The Cottage or Old Dower House

The back of the Dower House in 1998

It has been suggested that this stands on the site of the second house of Edward Furtho which was inherited by his grandson Edward Mansel. Edward Mansel died in 1696 and his widow in 1711. Their surviving children all lived in the north of England, and there seems to be no evidence of who lived in it after this until about 1840, when Mrs. Maria Margaret (Moorsom) Mansel, the widow of the Rector, moved in and lived there for 37 years till her death in 1877. It was then let to a Mr. Horsfall, who did nothing but complain about the deficiencies of the house, and perhaps with good reason, as it seems it rained through the roof of the best bedroom. Mr. Mansell apparently did not consider this at all serious, and their relations became so strained that all communications had to pass through the agent Mr. Fisher who lived at Market Harborough. Mr. Mansel was of course under increasing strain at this time, and was relieved when Mr. Horsfall departed, about the time the estate was sold, and so Mr. Mansel moved in, no doubt after having the roof seen to.

After the death of John C. Mansel in 1895 followed soon after by that of his widow, the next tenant was Mr. F. D. Bull the late owner of the Brewery in Northampton who had sold out to Phipps. Later, Mr. Harry Grant-Thorold lived there till he sold the estate and moved to Cranford Hall near Kettering. Miss Balfour and Miss Wells then bought the Cottage, which they renamed The Old Dower House, for some years now past being lived in by Mr. A. Rickaby.

• Editor's note: Francis Lord Dacre held Cosgrove by right of his wife's inheritance. She was one of the daughters and coheiresses of Sir Arthur Throckmorton of Paulerspury whose Northamptonshire estates were granted to his father, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton by Edward VI in 1551. (see Raleigh and Throckmortons, A.L. Rowse). The later mention, under The Hall, is therefore probably not relevant to that section as his land clearly ties in, by Dacre's sale, with the Priory part of the parish. Mrs D. Warren

On this map of 1767 "The Cottage" is marked in red
Ref: Date Occupant
John Chase
1843 Estate Survey Mary Gibbs Cottages garden & orchard £1 1s 10d
(Note: Mr. Gibbs for his life under Major John Mansel's will)
Note: Mary Elliot Chase, Baptised November 1st 1826 therefore the Case family may have lived here since the early 1820s. See Mercury Newspaper advert dated 5th August 1820.
Whellan History of Northamptonshire
Mrs. M. M. Mansell
Maria Mansel
Kelly’s Directory
Mrs. Maria Margaret Mansel
Maria Mansel
Kelly’s Directory
Mrs Mansel
Maria Mansell
Whellan & Co
Mrs. H. L. Mansel
Robert Horsfall
Kelly's Directory
John Christopher Mansel J.P.
John Christopher Mansel
Kelly’s Directory
John Christr. Mansell J.P.
Newspaper Report
Mrs. [Katherine] Mansel
Kelly's Directory
Francis Desvaux Bull
Francis Desvaux Bull
Kelly's Directory
Francis Desvaux Bull
Kelly's Directory
Harry Grant-Thorold J.P.
Harry Grant Thorold
Kelly’s Directory
Harry Grant-Thorold J.P.
Kelly’s Directory
Miss M.A. Balfour & Miss E. Constance Wells
Kelly’s Directory
Miss M.A. Balfour
Kelly’s Directory
Miss M.A. Balfour & Miss E. Constance Wells
Kelly's Directory
Miss M.A. Balfour & Miss E. Constance Wells
Kelly's Directory
Miss M.A. Balfour & Miss E. Constance Wells

Northampton Mercury 
5th August 1820

(In the Centre of the Duke of Grafton’s Hunt).
To be LETT.
And entered upon immediately.

A house; consisting of three Rooms on the ground Floor, with Kitchen, back Kitchen, and other Offices, four bed Rooms, three Attics, and a Servants’ Room over the back Kitchen; Stable, coach House, kitchen Garden, &c. &c. with or without 18 Acres of pasture Land.
There are fire Grates in most of the Rooms, two kitchen Ranges, and other Fixtures.
For further Particulars, apply to Mr. ABEL, Northampton; or J. C. MANCEL, Esq. Cosgrove, if by Letter, Post paid.

The Cottage / Dower House plan 1843

Survey 1881 - The Cottage/ Dower House

House and other premises in the occupation of R. Horsfall

136 House Garden Yard & Pleasure ground
109 Cottage Garden & Orchard
110 Captains Close
112 Cottage & Garden with Farm yard and buildings

Northampton Mercury - Saturday 20 October 1877

COSGROVE COTTAGE, near Stony Stratford.

THE CONTENTS of this HOUSE comprising the FURNITURE of entrance hall, dining-room, drawing-room, study, butler's pantry, two kitchens, larder, pantry, out offices, two staircases, six bed and dressing rooms, store and box rooms, three servants' rooms, about 1,000 volumes of BOOKS, china, &c., belonging to the late Mrs. H. L. Mansel,



On the Premises, on Thursday, October 25, 1877, at Ten o'clock a.m., by order of the Executors.

Catalogues may be had of the Auctioneers, Stony Stratford, and 123, Chancery-lane, London.

The Bucks Standard Saturday 14 March 1896

Near Stony Stratford.
Are instructed to Sell by Auction,
On THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1896,

THE Remaining CONTENTS OF THE ABOVE RESIDENCE, lately occupied by Mrs. Mansel, comprising Bedroom, Dining-room, Drawing-room, and other FURNITURE, SILVER and PLATED ARTICLES, China, Glass, and the usual Effects
Further particulars will appear in next week’s paper, and catalogues may shortly be obtained of Messrs. Durham, Gotto, and Samuel, Land Agents sod Auctioneers, Stony Stratford aid Newport Pagnell.

The Bucks Standard Saturday 21 March 1896

Near Stony Stratford.

Are instructed to Sell by Auction,
On the THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1896, at Eleven o'clock precisely,

THE Remaining CONTENTS OF THE ABOVE RESIDENCE, lately occupied by Mrs. Mansel, comprising bedsteads and bedding, dressing tables and washstands mahogany wardrobes and chest of drawers, dining-room and other furniture, including carpets, a mahogany shaped sideboard, dining and chairs, clocks and ornaments, a quantity of SILVER, and PLATE, china and glass, with numerous other indoor and outdoor effects.
May be viewed only on Tuesday the 24th and Wednesday the 25th, between the hours of ten and four, and catalogues may be obtained of Messrs. Durham, Gotto & Samuel, Auctioneers and Land Agents, Stony Stratford and Newport Pagnell.

Buried at Cosgrove: Kartherine Margaret Mansel Jan 14 1896: aged 77

Cosgrove Hall Estate Sale 1919

LOT 24

(Coloured Brown on Plan Inset)

A   Desirable   Small   Country Residence


THE COTTAGE," Cosgrove,

together with pretty Flower Garden, Orchard, Kitchen Garden, Stabling, Outbuildings and Cottage,
being Nos. 95, 96 and 98 on Plan, forming an area of about

1a. 1r. 27p.


standing on rising ground in a very pleasant Garden, is built of Stone with part Slated, and part Tiled
Roof, and provides the following accommodation—.

ON THE GROUND FLOOR—Entrance Passage, Dining Room, Drawing Room, Study with Casement
Window to Lawn, Kitchen, Scullery, Larder, Pantry, Back Hall, W.C., Cellar and outside W.C.

ON THE FIRST FLOOR—- Five Bedrooms, Lobby, fitted Bath Room (h. & c). W.C.

ON THE TOP FLOOR—--- Two Attic Bedrooms.

Acetylene Gas.     Alain Drainage.

The Stabling and Outbuildings

include Brick Built and Slated Harness Room, Coach House, Gas House, Three Stalls, Loose Box,
Cow House for three, Stone Built Old Cottage of Two Upper and Two Lower Rooms used as Store,
Barn, Lean-to Open Shed.

The Gardens

consist of nice Lawn with Gravelled Path and Herbaceous Border, sheltered by a high Hedge, productive
Kitchen Garden and Orchard.

Stone-built and Slated Cottage of Four Rooms

In addition to a Well under pump, Water is supplied by the owner of Lot 1 at a charge of £10 per annum
who shall have the right of entry to this lot for the purpose of repairing and maintaining the supply.

Tithe Free.

This lot is in hand and sold with possession.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 17 August 1934

A HOUSE Parlourmaid Required, good waitress and plate cleaner - housemaid kept; family 2; maids 3.

Miss Balfour, Old Dower House, Cosgrove, Stony Stratford.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 10 December 1937

HOUSE PARLOURMAID Wanted, end of December. Must be experienced. Housemaid kept. Not under 25. State age, wages, and references.—Miss Balfour, Cosgrove, Stony Stratford.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 27 May 1938

WANTED, House-Parlourmaid, experienced; housemaid kept; two In family. State age and reference. Miss Balfour, Cosgrove, Stony Stratford. Bucks

Northampton Mercury - Friday 25 November 1938

WANTED. Gardner-Chauffeur, Handy man, in December. Married No children. —Miss Balfour, Cosgrove. Stony Stratford.

The Dower House always had a very large picture perfect garden.
Cyril Brockway was the Dower House gardener in the 1940s.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 06 April 1951





Three Reception Rooms, four Principal and two Secondary Bedrooms, usual Domestic Offices, Large Garden and Orchards, Garage, Stables and GARDENER’S COTTAGE.

Which MR. P. C. GAMBELL Is Instructed by the Executors of the late Miss E. C. Wells to Sell by Auction at THE SWAN HOTEL. NEWPORT PAGNELL, on WEDNESDAY. MAY 1951. 3 p.m. exact time (unless previously disposed of by private treaty). Vacant Possession will be given on completion of purchase. Further particulars and Orders to View may be obtained of the Solicitors; Messrs. Western and Sons, 35 Essex-street. Strand. London, or of the Auctioneer.


About 2 miles from Stony Stratford and easy distance of Northampton. London 52 miles. Station
Castlethorpe 1¾ miles, Wolverton 4 miles, Bletchley 9 miles with good service to London.

Particulars and Conditions of Sale

of the


Known as the



Near Stony Stratford

Which Mr.


Is instructed by the Executors of the late Miss E. C. Wells to sell by Auction at


On Wednesday, May 2nd, 1951

At 3p.m.

(unless previously disposed of by private treaty)

of the
Charming Freehold Residence

Known as

“The Old Dower House”


The House, which is secluded from the highway by a high clipped hedge of box stands in its own grounds pleasantly surrounded by its gardens, is soundly constructed of stone with slated and tiled roofs.
The accommodation is as follows:

Ground floor:

Porch Entrance leading to a T shaped

HALL fitted with coat cupboard and fixed mahogany Hall Table.

DINING ROOM, approximately 18ft x 13ft. fitted with a “Cosy No .” slow combustion stove, window and small secret cupboard behind window shutters.

LOUNGE or  DRAWING ROOM, approximately  11ft. x 18 ft., fitted with grate with tiled hearth and white painted wood surround and two window seats.

MORNING ROOM (adjoining) approximately 18ft. x 12 ft. (heated by a slow combustion stove), having French windows leading to lawns and garden.

GARDEN ROOM fitted cupboard with shelves, lavatory basin (h. & c. and W.C. adjoining.

KITCHEN fitted with “Eagle” Range supplying hot water for the domestic supply; 4 fitted cupboards with shelves; fitted dresser with shelves and drawers and cupboard under; drop leaf flap table.

BUTLER’S PANTRY fitted with sink (h. & c.) and draining board, 3 fitted cupboards with shelves; fitted dresser with shelves and drawers under.

SCULLERY fitted with large sink (h. & c.) and draining board, 2 sets of fitted shelves corner cupboard and broom cupboard.

LARDER AND STORE ROOM fitted with ample shelves.

There is a small Cellar situate between the Garden Room and the Hall.

First Floor:

BEDROOM No. 1, approximately 11ft. x 18ft. fitted with “Courier No. 5” slow combustion stove.

BEDROOM No. 2 approximately 18ft. x 12ft. fitted with slow combustion stove.

BEDROOM No. 3, approximately 18ft. x 10ft. With grate, tiled hearth and painted surround.

BEDROOM No. 4 approximately 15ft. x 10ft. with grate and tiled hearth and painted surround.

LINEN ROOM having two fitted cupboards with shelves.

BATHROOM No. 1 fitted with Bath (h. & c.), lavatory basin (h. & c.) and glass splash back.

BATHROOM No. 2 fitted with Bath (h. & c.)

W.C. and Heated Linen Cupboard.

Second Floor: Two Attic Bedrooms.

Water for domestic purposes is supplied from the Cosgrove Hall system at a cost of £10 per annum and in the Yard is a Well of Water for drinking purposes.

Drainage is to the village system. Light is supplied by a Thorn & Noddle acetylene gas generator and purifier.

Main Electricity is easily available.


Is a Range of stone Buildings with tiled and corrugated roofs comprising Harness Room, Stabling for 3, and garage for large car.

Near is an old Stone built and corrugated roofed Cottage used as a Coal and Wood Store, Tool House, Apple Store fitted with racks and Store Room. Adjoining is a W.C.


Which arr beautifully laid out with Summer House, Bird Baths and Sundial. Lawns, Flowering Shrubs, Herbaceous Borden, Rose Trees, etc., are well planted and in excellent state of cultivation. The well established


Contain upwards of 60 well known varieties of fruit trees, including apple, pear, plum and peach, all are of good quality and well cared for (an average yield per apple tree of nearly 4 bushels per tree has been obtained) together with many nut bushes and two well grown walnut trees.


With gravel paths bordered by low Box Edgings is in an excellent state of cultivation and contains asparagus and seakale beds, much soft fruit including strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and red and black currants. There is also a heated Greenhouse and 3 Garden Frames.

Adjoining is a Yard with a Range of stone Buildings having slated and corrugated iron roofs comprising Barn, Cowhouse, Food Store and Gas House, together with a stone built (cement faced) and tiled roofed


now occupied by a service Tenant and containing the following accommodation :—

Ground Floor : SITTING ROOM with " Triplex " grate, Living Room with " Oakley " portable range and copper, Scullery with sink and draining board, Bathroom with Bath (hot water laid on from the copper), Larder with ample shelves.

First Floor: Three Bedrooms, two fitted with hanging cupboards.

Main Electricity is connected

Outside is a house and E.C.  Flower and Vegetable Garden

The whole property extends to approximately

Vacant Possession will be given on completion of Purchase.

Rateable Value : House £42. Last payment of rates for half-year £20/9/6. Cottage £6. Last payment of rate.; £2/18/6.

The Property may be viewed by arrangements with the Auctioneer or by the production of a copy of these Particulars to the Caretaker, who is in residence.

Note: Alfred Rickaby Old Dower House - first recorded on Electoral Rolls November 1951

Susan Morley (nee Tustain) and Hazel Canvin (nee Lavington)

In the 50s the Rickaby family used to throw out posh magazines from London. The girls used to climb over the high wall at the Dower House and pinch the magazines out of the dustbin, go to the yew trees in the churchyard and climb up and read “London Ladies”.

Wolverton Express 17th August 1956


The August meeting of the Catholic Women's League was held at Dower House, Cosgrove, the home of Mrs. R. Rickaby, the president. An interesting talk was given by Mrs. Inchbold, who was thanked by Miss F. Sigwart and Ann Rickaby presented Mrs. Inchbold with a basket of fruit and flowers. On behalf of the members Francis Donavon presented Mrs. Rickaby with a bouquet in gratitude of her work for the league. On account of the weather tea was served in the house instead of in the garden as planned, members returning by coach after having spent a very enjoyable afternoon.

Wolverton Express 11th November 1964

Veteran Driver’s Sad Commentary

“It is a sad commentary that one can commit a driving offence in three-tenths of a mile which will spoil a driving record of 47 years and over half a million miles.”

This message was read at Stony Stratford Magistrates Court last Friday from a letter sent by Alfred Rickaby of Old Dower House, Cosgrove, who was summoned with exceeding the speed limit at Stony Stratford on November 7.  He admitted exceeding the limit and was fined £7.  His licence was endorsed.

Wolverton Express 28th October 1966

Marriage of Miss Anna Rickaby

A DIAMOND tiara previously worn at two Coronations was the head-dress of Miss Marie Elizabeth Anna George Rickaby when she was married with Mr. Alan Edward Mayer at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Stony Stratford, on Saturday. The tiara had previously been worn by the bride's grandmother at the Coronation of King George VI and by her aunt, Lady Beale, at the Coronation of the Queen. The bride is the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Rickaby, of the Old Dower House, Cosgrove. The bride-groom is the only son of Mr. and Mrs. V. Mayer, of Vaynor Heol Don, Whitchurch, Glam-organ, and is an executive of the Edward Curran Group of Companies, Cardiff.
The Bishop of Northampton conducted the service, assisted by the Rev. M. Hazell, the Very Rev. R. Appleyard, C.P., the Rev. E. Phillips, and the Rector of St. Mary's, Harborne. The Rev. Wilfrid Johnson gave the homily in the presence of the Archbishop of Cardiff. Father Bartholomew supervised the choir, from St. Anthony's Preparatory School, Stony Stratford.
Given in marriage by her father, the bride wore a full-length empire style dress of white lace with a long train. She carried orchids, freesias, and roses. Eight small bridesmaids. wearing full-length dresses of white wild silk, with red sashes and head-dresses of red ribbon and white roses, and four pages attended the bride. The pages wore red trousers and white silk shirts.
All twelve attendants are cousins of the bride. The walked in threes holding a long red ribbon with posies of white flowers.
Mr. John Price was the best man.
A honeymoon in the Indies followed a reception for 400 guests in the Old Dower House.
The gift of the bride's father was a Rover 2000 car and the couple's new home was the present from the bridegroom's father.

Wolverton Express 17th December 1971

Sherry and WI carols [possibly wrongly titled]

Although the. Conservative and Unionist Association's coffee morning at the Cosgrove home of Mrs A. Rickaby was well supported by members, organisers were disappointed that local and younger support was lacking. The bring and buy stall was quickly sold out and raffle for a pork luncheon and a bottle of champagne was won by Mrs. P. Holman and Mr. J. Baines, chairman. Miss E. Hemelryk announced a profit of £32.75 for the morning.