“We have watched amazed these last few months a foretaste of the judgment of Christ falling upon a nation which would have none of Him”

A power cut caused disruption at the Ascot peace services.

Advent, 1918

My dear friends,

It is with the most profound relief that I am able this year to address to you the Advent letter with the good hope of restored peace. We must feel that Advent has taken on a new meaning for us. It has been in a very real sense that Christ has come to the world. We make a mistake if we relegate the word Advent to His Final Coming. We have watched amazed these last few months a foretaste of the judgment of Christ falling upon a nation which would have none of Him. Whatever causes writers of History may attribute to the dramatic collapse of our enemies, those of us who believe in the immediate Rule of Christ over the world he won for Himself will see in that collapse His judgment at work. It was in truth an Advent, a foretaste of what the Final Advent must mean.

But the Advent of Jesus is not just to destroy, it is to build anew. There lies before us a period of intense activity where without His Guidance our efforts can so easily go in the wrong channels. I say with the utmost deep conviction that man unaided is not sufficient for this opportunity. We must aid our statesmen by our prayers. Here at All Souls’ we shall begin Advent with the daily Eucharist restored to the Parish.

Our thanksgiving services were marked by a real heartfelt thankfulness on the part of our people. Both morning and evening we paid our debt of honour to all who have served their country on active service, and pleaded for the peace and joy of those who had shown the greatest love which man can show. In the morning the congregation with choir and wardens made a pilgrimage to the Shrine, and in the evening to the Rolls of Honour in the Church. In both cases the simple act of respect and honour proved deeply affecting and impressive. It was greatly appreciated by those who have beloved names on our rolls. An upsetting incident occurred in the failure in the morning of the electric current which put the organ out of commission in the midst of a hymn. The choir, however, rose well to the occasion, and went on as steady as rocks supported by the congregation who sang with a heartiness we have never heard before. Fortunately, our practice piano was standing in the church, and Mr Fowles was able to keep the choir well supported till the current was restored. It was nevertheless a great day and one which no one will ever forget. The Church had touched the need of the people.

A generous benefaction of £100 has been given to the Parish by Mr F A Keating in memory of his son.

The victory was marked by the gift of a large St George’s Cross Banner to the Church by Lady Radnor. It waved bravely over the Church on Thanksgiving Day. It will enable us to express ourselves on great occasions in the future. It is a great addition to the Tower, and helped to hide its unfinished appearance.

South Ascot Parochial Magazine, December 1918 (D/P186/28A/18)

Advertisements

A reminder for generations of the blood-stained record of the early twentieth century

St Nicolas Church in Newbury planned a stained glass window as a war memorial.

THE EAST WINDOW AS A MEMORIAL OF THE TIME AND THE FALLEN

The artist, amid the strain of war upon his personal time and attention, has now furnished a sketch for the reorganisation and perfection of the East Window of our Church, so as to make it perfectly worthy of its position. He has eminently succeeded, and it now remains for the parishioners to translate it into effect. The estimate for the work is approximately £225. As a town and parish we should now, all, according to our means, help to see it through. The Scriptural Subjects of the Great Sacrifice and The Ascension are ideal, and go to the hearts of all in the crucial times we are all passing through.

Hardly a home in our borough and parish which has not felt its keen anxiety and sorrow. Our own laurel wreathed shrine tells us that nearly 100 of our parishioners – the majority in the blossom of their life – have paid the great debt on the battlefield or the sea wave. What better General Memorial could there be than in the accomplishment of this appropriate task in the Parish Church of our town. Let every parishioner do his or her quota, and so connect it in their memories with their personal experiences of the past four years of the world’s unparalleled history and personal sacrifices.

There can be only one opinion, that over the High Altar of our loved and ancient fane [sic?] is the position for any such Memorial, where it may stand for generations, delineating the great subjects of Divine Love and Triumph for personal devotion, as well as acting as a reminder of the blood-stained record of the early twentieth century.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

We may say without doubt, “this is the last winter of the war”

The hope of the war ending soon did not mean an immediate relaxation of efforts.

We are entering upon a winter which will be one of anxiety and some discomfort. We shall have to be careful about food and still more careful over fuel and lighting, and it may be necessary to suspend some of our parochial organisations in consequence. But we have one great consolation. We may say without doubt, “this is the last winter of the war.” A few more months of steady united effort and we shall have climbed this long and difficult hill of the war and by God’s help find ourselves at the top. So we must pull together for this last great effort.

Our best thanks to Mr W P Routh for the oak war shrine which he has made and presented to the church. The design is simple and good provision is made for extra space by means of folding side wings which will probably be necessary when the names are painted in.

Reading Christ Church parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P170/28A/24)

Palm branches, the symbol of victory

The war shrine in Speenhamland church is described.

Our War Shrine has been much talked about and evidently supplies a felt need. It is of quite a simple character and occupies in a very pleasing manner what would otherwise be a blank piece of wall. It consists of a dark background on a wooden framework, with a shield in the centre containing the names of those connected with the Church and parish who have fallen in the War, flanked by a Union Jack and Naval Ensign, and surmounted by palm branches, the symbol of victory. On a table in front are placed cards with the names of those from the parish who are engaged in various parts of His Majesty’s Forces. We owe a debt of gratitude to a generous member of our congregation who made himself responsible for the expenses incurred for erecting the Shrine. Another friend has kindly promised to give a Cross to be placed on the table. It is desirable that fresh flowers should be placed in the vases every few days, and it has been suggested that there are many parishioners with relatives at the front who would be only too glad to do this. In order to avoid overlapping we suggest that those who would like to give the necessary flowers for a week should communicate with Mrs. Holloway.


Speenhamland parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2)

The symbol of victory

Victor Corden (1860-1939) was a Newbury based artist and teacher of art, who provided the decoration for a war shrine in Speenhamland Church.

Although we have always made a point of remembering our fighting men in various ways at our services, and they are mentioned by name in our war intercessions, yet it must often have seemed to many that there has been something wanting. We hope now that this feeling of a little coldness will be entirely removed through the generosity of a member of the congregation, who has made himself responsible for the erection of a War Shrine. It will be placed between the Vestry Door and the East Wall and will be of quite a simple character. There will be a background of some dark material, in front of which will be placed flags and palm-branches (the symbol of victory), if we can obtain them. In a centre will be a shield containing the names of those who have been killed in action belonging to the parish, and on a table in front of it will be a book with the names of the men from the parish who are engaged in various ways in His Majesty’s Forces. The shrine will supply a felt want, and we trust will be of much comfort to many who have friends fighting or a rest. We hope that it will lead to an increased feeling of devotion. We are much indebted to the generous donor, and to Mr. Victor Corden, who has kindly placed his artistic skill and experiences at our disposal in the matter.

Speenhamland parish magazine, October 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2)

“Even here aeroplanes are more ubiquitous than motor cars and went droning thro the blue at a great height like beetles”

On an antiquarian trip to his home region in the Vale of White Horse, William Hallam took the time to pay his respects at a war shrine.

18th May 1918

Got up at 7. Went to Challow sta. at 20 past 9. Walked thro’ Goosey across the fields – then onto Charney. Here I looked in the church as a young woman was cleaning it and getting ready for a wedding she told me. Notice that queer carving in chapel. Then I copied down all the Inscriptions I could decipher. The I went to a cottage and enquired the way to Cherbury Camp but the old man said I meant Chawberry. He told me the nearest way but I mistook it and went a devil of a way round. However I enquired again and got there alright about 1 o’clock. I was surprised to find such a perfect camp still existing in the midst of agricultural land. I sat on the bank and ate my lunch of bread and butter and a hard boiled egg and revelled in the sun. The cuckoo had been on all day long. The first day I’ve heard him this spring. There was not a cloud in the sky and even here aeroplanes are more ubiquitous than motor cars and went droning thro the blue at a great height like beetles. I sat here and thought for an hour. I looked over the ploughed field in the encampment and found one flint chip.

I came back into Charney the way I should have come – much nearer- and went into the Pub and had a pint and a ½ of ale. This landlady Shepherd knew me by seeing me regularly at St. Paul’s as they lived at Swindon until 3 years ago when they took this Pub. Her husband a smith now working she told me at Cheltenham in aeroplane works and rides on a bike to & from every week end- 45 miles. I asked about this old house near the Church. She told me a lady had bought it 2 or 3 years ago and spent a lot of money on it – then before she had finished it got tired of it and sold it to a Col. Colmes for 1800£ and now he is spending as much as he gave for it in restoring it. Fortunately in antiquarian lines the chapel & all being put back as it should be. When I started back I sat on the Oak bridge and saw the wedding – not a khaki one – party came out – quite a village wedding – all walking.

It was a scalding hot day and as I sat on a heap of stones resting and having a smoke 2 Swindon men passed by and had a chat on their way to Longworth. Further along the road I turned off and went to Denchworth & looked over the Church & churchyard and here I saw the first war shrine. A frame with a crucifix and list of the names of all the young men gone from the village with a prayer for the passer by to offer up for them so took off my hat and said it. Before it on a ledge were 2 brass vases of fresh flowers. I got back to Challow St. at 6 o’clock and got up home here at ½ past 7. The Country is at its best now especially the Vale.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

All our thoughts and prayers just now are with our brave men fighting in the tremendous struggle on the Western Front

A war shrine for prayers for the war was dedicated at Speenhamland.

All our thoughts and prayers just now are with our brave men fighting in the tremendous struggle on the Western Front. May God bless and protect them and grant them victory!

The second Sunday after Easter [14 April] was a very happy day, being kept, as usual, as our Dedication Festival. During the procession before the Sung Service the Vicar dedicated the War Shrine, which looked beautiful. The choir excelled itself on this day and the church looked at its best.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2)

Quite an effective war shrine

All Saints’ Church in Reading was the latest to have a special shrine in the church for war related prayer.

Church Army Hut Fund

Lenten savings for the Church Army Hut Fund should be sent in at once.

War Shrine

The list and Roll of Honour have been fixed between the Chapel and the south door, and form quite an effective shrine, surmounted by The Union Jack, the kind gift of Miss Ward.

An oak bracket for flowers, etc., has also been fixed, kindly given by Mrs. Ward. We are grateful to Mr. Moss for kindly fixing up the lists of honour. We hope that the shrine will be dedicated at our Dedication Festival.

All Saints section of Reading St Mary parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

A muffled peal rings in Reading

The parish of Reading St Mary had to mourn a number of losses.

The Vicar’s Notes

We have to mourn two losses lately, which have brought the War sadly home to us at S. Mary’s. William Holloway, Sergeant in the Royal Berks, was our Cross-bearer, a member of our Choir, the first server at our Altar, and Secretary of our Men’s Club. His whole character was marked by the strongest loyalty, loyalty to his country, and to his Church. His influence was wholly and entirely for good. We are thankful that his death was painless and instantaneous. A “Requiem” was said for him on Monday, Oct.22nd, at 7-30, and a wreath placed on the War-shrine by the Servers on Sunday, Oct. 28th.

The other loss is that of Alfred T. Reeves, one of our youngest bell-ringers. He was seldom absent from the belfry on Sundays, and a muffled peal was rung, out of respect for his memory, on Wednesday, Oct. 17th.

May they both rest in peace.

Notice
Men of Engineering or Seafaring experience, also Tradesmen or Labourers, of any age, who are desirous of doing ruminative war-work are advised to apply to the Rev. R. Wickham Legg, of S.Mary’s Vicarage, Reading, who is in a position to help them to this end.

Intercessions

For all our Allies, especially the Italians.

For all our fighting men, and also for those who have lately joined the Army, especially Harry Frewin (one of our Altar Servers).

For the sick, the prisoners and the wounded, especially Walter Towner, one of our Choirmen, severely wounded in the head and thigh; for Fred Eggleton, one o0f the Banner-bearers; for Arthur Stokes (of Cherry Court).

For the fallen, especially for William Holloway, our first Altar server at S. Mary’s; for Alfred T. Reeves, one of our Bell-ringers; for Cecil Coulton (of Lavender Street).
R.I.P.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, November 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

“Personally, my hopes lie in the Constituent Assembly choosing a Constitutional Monarchy” in Russia

Customary insistence that churchgoers should wear their Sunday best had gone by the wayside.

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

This short line comes to greet you in the midst of what I hope will be pleasant summer weather. The very beauty of Nature around us must make us in our green Island think of the goodness of God’s bounty to us all ; and it must in our thankfulness suggest to us how great our sympathy should be with all those of our kith and kin, who in weariness too often, in hardship too frequent, are on our behalf in the shell-scarred, dusty, noisome trenches of many foreign lands.

I would not exhort, as Vicar, for just now we are all very ready to stir each other up to action, but I would rather beg of you as a fellow worshipper, that we should try not to grow weary or fainthearted in our prayers for those we love, whether at home or in Church. St Luke’s Church is open always from 8 am to 6 pm, later on Fridays and Sundays; St Peter’s is open, too. Those who cannot find a quiet corner at home, can find one there. Working clothes do not matter; God wants our hearts, not fine clothes.

There is, too, the War Shrine to provide a centre for our prayers. And many could come to the weekly Friday Intercession Service. We have to remember that life is not the only boon we can ask for those we love but that honour, purity, and straightforwardness are even greater things. I think we are all doing this pretty well; but I suppose we could none of us honestly say we could not do a great deal better…

Now may I say one ward as regards Treats, etc. The War certainly imposes on us the need for great economy. All expenses should, so far as possible, be cut down. But the War has already lasted nearly three years, and owing to the Republican disorder in Russia, the hope of an early Peace has faded away; though the entry of the United States into the War has made more certain than ever before a full and final victory. We must all hope for a speedy settlement in the land of our great Russian Ally; personally, my hopes lie in the Constituent Assembly choosing a Constitutional Monarchy.

So, many children are fast growing up without much memory of the peaceful days before the War. For them there should be, I think, very simple and economic Treats. I hope those who agree with me will support our Sunday School Fund during this month. I feel that the Mothers are another class who should have some little outing, as cheap as possible, of course, still a little change from the daily work and anxiety…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

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

Flowers for the war shrines

Clewer people were placings flowers at the roadside memorials which had sprung up in the parish during the war.

St Agnes’, Clewer

Several people have asked whether they may take flowers for the War Shrines. Most certainly they may do so, and it is much hoped that they will, and specially those whose relatives have their names on these Rolls of Honour. The flowers should be taken to Mr. Pert or Mrs. Cornish, who have kindly taken charge of the Shrines, and who will be very glad to put any flowers in the boxes provided for them.

Clewer parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P39/28A/9)

Help to hasten the arrival of a victorious peace!

Maidenhead people were asked to support the troops in prayer and with their savings.

Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

… Our new War Shrine (temporary) is now erected in the Church. I hope many who pass by will enter to say a prayer from time to time in that quiet corner, for those in danger for our sakes, or to honour the memory of our gallant dead. If anyone would like to give a desk or rail to kneel against, they should communicate with Mr. Hazeldine, 5, College Rise, the hon. sec. of the C.E.M.S., the Society to whose generosity the Shrine is mainly due, or with myself as Vicar…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY


St Luke’s War Saving Association

Miss Garratt, hon. sec., attends at the National School, East Street, from 7 to 8 p.m. every Monday, to receive deposits of 6d. and upwards to buy War Saving Certificates. Come in numbers, and help to hasten the arrival of a victorious peace!

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

Pray for God’s blessing on our cause and gallant men

Children and adults in Maidenhead were urged to pop in to the church in spare moments to pray for the troops.

War Shrine

On Whit-Sunday, May 27th, the beautiful little War Shrine presented and fixed by the St. Luke’s Branch of the C.E.M.S and one or two friends, was dedicated and unveiled by the Vicar at the Children’s Service…

It is hoped that many who pass by the Church will slip in, if but for two minutes and pray for God’s blessing on our cause and gallant men. The names of the Fallen are well and clearly written up by Mr. Habbin.

Any additions or corrections should be sent either to the Hon. Sec., Mr. E. Hazeldine, 5, College Rise, or to Mr. Habbin, 2 Fairford Road.

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

Serbians now living in our midst

Reading people offered prayers for the Russian Revolution and for Serbian refugees who had come to Reading.

The Vicar’s Notes
Intercessions

For Russia in her time of crisis.
For Serbia and the Serbians now living in our midst in Reading.
For all the operations of the allies this spring.
For all those lately confirmed.
For the Dedication Festival at S. Saviour’s that the War-shrine may be a real spiritual help to the Parish.

Thanksgiving

For Successes granted to our arms in Mesopotamia and France.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

What we hope to do to welcome our returned soldiers on the conclusion of peace

The men’s group at St Luke’s, Maidenhead, was keen to welcome home our soldiers when the war came to an end.

The Church of England Men’s Society

An interesting Meeting of the C.E.M.S. was held on April 16th. The details of the War Shrine were gone into.

Dr Underhill gave us an interesting account of what a Committee, of which he is a member, hope to do to welcome our returned soldiers on the conclusion of peace. It was resolved to hold a meeting at an early date to go into the matter…

I may add that if any Parishioners, other than members of the C.E.M.S., wish to contribute to the War Shrine, they should communicate with Mr. Hazeldine, Hon. Sec., 5, College Rise. The C.E.M.S. does not want to be at all selfish in the matter, and would gladly welcome any gift from outside its own body.

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