Newsletter 14


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


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Newsletter No. 14


September 2005

Letter from the Chairman

Dear Friends,

You may not have noticed many changes to St Mary's during the past 6 months but I am sure you cannot have missed the tidy cemetery - the result of some very hard labour on 9th April. However, once a year is definitely not enough and we are planning another onslaught on September 10th to coincide with the Heritage Open Day and Historic Churches Cycle Ride.

Arranging for repairs to the Churchyard Cross is proving to be a lengthy business. We have moved forward from English Heritage and have applied for Scheduled Monument planning consent. We hope to start work this year.  In July we obtained a grant from Waylands Estates to enable us to make a photographic record of the cross before and after the repair. The photographs are intended for display, so you will

 have the opportunity to see the lantern in greater detail. 

Our long standing Treasurer, Tony Doyle, retired at the beginning of the year. Regrettably our new Treasurer Robin Bourne was unable to remain in the post for more than a few months. He has been replaced by Kevin Allen who VOLUNTEERED for the post! Welcome Kevin. We warmly welcome two other members to our steering committee - Annie Wykeham Martin and Trish Snape. Sadly Philippa Hunter has retired after seven years sterling work. There is a separate tribute to her later in the Newsletter.

We held our usual Open Day in May and profited from the sale of transcripts of our Parish Registers. Then in June we enjoyed a relaxing and scrumptious Italian Lunch at the home of Jenny and Steve

Wrigley. We dined in style in a splendid marquee and were blessed with fine weather. We were delighted that 40+ parishioners of St Mary's attended with their children and this afforded us an opportunity to get to know each other a little better. 

The last fundraising event this year will be the

Coffee Morning

at Brook House

Saturday 29th October

at 10 a.m.

Please make a not in your diary now and make a special effort to give this your support and to encourage your friends to join us there. As ever donations for the raffle will be much appreciated.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Bernadette Yarnold


My journey


When I told friends of some forty odd years that I was planning a move from Lancashire to Wiltshire, they were horrified and more than a little concerned. Once the decision was made the next step was where to go. Cricklade seemed to tick all the right boxes and I found a lovely little cottage.

The move was fairly traumatic. For example, when the removal van failed to arrive at my new home I was told that the move had been cancelled. This was despite the fact that they were carrying all my worldly goods. However, things improved.

I was greeted in Cricklade by smiling faces, everyone was so friendly and welcoming. The bad memories of the move receded and I started to settle down and refurbish the cottage.

It is such a joy to be able to walk to Mass each Sunday. Now to those who have done this all their lives this may seem over the top but to stroll down a High Street lined with flowers is a joy. It was a bit of a culture shock at first coming from a congregation of some 400, where one only knew a small number of fellow worshippers, to some 50-60. Here one is able to meet and mix with nearly everyone and again the friendliness is amazing.

The church itself is a delight, it is so beautiful, we are blessed indeed. The Friends of St Mary's is a great idea, their aim is to keep our lovely church in good order and we, as members, are able to support the committee in this work. Since its inception in 1998, they have raised a 

considerable amount of money and carried out invaluable work to heat and help refurbish the church and there is a continuing programme to support this aim. A daunting prospect but one they have embraced wholeheartedly.

I returned to Lancashire recently for a ruby wedding celebration and all my friends complimented me on how relaxed and happy I appeared. So was my move successful? Certainly. Could I have chosen a better place? I don't think so. Cricklade now has me for better or worse.

So, if you see a lady strolling down the High Street at 9.20 on Sunday mornings with a big smile on her face - that's me.

Tricia Snape

A big thank you


Earlier this year Philippa Hunter retired from the steering committee of the Friends of St Mary's Church. Most of you will be aware that Philippa had served on the committee since 1998 when The Friends were formed. 


Over the years Philippa has been a purveyor of jams, marmalades and chutneys at our Open Days and Fetes. They were always popular and a source of steady income. Philippa is also a cyclist 

and this talent has benefited St Mary's with her participation in the annual Historic Churches Cycle Ride which raises money for the upkeep of historic churches. Her greatest achievement was her participation in the Ride in 2004 when she raised over 1,000 for The Friends and was awarded the Gloucestershire Trophy for her efforts.


At a small gathering in July to hand over the Trophy, Philippa was presented with a painting of St Mary's Church as a token of appreciation for the stalwart support she has given to The Friends over the past seven years. Thank you, Philippa.

Bernadette Yarnold

The bells of St Mary's


In July of this year I received a letter from Richard Hobson, Tower Captain of St Mary's Church, Tattingstone, Suffolk. He hoped we might be able to furnish him with the history of one of his bells which had been purchased from St Mary's Cricklade in 1984. This is its history. 

The earliest record states that "In 1553 Cricklade St Mary's had iij bells (1)" but gave no further details. In 1733 a Call Bell was cast with the inscription "Come away, make no delay (2)". Then in 1779 the bells were recast by Thomas Rudhall of Gloucester and paid for by subscription which was recorded within the Bell Tower, although no longer visible: 

"St Mary 's 
Against the North Wall inside the Tower
The Bells in this Tower were Recast and New Hung in the year of our Lord 1780, at the expense of the underwritten Subscribers: 


John Nesbitt. Esq

Lord of the Manor

The Hon. Henry Herbert, Esq. 

William Hall 

Olive Mills 

James Akerman   

Maurice Vincent 

The Rev. Dr. Froome 

William Jones Esq. 

William King    

Richard Kinner  

    s    d

1     0    0

10   10    0

10   10    0

 2      2    0

2      2    0

2      2    0 

2      2    0 

1      1    0

1      1    0

1      1    0

1      1    0


James Young

Crook Godby  

James Jackson 

John Hinton

  Henry Lawe  

Thomas Pike

William Hill 

Wilkins Ellis

John Habgood  

John Slatter 

      s     d

1      1     0

1      1     0

1      1     0 

0   10     6

0   10     6 

0   10     6 

0   10     6 

0     5     0

0     5     0 

0     5     0

Mr John Hinton    ) Churchwardens 

James Akerman ) 

Inscriptions on the Bells: 
First Bell - Peace and Good Neighbourhood. 1779                  Third Bell - Prosperity to this Town 
Second Bell - Thomas Rudhall, Gloucester, January, 1779      On the Tingtang - Come away, make no delay

Thomas Rudhall who cast the bells was from a well established foundry which was started in Gloucester by Abraham Rudhall in 1684. He was succeeded by Abraham II, then Abel, and later by Thomas, his brother Charles and half brother John. The foundry was sold in 1835. Between 1684-1835 the Rudhalls cast over 5,000 bells. 

The next we learn of our bells is in the Parish Register of 1894. "Church bells repaired: Elm stocks, Oak Wheels, gun metal bearings in cast iron blocks and covers, hardened gudgeons, iron stops, new pulleys, sliders and tufted Ropes -New head stock to Call Bell, lever, and oak uprights (4)" -adjuncts to campanology that those of us unfamiliar with bells may not have appreciated. And on the 25th of the same month there is an entry recording the birth of Edward VIII. "The bells having been disused for Ringing for many years past, after the above mentioned repairs the First peal was this day rung in celebration of the Birth on the 23rd inst. of the eldest son Edwd. Albert Christian Geo. Andrew Patrick David of H.R.H. The Duke of York " (5)

In 1952 the parish of St Mary was amalgamated with that of St Sampson and in 1981 the church of St Mary was declared redundant. The middle bell "was transferred to St Sampson's in 1977 to augment that ring, the ring at St Mary's having ! become unsafe (6)". St Mary's was re-opened for Catholic worship on 1st January 1984 on a 100 year lease from the Bristol , Diocese. When cleaning and repairing the church in preparation for re-opening, the two remaining bells were resting on the floor of the tower. 

During 1984 the two bells were sold to churches in Suffolk for 600 and 500. Proceeds from the sale were given by the Church of England to St Mary's Restoration Fund. Although the sale was noted, details of the purchasers were not recorded. It is a great pleasure to have located the Treble Bell, which being the largest (and weighing 43/4 cwt.) probably sold for 600, and is now leading the peal at St Mary's Church, Tattingstone. Our thanks are extended to Richard Hobson for his enquiry and for supplying a photograph of the Treble Bell for our records. Its message of "Peace and good Neighbourhood" continues to ring forth. 

Bernadette Yarnold 


(1) British Museum. Add. MSS 33205 fo1229, Church Bells of Wiltshire HB WaIters MA, FSA Wiltshire Archaeological Society, Dec 1927,28,29 (3 parts) 

(2) Wiltshire Record Office: Parochial Register 1632/45 

(3) Monumental Inscriptions of Wiltshire 1822, Sir Thomas Phillips (Wilts. Record Society 2000) Vol53 

(4) Wiltshire Record Office: Parochial Register 1632/45 

(5) Ibid 
(6) National Buildings Record made by Pastoral Measure Officer, 27 March 1980 

Uncovering the past in St Mary's Cemetery


At the AGM in November last year it was agreed that because the conifers in the cemetery had been removed, the boundary had become unsightly and vulnerable and that we would undertake to tidy up the boundaries and plant some shrubs. We had to obtain the consent of Cricklade Town Council and a meeting was arranged with their representative. He proved most helpful and gave some very good advice as to how to proceed.

So, on a Saturday in April a band of hardy gardeners set about clearing the overgrown boundary. We cleared one wall of ivy and creeper, lopped out dead wood from bushes and dug out weeds, the bonus being that we uncovered a path made up of some very old gravestones - one for a child aged 3 dating from the 1750s.

Along the wall we uncovered a large stone and what appeared to be metal fencing. This proved to be part of a large enclosed 

family grave. Our friend from the council was on hand to take photographs of the work and was thrilled with the progress we had made. We have to thank a local farmer for loading most of the "cuttings" onto his trailer - he took about five huge loads away! There were some stiff backs, arms and legs next day but it was rewarding to see the outcome.

We also applied for a grant from the council towards the planting and they were happy to donate 500 if this was matched by us, being pleased that we would undertake the labour to improve the appearance of what could be a very beautiful churchyard and cemetery. They also offered the advice of their groundsman and we met him on site. He brought along one of the admin staff from the Council who is interested in and knowledgeable about plants, with the result that we were sent a list of appropriate planting for the ground, bearing in mind we wanted to focus in being able to use the foliage for the flower 

arrangements in Church. 

Representatives of the Council have taken an ongoing interest with advice and the offer of spare plants of their own which is really very much appreciated.

At our open day in May we had some plants left over which we planted in the front part of the border and these are doing well, thanks to hand watering by parishioners, as we had realised there was no mains water to St Mary's! However a water butt has now been purchased and is waiting to be installed. Unfortunately the weeds have reared their heads again so another effort is to be mounted on Saturday 10th September, the date of the Heritage Open Day.

We're hoping for lots of volunteers to help uncover some more of the history of St Mary's, and make the boundary of the cemetery a colourful and peaceful garden by this time next year.

Helen Clift



Brook House, High Street, Cricklade

With refreshments, cakes, fancy goods and a RAFFLE.

10 am - 12 noon


Diary Note - A G M 

Tuesday 8th November

At Brook House, High Street

Cricklade at 7.45 p.m.

(After 7.00 Mass for The Friends)


Contact us

Chairman: Bernadette Yarnold, 6 Four Acre Close, Ashton Keynes

Secretary: Gerry Dudley, 4 Pleydells, Cricklade

Treasurer: Kevin Allen, The Gables, Sawyer's Hill, Minety

Acting Newsletter Editor:

Clare Flanagan

9 West Mill Lane