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People and Places of Geddington – Lee’s Way Part 4

While the demolition and clearing of the rubble got underway, Pip and Cynthia carried on with their lives, though the plans for the newly built part of the cottage were never far from their minds. This next chapter in their story describes how they came by two very individual additions to their new home.

‘Cynthia and myself went to a most glorious ‘do’ at Deene on the 9th. We had a wonderful time, definitely one of the most enjoyable ‘dos’ of all time – but – just look at my partner!

Starmer and Valentine at the Council offices have proved most friendly and helpful – and a loan should be reasonably easily negotiated from them. Mr Williams came to view the date stone, 1320, found in the debris – and found Cynthia furiously digging one side of the garden and myself gently attacking t’other side. He appeared a little surprised!

We popped over to Weekly Church last Sunday morn and watched Princess Margaret go to service. Later we visited ‘the site’ and chatted with Nurse Henshaw and her sister.. Also nipped in local for a beer. Had tea at Cynthia’s -we went to Desboro’ Church evening serviceand I sat imagining us coming down the aisle – quivering!’

May 15th 1952 Red Letter Day!!!     Read on to find out why…

June 11th ‘The story of a door’

‘Chicken and I were taking Pete Riley and Betty for a ride around. We had driven up to Finedon Hall and had explored the uninhabited buildings (we thought) when we were hailed from aloft. We espied a woman on the balcony directly above us, who was evidently addressing us in no uncertain terms, informing us that we were on private property. The old place has been turned into a research laboratory – cancer, malaria and other malignant diseases….

However, I deviate from THE DOOR… We then visited the Volta Tower, as was. This structure was originally built as a memorial to a son, lost at sea; it was built of huge ironstone blocks, uncemented. The mining folk evidently came too close with their pits and whatnot and undermined the structure, which collapsed. Behind the mass of masonry, we found a lovely garden, full of roses in full bloom. Then, hey presto, Chick and I saw the DOOR – and decided that that was the sort we wanted!’

Pip planned to try to purchase the door as a surprise for Cynthia but, as he himself acknowledges in his diary, he couldn’t keep the secret and ended up telling her! However he was very ingenious in finding the owner and doing a deal. It involved a trip to The Red Lion in Cranford and then a trip to The Bell in Finedon. Here he met ‘a tall, white haired old man’ who gave him the name of the son of the owner of the Volta Tower and told him he lived in Burton Latimer. Pip’s next step was to call in on the local bobby there and find out the address. On meeting the son, Mr Northen, Pip realised they had been at school together and the deal to buy the door was done for the princely sum of £4!

Pip concludes by celebrating the fact that:  we now have…a door…a door knocker…a copper warming pan..a pew….. a chair….and a plan.

21st July 1952

On July 4th ( Independence Day) Cynthia and I announced our engagement. I ‘popped the question’ at Triangular Lodge. I also asked Mr Goode’s sanction and blessing. Everyone was delighted…The ring, which we purchased on 15th May, is of a S shaped setting- antique- emerald one side, ruby the other, wee diamonds in between – a real beauty…proposed 20th March for wedding day….I should dearly love to take my love to Capri for honeymoon but !!!…..  £.s.d. – ah me!

September 1952 Reconstruction begins

As Pip and Cynthia’s plans for their marriage began to take shape so did the cottage…and by September building had begun, though the difficulties were not all resolved and Pip remained somewhat exasperated by the need to repair Hopkins’ cottage before their own roof could go on.

Earlier it was mentioned that Pip and Cynthia came by a second item that became an integral part of their home. This is how Pip describes the find;

A stone was found under our original stairs -face down – this stone is carved rather like a church window – and, at my partner’s suggestion, it is now embedded in the wall facing the front door, conjuring up peculiar mysteries of its origin ..’

A part of the Cross or a remnant of Geddington Palace or Hunting Lodge?

Next week we celebrate a wedding and the ‘topping out’ of the home that has emerged from the rubble.


Water, water everywhere . . .

You’ll never know the worth of water
till your well runs dry.

Food, Glorious Food!

St Mary Magdalene Church,

For those who aren’t connected to Facebook, priest in charge, Rob Parker-McGee has posted the following information for residents of Geddington:

If you find yourself in need of some emergency supplies or fresh produce, there are some non-perishable provisions and some produce, fresh from the field, in the church porch – please feel free to help yourself!

EQUALLY, if you have a glut of produce in your garden or allotment or a few spare tins, why not drop it in to the church porch and share it with the village.

People and Places of Geddington – Lee’s Way Part 3

Tuesday 4th March 1952   BLACK DAY

This is how Pip describes the events of the day that brought his and Cynthia’s dreams close to collapse.

His diary continues;

Paul Jessop informs me that a bad fall has occurred – the end wall is partly down. Williams and Valentine (CC man) go over and inspect.

Thursday 6th  – Paul and myself go over and meet Valentine there. Cynthia rang up and I told her the sad news.- she wanted to howl. For a while we believed that the whole thing would have to be demolished. I would have to pay (about £100) and pay for a new wall to be built on next door cottage – another £100. This morning I went to the council offices and told Valentine that it represented my life’s savings and could we have a go at re-building. He was sceptical at first but I persevered and he has temporarily put off the demolition order.

There was some discussions about how to proceed but both Pip and his builder, Paul, knew it was touch and go.

March 14th 1952

Bob Chapman, Pip’s neighbour, was there to watch with Pip as tons and tons of rubble were removed. Pip describes how the whole cottage had been propped up and everyone waited to see if it would collapse or not.

‘They intend to remove the entire end wall – no mean job – a matter of shifting over 100  tons, then, if the remaining skeleton is still standing reasonably rigid, to commence rebuilding all three walls. 

Clearing the rubble

No back wall!

     These past few days have been the worst nightmare of my life.’

 There were however some lighter moments; visiting the cottage with friends and sympathisers they climbed into the bedrooms, over the rubble and Pip went into the roof space. According to him it was ‘absolutely rotten’ but he also reported that ‘the old boy next door had found an ancient pair of cord breeches which he swore were 150 years old!!’ 

4th April 1952

All propped up – will it hold?

Cynthia and I visited The Wreck. I climbed up over the rubble and into the bedrooms and put all the lights on. Lit the whole place up. A lady approached us and introduced herself as my other neighbour, the nurse in the cottage above. We were invited in and shown over the whole place. Beautiful and intriguing cottage – we sat and chatted for half an hour and found the nurse to be a most charming woman.

A few days later Pip was informed that, at a meeting of Jessop the builder, Gair, Sinnat, the Duke’s agent, and the council men, a proposal had been pulled together which would mean that the collapsed building could be demolished but the Duke’s agent would be responsible for making good the apex of the adjoining cottage.

By May 12th the old cottage had disappeared; in Pip’s words ‘ Cynthia and I stood on the erstwhile site, held hands, mutely, and sighed!’

A little overwhelmed by the ‘domino effect’ of the building works, Pip reports that the same thing has happened to the Hopkins’ cottage next door;  ‘I, of course, am responsible for it. As I said to Mr Williams, this could go on ‘ad infinitum’ and I may as well repair, replace and rebuild the whole of Geddington’ !!

What next?

Next week we look at how the rebuild went, including the story of the front door, alongside plans for a wedding.

People and Places of Geddington – Lee’s Way Part 2

It is  November 1951. We left Pip Barlow admiring the cottage in Lee’s Way and the adjoining derelict plot owned by the Duke.

How could this neglected building and the neighbouring plot become a family home? Pip could see all the possibilities and was meticulous in putting the detailed plans together as he, and Cynthia, the lady he hoped would agree to be his wife, discussed their dreams for the future.

It would be no small task to revive the existing building and would take time and money, patience and expertise too, to re-build the derelict structure and incorporate it into their new home.

Not everything went quite to plan…..

‘Twelve or fifteen years ago, No 41 was sold for £45. In June last it was put up for sale; 120 applicants immediately wished to purchase same for £400. The owner for some unknown reason cancelled the sale order and retained the cottage. It has stood empty for a year.

The derelict cottages looking down Lee’s Way towards West Street

I can purchase same for £350, owing to the friendship of Donald Bates at Wilson’s estate agents of Dalkeith Place.  I have contacted the Duke’s agent with regard to purchasing the 2 adjoining derelict cottages; I can buy those for £25.’

Pip then set out his key alterations to make his purchase a cosy home:

  1. To knock down the wall to the left of the fireplace and to build in a glass-type door to allow as much light in as possible. (Mrs Chapman who lives at the rear will not allow a window to be put in overlooking her garden.)
  2. To knock out part of the end wall to the left of the chimney in the small bedroom and to build in a window.
  3. To dig away the earth from the lawn of Mrs Chapman’s house, which is about 4ft up my back wall and to form a gulley of cement.
  4. To block up the hole in the wall to Mrs Chapman’s garden…

The list continued and included provision for the necessary facilities of water and sewage to be laid on.

As mentioned in the introductory article Pip was a practical and determined man. He decided to consult about the cost and any permissions needed and on Boxing Day 1951 noted the following in his diary:

‘I have contacted young Jessop with regard to my proposed alterations and he estimates that if done in brick the cost would be roughly £120 – £200. Later I took Ray Ollerenshaw over and he put it down at nearly £300. I intend to ask advice from other quarters.

Two men from Kettering Urban Council have looked over it and have given me their opinions; apparently they have a right to insist upon certain conditions of lighting and sewage etc which must conform to their regulations.’

By January 24th 1952 the big decision to purchase had been made and builders were sought.

‘Today is my 35th birthday. I have paid by cheque to Peter Wilson the sum of £315 (having previously paid a deposit of £35) for 41 West Street, henceforward to be known as ‘The Den’.

The derelict cottages looking up Lee’s Way towards Back Way or Queen Eleanor Road

By previous appointment I met a Mr Suckling of Lindsay Street, builder, recommended to me by George Thompson. He seems a most honourable and conscientious man and we discussed necessary improvements…’

There was some debate about building the cottage in stone or brick; stone would certainly be too expensive for Pip, but before a final decision could be made national events distracted Pip from his task.  


George VI

The King is dead, long live the Queen!   

‘George VI passed away in his sleep -all UK and the world mourn a great and loved monarch.’

Will Pip be able to find a builder able to do the job within his budget and the requirements of those gentlemen from Kettering Urban Council?

It will certainly be a challenge!

‘February 17th 1952

I ran Roy round to Bill Wilde’s today, to see about getting him a job. Later we dashed over to The Den to light a fire. Paul Jessop has already taken doors and window frames over – also a wheel barrow and cement.

Last Monday, at Cynthia’s request, I took her over to Geddington after an excellent dinner at The Royal. Whilst we were looking over the cot a knock came at the door – I looked out, no-one in sight. Waited just inside and when another knock came dashed out and saw Eddy disappearing up the alley. He and Jint were invited to inspect and were agreeably surprised at the possibilities.’

Eddy wasn’t the only one to be curious about what was happening at the cottage…

‘March 1st   Paul tells me he has felled the chimney- and that the whole village turned out to watch. He has also moved 14 tons of rubble to be scattered in various gateways of mud….the plans are to go before the Council this Wednesday.

Paul laughed and said that the dust and muck caused by the chimney falling hid the whole village for 6 hours and everyone lost everybody’ !!

So far so good….. but our next installment reveals some serious difficulties to be overcome.

**************************************************************************************************************************A  Author’s note; we believe Jint or Jinty was Eddy’s girlfriend and Eddy, one of Pip’s best friends, may have lived in the cottage by the ford and kept canaries as a hobby.  Do you remember them?




Police Commissioner – Consultation results

Following a successful public consultation,the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Northamptonshire has announced that he has submitted the business case to the Home Office. The proposal is that governance of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service transfer from Northamptonshire County Council to his office. If accepted, Stephen Mold will become Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

The announcement follows an eight week public consultation in which 1212 people shared their views on the proposed change. The consultation sought opinions from people from across the county, including fire service employees, police personnel, and staff from Northamptonshire County Council.

The results of the consultation showed that overall 60.8 percent agreed with the proposal for the commissioner to govern the fire service, 31.7 percent disagreed and 7.5 percent neither agreed nor disagreed. Fire service employees were significantly in favour of the change with 92 percent of them agreeing to the transfer.

Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said:

“I am very happy with the outcome of the consultation. I’m confident this proposed change in governance is in the best interests of everyone in Northamptonshire. I’m particularly pleased that people working for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue service can see the benefits of the transfer, with 92 percent of respondents wanting to see the change occur.

The governance role is not operational, and the day to day running of the fire and rescue service remains with the Chief Fire Officer. My role is to provide a strong voice for our local communities, holding the Chief Fire Officer to account, and ensuring the public get an effective and efficient service that responds to our county’s needs.

The fire service in Northamptonshire has faced significant funding cuts for a number of years. It’s my ambition to increase investment in the service, particularly in the frontline. If the business case is accepted then we can begin the journey to make this a reality, and help make Northamptonshire safer.”

If the Home Office accepts the business case the change of governance would come in to effect from April 2018. The proposal follows recent changes in legislation as part of the government’s desire to create more collaboration between emergency services at local levels.

Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold explained:

Having a single governance model is a sensible proposal. Northamptonshire Police and the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service already work collaboratively and have led the way nationally on joint working – sharing buildings, vehicles and having joint operational teams.

People and Places of Geddington – A Lee’s Way love story

Welcome to the second
People and Places of Geddington’

This article is the first in a series to focus on Lee’s Way; one cottage in particular and the love story behind its doors.

Lee’s Way was not named such for many years and was also known as Hopkins’ Jitty. At the time of our story it was part of West Street and the cottages were numbered accordingly.

Our story concerns No. 41 West Street in 1951.

We are delighted to be able to tell the story thanks to Sally Barlow and her willingness to share her father’s diary from that time with us.

Philip Barlow, known to most as ‘Pip’, was a multi talented, educated man with a lively sense of humour and, as you will see as the story unfolds, a man of courage too. His family came from Burton Latimer and owned the butchers and the cake shop there. He, himself, after active service all over the world, went to work in the Kettering photographic shop known as ‘Winterhalder’s’ and eventually took it over in 1946 when Herbert Winterhalder died. Pip’s interest in the new technologies around photography has left us a legacy – the photographic evidence of the building, and re-building, of 41 West Street.

In 1951 Pip was in love and hoping to persuade his lady to marry him. He wanted them to build a home together and to share the excitement of creating something special and individual . . . .

This is how he begins his story;

‘Situate within spitting distance of the public house, The White Hart, a most pleasing thatched cottage, comprised of one door and two windows, looking benignly upon this era of prefabs and thrown up concrete blocks, with contempt.

Its eighteen inch thick walls stand as firmly now as they did two hundred years ago.

The living room, with its oak beams and red tiled floor is most pleasing and cosy-looking. Standing next door, are the ruins of two old cottages belonging to the Duke. If this little plot could be purchased too, a kitchen and bathroom built thereon and a door knocked through from 41, a most comfortable wee establishment could be formed.


Pip was very definitely an optimist; a man not to be easily deflected from a ‘mission’ and a man for whom the values of a village community reflected those he wanted for his new family.

Over the next few weeks we will describe how both the cottage, known to the couple as ‘The Little House’ and his marriage plans came together, through love, hard work, a few tears and sheer determination.

The Village Hall needed you – and you turned up!

The weekend of the 12th and 13th August saw a mixed group of village residents turn up at the Village Hall and start to transform the look of the main hall.

It’s a huge project when you consider the height and breadth of the walls, and the length and width of the ceiling, not to mention all those window and door frames! But with professional equipment and vast quantities of paint, they set about their tasks and by this weekend, the 19th August, the Hall was looking brighter and cleaner than it had done, since it was last painted 15 years ago.

Overseer, John Doran, said, “Although the Geddington Volunteer Fire Brigade initiated this project, it was thanks to the volunteers from the many groups who use the Hall and the general community, that not only would the task be done, but it would be finished in record time.  Well done, Geddington!”

Well-deserved bacon butties on their way!


People and Places of Geddington

Welcome to a new series of feature articles:

People and Places of Geddington.

Our first ‘place’ is The Star Inn at the corner of Bridge Street and West Street, once on the main route through the village and passed by many; from children fetching water from the well to royalty in carriages.

Although too detailed to be told in full here, the story of the public house at the centre of the village will be seen to be a colourful and varied one.


We look too at the characters who have lived there as landlords and who have contributed to the life of the village in more ways than one!

The Star Inn

The Star has been part of village life for over 150 years, though it may have had other names in earlier times.

Now, in 2017, it has new owners, is being refurbished and is set to pick up again its role as one of the key hubs for village events. It has hosted numerous pig roasts, welcomed Boxing Day Squirt teams, run skittle teams, football teams, darts teams, quiz nights, New Year and millennium celebrations as well as offering a warm welcome to villagers and visitors alike, but did you know …

… it has also been an auction house?

Approximately 1910

On 1th March 1895 The Northampton Mercury informed its readers that a property sale had been conducted at The Star Inn. The sale consisted of a stone-built slated dwelling house which was purchased by Mr J Gotch of Kettering for £190. Also sold was a field of arable land (6 acres) on the Stamford Road bought by Mr G Chapman of Geddington for £33.

… it has also been a coroner’s office and mortuary?

Malting Lane 1930s

In September 1887 the Northampton Mercury reported the coroner’s 3 hour inquest session at The Star in connection with ‘The Geddington Murder’ and subtitled ‘A Curious Clue’.  Mr. J.T. Parker was the coroner who had the gruesome task of investigating the circumstances of the death of a female child whose body was found in a ditch on the road between Geddington and Grafton Underwood. The body had been discovered by a woodsman, William Clipstone, who told his ‘mates’ and informed Police Constable Lines. The body was removed to The Star Inn where it was examined by Mr J. W. Dryland. Subsequently a village woman, Mary Ann White, was found guilty of ‘Wilful Murder’ of the child because the child was wrapped in the newspaper found in her cottage.

… it has also played host to The Ancient Order of Forresters – Geddington Chase Branch?

In June 1892, 70 members of the Order sat down to ‘an excellent repast provided by the hostess of the Star Inn. After the cloth had been removed, Mr Cruchington was unanimously voted to the Chair and several songs were rendered by the members. At 5 o’clock the members paraded the village headed by the Walgrave Prize Band with Bros. Wapples, Clipstone, Cooper and J. Clipstone on horseback and Bros Wapples and Lee as attendants in old English costumes. The usual places were visited: The Rectory, Mr Redhead, Mr. Kyle’s, Mr Wetherall’s, The Priory etc where the band played lively airs. Great credit is due to Bros. Wormleighton and Talbot for the able manner in which the marshalling arrangements were carried out. Dancing around the Cross was indulged in, after which the friends sat down to supper when a few songs terminated a pleasant and enjoyable evening.’

These festivities were an annual event and there is a record that at one such celebration Joe Clipstone rode his horse through The Star from the back entrance and out at the front!!

… it has also been a court?

1870 Miss Croot as young girl in doorway, possibly?

A travelling barrister met claimants at the Court of Geddington in The Star in 1862, to resolve a dispute over a will which would determine the rights of two brothers of a business and property their father had left.


The licence was often passed down from father to son, William Abbott taking on the licence from his father John in 1862. By 1871 Frederick Croot, his wife Annie and his family were established as keepers of The Star and remained there for many years. Their daughter Constance became a teacher and is shown in the photograph from the school magazine. Both William and Frederick were charged on occasion for keeping an ‘unruly house’ or opening their premises out of hours! Frederick certainly, and probably William too, brewed his own beer in the kiln down what is now Malting Lane, but was also known as Star Lane and Kiln Lane.

Miss Croot 1926

Next time you drop in for refreshment at this village pub just take a moment to imagine thatch on the roof, an extended corner as it joins West Street, no car park, but instead Granny Hipwell’s cottage at the side of the building and the smell of home brewed beer and a fine fire in the grate. It is unlikely these days that you’d find a horse ridden through the building, but there are other long established traditions of hospitality and community spirit that will  continue on for many years yet.


As always, click on the images to enlarge.

If you have more stories to tell or photographs to share, please contact us via the website home page on Contact Us.

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