witness: Baptist churches in St Michael’s Road and Kettering Road, Primitive Methodists in Grove Road and Wesleyan Methodists in Queens Road. The Anglicans continued to be challenged by a lack of suitable premises in the area. A new site was acquired on the south side of St Michael’s Road, between the Baptist chapel and the Kettering Road at a cost of £1000. On it the “iron church” that had previously been home to St Matthew’s on Kingsley Park which was purchased and re-erected on the new site for £300. It could accommodate 350 worshippers. Remarkably this same building still stands today (2019) on the site, albeit in a rather sorry state of repair.

Figure 2: View of St Gabriel’s, hall and Sunday school
© Google Maps, 2019

The church was dedicated on Tuesday, 23rd October 1894 by the Bishop of Peterborough. The Rev. G C Day the senior curate of St Michael’s took charge of the new enterprise which remained part of the St Michael’s parish for all of its existence.

The Church Extension Society had been particularly effective in promoting and raising the funds for an ever-increasing need for an Anglican presence in the town and its annual reports provide snapshots of the society’s progress. By 1897 there was a discussion of the need for an additional presence in St Michael’s, St Edmund and Abington parishes, this was despite the work already completed at St Matthew’s and St Gabriel’s. The same report for 1897 records:

“From St Gabriel’s, a district formed out of St Michael’s, a loud cry for help is heard. The church officers, members of the congregation, and parents of scholars have sent in a memorial, showing what difficulty has ensued upon the success of the work in the district. The iron church, with its vestries, lobby, etc., are so crowded with school children that teachers are compelled to surrender their seats, while three children share two chairs between them. A few hundred pounds, in this case, would suffice to relieve the greater part of the stress.”[1]

Key to the early success was no doubt due to the leadership of the curate in charge, Rev. G C Day, but in November 1898 the planned depart of Rev. Day for South Africa was marked by a church tea in St Michael’s rooms in Magee Street [2].

Work at St Gabriel’s progressed as in 1899 the Church Extension Society allocated £100 towards the cost of acquiring a site for Sunday Schools in connection with the church.

No attempt here has been made to document a complete history of St Gabriel’s however after the First World War[3], the Anglican church like other churches was beginning to show signs of not having enough ordained clergy for all of its congregations. In 1925 it was reported at the annual parochial meeting for St Michael’s on 17th April, of which parish St Gabriel’s was still part, that there were difficulties in securing the services of a new curate after the departure of Rev. Hilary Waterworth[4]. The same report also gives us an insight into the finances of the two churches. Collections at St Michael’s were £442 and St Gabriel’s £130. St Michael’s showed a deficit for the year of £2 7s 1d (£2.35 = £141.69 in 2019 prices) and St Gabriel’s a surplus of £12 1s 7d (£12.08 = £728.32 in 2019 prices). From the vicar’s report in response to rumours of the closure of St Gabriel’s, he responded by indicating he would say little about that specifically but did concede that there was to be a re-arrangement of the parish boundaries. He went on to add that for a long time the congregations of St Michael’s and St Gabriel’s were divided into two watertight compartments with every organization in the parish duplicated.

Events seem to have moved quickly, as at a meeting of St Gabriel’s congregation on 16th June 1925 the vicar, Rev. W J Smith, announced his decision that St Gabriel’s was to close. The decision was not received well by the congregation and seems to have been triggered because of a proposal to extend the parish of St Giles whose population was declining. Evidently, if St Gabriel’s closed before the re-arrangement of the boundary the church funds would remain with St Michael’s otherwise it would be taken by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, presumably destined for St Giles. Before the First World War consideration had been given to creating a separate parish of St Gabriel’s and fundraising towards a permanent church building had continued. One prominent member of St Gabriel’s reported:

“We have over 300 regular communicants, over 200 children in the Sunday School which has sixteen teachers and two superintendents, one of the largest troops of Boy Scouts[5] in Northamptonshire, a girls’ Bible class with 40 members, and a boys’ Bible class with 25, and a women’s guild with over 40 members.”[6]

The congregation did not accept the decision quietly and took to writing to the local press and a petition was organised by 27th June with over 200 signatures sent to the Bishop of Peterborough requesting a stay of closure at least for at least a year. Their efforts were in vain as services ceased at the end of June 1925.

In April 1926 the site including the land and buildings formerly the mission church of St Gabriel’s, together with a brick-built and slated building known as St Gabriel’s Hall and school was advertised for sale[7]. The property was put for auction on 12th May 1926 but did not result in a satisfactory outcome. The site was withdrawn from sale at £1025, the mission church itself was withdrawn at just £50, but the hall and schools were sold for £1050[8].

The mission church building continued in community use when from August 1926 it was being advertised as the venue of the Unity Adult School[9], a use that continued and evolved through much of its subsequent life.

Returning to St Michael’s, the annual parochial meeting in 1927 revealed that the proceeds of the sale of St Gabriel’s had been distributed with £500 going to the Christ Church building fund, and the remainder to the Church Extension Board of the Archdeaconry of Northampton. The accounts for St Michael’s did show a healthier position compared with 1925 with total collections £860, and after other items of income, a surplus of £440 compared to a deficit of £2 in 1925.

The legacy and verdict

The purpose of history compared to journalism is to record the facts and where possible provide a balanced judgment of the events recorded. Viewed from the perspective of 90 years it could be argued that the closure of St Gabriel’s was a high-handed decision by the vicar of St Michael’s. The church was faced with a real shortage of clergy but St Gabriel’s was a viable and financially self-supporting community, with an enviable list of community groups, albeit small in comparison to other parishes.

The Adult Unity School acquired the buildings in 1925. Until the early 1940’s the large hall was used as a meeting place, for large county gatherings, drama, music and elocution festivals. Now known as the National Adult School Organisation (NASO)[10] meetings moved into the smaller rooms in the building, and the large hall is let to Tricker’s Shoe Manufacturers[11].

The hall and school-room have returned to Christian use, now the home of the Wesleyan Holiness Church in Northampton[12].

The scout troop moved to St Giles in 1925 rather than St Michael where it remains today as the 2nd Northampton (St Giles) Scout Group[13].

Whilst there were some frank exchanges by the various parties in the local press, the vicar did try to keep the issues out of the public domain although extracts from a parish magazine did find their way onto the front page of the Chronicle and Echo.

“I had hoped that it might have been possible to postpone action in this matter until these plans for re-organisation [of the parish boundaries] were more advanced. This, however, has proved to be impracticable, since the uncertainty with regard to the future of St Gabriel’s seems merely to be delaying the development of wider consideration. It would appear that in the past encouragement has been given to the hope of the creation of an entirely separate parish of St Gabriel, with the result that there has been a consistent furtherance of organization and equipment with this end in view…. It now transpires that this hope was never well-founded, and in present circumstances is quite impossible of achievement. This being the case, the question arises as to the necessity of the existence of two places of worship, with full organisations duplicated, in connection with one parish. Such a necessity can scarcely be seriously argued, especially in circumstances which provide totally inadequate clerical oversight even for one Church with its manifold organisations.[14]

A year later the St Michael’s parochial meeting was again front-page news recording the vicar’s attempt at the closure of the issue:

“… I ask you to consider how unfortunate, not to put it more strongly, would have been our position, if we had permitted the re-arrangement [of the parish boundaries] to take place before we had disposed, as is our right, of that property, which is the property of St Michael and All Angels.[15]

We might conclude then that the decision was an economic one in the face of the potential loss of an asset to the parish rather than the greater Christian work in the community.

  1. Northampton Mercury : Friday 26 November 1897 : page 6 col 3

  2. Rev. G C Day left St Michaels in 1898 for missionary work in South Africa, Northampton Mercury : Friday 4 November 1898 : page 8 col 1. He subsequently became rector of Thaba ‘Nchu, South Africa, People’s Friend (South Africa) : 26 June 1915 : page 3 col 4

  3. There were apparently 4000 fewer priests in 1925 compared with 1914. Of four candidates, one was near 70, one well over 60, one would have to give up his existing benefice and the last accepted another position that offered a benefice with a house attached. Northampton Daily Echo : Saturday 18 April 1925 : page 7 col 4

  4. Rev. Hilary Waterworth had left in 1924 to become vicar of Stoke Golding, Leicestershire. He was ordained in 1915 and served as curate at St Edmund for 2 years before becoming an army chaplain, returning in 1919 as curate at St Michael’s with responsibility for St Gabriel. He became rector of Brington in 1930. Northampton Mercury : Friday 01 November 1929 : page 5 col 5. Crockford Clerical Directory 1932. Oxford, 1932

  5. St Gabriel’s Scout troop commenced in 1911 and closed in 1925. A photographic archive of a summer camp in 1922 shows the size of the group. https://web.archive.org/web/20130818150514/http://northampton-scout-history.co.uk/page23.html (Accessed 26 July 2019)

  6. Northampton Daily Echo : Friday 19 June 1925 : page 4 col 3

  7. Northampton Mercury : Friday 23 April 1926 : page 4 col 3

  8. Northampton Mercury : Friday 14 May 1926 : page 1 col 7

  9. Northampton Daily Echo : Friday 27 August 1926 : page 2 col 6

  10. Northamptonshire Adult School Organisation https://web.archive.org/web/20121229122016/http://naso.btck.co.uk/About%20us (Accessed 26 July 2019)

  11. NASO History, Eric Frost, undated http://btckstorage.blob.core.windows.net/site2973/NASO%20History%20by%20Eric%20Frost_4.pdf (Accessed 26 Jul 2019)

  12. Wesleyan Holiness Church British Isles, http://www.wesleyanchurch.co.uk (Accessed 26 July 2019)

  13. St Giles Centenary Year – 2012, https://sites.google.com/site/stgilesnorthamptonscoutgroup/group-pages/st-giles-centenary-year—2012 (Accessed 26 July 2019)

  14. “St Gabriel’s, the creation of a separate parish” Northampton Daily Echo : Saturday 18 July 1925 : page 1 col 4

  15. “Vicar and the passing of St Gabriel’s”, Northampton Daily Echo : Wednesday 14 April 1926 : page 1 col 5

© 2019, Graham Ward. All rights reserved.

Share
Feb 082018
 

John Taylor“A Victorian Blogger”

John Taylor was the son of a Northampton printer and publisher of the same names; he was born in Northampton on April 13th, 1831. John was educated at Northampton Grammar School, at a private school run by a Mr Emery, in College Street, Northampton, and for two years at the Castle Hill School operated by the Rev. William Jarrom, for two years the General Baptist minister in the town. When Mr Jarrom left for work in China, John was sent to James Linnett’s school at Towcester. Apprenticed to the printing trade in Northampton and London, he returned to Northampton in 1853, joined his father in business, and added a second-hand book line to the business at the premises at 22, Gold Street. His father retired in 1862, and after his father died in 1864 John succeeded to the full control of a printing and stationery business. Unfortunately for his business success, but happily for Northamptonshire bibliography, John Taylor’s love of books and an ever-present anxiety to collect every scrap of Northamptonshire’s history, overshadowed everything else.

His father was one of the promoters of the General Baptist cause in Northampton which met for some years in the Kingswell Street chapel. When the General Baptist cause in Northampton ceased to function, John Taylor joined the College Street Baptist Church, and it was he who was largely responsible for raising the funds which put up the new chapel in College Street1 . His connection with the Baptists all his life made him keenly interested in the history of the denomination. He was the best authority on early Baptist history in this part of the country, and for very many years he worked at an important volume on Confessions of Faith. A copy of “The Faith and Practise of thirty Baptized Churches” in the Midlands (dated 1651) was to be the centre of an exhaustive collection of Confessions of Faith from all parts of the world, and the basis for biographies of the signatories, and histories of the Churches they represented, but he died with the work incomplete2.

In 1884 Taylor moved his business to premises at 9 College Street and bought a private house in York Road, Northampton, where he lived until his death on August 25th, 1901. John Taylor was twice married. His first wife, who died in 1891, was Miss Sarah Scott, of Leicester. His second wife, who survived him, was Miss Ellen Colson, of Rushden. He left no children.

A Liberal in politics, John Taylor did not take a prominent part in local public affairs; although he had his windows broken over the Bradlaugh disputes, and although he sometimes wrote a critical letter to the newspapers on municipal matters.

His first passion was to buy and handle, and frequently to retain specimens of Northamptonshire printing, or rare volumes of Northamptonshire history. In the long years of his collecting, a copy of almost every known Northamptonshire book, no matter how large or how small or insignificant, passed through his hands. He was at every public sale of books in the district, and he spent much time at the British Museum Library, the Bodleian at Oxford, and the University Library at Cambridge, carefully collating rare specimens of Northamptonshire works. In the course of nearly forty years, he collected and put into type for his Bibliotheca the title page and collation of 30,000 Northamptonshire books. Only six copies were printed, one of which was acquired by the Northampton Public Library3.

Naturally, in the course of his investigations, he came across many unknown items of Northamptonshire history. These he collected and printed, but, curiously never issued until a few weeks before his death, when they were published under the title of “Antiquarian Memoranda.” In 1884 he commenced the “Northamptonshire Notes and Queries” which, issued for twelve years, forms six unique and valuable volumes.

Taylor was a lover of books, and he only parted with his choicest acquisitions with the greatest reluctance. The majority of his collections of books and manuscripts of John Clare and miscellaneous Northamptonshire books are in the Northampton Central Library. He possessed, at the time of his death, unique collections of rare sixteenth-century tracts, Baptist historical literature, Baptist Missionary literature, Northamptonshire engravings and portraits, Northamptonshire poll books and election literature, and historical notes on every village and town in the county. He was a source of reference to others engaged in local history research, knowledge that was willing shared and often writing updates and responses in the local newspapers.

One of his greatest achievements was as part of a group in the 1860s that formed the Northampton Free Library, evolving as the Northampton Public Library and today is still a significant proportion of the local studies collection of the Northampton Central Library.

Sources:
Death of John Taylor, printer and book-lover, Northampton Mercury, Friday 30 August 1901
John Taylor obituary, Notes & Queries Sept. 14, 1901, vol 8 p 223
Northamptonshire Notes & Queries, second series, vol. 1, pp 13-16
Roger Hayden, “John Taylor and the Records of Northants Nonconformity,” Baptist Quarterly 24.7 (July 1972): 342-344

© 2018, Graham Ward. All rights reserved.

Share
 Posted by at 9:39 pm
Oct 272017
 

A new map shows the locations of nonconformist chapels within Northampton. Some buildings were used by several different denominations over the years. As a consequence of redevelopment, not all buildings are still in existence, particularly in the central area.

If you zoom and click on the marker of interest full details about the use of the building is shown in the information box.

A complete listing of Northampton Chapels can be found here.

© 2017, Graham Ward. All rights reserved.

Share
 Posted by at 6:57 pm
Oct 162017
 

Olaudahn Equiano

Olaudahn Equiano

In life Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745 – 31 March 1797) was known as Gustavus Vassa. Equiano has an unexplained link with the village of Soham in Cambridgeshire, England where he married an English lady, Susannah Cullen in 1792. It was from Soham in 1782 that the Baptist, Andrew Fuller originated before becoming the pastor of Kettering Baptist Church.

Olaudah Equiano together with William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson are celebrated by the Church of England on 30th July each year for their efforts in social reform and anti-slavery campaigning.

Until the recently the final resting place of Equiano has been unknown[1]. What we do know is that he lived in London, at 13 Tottenham Street, London, in 1788; in 1789 he moved to what was then 10 Union Street and is now 73 Riding House Street. One of his last addresses appears to have been Plaisterers’ Hall in the City of London, where he drew up his will on 28 May 1796. He moved to John Street, Tottenham Court Road, close to Whitefield’s Methodist chapel. (It was rebuilt in in 1957 following war-time damage by a V2 rocket, for use by Congregationalists, now the site of the American International Church.) Lastly, he lived in Paddington Street, Middlesex, where he died.

Recent research has revealed that following Equiano’s death on 31 March 1797 he was buried at Whitefield’s Methodist chapel on 6 April 1797.[2]

The entry reads “6 [April 1797]  Gustus Vasa, 52 years, St Mary Le bone

We might conclude that Equiano found the Calvinistic message of Whitefield’s chapel to his liking. At the time the chapel was pastored by Rev. Torial Joss, George Whitefield having died in 1770. Joss himself died a few days after Equiano and was buried on 22 April 1797 in the chapel.

Olaudah Equiano burial

Olaudah Equiano burial

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olaudah_Equiano#Last_days_and_will

[2] London Metropolitan Archives; Clerkenwell, London, England; Whitefield’s Memorial Church [Formerly Tottenham Court Road Chapel], Tottenham Court Road, Saint Pancras, Register of burials; Reference Code: LMA/4472/A/01/004

© 2017, Graham Ward. All rights reserved.

Share
 Posted by at 7:50 pm

Northampton Chapels mapped

 

This map shows the locations of nonconformist chapels within Northampton. Some buildings were used by several different denominations over the years. As a consequence of redevelopment, not all buildings are still in existence, particularly in the central area.

If you zoom and click on the marker of interest full details about the use of the building is shown in the information box.

A separate listing of Northampton Chapels can be found here.

Basic Google Maps Placemarks error: JavaScript and/or CSS files aren't loaded. If you're using do_shortcode() you need to add a filter to your theme first. See the FAQ for details.

© 2017 – 2019, Graham Ward. All rights reserved.

 Posted by at 5:09 pm
Aug 262016
 

Philip Doddridge never enjoyed the best of health. In life he had the appearance of a “bag of bones” and was always running from this place to that in the Lord’s work. When it became clear that his life was close to its end friends and supporters contributed to pay for the cost of him travelling to Lisbon, Portugal for a “change of air”. Sadly he was met by no better weather than he left in England and that journey was to be his last. He died there of tuberculosis on 26 October 1751. He was buried in a cemetery attached to the British Factory in Lisbon.

Philip Doddridge's grave at the British Cemetery Lisbon 2

Philip Doddridge’s grave at the British Cemetery Lisbon

Philip Doddridge's grave at the British Cemetery Lisbon 1

Philip Doddridge’s grave at the British Cemetery Lisbon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures kindly supplied by Ed Hanson via http://www.findagrave.com/

More on Philip Doddridge.

© 2016 – 2018, Graham Ward. All rights reserved.

Share
 Posted by at 3:35 pm
Nov 282014
 

If you are looking for transcriptions of non-conformist records in Northamptonshire the Eureka Partnership have started a series of booklets containing many records they have located and transcribed. Details of their Northamptonshire collection is here.

Also remember that nonconformists often travelled some distance to attend the chapel of their choice, so it is often wise to look for chapels across the county boundary.  Some of the other counties that have been transcribed are Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.

Currently the following records have been published for Northamptonshire:

TitleDescriptionDenominationEureka reference
Buckingham and Brackley Methodist Circuit - Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire Baptisms 1804-1903This booklet contains a transcription of the baptisms relating to persons from Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire contained in the registers of the Buckingham and Brackley Methodist Circuit held at the Northamptonshire Record Office. Also included is a register of marriages 1870-1885 and a register of burials, 1846-1894, in the Wesleyan Chapel Ground at Brackley. Northamptonshire chapels in the Circuit at various times were situated at Brackley, Croughton, Evenley, Greatworth, Syresham and Whitfield and those from Oxfordshire were situated at Arncott, Bicester, Caulcott, Clifton, Deddington, Fritwell, Hethe, Lower and Upper Heyford, Launton, North Aston, Piddington and Weston on the Green. Wesleyan MethodistEUR062
Towcester Methodist Circuit - Baptisms 1811-1919The Towcester Methodist Circuit included chapels at Alderton, Ashton, Astcote in the parish of Pattishall, Blakesley, Grafton Regis, Greens Norton, Hartwell, Maidford, Paulerspury, Shutlanger, Silverstone, Slapton, Stoke Bruerne, Towcester, Wappenham and Whittlebury [all Northamptonshire].Wesleyan MethodistEUR116
Banbury Wesleyan Methodist Circuit - Historic Roll 1899-1904The Wesleyan Methodist Historic Roll contains the names and addresses of members who donated a guinea each to the Wesleyan Methodist Million Guinea Fund between the years 1899 and 1904. Also listed are those loved ones who had either died or moved away and for whom members made additional donations 'In Memoriam'.
This booklet contains a trancription of the pages within the Historic Roll relating to the Banbury Circuit, which included places of worship at Adderbury, Banbury, Bloxham, Cropredy, Hanwell, Horley, Shutford, Wardington and Wroxton [all Oxfordshire], Chacombe, Chipping Warden, Eydon, Greatworth, Grimsbury, Hinton, Lower Boddington, Middleton Cheney, Sulgrave and Upper Boddington [all Northamptonshire] and Shotteswell and Warmington [both Warwickshire].
Wesleyan MethodistEUR181
Buckingham and Brackley, Thame and Watlington Wesleyan Methodist Circuits - Historic Roll 1899-1904This booklet contains a transcription of the pages within the Historic Roll relating to the Buckingham and Brackley, Thame and Watlington Circuits. Buckingham and Brackley Circuit included places of worship at Adstock, Akeley, Buckingham, Padbury and Thornborough [all Buckinghamshire], Bicester, Clifton, Hethe and Somerton [all Oxfordshire], and Brackley and Croughton [both Northamptonshire]. The Thame Circuit included places of worship at Bledlow, Brill, Cuddington, Haddenham and Ludgershall [all Buckinghamshire] and Thame [Oxfordshire]. Watlington Circuit included places of worship at Britwell Salome, Chalgrove, Christmas Common, Drayton, Ewelme, Great Milton, Little Milton, Warborough and Watlington [all Oxfordshire] and Wallingford [Berkshire].Wesleyan MethodistEUR243
Rugby and Daventry Wesleyan Methodist Circuit Volume One - Daventry District Baptisms 1802-1837Within the Rugby and Daventry Circuit separate baptismal registers existed for chapels in the Daventry area and for chapels in the Rugby area. This arrangement continued up to and beyond 1860 when Rugby Wesleyan Circuit and Daventry Wesleyan Circuit were established as separate entities.
This booklet contains a transcription of the baptisms recorded in the registers for the Daventry area, which included places of worship at Braunston, Daventry, Hellidon, Kilsby, Long Buckby, Weedon and West Haddon [all Northamptonshire] and at Priors Marston [Warwickshire] between 1802 and 1837 inclusive.
Wesleyan MethodistEUR268
Towcester and Wolverton Wesleyan Methodist Circuits - Historic Roll 1899-1904The Wesleyan Methodist Historic Roll contains the names and addresses of members who donated a guinea each to the Wesleyan Methodist Million Guinea Fund between the years 1899 and 1904. Also listed are those loved ones who had either died or moved away and for whom members made additional donations 'In Memoriam'.
This booklet contains a transcription of the pages within the Historic Roll relating to the Towcester and Wolverton Circuits, which included places of worship at Towcester and Whittlebury [Northamptonshire], Bletchley, Bow Brickhill, Castlethorpe, Fenny Stratford, Hanslope, Newport Pagnell, Old Bradwell, Sherington, Simpson, Stony Stratford, Woburn Sands and Wolverton [all Buckinghamshire] and Aspley Guise, Cranfield and Woburn [all Bedfordshire].
Wesleyan MethodistEUR291
Northampton and Daventry Wesleyan Methodist Circuits - Historic Roll 1899-1904.The Wesleyan Methodist Historic Roll contains the names and addresses of members who donated a guinea each to the Wesleyan Methodist Million Guinea Fund between the years 1899 and 1904. Also listed are those loved ones who had either died or moved away and for whom members made additional donations 'In Memoriam'. This booklet cotains a transcription of the pages within the Historic Roll relating to the Northampton (Gold Street), Northampton (Queens Road) and Daventry Circuits which included places of worship at Braunston, Brixworth, Charwelton, Daventry, Holcot, Northampton, Roade, Weedon and West Haddon [all Northamptonshire] and at Priors Marston and Willoughby [both Warwickshire].Wesleyan MethodistEUR326
Wellingborough, Higham Ferrers and Raunds Wesleyan Methodist Circuits - Historic Roll
1899-1904.
The Wesleyan Methodist Historic Roll contains the names and addresses of members who donated a guinea each to the Wesleyan Methodist Million Guinea Fund between the years 1899 and 1904. Also listed are those loved ones who had either died or moved away and for whom members made additional donations 'In Memoriam'.
This booklet contains a transcription of the pages within the Historic Roll relating to the Wellingborough, Higham Ferrers and Raunds Circuits, which included places of worship at Bozeat, Denford, Earls Barton, Finedon, Hargrave, Harrowden, Higham Ferrers, Irchester, Irthlingborough, Little Addington, Mears Ashby, Raunds, Ringstead, Rushden, Stanwick, Thrapston, Titchmarsh, Wellingborough, Wilby, Wollaston and Woodford [all Northamptonshire], at Dean, Knotting Green, Riseley, Souldrop, Swineshead and Yielden [all Bedfordshire] and at Catworth [Huntingdonshire].
Wesleyan MethodistEUR334
Middleton Cheney Baptist Church - Births 1785-1837; Burials 1789-1793; Members 1781-1841The Baptist Church at Middleton Cheney is believed to date from about 1740 when members met at the house of Mr. Merrivale in Main Road, now the New Inn. The present chapel was built in 1806 and replaced an earlier, smaller, building thought to be located in Queen Street. The church is now known as Middleton Cheney Baptist Centre. This volume contains a transcription of the church birth, burial and membership records deposited at Northamptonshire Record Office.
Members of the church resided at Chacombe, Kings Sutton, Marston St. Lawrence, Middleton Cheney, Moreton Pinkney, Sulgrave, Thenford and Thorpe Mandeville [all Northamptonshire] and in Adderbury, Banbury, Cropredy and Great Bourton [all Oxfordshire].
BaptistEUR338
Roade Baptist Church - Births 1816-1837 and Members 1730-1912.The Baptist Church at Roade is said to have been founded in 1688 by John Gibbs of Newport Pagnell, who also founded the church at Olney, Bucks. The earliest surviving records date from 1730 when Richard Leaper, also from Olney, became minister. The present chapel, which is now a private residence, was built in 1802 and replaced an earlier building erected in 1737.
This volume contains a transcription of the church birth and membership records together with extracts from the minutes. Members of the Church resided at Ashton, Blisworth, Courteenhall, Milton Malsor, Quinton, Roade and Stoke Bruerne [all Northamptonshire] and in Gayhurst, Hanslope and Loughton [all Buckinghamshire].
BaptistEUR346
Wellingborough Wesleyan Methodist Circuit - Volume One - Baptisms 1809-1857.The Wellingborough Wesleyan Methodist Circuit had places of worship at Bozeat, Burton Latimer,
Earls Barton, Finedon, Grendon, Hannington, Harrowden, Irchester, Isham, Mears Ashby, Orlingbury, Wellingborough, Wilby and Wollaston [all Northamptonshire].
This volume contains a transcription of the baptismal entries found in the circuit registers for the period 1809 to 1857 inclusive.
Wesleyan MethodistEUR359
Wellingborough Wesleyan Methodist Circuit - Volume Two - Baptisms 1858-1913.The Wellingborough Wesleyan Methodist Circuit had places of worship at Bozeat, Burton Latimer,
Earls Barton, Finedon, Grendon, Hannington, Harrowden, Irchester, Isham, Mears Ashby, Orlingbury, Wellingborough, Wilby and Wollaston [all Northamptonshire].
This volume contains a transcription of the baptismal entries found in the circuit registers for the period 1858 to 1913 inclusive.
Wesleyan MethodistEUR360
Kettering & Market Harborough Wesleyan Methodist Circuits - Historic Roll 1899-1904The Wesleyan Methodist Historic Roll contains the names and addresses of members who donated a guinea each to the Wesleyan Methodist Million Guinea Fund between the years 1899 and 1904. Also listed are those loved ones who had either died or moved away and for whom members made additional donations 'In Memoriam'.
This booklet contains a transcription of the pages within the Historic Roll relating to the Kettering and Market Harborough Circuits, including members residing in Broughton, Cottingham, Desborough, Great Oakley, Kettering, Little Oakley, Middleton, Naseby, Pipewell, Pytchley and Rothwell [all Northamptonshire], and at Foxton, Great Bowden, Great Easton, Husbands Bosworth, Kibworth Beauchamp, Little Bowden and Market Harborough [all Leicestershire].
Wesleyan MethodistEUR364
Northampton Wesleyan Methodist Circuit - Volume One - Baptisms 1808-1862; Burials 1820-1837The Northampton Wesleyan Circuit was formed from the Bedford Circuit in 1808. The 1866-67 Circuit Plan shows places of worship at Billing, Boughton, Brixworth, Collingtree, Duston, Ecton, Far Cotton, Hardingstone, Harpole, Holcot, Houghton, Kislingbury, Moulton, Northampton Gold Street, Northampton Grafton Street, Northampton Scarletwell Street, Pitsford, Quinton, Roade and Weston Favell [all Northamptonshire].
This booklet contains a transcription of those baptismal entries dated between 1808 and 1862 inclusive to be found in the circuit registers deposited at Northamptonshire Record Office. The burials at Gold Street, Northampton Chapel are also included
Wesleyan MethodistEUR367
Northampton Wesleyan Methodist Circuit - Volume Two - Baptisms 1863-1913The Northampton Wesleyan Circuit was formed from the Bedford Circuit in 1808. The 1866-67 Circuit Plan shows places of worship at Billing, Boughton, Brixworth, Collingtree, Duston, Ecton, Far Cotton, Hardingstone, Harpole, Holcot, Houghton, Kislingbury, Moulton, Northampton Gold Street, Northampton Grafton Street, Northampton Scarletwell Street, Pitsford, Quinton, Roade and Weston Favell [all Northamptonshire].
This booklet contains a transcription of those baptismal entries dated between 1863 and 1913 inclusive to be found in the circuit registers deposited at Northamptonshire Record Office.
Wesleyan MethodistEUR368

 

 

© 2014, Graham Ward. All rights reserved.

Share
 Posted by at 3:58 pm

Sources for researching Nonconformists in Northamptonshire

 

Sources for researching Nonconformists in Northamptonshire

by Graham Ward

This new publication is a research guide to the complex area of nonconformist history with particular reference to Northamptonshire.  By 1851, 28% of the county’s population attended a nonconformist chapel, so it is likely that pan of your family will be involved with one of these groups. This booklet will help you to understand the different records that are available for research into nonconformity in the county.  Topics include: background and historical context, sources for people and places, a brief overview of the different denominations, details of non-conformist libraries and societies plus a detailed bibliography and list of the non-conformist registers held at Northampton Record Office.

Available from the Northamptonshire Family History Society bookstall for £2.50 plus postage (UK 45p, airmail £1.40) ISBN 1904460275,

First published November 2004, revised 2011

Included in the publication is a directory of resources, those referencing webpages are detailed below.  If you are aware of any changes to these details please contact me.

Resource Website
Baptist Historical Society http://www.baptisthistory.org.uk
British Library Public Catalogue http://explore.bl.uk/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?vid=BLVU1
Congregational Library http://dwl.ac.uk/view.php?&page=95 

and

http://conglib.co.uk

Congregational Federation http://www.congregational.org.uk
Congregational History Society http://www.bunyanmeeting.co.uk/library/CongregationalHistorySociety.html
Dr Williams’ Library http://dwl.ac.uk/
Friends House Library http://www.quaker.org.uk/library
Harris Manchester College http://www.hmc.ox.ac.uk/library/specialcollections/
Huguenot Library http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Library/huguenot.shtml
Huguenot Society http://www.huguenotsociety.org.uk
IGI and British Vital Records www.familysearch.org
John Rylands Library – Methodist Collections http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/search-resources/guide-to-special-collections/methodist/
Manchester Wesley Research Centre http://www.mwrc.ac.uk
Methodist Heritage http://www.methodistheritage.org.uk/
Northamptonshire Heritage Forum (formerly Northamptonshire Association for Local History) http://www.northamptonshireheritageforum.co.uk
Northamptonshire County Council’s Community Information Directory No longer available
Northamptonshire Libraries http://www.librarycatalogue.northamptonshire.gov.uk/web/arena
Northamptonshire Record Office http://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/en/councilservices/Community/archives/Pages/default.aspx
Quaker Family History Society http://www.qfhs.co.uk/
Regents’ Park College (Angus Library) http://theangus.rpc.ox.ac.uk
Society of Friends or Quakers http://www.quaker.org.uk
Strict Baptist Historical Society http://www.strictbaptisthistory.org.uk/
Unitarian http://www.unitarian.org.uk/
Unitarian Historical Society http://www.unitarianhistory.org.uk/
United Reformed Church http://www.urc.org.uk/
United Reformed Church History Society http://www.urchistory.org.uk

https://www.westminster.cam.ac.uk/urc/archives

Wesley Historical Society http://www.wesleyhistoricalsociety.org.uk/
Westminster Institute of Education http://www.brookes.ac.uk/hpc/research/oxford-centre-for-methodism-and-church-history/

 

© 2012 – 2019, Graham Ward. All rights reserved.

Share
 Posted by at 3:22 pm

The Ponder Family

 

from the Kettering Leader – Friday, August 15, 1924

Glimpses of Rothwell History

By F. W. BULL

The Ponder Family

For two hundred years the family of Ponder evidently played a prominent part in Rothwell affairs.

The first Ponder of which a note exists is one Nicholas Ponder, who died about 1527, but whose will is unfortunately missing from the Northampton Registry. The will of Nicholas Ponder, who died in 1573, is there, however, and it is not unreasonable to suppose he was the son of the first-named Nicholas. This will •was made on 18th August, 1573, and as there is no mention of children it is presumed Nicholas had no issue. He is there described as a husbandman, and proceeds: “I give and bequeath my soule to almigtie God my maker and redeamer and my bodie to be buried in the church of Rothwell. . . I give to the Churche of Rothwell vis. viijd. Item I give to the Schole-house xxd. I give to the Abbey bridge five theaves and to the three other bridges vs. I give and bequeath to be given to the poore in Rothwell on my buriall daye viijs. ivd. I give yearlie for so longe as my yeares last in this ferme to the poore one stryke of malte when they mend the high waies. And I give yearlie also so longe as the lease of my farme endureth iijs. iiijd. to be bestowed on Rogation Mondaie of them that goe about to sett meare stones betwixt meare and meare and neighbour and neighbour.” To his brother William he gives xxs. and to his children vs. each and a shepe apece. To his brother in law William Ley of Thorpe xs. and to his sister his (Ley’s) wife xxs. To his brother John £3 6s. 8d. Other curious bequests are the following:— “To my brother William Ponder my best coate my best doublett my best shirte my best hoose and my best Jerkyn. I give to my brother Ley my second doublett my second shirt.” To his sister Ley he gave his “best hatte to Marie Ley one brass pott that I left bought of my cousin Wall.” He makes his wife Margarie his ful texecutrix and gives her the residue. She proved the will 26th November, 1573.

Coming now to William Ponder, the brother of Nicholas, we find that he made his will on 6th November, 1579. He is described as a yeoman, and proceeds: “I give and bequeath my soule unto almightie God my Maker and Redeemer in whom I rnust be saved by his precious bloode sheddinge and my bodie to be buried in the Church of Rothwell.” To such church he gives vis. viiid. He gave “unto the mendinge of the hygh wayes yearlie one strike of malt unto the end and term of xxi years.”

Then he goes on: “Item I give iiis. iiijd., to be given amongst the people which doe goe about a fields in Rogation weeke commonly called Crossa weeke and that iijs. iiijd. to be payd yearlie for ever by hym or them that shall have the farme in occupation wherein I now dwell.” To Marie Ponder his wife and to John Ponder his brother he gave all lands which he bought of Mr. Udall during their natural lives then to Thomas Ponder his son except a cottage called the Chauntrey House adjoining the Churchyard and that he gave to Owen Ponder his son with another house in Nassington after the deaths of his wife and brother. He refers to the lease of a house and six arable lands at Thorpe Malsor, which he ultimately gave to another son, John, and gives £20 each on their marriage to his daughters Constance and Agnes and further sums of £5. He further willed that bis executors should “give unto Owen my sonne some £5 yearlie to keep him at the Universitie so long as he doth apply his books and shall bave need of the exhibition. To his son Thomas Ponder he gave a Cupboard “that standeth in the wall, the formes, and tables with all the sealinge in the hall and parlour.”

The residue of his estate he gave his wife Marie and his brother John and he made them executors. The will was proved on 3rd June, 1580.

John. Ponder, William’s brother, made his will on 3rd June, 1601. Ha does not appear to have been married, as there is no reference to children or a wife. Ha gave unto his Parish Church xxs. “when they doe begin to build the Steeple,” Legacies were given to the children of his nephews Thomas and Owen and to his sister Margery, who presumably was the wife of William Ley There was also a bequest to Elizabeth Ponder tha daughter of his nephew Thomas of his bedstead in the greate chamber and feather bed with all that belongeth thereto and one paire of sheetes. The residue went to Thomas his nephew, and tha will was proved 7th October, 1601.

Thomas Ponder, the son, of William, made his will 22nd October, 1630. He desires to be buried in the Parish Church of Rothwell neare unto his predecessors, and refers to his sons Thomas and Owen, his daughters Elizabeth, Susan, Annie and Sara. He also refers to Thomas and Mary the children of his son William and also to his brother Owen and sister Agnes Harrison. His cousins John and Elizabeth are also mentioned, The nesidue went to his son William, who as executor proved the will 26th February, 1630.

Then we have the will of Owen Ponder, presumably the son of William Ponder, which was proved 30th April, 1661. He refers to his eldest son Ralph his .second son John, and his youngest son Thomas, and to his wife Dorothy, to whom he gave all his goods and chattels and all his houses for life and towards the bringing up of his children and the finding of such trades as their dispositions stand to. This Owen is probably the Owen Ponder who at the Church Survey of 14th September, 1637 did “confess that sometymes he doth not stand up at the gospell And doth not bow when the blessed name of Jesus is mentioned” and he “being admonished to conform therein for the tyme to come” answered obstinately “that he would not tell whether he would reform or noe.”

There is, too, the will of Ralph Ponder of Rowell Labourer dated 28th March 1663 (proved at Kettering 7th April 1671) who refers to his wife Anne and his daughters Elizabeth, Dorothy and Anne. Also the will of Thomas Ponder of Rowell Gentleman dated 4th March, 1730, in which he mentions his late brother-in-law the. Lord Chief Baron Ward, and his grandchildren, the daughters of his late son-in-law John York, who was Vicar of Rothwell 1690—94, and Rector of Stoke Doyle 1717—30. The will was proved 24th April, 1752, and the inventory was sworn at £408 0s. 1 1/2 d.

Which Ponder was the founder of Ponder’s Charity does not appear from any will. The Commissioners in their report of 1830 state that “six small tenements which were erected in or about the year 1714 by T. Ponder Gentleman were appropriated by him, together with three roods of land adjoining, for the use of the poor widows of Rothwell,” and it seems just possibly that the Ponder in question was the one just mentioned as having died in 1732. Paul Cypher states that in the Lady Chapel is a monumental inscription, scarcely legible, to the memory of Thomas Ponder, the founder of the Almshouses. This stone is still in existence, but the inscription is now indecipherable.

These wills are interesting, as are numerous entries in the Church registers, but it is most difficult to construct a pedigree from them.

John Ponder was a notable member of the family. Exactly what relation he was, however, to the Ponders already mentioned it is at present impossible to say. He was quite a sturdy Puritan. In 1634 or thereabouts he was charged with divers offences connected with religious exercises and opinions which did not accord with the views then current. He was one of the founders of the Independent Church at Rothwell, and was the first elder. He was apparently in a good way of business as a chandler, and issued two tokens, one dated 1655 and the other 1664. These are illustrated, being reproduced from a plate, in Bridge’s “Northants” of the Dash Collection of Tokens. He made a nuncupative will on 7th April, 1665. He is there described as a chaundler, and he thereby gave Dorothy Ponder his wife all his messuage at Rothwell and goods for the purpose of portions for his children, that is to say. his son John £5, son Nathaniel 5s., and to the rest of his children, Susanna, Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, Dorothy, Sarah, and Thomas to each of them £50 to be paid on days of marriage. His wife was appointed executrix. Dorothy Ponder died soon after, however. She made her will on 22nd May, 1665, in which, after referring to her husband’s will and desiring that its provisions should be carried out and the por¬tions paid, directed that her son John was to receive £45 more.

The burial entries are:—”1665, 10 April John Ponder Chaundler.” “1665 28 May Dorothy Ponder widdow.” It will be noted that Nathaniel Ponder is only left 5s. He was probably well provided for, however, as he is believed to be the London publisher of many of John Bunyan’s works, though the publisher in question is described as the son of John Ponder, of Rothwell, mercer, and was apprenticed to Robert Gibbs, Bookseller, of London, on 2nd June, 1656. He it was who first published the “Pilgrim’s Progress” in 1678 at the sign of the Peacock, in the Poultry, near the Church. The eleventh edition was the last which came out in his name. The twelfth, issued in 1689, bore the name of Robert Ponder. Nathaniel Ponder was, says Dr. Brown, in his “Life of Bunyan,” “knewn among his brother craftsmen of the Stationer’s Company as ‘Bunyan Ponder.’ He was an agreeable man to have dealings with. He had ‘sweetness and enterprise in his air which plead and anticipate in his favour.'” Nathaniel was “also the publisher in 1679 of “A Treatise of the Fear of God”; and “The Life and Death of Mr. Badman” in 1680. He did not escape trouble in respect of some of his religious publications, but he was quite an active Independent, and took steps to obtain licences for several local Nonconformists in 1672.

The Rev. H. Isham Longden, M.A., to whom thanks are due for his assistance, states that on 15th October. 1666, a licence was issued by the Vicar-General of the Archbishop of Canterbury for “Nathaniel Ponder of St. Dunstans West Citizen and Stationer bachelor about 26 to marry Mary Guy of Isham Spinster about 20, with the consent of her Father.” There is moreover, says Mr. Longden, an entry in the Kettering register of the baptism on 14th May, 1645, of Mary, daughter of Robert Guy Gentleman; while on the 17th October, 1687, there is an entry in the Rothwell register of the burial of Elizabeth Ponder, daughter of Mr. Nathaniel Ponder of London.

Mr. Longden mentions two other Ponders First, Samuel Ponder, who was a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, matriculated 1655 and took his B.A. 1659-60. He is spoken of in Calamy as a Northampton man eminent for piety and humility. A Samuel Ponder buried at Rothwell 4th December, 1662, may have been the Samuel in question. Secondly, there is William Ponder, of Clare Hall, Cambridge, B.A., 1629-30, M.A. 1633, who intruded as Rector of Courteenhall 6th May, 1648, and was buried there 18th December, 1660. Whether he was a Rothwell man cannot be stated.

.ROTHWELL TRADESMEN’S TOKENS.

The Tradesmen’s Tokens here illustrated are three out of the five issued by Rothwell tradesmen. They are shown about double the actual size. The centre of the obverse in Ponder’s earlier Token represents a row of candles, while in the centre of the reverse in the 1664 one are the letters “O.B.,” an abbreviation for “obulus”—a halfpenny. The obverse of the Bebee Token has a wheatsheaf.

Share
 Posted by at 3:19 pm