The flag of St George is hoisted

Cranbourne greeted the end of the war with joy.

The news of the signing of the Armistice on Nov 11th reached Cranbourne about noon. The ringing of the Church bells announced the fact to the village, the flag of St. George was hoisted, very quickly flags appeared on most of the houses, and everywhere one heard expressions of deep thankfulness. An impromptu service of Thanksgiving, which was very well attended was held at 12 o’clock on Nov. 13th.

On the following Sunday the form of service drawn up by the Archbishops was used, and the names of all our men serving in H.M. forces was read, also the manes of those who have made the great sacrifice. The large congregation joined most heartily (we might say fervently) in the Hymns, and the singing was much helped by a cornet played by Bandmaster J. Dennison of the R.A.F., at Ascot and by a violin played by Miss E. Hern. Before the singing of the hymn, “For all the saints,” special reference was made to our men who have been killed, or died of wounds.

“Our dead lie scattered far and wide, On Mount, and Plain and Sea, But since for Thee they fought and died, They surely rest with Thee. O Love Divine, O Living Lord, Heal every broken heart; Who gives to God hath great reward, And they — the better part.”

And we remembered too those who have fought for us and worked for us, and whom we hope soon to welcome home, for them also we thanked God with thankful hearts.

“From that Brute force its saddle hurled, And that the sword no more can rule the world, For that Thy Justice is again restored, And War as arbiter abhorred, For high heroic bearing under stress, For hearts that no ill-fortune could depress, For noble deeds as simple duty done, In their Christlikeness known to God alone. We thank Thee Lord, We Thank Thee Lord.”

Cranbourne section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, December 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/10)

Peace was declared at 11am by the continual blowing of all Reading hooters followed by ringing of church bells

No one in Berkshire could miss the end of the war.

Earley

On Monday November 11 peace was declared at 11am by the continual blowing of all Reading hooters followed by ringing of church bells and a general half holiday. We have no peal of bells here, but we had a beautiful Thanksgiving Service at half past seven the same evening. The order of service was as follows; the National Anthem, a short address from the pulpit by the Vicar; a procession round the church with Milton’s hymn “let us with a gladsome mind” and “Now thank we all our God”; prayers and thanksgivings in front of the altar; “Gloria in Excelsis”; hymn by Mr Athelstan Riley “Ye watchers and ye holy ones”; the blessing. The whole service lasted 25 minutes. It was a damp, miserable evening but all hearts and spirits were full of thankfulness and rejoicings. The next morning a noticeable number of people communicated at 7.30.

Bracknell

November 11th will always be kept in remembrance as the day when the Armistice was signed which put an end to the fighting. The news was received in Bracknell about 11 o’clock, and spread rapidly far and near. Groups gathered together, discussing the news, and the street was soon gay with flags. A Thanksgiving Service was held in the church in the evening, which was attended be a large and representative gathering.

Never before have our hearts been so deeply stirred as they were when we sung our psalms and hymns and said our prayers of thanksgiving.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P192/28A/15); Bracknell section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, December 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/10)

“We wish him God’s protection on the field”

A Warfield man headed for the front would be sorely missed at home.

CHOIR SUPPER.

The Vicar and Mrs. Thackery entertained the senior members of the Choir to supper at the Vicarage on Thursday, December 30th, at 7.30. Only two were absent; Mr. Brockbank was away from home and Mr. Dyer was unavoidably prevented at the last moment from coming. After supper we enjoyed some music and singing, after which a variety of games brought us to a late hour, when Mr. E. Pearce, our senior member, kindly expressed their united thanks for the pleasant evening.

There was general regret expressed from perhaps a selfish point of view at the approaching departure of George Higgs, though we do not grudge his services to the King and Country. He is one of those wonderfully apt fellows who fills in the odd corners and remembers to do all the endless little things amounting in all to a great thing, which others are apt to forget. We felt that we should be lost without him, and strive as we do to fill in the odd duties, we have been “at sea” more than once, and say that this or that would not have happened if George had been here. We are glad to hear that he is getting on well at Andover, where he seems to be sampling the bells in various towers. He expects shortly to be going to the front, and we wish him God’s protection on the field and a safe return to his old place in the Choir and Belfry of Warfield Church.

Warfield section of the Winkfield District Magazine, February 1916 D/P151/28A/8/2

Possible and probable Zeppelin raids

The vicar of Cookham Dean was concerned about the latest air raid precautions.

The district round us has been placed under ‘Lighting Orders’ in view of possible and probable Zeppelin Raids. So far as the church is concerned, owing to the fact that most of the windows are of stained glass, very little alteration will be required; there are really only two windows that are affected, and it will not be difficult to darken these sufficiently to comply with the regulations.

Personally, I think the continuous ringing of the bell so long before Service is a matter which might possibly be objected to by the Authorities: and in these days when almost everyone has a watch, it is scarcely necessary that the tinkle of a single bell should make itself heard for half an hour at a time, so that probably there will be an alteration so far as this is concerned. The bell is used as a summons to worship but also to remind people that time is fleeting! I should think that a hundred strokes at the half hour, another hundred at the quarter, and another at five minutes to the hour, would give the summons and utter the warning with sufficient precision. I feel sure that invalids in the vicinity of the church will be grateful to be relieved from the monotonous sound of a not too musical bell for the prolonged period of half an hour twice on Sundays.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, February 1916 (D/P43B/28A/11)

“It’s not very pleasant out here”

The people of Wargrave continued to contribute to the war effort, but were starting to slack off a little. Perhaps the war was already seeming too long. They may have been inspired to redouble their efforts by the letters in the parish magazine from serving soldiers grateful for their gifts of cigarettes.

Surgical Dressing Emergency Society

The society has had a great many dressings and comforts sent in from the Branches and outside friends, but, the workers in Wargrave have considerably fallen off. The need for dressings is becoming more urgent every day and we do hope very much that those who can spare more time, and make a special effort to come to the workrooms more often, will do so, as the Hospital is taking away some of our best workers. Mr Butcher has become a regular worker, and has undertaken to entirely pack all the bales. This is heavy work, taking up a great deal of time, and it is an enormous help.

We have most thoroughly enjoyed the Thursday Readings by the Vicar, and we are most grateful to him for sparing us so much of his time.

Harvest Gifts

Letters continue to arrive from Sailors and Soldiers, at sea and in the trenches, expressing their thanks for the Tobacco and Cigarettes sent from the Harvest Festival. During the last month there have been letters from Fred. Brown, A. Creighton, Percy Elsley, W. A. George, J. H. Hodge, A. W. Hall, M. Hutchings, F. G. Mayne, H. Ogbourne, C. Pugh and H. Shaw. (more…)

A single bell tolled

A memorial service was held in Warfield for a young soldier.

MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR THE LATE PHILIP BOWYER.

On Saturday, September 11th, there was a Memorial Service for the late Philip Bowyer, of the Berks Yeomanry, so of Mr. And Mrs Thomas Bowyer, of Battle Bridge, at 6.30 in the Parish Church. There was a large congregation. The service included the hymns: “They whose course on earth is o’er” and “Think O Lord in mercy.” At the conclusion of the service the Dead March was played and Mendelssohn’s “O rest in the Lord.” The belfry then rang out a muffled peal on the bells, a single bell having been tolled before the service. Our warmest sympathy is here expressed to Mr. and Mrs. T. Bowyer and family in their great loss. We thank God for a bright, young and noble life laid down for his King and fellow countrymen.

Warfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/10)

Former bellringers in the services to get pride of place in Wargrave

When the war broke out, the parish Wargrave had been in a state of disarray, as the church had been burnt down by an arsonist (believed to be a suffragette) earlier in 1914. By the time it had been repaired in 1915, the bellringing team had been broken up. It was revived in August 1915, with provision for those former bellringers who had joined up to be regarded as founder members of the new team.

The Belfry

A Public Meeting of Parishioners interested in bells and bell-ringing was summoned by the Vicar for Thursday, August 5th, and there was a good attendance.

The Vicar reminded the meeting that the Wargrave Ringers were in a peculiar position at the time of his institution in Nov. 1914.
Several had shown their patriotism by enlisting for the great war, the bells were broken and melted, the belfry was burned out, and there had been no ringing since the fire on Whitsunday 1914.

The Vicar, Churchwardens, and Ringers had then decided, in meeting, that after the gathering of the usual Christmas gifts from the parish, the Belfry should be dissolved and that it should make an entirely new beginning when the new bells were hung.

The eight bells had now been hung by Messrs Mears and Stainbank. A silencing apparatus was being fitted and the bells could be rung, without being heard outside the Belfry, as soon as the Architect could allow it.

It therefore seemed time to restart a Band of Ringers. The meeting was summoned in order that Ringers might be proposed and elected. When the Belfry Band was thus constituted the Belfry Members would proceed to consider their Rules. But certain preliminary rules should be passed by the whole meeting, to define the range and qualification of membership.

It was therefore resolved:
I. That the Society shall be called ‘The Wargrave Belfry and shall belong to the Sonning Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell-Ringers’, and as such shall be subject to its rules.
II. All members must be Communicants of the Church of England.
III. There shall be Ex-Officio Members, Honorary Members, and Ringing Members.

Members were then elected. It was resolved ‘That all former Members of the Belfry at present serving their Country in Navy or Army be elected Ringing Members and their names be entered first on the list to be fixed in the Belfry.’

The Following were then elected:-
Ex-Officio Members: The Vicar, Chairman and the two Churchwardens.
Honorary Members: Mrs Groves, Mrs Victor Rhodes, Miss Rhodes, Miss Sturges, Rev. A. H. Austen Leigh, Rev. W. G. Smylie, Messers H.C. Bond, A. E. Chenery and V. Wyatt.
Ringing Members: Messers G. Bailiss, W. Burrows, W. R. Fuller, W. Elsley, A. Guy, W. H. Easterling, H. Cox, S. C. Nash, J. F. Neighbour, F. Pocock, W. W. Hill, E. Thatcher.
Probationers: Messers Cecil Burrows, H. Herbert, Charles Fuller.

The Belfry Members then proceeded to pass Rules:-
All Members are expected to attend Church once on a Sunday.
A Foreman and Deputy Foreman shall be elected annually by the Belfry subject to the Vicar’s approval.
All members shall have the right of entry to the Belfry whenever open.
Probationers shall not be Members of the Belfry, but shall be admitted as Members at all times by leave of the Belfry as decided by a majority.
No one but a member, or a member of the Diocesan Guild, shall be allowed in the Belfry except by the introduction of a member, with the permission of the Foreman or Leader for the day.
Honorary Members shall pay a subscription of not less than 2/6 annually.
A list of Ringing Members shall be hung up in the Ringing Chamber, and the selection of the band for each occasion shall be made by the Foreman, who is responsible for a sufficient side.
No person except the Foreman or Leader or such person as shall be requested by the Foreman or Leader to do so shall interfere or criticise during the ringing, and all present in the Belfry shall at all times conform to the wishes of the Foreman or his deputy duly appointed.
Ringing shall always begin with a collect to be said by the Foreman or his deputy, and the Versicle ‘Praise ye the Lord’ with the response ‘The Lord’s name be praised.’
The Bells shall be rung on the following days [the days to be fixed presently].
All Ringing Members shall attend a weekly practice during the winter months; any member unable to be present shall give notice to the Foreman.
No member shall be eligible for Sunday duty until he can keep his place in ringing rounds on 8 bells for 5 consecutive minutes. Any Ringing Member unable to be present at future meetings shall give notice to the Foreman (or his deputy for the time being).
Any Ringing Member who is absent from the Belfry for a space of one month, without having thus previously given notice, shall be considered to have ceased to be a Member of the Belfry, unless he elect to become an Honorary Member.
Any money received by Subscriptions or Donations shall be paid into the ‘Belfry Fund’, of which the Treasurers shall be the Foreman and the Vicar’s Churchwarden, and shall be spent in accordance with resolution at the Annual Meeting held in [month to be fixed presently]. The Fund will be available for small expenses, for excursions to other Towers, a pleasure outing, etc., etc. If money be voted for a pleasure outing, those unable to go through ill-health or other unavoidable cause shall be entitled to an equivalent share.
All money received for Weddings, Funerals, or extraordinary occasions shall be paid into the Belfry Fund, but shall form a separate account. This special account shall be divided at the end of the year among the Members of the Belfry who attended on those occasions and shall be paid out at the Annual Meeting. Notice shall be given to all the Belfry Members when such special occasion arises, and any case of sickness shall be considered by the Belfry.
The Fees to be paid shall not be less than £5 for a day’s ringing; £2 2s. 0d. for two Peals; £1 1s.0d. for a single Peal.
Any Band of Ringers desiring to use the Wargrave Belfry must apply to the Foreman, who will apply to the Vicar at least so long beforehand as shall allow an answer to be sent by post. No more than six such applications shall be entertained by the Foreman in any one year.
The Foreman shall be responsible for keeping order in the Belfry and shall have full control and authority during the time of ringing. Ringers shall obey his orders so that there be no brawling or unseemly argument: And if any Ringer have just cause for complaint he shall appeal to the vicar and shall give the Foreman notice of his intension to do so.
It shall be the duty of the Foreman to keep a record of all attendances during the year.
Any Member wishing to move a resolution at the Annual Meeting shall place a written notice in the ringing chamber 7 days before the meeting. No alteration or addition shall be made to these rules except at an Annual Meeting after due notice.
The Ringers on all occasions shall adhere to the above Rules or forfeit their appointment.

Mr W. J. Fuller has been elected Foreman and Mr. A. Guy, Deputy Foreman.

Wargrave parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

Hurst ladies take up bellringing

One area of local life to be affected by the war was the sound if church bells. The Sonning Deanery Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (for bellringers of the parish churches of Arborfield, Easthampstead, Finchampstead, Hurst, Sandhurst, Sonning, Wargrave, Wokingham All Saints and Wokingham St Paul) noted changes – including the use of women – at their annual meeting at St Paul’s Church, Wokingham, on 2 January 1915.

The Hon. Sec…. stated that 24 ringers in the branch had joined the colours. Of these, 9 were from Hurst; meanwhile a band of 8 ladies had started in the parish to fill up the gap, & were making good progress, under the tuition of the late, & present, foremen. These ladies met with a warm welcome from the ringers, & were formally & duly elected at this meeting as members of the Guild….

The Chairman… expressed a hope that Peal ringing should be kept in abeyance during the war, but ringing practice, & for Sunday services, be continued as usual.

Minutes of Sonning Deanery Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (D/EX2436/1)