People of Souldrop
Records show that in the mid 13th century there existed a Stephen of Souldrop who was a free man and thus was able to resist eviction. ref 4 .
The Hanger, or Hannah family lived in Souldrop for many generations. John Hanger, husbandman, occurs as a yeomen in the neighbourhood. In 1825 it was written, ‘John Hannah, jintellman born, come to work on the road for his living’ (BHRS) Suggesting he may have come upon hard times. (Quoted in ref 4 .)
The ghost of John James, a railway labourer.
In the early 1970’s, a resident of Souldrop, who lived on the High Street called Wyn Snewin
reported that she had seen a ghost. The man had appeared in her room one night. He was bare to the waist and wore labourer’s coarse trousers with a belt. She reported that he held not a flicker of expression, and that he seemed transparent as she could see the mirror behind him.
Wyn said ‘hello’ to him, but receiving no answer, she fell asleep. The ghost made a few
appearances, but never responded to Wyn when she said hello to him. He would turn towards the partition dividing the upper room, and disappeared through it. This ghost, thought to be John James, a railway labourer, disappeared after Wyn moved the furniture around! ref 3 .
The ghost may have that of John James who was born in Souldrop in 1827, the eldest son to Mary Gell who was married to Willaim James in approximately 1826. His brothers and sisters, also christened in Souldrop, were Joseph, born 1828, George born 1834, Sarah born 1836, Hannah born 1838 and Jesse Born 1840. John and Jesse both later had sons called William Gell JAMES.
Jesse James became a carpenter. ref 8 .
How Souldrop lost their church organist in 1875
From the note books of J E Smith
‘The 1st time I had a lesson at Wellingborough, Mr Harrington was not in when I called, I was asked to go up to the Parish Church, he was giving an organ lesson to Miss Packwood. I little thought I should succeed her at Rushden in a few weeks because she could not manage the new organ in 1875, at Rushden, so Canon Barker told my uncle Abel Clarke at Stanwick when he, Canon Barker, came over to see if I would play at Rushden.
He invited me to come over & try it by playing at the Service the next Sunday morning, which I did, then had dinner at the Rectory, then walked to Souldrop (where I was organist), for the Afternoon & Evening Services, when I got home to Stanwick Monday morning having stayed the night at Souldrop, the Canon had sent a note by Swan the gardener to say he hoped I would accept the appointment which after a little thought I accepted and now February 1st, 1927, it is about 52 years I have been organist and Choirmaster here. I came last week of May 1875, leaving Souldrop the Sunday before (Trinity Sunday) also their Feast Sunday’. ref 12 .
Next: The Railway
© Ella Jo Street