Retro: Corby Old Village

Corby Old Village has changed over the decades but fortunately it has retained much of its charm and many of its landmark buildings.

Now home to many new businesses and independent traders, the oldest and original part of Corby is rich in heritage and history.

A gentleman busy making the stocks for the 1902 Pole Fair in Corby Old Village

A gentleman busy making the stocks for the 1902 Pole Fair in Corby Old Village

Just a stroll round its streets will reveal memories of the past, preserved for generations of the future.

St John the Baptist’s Church, next to the village green, dates from the 13th century. By the 20th century it was in need of restoration and Rector Thomas G Clarke and his wife Jessie, an heiress of the Cadbury family of Bourneville in Birmingham, provided the cash to reverse decades of neglect. In 1902 the couple contributed £2,500 towards the restoration costs of £4,400 and gave an additional £420 for a new organ.

The old roof was replaced but the most important addition was the stained glass window by the Arts and Crafts designers at William Morris and Company. In 1999 an Edwardian time capsule was opened and another buried in the chancel which is to be opened in the year 2100.

Nearby Hightrees, once the headquarters of the Scouts and Cubs in Corby, is now in private ownership.

The house was built in 1879 as a rectory in the Gothic Revival style.

The war memorial, on the village green, was moved from a site in High Street to its present location in 1974. It is the focal point for all acts of remembrance in Corby , with its wheel head cross and bronze plaque commemorating the borough’s war dead.

Number 89 High Street in Corby Old Village is an 18th century stone house which has been known as Rectory Farm, Glebe Farm and Page’s Farm.

The building was once owned by Davan Page, well-known for being Corby’s one-handed taxi driver.

Number 83 High Street dates from the 17th century, having been built in 1690. An old engraving shows that this property had been a school and one famous pupil was John Anderson, who attended in 1862. He was an American emancipated slave who travelled the country telling of his freedom. Next to number 83 is number 2A Meeting Lane, Corby’s first independent chapel and noted in records as far back as 1818.