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Researched by Janet Meads
Burton Latimer Rectory

Burton Latimer Rectory early 1900s
Burton Latimer Rectory in the early 1900s

A new Rectory was built in Burton Latimer in 1968. Many of the inhabitants of the town were upset that the old Rectory had been allowed to fall into disrepair and it had to be demolished in 1971, the grounds then being sold to a developer. This was not the first time a Rectory on this site had been replaced, the previous building was built in 1750 and altered on several occasions after that date but this was not the first Rectory in Burton Latimer either. It is difficult to establish when the very first Rectory or Parsonage was built and which of the ministers lived there. It is known that Dr Owen, who was parson from 1607-1629 must have lived there, as can be seen from Dr. Robert Sybthorpe's inventory, which is mentioned later in this article, but before this there was surely some house for the parson, but where is not recorded.

In 1632 a glebe terrier of lands and property belonging to the Burton Latimer Church gives a full description of the Rectory which was then called the Parsonage house. The house and related buildings were described thus:- "a Dwelling house all slated (except the Brewhouse, the Curates Chamber or studie and a little Roome over the Buttrie betwixt the Dovehouse and that; All which togeither with the said Dovehouse and also the said Buttrie, and a little Cole house, Dairy house etc. next to the Parlor of the dwelling house, are all thatched, and the said Dovehouse adjoyneth to the west end of the foresaid dwelling house or Roome of the same, next to the Curates Studdie aforesaid. Which Parsonage house and Dovehouse and other premisses are Compassed with a garden on parte of the South side and a garden and a Rickyarde on the West and parte of the said garden and a little Closse on the North, a Yarde or Courte on the Residue of ye South, and a Kill and Malthouse joined togeither with a Passage through the Closse and Yard on the **** Which yard is enclosed on the Est with a Stable and a Cow house, on the South side with a little Roome (sometime a tenement: wherein is a chimney and with a stable, two barnes, one hive house, hog yard and hogsties all thatched." The terrier then goes on to list the houses and lands owned by the Church. This gives a good indication of the area around the Parsonage, but there is no mention of any other rooms inside the house apart from the parlour.

The Parson at the time of the survey was Robert Sybthorpe, who was in Burton Latimer from 1629 to 1644 and 1660 to 1662 with a spell away during the Civil War. He died in the village in 1662 and a glimpse into the house can be acquired from the inventory of his goods which was made at the time of his death. As with all inventories the contents are described in the rooms where they were found, so a list of the rooms consisted of:- Hall, hall chamber (chambers were upstairs rooms, so this would have been a room over the hall). In the parlour it is recorded that there is windscote, and other about the house, which was bought from the previous Parson, Dr Owen. "Windscote" is wooden panelling found in old houses and which was often removed and transferred to the new house. As Dr Owen was going to Wales he probably decided it was worth selling it to the new Parson.  There is mention of a study of books, kitchen, brewhouse, corn chamber (probably above the brewhouse), buttery and dairy. Several of the outhouses which are mentioned in the survey, are also recorded here. There are also cows, pigs and a horse but no mention of stables or sheds. The rooms in the Parsonage that would have had fireplaces, including the upstairs chambers, is compatible with the  hearths mentioned  on the  Hearth Tax lists of 1669 and 1673, when the Revd. Mr. Becke was Parson and taxed for seven hearths.

When Thomas Mountague, a later parson, died in 1719 an inventory was  again supplied. The rooms consisted of:- Hall, hall chamber, parlour, parlour chamber, maids chamber, mans chamber (these two rooms were very sparsely furnished with a bed and bedding but no other furniture), kitchen, larder, cellar (which seems to have been incorporated into the next rebuilding), wool chamber, brewhouse, coalhouse, great barn, hay barn, stable and animals in the yard. It is obvious from the amount of livestock in both inventories that the parsons were also gentleman farmers.

Sir John Dolben, Rector 1719-56 Sir John Dolben of Finedon succeeded Thomas Mountague but he did not take up residence in the village, he appears to have travelled abroad a great deal and when he was in this country he lived at his home, Finedon Hall. Most of the time the parish matters were conducted by his curate and it is thanks to one of these that we read in the parish register of baptisms 1750, that "The Parsonage house was built this year." It is not known if the former building was demolished completely but it is very likely that the new parsonage was reconstructed on the same site. The date stone A.D. 1750 from this building is incorporated in the garden wall of the present Rectory.  The new house was larger and had more bedrooms and was generally modernised for this time, it is reported to have contained extensive 17th century vaulted cellars. These must have been the ones remaining from the original building if the report is correct, no mention was made of wine in the inventories, but beer and ale would have been made in the brewhouse and possibly stored in the cellar. Often in inventories perishable goods were not recorded. 
Sir John Dolben
Rector 1719 - 1756

 Another Parson that did not spend much time in the village was the Revd. Thomas Shuttleworth Grimshaw who had dispensation from the Church, so that he did not have to live in the village because the air did not agree with his wife's health. The Parsonage was occupied at this time by the Curate, who after the arrival of the next Parson, had to go into lodgings or furnished apartments.

the Barclay-Bevan armorial pane in St. Mary's church.

The Revd. Barclay-Bevan was Parson from 1843-1857. He was a wealthy man and had a wife and family, unlike many of his predecessors and "In 1844 a wing was built to the Parsonage house and in that and the following year two oriel (bay) windows  were thrown out and a portico connecting them was built". There are old photographs showing these improvements. “…… new cast windows were placed on the north side of the house and the house entirely repaired and repainted. New stables were erected and the garden laid out afresh and the entrance moved from the centre of the house to the western corner of the garden. At the expense of something less than £2,000." The 1851 census shows the Revd. Barclay-Bevan was at home with his wife, three daughters, a visitor, governess, nurse, housemaid, cook, parlour maid, kitchen maid, coachman and stable man, all of whom would have been sleeping in the house or over the stables for at least the night of the census. From the time of the improvements, the gardens and grounds were often used for Sunday school treats, choir photographs, school sports, etc. The window beneath the staircase in the entrance hall of the Rectory contained an armorial pane relating to the Barclay-Bevan family, it was rescued by the churchwardens in 1970 before it was vandalised and was later placed in the church, in the middle window of the south aisle.

The Barclay-Bevan armorial
pane in St. Mary's church.

In 1861 the census for Burton Latimer shows the Revd. Thomas Bartlett in residence at the Rectory with his wife and daughter, being visited by his son and daughter-in-law, their live-in servants included an upper housemaid, cook and under housemaid.

The Revd. Francis Browne Newman was a Curate in Burton Latimer under the Revd. Bartlett from 1862-1868 and 1870-1872 and subsequently became Rector, but he was already living in the Rectory on the night of the 1871 census with a significant household of family and servants which included his wife, five daughters, governess, nurse, under-nurse, cook, housemaid, kitchen maid, butler and page.  From 1872-1895 the Revd. F. B. Newman continued to reside at the Rectory, the Duke of Buccleuch sold the Manor House to him in 1876 and this was used as the Curate's house for many years. In 1881 on the night of the next census the Rector was at the Rectory but his wife and daughters were away at Folkestone with several of their servants, leaving the Reverend gentleman at home with a housemaid, his coachman and the coachman's wife and the assistant schoolmaster who was boarding there at the time.  By 1891 the family were together again at the Rectory, the Rector, his wife, four unmarried daughters, housekeeper, cook, housemaid, parlour-maid and kitchen-maid. 

The Newman family with its domestic staff in the 1870s The Newmans with relatives and guests 1880s
The Revd. and Mrs. Newman, family and staff at the
front of the Rectory in the 1870s
The Newmans with relatives and
guests on the rear lawn c1885

No references to specific alterations he made to the Rectory can be found, although a comprehensive account describes the work carried out in the church during his incumbency. However at the time of his son's death in 1935 an article appeared in the local paper stating that: "The Revd. F. B. Newman during the period of his time at Burton Latimer carried out extensive alterations to the Rectory, and as he had formerly been an architect by profession, he designed and supervised the work himself. It is rather a pity, however, that his architectural training did not result in additions in keeping with the original work. A fine Queen Anne mansion was not improved by the superimposing of a Victorian Gothic facade to the lower story.  This type of restoration was not uncommon at that period, and Mr. Newman was not the only sinner in that respect." Old photographs of the Rectory at this time show the changes to the front of the building.

At the time of the 1901 census the Rectory had again changed hands. At this time the Revd. William B. Jacques was the Clerk in Holy Orders serving the town, his household consisted of his wife, two daughters, two sons, governess, cook, housemaid, butler, footman, nurse, under-nurse, kitchen-maid, housemaid, laundress and coachman. The Revd. Jacques was rector from 1895 until 1911, when he moved to Orlingbury.

The Jacques family c1900. Moving the Jacques household in 1911
The Revd. and Mrs. W.B. Jacques
and their young family c1900
Pink & Jones moving the Jacques family to Orlingbury in 1911. The number of
vehicles is an indication of the size of the household.

Revd. H.T.Edwards and Mrs. Edwards  in the Rectory gardens.
The Revd. H.T. (Rector 1930-37) and Mrs. Edwards taking
a stroll among the rose beds in the Rectory garden.

The Revd. R.W. Sharpley was Rector from 1937-1967 he moved into the mainly 18th century house with its many rooms, extensive grounds, tennis courts and a kitchen garden which many older Burtonians still remember. The Revd. Sharpley remained a bachelor. During the Second World War, because of the large size of the Rectory, the military occupied much of the house, Revd. Sharpley having just the drawing room for his own use, which he divided with a curtain. In the early 1950s the Victorian wings built by Barclay-Bevan, were demolished. About this time the Revd. Sharpley wrote a postcard (probably the one at the head of this page), showing the Rectory on the front and with a message on the reverse which reads:- "My Rectory faces south and is approached by a long drive with two entrances. The ivy has all been removed from the wing. The rooms on either side of the front door are 35ft x 15ft. above them are two bedrooms (with two windows each) and a dressing room in the centre (window). Attic windows are overhead. The building is of the local brown ironstone; roof of Collyweston slates. The ‘wing’ on the right is being demolished and a garage made out of the .......... house on extreme right."

The Rectory without its Victorian wing. The Revd. Sharpley's study at the Rectory.
The Rectory - late 1950s-early 1960s after the Victorian
wing had been demolished.
The Revd. Ronald Sharpley's antique-filled study during
his occupation of the Rectory

After 1967, when the Revd. Sharpley moved out of the building, the diocesan authority decided that the Rectory was to large for the lifestyle of modern rectors and the Rectory was put up for sale. The Revd. Derek Hole moved into the parish but had no Rectory until a new modern building was built in part of the grounds of the former Rectory and on Sunday 15th December 1968 at 12.15 p.m. a service was held by the Bishop of Peterborough to bless the new Rectory. In the meantime, the old Rectory was badly vandalised (to read about the vandalism, click here) and it was eventually sold to a developer who demolished all the buildings and built an estate of houses on the site, appropriately called "Church View". During the demolition the builders uncovered some curious stone urns built into the walls of what seemed to be a cellar.  All traces of the old Parsonage and Rectory have now gone except for a few large trees which once stood in the magnificent grounds, the stone walls that form the boundary with the new Rectory in Preston Court and its foundation stone which was saved during the demolition and placed in the boundary wall of the new Rectory.

Click here for an article about the demolition of the old rectory

Click here for Douglas Ashby's memories of the old rectory

Click here for more photographs of the old rectory.


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