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Rufford In Days Gone By - Bertha Crocker & Geoff Tittershill
Web Transcript © 2003 Hubmaker. All rights reserved.
Reproduction by any means strictly prohibited.

Rufford School 1901

Seen here is a group of Rufford School children in standard 5 in 1901. At this time there were six classes numbered from one to six. The front row and half the middle row are from lower standards, so it is suggestive that classes were small. Mr. Haskell, the headmaster, and strict disciplinarian, is standing on the back row.

In these days, a Sergeant Leverton visited school each Friday to take the pupils for `drill' and physical training.

It was also this group of children who were taken around the corner to the main road to witness the passing of the first motor car through the village.

St Marys the Virgin, Rufford

As a thanksgiving for a safe return from the French Wars in 1346, Sir William De Heskaith, grandson of the first Hesketh of Rufford, endowed a separate chantry in the Chapel of Rufford. And in 1352 he rebuilt the edifice. The Heskeths worshipped at this chapel to save themselves making the journey to Croston Parish Church.

During the next couple of centuries the Heskeths repaired and adorned the Chapel, and in 1522 Thomas built a steeple with four bells and a south aisle. The church at this time was considered wealthy and was evidently flourishing.

In 1624 we can read that the chapel was at the peak of its glory containing four brass effigies, two full length tombs and two alabaster monuments. It was also well furnished with ornaments and silver plate, with vestments of damask, velvet and silk.

However, things were soon to change and around the time of the Civil War Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentary Commissioners described the Curate of Rufford, the Rev. Wood, as a `Godly Minister, well conformable to the State and Government'. Being a strict Puritan, he encouraged the destruction of sculpture, carvings and stained glass and much was pillaged and stripped bare.

The chapel then stood until 1736 when it was replaced by a plain, but beautiful Georgian edifice.

In 1793, the chapel became a Parish Church in its own right, an Act of Parliament separating the township from the Parish of Croston. Then in 1869 the church was demolished and the present Gothic structure was built by public subscription at a total cost of £1,629, and a historian probably painted the best possible picture when he described it as `A perfect, small brick and stone Victorian Church with good contemporary pictorial glass with pillars carved with boldness and originality'.