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Assembly History

The origins of the assembly in Hanslope can be traced back to 1882.  Between 1882 and 1892, a man called John Orr-Ewing lived at The Rookery, Preston Deanery. Mr Orr-Ewing was a single man and had moved to the area from Weston-Super-Mare. The local squire, Edward Singleton, lived nearby in Preston Deanery Hall. Both of these men were born again believers, Mr Singleton having been a member of the assembly at Duke Street, Northampton.

Mr Orr-Ewing had a special interest in the village of Hanslope and during the spring of 1883 he hired a small Church of England Mission Hall in Long Street, Hanslope (the building is still standing) on several occasions for the preaching of the Gospel. However, the room was very small and so the decision was taken to find a suitable site where a Gospel tent could be pitched.

Mr Orr-Ewing made contact with Joseph Gregory who lived in Hanslope close to what is now the entrance to St James Close. Mr Gregory agreed to a tent being pitched in his orchard, and this took place in mid-June 1883. 

For ten weeks, the Gospel was preached on a nightly basis by Mr Orr-Ewing, Mr Edward Stack, Mr John Brunton (formerly a soldier in the 18th Hussars) and Mr Charles Moreton. As a result, many people were spiritually blessed, amongst them members of the Slade family of Green End Farm, Hanslope.

The tent was taken down at the end of 1883 and somewhere permanent was then required for the believers to continue to meet. At the time there was a "Public Room" at Number 43 High Street, Hanslope and the believers were able to hire this for their weekly meetings. They continued to do so until 1914 when they started to meet in the current hall. The building that housed the "Public Room" still stands, although its appearance has changed considerably over the years. There were originally no windows downstairs, as the lower rooms were used for the storage of coal and other items. The "Public Room" occupied the whole of the first floor. During these early years, Mr John Orr-Ewing was a great help to the assembly, travelling from Preston Deanery on a regular basis in his pony and trap.

During the 1880s, the Slade family owned a property in Higham Cross Road, Hanslope.  The property was rented out to the Ansell family, Mr and Mrs Ansell senior living in one end of the property whilst their married son Jack, lived with his wife and family in the other.  Mr Ansell, who worked as a shoe maker, kept cows, pigs and sheep in a paddock at the rear of the property. The central section of the property contained a laundry which was run by Mrs Ansell.  She employed several ladies in the laundry business, including her own daughter Sarah.  


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