Cosgrove Rectory - Medlar House

The front and rear view of the Rectory in 1854
The original entrance and drive up to the
Rectory can be seen at the top of this image

In 1254 a rectory at Cosgrove was valued at 10 marks, and in 1291 at £6 13s. 4d.

There was a parsonage, with two barns, a stable, orchard and gardens, at Cosgrove in 1633 and it was valued at £100 in 1655.

Shortly after inclosure in the late 18th century, Pulter Forrester largely rebuilt the parsonage,

which the glebe terriers thereafter called a 'mansion house' and Baker a 'handsome residence', standing in 3 acres of grounds. This improved the value of the property by the nineteenth century to a relative high point of around £430.

Cosgrove did poorly during the agricultural depression and the value of its rectory dropped to £150 by the 1890’s, recovering only a little to £200 by 1900, and this estimate remained until 1931.

In 1948, after it became clear that the churchyard could not be reopened, half an acre of the rectory grounds was sold to the parish council for a public cemetery, where the first interment took place in January 1952. Most of the rest was put up for sale in 1954 to raise funds to modernise the parsonage, after a proposal to demolish the house and build a new one was abandoned.

In 1962-4 the diocese suggested selling the house and building a new parsonage at Old Stratford or Deanshanger, which Cosgrove P.C.C. strongly opposed. Their view appeared to be vindicated when the living ceased to be held in plurality with Passenham in 1966.

The Cosgrove rectory was modernised in 1966 at a cost of around £2500 by selling part of the grounds for £1325 and also by the sale of Longwood House, part of the glebe cottage. The parsonage at Cosgrove was retained until the union with Potterspury in 1984, when it was sold as a private residence, now called Medlar House.

Northampton Mercury - Saturday 11 December 1886

every WEDNESDAY, at Eleven o’clock.

Four Prime down-calving Heifers, the property of the Rev. P. G. McDOUALL, Cosgrove Rectory.

Northampton Mercury - Saturday 04 January 1890

COSGROVE. Choir Supper.

The annual supper given to the choir and bell-ringers of S.S. Peter and Paul's Church by the Rector, Rev. P. G. McDouall, took place on Tuesday evening at the Rectory. The room was nicely decorated. A capital hot supper was provided and done full justice to. The Rector presided. The usual toasts were duly honoured, and the Rector, wishing all a happy New Year, said he was pleased to meet them all once again, and hoped they would enjoy themselves.

The evening was spent in song and dance, Messrs. T. Green, A. Durrant, M. Cockerill, H. Martyr, G. Henson, C. Burnell, B. Wheatley, A. B. Jones, Green, and J. Baldwin contributing to the harmony of the evening. Mr. A. B. Jones (organist) accompanied the songs and played for dancing. Before the party broke up the health the Rector was proposed in suitable terms by Mr. A. E. Jones for his kindness In providing the supper, and the aid he rendered the choir.

“Cosgrove – The History of a Village” by Gwen Brown,

1892 marked the departure of the Rev. Patrick McDouall, who seems to have been the last of the old style country parsons in Cosgrove.  A sale catalogue of that year gives an insight into the lifestyle at the Rectory in the late 19th century.  It refers to the auction of the contents of the house and grounds.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 04 November 1892

One mile from Stony Stratford and 1½ miles from
Castlethorpe Station (L. and N.-W. Ry).


Comprising: Mahogany telescope dining table, sideboard and chairs, curtains, couch, lady's chairs, walnut chiffonier, fine-toned cottage pianoforte in walnut, walnut occasional table, Brussels carpets, oak hall table and chairs, wicker and cane seat chairs, bookcases, books, massive mahogany 4-post and Arabian bedsteads, iron bedsteads, mahogany marble-top washstands, toilet ware, mahogany cheval glass and toilet glasses, baths, handsome mahogany wardrobes (fitted), chests of drawers, circular revolving library table, mattresses, palliasses, feather beds, blankets, fenders and fire irons, carpenter's bench and tools, lamps, tortoise stove, sets of steps, kitchen table, and culinary utensils, box mangle, ironing stove, clothes horses, meat safes, lead tanks, weighing machine, &c, i &c. ;

Two Milking COWS, Capital Harness HORSE,
Well-built WAGGONETTE.
Sets of Double and Single HARNESS,
Riding Saddles, Lady's Side-saddle, Bridles, Chaffcutter, and Stable Requisites.
Lawn Mower, Garden Roll, Garden Chair, and
Numerous Garden Tools and Implements,
Ladders, Cucumber Frames, Hearson's Incubator,
Wheelbarrow, Waterbarrow, &c, &c
The Glazed Wood-framed Structure forming
Quantity of Carrots, Seed Potatoes, Beetroot,
and Firewood,
Part of a Rick and Small Rick of MEADOW HAY,


GEO. BENNETT and SONS on Thursday, November 17, 1892, by direction of the Rev. P. G. McDouall, who is leaving.

Sale to commence 10.30 o'clock.

N.B.—On account the number and importance of Lots, and the short days, the Sale will commence punctually at the time stated. Catalogues will be in circulation eight days prior to Sale, and may be obtained from the Cock and Bull Hotels, Stony Stratford, or from the Auctioneers, Buckingham. On view, the day prior to the Sale. HENRY COOPER, AUCTIONEER AND PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT. Debtors Advised and Creditors Consulted. Private Arrangements Completed. 30. MARKET SQUARE. NORTHAMPTON.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 10 October 1902


PROPOSED READING ROOM In response to the appeal of a deputation, the Rector Cosgrove (the Rev. H. N. C. Hewson) has been pleased to grant the use of his large room as a reading and village room during the winter for men and. boys over 14 years of age, thus supplying a much felt want.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 14 October 1904


THE LATE REV. P. G. McDOUALL. The news of the death of the Rev. P. G. McDouall was received with great regret at Cosgrove, where the deceased clergyman ministered for years and enjoyed the confidence and esteem of the whole of the parishioners. At Sunday evening's service at the Mission Hall, expression of sympathy and respect was passed, and have been forwarded to Miss McDouall.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 06 September 1907

TO LET, FURNISHED, COSGROVE RECTORY, in the Grafton Country, as a HUNTING BOX; Stabling for four or five horses; one mile from station. For further particulars apply to MACQUIRE and MERRY. Northampton.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 15 November 1907


On Saturday, before Mr. Justice Lawrence, in the King’s Bench Division, the action of Marvin and others v. Hewson came on for hearing. Mr. F. Low, K.C., in opening for plaintiffs, said they were trustees of a deed of settlement, and they were claiming to recover a sum of £1428 13s. 6d. from defendant, the Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson, the Rectory, Cosgrove, Northampton.

Defendant was married to Miss Marvin in January 1889, and they lived together until February last, when the wife, making complaints which he need not go into, left her husband’s house. On the eve of the marriage an agreement for a marriage settlement was made that the defendant would pay the trustees the sum of £2,000 to be settled on the usual marriage settlement trusts, and that he should secure that charge on a reversionary interest which belonged to him under the will of a Mr. Samuel Towsett Newington.

The marriage took place, and defendant then refused to carry out his bargain, whereupon the trustees instituted proceedings for specific performance of the settlement. In April, 1894, Mr. Justice Romer made a decree ordering defendant to perform the arrangement, and in pursuance of that decree the deed sued on was entered into on March 18, 1895, by which defendant covenanted to pay £2,000 to the trustees at any time after the trustees should have served him with a demand in writing signed by the wife.

When the wife left him she applied to the trustees to enforce the covenant, and on February 28 last defendant was served with the notice to pay this money. Shortly after the notice the reversionary interest fell in and a sum of £592 11s. had been received by the trustees, leaving the balance due, which was sued for. The defendant, in his affidavit, said that at the time he entered into the deed it was well-known that he had no property except the reversionary interest, and it was never intended he should pay the trustees anything more than he received under the reversionary interest. Plaintiff said there was no point in that as it was an absolute covenant. Defendant went on to say that his wife left the house of her own accord in February, and had not lived with him since. He declared the action had been brought against him vindictively and vexatiously at the instigation of his wife and her relations because it was well-known to them that he never had and was never likely to have any means other than that which had been received under the reversion. Although his wife had left him he was willing to pay her £1 a week, which Counsel remarked was not a very generous offer. He could not see any suggestion of defence

Mr. Rose-Innes for the defence submitted that under the Real Property Limitations Act, the cause of action arose more than twelve years ago, and therefore it was barred by the Statute. Defendant’s case was that this agreement was presented to him to sign at the very last moment just before the marriage ceremony, and he had no option but sign it. When he considered it later he thought it was not such an agreement as he should have been called upon to sign, and he “put his back up.” Whatever he had done since was done because he had been compelled by the Court. Defendant was quite ready to give evidence if necessary, but he rested his case mainly on the points of law.

His Lordship held that no defence had been made out on any ground, and he therefore gave judgment for the plaintiffs for the amount claimed with costs.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 27 March 1908


ACCIDENT TO THE RECTOR. The Rev. H. N. C. Hewson, rector of Cosgrove, fell off his machine while cycling on Monday, and the result was a broken thigh. In the evening was taken to Northampton Hospital where is progressing.

Northampton Chronicle & Echo 19 November 1909

three miles from Wolverton, 1½ from
Castlethorpe, L. and N.W.R.
The Whole of the Superior HOUSEHOLD

Comprising light-oak dining-room suite in solid leather, mahogany secretaire, oak butler’s tray and stand, four oak drop-leaf tables, mahogany glazed book-case, oak coal vase, carved oak 8-day timepiece, drop-leaf mahogany table, carver oak hall table, mahogany table 11 x 5, barometer, two standard reading lamps, mahogany frame library chair in leather, walnut over mantle with bevelled plate glass, ebonised occasional chairs, carved Egyptian stand, 4-fold screen, gilt over-mantle, SIX CHIPPENDALE CHAIRS, tapestry, Brussels, Kidderminster and other carpets and hearthrugs; rep, plush, and lace curtains with brass mahogany, and bamboo poles; sundry wall plaques; box Ottoman couch, ladies’ easy wicker, and lounge chairs; 3-tier whatnot, ladies’ inlaid rosewood work box, ladies’ work table; four wall brackets, a number of engravings, prints, and oleographs; quantity Wedgwood, Dresden, and other china; fenders and irons, brass candlesticks, Singer treadle sewing machine, copper tea urn, kaleidoscope, BI-UNIAL LECTURER’S LANTERN AND 400 SLIDES, a Lawson’s saturator; about 2,000 vols BOOKS, including the “Encyclopaedia Britannica,” 35 volumes; sundry glassware, dinnerware, tea-ware, and sundry kitchen and culinary effects; also the contents of ten bedrooms, including mahogany 4-post, brass rail and iron bedsteads, spring and other mattresses, child’s cot; mahogany and other chests drawers; mahogany commode, mahogany dressing tables, mahogany washstands, mahogany swing glasses, towel airers, chamberware, stained wardrobe, 3ft. 6ins.; mahogany dressing case, mahogany and ebonized cane-seat and other chairs, military chest, stained cupboard; linen baskets, toilet sets, carpets, bed furniture, etc. etc.
Together with the under-mentioned OUTSIDE EFFECTS: Two lawn mowers, iron roller; seats, GENT’S BICYCLE, an ALDERNEY COW. Five LADDERS, SCAFFOLD POLES and ROPING, SAND SCREEN, MORTAR BOARDS, TILES, Etc.

NOVEMBER 22nd, 1907, on the Premises
as above, under an Execution from the Sheriff.
Sale at 10.30 prompt. No Catalogues.
On View Thursday Afternoon from One to Four.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 25 October 1918

An extraordinary story was told to the Stony Stratford Bench on Friday, when the Rev. H. E. C. Hewson, formerly rector of Cosgrove, but inhibited from the living some years ago, was summoned for assaulting a married woman by kicking her. There were only three persons in the rectory at the time, the third being defendant's sister, since removed to an asylum. After a long hearing the Magistrates dismissed the case as not proved.

During the 1920s the Rectory was leased to various tenants, including Richard Kingsley-Johnson.

Banbury Advertiser September 19th 1895


Baron Henry de Worms, of Henley Park, Surrey, summoned Mr R Kingsley Johnson, assistant schoolmaster, of Shalford, at the Guildford County Bench, for obtaining a sovereign by false pretences. The allegation was that the money was sent by the Baron as a subscription to the Guildford, Godalming and District Schoolmasters’ Football Club, of which defendant represented himself to be the secretary. Inquiries shewed that no such club was in existence. Defendant was committed for trial.

Richard Kingsley-Johnson

Northampton Mercury - Friday 24 July 1925


A GARDEN PARTY was held Tuesday Cosgrove Rectory by the invitation of Mr. and Mrs. R. Kingesley- Johnson, and was attended by members of the Women's liberal Associations from the vicinity.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 06 November 1925


Mr. Kingesley-Johnson on Monopolies.


To the Editor of the Mercury.

Sir, —I was very interested to read the letter signed “Publican,” for it is a significant indication of an up-rising against the conditions under which the licensing trade is carried on in this country, that there should exist in these days a body of men, practically body and soul in the power of the monopolistic brewers, is strange phenomenon. If at last, in vindication of their rights in common with other citizens, they turn, it is a hopeful sign not only for the betterment of their own status and the assertion of their manhood, but in the cause of a truer temperance.

I hold strongly that the greatest barrier to temperance and the strongest fortress of the drink in its worst effects, lies in the brewers’ monopoly. It is a monstrous shame that these people should have it in their power to acquire licensed property at fancy prices to keep alive a traffic that might otherwise be dispensed with in that particular spot, or to keep in subjection a class of their fellow men who needs must knuckle under to live at all. Brewing in itself may not have been any worse than other business, but there is no doubt whatever that many of these men know perfectly well the dreadful effects of the concoctions they sell upon their weaker fellows and thus live and thrive exceedingly upon the bodies and souls of thousands.

The absolute greed and unfairness of this class is shown again, your correspondent points out so clearly in his letter in their relations with their tied tenant. If temperance people wish to secure temperance —not necessarily total abstinence —let them rather attack this giant monopoly; let them free a deserving class many ways in these days from the tyranny forced sale good, bad, and indifferent liquors. If there is to be beer at all, let it be pure, and let the publican, like any other man, his own master, be able to buy in the best and cheapest market.

More licences would be extinguished automatically by the abolition of the tied house than Local Option would bring about in generations. The publican would have a greater incentive to keep his record clean and his status as an independent citizen —unfettered —would have a moral influence upon his relations with his fellows. Many facts could be given also of the arbitrary conditions placed upon the publican in a tied house in regard to anything, outside the drink-selling part of the business, which might be good for the amenities of the district.

Yours faithfully,

R. KINGESLEY-JOHNSON, Cosgrove Rectory, Stony Stratford.

Wolverton Express April 16th 1926


The affairs of Mr. R Kingsley Johnson

The official receiver (Mr D. Hellier) has issued the statement of affairs in connection with the bankruptcy of Mr. Richard Kingersley-Johnson of Cosgrove Rectory, Stony Stratford. 

Mr. Johnson, who is a tutor, was liberal candidate for North Bucks at the General Election in 1924, and afterwards was adopted prospective Liberal candidate for the next election.

The gross liabilities amount to £1000 18s 1d of which £1575 /18/1 is expected to rank. There are no net assets and the deficiency therefore is £1575 18s 1d. A deficiency amount filed by the debtor shows household and personal expenses of self and wife, tutor, and two boys for past year £1015/18/1 interest to moneylenders £825 political expenditure on campaign £285 total £1850/18/1 from this is deducted £350 net profit from business and £25 excess of assets over liabilities leaving £1575/18/1.

Debtor alleges his failure to have been caused “through being adopted prospective candidate for parliament and consequential expenses in connection therewith, and inferential effect it had on securing pupils in the first term of 1925.”

In his observation the official receiver stated that the receiving order was made on the 26th of March on a creditors petition the act of bankruptcy being noncompliance before 7th of March with the requirements of a bankruptcy notice issued with two professional money lenders in respect of judgments for over £1000.

Debtor age 53 has been engaged in scholastic work since 1891, and has been a teacher in various parts of the country. In December 1922 he rented Cosgrove Rectory partly furnished, and coached for the Army Navy etc. 

In October 1924, he was nominated as parliamentary candidate, and states that at that time he was solvent, and his personal expenses in respect of that election did not amount to more than £25.

In December of that same year he was adopted prospective candidate for the next election, and in consequence of his activities has spent, he sates, about £200 in trying to revive the constituency. He attributes his present insolvent position to this, and to the fact that in, February 1925, he had recourse to professional money lenders.

Of the unsecured liabilities £1110 is in respect of money borrowed, and the balance for household and personal expenses.

Debtor also states that he became aware of his insolvency in 1925, and has contracted debts, since that time, hoping that he might obtain a fair number of pupils.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 08 June 1928

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY COURT. Wednesday.—Before Deputy Judge J Pritchett.


The Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson, Cosgrove, sought possession of two rooms at the stables of Cosgrove Rectory, occupied by Charles H. Pryor, bricklayer’s labourer. Defendant said he and his wife were engaged to work for Mr. Hewson, at £1 week with board and lodging, but after Mr. Hewson had got him he refused to pay him his wages and turned him out, because defendant reported him to the inspector for refusing to put his Health Insurance stamps on his card. Mr. Hewson denied defendant’s allegations, and when his Honour made an order for possession in four weeks, Mr. Hewson said he wanted no rent from defendant during that period. He only wanted decent behaviour from defendant and his wife.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 07 October 1932




As the result of the lifting of the ban by the Bishop of Peterborough (Dr. Claude Blagden), the Rev. Henry Newington Clark Hewson preached on Sunday in Cosgrove Parish Church, from which he was inhibited nearly 25 years ago. Mr. Hewson, who is 79, was welcomed back by large congregations. There is no choir, and the interior of the church was a network of scaffolding owing to the fact that the roof is being releaded. The nave was fairly well lighted for the evening service, but the chancel, with the fitful light of candles, was more or less in semi-darkness, and the aged rector and lay reader had some difficulty in reading. Mr. Hewson lamented the disappearance the old-fashioned system of worship when the father and mother took their children to church. Now the parents went their own way and the children went theirs. He thought the old way a great blessing and a good example.


The inhibition was a sequel to a law suit and sequestration and was pronounced by the then Bishop of Peterborough (Dr. Carr-Glyn) as a consequence of which Mr. Hewson was debarred from taking the services at Cosgrove or anywhere in the Diocese of Peterborough. The ban has just been lifted by Dr. Claude Blagden, the present Bishop.

As the inhibition did not affect him taking part in services outside the Diocese Mr. Hewson related to a Mercury and Herald representative how he first went to Dingwall in Scotland and then to Strathpeffer, and afterwards officiated for five months at Berwick on Tweed. He has preached in England, Scotland and Wales. All along he has made his home at the Rectory, and during that time there have been several Curates in Charge, the last of whom is the Rev J. J. Stockton.


“I went to Holy Communion last Sunday,” the Rector said, “I did not know whether I should be refused, but I was not.”

Mr .Hewson added that he had always been fond of the poor people. “Most clergymen are in rural parishes,” he said.

The advowson of Cosgrove was sold in 1892 by the Mansel family by direction of the Lord Chancellor to a friend of the Rev. H. N. Hewson, who took over the living the following year on the resignation of the Rev Patrick McDouall.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 21 October 1932



The Rev. J. J. A. Stockton, vicar of Cosgrove since 1925, and Mrs. Stockton, received a number of gifts their departure from the parish for Everdon, where Mr. Stockton is taking up duty as rector. Captain P. Y. Atkinson presided at largely-attended meeting, at which a cheque for £191 10s. and an album containing letters and the names of some 410 subscribers, were presented to Mr. Stockton by Mr. W. B, Parrott on behalf of the parishioners.

Before this presentation look place, Master Howard Smith, on behalf of the Sunday School, gave Mr. Stockton a leather pocket case, and Miss Kathleen Bushell handed a writing case, also from the Sunday School, to Mrs. Stockton. From the bellringers, Mr. John Higgins handed a briar pipe to Mr. Stockton, who returned thanks. Those present included Captain Mrs. P. Y. Atkinson. Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Parrott. Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Dickens, Miss D. Haynes, Mr. and Miss. G. R. Whiting, Miss M. Whiting, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence. Miss Balfour, Miss Wells, and Mr. J. Higgins.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 06 May 1938

The Rev. H. N. C. Hewson, rector of Cosgrove since 1893, has intimated to his parishioners that it would probably be his last Easter with them as their rector. Mr. Hewson was ordained deacon in 1879, and priest the following year, his first curacy being at St. Mary Magdalen, Southwark, from 1879-80.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 20 May 1938

FOR SALE, Two Goats in milk, with Kids. Write Rectory, Cosgrove, Northants.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 14 October 1938


TENACITY of purpose is a strong trait in the character of the Rev. H. N. C. Hewson, the aged rector of Cosgrove. Now aged 85, he has just learnt to ride a tricycle in order to see more of his parishioners.

Wolverton Express 7th October, 1938

Rector Learns to Ride Tricycle at Eighty Five Years of Age

Learning to ride a tricycle at 85 years of age in order that he might be able to visit more of his parishioners is the feat of the Rev. H N C Hewson, rector of Cosgrove, whose parish extends to the Watling Street at Old Stratford.

The rector, who is about 5 feet, is very energetic for a man of his years, and he informed our representative that he bought the tricycle from a garage at Stony Stratford.

When asked whether he could ride a machine without aid he replied “certainly”, and a few minutes later mounted the machine in the Rectory drive and proceeded down the drive when our photographer snapped him.

The Rev. H N C Hewson became rector of Cosgrove in 1893, but owing to a lawsuit left the parish in 1908, but made a surprise return in 1932.  During that 24 years’ absence he preached for sick clergyman all over England, Scotland, and Wales.

Three years ago he married the widow of Mr. George Edward Teale, the son of the late Lieutenant Colonel George Teale of Calcutta.  His wife, who is 33 years his junior, has considerable religious experience and is able to assist her husband in his church work.

Northampton Mercury 28 April 1939



THE Rev. H. N. C. Hewson, 85 years-old Rector of the South Northamptonshire village of Cosgrove, sprang a surprise when he announced that he would not nominate Captain Philip Atkinson, of Cosgrove Priory, as his warden for the ensuing year. For no fewer than 50 years, the office of Rector's Warden at Cosgrove has been filled by a member of the Atkinson family, by Captain Philip Atkinson and his father, the late Mr. J. J. Atkinson.

After the Rector’s decision was announced, the vestry meeting was temporarily suspended while a parishioner went to inquire if a Mr. Prisley would accept the office, but he declined. Meanwhile, in consequence of the Rector’s decision, Mr. R. Whiting announced that he would not accept re-election as People’s Warden, and another member of the Parochial Church Council expressed her decision not to continue. Eventually, the Rector nominated his son as his warden, but the office of People’s Warden remains vacant.


Captain Atkinson, who had just returned from Scotland, told a Mercury and Herald reporter that he was unable to throw any light on the situation. The Rector’s action, he said, came as a complete surprise to him. “There has been no unpleasantness,” he added. “It is very sad. I am fond of the old church.”

The living, which is in the Preston Deanery, was purchased by the Rector some years ago. He was appointed Rector, when trustees were the patrons, in 1893, but was absent from the living for 25 years. The population of the village is about 650.

Wolverton Express 23rd November 1945

Cosgrove’s Rector Dies at Great Age

The death of the Rev. H N C Hewson, Rector of Cosgrove, recalls to the memory of many people the occasion when he was inhibited by the Bishop of the Diocese.  After the expiry of his “term” he made an unexpected return to the parish and recommenced his duties as Rector.  His passing took place on Monday last at the Rectory, a few days before his 93rd birthday.

He possessed a most active mind, and continued his work in the parish to within the past year.  His scattered parish extends to one side of the Watling Street at Old Stratford, and at the age of 80 he commenced to ride a three wheeled cycle to enable him to visit his far off parishioners.  The funeral takes place tomorrow (Saturday

Wolverton Express 7th December 1945

Rector for 50 years.  Funeral of Rev H N C Hewson

Rector of SS Peter and Paul Church, Cosgrove, for over 50 years, the Rev. H N C Hewson, who died at the Rectory on Monday, 19th November, was interred in the churchyard on Saturday, 24th November.  He had reached the great age of nearly 93 years.  During his long period as rector he was absent from the parish for a number of years following a lawsuit, returning to Cosgrove in 1932.  Son of the late Dr. Hewson, of Rural Descent, whose ancestors date back in a direct line from Edward First, he was educated at King’s College, London.  He was a distinguished scholar and a man of great personal charm.  The late Rector was Vicar of Fringringhoe, Essex, for some time, afterwards coming to Cosgrove, where he will long be remembered in the parish, having a great love for the people.

In 1935 the Rev. H N C Hewson married a second time, the widow of George Edward Teale, whose father was the late Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Teale, of Calcutta, India.  The Rector leaves a widow, and a son of the first marriage.

The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. Woodhouse, Rector of Passenham.

Mrs. H N C Hewson thanks the many kind friends for their letters of sympathy, also for the lovely flowers, and hopes to reply to all personally in due course.

Wolverton Express 17th January 1947

Ex Sheep Farmer to be Rector of Deanhanger-cum-Cosgrove

Although objections were raised at a Deanhanger Holy Trinity Church Council meeting in November to the proposed amalgamation of that parish with Cosgrove, the Bishop of Peterborough will induct the Rev.  John S. Benson to the vacant living on Thursday next.  Already resident at Cosgrove Rectory, the new Rector will have the oversight of both parishes and the village of Old Stratford.

41 years of age, Mr. Benson went with his family to Australia at the age of five, and was educated at the Church of England Grammar School, Guildford, in that country.  His athletic prowess included captaincy of School House, Captain of Athletics, vice-captain of Football, and Victor Ludorum, 1924, also Public Schools Half-mile champion (record) and mile runner of West Australia in 1924.

For nine years he was a sheep Farmer, with 2000 acres of grazing property, but on a trip home to England in 1935 he was converted and called to the Ministry.  He studied for Holy Orders for three years at the BCMS College, and became vice senior student, winning the College Bible Diploma and passed both parts of the Ordination Examination.

He was curate at the Holy Trinity Church, Barnsbury, Islington, in September 1939, and was in charge of that church from December 1940 to May 1941, working throughout the first blitz.  When the vicar proceeded to a new living at Holy Trinity, Rusholme, Manchester, Mr. Benson moved to join him until August 1941, when in response to an urgent cablegram from the Archbishop of Sydney he proceeded, with his wife (whom he married in London in 1941), to New South Wales Australia, and was appointed curate of Saint Barnabas, Broadway, Sydney.  From 1943 to 1945 Mr. Benson was acting rector of Corrimal, New South Wales before joining the Australian army as a chaplain, and later served overseas in New Guinea for six months.  He recently returned to this country.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 25 June 1954

By Order of the Rev. J. S. Benson.

COSGROVE. 2½ miles to Stony Stratford. 4 miles to Wolverton. 10 miles to Bletchley.


Pleasantly situated forming the walled-in kitchen garden and part of the grounds of The Rectory,” three with frontage to the village main street and four with frontage the road leading to the Old Brewery.

Also A SET OF BUILDINGS and yard let to Mr. R. W. Hills on a quarterly tenancy at a rental of £30 per annum, tenant paying rates. Which Messrs.


Will sell by auction in Lots at the Cock Hotel Stony Stratford on Wednesday July 14th 1954 at 7pm (if not previously disposed of).

Wolverton Express 4th September 1959


PARISHIONERS from Deanshanger, Passenham, Cosgrove and Old Stratford collected £58 11s. 6d as a testimonial for the Rev. J. S. Benson, who has been Rector of the parishes for twelve years, and is leaving next week to take up an appointment in Islington, London. At a ceremony in the Memorial Hall, Old Stratford, on Monday evening, Mr. J. A. Taylor Brown (churchwarden), who presided, said they could not let the opportunity pass without expressing deep gratitude for all Mr. and Mrs. Benson had done.

Long remembered

They all knew the Rector as a sincere and devout man. His ministry had had a very great singleness of purpose, and they would long remember all he had striven to do. Pomp and circumstance had never appealed to the Rector, and such outward trappings counted for little or nothing. Mr. Brown continued that the feeling of everyone on receiving the news that Mr. Benson was leaving was that they should make some tangible recognition of his work, and a testimonial was begun. The response to the testimonial had been "really, really wonderful," and reflected the feelings, appreciation and regard of the parishioners. They had decided to buy the Rector a really good clock, which would be suitably inscribed, and they hoped that the Rector would use the rest of the money to purchase a typewriter. Presentation The presentation was made by Mr. R. D. Carslake, a former churchwarden, who worked with Mr. Benson for some years. Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Benson were also expressed by Mr. E. R. Lambert (Cosgrove churchwarden). Mr. Taylor Brown explained that the clock had an alternating chime. of either Westrninster or Whittington.

Acknowledging the gift, Mr. Benson said that he and his wife were deeply moved by the occasion. Although he had no idea who would take over from him, he hoped it would be a younger man. The visiting was utterly inadequate due to the distance between the parishes.

Spiritual awakening

He went on: "I think Deanshanger is on the verge of a great spiritual awakening, and we shall see this go right through this country in a few years." Thanking the parishioners for the clock, Mr. Benson said that only once in 13 years had he been late for a service, so he did not need it for that reason, but they had nothing between a grandfather and an alarm clock, so it would come in very useful. He thought Deanshanger should do something about putting up a residence for the Rector.

 "They have £3,000 from the sale of Passenham Rectory, and I think this is something urgent," he said. Passenham and Deanshanger was one of the biggest parishes in the Diocese, and they had no residence to offer an incumbent. Mrs. Benson also expressed thanks for the gifts. Refreshments were served by Mesdames C. S. Masters, Rose, Chance, Baker, Heppinstall, Chaplin (Deanshanger) and Miss Ann Masters.

Wolverton Express 26th July 1963

At Palace Parties

This is the season of Buckingham Palace Garden Parties and guests at recent functions have included the Rev. A E Bransby, RD, his wife and daughter, of Cosgrove, the Rev. H Sparling, chairman of Newport Pagnell Rural District Council, and Mrs. Sparling, Mr. and Mrs. D J Dormer, of Wolverton, and Dr. A A Clay, chairman of Newport Pagnell Urban District Council and Mrs. Clay.

Wolverton Express 8th August 1963

On Wednesday the Rev A E Bransby, Rector of Cosgrove, left home for a fortnight’s working holiday – in Switzerland. He has gone to Wengen on a seasonal chaplaincy at one of the churches, opened to provide services in English for tourists.

The arrangements for these chaplaincies are made by the Commonwealth and Continental Church Society. There are similar churches in Austria and Norway.

Mr Bransby, who is travelling alone, has to pay his fare to Wengen but will get his board and lodging supplied by the Society. He is making the journey by train and hopes to take a series of colour transparencies to illustrate talks to various church organisations on his return. This is the first time Mr Bransby has been to Switzerland.

Wolverton Express 2nd September 1966


Canon S. C. Woodward (left) who was instituted as Rector of Cosgrove at St. Peter's Church last Thursday evening. The institution was performed by the Rt. Rev. W. H. Stewart, as Assistant Bishop in the diocese, on behalf of the Bishop of Peterborough. The new Rector was inducted to the living by the Archdeacon of Northampton, the Ven. Basil Marsh.

Mercury and Herald Thursday November 12 1970


On the wall of Canon Woodward’s study at Cosgrove Rectory hangs a large and detailed map of Japan. He knows that map well because he was born in Japan, where his parents were missionaries. His first three sons were also born in Japan, a daughter and a fourth son being born after Canon and Mrs Woodward had returned to England.

Canon Woodward was ordained in the Lichfield Diocese in 1927 and in 1930 returned to Japan as a missionary. On November 5th 1931 his fiancée landed in Japan for their wedding and on November 5th 1941 they set foot in England again.


They left Japan nearly a year before Pearl Harbour, reached Los Angles with their three small sons, virtually refugees, and went on to Jamaica, where for some months Canon Woodward was able to resume his work for the church and do some teaching.

From 1942 to 1949 he was vicar of St Mark’s Peterborough and then for 17 years Rector of Uppingham where he was also rural dean. He has been an examining chaplain to the Bishop of Peterborough since 1954; a non-residentiary canon of Peterborough Cathedral since 1956 and a Proctor in Convocation for 10 years.

He was appointed rural dean of Preston in January 1967 and relinquished this office on the recent merger of Preston with the enlarged Towcester Deanery.

Canon and Mrs Woodward’s five children have chosen an interesting variety of callings. David, the eldest, is a senior probation officer at Brixton; the Rev Peter Woodward is a missionary in Madagascar, and with his wife and two small boys is now home on furlough; John, an industrial chemist, is doing research work in North Carolina; Margaret, a school teacher, married Mr John Woolley, a lecturer in mathematics at Kilburn Technical College, and Robert is a mental health welfare officer with Somerset County Council.

Difficult choice

Attached to Cosgrove for ecclesiastical purposes are the 200 people of Old Stratford who live on the Cosgrove side of the A5. The rector agrees that the arrangement presents difficulties for the elderly and infirm at Old Stratford. Is is not easy for them to get to church and they greatly miss a church in Old Stratford itself, the other choice, apart from Stony Stratford, being Passenham church.

When Canon Woodward arrived at Cosgrove some £1,500 had been spent on restoring the chancel at St Peter and St Paul, with about £500 owing to the diocese. This has been paid, and the report shows the fabric to be in excellent condition, although some minor maintenance work is estimated to cost some £300 or £400.

One great improvement effected after Canon Woodward’s appointment to Cosgrove [1966] was the installation of electric heating at a cost of £700 in place of one coke stove behind the organ.

Lively Church

Church life at Cosgrove, says the Rector is “very lively with church attendance slowly but surely increasing – nothing spectacular, but a sound, healthy build up. Newcomers naturally take a little time to settle down but are doing so quite well.”

He and his wife have been “very happy” at Cosgrove, which shares in a “strong Deanery sense” shown by both clergy and lay people.

The Churchwardens are Captain P Y Atkinson of Cosgrove Priory and Mr E R Lambert of Manor Close. Other good friends of the church include Mr F C Elliott, reader; Mr H McClean, church treasurer, and Mr Charles Mackenzie Hill of Cosgrove Hall, who has lent his gardens for the annual fete.

Lay Reader

Mr John Wootton, who has been a lay reader in Passenham and Deanshanger for a score of years, is Sunday School superintendent at Cosgrove and cycles from Potterspury on Sunday afternoons. The organist is Mr Lewis Clark, of Stony Stratford, and Mrs Woodward is enrolling member for the Mother’s Union.

Small estate

One Mansel memorial at Cosgrove is the name Mansel Close, the small private estate built in recent years on the site of 17th century Manor Farm.

Mr Albert Tack, of 1 Yardley Road who has been parish council clerk for 31 years, and is an authority on the history of the village, has an old stone wall running down one side of his garden. Until Manor Farm was swept away to make room for Mansel Close that wall supported the roof of the farm’s milking parlour, and close to that were stables, dutch barns and implement sheds. No wonder Mr Tack describes the new compact housing estate as “very much a change”.

Wolverton Express 17th December 1971

43 years in the Ministry

Canon Stanley Carr Woodward, for five years rector of St. Peter and St. Paul Church, Cosgrove, is retiring in April after 43 years in the ministry. Not that he wants to give up his job - "I only wish I could carry on but I don't think it would be fair to the parish. I have not enjoyed good health for some time,'" Canon Woodward, 68, explained this week. Before coming to Cosgrove in August 1966 he served at Uppingham, in Rutland. When he became rector of St. Peter's he was also appointed Rural Dean of the Preston Deanery but gave up the post when Preston amalgamated with Towcester. Canon Woodward and his wife will live at Buckden.

Wolverton Express 20th October 1972

Cosgrove Rector

THE REV. Robert Harold Beatty has been appointed Rector of Cosgrove in succession to Canon S. Woodward who retired in April. Dr. Beatty was ordained in 1951 and is a graduate of the University of West Ontario, and Trinity College, Toronto. In addition to being an honours graduate of Keble College Oxford, he was awarded a degree as a Doctor of Philosophy at McGill University in 1962. Dr. Beatty, who is 45, at present an assistant priest at St. Luke's, Oseney Crescent in North London. His wife is German and they have three small children. The date of Dr. Beatty’s institution at Cosgrove has not yet been arranged but it is hoped that the Bishop of Peterborough will institute him before the end of the year.

Wolverton Express 5th December 1972


Bishop the Rt. Rev. Douglas Feaver instituted the new Rector of Cosgrove, Dr. Robert Harold Beatty at Cosgrove Parish Church last week. After the ceremony, the Bishop's first institution in the diocese, a reception prepared by the ladies of the Church was held at the Victory Hall. Dr Beatty, who is married with two small children, was working in Camden Town until recently.

Wolverton Express 8th October 1981

A charity lunch will be held at Cosgrove Church Rectory on October 23 from 12.30 to 2pm. The lunch will be provided by the Rector’s wife, Mrs Helga Beatty and will consist of soup, bread and desserts – all for 50p. Proceeds will be donated to the Church Army for youth work in Milton Keynes.

The Rectory c.1974

In 1990, when Ruth and Chris Stokes moved into the re-named Medlar House, these photographs show that it was largely unaltered from Rev Hewson's day. This view shows hoe close the Rectory stood to the church.
This is Rev Hewson's "Big Room" where he held his reading club for men and also various parties for the village children.

This is a view of the Church which could be seen as the Rector walked through for services.

Outside the single storey part of the building above, were three wells, as below, of varying ages.
The well above was revealed during the 1999 excavations as Medlar House was modernised.

Ref: Date Occupant
Census 1841 Rev. John Graham
Kelly's Directory 1847 Rev John Graham M.A.
Whellan History of Northamptonshire 1849 Rev John Graham M.A.
Census 1851 Rev. John Graham
Kelly's 1854 Rev. John Graham
Census 1861 Rev. John Graham
Kelly's Directory 1869 Rev. John Graham
Census 1871 George Jenkins
Whellan & Co 1874 Rev. Geo. Jenkins M.A.
Census 1881 Rev. Patrick Geo McDouall
Kelly's Directory 1890 Rev. Patrick Geo McDouall
Census 1891 Rev. Patrick G McDouall
Kelly's Dorectory 1894 Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson L. Th.
Kelly's Directory 1898 Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson
Census 1901 Arabella H Gordon
Kelly's Directory 1903 Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson
Kelly's Directory 1906 Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson, L. Th.
Kelly's Directory 1910 Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson
Census 1911 Mary Morgan
Kelly's Directory 1914 Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson
Kelly's Directory 1920 Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson
Kelly's Directory 1924 Richard Kingsley-Johnson M.A.
Kelly's Directory 1928 Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson A.K.C.L.
Kelly's Directory 1931 Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson A.K.C.L.
Kelly's Directory 1936 Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson A.K.C.L.
Kelly's Directory 1940 Rev. Henry Newington Clarke Hewson A.K.C.L.
Rectors' List 1947 Rev. John Simmonds Benson
Rectors' List 1960 Rev. Albert Edgar Bransby
Rectors' List 1966 Rev. Stanley Carr Woodward M.A.
Rectors' List 1972 Rev. R. H. Beaty M.A. B.D. PhD.
The Rectory was sold in 1983 privately.
1983 Mr & Mrs. Mohan
1998 Chris and Ruth Stokes
2007 The Hewetson Family