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Kate Coles 2023
Robert Capps

Osborne House in the 20th century
Robert Capps' home 200 years earlier

Robert Capps was born in Brigstock around 1739, his family having lived there since at least 1625. His family trade was that of a butcher and in 1761 he married Ann Hardwick at Guilsborough, where her sister lived. Ann was the daughter of another family of butchers in Wellingborough. In 1762 Robert and Ann moved to Burton Latimer to start in business there and he became a landowner of some importance, owning a two-acre allotment in Cranford Road and also the large triangle of land enclosed by Bakehouse Lane, Kettering Road and Church Street. Robert’s butcher's shop still exists and was for many years Doctor Kingsley’s surgery and waiting room. When the doctor’s home, Osborne House, and the old surgery were sold in the late1980s, a visit showed that hooks for hanging the sides of meat were still in place at the front and rear of the former shop. The stables were also intact, as were marble slabs in an outhouse for cutting up the meat. Robert’s land ownership entitled him to vote in the election for the Knight of the Shire in 1806, the equivalent of our local MP. On this occasion Robert voted for Sir William Langham. Robert and Ann both lived to the great age of 81. He survived her by four months and died on 24" January 1820. In his will he left three houses, one each to two of his grandchildren, John Capps and Ann Mee, and the third to his only surviving child, Martha (now Garrett). He also left the best bed and a bureau to his favourite grand-daughter, Ann Mee, and an annual sum to be paid to another grand-daughter, Sarah Holman. He also left the mystery of what happened to his son, Thomas. Around 1796 Thomas, a family man with his own butcher’s business in Irchester, enlisted in the army at Finedon Feast and went to join his (unknown) regiment the following week, never to be seen or heard of again. The mystery of Thomas Capps was discovered in a declaration made by Thomas Mason in 1836. The declaration also mentioned that Thomas had a brother James who also ‘went for a soldier and died abroad’. As Robert and Ann only had Thomas baptised, this was the first time James’ existence became known. Two of their daughters’ existence was discovered by using the married names given in Robert’s will to discover their marriages in Burton Latimer parish registers and Sarah Holman was the married daughter of Thomas Capps.

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