There's so much to say in this letter I'm not sure where best to begin
... there's the flower festival, the work on the altar frontal, news about
the heating and other building works, the forthcoming annual general
meeting, new patrons for the Friends, a new notice board at the church,
the work on the parish marriage registers, plus a special article on the
early 16th century rector John Holden ... read on.
Mary's Flower Festival
First of all though let me remind you all about the flower festival on Saturday
8th and Sunday 9th September at the church. The
theme is 'A Band of Gold' a celebration of marriage, and all its
anniversaries in flowers. The festival coincides with the national
Heritage Open Days scheme run by the Civic Trust, and the Historic
Churches cycle ride. This really is not to be missed.
As well as the flower show itself, there will be a recital held in the
church on the evening of Friday 7th from 6pm. This will be a chance to
preview the displays and listen to traditional wedding anthems. Our
soloist for the evening will be Isobel Collyer who trained at the Royal
College of Music, accompanied on the organ by her mother Janet Williams.
The recital will be followed by cheese and wine at Brook House, courtesy
of Louise and Seymour Aitken. Tickets for this very special event priced
at £7.50 are available from Beryl's the florists and Baileys Newsagents
in Cricklade High Street, or telephone Bernadette Yarnold on 01285 861586
or Gerry Dudley on 750107 for details.
As well as being a splendid event, the flower festival will be the
major fund raising event held by the Friends this year, so please, give it
your support! Helpers are always welcome, or get a poster from Gerry or
Bernadette to put in your window or on a notice board. But most of all
come along during the weekend and bring your friends and family!
Fritillary Altar Frontal complete
Another major initiative from the Friends comes to fruition this month
with the completion of the restoration work on the early 20th
century altar frontal embroidered by the Butt-Miller family. The local
team of volunteers has replaced the perished backing fabric, and
painstakingly reattached the embroidered motifs, which are now highlighted
by gold thread. The altar frontal is now in use in the church once again,
and will be on display in the church throughout the flower festival - it
looks absolutely splendid.
St Mary's Parish History Project
Also on display in the church for the festival will be copies of the
parish marriage registers from 1686 up to the early 20th
century. Bernadette Yarnold has transcribed these from archives at the
County Record Office, Trowbridge. Fascinating details of local family
names, streets in the parish and the occupations of those getting married
or acting as witnesses are recorded. For example, although the parish was
only a small one in 1839, the Reverend Hugh Allen conducted a record
eleven marriages that year.
For the more recent history of marriages in the parishes Bernadette
would very much welcome the loan of photographs or other memorabilia for
temporary display in the church during the flower festival. If you can
help, call Bernadette on 01285 861586.
In addition, there is now a 'History File' on permanent display in the
church, which brings together copies of articles about the church and
details its development from Saxon times up to the Victorian restoration.
It makes a good read (but please remember to leave it for others to
"Stands the church clock at ten to three?..."
Well twenty to eleven actually (pace Rupert Brooke). As you will
recall the Friends are funding work to restore the chiming mechanism on
the 1863 tower clock at St Mary's. David Jones of Helston in Cornwall has
been contracted to do this work, which will also include thorough
refurbishment of the mechanism and re-gilding of the clock dial above the
chancel. An automatic winding unit will also be installed to remove the
need for a weekly climb up the Victorian ladder bolted to the inside of
the tower. The clock mechanism was removed in late spring , and so for the
moment time stands still at our end of the High Street. All being well,
work on the re-gilding will commence in late August. Re-installation of
the clock will be co-ordinated with work on the proposed heating system
Hot air ...
It's perhaps difficult to remember at this time of year, but it does
get cold in the church come the winter! After extensive consultation with
English Heritage and specialist church heating engineers, a scheme is
under consideration to install a gas powered air heater in the church.
This will be located in the tower chamber with ducts directing a warm air
stream into the aisles on either side of the church, from where it will
circulate throughout the building. Details of the installation will be
determined at a site meeting on 22nd August, so we should have
progress to report in the next issue.
Getting St Mary's noticed
Visitors to the church will have seen the new notice board that now
faces up the High Street from the south wall of the chancel. The board
includes a specially commissioned painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
presenting the Christ Child to the world, by Maggie Fitzpatrick.
There is less welcome news about the front wall. The hoped-for grant
from North Wiltshire District Council towards the cost of refurbishment of
the front wall to the churchyard, and replacement of the iron railings
under the High Street Refurbishment Scheme now seems to be in some doubt.
This is a blow as the church forms such a strong visual feature at the
north end of the High Street, in the heart of the zone designated by the
council as a Conservation Area. Hopefully good sense will prevail. In the
meantime the Friends very gratefully acknowledges the grants recently
received from two local charities, the Waylands Trust and the Cricklade
Show - particularly generous given this year's agricultural crisis.
New Patrons for the Friends
The Friends is very pleased to announce that Bishop Declan Lang of
Clifton and the Rev. Ken Withington have accepted our invitation to become
patrons of the Friends. We welcome their support.
A date for your diaries...
Please note that the Friends will be holding an Annual General Meeting
on 13th November at Brook House by kind permission of
Seymour and Louise Aitken. More information will be sent out to Friends
nearer the date.