Newsletter 13


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. 13


February 2005

Letter from the Chairman

Dear Friends,

There were daffodils flowering in my garden in December. With the mild winter thus far, many are turning their thoughts to Spring. This brings me on to my first topic - a garden spring clean. For garden substitute cemetery and you will quickly get the message. St Mary's cemetery is in need of a litde dc. Maintenance is a Town Council matter but an extra element of self help under the guidance of the town gardeners is required in order to prepare the ground for some refurbishment following the removal of the trees to the South boundary wall We shall ask for volunteers soon. If you are fit please be generous with your 


Work on the churchyard cross should commence shortly. Edmund has expanded on this topic later in the newsletter. We have approached the conservators as recommended by English Heritage. There was a significant difference in the quotations, the highest being £3,147. We maybe able to accept a lesser quotation providing the specification is approved by English Heritage. 

Edmund bas been busy with archive material and you will find a very interesting article on St Mary's Elizabethan Chalice and Paten together with an illustration. There is more silverware of a later date which 

we hope may be described in the next issue. 

Following discussion at the AGM your committee asked David Tetlow to produce a membership card to serve as a reminder of our aims and as a prompt for our fundraising functions throughout the year. Of these I should like to commend the alfresco Sunday lunch at Jenny and Steve Wrigley's in June as an opportunity for a parish gathering. There is plenty of garden for children. 

With best wishes to you all and our thanks for your continued support. 

Bernadette Yarnold


Work in hand on the medieval cross

Friends will be pleased to hear of progress with plans to repair the medieval preaching cross in the churchyard at St Mary's. This monument incorporates the finest medieval sculpture in Cricklade, dating, judging from the style of the figures, to the 14th century, the age of the Black Death. The cross- shaft has been suffering from weathering and some movement in the Steps around it. The Victorian iron cross  added to the top of the sculpted 'lantern' also needs to be removed and re-set to protect the stonework. Consent for this work has been sought from English Heritage, as the cross is both a grade 1 listed building and a scheduled monument. Once this has been secured, and contractors with 
experience of working with old stonework have been appointed, the work should go ahead during the Spring. 
The Friends gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Tony Thompson of the Falconer Partnership for his work on the development of the project and permission to reproduce the drawings shown here (note that the work shown was drawn before comments from English Heritage - plans have subsequently been modified to match their requirements). 

Edmund Lee

"Lost" treasure of St Mary's

It was one of those moments that makes historical research worthwhile. I'd gone up to the library at the National Monuments Record Centre in Swindon one lunchtime in December to try and find a published reference to the medieval cross in the churchyard that I'd seen previously. While looking along the shelves my eye was 
caught by a faded book- spine with the title "Church Plate of the County of Wiltshire". I lifted it down - it was clearly one of the older books in the collection - written by J.E. Nightingale F.S.A in 1891. I turned to the index. There was St Mary's, Cricklade
 listed (it was still a separate parish to St Sampson's at that date). I leafed through and there, to my delight, was not only a reference to St Mary's, but a detailed drawing of a communion cup and lid that belonged to the church at St Mary's at the time of 
Nightingale's survey. 

The cup, dating to eleven years before the Spanish 
Armada, was in silver, with ornate decoration. Every detail was recorded - the style of scaled illustration showing both profile and plan views of the cup is still in used by  archaeologists today. I was amazed. I had not 

even realised that such a cup existed, and here was not only a reference to it, but this beautiful drawing. 

Notes accompanying the drawing describe the cup in detail: "It is 8" in height, and is a handsome vessel retaining its Paten cover, on which is engraved the date 1577 . 
There are no regular hall- marks found, only that of a maker twice repeated: it seems to represent a heart resting on an inverte. 
Whoever the maker might have been, he has produced an excellent example of an Elizabethan Cup. A similar

chalice with the same mark is at Somerford Keynes". 

As with all historical research this opens up other avenues of enquiry. Who was the maker using that mark? Was he perhaps local if he also had produced a cup at Somerford, or had both cups come from further afield? And why was a new communion cup commissioned? Perhaps the religious tensions between Catholic and Protestant led to the introduction of new vessels, more in keeping with the practices of the first Elizabethan age. 

I've since been told that the cup still exists, and is now 
in the care of the parish of St Sampson's, along with a similar cup, also illustrated. I hope at some point to be able to see the original, but until then Nightingale has left us with this fasdnating record. 

The library at the National Monuments Record Centre is open to the public Tuesday to Friday during office hours. Call 01793414600 for further details. 

Edmund Lee 


Forthcoming events

SATURDAY 28th MAY 2005

Church Open Morning

St Mary’s Church 10am - 12 noon

Coffee, tea, light refreshments, cakes, plants and seeds, jams.

SUNDAY 26th JUNE 2005




at Innisfree, Cerney Wick


Bring the whole family for an informal get together



Heritage Open Day &

Wiltshire Historic Churches Cycle Ride

St Mary’s Church will be open in support of both events 10am - 6pm

Historical information and artefacts on display. 

Transcription of the Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers.


The man in the kilt - a tribute to John Williams


Many people in Cricklade knew John Williams by name. There are some, however, who knew him as "the man in the kilt!". Sadly John died in December 2004, not long after his lovely wife Barbara who died earlier in the year. My own observations of this lovely, loving couple, who had been married for over 60 years, included the vast range and diversity of their interests. 
This was obvious from the huge 
number of books displayed in
their living room, encompassing many topics. 

Near the end of their lives Barbara, in her 90's and John in his late 80's did not get about very much. However, in their earlier lives, John's great passion was old cars. He 
was involved with the Morris 8 Club and the Mid-Cheshire Motor Club, helping to organise the International Meeting of fellow enthusiasts. During this  

time he became friends with many motor-racing aces such as Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren. He continued to work for these organisations after his arrival in Cricklade. Another of his interests was amateur dramatics and he was very active with the Altrincham Garrick Theatre where he did stage lighting, sound effects and some acting. 

After arriving in Cricklade, John was very involved in bell ringing and singing in the choir at St Sampson's. He also co-ordinated material for the Chronicle, on his manual typewriter in his spare bedroom, and Barbara supported him in all he did.

When we needed a spare key to the door at St Mary's, John obligingly said he would make one for us, by hand, since it was not the kind of key you could take along to "Key Cut"' - it was about 6 inches long and weighed about 10 ounces! He duly set to work, and the following letter accompanied the finished article, delivered by "the man in the kilt". 

John and Barbara will always be 
remembered in our prayers for deceased Friends of St Mary's.

Gerry Dudley 

Contact us

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

Secretary: Gerry Dudley, 4 Pleydells, Cricklade

Treasurer: Robin Bourne, 2 Morestall Drive, Cirencester, GL7 1TF

Acting Newsletter Editor:

Clare Flanagan

9 West Mill Lane