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John Meads 2016
Rural Fete - 1868

On 26 March 1864 the following paragraph appeared in the Northampton Mercury. It heralded several years' fund-raising, an example of which is the Rural Fete described below

BURTON LATTIMER – The spire of the parish church of Burton Lattimer (not the least interesting or imposing of the fine ecclesiastical structures of the district), being unsafe, is about to be removed to the base of the tower, and to be rebuilt on a similar design. Its height is 120 feet. The new structure is to be of the same elevation. The bells, five in number, were removed from the tower on Monday last without accident. The tenor – a heavy bell – bears the name Ayre, of Kettering, its founder, whose descendants still live in the town. The architects of the work at Burton are Messrs. Slater and Carpenter, of London, and the builder, Mr. W. Henson, of Kettering, who has contracted the whole work, which comprises the erection of a new tower and spire, and the re-roofing in oak, and leading the nave, and also the erection of a ringing loft over arch at the western entrance, new doors &c. The estimated outlay is about £1,200. Further improvements are contemplated
Burton Hall c1870 Hall Close now Hall Field
Burton Latimer Hall at the time of the fete
Hall Close - now known as Hall Field - where the 'Rural Fete' took place

RURAL FETE

From the Northampton Mercury 6 June 1868

On Wednesday this village was the scene of much festivity, a rural fete being held in the Hall Close, by the permission of the Rev. L. Harper, of Burton Hall. During the afternoon numbers of villagers assembled in the close, which presnted quite a holiday appearance. Over the gateway was a red and blue banner with the words inscribed "Burton Church", and on the sides of the gateway were numerous gay streamers; other small flags were set about the close and a marquee for refreshments was prettily adorned. The Hall Close is immediately in front of the hall, a nice residence of the Tudor style of architecture. It is in good repair , yet has the mellowed look which time alone can give, and bears the unmistakeable stamp of a fine old English residence. The close is beautifully wooded, and the tea tables, twenty-four in number, were placed beneath the shadow of a row of fine elms, through whose branches the sun came with mellowed rays; the tables were tastefully decorated with bouquets of summer flowers, arranged at intervals along their own length. About four o'clock the village fife and drum band marched in, followed soon after by Mr. James Mobbs's brass band from Kettering. At half past four o'clock the Rev. F.H. Newman, curate of Burton, gave out the grace, "Be present at our table, Lord" which was sung to the Old Hundredth, led by Miss Harper. More than 300 of the villagers, and ladies and gentlemen of the neighbourhood, sat down to an excellent tea, after which the rural sports commenced. The following is the programme of the athletic sports, with the names of the winners of the prizeswhich varies from one to three shillings.
Thowing the cricket ball: six entries: 1st prize, C. French: 2nd S. Maycock, distances thown 101 yards 9 inches, 84 yards.
Flat race 100 yards: six entries: 1st prize C. French; 2nd J. Harding
Running high jump: four entries: 1st prize R. Harradine; 2nd C. French; greatest height cleared four feet two inches.
Hurdle race, six flights; distance 100 yards; six entries 1st prize S. Maycock; 2nd C. French.
Running broad jump: four entries; 1st prize S. Maycock; 2nd C. French; greatest distance cleared 15 feet 11 inches.
Flat race, 400 yards; five entries; 1st prize C. French 2nd R. Downing.
Mile race, no race, only one entry.
Sack race, 50 yards; five entries; 1st prize C. French 2nd T. Harding,
Consolation stakes; hurdle race, 100 yards, six flights; four entries; 1st Prize R. Downing 2nd W. Mason.
The entrance fee for each of the competitors in the above sports 3d. each. The stewards were -- Rev. F.B. Newman, Mr. W. Everett, Mr. J. Stokes. The competition in some of the above sports was very near; the running high jump especially excited a good deal of interest, and was cleverly won by Mr. Harradine after a long competition. The running broad jump also produced a strong competition, and as will be seen, the distance cleared by the winner was very considerable. The hurdle race, too, excited much interest, and would doubtless have been won by Mr. French, but that he gave three yards start. Maycock winning by a trifle only. The sack race, of course, produced great amusement, some of the competitors falling topsy-turvey, and lying sprawling and helpless till released.
Besides the above sports, the games of Aunt Sally, croquet, and other games were indulged in most heartily by those present, and country dances were kept up with great spirit, high and low entering into the spirit of the thing , and seemingly thoroughly to enjoy the holiday.
The tea tables were given by Mrs. Bartlett, Miss E. Harper, Mrs. Newman, Mrs. Everett, Mrs. Eady, Miss Stokes, Mrs. Quincey, Mrs. Craig, and Mrs. J. Eady and the proceeds will be given to the Church restoration fund. The restoration of the Church is in course of progression, under the direction of Mr. Slater, architect, of London, assisted by Mr. Henson, builder, of Kettering. The tower and spire have been completed, as is also the chancel, except the fitings, and the body of the edifice is to be proceeded with immediately. Among those presnt at the fete were -- the Rev. J.G. Orger, Cranford; the Rev. F.P. Newman, Mrs. Newman and family, Burton; Mrs. and Miss Dainty, Pipewell; Mr. Burnaby, Pipewell; Mrs. and Miss Craig, Leamington; Miss Harper, Burton Hall; Miss E. Harper, of The Cottage, Burton; Mrs. Roughton and family, Kettering, &c., &c. The festivities were kept up until ten o'clock, when the field was cleared, and all went quietly to their homes after spending a most enjoyable day.
Ladies on the church tower Scaffolding around the church spire
Lady visitors to the tower
during its reconstruction
Scaffolding around the spire


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