On This Day… (February 28th)

Many of a certain generation will remember that cold and wet June day when the Queen was crowned but does anyone recall the actual day she became Queen in February, 1952? I remember Mr Knight calling the whole school together in the hall and telling us that he had just received a telephone call from the County Education Officer informing him that the King had died in his sleep and Elizabeth was Queen. We then sang two of the King’s favourite hymns, ‘Our God our help in ages past’ was one but I forget the other before he handed over to Mr Lawrence who had the task of getting us to sing the National Anthem naming the Queen, rather than the King!

Looking through the Historical Society’s Irthlingborough Timeline I came across other entries of what happened here on 28th February. In 1824 the Friends of Abolition of Slavery received a petition of support signed by many male rate-payers of Irthlingborough whilst in 1859 John Buckby, a rough looking customer (according to the Northampton Mercury) was fined for being drunk, hitting the parish constable and resisting arrest to the utmost. Not paying his fine he served 3 months hard labour instead! During February, 1909 a total of 20 children had been baptised at St. Peter’s Church and on this day in 1949 a party of young members of Irthlingborough Salvation Army travelled to Bedford to give a varied programme at the Salvation Army Congress Hall.

On this day in 1388 Irthlingborough College came into being with the first three canons being sworn in. Their living accommodation was in rooms built above the sloping roof covering what we call The Monks’ Kitchen. When the tower was completed two rooms at the very top were used as bedrooms – a long way down to the loo if needed in the middle of the night – together with a secure room for the safe-keeping of the copes, vestments and books which the Pyel family had provided. With the project complete Joan Pyel, who was very much a Londoner and who during her married life spent very little time in Irthlingborough, retired to the Convent of St. Helen’s in London, possibly as a vowess, and it was there that she died in January, 1412 at what must have been a venerable age. She had outlived her husband John Pyel and sons and possibly her grandson.