Newspaper Articles

Northampton Mercury 23 October 1880

CASTLETHORPE. — Harvest Thanksgiving. Service was held on Sunday in St. Jude's Church. The decorations were splendid, and the sermon, by the Rev. M. A Nicholson, of Hanslope, was listened to by large congregation.

Northampton Mercury 07 November 1890


CHURCH OF OUR LADY.—The dedication festival of this church was observed on Tuesday. On the Sunday following special services were held morning and evening, the preacher being the Rev. Malcolm Graham. On Tuesday evensong with sermon was held seven p.m., at which the Rev. Frank Hird, of Rushden, was the preacher. The services were continued on Wednesday, on which day an entertainment was given the School-room. The services were well attended.

Northampton Mercury 03 April 1891

CASTLETHORPE. VESTRY MEETING. The annual vestry meeting was held the Schoolroom  at Castlethorpe on Wednesday evening. Mr. G. presided. The minutes of the last meeting were confirmed, and the following were nominated for the parish officers: - Messrs. E. Richard, W. Coxall, R. Clarke. W. Olney; surveyor, Mr. T. Amos; parish constable. Mr. J. Olney, sen.-The meeting closed with vote thanks the Chairman.

Croydon’s Weekly Standard 06 December 1884

SS. SIMON AND JUDE’S CHURCH. This ancient structure, which stands on an elevated position on the border of the old Castle yard, has recently been undergoing renovation at the hands of Messrs. Wilford Bros., Newport Pagnell. A channel of blue Staffordshire bricks, set in cement, with drains to convey water from the church and prevent it penetrating to the foundation, thereby preventing decay, has been made outside the building. The old colour has been removed from the stone columns in the interior of the building, and the tracery of the windows and all the stonework left has been cleaned and restored. The plaster of the ceiling and walls has been thoroughly cleaned, restored and coloured with stone colour, and the whitewash removed from the woodwork of the roof and the timber stained and varnished. The work has been carried out with considerable satisfaction.

The Bucks Standard 28 September 1895

HARVEST FESTIVAL. Thanksgiving services for the ingathering of the harvest was celebrated at SS. Simon and Jude’s Church, on Friday evening, September 20. The sacred edifice had been very prettily decorated by Mrs. Whiting, Mrs. Powell, and Misses A. and J. Gregory, Varney, Compton and others, and presented a most bright appearance. The service was exceedingly hearty. The anthem, “I will lift up mine eyes,” was nicely performed, the solo being taken by Mr. S. Gregory, and the vocal duet by T. Gregory and E. Powell. A very earnest sermon was preached by the Rev. J. Carter Brown D.D., an old curate of Hanslope and Castlethorpe, from Isaiah ix.3. he pointed out that joy not gloom was one of the truest marks of a real Christian. He further showed how much there was to check joy here, and contrasted the joy of the Christian on this world with the everlasting joy of heaven, where there as permanence and stability. The offertory, which amounted to £1 5s.5d., was devoted to the cleaning and decorating of the Carrington School. The services were continued on the following Sunday. The congregations throughout the festival were very good, the church being full both on Friday and Sunday evenings. The Sunday morning and evening offertories, amounting to about £2 14s. 1½d., were devoted to the Northampton Infirmary. The total offertories amounted to £4 7s 2d..

The Bucks Standard 26 September 1896

HARVEST THANKSGIVING. The annual harvest thanksgiving services were held at Castlethorpe on Friday, the 18th inst., and the following Sunday. The pleasingly situated parish church is well adapted for festival decorations, and presented a very bright and cheerful aspect. Beautiful floral designs were in view in every part of the sacred edifice, and we congratulate the decorators on the success of the undertakings, in which they so readily engaged. The font was wreathed with white dahlias and leaves of the richest autumn tints; a cross formed from white dahlias, ferns and laurel rising from the midst of a bright array of flowers. The whole effect was very pleasing. The font decorations were the work of Mrs. Whiting and Mrs. Jones. A star design made from leaves and yellow dahlias was a conspicuous object of the church door, and received much admiration. Mrs. Jones showed much skill in this design. In the east window a floral cross and crown (combined) received much notice, this device being very gracefully worked by Miss Compton. Vases of white dahlias and chrysanthemums, arranged by Miss Sergeaunt, rested on the ledge at the rear of the altar, and baskets of rich fruits were placed close to the latter. The chancel screen tastefully wreathed with dahlias and asparagus sprays, the beautiful berries of which were very effective. The wreathing of the screen was attended to by Mrs. Pain. The pulpit was ornamented with dahlias, chrysanthemums and Kent hops, and presented a very attractive appearance. The Misses Gregory undertook this part of the decorating work. In every available spot within the church received its tribute of a floral wreath or some other pleasing device. The stove was completely covered with dahlias and other flowers, ornamental grasses and leaves. Several baskets of bright fruits also rested outside the rich array of flowers. We congratulate Mrs. Powell upon her decorations. The window sills on the north side and south sides of the church showed a pleasing arrangement of miniature corn sheaves, dahlias and asparagus sprays, this part of the decoration being well attended to by Miss Tyrell. A huge vegetable marrow weighing 32lbs. and with a circumference of 3 feet 4 inches was an object of much interest. It was grown upon the land of Mr. Whiting, of Castlethorpe. On Friday evening, the sermon was preached by the Rev. E. L. Tuson, M.A., Vicar of Kingsthorpe, Northampton. An earnest address was given from S. Mark iv. 28. We sincerely trust that it will be profitably remembered. The services of thanksgiving, which were continued on Sunday, were bright and hearty. The anthem “Ye shall dwell in the land” was most pleasing and well rendered. The solo was taken by Mr. J. Cowley. We were glad to notice the efficiency of the choir, and congratulate Miss Gregory and Mr. Manning. On Sunday morning the Rev. A. H. Gray preached from Psalm ciii. 2. The evening preacher was the Rev. W.J. Harkness, M.A., vicar of Hanslope and Castlethorpe. The offertories at both services were for the Northampton Infirmary.

Northampton Mercury 17 August 1900

The efforts which are being made to place a stained glass window in the nave of the Parish Church at Castlethorpe, were further renewed on Tuesday, when garden party was held in the grounds adjoining the residence of Mrs. Grant in aid of the funds. A large number of persons were resent during the afternoon, and as the sum of between £30 and £40 had been raised for the object previously, a substantial amount is doubt now in hand. Lady Alexandra Carrington, the absence through indisposition of her mother, opened the gathering. Lord Carrington and the Hon. Rupert were amongst those present.

Northampton Mercury 03 April 1914


The controversy respecting the £11 7s, given up for the benefit of the parish of Castlethorpe again engaged the attention of a crowded parish meeting on Thursday night. Letters were read from the schoolmaster and Mr. Whiting (one of the churchwardens), whose action in using the money for Church purposes is strongly resented by the villagers, and eventually a resolution was passed to the effect "That in the opinion the meeting Mr. Middleton (the schoolmaster) was the, trustee only of the parishioners and not of Miss Warner, and had no right to hand over the money for the object for which it was used.”—A full report of the meeting will found in the – “Daily Echo.”

Northampton Mercury17 April 1914


Contrary to expectations, there were “incidents” at the Castlethorpe vestry on Thursday night. The villagers naturally anticipated there would be some sort of a sequel to the recent controversy concerning Miss Warner's gift of  £11 7s. to the parish, and large crowds of them assembled outside the church before the vestry meeting commenced, but the business was quite formal.
The Rev. W. J. Harkness presided, and it was stated there was a balance in hand of £3 6s. 4d. —Mr. W. Whitbread was nominated vicar’s warden, and Mr. Charles Whiting was elected warden. The sidesmen were Messrs. Lea-Wyn, Burbidge, Middleton, S. Beasley, Rawlinson, A. Nicholls, Elgar, and Holt.
At an informal meeting of the sidesmen afterwards held Mr. Whiting read a wire and a letter which he had received from Miss Grace Warner in reply to a letter he had sent to her. She wired: “ Regret letter only just received. It has been following me round. Heartily approve of the way money was spent.”
The letter said: “When I gave the concert it was with the one desire only of benefiting the village in some little way. I handed over the cheque, and the matter passed out of my hands. There were many suggestions, many of which would have been quite satisfactory to me. I left it entirely in Mr. Middleton’s hands, and when I saw him I he said that some few weeks previous they had come to some definite arrangement, so was only too pleased that my money had railed of the ground given by Lord Lincolnshire, as his lordship was a personal friend of my dear father in Australia. I hope there is no doubt now about the money, and certainly I cannot see any other way in which the money could have been spent.”

Northampton Mercury 05 October 1923

COLONEL A. D. SETON, of Castlethorpe, who was on Sunday ordained a deacon in the Church of England, is a retired officer of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. He has a residence in Scotland at Old Meldrum, but since the summer of 1921 has lived at Castlethorpe, here has been assisting the vicar of Hanslope as a lay reader. The vicar has the oversight of the two parishes of Hanslope and Castlethorpe. Colonel Seton, who is 68 years of age, was a licensed lay reader in the diocese of Aberdeen and Edinburgh for many years. He has also been a member of the General Assembly of the Scottish Church, a body corresponding to the National Assembly in this country.

Northampton Mercury 16 May 1930


His Successor Inducted.

News reached Hanslope on Monday of the death the Rev, Wm. Jardine Harkness, who was vicar of Hanslope with Castlethorpe for 37 years, and on the same day the new vicar, the Rev. James Percy Taylor, M.A,, was inducted to the living.
Mr. Harkness, who was much respected by  the parishioners, retired last October and went with Mrs. Harkness to live at Cheltenham, where he died on Sunday. He was 76  years of age. In tribute to his memory, a half-muffled peals were rung on the bells of Hanslope Church before and after the induction the new vicar Monday evening.
The induction the Rev. J. P. Taylor was performed by the Bishop of Buckingham (Rt. Rev. P. H Eliot), the Rural Doan (Canon W. L. Harnett, of Wolverton St George) conducting the service and presenting the new incumbent. The large congregation included parishioners of Cuddington (Mid Bucks), where Mr. Taylor ministered for the past nine years.
The Rev. R. F. Bale. R.D, (Buckingha) acted Bishop’s chaplain, and there were also present, robed, the Rev. E. J. Fenn (Castlethorpe), Rev R. Gee (Olney), and Rev. C. L. Wanstall (Stoke Goldington).

Northampton Mercury 23 May 1930

Funeral of Hanslope’s Former Vicar.

The Rev. William Jardine Harkness, M.A., who died on Sunday week at Cheltenham, where he was living in retirement, was buried on Saturday afternoon in the shadow of Hanslope Parish Church, where, he had ministered so faithfully for 37 years. The church was crowded.
The coffin was conveyed by motor hearse from Gloucestershire earlier in the day, and upon its arrival at the churchyard gate was met by the choir and robed clergy, who were; The Rev. Canon W. L. Harnett, M.A., Rural Dean (Wolverton. St. George), Rev. D. J. Thomas, O.B.E. J.P, (Wolverton Holy Trinity), Rev. E. J. Payne (Wolverton St. Mary), Rev. B. Barford (Wolverton St. George), Rev. Conway Davies (Bradwell St. Lawrence), Rev. W. C. Penn (Loughton), Rev. J. P. Taylor (vicar of Hanslope), Rev. E. J. Fenn (curate of Hanslope and Castlethorpe), Rev. J. L. Martin (Astwood), Rev. G. R. Tidmarsh (Calverton), Rev. C. C. Dawson-Smith (Nash), Rev. Fawkes (Leicester), Rev. Stock (Yorks), and the Rev. Davis (Ticknall, Derbyshire).
The service opened with the singing of Psalm 26. followed  by Psalm 90, and then the Rural Dean read the lesson from I. Cor. xv., 20. The hymn, “Let Saints on Earth in Concert Sing,” was followed by prayers offered by the Rev. Fawkes. A short address was given by the Rev. Stock, who had been a personal friend of the late vicar for 44 years. The Nunc Dimittis and the hymn, “Now the Labourer's Task is o’er,” were sung, and Mr. H. I. Middleton, the organist, played the Dead March in Saul. At the graveside in the churchyard prayers were read by the Rev. F. Davis, and the committal rites were performed by the Rev. E. J. Fenn. Before the closing benediction was pronounced by the Rev. J. P. Taylor, the hymn, “Praise, my Soul, the King of Heaven,” was sung.
The family mourners were: Mrs. Hartness (widow), Mr. John Harkness, Cheltenham (brother). Dr. T. Harkness, Derby (brother), Mrs. William Harkness (sister-in-law), Miss Beck and Miss Thomas, Cheltenham (friends), and Mrs. Stock.
Before the mourners left the graveside they dropped hunches of lilies of the valley on to the coffin. A muffled peal was rung upon the church bells.
The were officers of the Parish Churches of Hanslope and Castlethorpe; Messrs. E. Branson, L. Smith, E. T. Dickens, R. Holt, H, Cook, G. R. Hillyer, E. Geary, and J. Rawlinson.
Among those present were; The Rev. J. Varney (Canning Town), Mr. J. Frost, Dr. F. B. Hinde, Mr. C. H. Battle (who represented the. Northamptonshire Hospital Week Committee), Mr. Mark Poore (Hanslope Lodge), Major Anderson (Castlethorpe). Sir. James Ruff, J.P., C.C., Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Greenwood (Stony Stratford), Mr. and Mrs. C. R. Whiting (Cosgrove), Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Whiting, and Mr. B. S. Whiting (Castlethorpe), Mr. A.  Sawbridge, Miss Sawbridge, Mr. W. J. Nichols (Wolverton), and others.
There was a magnificent collection of floral tributes from Hanslope congregation and personal friends. The seating arrangements, in the church were carried out by Messrs. S. Whitbread and H. T. Geary (churchwardens). R. W. Dickens. A. Smith, S. W. Platten, W. Beesley, and F. Mills (sidesmen). A memorial service was held in the Parish Church on Sunday evening, conducted the Rev. E. J. Fenn.

Northampton Mercury 10 June 1932



The small but old and extremely interesting church at Castlethorpe has been restored, and was dedicated on Sunday by the Bishop of Buckingham (Dr. P. H. Eliot).
The building had suffered a great deal from the ravages of time and of the death-watch beetle. So rotten was the timber in the roof that during the repairs one of the main principals fell on the scaffolding on which half-a-dozen men were working. Fortunately the scaffolding was strong enough to bear the added weight, but the men had the fright of their lives.
Two roofs, the nave and north aisle have been restored, and with other work, the just over £800. Towards this, about £650 has been raised by a variety of efforts such as donations, socials and whist drives, and one particularly pleasing feature is that the efforts of the church people have been backed up by the Non-conformists, who had contributed generously to the cost of restoration of a church of which they are proud.
Normally the church has a seating accommodation of little more than a hundred, but by the addition of chairs and forms and the use of the porch, on Sunday nearly 200 were seated.
The service was intoned by the curate (The Rev E. J. Fenn) and the Vicar (the Rev. Percy Taylor, Hanslope), and the lessons read by a retired clergyman resident, at Hanslope, the Kev. W. Dale.


The Bishop, in his address, said they had in that beautiful old church some old steps which were to what was the rood screen. So they saw that the very design of the church was to help them to get an idea of worship.
Let them cast their thoughts long back and think of the old custom within the precincts of which apparently the was church erected, for the mounts around seemed that it was associated with the old castle, of the part it bore in the time, for instance, when King John was fighting the barons. Let them look at the temple which had its weather-beaten towers. There was a time when it was 30ft. higher, but the old timbers gave way just in the same manner as the timbers of the roof had given way, and it was renovated by reducing it in height.
The fabric of the church carried them back 700 or 800 years, for there was in it Early English work. The font was almost unique, as there were two sculptured heads on it.
What was that actuated people in those days to put up such a place? - a trysting-place between God and the soul. Nothing was too beautiful to express the relationship between the created and the Creator.
How wise they had been to have the whole church renovated as they now saw it, and how artistically the work had been done. Those hands that had carried out the work were those who lived in their immediate vicinity. Side by side with this, much work had been done by voluntary helpers, who had given of their time and talents. To crown all that, how nobly had they given of their substance—had striven in difficult times —some of them were not in full work—to spare what they could in order to hand on to generations to come not a church that had fallen down in ruins but a church beautiful in its proportions.
He understood that not only their devoted adherents, but some who were not in the habit of worshipping with them had given of their substance. Although members of other religious bodies, they looked upon the church as a priceless heritage. For their goodwill and fellowship might God be praised.  Thank God for what had been accomplished for His honour and glory.
The architect for the work of restoration was Mr. Ernest Ravenscroft, of Reading, and was carried out by Messrs. R. W. Dickens and Son of Hanslope.
It consisted of taking out the old oak lintels and plaster in the nave and north aisle, and replacing with open English oak work supported by massive beams.

Northampton Mercury 29 July 1932




Lady Holland opened a fete in aid of the Church funds at Castlethorpe on Saturday. Lady Holland recalled that for some years she and her family worshipped at Castlethorpe Church.
A bouquet of carnations was presented to her by Anne Whiting.
The fete was held in the gardens of Mr. J. E. Whiting, a generous host and helper.

£400 PAID

The Rev. E. J. Fenn (curate-in-charge)said they had paid £400 towards the £483 needed for the repair of the roof of the nave. The cost of repairing the roof of the north aisle was £209, and the north-east window £35.

Northampton Mercury 21 April 1933




Undiminished zeal in aiding the Church Roof Repair Fund, brought marked success to Eastertide efforts in Castlethorpe. Equally, the well-kept appearance of the recently repaired Parish Church, with its tasteful scheme of Easter decoration, testified the devotion parishioners.
The Repair Fund benefited considerably by the proceeds of the tea, sale of work, and social gathering on Monday, arranged by the churchwardens, Messrs. J. Rawlinson and H. Cook, and the members of the Church Council.
The stall holders were Mesdames Axon, Cook, Lewis, Rawlinson, the Misses and N. and M. Maltby, and Master J. Furniss, Mesdames Clarke, Evans, Kingston, Maltby, Mills, and Walton served teas. With the assistance of Miss Algar at the piano, the Mises Maltby and Messrs. B. Bavington, J. Nichols. and T. West, entertained the large company, while Messrs. Holt, Kingston, and Mills gave useful service to help the smooth running of the event.
The duties of M.C. were carried out by Mr. Harding, who also handed to the Curate-in-Charge, the Rev. E. J. Fenn, a contribution to the Repair Fund of 11 11s., the result of the recent production of “Ali-Baba-Baba” by the Castlethorpe Choral Society, of which Mr. Harding the secretary.

Northampton Mercury 19 January 1934


Despite the lean period experienced during the past few years, the villagers of Castlethorpe have just accomplished a worthy object in freeing the parish church from debt. Four years ago they set themselves the task of restoring the nave and north aisle, and the whole the cost of the work, £900, has been paid, for. With the exception of grants of £50 and £25 from the Oxford Diocese, the parishioners have raised the money required, and have received help from their Nonconformist brethren, who are proud of the fine old church.

Northampton Mercury 20 April 1934


OPERA.—Two performances of "The Rajah of Rajahpore,” a light opera, have been given in the Council Schools by the members of the Church Musical Society. There were crowded audiences, and the church roof fund will considerably benefit. The name-part was taken by Mr. B. Bavington. and others in the cast were Mrs. H, P. Cook, the N. Pittam, R., M. and N. Maltby, and Messrs. T. West, B. Evans, A. Atkins and Harold Cook. The performance is to repeated at Hanslope for the funds of the Northampton General Hospital.

Northampton Mercury 12 July 1935


MRS. GRANT-THOROLD, of Cranford Hall, performed the opening ceremony at garden party held at Castlethorpe Lodge, by permission of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Whiting, in aid of the Castlethorpe Parish Church roof fund. She was presented with a bouquet of carnations by Miss Ann Whiting. The stallholders were: Household, Mrs. C. Harding, Mrs. Homer; flowers, Mrs. M, Lewis, Mrs. Furniss; pound stall. Mr. Holt, Mrs. Maltby; jumble stall, Mrs. and Miss H. Rawlinson; sweets. Miss Walton, Miss Mills; bran tub, Mr. H. Homer, Miss Clarke. Sideshows were run Messrs. T. and S. West, Harold Cook, W. Simpson, A. Clarke, Willett, F. Walton, H. and F. Atkins, C. Harding, J. West, R. Garrett, and T. Pittam. Mrs. H. Cook superintended teas. Dancing displays were given by Northampton pupils, and music by the New Bradwell United Band. Over £40 was realised.

Northampton Mercury 19 March 1937


TWO PERFORMANCES of “San Marino,” a comic opera, were given by the Castlethorpe Church Musical Society to large audiences in the schools. The chief characters were taken by Messrs. Arthur Cowley, Aubrey and Frank Atkins, Harold Cook, Sam West, Mr and Mrs. C. W. Harding, Mrs. H. P. Cook, Miss M. Maltby, Miss L. Cooper, Mrs. Harold Cook, Miss D. Mills, Miss C. Waring, B Sawbridge and G. Alcock, who were supported by a chorus. Mr. H. P. Cook was conductor, and Miss G. Algar pianist. Mr. C. W. Harding made the secretarial arrangements.

Northampton Mercury 05 April 1940


The vicar (the Rev. J. P. Taylor) presided at the annual parochial church meeting, held in the Carrington Hall, Castlethorpe. The vicar's warden, Mr. F. Mills, presented a statement of the church repair fund showing that £52 12s, 1d. had been raised by the collection of Victorian pennies. Mr. Harry Cook, people’s warden, presented the church accounts, showing a balance in hand. Continued inability to obtain a sexton made willingness to persevere with voluntary work a great asset to the church. The Rev. E. J. Penn (curate-in-charge) expressed his thanks to the church workers, particularly to Miss Gregory and Mr A. Blake, as organist and assistant organist respectively, and to the choir and choirmaster (Mr. R. Atkins). Miss Gregory wrote returning to the church funds her annual payment as organist. The churchwardens were re-appointed and the sidesmen Messrs. W. Beesley. R. Holt, T. West, and J. Fordham —were re-elected. The Church Council comprised the clergy and officers, with Mrs. H. I. Lewis. Mrs. W. Fumiss. Mrs. C. Harding. Mrs R. Mayes, and Mrs J. Walton.