John McKaye


Friends of St Mary's Church, Cricklade, Wiltshire, U.K.


Chairman: Hugh Dudley, 4 Pleydells, Cricklade, SWINDON, SN6 6NG

Secretary: Gerry Dudley, 4 Pleydells, Cricklade, SWINDON, SN6 6NG

Treasurer: Tony Barratt, 13 Boundary Close, Stratton, SWINDON, SN2 7TF


Virtual Tour
Membership Form
About Friends
Our Achievements
Church History
Church Development
Catholic Furnishings
Parish Map
In The Press
Site Map

Back Up Next



The Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard 6 Oct 1906








   Fitting and affectionate tribute was paid on Friday afternoon to the memory of the Rev. John McKaye, B.A., whose twenty years of quiet and unostentatious but earnest and conscientious ministry as rector of Cricklade St. Mary closed with his life fifteen months ago. The east window (erected in 1862) of the interesting old church was of poor design and entirely out of character with the 15th century chancel, and it was decided that a memorial to Mr. McKaye should take the form of a new and properly designed window to take the place of the old and unsightly one. The result of the undertaking is excellent. The stone work, admirably harmonising with the rest of the fabric, is from the design of Mr. Ponting, the diocesan architect, and the window, the work of Mr. Horace Wilkinson, of Great Russell-street, a former pupil of Kemp, is of beautiful stained glass, the subjects being artistically treated and the colouring elegant and refined. The window is of three lights, representing respectively "The Nativity," "The Baptism of our Lord," and "The Holy Women at the Sepulchre." At the foot is enscrolled the following inscription :--

   To the glory of God and in loving memory of John McKaye, B.A., for 20 years rector of this parish, who died June 30th, 1905, this window is dedicated by his friends and parishioners, October, 1906.

The cost of the work has been about 150.

   The new and handsome altar hangings and dossal, the gift of Mrs. T. Butt Miller, were used for the first time at the dedication service, as were also the white wands of the churchwardens (Messrs. A. A. Baker and W. P. Cole), which were the gift of Mr. R. Giles.

   The window was dedicated by the Ven. Hemming Robeson, Archdeacon of North Wilts, in the presence of a large congregation. The other surpliced clergy were the Revs. Canon Estcourt (vicar of Swindon and rural dean), Sydney Denton (rector of Cricklade St. Mary), H. J. Morton (vicar of Cricklade St. Sampson), C. R. Gott (vicar of Latton), and Herbert Robeson (rector of Blunsdon). Other clergy present at the service were the Revs. M. J. T. Milling (Ashton Keynes), J. A. Ford (Maisey Hampton),  C. W. Tyler (Preston), Vernon Holt (St. Nicholas, Bristol), G. H. Kirkham (Whelford), J. Going (Purton), &c. Mrs. McKaye, widow of Mr. McKaye, and Miss Dean, niece, were also present.

   The hymn, "We love the place, O God," was sung as a processional. The special psalm was the 84th, and the special lesson, Isaiah 40, v. 1 to 12, was read by Canon Estcourt. The hymn, "Hail gladdening Light," was then sung, after which the dedicatory prayers and the collect for All Saints' Day were said by the Archdeacon. The hymn, "Let saints on earth in concert sing," preceded the address.


   The Archdeacon said : I feel, my friends, that this is not an occasion for a set sermon, but rather for a few words of sympathy and of thankfulness. For is it not the case that on occasions like the present there is always an element of sadness? The very expressions, "in memoriam," "memorial window," speak to us of someone who we miss from his place and his work on earth. They speak to us of some tender affections wounded, some one side of earthly happiness buried. They bring with them a sense of loss, and I am speaking to those, many of whom knew far better than myself him in whose memory we have dedicated the beautiful window yonder. Many of you at any rate have known him for years as your pastor, have known him in his teaching, have known him in his character, have known him in his gentleness, in his power of sympathy, you have known him in his going out and coming in amongst you, and some of you have very possibly known him in those sacred moments at the bed side in the sick room, and with you there must be a sense of the loss of one you knew as a faithful friend, a loving pastor. And we all can think of him who is gone as a true servant of Christ, whose place on earth and whose work on earth will know him no more. Of course there are deeper and more secret griefs known only to a few ; into these we would not venture to enter on a day like this ; we can but offer that sympathy which in God's goodness does bring with it a healing balm, and which seems to be in the very spirit of those words with which the lesson read today opens, "Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God," and the very spirit of the divine Master who had room in his loving heart for every human sorrow, and Who by the grave of Lazarus, we are told, wept the tears of one who loved intensely. But then I should like today to strike a note of thanksgiving rather --- a note of thankfulness for all His servant was, by God's goodness, enabled to do for those among whom he worked in this place. You know we are accustomed every Sunday, during the office of the Holy Communion, "to thank God for all His servants departed this life in His faith and fear." Now what do we mean by that expression of thankfulness? We may mean many things, but at any rate in those words we realise, we bring home to our minds in some degree that great doctrine of the Creed, the Communion of Saints. We bring home to our minds the fact that those who are gone before are still one family in Christ, one family with us, not really lost to us but merely gone before, and we cannot help imagining, though it has not pleased God to tell us much upon such a mysterious subject, that those who worked here have entered upon new activities of a more blessed and a more holy kind in the world beyond --- day by day, in the very sight of the Master, drinking in more of His love, realising how much each part of the discipline of life is a discipline of a loving hand, and how disappointments and discouragements which trouble here were really the work of a Father's hand, and had their purpose in disciplining and fitting for a better land than this. And so we can think happily with thankfulness of your Rector who has gone , who has ceased at least to move amongst us visibly in this world. We can think of him waiting, as pastor, to welcome one by one, as they are brought to the same Heavenly Home, those to whom he ministered, waiting in the hope of sharing in that joy of angels which we are told arises over one sinner that repenteth. And I think that that is one cause of thankfulness which we can always associate with the memory of a faithful pastor who tried, according to the power God gave him, to minister to those among whom he lived, and who now, we may well hope, is gladly watching as each one is brought home to the fold, so that he may be enabled to say, "Here am I Lord, and the souls whom Thou hast given me." And then again, the note that is struck by the words in the well-known hymn --- it does not happen to be one of those chosen for today --- "Now the labourer's task is o'er," surely that should enter into our thanksgiving also, because no one who knows anything of a clergyman's life can be ignorant of how many discouragements , how many disappointments, how many ill-requitals for loving work he has had to meet with, and still go on labouring in hope, labouring in prayer, and it is one happy thought connected with one who is parted from us that now that task is over. And then again the hymn we sang just before I began to address you, a most favourite hymn of my own, I confess:

Let saints on earth in concert sing

With those whose work is done ;

For all the servants of our King

In Heaven and earth are one.

That hymn strikes a still wider note, and when affectionate memories are shown by offerings to the Church like the one we have dedicated today, we feel that one who is gone though dead yet liveth, and that those on this side of the grave desire still to follow in the path in which he would lead, desire to set forth God's honour by beautifying the place of His sanctuary. And so, as we look on that window, we are reminded also that the Church's work is Christ's work, that those great verities which are represented in that window, the incarnation of our Lord, the baptism of our Lord, the holy death and burial, are great divine facts of undying significance, foundations on which the Church is built, and that even when smaller things may divide us and we may each have our special opinion on this or that minor point, yet still in the great facts represented there there is unity, a true unity, for us, and we shall all of us, whether clergy or laity, be encouraged to believe that we shall be doing best the same work which he who was your pastor would rejoice to see done if we resolve and pray that as far as in us lies that work of Christ in his Church shall not be hindered, it shall go on and prosper --- it shall not be checked by smaller differences or disputes about lesser matters --- and then shall come the great thanksgiving of all when he that soweth and he that reapeth, when the living and the departed, the Master with His great company of angels, all shall rejoice together in one blest communion and fellowship of the saints of God.

   The concluding hymn was "On the Resurrection morning."


   A memorial service was held on Sunday evening, when there was a large congregation. The Rev. C. R. Gott officiated, the lessons being read by Mr. T. B. Miller. In an impressive and touching address from Job i. verse 21, "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taketh away," the rev. gentleman, after reviewing his acquaintance with the deceased rector, proceeded to refer to his pronounced individuality of character which, said the preacher, differed very much from that of the ordinary man, whether layman or priest. He exhibited a large amount of zeal for the work of the Lord, and in speaking in defence of the truth he never courted popularity. He was fearless and outspoken, and probably there were those who had passed him with slight recognition in the street as a result, but who today would look back and say it was the action of a straightforward man. Such men were wanted today. Unselfishness was another feature of his character. He was always loyal to his church, with vivid recollections of its past history, and although he might differ from some of the external practices of the present day, he never attempted to unduly impose his views on others. Another attribute of his was the beautiful tenderness he exhibited in so many ways, in the sick chamber and other places, while his genuine affection for little children must remain in the minds of many. Another of his marked characteristics was his humility, never advocating anything of a high order but always the plain and simple, a striking example of which the speaker mentioned in his own experience with deceased shortly before he passed away. In conclusion the preacher exhorted his hearers to pray for grace to follow the example of one who by his works although dead yet speaketh. He sowed the seed the harvest of which had to be realised as time proceeded. "On the Resurrection morning" was sung as the closing hymn.


Back Up Next