Parishes: Kettering

Pages 218-226

A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1930.

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Cytringan, Kyteringas (x cent.); Cateringe (xi cent.); Keteringes, Ketteringe (xii, xiii cent.).

The civil parish and urban district of Kettering covers 2,814 acres, of which the town occupies the greater part; there are still, however, over 1,000 acres of pasture and arable land growing corn and roots. The soil is iron and lime stone, and in 1766 borings were unsuccessfully made for coal. The land rises from the River Ise on the east and a stream on the west to a height of a little over 300 ft. above the ordnance datum. Objects of the Bronze Age and the Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon periods have been found in the parish, suggesting an early settlement of the district.

The town stands on high ground and probably owes its importance to the fact that it is a centre of the road system of the Midlands. In 1086 and probably before, Kettering was a prosperous agricultural manor and grew into a trading town with the grant to the abbot of Peterborough of a market here on Fridays, in 1227. (fn. 1) The building of a 'noble hall' faced with stone, by Walter, abbot of Peterborough (1233–45) (fn. 2), added to the importance of the town and brought traffic to it when the abbot was in residence there. The town remained a prosperous market town down to the dissolution of Peterborough Abbey in 1540. Leland refers to it about 1535 as a 'pratie market town,' and Camden, about 1600, as a market town of considerable resort. Owing to its easy access from all parts, it was selected in 1625 as the place for holding the quarter sessions (fn. 3) which gave it increased importance in the county. In 1613 the justices petitioned that the sessions might be held alternately at Northampton and Kettering, (fn. 4) but this apparently was not done, and in 1629 the Earl of Westmorland, then Custos Rotulorum, built in the Market Place 'a very fair sessions house.' A reference at this time to the old session house suggests that the sessions had been held there for a long time previously. It was said that the town could accommodate all those who usually appeared at the winter session of the five hundreds and those who attended could return home the same night after they had done their service, 'whereas when the session was at Northampton they were forced to lie there two nights at charges.' (fn. 5) Kettering was also a meeting place of the musters, and, as the musters were held almost annually, the billeting and payments to the muster master became a burden to the inhabitants for which repayment was very irregularly made. (fn. 6)

During the Civil War, Kettering's sympathies were mainly on the Parliamentary side. The imposition of ship-money was strongly resented. Francis Sawyer, brother of Edward Sawyer who lived at the Manor House in 1638, refused to pay this tax and assaulted the collectors, (fn. 7) and in 1640 the grand jury at the quarter sessions held at Kettering complained to the Bench that there was 'a great and unsupportable grievance lying upon the county under the name of ship-money to be raised for providing of ships, for which their goods were forcibly taken and detained.' They prayed for redress from a burden which they were not well able to bear. (fn. 8) In August following, there was a meeting of ministers of the neighbourhood at the 'Swan' in Kettering to consider the oath in 'the late Book of Canons' known as the 'Etcetera Oath.' Those attending resolved never to take the oath but rather to lose their livings. (fn. 9) Led by the Sawyer family, Kettering remained Puritan in sympathy throughout the Civil War, although for a time in 1643 it was a rendezvous for the royal troops. (fn. 10)

The town suffered severely from the plague in 1665, which claimed some 80 victims. (fn. 11) The justices of the peace presented a petition to the Bishop of Peterborough, calling attention to the distressed condition of the town by reason of the plague and asking for relief out of the money collected. (fn. 12)

The failure of the crops in 1795 was the cause of much distress, and bread riots took place at Kettering; wagons loaded with flour passing through the town had to be protected by soldiers, who were attacked by the mob. (fn. 13)

About 1700, Kettering is described in the Magna Britannica as 'a well traded populous market town' which owed its prosperity wholly to the woollen manufacture, introduced by Mr. Jordan and then still carried on by his posterity. About 20 years later Bridges described Kettering as 'a large and populous town' containing 566 houses and 2,645 inhabitants. The market place lay to the north-west of the church, in the middle of which, dividing the Sheep Market from the Butcher Row, was a row of houses later known as Rotten Row. At the end of Butcher Row was the Sessions House, 'a good stone building supported by pillars'; eastward was Newland pond and in one of the pond walls was fixed a piece of the stump of a cross. 'Coming out of the north end of Newland and crossing the stone pit Leys,' where stone was then dug 'you descend by going westward into Staunch Lane, so named from pellucid or vitrified stones, which from the shape of some of them are called Kitcats and are seemed good for staunching blood.' They are also found in several other shapes in the clay used for making brick and sometimes near the surface of the ground. (fn. 14)

The growth of the town through the latter part of the 19th century was rapid. Besides the woollen trade already alluded to, silk, plush and ribbon weaving, linen making, lace making and wool combing were carried on, and bells were cast at a foundry at Wadecroft Lane from c. 1710 to 1762 by the Eayre family. All these trades save the bell foundry were prosperous at the beginning of the 19th century, but they gradually gave place to the manufacture of boots and shoes, a trade said to have been introduced by Thomas Gotch about 1790. It was not, however, till about 1857 that this industry developed, and it greatly increased in 1870 during the Franco-German war. Railway communication, which reached the town in 1857 when the Leicester and Hitchin Railway was opened, also helped towards its prosperity. Since this date Kettering has become an important railway centre. Previously the means of communication had been by one coach which passed through the town from Uppingham to Wellingborough, and an omnibus to the latter place.

In connexion with the woolcombing industry there were processions on the festival of St. Blaise (3 February) (fn. 15) the patron saint of the trade, the last of which took place in 1829.

The old town of Kettering lay on the west side of the main road from Wellingborough to Uppingham. Eayre's map of the town made about 1720 (here reproduced) gives a good idea of its extent at that date. The fires which devastated it in 1744 and 1766 have left little in the nature of old buildings. The Sessions House built by the Earl of Westmorland in 1629, (fn. 16) which stood in the Market Place as already mentioned, was pulled down in 1805. The Market Place was remodelled at the end of the 18th century; the line of thatched shops called Rotten Row in the middle of the Market Place, was pulled down between 1785 and 1789. The cross, with a dungeon or lock-up under it, which stood close to the old Market House near the entrance to the churchyard, was removed about 1790. The smaller cross which was erected on the site of the old cross was destroyed about 1808. Near it stood the stocks, later moved to Hog Leys, the whipping post and pillory. (fn. 17)

The Sawyer almshouses in Sheep Street were formerly of one story with high-pitched roof and dormer windows, but the walls have been heightened and have windows lighting the upper rooms. The block consists of six dwellings with as many doorways and mullioned windows on the ground floor and is built of ironstone rubble; the roof is covered with stone slates. Over the middle windows is a panel inscribed 'This Hospitall was Built by Edmund Sawyer Esqr An[n]ō Dmni, 1688,' and the founder's arms above with helm, crest and mantling.

The government of the town was administered at the Abbot of Peterborough's manorial court and we have references to the bailiff of the manor as the principal official of the manor and town and the constable acting under him, to carry out the orders of the steward. (fn. 18) The vestry began to assume powers possibly in the 17th century, but certainly early in the 18th century, and the organization of a workhouse by the vestry in 1717 is an early instance of such an institution. (fn. 19) In 1862 the officials of the vestry were the four overseers, two surveyors of highways, a Nuisance Removal Committee, twelve in number, and a Sanitary Committee. (fn. 20) A Local Board was formed in 1873 which in 1894 became the Urban District Council, now consisting of twenty-five members. The district is divided into five wards. Proposals were made in 1893 and again in 1901 to apply for a charter of incorporation, but they were negatived. There was an Inclosure Award in 1804. The Public Library and Museum were given by Mr. Andrew Carnegie in 1904 and the Alfred East Art Gallery adjoining it was built in 1913 as a memorial to Sir Alfred East, R.A., a native of the town. The Gallery contains a representative collection of Sir Alfred's paintings.


By a charter of 956 King Edwy granted 10 cassati of land at KETTERING to his thegn Aelfsige the goldsmith. (fn. 21) The boundaries of the land are set out and seem to have included the site of the present town. They run from Cransley Bridge along the brook to Humbridge, thence to the gallows tree on Debden, from there to Kinston Head to the Long Dike, then to Weekley Ford along the Ise until it came to Pytchley Ford, and from the ford along the brook until it came back to Cransley Bridge. Possibly Aelfsige gave Kettering to the monastery of Medeshamstede or Peterborough as, by a charter dated 972, King Edgar confirmed it to that monastery. (fn. 22) Although this charter is spurious, it is probably correct as to its facts, for in 975 it is said that Leofsi son of Bixi, 'an enemy of God,' dispossessed Peterborough Abbey of Kettering for two years, but by the influence of Aethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, possession was regained. The manor is assigned to the abbey in the Domesday Survey (1086) and by several confirma- tion charters. King Stephen gave the abbot a grant of free warren in Kettering (fn. 23) and the abbey held the manor attached to the office of Sacrist, in demesne, until its dissolution in 1540. (fn. 24)

In 1544 the manor and advowson of the rectory of Kettering were granted to William Lord Parr in tail male. (fn. 25) Lord Parr died two years later without male issue and Kettering reverted to the Crown. In 1560 a grant was made to William Garrard and others, (fn. 26) which they surrendered two years later.

Watson, Earl of Rockingham. Argent a cheveron azure between three martlets sable with three crescents or on the cheveron.

Sawyer. Lozengy or and azure a pale gules with three scallops or thereon.

The manor of Kettering from which the site of the manor (q.v.) had been separated was granted in 1624 to Sir Henry Hobart and others for 99 years, in trust for Charles Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles I. (fn. 27) In 1628 the trustees assigned their interest to William Williams, Robert Mitchell and others, citizens of London, reserving a rent of £66 7s. 10½d. (fn. 28) In the same year Charles I mortgaged the reversion in fee of the manor and much other property, to Edward Ditchfield and others (fn. 29) representing the City of London, for a large sum of money. Sir Henry Hobart and the other trustees had apparently conveyed the remainder of their lease of the manor subject to the rent of £66 7s. 10½d. to Sir Edward Watson, who was holding it in 1628, while Peter Cawston held the market tolls, etc. (fn. 30) The interest of William Williams and the other trustees was sold in 1630 to William Child and Thomas Gardiner, and in the same year Edward Ditchfield and the others sold the reversion in fee to John Child and Daniel Britten subject to the fee farm rent of £66 7s. 10½d. (fn. 31) It appears that Sir Lewis Watson, assignee of the lease of the manor, John Sawyer, Everard Sturges and certain others, copyholders of the manor, hearing that the King was selling the manor, desired to purchase it. They quarrelled, however, over the terms on which the purchase should be made, and Sir Lewis Watson brought an action against Sawyer and the others for non-performance of the agreement. In the meanwhile Sawyer and nine others obtained the residue of the term of 99 years from William Child and Thomas Gardiner and John Child and Daniel Britten sold the reversion in fee of the manor to Robert Breton of Teton, Valentine Goodman of Blaston and eight others. (fn. 32) Thus the manor became divided into ten shares. In 1634 the shareholders sold to Sir Edward Watson and Edward Watson, at the nomination of Sir Lewis Watson, all the fairs and markets, the common bakehouse, etc. (fn. 33)

The shareholders of the manor in 1641 were Edward Watson, created Lord Rockingham in 1645, who held six shares, and Edmund Sawyer, William Good, William Billing and John Drury, (fn. 34) who owned the remaining four shares. The Sawyers acquired a second tenth and their two tenths were obtained by John Duke of Montagu in 1724. He also acquired two other shares in 1726 and 1729 from Mrs. Falkner and Mrs. Bass, thus bringing his holding up to four tenths. (fn. 35) The Duke's daughter, Mary Duchess of Montagu, had an only daughter Elizabeth, who married Henry Duke of Buccleuch, and these four shares came to the present Duke of Buccleuch. The other six tenths remained in the Watson family Earls and Marquesses of Rockingham and Lords Sondes, and were held by Mr. George Lewis Watson at the time of his death on 31 Dec. 1899. (fn. 36) They then passed to the Rev. Wentworth Watson and on his death without issue on 5 July 1925, Sir Michael Culme Seymour, a minor, grandson of Mary G. Culme Seymour, sister of George Lewis Watson, succeeded to the property which was vested in the hands of trustees, called the Manor trustees.

The fee farm rent of £66 7s. 10½d. was granted in 1635 to James Duke of Lenox, (fn. 37) who settled it on George and Bernard Stuart. They in 1652 assigned their interest to Thomas Gorstelow and John Knight on behalf of Sir Jeffrey Palmer, Bt., attorney general. Sir Jeffrey settled it on his son Lewis and Jane his wife in 1654, and he on his son Sir Geoffrey Palmer. Sir Geoffrey in 1728 sold it to trustees for John Duke of Montagu, from whom it passed with his shares of the manor to the Duke of Buccleuch until extinguished in 1891. (fn. 38)

In 1582 the market tolls and rights, the profits of the common bakehouse and the annual returns called eleven 'dussens' or tithings, were leased for 21 years to Edward Depupper. In 1592 a further term of 21 years was granted to Peter Cawston. (fn. 39) who was still holding in 1628. The fairs and markets and bakehouse were in 1634 sold by Robert Breton, Valentine Goodman and others, trustees for John Sawyer, Francis Sawyer and others, to Sir Edward Watson and Edward Watson, at the nomination of Sir Lewis Watson. (fn. 40) In 1661 Sir Edward Watson, then Lord Rockingham, received a grant of three yearly fairs at Kettering on Tuesday before the feast of the Passover, Tuesday before the feast of Michaelmas, and Tuesday before the feast of St. Thomas. (fn. 41) The market rights were, on 16 March, 1881, sold by George Lewis Watson to the old Local Board, and the market is now controlled and owned by the Urban District Council.

The pasture and lands called Haselfield and the site and demesne lands of the manor were in 1586 granted to Sir Christopher Hatton and his heirs at a rent of £27 6s. 8d. (fn. 42) After his death in 1591 his heir, Sir William Hatton, or Newport, son of John Newport and Dorothy his wife, sister of Sir Christopher, sold the Hallfield, otherwise known as Haselfield, and the site of the manor in 1596 to Edmund Sawyer, (fn. 43) and for confirmation of title Sawyer obtained a Crown grant in 1602. (fn. 44) Edmund Sawyer died seised of the manor house where he lived (fn. 45) in 1630, which in 1612 he and his wife Ann had settled on their son John and Sarah his wife, daughter of Francis Harvey. (fn. 46) John was killed in a skirmish at Wellingborough in 1646, and was succeeded by his son Edmund. He had a dispute as to the repair of the church, whereby it was eventually agreed in 1665 that he and his family should occupy their accustomed seats, and so long as other parishioners who wanted room were permitted by Edmund Sawyer to sit in the aisle or chancel anciently belonging to his (Sawyer's) house, the churchwardens should repair the same, except only the pavement of the lower chancel, which should be maintained and repaired by Edmund Sawyer, because it was the burial place of his family. Edmund Sawyer died in 1680, and was succeeded by his son Henry. The hospital or almshouses were founded under the will of his younger son Edmund, who died abroad in 1687. (fn. 47)

Henry Sawyer settled the site of the manor on his wife Mary, daughter of William Gomeldon, of London, in 1688, (fn. 48) and had by her a son Edmund. He apparently lost his money in the South Sea Bubble, and he and his son Edmund sold the site of the manor and all his property in Kettering in 1720 to Francis Hawes, who was connected with the South Sea Company, and Susan his wife. In the following year the estates of the directors of this company, being seized for the benefit of the sufferers, Hawes' property in Kettering was sold to John Lord Montagu by a series of conveyances completed in 1729. (fn. 49) From this date the site of the manor has followed the descent of the Montagu property, and is now held by the Duke of Buccleuch.

The fee farm rent of £27 6s. 8d. reserved by the grant to Sir Christopher Hatton, and later by that to Edmund Sawyer, was leased to Henry and Francis Tate in 1594 for 21 years. (fn. 50) In 1616 this rent was granted to Nathaniel Rich and Robert Hatton, who were possibly acting for Sawyer in order to extinguish it. (fn. 51)

The RECTORY MANOR was probably in existence in the 13th century, and was held by the successive incumbents. Its lands lay to the north of the Market Place. In 1562 Anthony Burton, LL.B., the rector, with the consent of the Bishop, leased the manor to Edward Watson, junior, for 60 years, at a rent of £20. In 1565 a further term of five score years was added at the rent of £36, and in 1569 a still further term of 80 years at the rent of £40. The manor was held under these leases by the Watsons, Earls of Rockingham, until 1802. Since this date it has been held by the rectors for the time being. (fn. 52)


The Church of ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL consists of a chancel 48 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft. 9 in., with north and south chapels, clearstoried nave of six bays 73 ft. by 21 ft. 6 in., north and south aisles 18 ft. 6 in. wide, north porch, and west tower 16 ft. square, surmounted by a lofty spire. All these measurements are internal. The width across nave and aisles is 63 ft. 8 in., and across chancel and chapels 61 ft. 5 in.

The church stands on a gradually rising slope from the west and, with the exception of the tower, south chapel and the west bay of the south aisle, is faced with rubble. The roofs are of flat pitch and leaded, behind plain parapets; internally the walls are plastered.

In the outer wall of the south aisle is a fragment of a pre-Conquest cross shaft, possibly of the 8th or 9th century, and a Norman corbel also remains in one of the window jambs; but of any church which existed before the 14th century there are no further remains, owing to the extensive rebuilding which took place in the late mediaeval period.

The eastern part of the chancel projecting beyond the chapels dates from about 1300, and the north doorway of the nave is of the same period; but the rest of the fabric belongs to the middle or third quarter of the 15th century, at which time the church was rebuilt and assumed its present aspect. The tower was probably first erected, being built to the west of the then existing nave (after the demolition of its western bay), and the new nave afterwards joined to it. (fn. 53)

Considerable changes were made in the interior during the early part of the 19th century, and in 1890–91 the church underwent a very extensive restoration, the galleries and old box seats being removed, new roofs erected over the aisles, the nave roof repaired, (fn. 54) and the stonework of many of the windows renewed; a large detached vestry connected by a lobby with the south chapel was also added. (fn. 55)

The chancel has good double angle buttresses, and a scroll string at sill level. The east window is of three trefoiled lights, with three uncusped circles in the head and moulded jambs and mullions, and in the north wall is a window of two trefoiled lights with two pointed trefoils in the head; both windows are c. 1300, but have been restored. A contemporary moulded doorway below the north window was removed in 1890 to the east end of the north chapel, but has recently been blocked. The roof of the old chancel was lowered in the 15th century, and the present parapet, with good angle gargoyles, added. The roof is of five bays, and has carved tracery between the ties and principals. The sedilia, piscina, and the chancel arch are all modern. On the north side the chancel opens to the chapel by a 15th-century arcade of two arches, and on the south by a similar arcade of three arches, all of two moulded orders on piers composed of four attached shafts with separate capitals and bases. The north chapel is about 28 ft. long internally by 18 ft. 6 in. wide, and has a fivelight east window and two three-light windows in the north wall with three-centred heads, cinquefoiled lights and transoms; all are restorations. In the southeast corner is a cinquefoiled piscina, and in the east wall, north of the altar, a niche for a statue. The roof is of two bays, with good carved tie-beams.

Plan of Kettering Church.

The south chapel, sometime known as 'Mr. Sawyer's aisle,' (fn. 56) is about 38 ft. long by 21 ft. in width, and is faced with ashlar. It is divided into three bays, and has a five-light east window, and three four-centred windows of three lights on the south, with Perpendicular tracery, but no transoms. The rood-screen crossed the whole church, and the stairway to the loft, with lower and upper doorways, is in the south-west corner of the chapel, but no part of the screen remains. In the north-west corner, high in the wall, is the doorway to the chancel loft, and below it a consecration cross within a roundel. The roof of the chapel is a very beautiful piece of 15th-century work of three bays, the principals of which are increased in depth and connected with the wall-pieces by braces, with solid spandrels carved in low relief.

Both chapels are separated from the aisles by moulded arches, and the chancel arcades are filled with modern screens. There is also a modern screen between the north chapel and the aisle.

The nave arcades follow the design of those of the chancel, with clustered columns of four attached shafts and well-moulded arches. The windows of the aisles are all of three cinquefoiled lights, with fourcentred heads and embattled transoms, but the west window of the north aisle is higher and narrower than the corresponding window on the south side. (fn. 57) At the east end of both aisles there were altars against the screens, the aumbries in connection with which remain, and in the north aisle a niche for a statue. The early 14th-century north doorway has a moulded arch and jamb shafts, with moulded capitals, but the bases are hidden; the door bears the date 1682.

The porch is set at an oblique angle, a position accounted for by the ancient entrance to the churchyard, with which it is in line. (fn. 58) It is of two stories, with low-pitched gable, access to the chamber being by a stair-turret at the north-west corner of the aisle. The pointed outer doorway is set within a square frame, the spandrels of which are filled with quatrefoils in circles, and above are three canopied niches, the outer ones formerly occupied by statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, whose emblems appear on shields below. The porch has a square-headed two-light window on each side, but no wall benches; the chamber is lighted by a similar window facing west.

The clearstory windows are of three cinquefoiled lights with four-centred heads and moulded jambs.

Kettering: Church Porch

The magnificent tower and spire are equal in height, (fn. 59) and are amongst the best examples of work of their kind in the kingdom. The whole tower was carefully designed with relation to the spire which it was to bear and the slope of the buttresses was contrived with this end in view. The tower is of four stages, with a slight set-back at each stage, and finishes with battlemented parapets and octagonal angle turrets. There is a vice in the south-west angle. Above the moulded plinth is a band of quatrefoils in circles, which is continued round the enclosing rectangular frame of the west doorway. The doorway is richly moulded and flanked by small panelled buttresses, terminating in lofty pinnacles, and has a crocketed hood with large finials; the spandrels are filled with Perpendicular tracery. The tower buttresses are well set back from the angles, and there is a band of quatrefoils marking each stage. The great west window is of five lights, with transom and Perpendicular tracery, and the stage above is filled on each face with five transomed panels, the middle one of which is pierced. On each side of the bell-chamber stage are three admirably proportioned windows of two trefoiled lights with transoms, and the battlements have cross loopholes. The spire was repaired in 1887, when 31 ft. were taken down and rebuilt (fn. 60); the angles are crocketed, and there are three sets of lights on the cardinal faces, the two lower with mullions and tracery. The tower arch is of four chamfered orders, the innermost springing from halfround responds.

The font and pulpit are modern.

There are some traces of mural paintings; on the north clearstory wall, near the chancel arch, is the figure of an angel with gaze apparently directed to the rood above the loft, and in the spandrel of the arch below is a fragment of a post-Reformation text. (fn. 61) On the inner wall of the north aisle are the remains of a figure of St. Roch on a blue ground powdered with gilt stars. (fn. 62)

A fragment of 15th-century glass, with kneeling figure bearing an inscription to the Blessed Virgin, remains in a window of the south chapel, and another inscription in the same window '. . . pro statu magistri Tho. Bloxham,' may have reference to this figure. (fn. 63)

In the south chapel is a small brass plate to Edmund Sawyer (d. 1630) and his wife Ann Goodman, of Blaston, with kneeling figures; the chapel also contains a 17th-century bookstand and desk for two chained books, the chains of which remain. (fn. 64) In the vestry is an old iron-bound chest with three locks.

There is a ring of ten bells. The two trebles are by Gillett and Johnson, of Croydon, 1921, the third and fourth by Richard Sanders, of Bromsgrove, 1714, the fifth by John Taylor and Co. of Loughborough, 1890, the sixth a recasting by Taylor, in 1905, of a bell by Thomas Eayre of Kettering, dated 1714, the seventh dated 1630, the eighth by Thomas Eayre, 1732, the ninth by the same founder, 1722, and the tenor by W. and J. Taylor, 1832. (fn. 65)

The plate consists of a cup c. 1663, inscribed 'The gift of Elizabeth Crosey to Kettering Church,' with the maker's mark I.C four times repeated; a plate of 1716 inscribed 'The gift of Mrs. Fowler in the parish of Kettering who dyed the 27th of Aprill 1715'; a flagon of 1756, by William Shaw and William Priest; a silver-gilt chalice of 1908, given in 1915; a silver-gilt chalice by Frank Knight of Wellingborough, given in 1926; a silver-gilt ciborium of 1914, and another by Frank Knight, 1926. There are also two plated dishes 1871, and a pewter flagon.

The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1637–1680, marriages and burials 1637–1681; (ii) baptisms 1681–1710, marriages 1697–1709, burials 1683–1710; (iii) baptisms and burials 1710–1812, marriages 1710–1754; (iv) marriages 1754–1781; (v) marriages 1781–1812. In the third volume is a terrier of 1727.


The advowson belonged to the abbot and convent of Peterborough down to the dissolution of that house. It was granted with the manor to Lord Parr in 1544 and reverted to the Crown on his death in 1546. It was granted in 1550 and again in 1552 to William Parr, Marquis of Northampton, (fn. 66) nephew of Lord Parr, but was forfeited on his attainder in 1554. In 1558 it was granted to Thomas Reve and Christopher Bullyt, who sold it in the same year to Henry Goldeney. (fn. 67) It had passed to Edward Watson in 1561, and has remained in the hands of the family of Watson, Lords Rockingham and Sondes, (fn. 68) then of George Lewis Watson, and has followed the descent of the Watson shares of the manor (q.v.).

There are the modern churches of St. Andrew in Rockingham Road built in 1870; St. Mary the Virgin, in Fuller Street (1895); All Saints, in William Street (1899); and Mission Churches of St. Luke, Alexandra Street (1876); St. Philip's, in Brook Street (1893); and St. Michael's, Garfield Street, built in 1894. The Roman Catholic Church of St. Edward, in the Grove, was built in 1893, and there are many Nonconformist chapels, including those known as Toller Chapel, first built for the Independents in 1723 and called after Thomas Northcote Toller, and Fuller Chapel for Baptists, named after Rev. Andrew Fuller, pastor there 1783 to 1815, both in Gold Street.


The Church and Town Allotment. In the Parish Book it is stated that £50 was given by James Cater and £10 by Alderman Pack, which sums were laid out in the purchase of 5 doles of meadow ground lying in Killingholme and Walcots, the rents to be applied to put forth poor children to trades. The old brass tablet of Charities states that John Pettifer gave the rent of Emmerton's Holme (or Lads' Holme), which consisted of about 3½ acres, for putting out of poor people's children. By the award of the Inclosure Commissioners dated 23 Nov. 1805 two allotments in the Middle Field, containing respectively 8 a. 1 r. 30 p. and 8 a. 16 p., were awarded to the Rector, Churchwardens and Overseers in lieu of lands appropriated for apprenticing, for the church and for the poor. The land, which is let in allotments, produces a net rent of about £43 yearly. The charity is administered by the rector and churchwardens and four trustees appointed by the Urban District Council in place of the overseers. 12/43rds of the income are applied by the churchwardens towards church expenses. 26/43rds, together with the dividends amounting to £9 9s. yearly on £378 1s. 10d. Consols (representing accumulations of income), are applied in the maintenance of Exhibitions in conformity with a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 17 Jan. 1896, and 5/43rds are distributed to the poor by the trustees of Hunt's Charity.

Poor's Allotment. An allotment of 9 a. 1 r. 17 p. was set out on the inclosure for the poor in lieu of their rights of cutting fuel on certain lands. The land is let in allotments and produces about £20 10s. yearly, and the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds hold a sum of £847 15s. 10d. Consols producing £21 3s. 8d. yearly in dividends. This sum of stock represents the investment of mine rents under lease to the Kettering Coal and Iron Co. The income is applied by the rector and two trustees appointed by the Urban District Council in the distribution of coal and in donations to the Kettering and District Nursing Association.

By his will, proved 23 Feb. 1617–18, William Cave gave £20 to the poor. A rentcharge of £1 2s. on 3 doles of meadow land was purchased with this sum.

By his will dated in 1733 Thomas Dawson, innkeeper at 'The George' in Kettering, gave £50 to the poor, and Mrs. Ann Dawson, his widow, added £10. A rentcharge of £4 was purchased with these sums aided by a donation from the parish. These two charges are paid out of land belonging to Mr. James B. Sutton.

Christopher Eady in 1680 gave £4 yearly to the poor out of the White Hart Inn and one yard of land. This charge was redeemed in 1891 by the transfer of £160 2½ per cent. Annuities to the Official Trustees.

These charities are distributed in doles to the poor in January by trustees appointed by the Urban District Council in place of churchwardens and overseers.

The endowment for this parish of the charity of Edward Hunt—particulars of which are given in the Charities of the parish of Warkton—consists of £384 6s. 3d. Derby Corporation 6 per cent. Redeemable Stock and £388 2s. 5d. Middlesbrough Corporation 6 per cent. Stock, producing £46 6s. 10d. yearly in dividends. The charity is administered by the minister and 6 trustees appointed by the Urban District Council, and the income is distributed to the poor.

The Almshouse Charity of Edmund Sawyer and others is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 28 Oct. 1910, and comprises:—

(1) Sawyer's Hospital, founded by will proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 23 June 1688, consisting of 6 almshouses and a rentcharge of £6 paid by the owner of the Boughton Estate.

(2) Elizabeth Baker's Charity for Bread. Deed poll 15 Sept. 1790 and declaration of trust 30 April 1816, originally £150 South Sea Annuities, and—

(3) Martha Baker's Charity. Will proved at Northampton 23 July 1782, originally £200 South Sea Annuities. The endowments of these two charities are now represented by £277 13s. 8d. 5 per cent. War Stock producing £13 17s. 8d. yearly.

(4) James Gibbon's Charity. Will proved in Prerogative Court 18 May 1888; endowment £500 Queensland Government 4 per cent. Stock, producing £20 yearly. The Duke of Buccleuch, as owner of Boughton House in Weekley, is the patron of the charity, which is administered by a body of trustees consisting of the rector and seven others. The income is divided equally among the six almswomen who to qualify must have resided in Kettering for not less than ten years. One almswoman, called Baker's Almswoman, must be a member of the Church of England. The Stock is with the Official Trustees.

Anne Aldwinkle by codicil to her will, proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 2 Nov. 1793, gave to the vicar and churchwardens a sum of stock producing £30 yearly, to be applied as to £12 to the inmates of Sawyer's Hospital, £2 10s. for a person to read and pray with the inmates, £1 10s. for the purchase of books, £5 to the poor, and the remainder to the poor at Christmas. A sum of £600 Navy 5 per cent. was appropriated to answer this bequest. The capital money was never transferred to the minister and churchwardens, and a draft scheme was prepared in 1894 but was never carried through. No payment has been made in respect of this charity for the last 20 years.

Sir John Knightley, Bart., by a codicil to his will proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 18 April 1812 gave £200 in support of the Sunday Schools. The endowment consists of £180 4s. 2d. Consols with the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds and the interest amounting to £4 10s. yearly is applied by the rector, churchwardens and overseers for the benefit of the Sunday School.

Thomas Dash, by his will proved 28 Sept. 1841, gave £50 to the rector and churchwardens in support of the Sunday Schools. The legacy with accumulations was invested in £91 5s. 10d. Consols with the Official Trustees, producing £2 5s. 8d. in dividends.

Mrs. McGrouther's Charity. Many years ago a Mrs. Mary Hogg established by subscription a charity for the relief of aged poor widows, which became known as 'The Kettering Poor Widows' Fund,' and Mrs. Sophia Susan McGrouther, by deed dated 29 May 1872, gave £300 Bank Annuities, the interest to be applied for the benefit of poor widows or single women of good character not under 50 years of age. The annuities became 2½ per cent. Consolidated Stock, and this was converted into £207 16s. 3d. 5 per cent. War Stock standing in the names of the Rev. C. B. Lucas and C. E. Lamb. The charity is administered by Mrs. Alice Lamb, of Warkton. Monthly payments are made to about 25 poor widows.

James Gibbon, by his will proved 18 May 1888, gave £500 Queensland Govt. 4 per cent. Stock upon similar trusts to Mrs. McGrouther's Charity. The stock is standing in the same names, and the dividends amounting to £20 yearly are distributed in cash to about 16 poor widows.

The Great Meeting House known as Toller Chapel is comprised in an indenture of 11 March 1723, and the following charities are in connection therewith:—

(1) By his will, proved at Northampton 15 July 1732, Samuel Langley gave an annual sum of £1 out of his lands for the benefit of the minister. This charge is paid out of land in Nether Field now the property of the Kettering Industrial Co-operative Society, Ltd.

(2) Matthew Wilson, by will proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 3 Feb. 1827, gave £500 for the benefit of the minister. This sum is placed on mortgage.

The following charities are administered by the deacons of the chapel and the income amounting to £11 8s. 11d. yearly is applied in cash and other disbursements to about 20 poor persons and in the purchase of books for use at the chapel.

(1) Joseph Wright, by his will proved in Prerogative Court of Canterbury 2 Jan. 1746, gave £30.

(2) John Wakelin, by will proved at Northampton 12 Jan. 1793, gave £40.

(3) John Meadows, by his will proved at Northampton on 27 Nov. 1799, gave £50.

(4) Ephraim Buswell, by will proved in Prerogative Court of Canterbury 7 Aug. 1801, gave £50.

(5) George Satchell, who died 22 April 1835, by his will gave £20, the interest to be distributed in meat at Christmas.

(6) Joseph Nunneley, by will proved at Northampton 16 August 1769, gave £100, on trust that £1 10s. should be paid to the minister yearly, 20s. distributed in meat to the poor, and 30s. in cash to the poor.

(7) Miss Mary Mee, by will proved at Northampton 24 July 1826, gave £19 19s., the interest to be applied in distribution of books.

(8) Joseph Wright, by will proved 2 July 1834, gave £50 for the general purposes of the Meeting.

(9) Thomas Dash beforementioned, by will gave £100, the interest to be applied in the distribution of meat.

The endowments of these charities were originally placed on mortgage, but those of Joseph Wright 1746, Wakelin, Meadows, Buswell, Satchell and Nunneley now form part of a sum of £412 7s. 6d. 5 per cent. War Stock in private names and a sum £7 0s. 9d, part of the dividends on this sum of stock, is applied in satisfaction of these legacies.

The endowments of the charities of Mee, Wright (1834) and Dash are represented by £177 5s. 1d. Consols with the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds, producing £4 8s. 4d. yearly.

The charity of Nathaniel Collis was founded by declaration of trust dated 11 April 1849. The endowment, which originally consisted of shops, is now represented by £300 Consols in the names of George Barratt and two others. The dividends amounting to £7 10s. yearly are applied by the trustees of the Great Meeting in the distribution of cash to about 40 poor and the purchase of hymn books for use in the chapel.

Jane Curchin, by will proved 9 March 1900, bequeathed the sum of £200, to be called Mrs. Curchin's Bequest to the trustees of the Toller Chapel, the interest to be distributed in money, coal, flannel or calico. The personalty was insufficient to pay the bequest in full, and £156 15s. was all that was received. This was invested in 5 per cent. War Stock and forms part of the above-mentioned sum of £412 7s. 6d. In respect of this bequest a sum of £6 5s. 6d. is distributed in money payments to about 36 poor and in garments.

The following charities are in connection with the Fuller Baptist Chapel comprised in an indenture dated 25 Feb. 1816:—

The Fuller Allotment. By the Inclosure Award of 23 Nov. 1805, a piece of land in Middle Field, Kettering, was granted for the support of public worship in the Fuller Chapel. The land was sold and the proceeds invested in £210 1s. 8d. 5 per cent. War Stock with the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds, producing £10 10s. 2d. yearly, which is applied to expenses of the chapel.

By his will, proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 6 Feb. 1734–5, Job Davenport devised land and hereditaments to trustees for the benefit of the minister of the Protestant Dissenters called the Baptists or Anabaptists in Kettering. The property consisted of about 5 acres of land with a house and stable. This was sold some years since and the proceeds invested in £523 16s. 1d. 5 per cent. War Stock with the Official Trustees, producing £26 3s. 10d. yearly. The trustees of the Fuller Baptist Chapel were appointed trustees by scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 15 March 1918. The income is applied to the general expenses of Fuller Chapel.

Mrs. Beeby Wallis, by will proved in Prerogative Court of Canterbury 6 May 1813, gave £400 to the minister and deacons of the Particular Baptist Congregation upon trust to apply the interest yearly as to £2 10s. to the minister for preaching occasionally in neighbouring villages, £2 10s. in Bibles and hymn books for poor of congregation, £5 to poor of congregation, £4 10s. in repair of Meeting House and residue for minister. The money was invested in Consols, which were sold in 1897, and the proceeds, £455 1s., after being placed on mortgage were subsequently invested in £480 17s. 7d. 5 per cent. War Stock, with the Official Trustees, producing £24 0s. 10d. yearly. In 1924 £16 10s. was placed to the general fund of Fuller Chapel, £2 10s. to the Hymn Book and Bible Fund, and £5 was distributed to the poor.

Thomas Gotch, by his will proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 12 March 1806, gave £100 to the minister and deacons of the Baptist Meeting upon trust to distribute the interest among the poor of the congregation. The money was placed on mortgage, but was subsequently invested in £170 10s. 8d. Consols standing in the names of William Timpson and three others. The dividends, £4 5s. yearly, are distributed to the poor.

Mary Marlowe, by her will proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 13 March 1779, gave to trustees £150, part of £6,900 3 per cent. Bank Annuities, towards the support of the minister of the Particular Baptists at Kettering, and £50 3 per cent. Bank Annuities to the poor members of the congregation. At her death there was not sufficient property for the trustees to execute her will, and the money was put into Chancery. In 1787 the share for this charity was fixed at £1 8s. The capital is invested in Consols and the trustees now pay 17s. 4d. for the minister and 5s. 10d. for the poor.

Elizabeth Seward, by her will dated 2 June 1753, gave to trustees £400 South Sea Annuities upon trust to pay the interest to the ministers of the four congregations of Particular Baptists of Bolton of the Water, Alcester, Leicester and Kettering. The capital is in Consols, and the sum now received for Kettering is £3 1s. 10d. yearly.

Mrs. Agnes Percival, by her will proved 24 March 1917, gave £400 to the trustees of the London Road Congregational Church upon trust to apply the interest in religious work in connection with the chapel. The money was invested in £411 18s. 10d. 5 per cent. War Stock with the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds producing £20 12s. yearly in dividends.

William Wilson, by his will proved at Oxford, June, 1928, gave £100 in augmentation of Agnes Percival's charity. £96 18s. 5 per cent. War Stock was purchased by the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds and produces £4 16s. 10d. per annum.

Mrs. C. Arnsby, by her will proved at Peterborough 12 March 1912, bequeathed the residue of her estate to the trustees of the Strict Baptist Church Jehovah Shalom, Wadcroft, for the benefit of the church. The endowment consists of £410 10s. 6d. 3½ per cent. War Stock and £81 3s. 3d. 5 per cent. War Stock in names of D. E. Rootham and two others, and produces £18 8s. 4d. yearly in dividends. The income is placed to the church incidental fund.

The Wicksteed Village Trust is comprised in an indenture dated 29 Jan. 1916. 181 acres of land, known as Barton Seagrave Suburb Estate, used as a public park, and 41 acres called the Pebbleford Building Estate, were granted to trustees for the amelioration of the conditions of the working classes in and near the town of Kettering and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, by the provision of improved dwellings with gardens, etc. In 1924 £8,119 16s. 7d. was received from sale of turf, loam, gravel, refreshments, farm sales, etc.

The following legacies were left for the endowment fund of the Kettering and District General Hospital:—

Miss Laura Rebecca Morris. Will proved 27 Aug. 1908; gave £100 as an addition to the endowment fund. This sum has, with other monies, been invested in £650 Dominion of Canada 3½ per cent. Stock in the names of F. Mobbs and three others.

The Rev. Cecil Henry Maunsell. Will proved 23 Dec. 1911, gave £1,000. The legacy, less duty, was invested with other monies in £550 Glasgow Corporation 3 per cent. Stock and £607 L. & N.W.R. 3 per cent. Deb. Stock.

Mrs. Mary Ann Brown. Will proved 12 April 1911, gave £20. This was invested in Glasgow Corporation 3 per cent. Stock, and forms part of the abovementioned sum of £550. (fn. 69)

Sir Edward Nicolls, by his will proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 17 July 1717, gave land situate at Haslebeech, Sulby, Hardwick, Old, Wilbarston, and Walgrave, amounting altogether to about 593 acres, to trustees upon trust to pay out of the income thereof £30 yearly to each of the incumbents of the following parishes—namely, Northampton All Saints, Kettering, Rothwell, Oundle, Hardwick, Moulton, Guilsborough and Spratton, and he directed that the residue of the income should be applied to charitable uses at the discretion of the trustees. The land has been sold and the proceeds invested in £1,608 11s. 7d. Consols and £15,900 17s. 5d. 4 per cent. Funding Stock with the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds, producing £676 4s. 8d. yearly in dividends. Each of the respective incumbents receives a cheque yearly for £30, and the residue is applied in special grants varying from £20 to £30 to other incumbents and in donations to hospitals.


  • 1. Cal. Chart. i, 21.
  • 2. Add. MS. (B.M.) 1025, 184.
  • 3. Duke of Buccleuch, Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. i, 268.
  • 4. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1611–18, p. 218.
  • 5. F. W. Bull, Hist. of Kettering, p. 16.
  • 6. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1629–31, p. 452; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. x, App. vi. p. 32.
  • 7. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1638–39, pp. 5–16, 34, 36, 45, 162, 455; 1625–49, 588.
  • 8. Ibid. 1639–40, p. 312.
  • 9. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1640, pp. 636–8, 644; 1640–41, 7; Bull, op. cit. 19, 20.
  • 10. Bull, op. cit. 20, 21.
  • 11. Ibid. F.P. 32.
  • 12. Lansdowne MS. 1027, p. 155b, 158.
  • 13. Bull, op. cit. 38.
  • 14. Bridges, Hist. Northants. ii, 241.
  • 15. Bull op. cit. 45.
  • 16. A stone bearing the date 1649, built into the old Local Board room in the corner of the Market Place, cannot refer to the Sessions House, which existed twenty years earlier.
  • 17. Bull, op. cit. 160, 161; Assoc. Arch. Soc. Reps. xxiii, 180; xxviii, 110.
  • 18. Bull, op. cit. 141 et seq.
  • 19. Ibid. 55–3; Webb, Engl. Local Govn. 131 n, 132 n.
  • 20. Bull, op. cit. 70.
  • 21. Birch, Cartul. Sax. iii, no. 943; Lansd. MS. 1029, fol. 79; Bull, op. cit. 3.
  • 22. Birch, op. cit. iii, no. 1281.
  • 23. Reg. Rob. Swaffham, fol. xlii.
  • 24. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv, 279.
  • 25. L. and P. Hen. VIII, vol. xix, (i) g 141 (75).
  • 26. Pat. R. 2 Eliz. pt. 13.
  • 27. Ibid. 22 Jas. I, pt. 16.
  • 28. Bull, op. cit., 23.
  • 29. Pat. R. 4 Chas. I, pt. 35; 5 Chas. I, pt. 18.
  • 30. Ibid. 4 Chas. I, pt. 35.
  • 31. Bull, op. cit. cit. Close R. 6 Chas. I, pt. 17, no. 21.
  • 32. Close R. 7 Chas. I, pt. 15, no. 5; Excheq. Bills & Accs. Northampt. Mich. 7 Chas. I, no. 97.
  • 33. Bull, op. cit. 27, cit. Close R. 9 Chas. I, pt. 18, no. 6.
  • 34. Bull, op. cit. cit. Excheq. Decrees & Orders, 16–21 Chas. II, fol. 46b.
  • 35. Bull, op. cit. 31.
  • 36. Ibid.
  • 37. Pat. R. 11 Chas. I, pt. 13.
  • 38. Bull, op. cit. 29, 30.
  • 39. Pat. R. 34 Eliz. pt. 11, m. 17; Bull, op. cit. p. 14.
  • 40. Close R. 9 Chas. I, pt. 18, no. 6.
  • 41. Pat. R. 13 Chas. II, pt. 17, no. 24.
  • 42. Pat. R. 28 Eliz. pt. 2, no. 2.
  • 43. Bull, op. cit. p. 15.
  • 44. Pat. R. 45 Eliz. pt. 1.
  • 45. Bull, op. cit. p. 15.
  • 46. Chan. Inq. p.m. 7 Chas. I, no. 43.
  • 47. Bull, op. cit. (Supplement), 55–6.
  • 48. Recov. R. Mich. 4 Jas. II, ro. 87; Feet of F. Northants. Mich. 4 Jas. II.
  • 49. Bull, op. cit. p. 58; Feet of F. Northants. East. 2 Geo. II.
  • 50. Pat. R. 37 Eliz. pt. 18, m. 19.
  • 51. Ibid. 14 Jas. I, pt. 22.
  • 52. Bull, op. cit. 86–91.
  • 53. The axis of the tower inclines considerably to the north-west.
  • 54. Billings (1843) says that the nave and aisle roofs appeared to have been reconstructed. On one of the tie beams of the nave was a plate with the date 1688, and a beam in the south aisle was dated 1678. The south aisle roof had been releaded in the latter year and the nave roof in 1789: Arch. Illusts. of Kettering Ch. 13.
  • 55. The restoration was carried out under the direction of Sir Arthur Blomfield.
  • 56. From 16th-century Kettering wills it appears there were chapels of St. John the Baptist, probably that on the south side; a Lady chapel with a tabernacle or niche for the figure of the Virgin, which is probably represented by the remains of the niche in the north chapel; and the chapel of St. Katherine which may have been at the east end of the north or south aisle. There were also gilds of St. John the Baptist, Our Lady, and the Holy Sepulchre (Bull, op. cit. Supplement, 21, 22.)
  • 57. Over the west end of the south aisle is a panel with the names of the churchwardens and the date 1746, probably the year in which the west bay was refaced in ashlar.
  • 58. Billings, op. cit. 11.
  • 59. Billings gives the height from the floor of the nave to the base of the spire as 88 ft. 9½ in. and of the spire (without the vane) 88 ft. 8 in.
  • 60. Bull, Hist. of Kettering, p. 72 n. The last 11 ft. were entirely new work. The height of the spire was slightly increased, the total height of tower and spire, exclusive of finial and vane, being now 178 ft. 10¾ in.
  • 61. It runs ". . . God which giveth his abundance to all things living. That they doe good, that they be rich in good works."
  • 62. It was discovered about 1840. The figure is represented in a scarlet coat, an angel holding his right hand, a dog against his left leg, with wallet and escallop shell, and in his left hand a pilgrim's staff. The figure was at one time attributed to St. James the Greater.
  • 63. In Bridges' time there were 'broken portraits of saints and bishops in most of the windows of the aisles'; op. cit. ii, 243.
  • 64. The cover of one book also remains. In an inventory of 1745 are named the Book of Homilies, Jewel's Apology, and Foxe's Acts and Monuments.
  • 65. North, Ch. Bells of Northants. 315, where the inscriptions on the older bells are given. During the restoration of 1890–91 the bell-chamber floor was raised several feet. The 17th century wooden pillars which formerly supported the singing and organ gallery now form part of a staircase in the ringing chamber.
  • 66. Pat. R. 4 Edw. VI, pt. 7; 5 Edw. VI, pt. 5.
  • 67. Ibid. 4 & 5 Ph. & Mary, pt. 3.
  • 68. Chan. Inq. p.m., bdle. 376, no. 93; Feet of F. Northants, Mich. 18 Jas. I; East. 1652; Hil. 1653; Trin. 29 Chas. II; Recov. R. Hil. 1653, ro. 66; Trin. 29 Chas. II, ro. 165; Hil. 9 Geo. II, ro. 189; East. 24 Geo. II, ro. 32; 26 Geo. II, ro. 8; 58 Geo. III. ro. 260.
  • 69. There are several other legacies mentioned in the yearly report of the Hospital, but information concerning them has not been obtained.