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Tour of St Lawrence Church

7. The Parish Chest

The Rev. F. C. Clare of Harpenden made an amazing discovery at a market in Bedfordshire when he spotted an old chest. It was the churchwarden's chest made for Towcester in 1705 and in a bad state of repair. He donated it to the Northampton Museum, who have kindly let St. Lawrence Church have it on permanent loan.

Image of parish chest

The Parish Chest has painted on it the names of the "overfeers of ye poor" in 1705. Three persons with individually numbered keys had to be present to open it. Among the documents it contained must have been those of the charities.

The chest is inscribed:
"Will. Henchman, Tho. Oldam, Jno. Calvart, Tho. Plowman, Overseers of ye Poore when this chest was made for the use of the Town Officers, Anno Dom. 1705"

The chest rests on four ball feet, inside are seven drawers with painted titles inscribed
"Churchwardens", "Overseers of the Poore", "Constables", "Supervisors", "Certificates", Indentitures", and one unlabelled drawer.