The end is appreciably in sight

The vicar of Earley St Peter was optimistic.

The Vicar’s Letter

My Dear friends

We have had two things during the past month to be very thankful for, the success that has been granted us in the war, which brings the end, we may hope, appreciably in sight, and the excellence of the harvest in our district and throughout the midlands and southern part of England.

It is true that the more northern parts of the kingdom the rough weather of September has caused considerable damage, but, on the whole, the Harvest is a good average one and relieves the nation of much anxiety. We have been returning thanks for this in our services, but our regular Harvest Thanksgiving will not be held until October 13th, as our evening preacher (Sir Edmund Mowbray) is unable to come on the 6th, which is our usual Sunday. The collections will be as usual on behalf of the Royal Berkshire Hospital, which is greatly in need of help; last year the amount given was very satisfactory, and we hope that it will be still larger this year.

Our organizations are beginning again, and we hope that they may be supported as they hitherto have been. We are afraid that the new arrangements with regard to the continuation classes and evening education may largely militate against some of them; if so, it will be a great pity, although they will be a great boon to many parishes with practically no organizations at all.

I remain,

Your friend and Vicar,

W.W.FOWLER.


Earley St Peter parish magazine (D/P191/28A/25)

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Victory over our brutal enemy is within sight

October

We purpose [sic] holding our Harvest Thanksgiving Services on the first Sunday in October [6 October]. Owing to War conditions we shall not be able to make our decorations as elaborate as in normal years; but if we do what we can in the right spirit to the glory of God, our efforts will be acceptable in His sight. This year we have especial reason to acknowledge His mercies, for we have practically passed out of the peril of a food crisis, although it is still incumbent upon us to be as careful and provident as possible. And while we thank Him for the Harvest we shall also be thanking Him with fervent hearts for the successes He has vouchsafed us and our Allies on the Western and Eastern Fronts. …

November

Our Harvest Thanksgiving on October 6 was a very happy festival …

This year our thanksgiving for the harvest was deepened by the thankfulness for the many and great successes recently vouchsafed to our forces and those of our Allies in the different theatres of war. At length it would certainly seem that we are getting to the end of the long lane, and that victory over our brutal enemy is within sight; we have no wish to be vindictive in the punishment of Germany, but we and the Allies must see to it that her punishment shall be adequate to her guilt. An American statesman put the case very well the other day when he said that, while justice without mercy is unChristian, so is mercy that forgets justice also unChristian….

The decoration of the church was less elaborate this year than on former occasions, but in the opinion of everyone it was very beautiful… For the general decoration of the church our Squire, Mr Heatley Noble, granted us the help of that estimable ex-soldier Mr William Charlton, and it is enough for us to say that his injuries received in war in no way hindered him from carrying the whole work through with real skill and taste.

Remenham parish magazine, October and November 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)

Thanksgiving for the uplifting news from the fields of warfare

The Hare Hatch harvest festival handed over many of the gifts to wounded soldiers.

Hare Hatch Notes

Our Harvest Festival was held on Sunday, Oct 6th. The Mission Church looked very pretty. We had good attendances both at the morning and evening services, nearly every seat was filled. We had the pleasure of the help of the Rev. H. M. Wells, who celebrated the Holy Communion at the morning service. The chief thoughts of the day were Praise and Thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest also the uplifting news from the fields of warfare. The gifts, especially the vegetables, were more than we have had before, and the object to which they were devoted made these gifts very acceptable. The children’s contributions at the afternoon service of new laid eggs and vegetables were very pleasing indeed. The offertories throughout the day amounted to £3 8s. 11d. letters of thanks and appreciation have been received as follows: –

Thank you so very much for sending us such a splendid consignment of vegetables and also eggs. The onions are especially valuable and I was delighted to get some apples they will be greatly appreciated by the men. We have 45 patients to feed and I find they thoroughly enjoy the liberal supply of vegetables I am able to give them through the kindness of our friends.
Mabel Young, Quartermaster

The Secretary of the Royal Berks Hospital begs to thank you for your kind present of Harvest Gifts for the use of the patients.
A.E.C.

Wargrave parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

Fruit, vegetables and eggs for wounded soldiers

Once more, harvest gifts were donated to wounded soldiers.

HARVEST FESTIVAL

On Sunday, September 29th, we held our Harvest Thanksgiving Services…. The church was once more tastefully decorated for the occasion, a plentiful supply of vegetables, fruit, flowers, eggs, etc, having been provided…

On the following day the fruit, vegetables and eggs were sent to the Royal Berkshire Hospital for our wounded soldiers, and the secretary of that institution has sent a letter in which he expressed gratitude for the gift.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, November 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Thanksgiving for successes in the war

Sulhamstead churchgoers gave thanks.

HARVEST FESTIVAL

The Harvest Festival held on September 15th was associated this year with thanksgiving for successes in the war during the previous six weeks. The attendances were good, and that in the evening at St Michael’s Church was exceptionally large. The congregation seemed to spiritually understand that the thanksgiving for food embraced not only that produced by our own country, but throughout the world of our Allies.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, October 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Picking postponed

Braywick
7th September 1918

The schools are invited to pick blackberries for the government, for jam, and three hay days allowed to school girls. The weather, however, as yet, has not been fortunate, so the picking has had to be postponed until the weather becomes more settled. The cookery class was resumed on opening school.

Sandhurst
September 7th 1918

Saturday. The day being fine, the children were encouraged to make an attempt to gather one cwt. Of blackberries. At the end of the day I was able to send off 13 baskets containing 246 lbs. of fruit.

Braywick CE School log book (C/EL65/4, p. 203); Lower Sandhurst School log book (C/EL66/1, p.446)

The War has claimed the supreme sacrifice

Many Newbury families were affected by the war.

The War has claimed the supreme sacrifice from Gunner Webb, who had been a long time in hospital, and with whose widow much sympathy is felt. Also J W C Gough has been killed in action, and Albert Marshall has, it is believed, died from wounds while a prisoner of war; both of them also left a young wife and little child behind them, and we offer to them and to their respective families our sincerest sympathy.

Mrs Burgess has presented for use at the High Altar a very handsome pair of brass vases in memory of her son, Lieut. N G Burgess. We had long wanted some vases of this kind, and they are a fitting memorial of one who was an old choir boy, and a brave and skilful sailor.

About 25 of the Church Lads’ Brigade are now in Camp, with Capt. Pyke, near Stafford, and are engaged in the useful work of harvesting.

Newbury parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

A splendid crop

It was good news all around.

Florence Vansittart Neale
10 August 1918

Still good news. 24,000 prisoners. 300 guns.

William Hallam
10th August 1918

I went up to Uffington by train at 5 past 2 then walked across the field (and nearly got lost) to Shellingford. Had a good look over the church. Very nicely kept – then copied down all the Inscrip. in the Ch.yard on the E & N. sides- many old ones obliterated and walked back to Uffing. station by the road.

Terribly hot. A lot of harvesting being done quite a lot of beans, oats and wheat cut. And the men at work I stopped talking to say it is a splendid crop. I was tired when I got home. I can’t walk about now like I could 10 years ago and only 50.

After I had my tea and a wash I went along to Bath Rd reading room to see the latest war news and it is still progressing favourably.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

“Amidst this hell on earth God is with us”

A Wargrave soldier reminded friends at home of the dangers he and his comrades were facing.

Harvest Festival Gifts

Many letters have come to us from the men at the Front to say how much the tobacco and cigarettes have been appreciated and to convey thanks to the congregation for the gifts, one writes:-

“It is cheering to know that we are remembered by friends in the homeland, but what we value most, Sir, is your prayers. Pray without ceasing for us, Sir. God is very real to us out here, for He has delivered us several times from certain death, which is in answer to the prayers offered up to our Heavenly Father on our behalf in the dear old Church at Wargrave. One often thinks of home.

It was last Sunday while up the line at work between ten and eleven o’clock while the guns were booming and the shells bursting around that I was lost in thought. I thought I heard the bells pealing from out the old tower and the congregation singing the Psalms and the good old hymns, so dear to us Tommies. While thus lost in thought God spoke to me through His word, “Lo I am with you always”. What a blessing, Sir, to be able to realize that amidst this hell on earth God is with us, another answer to your prayers.”

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

Beautiful gifts of fruit, vegetables and eggs

Harvest Festival gifts went to local hospitals treating wounded soldiers.

Hare Hatch Notes

The Harvest Festival was held on Sunday, October 7th. The number of communicants and the congregations throughout the day were, in spite of the bad weather, really most encouraging…

The gifts, especially those of fruit and vegetables, were more than we have had before, this in itself was a pleasant sight, but the object to which they were devoted made these gifts more acceptable. Twenty-three new laid eggs were brought by the members of the Sunday School…

Letters of thanks and appreciation have been received as follows…

“The Secretary of the Royal Berks Hospital begs to thank you for your kind present of Harvest gifts for the use of the patients.”

From the Woodclyffe Auxilliary Hospital, Wargrave:

“I need hardly tell you how very much the beautiful gifts of fruit, vegetables etc, from your Harvest Festival are being appreciated, and we send very many thanks to all who sent them. H.R. Marshall, for Commandant.”

Wargrave parish magazine, November 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

“The attempt of our enemies to starve us has practically failed”

In Earley people were grateful for good weather, which looked set to relieve the pressure on the food supply.

The Vicar’s Letter

My dear friends

Autumn is drawing on apace, and we have again reached the time for our Harvest Thanksgiving, which is fixed for Sunday, October 7th.

This year we ought to be especially thankful. At one time our outlook as regards food appeared to be far from satisfactory, but God has blessed us during the past month with such weather that in most districts the greater part of the harvest has been gathered in without much damage, and the attempt of our enemies to starve us by unrestricted submarine warfare, though still serious, has practically failed. Surely we ought to join together in our thanksgivings, and especially at Holy Communion, with a deepened sense of what we owe to God for our nation and for ourselves.

And while we are thanking God for our material harvest, let us all think of those fields which are ripe for the spiritual harvest in India, Canada, South Africa, and throughout the world… Do we realise as we ought the enormous responsibility that will rest upon our country after the war for the spiritual harvest of the world?

Your friend and Vicar
W W Fowler.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, October 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

The War has brought home to us our dependence on our daily food in a way unknown to most of us before

The vicar of Maidenhead All Saints reminded his flock about the work of merchant seamen bringing food to the country, and of church workers comforting the troops close behind the lines.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-…

St Peter’s Harvest Festival is to be held at the end of this month (September 30th)… And this Harvest we have, indeed, much for which to be thankful. The War has brought home to us our dependence on our daily food in a way unknown to most of us before. We have to thank God for the labours of our farm workers and allotment holders, who, in the face of an inclement Spring, have greatly increased our food supply; for the valour of our Navy, that has convoyed our store ships past many perils; for the steadfastness and courage of our Merchant Sailors, who, risking often sudden death or lingering suffering, have yet dared to go on faithfully bringing grain and meat and other things for the maintenance of our people.

Lastly; sometimes people ask me for the name of some Charity to which they may give a donation, outside the Parish. Just now few deserve more support than the Church Army Recreation Hut Fund. There are over 800 in full work. All are under the auspices of the Church, and special provision is made for those who wish for a quiet place for prayer or study. They are, also, available and used for Church Services. I feel thy deserve great support, for, excellent as the work of the Y.M.C.A. usually is, these Church Army Huts make a still greater claim on our generosity as Church people; that our men should not feel that the Church has in any way neglected them. Any donations should be sent to the Secretary, Church Army Headquarters, 55, Bryanston Street, Marble Arch, London, W.1.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar
C.E.M. FRY

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, September 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

“As far as it is possible to anticipate in these uncertain times”

It was hard to make plans during war time.

Harvest Festival

It seems rather early to announce any notions of the Harvest, but everyone will be glad to hear that the Bishop of Buckingham has kindly promised to come and preach for this Festival on Sunday, September 30th, “as far as it is possible to anticipate in these uncertain times”.

Wargrave parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

Food from Harvest “will be greatly appreciated by the wounded men in hospital”

Worshippers at Broad Street Church sent their Harvest Festival offerings to the Royal Berkshire Hospital for wounded soldiers.

HARVEST FESTIVAL

The Harvest Thanksgiving Services, held on Sunday, September 23rd, afforded joy and inspiration to all who were able to attend. The church was very prettily and effectively decorated for the occasion. A plentiful supply of fruit, vegetables, flowers, etc, had been provided…

On the following day the good things provided were conveyed by Mr Bunce to the Royal Berks Hospital, for the wounded soldiers who are there.

Mr Rawlinson [the minister] has since received the following letter from the secretary of that institution:

“Dear Sir

Many thanks for your letter, and for the eggs, fruit, vegetables, flowers, bread, etc, which arrived yesterday.

These will be greatly appreciated by the wounded men in hospital, and I should be grateful if you would accept for yourself, and kindly convey to all concerned, an expression of our warmest thanks for this generous present.

I am, dear Sir,
Yours faithfully

Herman Burney
Secretary”

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

The annual Harvest Festival in connection with the church was held on Sunday September 23rd, and as usual our brothers contributed very liberally with fruit and vegetables from their allotments.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, October 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“This weather is getting serious for the crops and just when we want an extra good one”

William Hallam was worried that bad weather would worsen food shortages.

29th August 1917

All night it rained too. This weather is getting serious for the crops and just when we want an extra good one.

It got brighter this evening tho’. An aeroplane went over just after 9 o’clock to-night. The latest I have seen one yet.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)