The Dutch Doll mounted in the Church
The Dutch Doll mounted in the Church

The Dutch Doll Story

For many years, the old girls school on High Street had a curious possession, always known locally as the Dutch doll. This Finedon’s Dutch Doll, c. 1930 is a wooden effigy of a charity school girl around 1792, holding a Bible in the right hand, and a scroll bearing the words “SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES [jOHN V. 39]” in the other. It used to stand at the front door of the school, but was taken down, and kept in the school for many years. It is still recalled that in the days of Miss Kay as headmistress the doll used to be kept down a dark cellar, and one of the most effectual means of maintaining order, is said to have been the threat of locking refractory girls in the cellar with this doll. Author Reginald Underwood recalls ” In my young days, it had come. to be a sort of legend. The supposed ghostly occurrences in the school had. been often attributed to its powers, and from time to time its existence has given rise to a variety of absurd stories. And although numbers of girls declared always with a shudder, that they had actually seen it (there is no doubt now that they may have done so, most boys scoffed at any belief in its reality “.  It is, of course, no myth. It is thought that the effigy was called a Dutch Doll due to its hat resembling that of the Dutch national dress, in fact, the doll is dressed in the charity school uniform. Research shows that all wooden dolls used to be so called. The 1m high doll was made out of a hardwood beautifully moulded and coloured in the dress of a Puritan woman of the Stuart Period After the school’s closure, this Finedon Treasure was mounted on the west wall of the Church, to be permanently preserved for the people of Finedon. Unfortunatly not available for the people of Finedon since 24th. of January 1981 

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ATInformation@TheDutchDoll.finedon.org.uk