Sketch of Quaker Meeting House
Sketch of Quaker Meeting House

Religion has been a strong influence in the village with a Church originally built in Saxon times and the nonconformist movement of the 17th Century leading eventually to the building of a Chapel in 1895.

The Quakers also featured with Quaker Cottage (circa 1729) now a private dwelling in Grafton Road being the meeting place. Behind the house was the usual burial plot and in the 1950s when the property was extended human bones were found.

19th Century Vicarage - Boarding School
19th Century Vicarage – Boarding School

In the mid 19th Century The Vicarage was extended to become a boarding school and boasts among its pupils William Gladstone who later became the Liberal Prime Minister.

Geddington Chase, part of the old Rockingham Forest was crucial to the survival of the village providing timber and other resources (legal & otherwise). It is said that Mary Queen of Scots when imprisoned in Derbyshire was robbed, with the two men responsible caught on the Chase, the money and jewellery were never recovered and may still be buried there.

In 1622 the 1st Lord Montagu of Boughton acquired the Chase for the sum of £1500. There had long been land disputes between the Montagu and Tresham families, the two biggest land owners. Thomas Tresham built a lodge on such a piece of land and its subsequent enclosure led to a villager’s uprising, deaths and hangings.

Boughton House, formerly a 15th Century monastic building was purchased by Sir Edward Montagu from St Edmundsbury Abbey in 1528 and today with its 365 windows, one for each day of the year, is known as the ‘Versailles of England’.

Thomas Tresham was famous for his Trinity inspired building style and persecuted for his catholic beliefs. He constructed the Triangular Lodge at Rushton some 5 miles from Geddington.

Poverty during these times was recognised by two notable villagers:

The 'Dallington' Bell
The ‘Dallington’ Bell

Robert Dallington: who in 1612 became Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Charles I and later Master of Charterhouse (the famous London school and hospital). The biggest bell in the Church Tower is inscribed “Sir Robert Dallington gave me to Geddington Aged 69, 1630” and he is thought to be buried in the Church Yard. He is remembered by the ‘Sir Robert Dallington Charity’ (he left £300 in his will to be distributed to the poor) and the naming of a housing development Dallington Close.

Samuel Lee: a forest ranger on Geddington Chase who upon his death in 1708 left a sum of money also for the benefit of the poor which has led to the Samuel Lee Charity that is also still active today.

Iron ore found on the Chase as early as the 12th & 13th centuries together with farming, played an important role in village life until the 1950s. Iron workings on each side of the River Ise provided work for as many as 140 men during the 1920s. During the 18th and 19th centuries the community supported at least three bakeries two slaughter houses, blacksmiths and many other shops. Sadly none survive apart from the Post Office (previously a public house, The Royal Oak).

It appears there has always been a plethora of public houses, some with their own maltings. The earliest mention seems to be The Angell in 1634 with The Black Swan, a coaching inn in 1700. The most famous however is arguably The Royal George built on part of the site of the Royal Hunting Lodge (now Castle Gardens) and a favourite haunt of airman from the World War II Grafton Underwood US airbase. Indeed it is said that Clark Gable autographed the fireplace.