Do the German hear our starlight singing in their distant trenches?

There was much news of soldiers from Maidenhead Congregational Church.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are glad to be able to report that Reginald Hill is so far improving, that he has been able to sit up a little each day. Thomas S. Russell has been called up, and is in training with the Motor Transport Section of the A.S.C. G.C. Frampton after about two hours drill was considered advanced enough for foreign service, and left England for France on May 18th. He is gone into Military Canteen work.

An interesting letter has come to hand from Sidney Eastman, which may justly be described as lengthy, for it is written upon a piece of paper some seven or eight feet long, and covers both sides. It is mostly occupied with a description of his travels and of the sights he has seen, and we are glad to gather that he is in good health and spirits.

G.C. Frampton has been unpatriotic enough to take German measles, and is in Hospital at Etaples. We hope to learn very shortly that he is quite well again.

Alfred Vardy, after a severe bout of pneumonia, caught on his way to the Front in France, is now at a Convalescent Camp in Thetford, gaining strength before returning to duty.

Wilfrid Collins is in hospital at Reading, suffering from heart weakness following upon a severe attack of “Trench fever.”

Reginald Hill has been out of bed for an hour, and is going on satisfactorily, though slowly.

Cyril Hews had a somewhat narrow escape recently. He was out with his motor-bicycle upon a French road during a thunderstorm, when the lightning struck a tree by the road-side, and a large branch fell upon the handlebars of the machine, providentially leaving the rider untouched.

Alfred Lane, after more than a year’s training in the Home Counties’ Engineers at Maidenhead, has been sent over with a draft to France.

Harry Baldwin, having attained the age of 18, and being called up, has elected to enter the Navy, and will probably enter a Training School.

One of our young men, who took an active part in the Messines victory, writes:

“Rather a good sight yesterday. I attended with my men a very large open-air drum-head Church Parade Service, as a sort of Thanksgiving Service for our recent great victory. A large number of Welshmen were present, and it really was great to hear these fellows sing “Aberystwith” and “St. Mary,” accompanied by a band.”

The papers, by the way, have been recently telling us that in all the Welsh regiments there are “glee parties,” who sing under the stars, until the Germans must hear and perhaps wonder, in their more or less distant trenches.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, June 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

“May blossoms and war seem as though they ought to be impossible in the same world”

The minister of Maidenhead Congregational Church tried to encourage members to look on the bright side of life despite all the horrors and losses of the war.

May blossoms and war seem as though they ought to be impossible in the same world. The dreadful mud in the midst of which our soldiers have been living is more congruous with the spirit of warfare than sweet grass and hawthorn buds. Many letters from the front have spoken of the start of surprise with which a lark’s song is heard over the trenches. We have all, when some sorrow is heavy upon us, felt a sort of astonishment that the sun should go on shining, and the birds twittering, and passers by smiling, as though nothing had happened. But the worst of sorrows cannot cover the whole sky. We want taking out of ourselves at times. Evils won’t bear brooding over, we only make them worse. We shall be able to bear “the strain of toil, the fret of care” better, if we make rich use of the ministry of the blossoms.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are glad to hear that Reginald Hill is progressing, though slowly. He has had several operations, and probably must undergo two or three more. The doctors think he may have to be in bed for at least three months yet, but they hope he will make quite a good recovery.

We regret deeply to have to record that John Boyd, formerly the Caretaker of the Chapel, was killed in action on March 29th. He enlisted in the 2nd Berks. In June 1916, and was sent to France on Sept. 22nd. He was a most genial and kind-hearted man, and had a wide circle of friends among whom he was very popular. We offer our Christian sympathy to Mrs. Boyd and her family.

It is distressing too to hear that Stephen Harris is returned as “missing.” The Captain of his Company has written to Mr. and Mrs. Harris that he has made all possible inquiries and can gain no information. The best that can be hoped for is that he may be a prisoner in German hands. Robert Harris was killed in July last. May God grant His patience and consolation to the distressed parents.

Wallace Mattingly has been admitted to Sandhurst Military College for eight months’ training. G. Frampton is expecting to be called up immediately. We are glad to see Cyril Hews at home again on leave, looking in the pink of health. P.S. Eastman writes in good spirits from “somewhere in the East.”

He says, “I have not yet left for the special work for which I was sent out, but may do so any day now. In the meantime I have had quite a variety of work, until at present I find myself in the C.O.’s office. Yesterday I had a line from Frank Pigg, who is with the R.F.C in Salonica; may be one of these days I shall be able to pay him a visit.”

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, May 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Cheer him in his pain and solitude

Members of Maidenhead Congregational Church were serving in various fields. One man was having a nice break in Malta on his way to the east, while another was suffering with a severe wound.

OUR SOLDIERS.

Sidney Eastman sent us a message announcing his arrival at Malta. He says,

“A line of greeting from an isle of sunshine and blossoms! The brilliant blue of sea and sky, white sails and grey giants, sandstone rocks and golden architecture, vividly focussed by the eyes of an enthusiast, convey to the chambers of memory a mental masterpiece in the producing of which nature and man work hand in hand – nature gives light while man gives shade. I am very fit now, and much enjoying a day or two of respite here.”

Evidently the “sunshine and blossoms” have got into our deacon’s soul.

Reginald Hill has been rather badly wounded and is at the Wharncliff War Hospital at Sheffield. We may be quite sure that letters from any of his old friends of the West Street Church would cheer him in his pain and solitude, and would be joyfully welcomed. Letters should be addressed, “17 Ward, 6 Block.” We are glad to know that his doctors anticipate that he will probably make quite a good recovery.

Ernest Bristow is in Hospital in France, suffering from influenza.

Alfred Vardy was married on March 8th to Miss Coxhead, and is now on active service in France.

We were glad to see Ernest Mead on Sunday last looking quite fit and well.

W.H. Clark has arrived at Salonika.

A. Lane has been transferred with his section to Marlow.

Charles Catliffe is with a Signal section at a Camp near Bedford.

MILITARY MOVEMENTS.

Most of the Engineers who have been for some months in training at Maidenhead have been removed elsewhere, and at least an equal number have been brought to our town to take their place. The new-comers seem to appreciate the comforts of the Clubroom more than their predecessors, and use it in much larger numbers. But the Free Church parade service has suffered. So far, only a few attend, instead of the eighty or more of recent months. Perhaps the organization has been at fault, and we will yet hope for better things.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, April 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

“Confident that he would return safely, but God saw otherwise”

Two Newbury clergymen volunteered to serve as army chaplains, while soldiers from the town were reported killed. Another man returned disabled.

The Director General of National Service has entrusted the Archbishops and Bishops with the task of finding out what the clergy can undertake in this direction, and the Rural Dean of Newbury a short time ago held a meeting of clergy to discuss it.

The Rev. H C Roberts has felt it to be his duty to volunteer for a Military Chaplaincy, and his name has been sent up to the Chaplain General of the forces. We congratulate Mr Roberts upon his patriotic action, though we shall very much miss him in the parish if he is accepted; and we hope it may be possible for him to return to Newbury when the war is over. It will interest the parishioners to hear that the name of the Rev. A H D Newbold has also been sent up by his Rural Dean for a Military Chaplaincy. When Mr Roberts leaves us, there may have to be some alteration in the services of the church.

We offer our sincere sympathy to Mrs Albert Nailor on the death of her husband in action, and to the wife and father and mother of Richard Smith, also killed in action. He is another of our old choir boys who has laid down his life for his country. He had been home on leave, and had returned to the front full of his usual good spirits, quite confident that he would return safely, but God saw otherwise. We are glad to have Albert Hill back in Newbury with his honourable loss, and we hope that, when he is fitted out, he will be able to return to his former occupation.

Let us redouble our prayers on behalf of our nation’s cause, and for all those who are fighting for her by sea or land or air. This is our best war service.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

The spirit of the times

Newbury supported the war effort in various ways. The parish church gave up its hall, Sunday School children were displaced, women prayed, and the well-off were expected to donate to government “savings” schemes.

The Soldiers in the Parish Room are grateful for any gifts of papers and magazines for their spare moments. We are glad to know that they find it a comfortable billet, as far as such quarters can be comfortable.

The attendance at the Friday Women’s Service has not lately been kept up to the former standard and we should very much like to see more coming to take part in this weekly act of intercession. Surely in these days there is more and more need of prayer, prayer for others, prayer for ourselves, prayer for our brave sailors and soldiers and airmen, prayer that people’s hearts may be turned to God, and that as a Nation and an Empire we may become more worthy of the victory and peace which we all so much desire.

Owing to the occupation of the Parish Rooms by the military, the boys’ and girls’ Sunday Schools have had to be temporarily transferred to the Day Schools. This involves rather a longer walk on the part of teachers and scholars, but they have entered into the spirit of the times, and put up with the change without grumbling, and we are glad of this.

Our best congratulations to Sergeant Ernest Hill on his promotion.

Since our last issue the Government have started a new War Loan, which it is hoped will bring in a very large sum of money, such as is necessary for the prosecution of the war. It is, clearly, the duty of all who can do so, to contribute to this Loan, but those who have not the means for this should certainly do their utmost, both to be economical in their personal and household expenses, and to try and save up pence and sixpences to invest in the Post Office War Savings Certificates.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

Greater love hath no man than this

Caversham men’s service was honoured.

ANOTHER DISTINCTION FOR CAVERSHAM.

Hearty congratulations to 2nd Lieut. A.F.C. Hill, upon receiving the Military Cross for gallant conduct with the Salonika Expeditions. This is the fourth Military Cross awarded to Caversham men, the other recipients being the Rev. C.W.O. Jenkyn, Army Chaplain; 2nd Lieut. D.T. Cowan, A. and S. Highlanders; and Sergt.-Major Wilfred Lee, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.

Lieut. E.J. Churchill, R.E., has been “mentioned in dispatches.”

Sergt. E. Canning, of 1/4TH Royal Berks, is one of the two non-commissioned officers selected out of his battalion for the honour of a Commission.

Caversham roll of honour.

“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friend”

Name, Ship or Regiment and address, Date of death
(more…)

“It is a most awful place where we are at present”

Soldiers associated with Maidenhead Congregational Church were grateful for Christmas gifts, and in return shared some of their experiences.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We have already received many acknowledgements from our soldier lads of the Christmas parcels from the Church, and they all speak of kindly gratitude. We can find room for a few extracts.

Edward Howard writes, “Many thanks for the most splendid parcel. It is awfully kind of the Church and Institute to think so much of us when we are out here…… It is a most awful place where we are at present. The mud is something like three feet deep, and we are living in tents, but of course we make the best of a bad job. I send you all a warm and affectionate Christmas greeting.”

Reginald Hill received his parcel in hospital at Etretat, where he has been slowly recovering from his gas injuries. He says “I cannot tell you much of my doings in a letter, but one of these Thursday evenings I will give you my experiences at a meeting of the Literary Society.”

Cyril Hews writes, “I can scarcely tell you in a letter what a great feeling of gratitude and pleasure the parcel and letter gave me…… We out here have no doubts as to the future. We are confident that before long victory will be given to the Allies, and the great cause for which they are fighting will be attained.”

Harold Islip says, “Please accept my thanks for the excellent parcel and letter of greeting sent by the Church, which I received two days ago. Both were most welcome. A letter of that description most certainly helps us all out here to “carry on” with our duties, even though they have now become so monotonous. On Sundays, and often during the week, I think of the Church and Institute, and wish I could be present! But by next Christmas the war will be over, and then…!”

J. O. Wright is overwhelmed with his Christmas duties as Post-Corporal (of course, he had a busy time!), but snatches a minute to send “a few lines thanking you and the Church for the splendid parcel, and also for the Magazine.”

Victor Anderson writes, “Many thanks for the parcel which I have just received, and also for the letter. I am in the best of health, and we are now in a very nice place, so I think we shall have as good a Christmas as can be expected out here.”

Percy Lewis is grateful for his parcel, and ventures to congratulate those who made the purchases. “They are just the things one appreciates most out here.”

And J. Quincy, “I thank you very much for the contents of the parcel, which were much appreciated and enjoyed, and I am sure you will extend my gratitude to the Members of the Church for their kindness. May you all have a truly happy Christmas and a bright New
Year.”

Ernest Mead has been placed in the 2/7th Batt. Devonshire Regiment (Cyclists), and is stationed at Exeter.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, January 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

The more we feel that a cloud of sorrow is upon our land the more grateful should we be for the message of Christmas

Maidenhead Congregational Church thought the country needed to celebrate Christmas differently under war conditions.

We are approaching our third War-Christmas, and the duty of rightly celebrating the season of “Peace and Goodwill” is becoming heavier. Probably few of us will find much difficulty in heeding the call to cut down the usual expenditure in Christmas fare. At the best of times it has seemed to cool observers a strange way of celebrating the coming of the Son of God to earth, to indulge in an orgy of eating and drinking. But the custom seems to have the sanction of the centuries. Long before the Conquest those in authority took pains at this season of the year to lead the fashion in gluttonous eating and drinking. Even in more stately Plantagenet times Christmas extravagance was recognised as the correct thing. At the opening of the Hundred Years’ War, when Edward III put his foot down on all kinds of luxurious expenditure, he made an exception of the principal Church feasts, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And Dickens stirred us up in this matter in fine style, until we almost came to regard gorging at Christmas as a sacred duty.

But this year at least, we must modify our ideas in these matters. Food is not abundant, and it is dear, and if we are not careful now, there may not be enough to go round presently. Nevertheless, there ought to be no diminution of Christmas joy. The more we feel that a cloud of sorrow is upon our land the more grateful should we be for the message of a King of righteousness and peace. Our laughter may be checked, but for gratitude and joy there is perhaps more reason than usual. For God has given us a great part to play in the cause of National Righteousness, and the work we are doing and the sorrows we are bearing will result in a new era for humanity.

And though in many a household we shall miss our sons and brothers and husbands, our hearts will swell with a new pride in them. The noblest manhood in them has come out, they are inside the secret of life, we thrill to recognise that they are capable of heroisms. They have no fighting instincts to gratify. They have nothing of the born-soldier in them. They have freely gone into this thing out of devotion to a high cause, in the spirit of pure sacrifice, against the natural grain. Therefore they, and the families to which they belong, and the Church to which they are attached, and the town from which they set out, and the nation of which they are a part, shall be of nobler life and purer vision for their act of sacrifice. May the blessing of heaven be upon them everyone!”

FOR OUR SOLDIERS.

The small Committee appointed to send greetings and gifts at Christmastide to our soldiers has got the matter well in hand. The parcels to Salonika and Egypt are already on their way, those to France will shortly be posted. To those who are still in training in this country, as well as to those abroad, a letter from the Church will be sent, in which we say, among other things,

“We are sure that your faith in God will help you to be good soldiers of the British Army. You will not be behind any of your comrades in pluck and purity, in high ideals and self-control, in heroism and devotion. We speak to our absent boys and pray for them constantly. We want you to know how much we are with you, how deeply we feel you are representing us and fighting for us, and we hope to do our part at home, to maintain a high standard of Church life until you come back again. The Church does not seem the same without its young men. At every point we miss you.”

THE LATEST INFORMATION.

Reginald Hill has been gassed, and is in Hospital. Percy Pigg is back at Aldershot for a time. Cecil Mead is on the point of leaving for Salonika. Percy Lewis has been home for a fortnight’s leave. Hugh Lewis has been transferred to the 1/4 London R.E., and is in France. Sidney Eastman is stationed for the present at Chingford, and Mrs. Eastman has taken apartments for awhile in that neighbourhood. Benjamin Gibbons has been promoted Lance-Corporal.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, December 1916 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Our soldiers – and our conscientious objector

There was news of the varying destinations of various men associated with Maidenhead Congregational Church. One was even a conscientious objector.

OUR SOLDIERS.

David Dalgliesh, at the conclusion of his training, has received a Commission in the Royal Flying Corps, and is at present at Hendon. Frank Pigg has departed for Salonika and John Boyd for France. Our Deacon, P.S. Eastman, has been compelled to leave the doors of his business closed and is in training for the Royal Naval Air Service at the Crystal Palace. He will probably be engaged in photographic work. Percy Lewis has been placed in charge of the Mobile X-ray Unit of the 1st Army. Reginald Hill has gone over with his regiment to France. Archibald Fraser has enlisted in the Army Service Corps, and is at present stationed at Lee. F. Kempster, who is a “conscientious objector,” has gone to take up farm work in the south of England. Herbert G. Wood is in British East Africa.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, October 1916 (D/N33/12/1/5)

A very plucky act

The mayor of Newbury, a local solicitor, had joined up and was distinguishing himself.

Both the War and the coming National Mission constitute reasons for earnest united prayer, and for this purpose there will be an Intercession Service for Women on Friday afternoons at 3 o’clock. It is intended that this should be of quite a simple nature, to last not more than three quarters of an hour at the outside, and consisting of intercessions and hymns, and possibly a short address: and all those who have relations and friends at the War, and all those who have at heart the National Mission, are heartily invited to come and take part. Babies may be brought.

We are very glad to hear that the Mayor of Newbury, Mr Frank Bazett, is making a good recovery from the very serious accident which has befallen him in doing a very plucky act, of which we have read in the Newbury Weekly News.

Another member of our Choir, Mr Albert Hill, is now in France, serving his King and Country. He must have done very well in the Army, to have been sent out after only three months training.

Newbury parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P89/28A/13)

Gassed less than a week after his 18th birthday

Sonning men were serving their country, and one teenager – only just 18 – had lost his life.

THE WAR
We congratulate Captain G. E. A. Leake on his obtaining his Captaincy. His promotion has been extraordinarily rapid. He was gazetted Captain in the 3rd 4th City of London Regiment, Royal Fusiliers, to date from February 5.

EGGS FOR THE WOUNDED
Miss B Leake has organised at the School a capital system of collecting eggs for the wounded. Anyone who has no connection with the School can send eggs through any of the schoolchildren.

ROLL OF HONOUR
It is with great sorrow that we heard of the death of Private William Henry Hill. He only reached the age of 18 on April 24th, and was gassed on April 30th. He will be remembered by many as a small choir boy, and also for a short time as one of the Scouts. At the time of enlisting at the age of 16, he was a servant at a Club at Guildford, frequented by military men. Mr Leake has received a letter from the Club speaking in the warmest terms of his services, and how he had won the esteem of every one of the officers. His father and grandparents have our deepest sympathy. He was in the 8th Batt. Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, June 1916 (D/EX725/3)

“Housewives – you can help your country in this hour of need”

The vicar of Reading St Mary outlined a programme of prayer for our allies, and encouraged women to respond to the Food Economy Campaign.

The Vicar’s Notes
The week-day Eucharist’s suggested intercessions

1. In connection with the War. Prayers for our Allies.
Mondays. The Serbians and Montenegrins.
Tuesdays. The Belgians.
Wednesday. The French.
Thursday. The Russians.
Friday. The Italians.
Saturday. The Japanese.

On Fridays, intercessions will also be offered
1. For all the wounded, the prisoners, and the sick.
2. For all the suffering nationalities, e.g. the Armenians, etc.
3. For our enemies, that their hearts may be turned, and that our own hearts may be renewed.

S. Mary’s
Save the food of the Nation

To the Housewives of Great Britain and to all who are responsible for the buying and cooking of food. You can help your country in this hour of need. No one too rich or too poor to help. You are asked to save food so that those who are destitute though the War may be fed. Do this wisely and your family will be better fed.

Under the auspices of the Reading Health Society and National Food Economy League, Four Demonstration Lectures in Food Economy will be given in the Reading Gas Company’s Lecture room on Fridays, March 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th. Morning Lectures, 11-1, for mistresses and cooks, Course Tickets, 2/6. Afternoon Penny lectures, 3-5, for working woman. Tickets may be had from Mrs. Childs, Principal’s Lodge, Upper Redlands Road; Mrs. Coleman, Muttusmore, Castle Hill. Ask for the Handbook for Housewifes, price 1d.

All Saint’s District
Roll of Honour

Walter James Banten, Richard John Darvall, F. H. Hill, Charlie Morgan, Robert John West Saunders, William John Saunders, Frederick Taylor.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P98/28A/13)

Pray for a deepened sense of national unity

The Mayor of Newbury (Frank Bazett, a local solicitor) led the way in volunteering for the armed forces as the war’s second Christmas approached.

It is rather difficult this year to look forward as we ought to do to Christmas: there is so much to sadden the gladness of the festival…

The following subjects for Intercession are taken from the Bishop’s Message in the November number of the Diocesan Magazine.

Your prayers are specially asked:

For our country and our government in the present crisis.
For the maintenance of our courage and faith.
For a deepened sense of national unity and mutual understanding between capital and labour.
For those from the Diocese who are serving as chaplains in the Fleet and the Army.
For the remnant of the Armenian nation….

May we be permitted to congratulate the Mayor of Newbury for his patriotic action in joining His Majesty’s Forces, and that at considerable sacrifice, thus setting a good example for other men to follow.

Lord Derby’s recruiting scheme has resulted in a number of young men enlisting from Newbury, and doubtless there are others who will go. Among those who have been accepted are Mr G P Hopson, Mr A Hill, Mr L Cramp, and Mr R J Drewell, four of our servers, and Mr Winkworth, a member of the Men’s Bible Class. Mr G L Pyke has been rejected on account of his eyes, his brother, Mr Cecil Pyke, one of our Sunday School teachers, has been accepted for service at home, and Mr R Bell has been rejected. All honour to those who have tried as well as to those who have been accepted, for they have shown their willingness to serve their country in her need.

May we ask relatives for any interesting news about men at the Front, for insertion in the Parish Magazine.

Newbury parish magazine, December 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

A privilege much appreciated at the Front

Frank Streatfeild, an Anglican clergyman who had been living in Newbury, became an army chaplain in 1914. He was with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in France.

The Rev. Frank Streatfeild has courageously gone to the Front as Chaplain to the Forces, and we hope his friends in Newbury will remember him in his new and responsible work. The Rector received an interesting letter from him, describing among other things an open-air Communion service, where all the Communicants were men, and it is evident that the privilege is much appreciated at the Front. It will be remembered that a former Newbury curate, the Rev. F A Hill, is also out with the men.

The energetic ladies have opened St George’s Mission Room on week-day evenings as a Club for Soldiers. A considerable number have made use of the Room and have found there games, writing paper, music and refreshments. One evening a Whist Drive was held which the men – and the ladies – much enjoyed. Some male help would be appreciated with the Club.

In answer to an appeal for the wounded from the Dardanelles in the Hospitals at Malta, where Dr Heywood is working, the following generous response was made:

Given by members of the Newbury Parish and Donnington Square Red Cros Work Parties and by Anon: Miss A Boyce, Mr Bragg, Miss Cotton, Mr H Davis, Miss Davis, Miss Etty, Rev. W S and Mrs Edgell, Mr and Mrs J Morgan Ellis, Mr Harrison, Mrs J H Hopson, Misses Harrison, Miss A Hoad, Mrs Howard, Mr Josselyn, Rev. and Mrs L R Majendie, Mrs Milward, Mrs Pettican, Mrs Plows, Mrs B Pinniger, Rev. H G Rogers, Misses Sperring, Miss Watts, Mrs Wellock.

3 pairs sheets, 13 pillowcases, 21 Towels, 16 table napkins, 6 pairs pyjamas, 11 cotton shirts, 14 pairs socks, 4 handkerchiefs, 20 holland bags, 12 jig-saw puzzles, 1 book, 2 boxes cigarettes, 2 india-rubber hot water bottles, 3 hot water bottle covers, 11 pieces toilet soap, 2 Price’s service boxes, 2 yards macintosh sheeting, 2 yards jaconet, 4 lbs cotton wool, 6 lbs lint, 1 lb boracic lint, 5 dozen bandages, 4 boxes rubber plaster.


Newbury parish magazine, August 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

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)