Nonconformity - Wesleyan Methodist & Baptists

From a postcard dated 1903 - Cosgrove Mission Hall

Victoria County History - A History of Northampton: Volume 5: The Hundred of Cleley - Philip Riden


In 1826 a house in Cosgrove in the occupation of John Sargeant was certified as a Dissenting meeting-house, as was one in the possession of the Revd. Thomas Searle in 1830. (fn. 19) In the 1870s and 1880s the Wesleyan Methodists had a meeting-house in Cosgrove, although this was never settled on trustees and had been given up by 1891. (fn. 20) In 1866 a building at Cosgrove Green belonging to Mrs. Mary Ann Baldwin was registered as a meeting-house for Protestant Dissenters. This registration was cancelled and replaced by another in 1906 for a purpose-built Baptist mission room whose own registration was cancelled in 1970. (fn. 21) The single-storey red brick building, also at the Green, was later converted to residential use.

NRO Index Meeting Houses by Kay Collins

Meeting Houses

After 1660, Protestant believers who formed congregations outside the Church of England were commonly referred to as Dissenters or Non-conformists. They could be Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians or Congregationalists. They and the Methodists who came later would gather in Meeting Houses. The Act of Toleration (1689) permitted freedom of worship to Dissenters, but required them to register their meeting houses with the local Quarter Sessions, the bishops or the archdeacons.

John Sargeant, occupier, Cosgrove, 1826
Thomas SEARLE, Rev. owner, Cosgrove, Vol. 7

The Mission Hall is marked on the map

In the 1669 return of Nonconformist Conventicles for the Archdeaconry of Northampton “The return for Cosgrove was explicit. ‘The Baptists meet not every Sunday here, because they go to other townes also.’” David L Wykes

In 1740 John Heywood was ordained pastor of the Independent Chapel at Potterspury. He rapidly extended his ministry to cover lectures and sermons at Towcester, Yardley Gobion, Cosgrove, Old Stratford, Deanshanger, Hanslope and Stony Stratford. He died in 1778.

NRO. X958

A messuage in occupation of John Sargeant certified as a meeting house 25 Nov. 1826

NRO, X958

A house in the possession of the Revd Thomas Searle certified as a meeting house 14 Jan. 1830.

Northampton Mercury - Saturday 18 April 1874

COSGROVE.—WESLEYAN CHAPEL. A miscellaneous concert of instrumental and vocal music was given by members of the choir and a few friends from Wolverton, in aid of the fund for liquidating the debt upon the new harmonium, which passed off in a very creditable manner and gave general satisfaction.

Northampton Mercury - Saturday 04 May 1878

COSGROVE.—AN ENTERTAINMENT was given by the Band of Hope, in the Wesleyan Chapel, on Saturday. Mr. J. Swannel presided. Mr. Swannel made a few remarks on total abstinence, and the following programme was then gone through

Hymn, "Ye men of Britain,"

The choir ; recitation, "The young hero,"

William Olney : trio, Messrs. Irons, Reynolds, and Brewer ;

Reading, Miss Risdale;

Song, " Merry Dick'

Mr. G. Goodendge ; reading, " I take what father takes,"

Mr. Franklin ; address by Mr. Weekes :

Song, “ Draught from the old crystal spring," the choir:

Dialogue, Messrs. G. and J. Gooderidge;

Song. Miss Lyddy;

Recitation, Mr. J. Olney

Song, "Joe Perkins," Mr. Brewer:

Dialogue, G. and H. Gooderidge ;

Trio. Misses Compton and Mr. George Nichols ;

Recitation, " The Publican's net," J. Simpson;

Song. Mr. J. Gooderidge :

Address, Mr. Irons ;

Duet, Mrs. Osborne and Mr. Irons;

Song, Mr. H. Cowley ;

Recitation, "The brewer's vat," Mr. G. Nichols;

Duet. Misses Compton.

Votes of thanks were proposed, seconded, and carried, which brought a very pleasant evening to a close.

GRO Worship Register 1886

A building belonging to Mrs. Ann Baldwin registered to the Protestant Dissenters on 26 January 1886 and cancelled on 28 March 1906.
Subsequently re-registered on 28 March 1906 by Alex McCrindle of London Road, Calverton End, Stony Stratford, Bucks. Assistant Engineer.
This building was known as the Mission Hall and used by the Baptists. The registration was cancelled on 29 December 1970.

We know from an article in 1934 that in 1887 a Wesleyan Chapel existed in a specially built room above Grimes's cottages, behind the Old School. Grimes was a farmer at Castlethorpe noted for cottage construction and Non-conformity. We believe that Mr Grimes acquired the land in an auction from Mr Foster in 1868. We know the cottage with the Meeting room above was rented for the Old School scholmaster in 1882. In 1891 census information we find that the Bianchi family, who helped to build the Mission Hall, lived at No 6 Grimes Cottages.
Northampton Mercury - Saturday 25 February 1888


MISSION SERVICE.-A special service was held Sunday evening m the Mission Room, Cosgrove. Two anthems were sung by the choir, and addresses were given by Messrs Wollard and Hall. The hall was crowded.

Northampton Mercury - Saturday 09 November 1889


Under the auspices of the South Northamptonshire Liberal Association a crowded meeting was held in the Mission Room, Cosgrove, Friday week. The chair was taken by Mr. Slade who was supported on the platform by Mr. D.C. Guthrie Liberal candidate; Mr. W. Ryland D. Adkins, of Northampton and Mr. E. R. Broom. Milton.

The Chairman briefly opened the meeting with remarks on the important issues which are before the electors the present day.

Mr. Guthrie, who was enthusiastically received, proposed resolution of confidence in the leaders of the Liberal party. He began by referring to the great satisfaction felt the result of the North Bucks election, and the important effect it would have on neighbouring constituencies. After short discussion of the more recent aspect of the Irish Question, he passed on to deal with the reforms English politics which were now most pressing. He pointed out the vital defects in the existing Allotments Act, and declared himself favour of measure which should not be completely inoperative on account of expense. Mr. Guthrie then alluded to the various devices, such as Fair Trade, the Sugar Bounties, and Bimetallism, which the Tory hankering after Protection was all the time shown, and in declaring his own adhesion to the utmost possible extension of the Free Trade principle showed that on the Liberal party only could working-men depend to keep that principle intact. He treated a similar way the land and education questions, his remarks frequently being cheered, expressed himself in favour of free education, and ridiculed the fears which members of the wealthy classes appeared to entertain of it. He concluded by asking the support of the Cosgrove electors on the grounds of his earnest Liberalism.

Mr. Adkins seconded the resolution able speech, chiefly devoted to criticising the action of the Government during the past three years. showed that the special interests of the country electors had in no way been regarded in spite of the multitude of fair promises which characterised Tory meetings, and he suggested that the policy of the Primrose League, however effective it might be for a time, was really intended sap and undermine the proper independence of the working classes. The resolution was carried unanimously with much enthusiasm.—A vote of thanks to the speakers was carried on the motion by Mr. Broom, seconded by Mr. Baker.

Northampton Mercury - Saturday 26 April 1890

COSGROVE. Mission Room.

On Saturday afternoon a public tea was provided in the Mission Room, Cosgrove, in connection with the Local Preachers' Association, when a large number sat down to the repast. Alter the tea a public meeting was convened, when earnest addresses were delivered by the local preachers who had assembled for their quarterly meeting.

On Sunday the anniversary service was held, when in the evening Miss Woods, Birmingham, preached an excellent sermon. The building was crowded, and an overflow service had to be held in an adjoining cottage. The special efforts were a success in every way.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 25 May 1900


The 14th anniversary of the Cosgrove Mission Room was celebrated Sunday evening last. There was a very full congregation, the service being conducted the Rev. S. Cheshire. Special hymns were sung, and a solo given by Mrs. C. Woollard. At the close of the service, special mention was made of the help given during the past 14 years by Mr Charles P. Woollard. As a spontaneous expression of gratitude, a number of the friends who usually attend the Mission Room had subscribed for the purchase of a clock and pair of candlesticks which were presented to Mr. Woollard with the prayerful hope that he might long be spared to continue the active interest in the work at Cosgrove which he has for so long shown.

Wolverton Express August 14th 1903

Nonconformity at Cosgrove


Five foundation stones of a new Mission Hall at Cosgrove were “well and truly laid” with due ceremony on Monday. The present Mission Hall, which was established by the Stony Stratford Baptist Church about 18 years ago, was in reality two upper rooms of two cottages, converted into a small hall, capable of accommodating fewer than 100 persons. The cause, fostered so assiduously by a few earnest and diligent workers from the Stony Stratford Church has grown steadily and for some time it has been abundantly evident that a new place of worship must be provided for the congregation. Though nurtured by a Baptist Church, the congregation is by no means exclusively Baptist; indeed, communicant members of the Church of England have been among the regular attendants.

A site was secured at the eastern extremity of the village, a plot of ground being purchased from Mr Fred Jelley for the very moderate price of £20. Plans for a Mission Hall, commodious and comfortable, but not elaborate, were drawn up by Mr J Chadwick, of Bletchley. The cost, it was estimated, would be about £350, and it was agreed that building operations should commence as soon as £200 was obtained or promised. Mr F W Woollard, CC, one of the stalwart Free Churchmen of North Bucks, came to the rescue, and headed the subscription list with a handsome donation of £100. A sub-committee, consisting of Mr J E Wilson, Mr Holdom, Mr Wootton, Mr C P Woollard (treasurer), and Mr F W Downing (secretary), was formed to raise the other £100. So energetically did they work, and so forcefully did the need of Cosgrove appeal to neighbouring Free Churchmen, that the £100 and a little more was raised within six weeks, and the new building was commenced.

Councillor A P Hawtin of Northampton was the contractor, and his tender was for £311, but the total cost will be about £400. The new Mission Hall, which will accommodate between 150 and 200 persons, will be built of red brick. It will have a lobby to shelter the entrance from the north and east winds, and it will include a small vestry. A considerable economy in the cost of the furniture will be effected through the effort of Mr Holdom and one or two other workers, who had undertaken voluntarily the task of constructing the seats. Mr J E Wilson, a member of the committee, is rendering invaluable help by acting as honorary clerk of the works, a position for which his practical experience well fits him.

Previous to Monday’s ceremony the amount actually in hand or promised was £218 13s 9d, made up as follows;

Donation by Mr F W Woollard CC, £100; friends at Cosgrove, £25 1s 2d; Sunday School at Cosgrove, £11 5s 5d; other sources (principally subscriptions), £78 17s 1d; Loughton Chapel Congregation, the surplus of Organ Fund, £1 12s 6d; Deanshanger Union Church (surplus of Chapel Building Fund), £1 17s 6d.

The stone laying ceremony, which took place in fine weather on Monday afternoon, was fairly well attended. Rev S Cheshire, pastor of the Stony Stratford Baptist Church, presided. Among those present were; Alderman Richard Cleaver, JP. Northampton (treasurer of the Northampton Association of Baptist Churches), Rev D Claydon, Mr F W Woollard, CC., Mr C P Woollard, Mr Andrew Cosford, Mr J W Smith, Mr J E Wilson, Mr H S Perrin, Mr A J Barley, Mr F W Downing, Stony Stratford; Rev H F Chipperfield, Stantonbury; Rev J White and Mrs White, Potterspury; Mr A R Bianchi, Cosgrove; Mr Arthur Dovey, Deanshanger; Mr and Mrs P Adams, Daventry.

The proceedings commenced with the singing of the hymn “Come let us join our cheerful songs,” after which the Rev D Claydon read a passage of Scripture, and the Rev h F Chipperfield offered prayer.

The Rev S Cheshire, on behalf of all those connected with the work at Cosgrove, expressed gratitude to all the visitors for the support and sympathy they were giving to a village cause.

Mr F W Downing, secretary of the sub-committee, in the course of an interesting statement, sketched the progress of the movement for the New Mission Hall at Cosgrove. He paid tribute to the generosity of Mr Woollard at the inception of the scheme, and to the valuable efforts of Mr Holdom and Mr Wilson now that building had actually commenced. At that moment the amount still to be raised was about £180.

The first stone, the corner stone, was laid by Alderman Cleaver. When he had declared the stone well and truly laid, Mr Cleaver assured the congregation that all would be welcome within the walls of that building, for there would be no class distinctions in that House of God. It would be a family gathering house, where neighbours would meet on the Lord’s Day and other occasions, to worship and to encourage one another in the service of God. He trusted that Mr Cheshire, Mr Woollard and the other workers would see God’s blessing rest upon their work at Cosgrove, and that the building which was hallowed by their prayers and praise would henceforth be in reality a House of God.

Mr F W Woollard laid the second stone. He said he hoped that the village would look upon that hall as a hall for the whole village to the exclusion of none of its inhabitants, however humble, who wished to worship their God and seek salvation.

Mr A R Bianchi laid the third stone on behalf of the worshippers at the old Mission Hall.

The fourth stone, which bore the names of Mr C P Woollard and Mr F W Downing (superintendant of the Sunday School and secretary of the Building Committee), was laid by Mr Downing, and the last was laid by Rev S Cheshire on behalf of the Stony Stratford Church.

Upon each stone was inscribed the name of the gentleman laying it, and the date “1903”.

At the conclusion of the stone-laying, the Rev J White offered prayer and the Rev S Cheshire pronounced the Benediction.

The Chairman announced that Mr Cleaver had handed to him a cheque for £3 3s.

Subsequently tea was served in the old Mission Hall and in the evening a meeting addressed by the Rev S Cheshire, Mr Cleaver, Rev D Claydon, Rev J White, Rev H F Chipperfield, Mr Woollard, and others, took place.

Wolverton Express October 23rd 1903



The new Mission hall at Cosgrove, which has been recently erected, was opened on Thursday afternoon, when a well attended service was held in the Hall, which is in every way a comfortable one, and moreover a very pretty one.

[There follows a long extract from the article of August 14th]

In the afternoon a service was held in the Hall, there being a large congregation, every available seat in the building being occupied. The service was conducted by the Rev W Fidler, of Towcester, whilst an excellent address was given by the Rev J B Myers, of London, who based his discourse on the words: “After ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession”, (Ephesians 1, part of verses 13 and 14).After the service a public tea was held, tables being place in the new and old halls, upwards of 150 persons partaking of the good things provided. The tables were presided over by ladies of the congregation. A public meeting took place in the Hall at seven o’clock, when the Rev S Cheshire (Stony Stratford), presided over a crowded attendance, those on the platform including the Rev Philip H Smith (Northampton), the Rev D Clayton (Stony Stratford), Mr F W Woollard, Mr Bridgman and Mr F Downing. After the singing of the hymn “O God of Bethel”, and the prayer had been offered by Mr Bridgman, the Hon Secretary of the Building Committee (Mr F Downing), presented a report, in which he stated that for some years it had been felt that the accommodation in the old Mission Hall was not adequate for the requirements of the village, it being too small and very inconvenient. It had been resolved to build a larger Hall, but for some time they were unable to secure a piece of land, but at last, through the kindness of Mr Jelley and Mr Woollard, they had been able to obtain the plot on which the new building stood.

After the Committee had had the plans prepared, it was decided to start building when half the money required was raised, and as this money was obtained very quickly, the work was started at once, so as to have the building finished before the winter. The total cost had been £406, but this would have been larger but for the great deal of voluntary work which had been done. Mr Woollard had very kindly given the iron fencing, whilst an anonymous well-wisher had sent through Mr Cosford, the whole of the lamps required both inside and outside the Hall. Especial thanks were due to Mr Jelley for selling the ground on such acceptable terms, and also for providing the tea; whilst Mr Holdom and his host of helpers were thanked for making the whole of the pews required (applause). Up to the present time £234 3s 5d had been raised, leaving £170 to be obtained. Mr Woollard, who had given so much time and money towards the building of the Hall, and many others who had done all in their power to help forward the scheme, were also heartily thanks for their kind interest.

Mr F W Woollard, whom the Chairman said had so much to do with the matter, said that they could not attach too much importance to the voluntary help given by friends in Cosgrove. The money which they had collected had not sufficed to pay off the whole cost, and as had been the case with other chapels in the locality, there was a debt hanging over the place. They could not expect to get rid of that in a few days, but the sooner they got rid of it the better, for they would feel much more free when it was cleared off. He never liked to see a debt hanging over a House of God. As in the case of new chapels in other villages, much of the work had been done on the voluntary system, a great deal of the work being done by male members of the congregation in spare time in the evening. Mr Woollard went on to review the work done in other places of worship in the district and then said that they did not come to this new place to interfere with anybody. They simply came to take up the leavings (laughter). They would like to see the church filled as well as all the other places of worship, and they did not work in any spirit of antagonism to the vicar. In conclusion he urged all to do their best, and said that if they did so it would be a good thing for the village and the locality.

The Chairman gave Mr Smith a cordial welcome and said that he was sorry that the Rev W Fidler, Mr a P Hawtin, Mr White, Mr Welch and Mr Chipperfield had been unable to be present, although the two former had been present at the afternoon meeting.

The Rev P H Smith said that he was sorry he had been unable to be present at the afternoon meeting, and went on to say, amidst laughter, that he would like to speak on the fiscal problem, for he could tell them a great deal about the man who had brought it forward, he would let the matter go for the time being. Mr Smith went on to say that like Mr Woollard, he could not bear to have a debt hanging over a place of worship, though providing the debt was not an unreasonable one, it was not altogether a bad thing, for it was good to have some definite and worthy purpose to work for, and he hoped that they would put their shoulders to the wheel and not be afraid of the debt. According to the showing of several friends there was plenty of room in the Parish Room. Why then was it that they had built such a costly building to worship God in when they could have worshipped him at but little cost at church? It was because they claimed the right and privilege to worship entirely in their own way, according to the dictates of their consciences. Those were the reasons. They were however, Mr Smith thought, threatened at the present time with dark clouds, which menaced their religious liberty in this country. They should not fight for the sake of fighting, but they must do their best ……

In conclusion the rev. gentleman impressed on his hearers the need of the old fashioned prayer meetings. Socials, etc were all every well but he questioned whether the net spiritual gain was in proportion to the time and labour expended over them.

During the day collections were taken in aid of the Building Fund, to which the proceeds of the tea were also given.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 06 May 1904


AMERICAN TEA. On Monday an American tea was held in the Public Room for the purpose of reducing the debt of remaining on the recently erected Mission Hall at Cosgrove. About 120 attended the tea, and as the food, etc., was given, the whole of the proceeds consequently went to the Mission Hall Fund. The idea of the tea was mooted in the autumn of last year, contribution cards being taken up by children and adults, and the cards were handed in at the tea with a description of how the money had been earned. The total of the cards handed in amounted to £26 8s. 11d., which was most gratifying. In addition to the tea, there was a stall of useful and fancy articles, a jumble stall, and a refreshment stall. During the evening various amusements were provided.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 22 January 1909


Mr. A. Hall, of Stony Stratford, presided over a large attendance of Cosgrove electors in the Mission Hall on Wednesday, when Mr. Fred Kellaway was heartily welcomed. Mr. Fred Kellaway, after dealing with old-age pensions, and the record of the House of Lords in oppressing dissenters and the working people, went on to refer to a speech which his Protectionist opponent had made at Cosgrove in December.

Wolverton Express 4th March 1921

On Saturday evening last, in the Mission Hall, a service of song, entitled “Grannie’s Easter” was rendered by the New Bradwell Baptist Choir, under the conductorship of Mr Scott. The connective readings were given by Mr C. P. Woollard. The entertainment was much appreciated and the choir complimented on their good singing. The object was to reduce a debt of £6 2s 6d on the organ funds, but so well did the gathering respond to the appeal for a good collection that only £1 2s 6d was left, whereupon a member of the choir offered the odd 2s 6d, and Mr Garratt, the schoolmaster, and his wife very kindly promised the balance, thus clearing the debt and putting a good finish to a very pleasant evening’s entertainment.

Wolverton Express 12th October 1923



In the Cosgrove Mission Hall on Saturday evening and enjoyable programme was presented to a full audience by a party of Wolverton friends, whose efforts were greatly appreciated. Mr C. P. Woollard of Stony Stratford, presided. Solos were given by Miss Benbow, Miss Clark, Messrs King, Taylor, Pack and Barden, and recitations by Miss Carte,. Miss Pariss and Mr King, to all of whom hearty thanks were accorded.

Wolverton Express 7th December 1923


An interesting Lantern Lecture was given in the Cosgrove Mission Hall on Saturday evening by Messrs A. Rainbow and W. Bull (New Bradwell). The subject was “Romantic Castles of North Wales” and comprised a series of lantern views, generously loaned by the L M S Railway. There was a large attendance.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 25 January 1924

COSGROVE. At the Mission Hall on Thursday last, Mr. F. W. Downing, of Stony Stratford, and his daughter, Miss Downing, were the recipients of an armchair, a thermometer, a clock, a music case and framed lists of the 62 adult subscribers in recognition of their work in the Sunday School. Mr. Downing has been the superintendent for 27 years, and addresses of appreciation were made by Mr. C P. Woollard, who presided, Mr. S. Williams, Mr. G. Williams and Mr. Parratt. Mr. Downing acknowledged. and a concert by the children followed.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 21 March 1924

AT COSGROVE. Colonel Kerr addressed his first meeting at Cosgrove on Tuesday evening, the Mission Hall holding a good attendance of villagers. Mr. Kingsley-Johnson presided, supported by Colonel Kerr and Mr Kemp, the organiser. Colonel Kerr, who received a good reception, said that if it was the intention of the Liberals of the constituency to return a Liberal candidate they must all work to that end. Every Liberal in the division must try and find another Liberal, and if only each found half a Liberal they would be in comfortably next time. He thought they could not anything but pleased with the result of the last election, considering there bad not been a Liberal candidate for 15 or 16 years. Appealing to the ladies, he urged them all, whether Liberal, Conservative or Labour, to use their vote. They had no cause grumble at any Government if they did not vote.

Wolverton Express May 1st 1925

“A sacred cantata "From Manger to Cross” was effectively rendered on Sunday afternoon in the Cosgrove Mission Hall by the Stony Stratford Baptist Church choir under the direction of Mr Herbert Webb. Mr A Asprey was the organist. There was a good attendance and the collection taken was on behalf of the Sunday School in connexion with the Hall.

Wolverton Express July 23rd 1926

Anniversary Services were held on Sunday at the Mission Room when the Rev John B Haydon, of Stony Stratford, was the special preacher during the day. Special singing by the children and choir assisted by friends from Stony Stratford with Mr H Webb organist and conductor. The collections which were for school funds amounted to £1 10s.

Wolverton Express August 20th 1926

Outing - Sunday School children and teachers of the Mission Hall visited Woburn, Woburn Sands and Ridgmont on Sunday by motor.

[note: it was very common during this period for Cosgrove children to attend the Sunday School at the Mission Hall but the Anglican church with their families.]

Wolverton Express 29th July, 1927


Anniversary Services: The Sunday school of the Mission Hall, Cosgrove, held their anniversary services on Sunday last.  In the afternoon a party of about 50 members of the new Bradwell Primitive Methodist Church choir and congregation, visited the Hall and considerably helped them during the day.  Mr. A E Brown, a local preacher, from Stony Stratford, took the chair in the afternoon, and the new Bradwell friends rendered the concert.  The following rendered musical items, Miss Mabel Waldock, solos; Miss Mildred Waldock, recitations; Miss Mabel Waldock and Miss Christine Waldock, duets.  The choir, under the conductorship of Mr I. Beckett, rendered the anthem, “Marching on to Victory”.  Miss Mabel Waldock presided at the organ.  All the friends from New Bradwell, including Mr. Brown, sat down to tea, served by members of the Mission Hall, Cosgrove.  At the evening’s service the New Bradwell choir led the congregation in the singing.  Miss Mabel Waldock again presided at the organ, and also rendered a solo.  Miss Christine Waldock and Miss Mabel Waldock rendered another duet.  The collections were for Sunday school funds.  The arrangements were made by Mr. G H Cross, Secretary of the New Bradwell Sunday School.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 17 August 1928


The quarterly meeting of the Stony Stratford and District Local Preachers’ Association was held in the Cosgrove Mission Hall, Saturday. Tea was served Mesdames Lambert J, Williams, and G. Williams, after which a business meeting was presided over Mr. H. Morgan (Wolverton). The hon. secretary (Mr. A. W. Urquhart) reported the receipt of 10s. from Mr. W. Old to the funds of the association upon the winding of the Newport Pagnell Mission Hall. Mr. J. Haynes (Wolverton) was elected vice-president, in place the Rev. John Haydon who has left the district. A public meeting in the evening was presided over by Mr. H. Morgan, and an address was given by Mr. A. W. Urquhart.

Wolverton Express 27th September, 1929

Cosgrove Mission Hall

Harvest festival services were held at the Cosgrove Mission Hall on Sunday last.  In the afternoon a party of Stony Stratford visitors provided a musical service, the soloists being Misses Cockerill, W Downing, and Nancy Williams.  Mrs. Lambert gave recitations, whilst Mr. CP Woollard, JP, delivered an appropriate address.  A vote of thanks to the visitors were of was voiced by Mr S. Williams.  A collection was taken on behalf of the Sunday School Fund.  In the evening the service was conducted by Mr G. Faulkner, of Castlethorpe, when there was another good congregation.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 08 May 1931


A SONG and recitation service was provided at the Mission Hall the scholars and friends Sunday afternoon. Mr. Woodard, JP. (Stony Stratford), presided, and Mr. Downing and Mr. Key were in charge of the children.

Wolverton Express 6th January, 1933


Mission Hall

A unique record held by Mr. C P Woollard JP, of Stony Stratford, is that each year since the Cosgrove Mission Hall has been in being, he has been privileged to deliver the New Year’s address.  His address at the evening service on Sunday last was the 45th New Year’s address he had given in this place of worship.

Wolverton Express 12th January, 1934

Cosgrove Mission Hall

To be a Branch Church with Stony Stratford

It may be of interest to recall that the Mission was taken over from the Wesleyans in 1887.  Services at that date were held in a cottage belonging to Mr. Grimes, who had so constructed one of them that the upper part formed a large upper room capable of holding fifty people, with a separate exit, and this was used for religious services.  When Mr. Grimes left, the work was taken over by the “United Brethren Lay Preachers’ Association, of which Mr. Woollard was at that time the Secretary, and he linked them up with the Baptist church in Stony Stratford.  The services from this date were carried on regularly by the lay preachers, Mr. Woollard acting as superintendent.

One of Mr. Woollard’s first efforts in 1887 was to reorganise the Lay Preachers’ Association - the membership was then less than twenty, but a glance at the plan of the 1887 recalls some faithful workers - Maine, G Barley, C Barley, B. Harris, Cosford, Cowley, Irons, Neal, Mackerness, Daniels, Goodger, Swannell, Wooton, Faulkner and others - these have all passed on but they had left behind a fragrant memory of unselfish earnest devotion and fidelity to the church of Jesus Christ.  The membership today is about fifty, serving a radius of ten miles.

In 1903, with the help of Stony Stratford friends, the present Mission Hall was erected at a cost of £400.  The seats were all made by the late Mr. Joe Holdom, a most loyal member.  A Sunday school was also started, and has been superintended by Mr. F Downing for thirty seven years.  The electric light has been recently installed and the place redecorated.

Last week at meeting was held in the Mission Hall by those who usually attend the services, and it was unanimously resolved to form a branch church with Stony Stratford - the Mission Hall still retaining its character of open membership.  The Rev. L Curwood, Mr. Harris, and Mr. Woollard were present and received the request.  Mr. H Harris was appointed lay pastor.  He will commence his duty of superintendent in March and will conduct the services on two Sundays each month.  Mr Downing will continue his work in connection with the Sunday school.  Although there less actively, Mr. Woollard still hopes to retain some association with the work.  It has been his privilege to conduct the New Year’s service from the commencement and last Sunday was his 46th visit without a break.  His subject suitable in the session was “I believe” 1) to God 2) in the church 3) in Cosgrove and its possibilities.  There was a good attendance Miss K Benson was at the organ and Mr. N Tooley read the lessons.

Wolverton Express 12th January, 1934

A Social Gathering

On Saturday the boys and girls connected with the Cosgrove Mission Hall Sunday School enjoyed a pleasant social gathering together with their parents.  A Christmas tree kindly provided by Mr. G H. Winterbottom was loaded with presents and gaily decorated by Mr. and Mrs. G. Williams, Mr. Samuel Williams, and Mrs. Ray.  Tea was provided for the children, and afterwards for the adults.  Mr. Faulkner of Wolverton kindly arranged an entertainment in which old and young shared and enjoyed.  About seventy were present.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 19 January 1934


Mr. C. P. Woollard, a Stony Stratford magistrate, holds the unique record if having conducted the New Year service at Cosgrove Mission Hall for 46 years without a break. The Hall was taken over by the Baptists from the Wesleyans in 1887. In 1903, with the help of Stony Stratford friends, the present Mission Hall was erected at a cost of £400. A Sunday School was also started, and has been superintended by Mr. F. Downing for 37 years. Recently the place has been redecorated and electric light installed.
It has been decided to form a branch church to Stony Stratford, the Mission Hall still to retain its character of open membership. Mr. H. Harris, of Stony Stratford, has been appointed lay pastor, and he will commence his duty as superintendent in March.

Wolverton Express 9th March, 1934

Hospital Week Fund

The annual general meeting of the Cosgrove Hospital Week Fund was held in the Mission Hall on Wednesday, with Mr S. Williams as chairman.  It was reported that the contributory scheme of a minimum of one penny per week had been much more satisfactory in raising money for the hospital and from its inauguration in April to 31st December, 1933 a greater net receipt was shown than for the previous year.  With donations the amount raised was £45.  The result is a tribute to the work of the ladies of the Committee, who collect the contributions weekly.

And a letter received from Mr. Charles H Battle, Secretary of the Northamptonshire Hospital Week Fund, expressed appreciation to the Committee and all who had given support during the year for the Northampton General Hospital.  The officers and Committee were elected for the ensuing year.

Wolverton Express 16th March, 1934

Cosgrove Mission Hall

Made Branch Church of Stony Stratford Baptist Church

On 5th March a meeting was held in the Cosgrove Mission Hall which marks the opening of a new chapter in the history of the place.  The request having been received from a number of those who attend the Hall that they might become members of the Baptist Church, inquiries were made and visits exchanged which resulted in the Rev. L Curwood and his deacons and about forty members of the church visiting the Mission Hall to receive the public confession of faith of those wishing to join and receive them into fellowship.

Mr. CP Woollard drew attention to the fact that it was just 47 years since it was decided to open the Mission.  The first service was conducted by Mr. George Barley and the work has since been carried on chiefly by the Lay Preachers’ Association.  For sixteen years services were held in a small room seating about seventy people, until 1903, when the present Hall was built, the money being raised almost entirely by the Baptist Church.  The trustees, with one exception, are all members of this church.

A Sunday school has been conducted since the commencement first by Mrs Richardson (now in America) and then by Mr. J W Smith and Mr. F Downing who has a record of thirty seven years’ service.

Mr. Woollard asked “What is a Christian church?”  It is not made of bricks and mortar - nor is it a social club composed of men and women - nor is it a community of good people, but it is a community of men and women whose object and ideal is goodness.  We admit evil within and around us - we do not come here in any spirit of superiority, or any air of boastfulness.  Our only hope and confidence is in Him through home we become more than conquerors.  It is in this spirit we are here, to offer the right hand of fellowship to our new members and wish them God speed in the new course which opens before them tonight. 

Among those to whom with the Rev. Curwood gave the right hand of fellowship was an old lady of eighty, who has attended the Mission Hall since its opening, 47 years ago.

The Rev. Curwood asked: What is necessary to the building of the church?  It is not merely a human fellowship in which everybody ought to be very friendly.  You must have a Divine Saviour and a believing soul - without this you have no church, whatever else you may possess.  The Church is the Body of Chris -t the body does the work of the Spirit within.  Those who join us tonight confess that they believe in their Divine Saviour, whom they believe can and will redeem them.

Mr. Curwood then introduced Mr. H Harris as the Lay Preacher of the church, charging him to be a faithful steward of God and to take up the work as a divine commission.  He concluded, “Sir, I charge you to keep it holy. Keep it as a sacred thing.”

In closing the service Mr. Harris briefly responded to the charge he had received and promised that to the best of his ability he would be a faithful steward.  His only desire was, without adopting any sensational methods to witness for his master, and build up an abiding church.

During the service the consecration hymns were sung, “Oh Jesus I have promised” and “Take my life and let it be”.  Mrs Calladine presiding at the organ.  Mr. Downing read the lesson.

The whole service was marked by a deeply reverent spirit - there was no “sound as of a mighty rushing wind”, but during the whole service and especially during the prayers of consecration everyone felt conscious of a Very Real Presence in our midst.

C.  P.  W.

Wolverton Express 12th October, 1934

Harvest services

At the Baptist Church (late Mission Hall), Cosgrove, harvest thanksgiving services were held on Sunday.  In the afternoon the Rev. L W S Curwood (pastor) conducted and a children’s address was given by Mr. C P Woollard JP. Mr. H J Harris (Stony Stratford) conducted the evening service.  The church was tastefully decorated with harvest gifts and the collections, together with the proceeds of sale which took place on Monday evening, were on behalf of the Northampton General Hospital.

Wolverton Express 11th January, 1935

The Mission Hall

Mr. CP Woollard JP, of Stony Stratford, gave the New Year address in the Cosgrove Mission Hall on Sunday.  This was the 48th occasion without a break that he had done so.  The Mission was opened in 1837.  In the course of his address Mr. Woollard said “It is of no use to tell people to pack up their troubles in their old kit bag and smile, unless you are prepared to share their troubles and help them.  A person said to me, referring to the past year, “I’ve had an awful year and hardly dare think of it, but we got through it, and I’m going to make a bonfire of past struggles and walk in the light of my bonfire.”  What a hope!  Dare I bid you go forward into 1935 with no better hope than that?  A government cutter once chased a smuggler.  The crewl sought to escape by getting rid of the cargo which was contraband bales of tobacco, so they threw it overboard, but the trouble was it would not sink.  You cannot get rid of sin or its consequences by just throwing it overboard.  It is a fool’s game to try and face life’s problems and difficulties and leave God out of the reckoning.  Let me tell you of a better way.  Jesus, our Lord and Martyr says “Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, share my yoke and learn of me and I will give you rest.  That is a promise that had never failed.”

Wolverton Express 20th March, 1936

Hospital meeting

The annual general meeting of the Cosgrove Hospital Week Fund was held on 11th March in the Mission Hall.  The weekly contribution scheme is the method of raising funds in this village and together with donations from the President and Vice Presidents the inhabitants have contributed the excellent net sum of £49 for the Northampton General Hospital. It was reported that during the year five in patient letters and twenty two outpatient letters were issued to residents.  A vote of thanks expressing appreciation of the Committee was voiced to the following collectors: Mesdames G Brown, T. Cummings, A Herbert, H Gascoyne, and G Noble.  A letter was read from Mr. C H Battle, Secretary of the Northampton Hospital Week Fund, acknowledging the above sum and expressing gratitude of the work done by the lady collectors and the committee and of the generous response to their efforts.  All the officers and members of the committee were re-elected for the ensuing year.

Wolverton Express 23rd July, 1937

The anniversary services in connection with the Baptist Sunday School in this village were held on Sunday, 18th July.  Mr J. Groom, of New Bradwell, was the special preacher, and conducted services both in the afternoon and evening.  The children themselves occupied the rostrum, and their singing was one of the attractions of the day.  Mr. Groom addressed himself mainly to the children in the afternoon, and his interesting and delightful talk held their attention throughout.  The evening service, in particular, was exceptionally well attended, a number of visitors from Stony Stratford and other places being present.  The training of the children for the special singing was in the hands of Mr. W Downing, of Stony Stratford, who also presided at the organ, Miss R. Hootton, the regular organist, giving place to her for this special occasion.  Collections were taken for the school funds, and it is hoped to give all the scholars, some 35 in number, an outing during the present summer.

Wolverton Express 22nd October, 1937

Mission hall

On Sunday harvest thanksgiving services were conducted at the Mission Hall by Mr W. Hutchinson, of New Bradwell.  At both afternoon and evening services there were good attendances.  The sale of the Harvest gifts took place on Monday evening, conducted by Mr S. Williams.

Wolverton Express 29th July, 1938

Local Preachers Association Meeting at Cosgrove

The little Baptist church at Cosgrove was the scene recently of the quarterly meeting of the Local Preachers Association, where there was a fairly large and representative gathering of members.

But he was very kindly provided and given by the church, and the following ladies waited at the tables: Mesdames Clarke, G. Hooton, Ray, Williams, and Castle, Jr..  At the close of tea, expressions of thanks to those ladies were voiced by Messrs. C. Dickens and Jonathan Young.

[full record of sermons follows]

Wolverton Express 6th January 1939

Mission Hall

Mr. CP Woollard, JP, of Stony Stratford, paid his fifty second visit to the Cosgrove Mission Hall on Sunday for the New Year’s service.  His fifty two visits for these occasions have been without a break - a remarkable record.

Wolverton Express 30th August 1940

Cosgrove Mission Hall Outing

Members of the Cosgrove mission hall journeyed by motor coach to which steed park, Kettering, on Tuesday for their annual outing.  An enjoyable time was spent in the amusement ground.  Unfortunately, one youngster of the party, named Hillyer, was struck above the eye by a swing, and several stitches had to be inserted in the wound.

Wolverton Express 9th February 1945

Victory Club Cosgrove

The splendid sum of £36 was raised for the Victory Club Fund, Cosgrove by a jumble sale and auction held in the Mission Hall on Friday last.  The organizers were Mrs. J. Henderson, Mrs. J Lovesey, Mrs. W. Clarke and Mrs. C. Harris, who are to be congratulated on a successful effort, especially as the collection of goods was made under the worst possible weather conditions.  The “Two Jacks” did excellent in auctioneering the goods and articles, and were well supported by a generous buyers.  Other helpers were Mr. N Goodridge, Mr C. Harris, Mrs. G Kightley, Mrs. M. Cummings, and Mrs. S. Johnson.  Special thanks to all who so generously supported the efforts and made possible the raising of so excellent a sum.

Wolverton Express 25th May 1945


By kind permission of Wing Commander A J Briddon, Commanding Officer, members of the RAF presented their fourth edition of “72 Music Box”, a variety entertainment with an all Service cast, at Cosgrove Mission Hall on Wednesday, 16th May.  They came direct from Salcey Forest and were given a warm reception.  The applause was overwhelming and the concert voted a great success.  Every item was outstanding.  The entire proceeds were handed over to the Entertainments Officer of the section and amounted to £12 13s.  After expenses by the RAF Company have been met the balance will be handed over to the RAF Benevolent Fund.  The show was produced by C J Maltby.

Wolverton Express 9th November 1945

Cosgrove Victory Show – Pamela James and pupils

A Victory Show was presented in Cosgrove Mission Hall on 20th October by Miss Pamela James and pupils of Deanshanger, and a large audience supported the effort, which was on behalf of the Northampton General Hospital War Memorial Appeal.  The helpful sum of £9 15s 6d was raised.  During the 2½ hour show many skilful dances were given by the children and the items were well costumed.

Mr. RST Dyer, Northampton, organiser of the appeal spoke during an interval.  When introducing Mr. Dyer, Mr. A Tack, Cosgrove Appeal Secretary, gave details which have already appeared in these columns of the raising by the village of £147 14s for the appeal.  Mr. Tack expressed the thanks of the committee to Mr. H Whiting, who had contributed fishing rents from anglers using his waters, to the extent of £52, 10s.  The Secretary also thanked Miss James, her pupils, and their mothers, for giving their services gratis to raising money for the Hospital.  Mr. Tack regretted the lack of accommodation available for such a fine concert.

Helpers in the effort were: Mrs. Gascoigne and Mrs. Tack, ticket sellers, who also sold tickets for a competition in which the prize was a duchess set given by Mrs. Tack.  This realised £1 19s 6d, the winner of the prize being Mrs. D Freestone; Mrs. A Noble sold programmes; Mrs. Feil loaned the piano; and Mr. Harris and Mr. Lambert were door stewards.

Efforts in Cosgrove during the past month were: dance organised by Mr J. Hebson, raised £6 12s 6d; concert by Mrs Feil, £6 10s; house to house collection, Mrs Brockway, £5; Mr. and Mrs. P Y Atkinson have given a bicycle for competition.

Wolverton Express 23rd May 1947

An Innovation – Religious Unity at Cosgrove

Members of the Parish Church and the Mission Hall at Cosgrove, are uniting in the holding of religious services in the village on the first Sunday in each month during the summer.

The first of such services has already been held and the innovation has met with much success, the attendance at this service which was held on the first Sunday in May in the Parish Church being more than the normal combined congregations of the two communities.  The Rector the Rev. J S Benson conducted and the sermon was delivered by Mr. H J Harris, of Stony Stratford, a local preacher and Secretary of the Stony Stratford and District Local Preachers Association.

On Sunday, 1st June at 7.15 pm the United Service will be held in the Mission Hall, conducted by Mr. H J Harris and the Rev. J S Benson giving the address.  On subsequent occasions visiting lay preachers may take part.  A United Sunday school has already been formed in the village and meets each Sunday in the Mission Hall.

Wolverton Express 15th October 1948

Harvest Services at Cosgrove – Church and Chapel Unite

Worshippers at the Parish Church and members of the village Chapel at Cosgrove united for the evening harvest festival services held on Sundays 3rd and 10th October. On the first Sunday at the Parish Church the visiting preacher was the Rev V G Banham, MA, MC, Rector of Aynhoe, near Banbury, who also conducted the harvest service in afternoon at St Guthlac’s Church, Passenham. On Sunday last, at the Chapel, the services were conducted by Mr Ron Richardson of Cheltenham, There was a children’s service, at which there was a record performance. Mr Richardson gave impressive addresses and made a moving appeal for the National Institute for the Blind. Mrs H Cummings was the organist and the favourite harvest hymns were heartily sung. The collections reached the record sum of £4 10s. The Chapel was beautifully decorated on the previous day and the gifts included fruit, flowers, vegetables, eggs, nuts and provisions of many kinds. These were sold on Monday evening by Mr Jack Johnson and the record sum of £16 was raised, bringing the total finances for the festival to £21 10s which is to be divided between the National Institute for the Blind and the Sunday School Funds. Helpers at the sale were Mr George Williams, Mr Sam Williams, Mr R Jones, Mr R Richardson and Miss Mary Stewart.

Wolverton Express 24th October 1958


There were fairly good attendances at the Harvest Festival services at Cosgrove Mission Hall on Sunday October 11 when the preacher was Mr R Richardson of Loughton and the organist was Mrs H Cummings. The collections from both services amounted to £3 11s 0d. The Harvest sale took place on Monday, Mrs J Johnson proving an able auctioneer and realised £11 0s 6d, making, with the collections, a total of £14 11s 6d for the Mission Hall Funds.

Wolverton Express 31st July 1970

Mission Hall plan opposed

A planning application to convert the Mission Hall at Cosgrove into a studio and residence has not been recommended by Towcester RDC. Reasons given for refusal are that the building is unsuitable for conversion as there is not enough amenity space, and it is not considered desirable to allow new dwellings without satisfactory vehicular access and off-road parking.

Wolverton Express 22nd January 1971


THE REGISTRAR GENERAL being satisfied that Mission Hall Cosgrove in the registration district of Towcester in the County of Northamptonshire has wholly ceased to be used as a place of worship by the congregation on whose behalf it was on 27th March 1906 certified in accordance with the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855, has cancelled the record of certification.

R H. SMITH for Registrar General.