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Article from the Northamptonshire Advertiser dated Friday, 16 June 1961


The Drawing Room
The Drawing Room


When the Rector of Burton Latimer, the Rev R W Sharpley, has nothing else to do during an evening, he goes looking for secret drawers.

In his Georgian Rectory is what is probably one of the largest private collections of antiques and curios in the county – including several old dressers and trinket boxes containing secret drawers and cavities.

“I am always coming across new compartments,” said the Rector, “and when I haven’t anything to do I search for new ones.”

The collection will be on show to visitors to the Parish Church garden fete in the Rectory grounds tomorrow.


In the main lounge, which was extended a hundred years ago by adding a bay window on to the normal “flat” Georgian façade, there are so many curios that, the visitor is confused by them all.

In a cabinet lies a lock of ‘Bonnie Prince Charles’ hair – cut when he was 16 years old – “my grandfather gave half the lock away to Queen Victoria” explained the Rector.

Another interesting item is Nelson’s shaving mirror, which stands next to an old copy of “The Times” giving the news of the Battle of Trafalgar. There is also a tea set, which once belonged to Madame Tussaud and a tea set which was used when King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra had tea with the Rector’s uncle.


A large tapestry, one of the eight Mortlake tapestries completed in the 18th century, dominates the room. Another hangs at Broughton House. In front of the tapestry is a communion chalice dating from before the Reformation. It is one of the few cups still existing with an upper portion added so that the congregation could join in the communion service.

Mortlake Tapestry in the Recrory Lounge depicting the Angel releasing Peter from prison
A Mortlake Tapestry in the Rectory Lounge
depicting the Angel releasing Peter from prison.

Another “striking” feature is the clocks – they tick and chime regardless of the hour but remind of a period when the clock was an ornament as well as just a time-piece. The twenty clocks in the house range from an ornate French style clock to a brand new electric clock and tea-maker that stands in the Rector’s room.


A four-poster bed (“most uncomfortable” comments the Rector) dating back to 1770 bearing the wheat-ear design of the Hepplewhite period, stands in one room and huge heavy oak chests and yew wood, inlaid with marquetry, stand in various parts of the house. A complete set of armour – one of the few complete sets in the country – mounts guard on the broad staircase.

Suit of armour - known as Horace - to the Rector
Suit of armour - known as Horace - to the Rector.

Many of the curios are heirlooms and bear the crest of the Lamplugh family, who are Lords of the Manor in Sutton, Surrey.

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