Polebrook in the Fifties: a fascinating diagram of the village and who-lived-where as remembered by Ray Fletton
Polebrook’s Proud Past
Polebrook’s Proud Past-Revisited
Royal visits, rustic skills and pastimes, with many local anecdotes and references.
Orders and further details can be obtained by e-mailing Margaret.
This charming short history of Polebrook was written by a vicar’s daughter in (I think) the nineteen twenties.
In the Doomsday Book the name of the village appears as POCHEBROC or POHEBROC, referring perhaps to the brook in the pocket of the hills which runs into the Nene at “Putlock Bridge without the Town”.
The village gives its name to the Hundred. The Market House, though much altered, is still standing and on the green in front of it, the old village pump providing a perpetual flow of fresh spring water.
The Church of All Saints built on the outcrop of rock in the centre of the village, has registers dating from 1655 & the list of Rectors from 1256. In 1232 Robert le Fleming, Patron, Parson & Lord of the Manor, made a grant of a Chantry in Polebrooke and in the same year entered into an agreement with Ralph de Trubeville & Alicia his wife, concerning a “Hospital” which the latter wished to found at “Armston in the parish of Polebrooke”. In 1518, the will of one John Collys of Polebrooke directed that he was to be buried in the Church of All Hallows. In its earliest design the church appears to have been a small Norman building, with nave, low central tower & apse, but about 1220 considerable alteration was made & beautiful Early English work was added.
The Church Clock has entered much into the life of the village. It is an ancient piece of mechanism made probably about 1656. With care & patience many generations of clock-winders have kept it going & it is believed to be the only example of its kind still in working order in this country. Certain lands in the Parish known as the “Clock lands” provide endowment for keeping the clock and paying for the daily winding up of the weights from the floor of the tower to the floor of the Bell cage in the present spire.
Items from the Churchwardens Book are:-
In 1658 the Archdeacon ordered the plough to be removed from the Church.
The Church orchestra played in the Minstrels Gallery now removed, and the art of bell ringing was keenly pursued.
Craftsmen in the village included bootmakers, tailors, lace-makers, stonemasons, blacksmith and at least one weaver and the blind at the west window of the church being an example of his work.
FEASTS AND FESTIVALS
The Village Feast was kept on the first Sunday after August 10th and for over a hundred years the same family, from a neighbouring village, provided the tent with wooden floor for dancing, the hanging candelabra and the orchestra. The day opened with the ringing of the church bells at 6 a.m. Members of families who had left home returned for this great occasion which was a time for family reunion. The Club Feast was held on Whit Monday. Before the dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, the members walked in procession to church for a service.
May Day was celebrated by the children who were dressed in their best and the girls in white dresses. The May Queen was carried by the boys in a specially made throne on poles which was decorated with flowers. The May Queen was crowned with flowers and all the children wore garlands and carried bunches of flowers. The children paraded around the village and even up to Armston.
Plough Monday was also observed by blessing the plough and the plough boys parading around the village. At harvest time a Gleaning Bell was rung at 8 a.m. & 6 p.m. Any trespass outside the prescribed time caused a rumpus among the gleaners who were anxious to be the first in the field. On St Thomas’s Day, the old people came round to collect money & Clothing.
Many of the houses have the massive stone walls & some of the fine Northamptonshire chimneys. The oldest is probably the Manor House thought to have been built in about 1450. The Kings Arms is dated 1695.