A Thousand Years of Rushden
Starting in 1086 with the Domesday Book, there were two large farms and twenty families (100 people) living in Risendene (Rushy Vale) around Church Green. Each family probably had two pigs. Cattle and sheep were grazed on unfenced pasture at South End Green. Southern Green remains the same today.
The first Lords of the Manor - the Bassets - lived in the Bury beside the church. The list of vicars is complete right back to 1220.
The Church 'living' was handed over to the Chapter of Lincoln and in 1336 it was declared a Vicarage but a very poor living. Two hundred years later it was still only valued at £8 per annum.
The Nave of the present church was built and later the Tower.
Bradfield Grange, now known as Friars Farm, was used by Cistercian monks and leased to the Newport family for £5 in 1478.
1500's : The Age of the Rising Gentry and Yeomen and the Decline of the Church and Barons.
The Bury by the church fell down. The Newport and Goodman families take advantage of rising prices and falling money values during the Tudor period.
Newport buys Friars for £60.
Cumberlow Green: Tudor mansion and three cottages and 420 acres sold to John Goodman by the Fortescues who had received it from Henry VII.
Newport bought Youngloves Farm (originally owned by John Younglove whose family moved to Cottered by the end of the 1500s)
Newport bought Julians for £1000. The Newport family now owned most of Rushden.
1600's : The speculators move in.
In James I's reign the depression caused the gentlemen and yeomen to start selling to the London City men while other poorer people began buying common fields. Outlying bits of farms were sold by the big landowners. Between 1603 and 1618 nearly the whole village changed hands.
Newport sold Ivellingsbury across the Green from the church (possibly where Church Farm is) to the Vicar's sister for £110 together with 43 acres. He also sold Julians to John Stone, a London lawyer.
A Tudor Yeoman, named Hamers, having gradually bought bits of land, bought Shaw Green Farm.Bradfield Grange (Friars) was sold to John Stone as well. Sixty acres next to the house was known as Old Field Green, now known as Offley Green. This must have been a Common Field that went out of cultivation in the Black Death or in early Tudor times when sheep farming was profitable. It was ploughed up in World War II for increased food production. John Goodman had become rich from high corn prices and built a Manor house in the meadow opposite the Tudor Cumberlow Green House.
Youngloves was also bought by John Stone for £416 together with 100 acres. Stone built the Jacobean house (Julians) and his family lived there until the end of the 17th century.
There was an influx of inhabitants and a population of 200.
A miller named Hankin bought an acre of land and built a windmill and a cottage (part of Windmill House).
Penelope Stone married Adolphus Meetkerke. As workers like Hankin bought land, a house-owning village gradually began developing. 17th Century cottages were built by carpenters, bricklayers, blacksmiths and wheelwrights who were picking up a cottage here and a scrap of land there. This continued until the Agricultural Revolution in the 1770's. The cottages they built were spacious to accommodate large families and cottage industries such as spinning and straw-plaiting.
Julian's Georgian façade was added. It stands two feet in front of the Jacobean walls.
John Gooodman's Manor House at Cumberlow Green was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The remains were left and today only an uneven field, which is not allowed to be ploughed, marks the site.
John Goodwin built the New House (the present one).
Ivellingsbury sold to the executors of Thomas Paternoster - related to the first printer in Hitchin.
After the agricultural revolution, the large landowners were buying as much land as they could.
Meetkerke bought Cumberlow Green and the Manor of Rushden from a family called Hodges.
Meetkerke bought Shaw Green Farm.
First Census - population 253. 1821 - 333, 1891 - 225. Squire Meetkerke owned most of Rushden, having bought the centre of the village and many cottages. Common Fields are reorganised to be more compact and less scattered. The population increase means cottages are divided up into two, three and even four - one room downstairs and one or two upstairs.
Many of the Meetkerke family had died in epidemics. Only Adolphus remained and he only had two daughters. He was an amiable, tolerant man and in 1841 the many footpaths that criss-crossed the Estate Park were used by poachers and villagers alike.
School building (present village hall) was given by Adolphus VI.
Day School opened.
Population - 195, 1951 - 178, 1991 - 220.
Mrs Metcalfe died. Julians was sold by Adolphus' granddaughter, bought by the Cavendish Land Property Company.
The Sale of Rushden.
A pictorial History of Rushden can be found here if you would like to know more: