Wolverton Express August 14th 1903
Nonconformity at Cosgrove
FOUNDATION STONES OF NEW MISSION HALL LAID
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
NEW MISSION HALL AT COSGROVE
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.
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 £1/10/0.
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.]