Thornhaugh residents have been celebrating the return of Sir William Russell, the first Baron Russell of Thornhaugh. Last seen in the village in 1613, he now stands at the junction of Meadow Lane and Russell Hill. To be clear, after the success of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, the Parish Council felt that the event should be recorded with something that would both enhance the village and act as a permanent reminder of the occasion.
It was decided to commission the traditional carved oak village sign which shows Baron Russell that is now positioned in the centre of the village. The sign was designed, carved and painted by Glyn Mould, a local woodcarver and signmaker at his workshop at Sacrewell Farm.
This representation of William Russell on the new village sign was taken from a painting of him attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts which hangs in Woburn Abbey. He was the fourth son of Francis Russell, the second Earl of Bedford and was knighted 1580.
He was created Baron Russell of Thornhaugh 21st July 1603 and he is buried in St Andrews church where he had already built his tomb. The title of 17th Baron Russell of Thornhaugh is currently held (along with other titles) by Andrew Russell, the15th Duke of Bedford.
The sign was unveiled on Saturday 26 July in brilliant sunshine by William Rogers, chairman of Thornhaugh Parish Council. Never ones to pass up an opportunity for a ‘do’ villagers celebrated with a lavish tea party in the beautiful ‘Old Bakery’ garden on Meadow Lane, courtesy of Brian and Penny Lewin-Watts. £160.00 was raised for Cancer Research UK.