Category Archives: History

Music through the years (and a cream tea!)

 

Music, cream teas and happy memories come together at St John’s this weekend in Singing and Reminiscing from 3-5pm on Saturday, August 3.

As part of the St John’s 175th anniversary celebrations, we are holding an informal afternoon of community singing, with songs from each of the decades of the past 175 years, from My Grandfather’s Clock from 1844 to John Rutter’s 2017 composition A Flower Remembered, plus a new number, composed this year, Song for St. John’s by Margaret Emberson. Cream teas will be served and there will be plenty of opportunity to reminisce.

The afternoon will be led by Wendy Edwards and Margaret Emberson and the combined choirs of St John’s and St George’s. Wendy Edwards explains the thinking behind the afternoon: “There must have been billions of musical notes which have resounded through St John’s Church over the last 175 years. Most of these will have been in the form of hymns, anthems, solos, organ pieces, sung mass settings and concerts, formal and informal. We want to celebrate the musical spirit of St John’s.

“We will sing one song for each decade of the last 175 years. These have been carefully selected to be well known and to provide a flavour of that decade. We have traditional and popular songs, a hymn and songs from shows which we hope everyone will enjoy singing with us. The words will be provided.”

Everyone is welcome to this afternoon of music and memories. To help with catering, it would be useful to know how many are coming. Anyone who is planning to come is asked to contact Wendy Edwards at llm.wendy@badshotleaandhale.org or ring the parish office on 07842 761919. However, if you make a last-minute decision to drop in, there will always be room.

Consecration of St John’s, Hale

In this 175th anniversary year many new and interesting documents telling the story of St John’s have been found. Below is a press cutting, thanks to Bob Skinner, telling of the consecration of St John’s on 8th November, 1844:

18441116 Hampshire Advertiser p. 4 Consecration of St Johns Church 8 Nov 1844.

In addition, our church architect has found some plans. Below is the original plan of the church and then the plan of the extended church in 1897 (you can read the appeal for fundraising for the extension here):

1842 to 44 Original Plan1861 Extension Plan

There was a dedication service at St John’s, after the extension and thanks again to Bob Skinner, the cutting is here (it is difficult to read so I have also typed out the words):

Surrey Advertiser 24 February 1897 p7

The chancel of the parish church of St. John, which has been enlarged and improved as a jubilee thankoffering was re-opened by the Bishop of Winchester at a special service on Saturday afternoon. The work was commenced in November 1894, and completed at the end of last month. The chancel has been extended towards the nave, and an iron screen on a low kerb wall has been placed at the entrance. Permanent choir seats and clergy desks have been provided in oak in the increased space, and the pulpit and lectern have been removed to the nave. The renovation in the chancel also consists of a mosaic reredos. The new transept has been erected over the tomb of Bishop Sumner, who was interred with his wife on the south side of the chancel in 1874. The organ has been placed in the transept, the opening to which on the east side is near the altar rails. The super-altar was on Saturday adorned with vases of white flowers. A very large congregation had assembled for the dedication. The service was opened with the singing by the choir of the 84th Psalm as the Bishop and clergy entered the church from the vestry and proceeded to the chancel.  His lordship was attended by the Rector of Farnham (the Rev. C. H. Simpkinson), and the Rev. C. E. Hoyle (chaplains), and the following clergy: Revs W. H. Moody, R. D. (Frensham), G. E. Hitchcock (Hale), G. J. C. Sumner (rector of Seale), R. J. S. Gill (vicar of Aldershot), J. De Verd Leigh (incumbent Holy Trinity, Aldershot), J. D. Henderson and E. D. Finch-Smith (Farnham), J. W. Pickance, A. E. Algar, and G. Bentham (Aldershot), and South Phillips (Hale). Coral evensong was conducted by the Vicar of the parish and the Rev. A. South Phillips, Tallis’ music being used for the responses. The special Psalms were the 24th and 150th. The Rev. C. H. Simpkinson read the first lesson and the Rural Dean the second. Following the singing of the anthem, “Break forth into joy,” by Nimper, the Bishop said the special prayers of dedication. His lordship preached from the text St. John c.10. v. 22. He said it was not merely an accident when they used the word dedication in association with the fact of their service that day. There was a close association with the ceremony which took place where our Lord was as described in the text and with that in which they were then engaged. They were that day not merely commemorating the building of a large place, but were taking part in a service to show that it should be beautified and made appropriate for divine worship and best fitted for the great end for which it was set up. They were that day offering afresh to God a church more worthy for the ministers and those who worshipped. A church like that in a parish which was likely to become populous must bring the solemn thought that in ages ahead men, women and little children would come there and would remember that others had obtained help in their daily life in the years before. He trusted that he and they might be making a difference for those who were yet unborn and who in the ages far ahead would come to worship within those walls. The offertory, and also that on Sunday, were in aid of the building fund. Mr E Caesar, who presided at the organ, played a march by Theo Bonheur at the close of the service.

The painter of the beautiful picture above of St John’s when it was first built is not known.

Christopher Herbert to deliver lecture

Christopher Herbert, a celebrated speaker and authority on church art and architecture, will give a talk at St John’s Church, Hale, on Art, Architecture and Christianity in Victorian England this Wednesday (June 5th, at 7.30pm), as part of the 175th anniversary celebrations of St John’s.

Bishop Christopher Herbert is the former vicar of The Bourne, Canon of Guildford Cathedral and Bishop of St Albans, and visiting Professor in Christian Ethics at the University of Surrey. He is a sought-after lecturer across the UK and in Europe and has been a guest lecturer at The National Gallery; the Courtauld Institute; King’s College, London; the University of Leicester; Westminster Abbey and at The Arts Society (NADFAS) groups in the UK and mainland Europe. He has also lectured for Swan Hellenic on their Rhone cruises.

The talk will look at the way Victorian England responded to massive changes in society and the world with assertive confidence but also with nostalgia. In architecture and painting, these two conflicting forces gave rise to some fascinating and provocative work both in the Church and in society.

Christopher Herbert retired to Farnham where he had been vicar of The Bourne between 1981 and 1990. In addition, he was Director of Post-Ordination Training for the Diocese of Guildford and was made a Canon of Guildford Cathedral, before becoming Archdeacon of Dorking in 1990. He became Bishop of St Albans in 1995.
He is a prolific author and much of his writing is based on the themes of prayer and spirituality, for both children and adults. Among his best-known books are Ways into Prayer and Pocket Prayers. In 2002 he completed a major piece of research into ‘The Image of the Resurrection of Jesus in 15th Century Northern European Art’, for which he was awarded an MPhil by the University of Leicester. He was awarded a PhD by the University of Leicester in 2008, for his ground-breaking research on ‘The Origins of the Easter Sepulchre in Pre-Reformation England’.

Admission to the talk on Wednesday is free but donations are welcome. Refreshments will be provided.

For further information on Christopher Herbert, visit www.threeabbeys.org.uk

Happy 175th birthday – church says it with flowers

The 175th anniversary celebrations at St John’s Church, Hale, kick off on May 18 and 19 with a flower festival.

Local organisations, artists, schools, churches, charities and other faith groups are all planning their entries to the festival that weekend. Among those preparing displays are the three churches which make up the parish; the Hale Gardening Club; the local Mothers’ Union; the Opportunities Project; the Hale Women’s Institute; the Darby and Joan Club, Farnham Baha’is, Petal & Stem florists, Crown Chain nursery and Rainbow Church (welcoming all who are LGBTI+).

There will be art and craft too and All Hallows School art club are presenting a collage, Badshot Lea Infant School will be displaying floral photography, and there will be contributions from local artists Susie Lidstone, Judith Needham, Penny Fleet and former Surrey Artist of the year Denise Jaques who will bring garden mosaics. Local milliners Mind your Bonce will be providing an elegant touch with hats and flowers.

Among the charities taking part will be Farnham Assist and Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care who will be bringing samples of planting done in the hospice’s Social and Therapeutic Horticulture sessions. Amnesty International will be bringing a display reminding visitors of the plight of political prisoners across the world.

Lesley Crawley said: “St John’s was consecrated in November 1844 and since then has been a much-loved focal point in the village of Hale. We would like everyone to celebrate with us this year, so we are holding a series of events to which all are welcome. One of the first of these is the flower festival in May where, for two days, the church will be overflowing with colourful floral displays and art, and there will be live music and refreshments, including Pimm’s.

“St John’s is everyone’s church and as well as celebrating our anniversary, we are looking forward to the future. We know that our church could be used to serve the community better and we want to know what people would like from us as we look forward to the next stage and discover what God has in store for us all. We have therefore launched a survey for residents and local organisations to complete. You can find it on our website (www.badshotleaandhale.org) or in the church.”

The survey is also available at  https://goo.gl/XQQ8qT.

The flower festival will take place from 10am-4pm on Saturday, May 18, and from noon-4pm on Sunday, May 19. Entry is £1 and everyone is welcome!

 

Pictured above: Spring crocuses by Susie Lidstone

Car inventor’s grave restored at St John’s

One of the most famous graves in the churchyard at St John’s – that belonging to the motor vehicle inventor John Henry Knight – has been restored.

The grave dates from 1917 and had fallen into disrepair so we sought and received the go-ahead from John Knight’s descendants to repair the monument.

John Henry Knight, who was born in 1847 and lived in Weybourne House, Weybourne Road, invented one of Britain’s earliest petrol-powered motor vehicles. In October 1895 he also went down in history as one of the first recipients of a motoring fine when he and his assistant James Pullinger were found guilty at ‘Farnham Petty Sessions’ in Farnham Town Hall of using a locomotive without a licence and of not having a red flag carried in front. James Pullinger had been stopped while driving the vehicle in Castle Street, Farnham, earlier in the month. The car can now be seen in the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

John Knight pleaded not guilty on the grounds that the vehicle was too light to come under the Traction Act, but he and Pullinger were both found guilty and received a fine and costs. After that, he ran the vehicle on a private road but even then was nearly caught by a policeman hiding in a hedge. John Knight stated afterwards in his Recollections that this was “probably the first police trap on record”.

John Knight was responsible for several other inventions, including a steam-powered hop-digger, a brick-laying machine, a grenade-thrower, a radiator and a ‘dish lever’ for tilting plates when carving meat. Appropriately, given his motoring brush with the law, he also invented wooden vehicle tyres and a speedometer.

John Knight had also built a steam carriage as far back as 1868 and drove it on the roads around Farnham. According to contemporary writer William Fletcher this could carry three people at up to eight miles an hour and “easily mounted the hills in the neighbourhood of Farnham”, though John Knight himself admitted that “breakdowns were frequent”.

Lesley Crawley commented: “John Henry Knight seems to have been a colourful and clever man who was always using his ingenuity to create something new and solve problems of the day. Everyone in the parish has the right to be buried in our churchyard and everyone is equally special and equally loved by God. I find it humbling to think of all the people who have been associated with the church over the past 175 years and who will be in the future. The church is for everyone from the most eccentric inventors to the quietest passers-by.”

The grave.

Weybourne House 1Weybourne House where John Henry Knight lived as a child.

Pictured top: John Henry Knight (standing) with his vehicle in 1895. Picture courtesy of the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

…there is not one gentleman resident in [Hale]

This is a wonderful document from perhaps the late 1860s, thanks to Bob Skinner from the History of Hale:

History of St John's

This is what it says:

Enlargement of The Church of St John the Evangelist, at Hale, In the County of Surrey

The Church of St John the Evangelist, at Hale, midway between Aldershot in Hants, and Farnham in Surrey, was erected in the year 1844, by public subscription.

The late Queen Dowager, who was the first contributor, gave the sum of £25 towards the commencement of the undertaking.

A few years after the opening of the Church, Aldershot, from being an obscure hamlet, became a large Garrison town. The effect of this upon the adjoining Parish of Hale, was such, as almost immediately to double the population.

At the census of 1861, it was found to have risen from a few hundreds, to nearly 3,000 people; the population is now little less than 4,000, and is still rapidly increasing.

With so large a Parish, there is only Church Accommodation for 175 persons; —and besides the regular Parishioners, many Officers and their families are in the habit of attending from Aldershot, and they would do so in greater numbers, could room be found for them. It is therefore proposed to meet the urgent demand for further accommodation, by an addition, of 400 Sittings to the Church, this being the largest increase of which the building is capable.

Plans have been drawn out by Benjn. Ferrey, F.S.A. Esq., of Charing Cross, the Architect of the original structure, for the Erection of a North Transept, the Enlargement of the South Aisle, and an Extension of the present very contracted Chancel.

To carry out those alterations fully, a sum of £1300 will be required, for which an appeal is now made to the christian liberality of churchmen. The Parishioners of Hale, are among the very poorest, in the Diocese of Winchester, and there is not one gentleman resident in the place. The present Incumbent has no private means, and his clerical income is insufficient to meet the demands of so poor and so rapidly increasing population.

The Archdeacon of Surrey, who is the Patron of the Living, will afford any information on the subject.

Subscriptions will be thankfully received by the Incumbent, the Rev. George E. Fox, Hale Parsonage, Farnham, or they may be paid in to Messrs. James Knight and Son, Bankers, Farnham, to the credit of the “Fund for the Enlargement of Hale Church.”

A list of Subscribers will be issued, when the whole sum is raised.

(George Fox was the incumbent from 1868-1875)