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Streets through time - Rectory Lane
No 8 The Grange
formerly The Rectory

Other properties in Rectory Lane:

Grange Jan24 2.jpg

This impressive building is not the original village Rectory but a later built property on the site of the old Rectory. At the time of writing it is not clear when this building was built but its assumed its probably 19th Century. It came with a large footprint of land to one side of Rectory Lane but this was split up in the late 1970's when the Rectory building was sold off as a private house and part of the land kept being used to build a modern and more modest Rectory house for the incumbent vicar and a seperate plot for another residential home - Glebe House.

This property was not included in the 1937 Estate sale and its assumed that the property and its grounds were owned by the church and not the Gregory estate.

In the 1939 Register (see below), Alban S Hope is the incumbent vicar with his family and 1 servant Mary Bland. Alban Sackett Hope (b 1877 in Oxford)  and his wife Audrey Beatrice Hope (b1889 in Rochester Kent)  are recorded in the 1921 census as living here and would have taken office sometime after 1911.  He had one servant - a local girl Alice Lane (b 1897).

Rectory 1939 Register.jpg

It is assumed that the Rev Hope served the parish throughout the WW2 years. 

Above: Side view facing Rectory Lane

Above: Front view 

In November 1948, the last resident under Holy Orders moved into the Rectory. This was Clement Gordon Cumpper (CGC) Robertson (see image right) with his wife Edith (nee Whitworth from Birmingham) and their three daughters Hilary Mary (b 1936 in Birmingham), Alison Anne (b1942 in Helpringham)  and Elizabeth Clare (b1945 also in Helpringham). Clare Cook is the surviving daughter and currently (2024) lives in Bourne with husband Robin. CGC and his wife were affectionately known as Robin and Whitty to friends and family and both very active in church, school and community activities. Whitty was very active in the community supporting Robin and setting up the local Young Wives group and being the Enrolling member of the Mothers Union who used to meet monthly at the Rectory. She was also a teacher at the school looking after the Infants class since 1954.

Clare recalls that having moved from a small modern rectory building to a grand century old building was a bit of an eye opener for the family. The building needed a great deal of modernization and improvement, most of which the family would have to fund themselves in those days and with no servants to run the place as enjoyed in pre WW1 times. They introduced the first proper bathroom, updated the kitchen, replaced a number of fireplaces and cosmetically changed the building throughout. Shortly after moving in mains water was introduced to the village so the plumbing was revamped to suit and in 1958-59 the electrics were rewired as part of an extensive modernization scheme. Apparently, Arthur Walton (the Daybell ringer) installed a sink in the Rectory but at a very low and unusual height from the floor. When questioned why so low, he responded that the height was fine for him. Apparently, he was of short stature himself. The Day Bell that Arthur rang at 8pm every day was known to Clares family as the Curfew bell as that was the time Clare and her sisters had to go to bed.

1950s CGC Robertson_edited.jpg

Above: CGC Robertson affectionately known as Robin

The Rectory also had one the few private phone lines in the village. Clare recalls that their number was Grantham 923 and to make a call you didn’t dial the number but had to pick up and speak to the operator.

As shown in the image right, the road facing garden of the Rectory had a long high front wall by the house which overlooked a tennis court. This was still there in the 1950’s but later replaced by a slope as the wall became too unstable. Clare also remembers the lovely sight of red squirrels who lived towards the rear of the Rectory grounds facing Palmer’s farmyard.

In addition to the Rectory, it was the responsibility of the incumbent vicar to maintain the upkeep of the church school which in 1948 required a lot of funding which wasn’t available. In this year, it was decided to re-site the church school as the present site did not allow for the required expansion. However, it took until 1970 for the new school to be built (on Swine Hill) and available for use.

Rectory pic from FB.jpg

Joseph Kennewell (b 1866) who lived in 31/33 High St (Mrs Clarks father) was the Rectory gardener and he remembered the large pine on the right of the building as you view from the road being planted. It is a Wellingtonia pine which is a North American Redwood which now towers over the house.

There used to be an annual Garden Fete held at the Rectory. Clare recalls Molly Thornton (from Thornbell High St) used to assist with the food preparation with a Mrs Fowler from the Drift. They would cut slices from the loaves of bread for the sandwiches but then used a rolling pin to flatten them out so the bread would go farther.

Clares best friend in the village was Jackie Ellis who lived in Cherry Tree Cottage on Pond Street. Jackie now lives in Bingham and her and Clare remain life long friends and are in regular contact.

In 1959, the whole family moved to the US in a year long exchange program to promote Anglo American friendship. Robin’s counterpart in the US – Reverend Spalding Howe Junior moved himself and his mother Mary to Harlaxton for the same period.

On 7th December 1963, Clare’s sister Alison married Michael Hindmarch at Harlaxton church. The service was performed by the Bishop of Grantham Anthony Otter. They moved into a new bungalow named Wevebridge at the top of the High St opposite Day Bell Close.

Clare moved out of the Rectory in 1963 to work in Melton but later moved back in 1965 to work with special needs children in Sandon School in Grantham and the Beacon. She lived there until 1970.

Robin retired in September 1972 and one of his last acts in the parish was to marry Clare to (John) Robin Cook from Stamford on 2nd September 1972. On retirement, Robin and Whitty left the Rectory on 27th Sept 1972 and moved to Great Casterton near Stamford to be close to their daughter Alison. Whitty passed away in June 1986 and Robin in April 1991.

Clare’s sisters Alison Hindmarch passed away in May 2022 and Hilary Blackler in December 2023.

Clare and Robin now live in Bourne.

Below: Whitty, Robin and daughters Alison & Clare at Buckingham Palace in 1962

1962 Buck Palace CGC Whitty Alison Clare.jpg
1958 pre Rectory.jpg
1969 Easter CGC Whitty.jpg

Above: The Rectory as it was in the mid 1950's

1960 Aug Liz Fry Alison Clare and Jackie Ellis.jpg

Above: August 1960 - L to R: Liz Fry, Alison Robertson,  Jackie Ellis, Clare Robertson.

Above: Robin & Whitty in 1969

From the censuses we can see who the previous vicars were in Harlaxton as follows:

in the 1871 and 1881 censuses, it is Edward Garfit (b1812 in Gainsborough) with his wife Frances (b1822 also from Gainsborough) and their daughter Margaret (b1861) who are in residence. They have 4 servant staff and a governess to run the Rectory.

From the 1891, 1901and 1911 censuses, George Wynne Jeudwine (born 1850 from Kensington London) with his wife Harriet Elizabeth (born 1853 from Milton, Hampshire) are in residence with their four daughters Mary (b1882), Alice (b1985), Margaret (b1887) and Katherine (born 1889), and their three sons George (b1884), Griffith (b1884) and Spencer Henry (b1896).


Throughout these years, there were usually 4 servant staff in residence including a cook, nurse, governess, and maids. After WW1 the support of servants is reduced to one maid only and eventually none. 


Above: The Rectory in late 1960's

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