“We are all anxious to have a Memorial which will be entirely worthy of the occasion”

Newbury made moves towards getting a war memorial designed.

At the first committee meeting [appointed by the meeting of parishioners on 22 January to consider a war memorial] on Feb. 4th, the names of Mr R Martin, junior, and Mr F H Stillman were added to the above. At the same meeting the Rector was asked to write and enquire about an architect, who would give the necessary advice as to a suitable memorial. He has been referred by the Archdeacon of Berks to the Vicar of Burford, and is waiting to hear from him. The final decision of the committee will be reported to another Meeting of Parishioners. We are all anxious to have a Memorial which will be entirely worthy of the Church and of the occasion.

Newbury parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

“The fact is War Work occupies all the available time”: Wargrave responds to the National Mission

The National Mission in Wargrave was announced in October 1916 as starting on 19 November:

The National Mission

The Sunday fixed for the Mission Services in Wargrave is November 19th, when the Ven. The Archdeacon of Berkshire will be in charge.

It was a great success, the parish magazine later reported; but would it have long lasting effects?

The National Mission

We have indeed much cause to be thankful. It was a great disappointment when we heard that that Archdeacon Ducat could not come; but that the Rev. George Perry-Gore was able to take his place and on the same day may indeed be taken as a sign of the good hand of our God upon us.

All who attended the Mission desire to unite in tendering their most grateful thanks to our Missioner. We must take counsel before God, each with himself, as to how we can give effect to the message by new resolution to walk with God.

The attendance at the meetings of preparation and at the services of the Mission were good. The weather during the Mission was so very bad that it required a real effort to face it, and many in weak health or at a distance were altogether unable to do so. Those who did come were rewarded.

We must be thankful that the weather was fine for the four Open-Air Services. They were well supported and afforded a simple but impressive witness.

The Men’s Bible Study Circle conducted by Dr. McCrea is full of promise. The method adopted evokes extraordinary interest from those who take part. It will continue on Thursdays at 7:30 in the Parish Room.

It has been found impossible to start a Woman’s Bible Study Circle at the present time although a very capable leader was ready to undertake it. The fact is War Work occupies all the available time among those who would otherwise be glad to join.

Every Mission has three parts. The Preparation; The Message; The response.

We did our best with the Preparation.

The need and intention of the Mission were fully explained, the invitation to hear the Message was conveyed to every house and the exact particulars of time and place were carefully published.
But the real preparation went deeper than this. There was prayer in Church and in our homes. We prayed about the National Mission, asking God’s blessing upon it, that the effort of the Church might make for the advancement of His Kingdom. And we prayed for the Messengers, that God might give them utterance, and fill them with the spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.

We have now had the Message. We have been reminded of our need of Repentance and of our Christian heritage of Hope. We have been told the old old story of God’s Love, of our redemption in Jesus Christ and of our strength for victory in the grace of the Holy Spirit. We have thought about our Christian duties. We have taken counsel about prayer. We have realised that our country needs the best from each of us, and that we are not giving our best unless we have sought for God’s blessing and God’s grace to inform our character and to sanctify our work.

There remains the Response, which is the third part of the Mission. If this is of the right kind it has begin already and it will go on for the rest of our lives.

What is it to be? It will not be exactly the same in any two of us. But it will be the same for us all in that it will mean drawing us closer to God. And it will be the same for us all in that it will mean that our lives will show a clearer witness for Christ. If we make the right kind of response men will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus. They will see it in our homes, in our work and in our play.

But it must be remembered that God’s message never leaves us in the same position as we were before we heard it. We have had another summons to awake, another reminder of the standard by which alone our lives are judged, another proclamation of our Lord’s Commands. We must not neglect so great salvation.

May our response be such that it may make us more ready to meet the Master when He comes in His Glory and all the Holy Angels with Him, and shall sit upon the throne of His Glory – to take account.

Wargrave parish magazine, October and December 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

The Great War is certainly a fearful example of how men may obstruct God’s purpose – but He will bring good out of evil

The Wargrave parish magazine explained the upcoming National Mission as a response to the war.

The National Mission

The Ven. the Archdeacon of Berkshire has most kindly consented to come to Wargrave in the late Autumn as our Missioner. All who know him or who heard him preach in the restored Church, on Sunday, July 23rd, will certainly feel very happy and grateful to read this announcement, and we may indeed count ourselves most fortunate.

The Vicar has known Archdeacon Ducat for many years now, he has been somewhat intimately associated with him in Diocesan work of various kinds, he has received many kindnesses at his hands and there is no one from whom he would more gladly learn or to whom he would more happily entrust the work of the Mission in his parish.

The Archdeacon will come with the purpose of helping the Vicar and sharing his responsibility. He will work on his lines and act in the closest consultation and co-operation in everything which he undertakes in the parish.

What is the Mission:

What is the Mission? It is the bringing of a Message from God to the Nation. The Church of England feels called by God to deliver the Message. We pray to God to give us his grace that we may hear the Message alright and deliver it faithfully.

The Occasion of the Mission:

The Occasion of the Mission is the Great War. The Bible teaches us that God over-rules the affairs of men and works His purpose out through the history of nations. Man has been given free-will to refuse evil and to choose the good. Sometimes men refuse the good and chose the evil. When this is the case men obstruct and delay the working out of God’s good purpose.

Men may further God’s purpose and become fellow-workers with Him, or they may obstruct His purpose. This is a very solemn truth, but the Bible teaches us that it is so. It is true of the influence of individuals in a small circle and of nations in a wide circle.

The little maid was furthering God’s purpose when she told her mistress of the Prophet of Samaria who could recover Naaman of his leprosy. Cyrus the King was furthering God’s purpose when he and his people of Persia allowed the Jews to return to their Country.

On the other hand, the Brothers of Joseph were obstructing God’s purpose when they sold the lad into Egypt. And Pharaoh was obstructing God’s purpose when he and the Egyptians refused to let the people go.

Men and Nations may sinfully obstruct God’s purpose, but of course they cannot frustrate God’s purpose. He over-rules their sinful obstruction and brings good out of evil. So Joseph in Egypt was a means of saving many lives from famine: Amd Pharaoh stands now as a terrible example of the failure of those who set themselves against God’s Will.

A Mission of Repentance:

It is a Mission of Repentance. The Great War is certainly a fearful example of how men may obstruct God’s purpose and set themselves against the advance of His Kingdom. Selfishness, Godlessness, and the teaching that Might is Right have during the past years become a constantly growing influence in Europe. These and other evil influences have now reached their climax and borne fruit in the War.

We believe that we are fighting in a righteous cause and that it was God’s Will for us as a nation to draw the sword, as truly it is God’s Will for each lad to enlist for King and Country.

But out nation has not been innocent of sin, we have had our share of selfishness, the pursuit of wealth, and the heedlessness of God which are at the root of this War.

Repentence must therefore have the first place in this Message of God to the Nation, when we desite to further His purpose by the Service of Arms. The purpose of God is the Brotherhood of Man in Christ: The War is an offence against Brotherhood. The purpose of God is the happy development of family and nation in ever closer relationship up-growing to the consummation of the Kingdom of Christ: The War has set back the development of nations. It has uprooted countless homes in Europe and it has called men away from new lands, where they were furthering the purpose of God in building up new nations to do Him service. Here then is a National call to Repentence.

A Mission of Hope:

It is a Mission of Hope. Our confession of penitence means that we desire to do God’s Will. There is Hope. God can bring good out of evil, and in that beneficent work we as a nation desire to serve. In absolute self surrender we pray that we and our allies may be fellow workers of God. In that spirit we can be sure of victory and the darkest battlefield is illuminated with Hope.

The War is a colossal evidence of the power and cruelty of sin. But already the rainbow of God’s mercy shines far over it, and we see that God is working His purpose out in spite of man’s sinful obstructions. The men of the new lands have left township and village which need their strength, but they have brought a fuller brotherhood to the old country. Blood has been shed like water, but the nobility of sacrifice will extend the message of the Cross.

The Message of the Church to the Nation is to call to repentance for sin, which must ever obstruct the purpose of God, but it is a message of Hope to all who will hear the call and rise to be fellow workers with God in absolute self-surrender to do His Will.

Wargrave parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

A masque for Serbian relief

An enterprising drama teacher put on a performance in aid of our suffering Serbian allies. To get an idea of the evening, here is the script of The Masque of the Two Strangers.


MISS MARY HAY, A.L.A.M. ELOCUTION, ASSISTED BY HER PUPILS, Has much pleasure in announcing Two Dramatic Recitals of the “Masque of the Two Strangers” (by kind permission of Lady Alix Egerton), And Scenes found on incidents in Dante’s “Vita Nuova”, On Wednesday, October 20th, 1915 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., IN AID OF THE SERBIAN RELIEF FUND,
And under the distinguished patronage of

The Lord-Lieutenant of Berkshire and Mrs Benyon,
His Worship the Mayor of Reading
His Excellency Monsieur Creddo Miyatovich (Serbian Minister)
Mr. Henry Ainley
Lady Armstrong
The Rev. and Mrs Beloe
Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Benson
Mr. Acton Bond
The Principal of University College, Reading and Mrs. Childs
Mr. John L. Child
The Ven. Archdeacon of Berkshire and Mrs. Ducat
Mr. and Mrs. C. I. Evans
Mrs. Downing Fullerton
Countess Gurowska
Viscountess Hambleden
Miss Holmes
Miss Knighton
The Misses Lacy
Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Mackenzie
Lady Makins
Mrs. W. A. Mount
Mrs. Murdoch
Miss Musson
Mrs. G. W. Palmer
Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Palmer
Miss Prebble
Mr. and Mrs. Rannie
Lord and Lady Reading
Mr. F. G. T. Rowecroft
The Rev. Gore Skipwith and Mrs. Skipwith
Mr. W. Stewart
Mrs. Tyser
Lady Wantage
Mrs. Waring
Miss White
Mrs. Leslie Wilson.

Doors open at 2.30 and 7.30 P.M.

Tickets: Afternoon Sofa Stalls, 4- Reserved Seats, 3/- Admission 2/-
Evening Sofa Stalls, 3/- Reserved Seats, 2/- Admission 1/-
Special Terms to Schools.

Box Office : – Attwells, Binfield & Co., 162 & 163 Friar Street, Reading. Telephone No. 11 .

Programme for recitals at Town Hall in Aid of Serbian Relief Fund, 1915 (D/EX1734/1)

Churches crowded

The Sulhamstead parish magazine had some thoughts on the religious response to the war, at home and abroad, as well as reporting news of local soldiers who have been honoured or have fallen:


It is publicly announced that the churches in France are crowded with praying worshippers.

It is with much pleasure and congratulations that are read in the list of men mentioned in dispatches, the name of Lieut. H A Grimshaw, of “The Abbotts”…. Lieut. H A Grimshaw has received his 1st Lieutenancy since his arrival at the Front. The engagement from which this honour has arisen, was the famous attack of the Prussian Guards in November last, when the finest regiment in Germany was hurled against the British Forces.

A handsome Brass has been placed in the chancel of St Michael’s Church by Colonel Thoyts in memory of his son, bearing the following inscription: –

“In loving tribute to the memory of Francis Gordon Thoyts, Major, Somerset Light Infantry (second son of Colonel N B Thoyts, sometime lord of the manor of Sulhamstead), who gave his life for his King and Country at Beauvois in the great war, on August 26th, 1914.”

The Brass was sanctioned by the Archdeacon, instead of incurring the expenses of a faculty.

Lower End Tuesdays at 7 pm
St Michael’s Church Thursdays at 7 pm.

At these services the special form of Litany of Intercession for our cause and our sailors and soldiers will be used. All who have any relations engaged in His Majesty King George’s Service are earnestly invited to attend and join in constant Intercession for them.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, March 1915 (D/EX725/3)