T Butt Miller Memorial


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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The Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard 21 Aug 1915








   The high place which his parish church held in the affection of Mr. T. Butt Miller was further manifested on Wednesday afternoon, when two stained glass windows, presented to the Church of St. Mary, Cricklade, by Mrs. Miller, in memory of her late husband, were dedicated. During his long residence in Cricklade Mr. Miller was a frequent worshipper at this church and took a keen and active interest in its welfare, enriching its many beauties from time to time with handsome gifts.

   The windows presented by Mrs. Miller are a lancet window in the east wall of the nave, and a three-light window in the south wall nearest east. The subject of the larger window is our Lord in Glory, the centre light representing the Saviour standing on a cloud, with the orb, as an emblem of sovereignty. The vestments are treated in fifteenth century style, the architectural portion of the design being fifteenth century of the later period, though the exigencies of space demanded some original touches, particularly noticeable in the treatment of the canopy and the rays of light. The figure of our Lord is surrounded by figures emblematical of the four Evangelists, St. Matthew being represented by an angel, St. Mark by a lion, St. Luke by an ox, and St. John by an eagle, an inspiration from Ezekiel. The left-hand light depicts St. Michael, who in accordance with antiquarian precedent is represented with the cross, which he holds in his right hand, his victory over Satan being typified by the dragon underfoot. The opposite light represents the Archangel Gabriel, holding a sceptre in his right hand, a scroll in his left hand reading "Ego suin Gabriel qui adsto in conspecta Dei" (I am Gabriel who stand in the presence of God). Under the whole length of the window runs the inscription, "To the glory of God and in memory of Thomas Butt Miller, 13th January 1915."  The second window, representing the Virgin and Child, the latter holding the orb, bears a similar inscription. The windows were the work of Mr. Horace Wilkinson, of 68, Great Russell-street, London, who was also responsible for the Day memorial window in Stratton St. Margaret Church.

   The service of dedication took place at three o'clock, and was largely attended. Mrs. Miller and family being amongst those present. After shortened evensong, conducted by the Rev. Sydney Denton, a former rector of the parish, the dedicatory prayers were read by the Ven. Ravenscroft Stewart, M.A., Archdeacon of North Wilts. The lessons were read by the Rev. Canon J. F. D. Stephens, rural dean of Cricklade, other clergy present being the Rev. C. Wray, rector of St. Mary's, the Rev. C. W. Jacob, vicar of St. Sampson's, Cricklade, the Rev. H. E. Robeson, rector of Blunsdon, and the Rev. J. Pugh, curate of Purton. The service was fully choral, Miss Mary E. Horsell presiding at the organ.


   The ARCHDEACON based his address on the words "My house shall be called a house of prayer" (St. Matthew xxi., 13). He said : I fear we do not realise as we ought to do the great privilege we enjoy in our spiritual heritage in this land. We do not know what an effect our old parish churches have on the life of our country. They stand here generation after generation, always increasing in interest, constantly giving opportunities for care, for repairs, for improvements ; but still our old parishes go on through the centuries, and they ought to be to every one of us an appeal to use them aright. There seems to be in human nature an instinct to worship. There is no part of this world so dark and uncivilised that we cannot find there early traces of worship. In fact, in almost all countries I think it may be said that the oldest things existing belong to worship. It is part of the instinct of the human heart to call out to the God Who reigns above, and there seems to be another instinct that we should have a special place set apart for the worship of God. You remember the story of the exiled Jacob, far from home, when he was granted that vision of the ladder and the angels. He said, "surely God is in this place and I knew it not . . . this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven" ; and he set up a stone to mark the place where this vision had been granted. And then, you remember, God made use of this instinct of a fitting place for worshipping God, both in the wilderness life by the tabernacle, and also in later days by the temple. And it will not do for anyone to say that that all belongs to Old Testament worship when you remember how our Lord vindicated the honour and sanctity of His own house, how He purged the temple twice during His ministry. Now our churches stand here a record of the piety of our forefathers, and I want you to think just of this, that we shall be responsible before God not for what they are to us, but for what they might be to us if we used them aright, if we recognise in them the house of prayer and the house of God, if we come to our church from time to time not merely to ask for what we want but rather to offer a sacrifice to God of thanksgiving and service. Then our churches would be constantly helping us on our road towards God, they would be helping us to allow our whole life, and that is what your church stands for her to be your spiritual home, to help and strengthen, to cheer and encourage you in days of darkness, and to give you the opportunity of offering worship to God with thankful heart in the brighter days when things are going well. This most interesting church bears in it both in stone and wood the handicraft of centuries ago. And it has become more interesting and more precious, hallowed by those centuries, and hallowed, too, to those who dwell here by the associations of their whole life. And from time to time additions are made to your church which are always adding to the interest, always making it, we trust, more seemly as the house of prayer. And today we have dedicated to God these windows, and those who have attended here, I think, are evidence that this gift has been well bestowed and well placed, because these windows are intended to commemorate one who worshipped here and dwelt here, and who always took a generous, kindly interest in this church and all that belonged to it. And therefore to you who knew him --- and I am sorry to say that it was not my privilege to know him --- but to you who knew him it will add a value and interest to your church. For there are those beautiful windows , an addition not merely from the point of art and beauty, but also recording the memory of one who led a straightforward, manly, honourable life ; one who was generous, fixed in his purpose and his faith ; who loved his church and was willing to give to it. From all that I have ever heard he was indeed an example of those English gentlemen --- God grant that they may never be wanting amongst us! --- men that were trusted and honoured ; men who went straight in their dealings with their fellow men ; men who bowed in God's house, showing their faith and their thanksgiving. Yes, my dear friends, it is well for you that there should be this addition to your beautiful church, because it is well that we should bear in mind what kind of life it is that is honoured and missed. And we thank God for such examples. I think it makes it easier for those to fear God and to do the right when they know that such men are loved and honoured here and sorely missed when they are gone. There is a great deal in this church which ought to help those who worship here to realise where they are ; and as they come here and look round them everything helps them to a spirit of devotion. There seems to be a character in it all which gives the words of our Lord Himself that "My house shall be called a house of prayer." There is now, dear friends, a great call to us men, a call from God to prayer. There is a call of King and country for service, and that call has been nobly answered from amongst you. Have we answered as readily and as freely God's call to prayer? These parish churches may not be valued perhaps by those who are growing up close beside them, but I have been told by men who have emigrated to far distant lands that the thing they missed most when they got there was the sound of the church bell. They may not have attended when they had the opportunity, but they sorely missed it when they found there was no church to go to. And just now we stand in this position. I am not exaggerating when I say there are hundreds of thousands of young Englishmen who have lately been brought under the ministrations of the Church of England who perhaps never were before. They are out on active service --- please God they may return! --- and when they come home, quickened as they are, I firmly believe, by the nearness of death to them day and night, with a real love of God and a real desire to pray in their hearts, when they come home here to their old country and see these churches standing here as a witness of God's service, what are they to find here? Are they to find that we are now praying for them day and night? It will make a great difference to them, and we shall be responsible for it, whether they are to be chilled on their return by a cold, lifeless, professed Christianity, or whether they are to find in us a people serving God and constantly on their knees. Oh, think of this, my dear friends, and make this church of yours more than it has ever been the house of prayer. You, no doubt, have those you love in danger : come here and ask God to be with them in life or death. Make this your spiritual home, and you will learn to love it more and more, to love every stone of it, to love every record it contains of those who long ago passed away. May God help us all to play our part in this great national crisis, and may we, above all, show the example of prayer, service and sacrifice.


   At the evening service the preacher was the Rev. Sydney Denton, the former rector. Preaching from the text, "I am among you as he that serveth," St. Luke xxii., 27, he said : Among the many incidents connected with their Lord's burial and death there was one which the Apostles would always remember, a gentle but severe reproof, never to be recalled without a feeling of shame and humiliation : for at the very time when Judas the betrayer had gone forth into the darkness of the night to betray his Lord and Master, their minds were occupied with the old trivial question as to which of them should be the greatest. It was necessary, therefore, that these, the chosen servants of Christ, should be taught in a way that they would never forget the most elementary but the most essential lesson of Christianity in the dignity of service. For this purpose, therefore, our Lord girds Himself with a towel and condescends to wash His disciples' feet.

   These words express the whole purpose of our Saviour's life. They express the true ideal of culture and civilisation as opposed to the false. They have stood the test of experience, and the present strife is revealing them in their truth as the only national rule of life. They proclaim the truth that the value of a man's life is the amount of service he renders.

   They express the purpose of our Lord's life. Adam was not content to serve ; he willed to rule, he exalted himself and fell. The struggle for self, the law of the survival of the fittest, became the law, of a fallen, sin-stained world. Christ, the second Adam, came in the fulness of time, and by His humility, His life of service and His death of shame, raised fallen humanity and restored man to his true destiny --- service and self-sacrifice. St. Paul puts the whole matter plainly in these words, "Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who being in the form of God counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of man ; and being fashioned in the fashion as a man he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yes, the death of the Cross, wherefor also God highly exalted Him."

   They express the true idea of civilisation. The Jew had largely lost this ideal and had so limited and obscured the great commandment "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and thy neighbour as thyself," that our Lord's teaching came as a revelation. The heathen world had never possessed this ideal. "The light shined in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not." Virtue meant valour, humility was a vice suited only to slaves ; its corresponding virtue was greatness of soul, or self-assertion. Christianity has ever stood for the raising of the oppressed and downtrodden. It is aptly expressed in the words, "Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ." For this purpose we are now fighting the most righteous war ever fought.

   The value of a man's life is the service he renders. In other words, when those we love are taken from us, the memories which console us are the good that was done, the service which was rendered. Death strips away all illusions and brings us back to essential truths.

   All are capable of rendering service, but the greater our opportunities the greater our obligation. In the Christian state each man is called to serve God in his own vocation, and we are all members one of another. One of the many blessings in disguise caused by the present crisis is that it has welded all classes together in a brotherhood of self-sacrifice. The test of peace-time will not be a man's social position. It will be, Did he give, or did he withhold his service? --- did he go, or did he wait to be fetched?

   Our thoughts go out today to one who worshipped for many years in this church, to one who made Cricklade his home and the centre of his life. I will not attempt to enumerate all that he has done for the place which he loved so well. This building alone bears much evidence of his true character. He was one who hated that which was false and loved that which was true ; one who believed in his religion and who rendered God no mere lip-service ; one who strove to be true and just in all his dealings ; a friend of the poor ; one who loved to show mercy as well as to do justice. He was taken at a time when England could ill spare him and he has left a gap in the life of Cricklade which no one else seems likely to fill. God's time is none the less the right time, for the true labourer is never taken until his work is accomplished. Let us take home, therefore, this truth : true service here is never lost or forgotten ; its influence remains. It is the education by means of which God trains us for higher things, for the joy of heaven is summed up in one word, the joy and the fulfilment of perfect service.


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