Opening of the New Mission Church.

The creation and opening of the Mission Church at Long Buckby Wharf on 1st April 1875 was a momentous occasion for the Wharf and its residents. The local newspaper had a very lavish and detailed report – so detailed that I’m going to transcribe the entire report here to read. [this is a report from 1875, it uses language and descriptions of other cultures that are inappropriate today] It is quite long but very full of names, and specific architectural information. Future posts will delve more deeply into each aspect of the Church’s creation and building.

On Thursday, the 1st instant, the Mission Church, the foundation stone of which was laid on the 29th July, by Mrs Craven, of Whilton Hall, was opened. Although Buckby Wharf contains a population of over 160 souls, and is at some distance from any place of worship, yet it has been without either a church or chapel up to the present time, thus occasioning much inconvenience to the inhabitants. Sunday evening services were held while the Rev. T G Rose remained as Baptist minister at Long Buckby, but on his removal these services were discontinued. It was then considered desirable that services should be held in connection with the parish church, and the parochial council, consisting of the vicar, Rev. C A Yate, and Messrs. T M Clarke, Ringrose, Robinson, Leeson, W Montgomery, W Wills, and W Collis, were instructed to carry out the necessary arrangements. The services were held in 1871 in a room adjoining the George Inn, and were so well attended that it became necessary to obtain some further accommodation. Through the kindness of Mr W Montgomery, a large malting-house was placed at the disposal of the council, where the services continued with increased success until it was deemed necessary to erect a church. A suitable site was generously given by J A Craven, Esq., of Whilton Hall, and subscriptions were obtained from the Right Hon. Earl Spencer, K.G., T Thornton, Esq., Rev. W Thornton, Mrs Seymour (Norton Hall), Sir F Horne, Rev Smith (Kislingbury), Rev. C A Yate, T G Lockhart, Esq. (Dunstable), Captain Senhouse, and from most of the residents in the neighbourhood.

The church is built in the Early English style, of red brick, with Bath stone dressings, with a bell cot at the west end, and is pleasantly situated on the Daventry road, contiguous to the spot where it is crossed by the Old-street road. The interior is built of red pressed brick, with black brick and Bath stone bandings, with coloured arches. The roof is open, with stained deal supports, while the floor is laid with Minton’s encaustic tiles. The seats, of stained and varnished deal, are open. The building is heated with Porrett’s underground stove (Dixon-green, Lancashire.) The church is lighted on the north and south sides by six windows of small glazed quarry, with lemon-coloured margins. The entrance is at the west end by a rich moulded Bath stone door, with label terminating in carved boxes. The building is 60 feet by 23, with a height of 30 feet, and is calculated to hold about 200. There is a neat lancet window on the east, with the monogram I.H.S. worked in ruby blue and purple. The architect and builder is Mr Josiah Denny, of Buckby Wharf, while the staining and glazing were carried out by Messrs Wills and Son, of Long Buckby.

The opening services were held on Thursday, when the church was filled, most of the clergy and gentry of the neighbourhood being present. The prayers were read by the Rev. C A Yate, and the lessons by the Rev. R Skipwith, of Whilton, while the sermon was preached by the Rev. Gordon Calthrop, M.A. of St. Augustine’s, Highbury, from Luke 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th verses. He described in forcible language the distress of the apostles and the death of our Lord. It is evident that the disciples had no expectation of Christ’s resurrection, and that they were demoralised by the death of their Master. Our lord meets them sorrowing on their way to Emaus, and drew them into conversation on the Scriptures, the imperfect knowledge of which was at the root of all our intellectual difficulties. He concluded by remarking that the Saviour often drew nigh to them unknown and unrecognised, and that He would condescend to be their guide if they pressed him, and remain with them through eternity. The preacher said he had one duty to discharge, which was in harmony with Eastertide. They should feel thankful that a new house of God had been erected in the land. In oriental countries public rejoicing was made on the opening of a new well, and he thought it was well worthy of joy that a new well of salvation had been opened in the land. As a final duty he informed them that £100 was needed to start their little church on its way free from debt, and he called upon them to give liberally. The collection, which amounted to £18 11s was then made, the congregation singing the hymn, “Christ is our corner-stone.”

A public luncheon, provided by Mr Franklin, of Northampton, with his customary success, was afterwards held, to which about one hundred sat down. The Chairman, Rev. C A Yate, gave the first toast, “The Queen and Royal Family,” which was loyally and heartily responded to. W J Judkins, Esq., then proposed “The Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese.” He expressed the disappointment felt through the inability of the Bishop to be present, and warmly thanked Rev. Gordon Calthrop and rest of the clergy for their assistance. Rev. J S Winter, in responding, said although not a very near neighbour, he was greatly rejoiced to be able to aid them in carrying out the work. He was pleased also to see the way in which the clergy and laity worked together, for unless they pulled together no great work could be accomplished. Rev. Canon Bromhead, of Winwick, said he had very great pleasure in proposing the health of Mr Craven, the donor of the site, and also of the ladies and gentlemen who had so generously given help and money towards the completion of the new church, They had all felt the need of its erection, and he had no doubt they all felt satisfied with the success of the undertaking. Rev. R Skipwith replied on behalf of Mr Craven, who was unable to be present; and Mr W Montgomery, for the subscribers, related the difficulty they had undergone, and expressed the hope that the church might that day be freed from debt. (Loud applause.)

Rev. Gordon Calthrop replied in a felicitous speech, expressing the peculiar pleasure he had in being present. He was an old college friend of their worthy vicar, whom he felt extremely pleased to see so pleasantly situated, in complete harmony with the clergy, and reaping the reward of his earnest work in the love of his people. (Applause.) A Cove, Esq., in a humorous speech, proposed the health of “The ladies,” for whom the Rev. R Walters, Rookhope, Durham, replied, remarking that the best way of showing gratitude for their services was to go over to the bazaar and clear the stall of the beautiful articles they had got together. Mr T M Clarke then gave “The clerical and lay helpers,” to whom the Wharf people were deeply indebted. Rev. J Jenkins, Ashby St Ledgers, in reply, said they had every encouragement to go on with the work, and he should have no hesitation in helping in anything they might require. The Chairman then proposed the health of Mr Josiah Denny, the architect and builder, whose exertions were worthy of the highest praise. Mr W Robinson, sen., coincided with the remarks of the vicar. They had a nice and substantial church and Mr Denny deserved great praise for the manner in which he carried on the work. He could bear witness to the quiet and uniform behaviour of the people at the services, most of whom, even the very poor, had contributed to the erection of the church. Mr W Collis, in giving “The organist and choir,” paid a high compliment to Mr John Robinson, who had trained the choir in such an efficient manner. Mr Robinson, in reply, suggested the purchase of a harmonium and the building of a wall round the church. The final toast, “The Chairman and Mrs Yate,” was proposed by Mr Calthrop, amid loud applause, which amply testified to the general esteem and affection with which Mr Yate is regarded. Mr Yate, in acknowledging the toast, said he hoped the good feeling amongst them would continue, and that they might never have cause to regret the work that had brought together that day.

A bazaar, held in a house belonging to Mr W Montgomery, was well patronised during the afternoon. The walls were tastefully decorated, and the stalls were spread with the usual articles, amongst which we noticed were some highly creditable work in wool and embroidery. The stalls were presided over by Mr Yate and following ladies; Mrs W F Dix, Mrs Judkins, Mrs Montgomery, Mrs and Miss Clarke, Mrs Leake, Mrs and Miss A Coleman, Misses Abbey, Mrs John Robinson, and Miss A Robinson. The bazaar was a thorough success, the proceeds reaching £32 the first day.

Rev. Gordon Calthrop again preached in the evening, the church being crowded, and collections were again made. The total proceeds from the collection and sales at bazaar amounted to about £70.

Northampton Mercury 1875 Saturday 10 April

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