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The Future of the Rectory

The Rectory in 1971, prior to its demolition

Burton Rectory was one of the prominent buildings within the town, however in the late 60's it had fallen into disrepair and was no longer occupied by the rector. So the question was, what would be the buildings future? Matters came to a head in April 1971 when it seemed that the Rectory would be demolished, this was reflected in the correspondence to the Evening Telegraph from concerned residents;

Burton People will not stand by while town is destroyed

It is perhaps not altogether a coincidence that your Tuesday edition carries on one page a notice of Prof. Buchanan's warning that good housing is no relief from the depressing effects of drab surroundings, and on another a plea by two Burton Councillors for the old rectory.

It is encouraging that so many people are prepared to protest against the dreary materialism and inertia which seems to pervade the actions of the bureaucracies of Church and State.

The rectory question is being amply ventilated, though it is worth noting that Diocesan Delapidations Board are the responsible authority and any praise or blame for what passed and is to come belongs to the board, and not as one of your correspondents suggests to the rector.

Let us not forget that elsewhere in the town other buildings are in danger or already lost. The old school, universally acknowledged as an architectural gem, is fast going to ruin as are the neighbouring houses on the Causeway: it is said that potential restorers are waiting for the neccessary plans and consents.

One wonders whether the wheels of administration will turn fast enough to enable these buildings to be saved. Further along Church Street and in Bakehouse Lane, old - but restorable - properties of character have already been demolished. No planning consents were possible because they stood on the line of the hypothetical relief road.

This road scheme is no substitute for a by-pass and would effectively cut the town in two, and at the same time greatly impair the amenities of the Hall, Church Street, the parish Church and the Manor House.

A deplorable proposal by any standard particularly from a ministry which is allegedly cultivating a tender conscience in relation to the environment. Nevertheless it seems that it is administratively more convenient to refuse planning consents than to have an offending road line removed from the County Plan.

It is understandable in view of the publicity, but nonetheless unfortunate, that the Church should be singled out for blame (if indeed any blame is justly due) when so much of what is already lost - and will be unless swift action is taken - is nothing to do with the Church authorities.

It is to be hoped that the feeling displayed over the rectory affair will serve fair warning to all concerned authorities that there are many residents of Burton who are no longer prepared to watch the town being destroyed without protest.

Burton Latimer Hall

Rectory - the real culprits

I would like to compliment "Irate Mother" from Burton Latimer on her very good letter concerning the old rectory. She has certainly revealed the bald truth about this matter.

Surely anyone should know that an empty unguarded house is certainly bound to attract vandalism, it is a sitting target for anybody who wishes to relieve a bit of tension.

The real culprits are those who have let it decay and fall to ruin and have not lifted a finger to prevent it, and did not really want to in the hope of getting it demolished to make room for the building of more modern rubbish.

Vandalism is an easy escape fore those who do not want to bother.

I wish every success to the lady who is proposing to restore it, for I am sure that for anyone who has the neccessary funds and interest it is a very worthwhile project.

Burton Latimer

Demolition plan is sad news

Many people will be saddened to hear of the proposed demolition of Burton Latimer's historic old rectory.

For over 300 years this gracious house built of Northamptonshire stone, had been the home of numerous rectors and their families - people who played a great part in the daily life of the parish in good times and bad.

After 22 years as rector, John Owen left this house in 1629 to become Bishop of St Asaph.

His successor, Dr Robert Sibthorpe, lived in more exciting times. Charles I appointed him as chaplain after hearing he had given a rousing address against Parliamentarians. For his defiance the Roundheads descended on Burton in 1644 sacked the rectory and plundered his goods. Dr. Sibthorpe was restored to the living in 1660, but died after two years and is buried in the chancel of our church.

Fourteen years later in 1676 a member of a noble Northamptonshire family was appointed to the living - Thomas Montagu, grandson of the Earl of Manchester - he liked Burton and here he remained for 42 years until his death in 1719.

Sir John Dolben of Finedon succeeded and held the living until his death in 1756 - to him is attributed the refronting of the rectory as over the doorway is the date 1753.

In 1844 the Rev. David Barclay-Bevan added bay windows and also a large east wing which was ultimately demolished in 1951.

At the turn of the century and indeed until 1939, the gardens were a fine feature - some of the magnificent old trees still remain - and the grounds were famed for their three tennis courts, terraced lawns and rare shrubs. "Open" days were very popular when the town band would play and garden fetes and parties were numerous.

Until only four years ago during the incumbency of the late R.W. Sharpley, the rectory housed a magnificent collection of antiques and works of art, and with his retirement after 30 years in the parish ended an era.

It is hard to believe that in so short a time such destruction and desolation could take place. the history of the house will live on long after its demolition, but its irrepairable loss will be one that Burtonians should not have had to suffer.

Regent House, Burton Latimer

Old rectory could be repaired

I beg to take issue with the Rector of Burton Latimer over the condition of the former rectory.

When I was there recently it appeared basically very sound and dry. True, some of the windows had been broken and doors forced. In one place plaster had come down from a wall. Otherwise it seemed that a comparatively small amount of work would put it in a habitable condition. The missing pieces of the balustrade, e.g. are on the ground below.

The building could be a great asset to Burton Latimer in the same way as the Manor House is to Kettering - a centre for clubs and societies and for public and private functions.


It appears that "Georgian" was given short shrift by certain interested parties and responded via the letters page of the Evening Telegraph.

Superficial damage

I must insist that the damage to the former Rectory, Burton Latimer, is superficial only. Half a dozen do-it-yourself experts, with two thousand pounds-or less-could bring back the building to its former condition.

Although there was much discussion, the rectory was not saved and was soon demolished to make way for new housing. For a report on the final days of the site, click here

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