Bury House

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Bury House, from the rear


The oldest part of Bury House (now named Cottingham Hall) was built in the 1690s, with new sections added in the Georgian/Victorian era. According to 'The Place-Names of Northamptonshire', the name 'Bury House' literally means 'Manor House', with the word 'Bury' having been derived from the Old English word for a fortified place 'burh' , which later came to denote a fortified manor house.

The owners of the house must have been away when the 1841 Census was taken, as there are only servants listed - seven domestic servants living in Bury House itself, with the gardener Eleanor Simpson and her family living in 'Bury Gardens', which I believe were servants cottages in the grounds. In 1881, the Simpson family are listed as living in 'Garden House' in the grounds of Bury House. By 1901, Francis Simpson was running a market gardening business from Mill Road.

At the time of the 1901 Census, the house was unoccupied.



1870s Kelly's Directory - The Honorable Mrs Pery

1890 Kelly's Directory - Rev Henry John Bigge

1903  Kelly's Directory - Colonel C Grenville Mansel / Mrs Bigge

1906 and 1914  Kelly's Directory - Colonel GE Ripley, JP

1929 - Captain George Lucas


Colonel George Eustace Ripley

George Eustace Ripley was born in 1864, the third son of Canon Ripley of Earlham Hall, Norfolk and was educated at Rugby School. In 1896, he married Violet Sartoris of Rushden Hall and the couple moved to Bury House in 1902.

He was a professional soldier and, although he had reluctantly retired just a few months previously, at the outbreak of the First World War (aged 50), he applied to be reinstated and was given command of the Northamptonshire Regiment’s newly created 6th Battalion in October 1914.

The battalion embarked for the Somme on 26 July 1915. Soldiers of the 6th included James Simpson and William Claypole of Cottingham. The battalion’s first tours of duty were relatively quiet, the main threats being mines, though the Germans mounted a surprise trench raid on 29 December 1915. In March he was wounded by a stray shell and evacuated to England to recover, but returned to the battalion in June 1916 to lead his troops over the top.

While leading the battalion in the assault on Thiepval on 26 September 1916, a German shell exploded next to him, shattering his right arm which had to amputated at a base hospital. His wife, Violet, went out to France with just two servants to bring her husband back to England but, tragically, tetanus set in and he died of heart failure in London just three weeks later on 16 October 1916.

He was buried in Cottingham churchyard and there is also a window in his memory in St Sepulchre’s Church, Northampton. Twice mentioned in despatches, the many testimonials made by officers and men of the 6th Battalion showed that he was held in great esteem and affection.

He was survived by his wife, their sons Joseph and Roderick and a daughter. Mrs Ripley outlived her children, dying in 1973 at the age of 96.

Lt Col Ripley’s grandson, George Burr, whose late mother was born at Bury House on 29 September 1911, tells us “When my grandmother died, I visited my grandfather’s grave as I had always been charged by her to scatter her ashes on his grave. It took me ages to find it on a desperately wet day blowing a gale. Being a trifle upset, and not thinking too brightly, I tried scattering her ashes into the gale-a considerable amount went onto and into me but she probably wouldn’t have been unhappy at that!"

 For more information, see www.cottinghamsoldiers.org.uk/biogs/RipleyGeorgeE.html

  Obituary, Northampton Independent, 21 Oct 1916






Mentioned in Despatches, 30 November 2015 and 13 November 1916

Captain George Lucas

Bury House was purchased by Captain George Lucas in 1929, when he gave up the legal profession to become Joint Master of the Woodland Pytchley Hunt, alongside Captain GE Bellville. The following is an extract from Captain Lucas’ book, ‘Memoirs of an Undistinguished Man’, published in 1955. Recalling his first visit to Bury House, Captain Lucas says:

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Captain George Lucas

"It was a beautiful little (!) house, with about 20 acres of pasture and garden, and two of the most attractive features were the paneled entrance hall with a stone floor picked out in black squares, and the oak paneled dining room. 

"It was rumoured that a former owner of the property, wishing to improve the seating in the church, had presented the Rector with rush seated chairs and removed the old oak pews, which he subsequently used for paneling his house. 

"The inside was quite up to date, as the seller had done it up thoroughly, and intended to live in with a relation who was a keen hunting man. Soon after the agreement was arrived at the relation was unfortunately killed in the hunting field and the other owner being unable to carry on alone, decided to sell. 

"The garden was almost derelict. There would be no lack of employment if anyone wished to reclaim the garden from the wilderness, and this was the deciding factor……

"We still live in it and love it after 26 years, though the staff has gone down from nine to three and one sometimes wonders whether it was worth the toil and expense of keeping the place warm and habitable."

Josephine Lucas

Everyday life at Bury House

Local resident, Irene Beadsworth (nee Ansell) also has memories of Bury House. She recalls how she moved into the Bury House cottage in 1948 with her mother (Frances) and father (Albert), when she was just six years old. 

Says Irene: "My dad was gardener at Bury House, and he also chauffered Captain Lucas, accompanied him when he went out shooting and bred gun dogs. On one occasion, there were three litters of puppies being looked after at the same time. For all of that, he earned just £5 a week. My mum also used to spend a day cleaning and a day cooking at Bury House - and she wasn't paid at all for that, but we did get to live in the cottage rent free!" 

Irene and her family lived at Bury House for around four years, and later moved to Barrack Yard off Corby Road.



Bury House was purchased by John and Mary Freestone around 1960, along with all the stables, outhouses and the Spinney. John built Bury Close on the land where the Spinney stood, and converted the stables and outbuildings into the Hunting Lodge


Bury House is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a female servant who was pushed from an upstairs window by the butler. Since then, her uniformed shadow has haunted the area, looking for justice. She has also been sighted in Bury Close and the Hunting Lodge. 

Source www.paranormaldatabase.com

The Hunting Lodge

The Hunting Lodge was formerly the stables and outbuildings for Bury House. In the 1960s/70s? the Hunting Lodge was a casino, and also at one time had a grand ballroom.

The stables and haylofts have been turned into self-contained cottages. The groom used to live in the room above the saddle and tack room, which you can see jutting out at the top end of the bottom photograph opposite. Otherwise, these buildings were not lived in.

More information available at www.huntinglodgehotel.com


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