Reverend Henry Newington Clarke Hewson

Henry Hewson was born at Hawkshurst in Kent and baptised on 8 July 1853. He was the “son of the late Dr. Hewson, of Rural Descent, whose ancestors date back in a direct line from Edward First”, according to his ecclesiastical records. Dr Hewson is described as a

surgeon. The Hewson family had several homes at different times in England, including Clitheroe in Lancashire, where they appear on the 1861 census.

Henry was educated at King’s College, London. In 1878 he received his Theology degree and was ordained in 1879, under the auspices of the College of St Mary Magdalene in Southwark, London.

From 1880 to 1881 Rev Hewson was Curate at Keston Parish Church in Kent, at the age of 27, and the following year was appointed to a position at Beddington in Surrey.

We know that Rev Hewson was vicar of Fingringhoe, near Colchester in Essex, by 1883, as he appeared as such at the Magistrates’ Court on 7th March, charged with being drunk and disorderly!

A Drunken Clergyman

The Rev Henry Clark Hewson, vicar of Fingringhoe, near Colchester, has been fined £2 and costs for being drunk and disorderly, and for driving a cart while in that condition. The first offence was committed when the Duke of Albany visited Colchester, when the rev gentleman drove with a friend to the town. A good deal of drink was imbibed on the way by both, and at the time of starting the clergyman was very drunk. He insisted on driving, and ran down the street at a furious rate, losing his hat and narrowly escaping several carriages. He turned round and drove back to the hotel, and demanded his hat of the ostlers, and on their stating that he had not seen it he horsewhipped them. Some hats were procured from a hatter’s, and Mr Hewson selected one, but another that did not fit him he threw upon the ground, declaring that he would not have that --------- thing.

They then started off again, and in Mersea-Road he came into collision with a brougham. When at Berechurch the rev gentleman suddenly accused his companion of being unfriendly to him, and followed up his remarks by several blows to the head, which his friend resented by knocking him out of the trap. The latter got out and seized the pony’s head, and Mr Hewson came at him and struck him, upon which the friend knocked him over into a ditch of water. Mr Hewson then said if he could not do his companion one way he could another, and was pulling a knife from his pocket when his friend shouted for help, and two or three men came.

The rev gentleman had invited a number of guests to his house that night, but on getting home he went to bed for two hours, and at no time during the evening was he seen by more than three members of the company.

On 4 August 1887 Henry Hewson was initiated as a member of the Angel Lodge of Freemasons at Colchester, so that we may assume that he was still in Fingringhoe at that time.

Harriet Lucy Frederica Marvin was born in Higham Gobion, in Bedfordshire, around 1861, and was baptised at the church there on 17 September 1865. Her father, William Harry Marvin, was Rector at St Margaret’s, Higham Gobion, and had five daughters, the middle one being Harriet. William held the advowson of Higham Gobion himself.

During the year of Rev Marvin’s death in 1888, a marriage was arranged between Harriet and the Rev Henry Newington Clarke Hewson. A pre-nuptial agreement, or Covenant, was made to the amount of £2000 in case the marriage failed. Rev Marvin died in October 1888 and the couple were married on New Year’s Day 1889, two weeks before Rev Marvin’s will was proved on 18 January.

From 1889 to 1893 Henry Hewson was Rector of St Margaret’s, Higham Gobion, succeeding his father in law.

The Hewsons then left the area and on 18 January 1893 Henry Newington Clarke became Rector of Cosgrove, owning the living and taking up residence with Harriet in the Rectory, now Medlar House. Although at this time it was the general custom for a new Rector to be presented by a patron or the Bishop, Henry Hewson “presented” himself, indicating that he owned the advowson. This apparently came about through his sister, Sarah Grace Hewson, who bought the living for £550 from the Mansel estate the previous year in 1892. In view of later events it is clear that at this point she gave the advowson to her brother.

The living of Cosgrove at this time comprised the Rectory, tithe rent charge of £33.00, its gross value £150 per annum including 236 acres of glebe lands.

In 1894 Sarah Grace was married, by her brother, to William Gardner, at Cosgrove Church. Gardner is described as a “Gentleman” from Southwick in Sussex.

Over the next few years Rev Hewson made some improvements to Cosgrove Rectory and, socially, in the neighbourhood.

He had a new well constructed at the back of the Rectory. This led to a theft of some materials pertaining to the well which is recorded in the following extract:

Northampton Mercury - Friday 29 June 1900

TOWCESTER. DIVISIONAL PETTY SESSIONS. TUESDAY before Mr. E. Grant (in the chair). Major Price Blackwood, and Mr. J Chettle.


Fred Harry Smith, carpenter. Yardley Gobion was charged with stealing a well kerb, at Cosgrove on June 16th.

The Rev. Clarke Hewson, Rector of Cosgrove, said he had recently had a well sunk at Cosgrove. The three pieces of wood (produced), forming a well kerb, were used in the construction of the well, and were witness's property. After the completion of the well, they were out in a hovel, the door being locked. He missed them on the 16th inst. The door had been forced open. He valued them at 10s. 6d

P.C Smith said saw the prisoner at the Coffee Pot public house, at Yardley Gobion and told him he suspected him of stealing the well kerb. Prisoner said, “Yes, it's down home."

Prosecutor said did not wish to press the case, and prisoner, who had already been in prison ten days, and had not previously been before the Court, was sentenced to one day's imprisonment.

In the 1901 Census the Hewsons were not living at the Rectory next to the Church. Instead, Henry, Harriet, their son Francis, aged 7 and their daughter Christian, aged 4 were living at a property called “The Old Rectory” on the Green, with a servant, May Pittam, from Silverstone. It is difficult to be certain, due to the random numbering of houses at that time, that this place was not the “Rector’s Cottages” of the previous census, but The Old Rectory has a central spot in the numbering so it seems unlikely.

In the actual Rectory on Stratford Road in 1901 were Mrs Gordon, wife of Col. J.H. Gordon D.S.O. CB retired, and her daughters, son in law and servants. It is probable that Rev Hewson had leased the Rectory to provide some income.

Northampton Chronicle and Echo Saturday 11th October 1902

Stony Stratford Divisional Petty Sessions

Thomas Wilks of no fixed abode was charged by the Rev. H. M. C. Hewson with breaking four panes of glass thereby doing damage to amount of 10s. at Cosgrove, on October 8th —The defendant admitted the offence, but said it was done under great provocation—The prosecutor said the defendant had been employed by him. On the date in about 9 40p.m., the defendant attempted to go into the house, and the prosecutor refused him admission. The defendant became insolent, and smashed windows,—ln cross-examination by the defendant. Prosecutor stated he did not promise the defendant 12s. a week and his food to "do" his garden.— Defendant said Mr. Hewson owed him £2 8s wages, and said the prosecutor refused to pay him, he broke the windows—The prosecutor denied the accuracy of defendant's statement in regard to wages.—Fine and costs £1, or 14 days’ imprisonment in default.

Rev Hewson demonstrated his benevolence towards the village by agreeing to the use of his biggest room for the benefit of the working men.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 10 October 1902 COSGROVE

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 04 December 1903 COSGROVE. "CANADA."

A lantern lecture on Canada, illustrated by splendid views lent by the Canadian Government, was given by the Rev. H. N C. Hewson Saturday evening, in the Schoolroom. The room was well filled, and the audience were greatly interested. It is proposed to continue the lectures (or other form of entertainment) weekly during the winter.

Up until 1903 Hewson, as rector, owned some cottages on the Green on the corner opposite the Old School. We know that in 1904 these were demolished and two substantial houses were erected in their place. This may be the reason that on 22 July 1904 Diocesan records show a transfer of the advowson back to Sarah Gardner, Hewson’s sister from Henry – effectively a mortgage of the rights to the Church and its lands and income, for £441 9s.

At the same date Sarah Gardner and Rev Hewson raised a mortgage to “Thomas Arthur Rawlinson and John Richards Cross Devereux both of 9 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, in fee simple, with proviso for redemption on payment of £300 pounds and interest.” The Advowson was therefore charged twice on the same day with mortgages totalling £744.

The date stone on the houses built, presumably with this money, reads

“H H 1904.”

These properties are now 1 and 2 The Green.

Reverend Hewson’s dealings with construction materials were by no means straightforward, as shown in the rather bizarre newspaper report below:

Wolverton Express 4th March 1904




A singular charge of theft against the Rev Henry Newington Clark Hewson, who since 1893 has been Rector of Cosgrove, was heard at Towcester Petty Sessions on Tuesday.

R Hewson was summoned for unlawfully taking away a quantity of stones and bricks, value 10s, which had been purchased for the repair of the highway at Cosgrove, between August 1 and December 1 1903.

The stones were principally old building stones carted from the site of some cottages which were destroyed by fire, with a few “odds and ends and bits of bricks.

“We only had a load altogether, and it would not come to more than nine or ten shillings. I am willing to pay for what I have had, and even more, if the Surveyor will come and see what I have had and let me know how much it is.”

The cottages mentioned, which were destroyed by fire, stood on Main Street next to the Bakehouse. They were not part of the glebe properties. At this time the appearance of a Rector in court, although somewhat scandalous, would have been most unlikely to lead to a conviction.

Rev Hewson’s fortunes continued to make headlines when towards 1907 his marriage began to fail. Although the details of the reasons for this can only be imagined, the newspaper article below reminds us that his father in law had made provision for this eventuality, and, as a consequence of his allegedly being unable to repay the amount of the settlement for this, Hewson appeared in court as follows:

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.

Rev Hewson continued to experience considerable misfortune. In the same year, probably because of the case above, he published the following advertisement indicating his straitened circumstances:

Northampton Mercury - Friday 06 September 1907


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 27 March 1908


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 [he] was taken to Northampton Hospital where he is progressing.

If his private life was disastrous, Hewson’s clerical work was also failing badly. We know from anecdotal evidence that he was prone to criticise the wealthy and powerful of the village, and that complaints were made against him to the Diocese by the Churchwardens.

On 22 June 1907 a Transfer of Patronage of Cosgrove Church was recorded:

From H N C Hewson to Sarah Grace Gardner the wife of William Gardner of Braemar, Portland Road, Portsland, Sussex.  Conveyance of all advowson etc. of Cosgrove with glebe lands, rent charges in lieu of tithes etc.  Last admission to living December 1893.  Registration dated 23 July, 1907.

Riden speculates that this must in effect be the mortgagee foreclosing on the loans made in 1904.

On 15 July 1908 Hewson was inhibited from performing Clerical Duties in the Peterborough Diocese by Bishop Edward Carr Glyn:

To the Churchwardens of Cosgrove in the County of Northampton and within our Diocese and Jurisdiction greeting

Whereas we have by writing under our hand and Episcopal Seal this day inhibited the Reverend Henry Newington Clarke Hewson Rector of Cosgrove aforesaid from performing any Clerical duty whatsoever within our Diocese and Jurisdiction

These are therefore to warn and require all Rectors Vicars Curates or Clerks and Churchwardens to whom the knowledge of these presents may come not to permit the said Henry Newington Clarke Hewson to officiate or perform Clerical duty in any Church or Chapel or elsewhere in our said Diocese

Given under our hand and Episcopal Seal this fifteenth day of July one thousand nine hundred and eight and in the twelfth year of our Consecration.

It appears that Rev Hewson abandoned the idea of living in the Rectory in 1909, when all his goods were auctioned off, presumably making way for tenants of a more permanent nature, who wanted to bring their own furniture with them.

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, 1909, 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.

The inhibition presented a major headache for the Church at Cosgrove. Hewson was not allowed to take services or to act as a Rector, but he owned property in the village and now Sarah Grace Gardner, his sister, owned the rights to the Rectory and all the glebe land of the Church in the parish. During the next 25 years services were taken by visiting and neighbouring clergy, and various curates were appointed.

We know, for instance, that by the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, Green Farm was occupied by the Rev. William Alfred Mandall M.A., curate in charge at Cosgrove Church. We also know that Rev Hewson and the Atkinsons at the Priory had a long running antagonism between them, and it would be easy to imagine that, as the Rectory was still occupied by Hewson or his tenants, his Cosgrove Nemesis, John Jepson Atkinson, might have offered Green Farm to his replacement, Mandall. This cannot have been comfortable for any of the parties concerned.

By the 1911 Census Mary Morgan, a lady of private means, with her grown up single children (one a student in Holy Orders) and adopted son of 7, were living in Cosgrove Rectory. During this same census Henry Hewson was living at Marton Vicarage, Chirbury, in Shropshire.

We do know that Rev Hewson continued to take services outside the Diocese, possibly filling in for clergy with illness, or for particular occasions. We know that he did return to Cosgrove Rectory during the inhibition, as immediately after the end of the Great War, the following appeared:

Northampton Chronicle and Echo Saturday 19 October 1918


At the Stony Stratford Petty Sessions on Friday, before Captain Hall (chairman), Dr. T. S. Maguire, Major J. Brougham, and Mr. A. Gray.
Henry E. C. Hewson, Clerk in Holy Orders, the Rectory, Cosgrove was summoned far a common assault on Hetty Chisnall, married woman, at Cosgrove on October 1st
.Mr. H. W. Williams, (Messrs Williams and Kingston, Northampton), appeased for complainant, and Mr. W. Yorke Groves, Northampton, for defendant.
At the invitation of defendant's sister, who is mentally afflicted, and has since been removed to an asylum, complainant went to live at the Rectory. While there the sister, amongst other things, took complainant’s ring-paper (her husband being a soldier). [A ring paper was a document issued to soldiers’ wives allowing them to draw their allowance at the Post Office.] The Rector wrote complainant an indemnity paper. On October 1st she decided that things were too uncomfortable she would leave, and in an interview the Rector demanded the return of the paper he had written which she refused, whereupon, counsel alleged, defendant took hold of his client by the wrists and kicked three times on the leg, using considerable violence.
Complainant, pale looking, said that whilst she was at the Rectory she paid 10s. per week for her maintenance. On October 1st. she felt frightened at the way she was being treated. Defendant locked her up the room, and said be would force her to go to the bedroom to get him the indemnity paper. He took hold of her wrists and kicked her three times.
Cross-Examined Mrs. Dix was not at the bottom of the trouble, nor did she tell complainant to go back, have a row, and clear out.
Rosemary Dix, married woman, the Forge. Cosgrove, said complainant was upset and nervous. There were finger marks on her wrist, which were very red and bruised, and three bruises on and near the knee of the right leg.
Police-Sergt. Clarke, who saw complainant on October 3, also testified to the bruises.—Defendant, sworn, gave an explanation, in which he said when Mrs. Chisnall was leaving, they parted good friends. He shook hands when he said "Goodbye." He was not aware for some time there was any suggestion of an assault and did not know he was going to be summoned. He did not touch her; he had no occasion to.
Mr. Williams:  Wasn't a complaint made against you that you locked another lady in a room?--No. never.
In further cross-examination, defendant said he wrote the indemnity paper at complainant’s request. but although this stated, “I will pay her expenses until Mrs. Gardner (defendant's sister) gives up her ring-paper." he did not believe his sister had the paper. He could not suggest how complainant got the bruises.
Mr. Groves, for the defence, argued that the story was without corroboration, and that the defendant must give benefit of the doubt. It was question of how the bruise happened, not as to whether they existed.
The Bench upheld this view and dismissed the case.

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 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.

The notion that “the defendant’s sister”, who may have been Mrs Gardner, the actual owner of the Rectory, being removed to an asylum, is disturbing. There may have been another sister.

During the 1920s the Rectory was leased to various tenants, including Richard Kingsley-Johnson. His story can be read at

Hewson’s next brush with the law put him on the plaintiff’s bench.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 08 June 1928


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.

The Rectory at Cosgrove is a large property, and at this time had extensive grounds with orchards and outbuildings requiring staff to maintain them. It cannot be imagined that Henry Hewson was an easy employer.

Rev Hewson’s sister, Mrs. Gardner died in 1920 without making a bequest of the advowson, which passed to Hewson as her heir-at-law. He sold the living in 1933 to his son Francis Arthur Alexander Hewson for £350.

Finally, in 1932 Rev Hewson returned to his clerical duties at Cosgrove Church when the inhibition came to an end.

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.

It might be expected that at 79 years old Henry Hewson might opt for a gentle life in peaceful Cosgrove, but more was to come!

Mr and Mrs Winterbottom, now in residence at Cosgrove Hall next door to Cosgrove Rectory, invited Henry Hewson to all their fundraising extravaganzas, including those where royalty was invited. Whether or not he enjoyed these occasions can only be guessed from the picture!

Northampton Mercury - Friday 30 August 1935


Princess Galitizine presenting a watch to Arthur Noble, a Cosgrove youth, who rescued five-year-old Peter Whittaker from drowning in the Grand Union Canal recently. Also seen are Mr. G. H. Winterbottom, Mrs. J. Daubeny, and the Rev. H. N. C. Hewson.

In 1935 the Rev. H N C Hewson married a second time at Towcester, Rose, the widow of George Edward Teale, whose father was the late Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Teale, of Calcutta, India. 

At this point in his life Rev Hewson became something of a local personality for his advancing years alone, as these articles show:

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 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.

He was not above manipulation of the PCC either –

Northampton Mercury - Friday 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.

Eventually, the Rector nominated his son as his warden, but the office of People’s Warden remains vacant.

Rev Hewson provided treats for the village children at the proper times – at other times they remember cherry knocking at the Rectory door to make him run out after them. His dog Snap was always mentioned.

Children's New Year's Party given by the Rector, the Revd H.N.C. Hewson at Cosgrove Rectory, 4 January 1940.
The rector was a little man, only about 5ft tall, and was known in the village as 'Little Jackie'. He stood on a fish box in the pulpit!
Back row, left to right: Audrey Ruff, Beryl Tompkins, Eric Meakins, George Hill, Joan Lord, Daphne Kingston, Ray Meakins, David Brown.
Second row: Margaret Hitchcock, Mrs Hewson with her dog Snap, Christopher Whitaker, Cynthia Tompkins, John Loughrey, Gladys Loughrey, Peggy Ruff, Peter Brown, Betty Hillyer, Joan Peach, Edith Waite.

Almost to the end, Rev Hewson tried to make the glebe lands pay for themselves, as, after all, they were originally intended to do – but the Diocese disagreed.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 30 January 1942


Mr Justice Simonds, in the Chancery Division on Tuesday, granted an interim injunction against the Rev. H. N. C. Hewson Rector of Cosgrove, restraining him from removing, or permitting removed, sand, gravel or minerals under the glebe lands. The Rector who was stated in a letter from Mrs. Hewson to be 88 years old did not contest the motion. The letter explained that his circumstances were very difficult. His Lordship granted the injunction asked for until the trial of the action or further order.

Cosgrove residents tell “Hewson” stories to this day in the village. This description from 1942 is typical.

Wolverton Express 8th January 1943

Cosgrove Wedding of Miss Joan Higgins

A quiet wedding took place at SS Peter and Paul Church, Cosgrove, on 30 December.  The bride, Miss Marjorie Joan Higgins, being a well-known resident of the village.

The bridegroom, Gunner Cyril William Brockway, RA, is the eldest son of Mr W. Brockway, of Garden Cottage, Cosgrove, whilst the bride is the youngest daughter of Mr. John Higgins and the late Mrs. Higgins, of Elm Farm, Cosgrove.  The ceremony was performed by the Rev. H N C Hewson, Rector.

Mr J. Higgins gave his daughter away, and a friend of the bridegroom was best man.  Ten greetings telegrams were received by the happy couple.

“When it was my turn to be married ‘Jackie’ was still the Incumbent, well over 90 years old. We asked his son if he thought his father would mind if we asked another vicar to marry us, but he said his father would be very hurt. I don’t think he would have been so hurt as angry, and would have made any visiting vicar’s life very unpleasant, I had seen it happen at an ordinary service, so ‘Little Jackie’ it had to be.

It was to be a quiet war-time wedding as indeed it turned out to be — no bells and no music. The organist offered to play for us, but I thanked her and said it would only prolong the agony. We arrived at the church to find no ‘Little Jackie’, so we waited whilst my ‘father-in—law to be’, hurried off to the rectory, quite some distance from the church, quite a long gravel path and through overgrown bushes to the front door of the rectory, but no ‘Little Jackie’, and so we waited again whilst the Churchwarden, Mrs. Feil, offered to go. She was a stout lady, but such a beaming smile, it made you happy to look at her —  after a time she came puffing back with a triumphant smile to shout “He’s coming, he’s coming” and we stood up in readiness once more — after more waiting, the little Chancel door opened, and in came this little wraith—like figure, long black overcoat reaching the floor, long black gloves and black hat and so we started at last ‘Not dearly beloved’ he looked as if he hated the lot of us. His memory was not too good, and when he forgot a bit, he started from the beginning again, and after what seemed a long time, he said to me “I think you’re on the wrong side, but I don’t suppose it matters”, you can stand up if you’re tired, but I stuck it out. He also got our names mixed up, not sure if he did not marry me to the best man, but I don’t suppose that mattered either —  after the ceremony, he told us we must go to the Rectory to sign the Register, his son had filled it in, as it was too heavy for little Jackie to carry to the Church and so we trooped back through the bushes to sign it, in the Drawing Room. His wife offered him a steaming hot drink, which I would have loved, and he said “The Book is over there, you go and sign it”, which we did. The best man, my brother—in—law, handed him the seven shillings and sixpence licence fee and he cheered up and said “Thank you very much it’s difficult to come by these days” —  that was the end of my wedding apart from once more through the bushes and back through the church to the waiting congregation, quite a few turned up as there was not a lot of excitement in Cosgrove in those days, wartime 1942, the coldest day of that year. (30th. December)”

Memories of the Rev. Hewson
by Connie Rix

It must have been one of the very first weddings I played the organ for as Rev. Hewson died 1945.  I would have cycled to Cosgrove. All went well until after the first hymn. The Rector then said he must go and pay the baker, he shuffled out of the church leaving the bride and bridegroom at the entrance to the chancel. Everyone waited and waited but he did not return. The couple could not leave as he had not got as far as marrying them. Someone went to look for him and after some considerable time he was brought back and completed the service.

I was the organist at Calverton Church from Easter 1943 for seven years. The Rev. Raymond Ravenscroft fell out with his organist, Owen Tyrrell. I had been playing for the children’s service and was asked to take the job on, I was 13.  I cycled from Wolverton road, Stony Stratford three times every Sunday – 11-00am Morning Service, 3-00 pm Children’s Service and 6-30pm Evensong. Choir practice Wednesday evenings. The second Sunday I played the Bishop of Oxford came for a Confirmation Service. I received 10 shillings a month, which I think was quite good pay in those days or at least I thought it was.

My father had the Butcher’s business at 78, Wolverton Road and before the Second World War he used to come round Cosgrove selling from the back of his van. The Rev. Hewson was one of his customers and one day he came out to the van to choose what he would like. My father was preparing a joint as he usually did and Rev. Hewson went back into the Rectory to fetch a dish. He came out and father turned round and was just about to put the joint on the dish and Hewson said “Don’t put it on there this is a painting of my grandfather which I have brought to show you.”

On another occasion I went into Griffiths shoe shop which was near the George Hotel in Stony Stratford High Street. Mrs Cosford was serving the Rev. Hewson, he was trying on some slippers. He soon decided on a pair and stood up and said he would keep them on and she could keep his shoes. The slippers were at least two or three sizes too large with a big gap at the back, but Mrs Cosford could not persuade him to have a smaller size. All he kept on saying was that they looked very good at the front. He paid her and went shuffling out of the shop and left his shoes.

I notice on one of the photographs you sent there are boys with the surname Brown. At the time Rev. Hewson died a lad known as Nigger the 14th (apparently his father was known as Nigger Brown and they had fourteen children) worked for the builders Betts and Faulkner. This firm was putting a Rayburn and updating our bathroom. Nigger the 14th had just left school and was helping the plumber. On Saturdays he did odd jobs at Cosgrove rectory. One Monday morning when he came to work he told us that the housekeeper, when he went to the rectory that Saturday said she had something to show him. She took him in and the Rev. Hewson was dead in bed and it terrified the poor lad.                                                                                                                   Further to this when our bathroom was completed and the time came to light the Rayburn and see if everything worked. There was great excitement because the plumber was only 17 and it was the first job he had done on his own. It all worked and Nigger said if we ever wanted a bath we would be all right. I can also remember my Mum getting very cross because Nigger would come about half way down the stairs and then jump to the bottom and put his filthy hands on the wall opposite and she had to redecorate it!

The Rev. H N C Hewson died at the Rectory on Monday, 19th November and was interred in the churchyard on Saturday, 24th November 1945

“a distinguished scholar and a man of great personal charm”

“he will long be remembered in the parish, having a great love for the people.”

Henry Hewson’s estate went to his son. As the village tried to make improvements and to build a future after the Second World War, Francis Hewson decided to rationalise some of the outbuildings and gardens to sell the Rectory property. He made a gift to the children of Cosgrove in his father’s name.

AFTER a lapse of some 57 years, the village of Cosgrove has a playing field again. This has been made possible by the generosity of Mr. F. A. A. Hewson, of Linslade, a son of the late Rev. H. N. C. Hewson, who was Rector of the parish for 53 years.