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RINGSTEAD FEAST September 1879

These two pieces gives a vivid impression of what the Feast would have been like in the village. The piece on the Bazaar makes you wonder if the writer was paid by the word but as a result we do get a remarkably detailed picture of how the hall was decked out - and with what care.

Northampton Mercury

Saturday 20th September 1879

THE FEAST. - This annual village festival commenced on Sunday last. Early in the morning the bells of St. Mary’s Church rang out a merry peal as a joyous welcome to the general festivities and the sweet notes of the bells again resounded far and wide over the village and neighbourhood after Divine service in the church in the afternoon. The day being beautifully fine, hundreds flocked into the village from Raunds and other adjacent villages so that the streets were comparatively crowded and, in point of numbers, was the largest feast known by the inhabitants. In addition to the usual services at the different places of worship, an open air service organised by the Baptist friends and with whom the Wesleyans united was held at a place called Town End at five p.m. The service was conducted by the Rev. Isaac Near, the Baptist minister and the addresses were listened to with marked attention by a large concourse of people. At the Baptist Chapel in the evening a special sermon was preached by Rev I. Near, the subject being “Feasts in general and how to make Ringstead Feast in particular a good one“, taking as his text John xi., 56. There was a large congregation present. Leaving the religious services we noticed the various inns of the village which were crowded with visitors all through the evening. On Monday Carlow-street was lined on both sides with stalls, striking machines etc, and the Axe and Compass Inn yard was also filled with merry-go-rounds, shooting targets and a “cheap Jack who was vending his “Brummagem” and Manchester goods with the usual puff and crack oratory to the no small amusement of the bystanders. Higher up the village the paddock at the Black Horse inn was packed with shows, shooting galleries, and riding horses propelled by steam and accompanied by the strains of a barrel organ that resounded from one end of the village to the other. The streets and inns were again crowded and John Barleycorn was, we are glad to say, not riotous. The feast was kept up in a similar fashion on Tuesday when in addition to the usual festivities, several parties went boating via Denford, on the river Nene, but no accident occurred save to a lady who lost her umbrella, a light breeze playfully taking it out of her hands and dropping it on the stream, where it filled with water and sank to rise no more. After Tuesday the feast began to wane.

Underneath in the Ringstead Section was the following detailed report.

BAPTIST CHAPEL BAZAAR. – On Monday and Tuesday a bazaar for the sale of a variety of useful and fancy articles was held at the Temperance Hall in aid of a fund for the liquidation of a debt occurred by the renovation of the Baptist Chapel and to enable the friends to effect some alterations and improvements to the Baptist School-room. The chapel has been well painted throughout, and the gallery front oak-grained and the wall nicely coloured with French grey. The old pulpit has been removed and given place to a new modern rostrum. The reading-desk proper of the rostrum is V jointed with trefoil perforated sides, and turned balustrades having a crimson baized back. The Ringstead Temperance Brass Band paraded the village at two o’clock in the afternoon on Monday, returning to the Temperance Hall, and opening the bazaar at three o’clock. The Temperance Hall was very tastefully decorated. Across the hall from window to window were suspended festoons of evergreens intersected with pink and white roses; other festoons of the same material were suspended on the walls between the windows while a number of green foliage wreaths intersected with the same coloured roses adorned the end of the hall over the platform. The balustrade in front of the platform was also profusely decorated with evergreen and roses the whole when lighted up in the evening having a very pretty effect. The articles for sale were very tastefully displayed on four regularly built stalls with white coverings, two of which were placed on one side of the hall and two on the other.. Besides these there was also a large refreshment stall. The stalls were each edged along the front with running sprigs of ivy. The first stall was presided over by Mrs Isaac Near, Miss Abington and Miss S. Abbott. Here were displayed a quantity of children’s apparel, comprising frocks, pinafores, socks, shoes and other articles of underclothing; pictures in and out of frames; antimacassars, fancy wool mats, toilet tidies, fancy baskets, bags and pin cushions, ladies aprons, slippers and shoes, a set of miniature parlour furniture, a unique letter-weigher and a host of other trinkets and fancy articles. The second stall was attended my Mrs. S, Wilson and Misses Eliza and Elizabeth Abbott, and contained besides children’s clothing, a nice assortment of fancy goods, articles for the toilet, a number of white and coloured and antimacassars, some pretty flower vases, and many other things too numerous to mention. The third stall was superintended by Mrs Smith (Thrapston), Miss S Bull and Mrs John Bull. A large quantity of children’s clothing, antimacassars, and fancy wool mats, were displayed on this stall, besides neatly designed patchwork bed quilts and a lot of fancy goods, having a centre piece of gaily dressed dolls. The ladies presiding over the fourth stall were Mrs G. Smith, Miss E. Green and Mrs. Freeman (Denford). Similar assortments of children’s clothing and fancy goods were displayed on this stall as the others and all were exhibited to the best advantage. The refreshment stall where everything was displayed so as to tempt the appetite and under the superintendence of Mrs. Stains (Kettering) and Mrs. and Misses Roberts of Ringstead. Then there was the inevitable bran tub, all prizes and no blanks, under the management of Mr. George Bull. A weighing machine attended to by Mr. Roberts and Mr. J. Bull and a galvanic battery under the superintendence of Mr. Herbert Abington. A large number attended the bazaar on Monday, especially in the evening, when it was crowded and the ladies being all expert saleswomen a good sale was effected. Several songs and piano-forte accompaniments were given at intervals during the afternoon and evening, and outside the hall a selection of music was given by the Temperance Band at intervals until dusk. The bazaar was re-opened on Tuesday afternoon and evening and, although not quite so numerously attended, a good business was transacted. The Rev. I. Near, the Baptist minister was very active at the bazaar both Monday and Tuesday; several other Baptist friends also rendered valuable assistance. We will give the results next week.

[In the Mercury the following week it gave the receipts for the four tables, refreshments etc which came to the total of £71 18s 3d  and stated that there were many items left over for a future sale – as there were many more alterations still to do for the chapel built in 1714 was in a dilapidated state.]

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