Parish and Deanery Magazines (1879-1930)

 Rob Forsyth

Editor's note: The following texts are taken verbatim via OCR from past issues of Ruth Johnson's articles in the Deddington News. Each month she presented an extract of the Deanery Magazine from around the turn of the 20th century. They are made available here by her kind permission and the Deddington News. Any mistakes on transposing via OCR are undoubtedly mine!

If you wish to read them in the original then please go the DN Back Issues archive and follow the instructions to find the issue you wish to access.



In the summer of 1998 fourteen carefully-bound volumes of Parish and Deanery Magazines 1879 to 1930 were discovered in S/S Peter & Paul Church, Deddington. With the permission of the Churchwardens and PCC I shall select information from their yellowing pages which I hope will interest the Parishioners of Deddington preparing for the Millennium. How did those who populated Deddington one hundred and more years ago perceive the step into the 20th Century? Did they prepare for and greet the year 1900 with enthusiasm? Only a potted version of what was written in an age before the "Rat Race" is possible, but I'll try my hardest to catch the spirit of the times. THE DEDDINGTON PARISH MAGAZINE was started in January 1879 by the Revd Thomas Boniface. He served the Parish for nearly half a century (1878-1924) and only resigned his post owing to advanced old age. Until December 1892 Deddington Parish went it alone with their monthly Magazine, which cost two pence. From January 1893 many local Parishes pooled their news in a monthly DEANERY MAGAZINE. This the Revd Boniface introduces as having the advantages of: 1. Showing the unity of faith and action between Churches. 2. Showing what goes on in other Parishes and; 3. Costing only one penny and thereby increasing circulation. Thus far the introduction. Next month I hope to begin to browse through the year 1899.

From Deddington News, March 1999




Our three Parishes had celebrated Queen Victoria's 50th Jubilee in 1897 with much good feeling, loyalty and with all due honour. Many would never forget the happy day and tell their children, yet unborn, all about it. In S/S Peter & Paul Church her Majesty's Jubilee was marked by a stained glass East Window. ENTERTAINMENT: Deddington, then as now, excelled in providing splendid entertainment for the parishioners by the parishioners. Musical & dramatic events, always reported as being packed out, were favourites and performed in schoolroom, church or private residence, In 1886 the Deddington Detachment of the 2nd Oxfordshire Rifles held a Fete and Dance on a grand scale in aid of funds for the provision of new targets. The Company's own Band played a selection of music for the dancing in the evening. Village outings became a yearly event. Nobody seemed to mind catching a 4 am train from Aynho Station, making for the sea, enjoying a boat trip and returning in the early hours of the next day. The formidable Church Choir of S/S Peter & Paul attended the yearly Choirs' Festivals, acquitting themselves very well. In 1899 the Castle Grounds site was taken over by an enterprising body of parishioners for a recreation ground and the Cricket Club was re-started. Fetes and Bazaars are recorded in great detail in the earlier magazines, with the proceeds going to various good causes. (The Day School children subscribed 12 s/10 1/2d towards a children's cot in the Radcliffe Infirmary)

From Deddington News, April 1999




In the Choir Vestry of S/S Peter & Paul, there is a photograph, dated 1906, where the Vicar, the Revd Thomas Boniface, sits solemnly in the midst of his choir, somewhat dwarfed by a row of ladies in quite formidable hats. (Just imagine our present Choir ladies trying to reach top A wearing such hats!) After the first "Trial by Congregation" at the Christmas Mattins Service 1896, ladies were tolerated in the men- and boys-only Choir on special festival and feast days. Judging by his reports in the monthly Magazine, the Vicar was a stern traditionalist of great honesty of purpose. No doubt his honesty swayed him to accept what 100 years ago was anathema to traditionalists - ladies in Church choirs! The ladies' place was in the hubbub of church support systems - organising Jumble Sales, children's parties, meat teas, washing church linen, adorning the Church with flowers and regularly cleaning the gas standards. (For the latter a special body of female workers was welcomed in Jan 1898! In1898 the Revd Boniface completed his 20th year in the Parish. Having an obvious love for statistics he records that there had been 795 baptisms, 189 marriages & 656 burials since his arrival. The death toll among the very young was still so high that once a year (maybe to reassure his flock) he prints once a year a list of those over 70 who have been "called away". In 1899 this list includes the Revd E Marshall, in charge of the Parish for six months before Thomas Boniface's induction, the writer of a very interesting & valuable History of Deddington.

From Deddington News, May 1999




Dangers lurking in S/S Peter & Paul Church Deddington
In December 1888 the largest of the bells in the Tower fell into the Ringing Chamber. Mercifully no one was hurt. The expense of re-hanging the Bell was £6-10-0 which was donated by 16 parishioners. Sadly the Alms Boxes were no safer from theft then than now. The offender in 1891 was sentenced to 6 months' hard labour! (He had committed similar offences in Oxford). A very sad accident occurred on 8 October 1891. "George Ell, as he went to chime the bells for Evensong, fell through a trap door in the belfry floor, which had not been properly secured, into the Church beneath - a distance of some 30 feet. He was dreadfully injured and removed to the Horton Infirmary, where he is progressing most favourably." On January 25th 1896 the Sexton was nearly suffocated with smoke and sulphur from the heating apparatus which, owing to "the WIND BEING IN A PARTICULAR DIRECTION", did not act properly. He was found in the stoke hole quite insensible and it was some time before he could be brought round. (Ted Johnson inspected the stoke hole for many years when he was Church Warden & Churchyard mower. He now wonders whether "THE WIND BEING IN A PARTICULAR DIRECTION" has left a lasting effect on him!)

From Deddington News, June 1999




I wonder if today's Primary School parents, when there are changes in the EDUCATION ACT, are as bemused as our forebears must have been when they read the following instructions in the Parish Magazine of September 1879:

"During 1879 every child who is above 5 and under 10 years of age, must attend School regularly; and no one, not even his or her father or mother, may employ him or her in any shop, or in any way whatever for the purpose of gain or wages. During 1879, every child who is above 10 and under 14 years of age, must attend school regularly, unless a) he or she has attended School 250 times during each year for three years, in not more than two "Certified Efficient" Schools, and holds a certificate of having made such attendances; or b) unless he or she has passed an examination before Her Majesty's Inspector of schools, in the third standard, and holds a certificate stating such a fact - in which case the child may be employed. Parents should also remember that any child attending 350 times in a year (am & pm attendances clocked up separately!), and passing the 4th standard before 11 years of age, will have the School Pence PAID by Government for one year and so on for three years." (43 new pence in 1999 is equal to 1 old penny in 1880)!

FREE Education for scholars over 3 and under 15 years, started on September 1, 1891, when our Parish Magazine airs "the good plan" that the "School Pence" hitherto spent by parents should be deposited for the benefit of their children in a Savings Account. (Whatever happened to all those little Capitalists?)

From Deddington News, July 1999




Thanks to Buffy Heywood we have become very familiar with the family of the Revd Cotton Risley. But what happened to Holford, Willie and Robert after their father's death in 1869 - I've often wondered and was delighted to find references to all of them in the Magazines. On Holford's 18th birthday his father writes in his Diary:" May a kind providence watch over, guide and protect him for many succeeding years." The wish was granted. Holford became Squire of Deddington after his father's death. A great benefactor to the Parish, he contributed to the support of the Church and School and every charitable concern. Clifton in particular was greatly indebted to his generosity. He died in Oxford on October 4th,1903, aged 72. Some parishioners followed the funeral cortege from Deddington to Adderbury Church where his body was laid to rest in the family vault with every mark of respect. His younger brother Willie (the Revd William Cotton Risley M A) was Rector of Shalstone in Buckinghamshire for nearly 30 years. He returned to his family home in Deddington in September 1907 but died in March 1908 and was buried in Shalstone churchyard. Sadly Robert, the youngest (the Revd Robert Wells Risley M.A.) died at the early age of 47 in August 1884, at Moulsoe, nr Newport Pagnell where he was Rector of that Parish. The Revd Cotton Risley's grandson Martin, son of Willie, left Deddington 6 months after his father's death and died in London after a short illness on December 2nd 1908, aged 39. He was well- known in Deddington, read the lessons in Church and was the first to read from the new lectern. Betsie, (Elizabeth Rebecca), we know from the Diaries, died in 1848 aged 13. She lies in the Cotton Risley vault in Adderbury churchyard. (I think Martin was the last of the family to live in what is now known as Deddington Manor).

From Deddington News, September 1999




Probably to counter balance the soubriquet "Dirty, drunken Deddington" the opening of a Coffee Tavern in town was newsworthy enough to be included in the Vicar's New Year address in1881. He writes to his parishioners: "A change, which we hope this year will bring, will be a COFFEE TAVERN. This movement is owing in a great measure to Capt Dashwood (of Duns Tew), who has taken great interest in the matter. The house will probably open about Lady Day". (Feast of the Annunciation, 25 March). Later that year the Tavern is reported as "fairly supported" by the inhabitants and in September the Tavern Committee decided to purchase a Bagatelle table, which was placed in an upstairs room. News on the venture peters out until a short paragraph in May 1883 informs that "the Coffee Tavern has been re-opened under new management". On January 18th 1884 Capt Dashwood got up an excellent Dramatic Entertainment in aid of funds for the Tavern. With that report, news of the Tavern dries up. But not my curiosity! May be a DN reader can throw light on the Coffee Tavern movement? Capt Dashwood was a member of the family which - I'm told - owned land running from High Wycombe to Deddington at the turn of the last century. What was his interest in the Coffee Tavern movement? - And does anyone know which house in Deddington accommodated the Tavern?

From Deddington News, October 1999




The Deddington Library at the end of the 19th century had its difficulties through which it was supported - need I say - by the villagers. Well before 1879 a Library and Reading Room existed in the Town Hall. From 1879 to 1888 a Committee of local people were in charge, held annual meetings, made public the accounts and planned to raise money to supplement members' subscriptions. By 1883 the Library owned 700 books and received 13 different newspapers and periodicals. Local, unpaid "librarians" supervised the lending of books and the Reading Room which also boasted games. Non-members could borrow a book for a halfpenny per volume.

In 1886, the closure of the Institution due to "considerable dissatisfaction" was only avoided when a brave Committee tightened Membership Rules. Just reading these bye-laws gives a clue to the troubles.- "No smoking on the premises until 9 pm, all Games, excepting Chess & Draughts, to be confined to the lower room and no new members under 16 years of age to be admitted".

Sadly, in spite of the changes, the Library and Reading Room, after thirty years, came to an end due to the opening of two similar institutions in the village. But Deddingtonians do not give up that easily! In February 1889 the Library in the Town Hall re-opened as a "parochial library" and the Vicar, taking pity on the young, later instituted a library in the Vicarage loft (the Old Vicarage) opening for half an hour on Saturdays in the winter months for - very correctly - girls at 4 pm and boys at 7 pm!

From Deddington News, November 1999




"Post early for Christmas" is probably the only instruction we get from the Post Office at this time of year, and, probably, we forget it! Our predecessors received a whole page of regulations. From the Parish Magazine of October 1883, I quote: "No parcel must weigh more than 7 lb and may not exceed 3'6" in length and girth. (The most convenient mode of measuring will be by means of a tape 6 feet long, having the length of 3'6" marked thereon. So much of the tape as is not used in measuring the length will be the measure of the greatest girth permissible). Parcels containing gunpowder, cartridges, Lucifer matches, explosives (or anything likely to injure), live animals or bladders containing liquids are prohibited. Powders must be so packed that they cannot escape. Parcels, the contents of which omit a strong odour such as fish, game, camphor, pepper, coffee etc must be packed with particular care, in order to guard against their causing damage to the Parcels Mails. Parcels known to contain a letter, packet, or parcel intended for delivery at an address other than that borne on the parcel itself, are prohibited. Parcels can be received at the Deddington Post Office daily up to 8.20 pm !!"

This was then, so don't confuse the 8.20 pm closing time with current times; think of our kind staff at the Post Office and "POST EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS".

From Deddington News, December 1999




A hundred years ago, nobody in Deddington had celebrated the beginning of a new century! A whole year of birth, life and death had to be endured before the new century was marked in 1901! (Is it possible then that Deddington was a trifle premature with it's splendid millennium celebrations? And are the famous "bugs" laughing behind our backs and preparing their main attack for 2001)? What occupied the minds of our predecessors in January 1900 was the war in South Africa. Television was still to come but folks knew how to keep in touch with the latest news on the war front. "Mr Potts, of the Banbury Guardian office has made a very kind offer to the neighbouring clergy. He has a number of lantern slides of different places in South Africa connected with the war, and will be willing to lend them to any clergyman who, in applying to him, will undertake to defray the cost of carriage, and to be responsible for their safe return. We are very glad to make this kind offer known, and to thank Mr Potts on behalf, not only of the local clergy, who will be sure to avail themselves of this opportunity, but also of the many people to whom the pictures will be of such great and even painful interest."

From Deddington News, February 2000




As the Parish of Deddington did not celebrate the change from the 19th to the 20th century until 1901 I peeped into the then "new" century and was immediately fascinated by the following entry written under "IN MEMORIAM in April 1901. 'The late JOHN KNIBBS (died 14 March, aged 94) who lived under FIVE SOVEREIGNS, was for many years, and within a few years of his death, a Member of the Church Choir, which he attended with great regularity as long as his strength and age permitted him. He also acted as Town Crier.' As a choir member in the 21st century I am, of course taking heart, at my age, of equalling John's choir singing record, but to have lived under five Sovereigns. Who were they ? (Answer on back page)

(JOHN KNIBBS was born in the reign of George III, lived through the reigns of George IV, William IV. Queen Victoria and one month into the reign of Edward VII).

From Deddington News, March 2000




The "cri de coeur" from our Clifton correspondent (March DN) is my excuse for bringing you news from that village as reported in the final years of the 19th century. The then Editor must have been of a very tolerant disposition because the Clifton report quite often runs to a full page! The yearly report issued to Clifton School by Her Majesty's Inspector was made known in full. Luckily children & teachers did not have to hang their heads in shame. Words like "creditably taught in Elementary subjects ... Grammar satisfactory ... History is pretty well known ... Geography good in lower part of school, but rather weak in the upper... Needlework (in some years) is carefully done ... (and in others) unsatisfactory ..." After Her Majesty's Inspector came the Deanery Inspector to test the children in Scripture & Catechism the knowledge of which "is not large ... but the children answer with readiness ..." Apart from these, no doubt dreaded examinations, the children & parents of yester-years must have had a lot of fun - cricket and football matches on fields generously lent by local farmers. Sunday-school Christmas Parties with games, teas and Magic Lantern shows. An annual Christmas Supper for "the men & lads" of the Clifton Church Choir. In the winter there was entertainment by the local Glee & Madrigal Choir and a real knees-up for everybody after the Patronal Festival or, as it was then known, the "Dedication Festival of Clifton Church" on or near St James' Day (25 July). The Church of St James was consecrated by Bishop Samuel Wilberforce when he was Bishop of Oxford between 1845 & 1869. (He was the son of William W, the M.P. who devoted himself to the cause of the abolition of the slavetrade & slavery). There is even more interesting news on these yellowing magazine pages and may be also in the odd trunk in the attic. Clifton need never be short of news again.

From Deddington News, April 2000




It had to happen. The Past is catching up with the Present. On Sunday, April 9th 2000, we admired a brightly polished plaque mounted on the organ surround in the Parish Church. The inscription reads: "A memorial to LILIAN ALICE WEAVER. 1885 - 1976 who was organist of this Church for 60 years."

Her long & faithful service began on Easter Day 1908. Over the years, enthusiastically, but always very humbly, she made music to the Glory of God. She played the Dead March in "Saul" at the close of the Memorial Service to His Late Majesty King Edward VII in June 1910, saw out the "old" organ - the oldest in the district - and coped with an American organ until enough funds were raised to install a new one. Then, on Sunday August 20th, 1912, she enjoyed the majestic sound of the new "Binns" organ at the Dedication Service performed by the Bishop of Zanzibar, leaving the actual playing to various organ scholars of fame. But very soon afterwards she mastered the intricate and wonderful instrument. And so year after year. "she played on", as the Choir sang on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee in 1968: "Saints' days & Feast days, Weddings & Christenings / Music in Autumn, Winter and Spring / Some people singing and some people listening / Always the urge to give voice and sing / Old hymns at Harvest, at Christmas new Carols / Yet though the Choir change, Miss Weaver plays on / For tenors like bean poles and basses like barrels / Tunes to play out whether earnest or fun / Music below to be heard up above / Twenty years, forty years, sixty years on / Playing on! Till the Church ring again and again with the sound of the organ and Choir. Playing on!

From Deddington News, May 2000




In his 1879 New Year's address, THOMAS BONIFACE, the new incumbent of S/S Peter & Paul, wrote: "One change, which the new year has brought with it, is a PARISH MAGAZINE which I hope will be a welcome visitor at every house. It will be published monthly, price 2d, and will contain wholesome and religious reading suitable for English churchpeople; a record of Church work and other events of interest in connection with the Parish."

Twelve months later we read: "The Parish Magazine, which has now a circulation of 160 copies monthly does not nearly pay its way, but the Vicar is a considerable loser by it. Some alterations, therefore, in the cover may have to be made next year..."

The Magazine, printed at Deddington Post Office by J Whetton, General Printer, Stationer, Bookseller, Linnen & Woollen Draper & seller of China, Glass & Earthenware, survived until 1893 when News from the Parish became part of the Deanery Magazine. I like to think that the Vicar's purse was saved by the increasing use of advertisments which began to appear in the publication, of which my favourite proclaims: " THE GREAT FAMILY MEDICINE OF THE AGE ! WHELPTONS VEGETABLE PURIFYING PILLS & WHELPTONS VEGETABLE STOMACH PILLS, which are particularly suited to weakly persons, being exceedingly mild and gradual in their operation, imparting tone and vigour to the Digestive Organs."

Just what the Duplicating Team of todays Deddington News need before printing the 1020 monthly copies!

From Deddington News, June 2000




May I introduce this month's "Gleanings" with a present day event. Linda Bloxham,the Organist & Director of S/S Peter & Paul Choir, has decided, after 6 years of faithful service, to move on. So, where does a choir, feeling bereft and anxious, seek comfort? Naturally in the pages of the above magazines where the Choir's history, their ups and downs, is recorded from 1879 onwards. I like to think that certain anthems sung, and still sung by the Choir, are so deeply ingrained into the Church stonework that, could stones speak, they would be the best critics. They might echo the praise recorded at Christmas 1891 "that we never remember hearing the musical proportions of the Service rendered with so much spirit and heartiness and so well". Or, less flattering in 1892, "the singing, upon the whole was good, though there were some imperfections". The Choir's history is not "glorious" as in reaching famous heights, but that of a group of people who share a love for church music, who have always been encouraged by enthusiastic leaders, from Deddington School Headmaster Mr Manchip in 1879 to Linda Bloxham in 2000. Their music making joined them into a family who, generation after generation, not only sang but, moving with the times, enjoyed outings and holidays. In June 1883 the Choir travelled " in Mr Howe's famous brake, Mr Hedges' wagonette and Mr Thrussell's dog cart". In 1995 the same Choir, by name, went by coach and cross-channel ferry to sing in Holland. As the saying goes: "Those who wish to sing always find a song". To that I want to add confidently, "and a leader"!

From Deddington News, July 2000




Royal celebrations were much in the news in August this year - and so they were in June 1887 when Deddington celebrated "the Jubilee of the 50th year of our good Queen Victoria's reign".

"The celebrations commenced in the Parish Church on the Sunday previous to the Jubilee Day when a large number of people, including public bodies, the Volunteers Fire Brigade, Benefit Society. Police, Sunday & Day Schools and Church of England Temperance Society attended a special Service. A procession was formed at the Schools, which, headed by Banbury Rifle Corps Band paraded through the town which was already decorated with flags and mottos for the event. The Service commenced with the singing of the National Anthem, followed by the Te Deum, Prayers & Hymns. The Sermon was preached by the Vicar from the text, 'A Jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you', (Leviticus xxv.11) At the conclusion of the Service the Band, who sat under the Tower, played, in excellent style, the 'Hallelujah Chorus'. The spacious Church was filled to overflowing.

The Jubilee Day itself (June 20th) was ushered in by a peal about 5 o'clock. After another special Service in the Parish Church the Festivities began at 1 o'clock, when in the large School Room and in a spacious tent erected in the School Yard, some hundreds of Parishioners sat down to an excellent dinner - to which ample justice was done. It was a pleasing sight - on the Jubilee of their Sovereign - to see all classes uniting together, and old and young sitting down to one repast. After dinner the large company adjourned to a field where Sports of an amusing character were held. The Bells rang out merrily at intervals, and there was a Band to enliven the scene. The happy day was brought to a close by Fireworks and a Bonfire in a field on the Banbury road."

From Deddington News, September 2000




The hand of time is on the move again in Deddington after the Church Clock's brief summer holiday. While time stood still I had plenty of it to leaf through the above magazines, a source of unending fascination, idly looking for inspiration. And there it was - a plea recorded in February 1884; " CHURCH CLOCK. This very useful article, which was presented to the parish some 50 years ago, by the expressed wish of Mr William Hudson of this place, after his death, at the cost of £176, and has for some time lately been "double-faced', and guilty of telling many untruths, has at last been put in order at a considerable expense, which the inhabitants must be asked to assist in defraying, as there is no special fund for this purpose."

By Easter 1884 "a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to Messrs Samman and Hedges for the trouble they had taken in collecting subscriptions" (The repair cost £12-1-6d), fifty eight parishioners subscribed and all are listed by name!

In March 1887 we read: "The Church Clock is once again in good working order, for which we think, all are thankful. It was thoroughly cleaned by Mr Bryan at the expense of the parishioners whose names appear below. (24 parishioners and "the workmen of Mr Franklin's Firm" are listed). In the year of King Edward VII's death our Clock stopped once again but was "put in order" by the time his Memorial Service was held in the Church on 20th May 1910. The clock, has no doubt stopped many times over the years so we must never forget the many who have kept it going, in particular those dedicated Deddingtonians who wound it manually week after week up until the 1980s. Did they know though, that the hands of a Church Clock that stops should be moved to rest on the 12th hour until it can be repaired? - This is to allow the ghosts of the "town", who habitually dance BEFORE the stroke of midnight to slumber on.

From Deddington News, October 2000




THE WAR MEMORIAL IN DEDDINGTON. At a public meeting on 31st March 1919 it was decided to commemorate the "Fallen in the War" by a monument. At a follow up meeting in May a large majority favoured a memorial site in the middle of the pathway in the extended Churchyard. By June 13 that year, 32 local ex servicemen had personally collected the sum of £171-2-1. The design the Parishioners chose was by Mr Smithin, to be executed by Messrs Smithin & Cambray in Portland stone and to stand 12 feet 6 inches high, surmounted by a cross with four lions at its base. The estimated total cost, was £230.

The unveiling and dedication of the Memorial took place on the afternoon of Sunday, August 6, 1922. The unveiling was performed by Major General Sir Robert Fanshaw, KCB, DSO, who had been associated with some of Deddington's men in the War. The Vicar, the Revd T Boniface, dedicated the Memorial, assisted by the Revd T Buckingham (Wesleyan) and the Revd J.Carter, of Oxford (representing the Congregationalists), the two latter giving addresses. The singing of the hymns was led by the Church-, Congregational- and Wesleyan Choirs, accompanied by a band. Relatives and friends of the Fallen, together with the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars and Ex-Servicemen from the Parish placed a number of beautiful wreaths at the foot of the Memorial. The proceedings, well arranged by a sub-committee, were somewhat marred by rain. The Service ended with "The Last Post" and "Reveille" and the National Anthem, after which a muffled peal of bells was rung.

From Deddington News, November 2000




REFLECTION ON CHRISTMAS 1888 by the Revd Thomas Boniface. "We have again been engaged in keeping the great Christian Festival, the Festival of the Glad Tidings. The Old story, which never seems old, has been re-told; the Story which has been told for so many hundred years in our beloved Country, - yes, and perhaps (for) nearly as long here in our dear old town of Deddington. Our Churches have told it in their joyful services, and by their festal attire, which the usual loving hands and ungrudging gifts have spared no pains to make beautiful ...Our Church Bells have proclaimed to all alike the joyful news. Friends and relations have met to keep the great day together and to realize by association something of the peace and goodwill. Nor have the lesser tokens of the Festival been wanting. The bright appearance of our shops and their crowds of eager buyers, the heavily-laden postman bringing Christmas greetings from absent friends have been noticeable. All this, and much more, has proclaimed the joyful message and brought home even to the dullest and most careless the Christmas news. - May it not have fallen upon deaf ears, but served, as it should, to encourage the strong, to raise up the weak, to arouse the careless, and to re-kindle and inflame all hearts to a greater appreciation and grasping after all the benefits the great Christmas Event has brought within our reach."

From Deddington News, December 2000




"Christmas this year, as far as the weather was concerned, was an old fashioned one, - the ground being covered with snow,and a severe frost having set in". So we read in a report about Christmas 1890. We can well imagine the scene having just experienced the like at the end of the year 2000. But can anybody remember hearing of the many village Charities which helped Deddingtonians through the cold winter months back in the past? Is the name of MISS CHURCHILL still familiar to anyone now living in the village? For over 20 years she represented a Charity through which the elderly and needy were able to have (probably borrow) blankets for the duration of the winter months. She also supervised a CLOTHING CLUB, giving villagers the chance to put by a very small sum each week to make possible the purchase of something extra before Christmas. The Coal Charity, supported every year by the Feoffees, the Parish Church, the Congregational Chapel, the Wesleyan Reform Chapel and local individuals kept the fires of the poor burning. A SOUP KITCHEN, opened in 1881, provided soup at 1d per quart, once a week during winter. The soup was served from Mrs BLISS's kitchen in Philcote Street on average, 17 times per season and very detailed accounts are available. (Expenditure for use of copper, meat & vegetables came to £12-9-5 one winter). Year after year these Charities were run by the village for the village and well deserved the then Vicar's yearly response; "I desire to thank all who have, by their purse, or time, or ability, or in any other way, contributed to their maintenance."

From Deddington News, February 2001




More extracts can be read as Gleanings in

April 2001 edition

May 2001 edition

June 2001 edition

July 2001 edition

September 2001 edition

October 2001 edition

November 2001 edition

December 2001 edition




Sometimes like ever increasing circles, researching a specific subject in these magazines leads to quite unexpected discoveries. brother has not survived in Church. He was W. RUFUS HANCOX who was killed in action on 13th August 1916. He was a Corporal in the Ox & Buck Take THE NATIONAL ANTHEM for instance. While composing the history of Deddington Church Choir I got chatting to Topper Davis, who was a local Choir Boy in the 1930s. He let me peruse his most precious book of BRITISH SONGS for BRITISH BOYS by Sydney H Nicholson under whom he remembers enjoying training days for choirs. (Sir Sydney Nicholson, founder of the School of Church Music). I was immediately very interested in notes by Sir Sydney footing the National Anthem. As we have just entered the year of the Queen's Golden Jubilee and will no doubt hear and sing this anthem many times, I would like to share Sir Sydney's annotation in British Songs for British Boys published in 1903, and I quote: The question of the authorship of the National Anthem is a one which has yet to be settled. The tune, as we now have it, has generally been attributed to Henry Carey (1692-1743), but probably without much foundation. Strong claims are advanced, however, in recent works, in favour of James Oswald, an Edinburgh musician, on the one hand, and Dr. John Bull, the famous composer, on the other. God save the King first appeared, words and music, in the Gentleman's Magazine for October, 1745, and had been performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in September of that year, on reception of the news of the defeat of Sir John Cope' s army at Prestonpans. The claim of OSWALD is based on the following, amongst other facts:- 1. God save the King is named, in 1769, on the dial-plate of the chimes of Windsor Church, as OSWALD'S ARE. 2. In 1761 Oswald was appointed chamber composer to George III, over the heads of better known musicians. 3. The numerous fictitious names under which Oswald published, prove that he was not anxious to make public claim to much excellent work. 4. God save the King was published (anonymously) by John Simpson, about 1745, in a work called Harmonia Anglicana. Oswald was doing a great deal of work for Simpson, at the time of its publication. These facts undoubtedly make out a very strong claim for Oswald. (In the next issue of the Deddington News, I shall offer the claims of authorship of Dr John Bull in the continuation of Sir Sydney's footnote).

From Deddington News, February 2002




(Continuation of footnote to the NATIONAL ANTHEM taken from the book BRITISH SONGS FOR BRITISH BOYS by Sir Sydney H Nicholson). Last month in the first part of Sir Sydney's notes, the question of authorship of the National Anthem, although not settled at the time of the above book's publication in 1903, rested on strong claims between JAMES OSWALD and Dr JOHN BULL. I now continue Sir Sydney's observations and quote: The claims of Dr. JOHN BULL (1563-1628) are advanced in a work on the subject by Dr.W.H.Cummings, and the author is of the opinion that the tune, as we now have it, is derived from an air by Bull, contained in a manuscript dated 1619; and that the original Latin words were used in the Catholic Church Service. He adds, of course, in the lapse of years. Bull's tune has been altered and improved by the vox populi, an inevitable and desirable process in the formation of a national melody. The claim of JAMES OSWALD'S authorship, (as mentioned last month), and that of JOHN BULL are the two most modem theories (in 1903), and though the question will probably be never definitely settled, they are at least interesting as throwing some light on an hitherto obscure subject. Beethoven, referring to the introduction of the air into his Battle Symphony, said, I must show the English a little, what a blessing they have in God save the King, and it is universally admitted to be one of the very finest National Anthems in existence. May I just add, very humbly, that I heartily agree with Sir Sydney's last statement. I felt very sad when this melody, which I sang with heart and voice during my childhood in Switzerland to the words of the Swiss National Anthem, had to give way to an admittedly equally fine and very solemn melody by A. Zwyssig. However, being the Subject of a British Subject, it is my fortune and pleasure to sing that beloved melody again and again, and in particular in this year of the Queen's Golden Jubilee ! (With many thanks again to Topper Davis for lending me his book, British Songs for British Boys).

From Deddington News, March 2002




The names on the nine old wooden crosses on the North wall of SS Peter & Paul Church are fading fast. Before the inscriptions disappear altogether, and because much interest has recently been shown in the crosses, I decided to consult the writings of the Revd Thomas Boniface, Vicar of Deddington at the time of the first World War, who never failed to record in the DEDDINGTON DEANERY MAGAZINES the happy news of parishioners returning from the war, but also the sad news of a parishioner's death in action. Our nine crosses, temporary markers of graves, were probably brought into the Church by relatives of the fallen when the wooden crosses were replace by beautiful grave stones. Sadly only nine have survived. The visitor to the Church may like to read the names inscribed on the crosses and think of the local sons whose simple memorial has survived in the Parish Church. The inscriptions on the Crosses read as follows: PTE L.FRENCH AUSTRALIA 11th Bn A.IF. Loder French, elder son of Mr & Mrs French enlisted in the Australia infantry while living out there. He was sent with his regiment to the Dardanelles where, after enduring the hardships of that terrible expedition, he contracted enteric fever. He died, after discharge from hospital in Cairo while staying with his parents. He was awarded a military funeral in Deddington Churchyard. SPR W.D. HANCOX, RE, died in action on 1st July 1916. A sapper in the Royal Engineers and the second son of Mr & Mrs David Hancox, he was a bell ringer in the Parish Church and on receipt of the news of his death, the bell which he rang was muffled and tolled. He had been Captain of both the cricket & football clubs. SPR A.E.HANCOX RE. Sapper Edward Hancox, youngest brother of the above was wounded in action on 24th July 1917 and died the same day. He was the third son of Mr & Mrs Hancox to have been killed in the war. Edward's portrait has been placed with those of his two brothers who, like him were ringers, in the belfry of the Church. (Sadly, the wooden cross of the third brother has not survived in Church. He was W. RUFUS HANCOX who was killed in action on 13th August 1916. He was a Corporal in the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry.) The name of ALFRED CASTLE is the most difficult to decipher on his old cross. The son of a Clifton family he died of an illness in a Bristol hospital, aged 33, on 17th November 1918. PTE B. WHEELER CANADA died on 18th November 1916. Bernard, son of James Wheeler jun., was a resident in Canada for several years where he joined the Army and came to England to serve his King and Country. He died in a military hospital in Kent and was buried in Deddington on 23rd November. PTE O.A.J.H. DORE TRAINING RESERVE died on 6th October 1918. He was the only son of Mr & Mrs Dore and had only recently joined up. He died from pneumonia in a hospital on Salisbury Plain. PTE F.TUSTAIN, 1st Bn COLDSTREAM GUARDS Guardsman F.Tustain was killed in action on 29 September 1916. His brother. Lance Corporal M.J.Tustain was killed in July of the same year, his cross has not survived in Church. 2nd LIEUTENANT R.P.BULL, 1st Bn NORTHANTS REGIMENT Ronald Page Bull, killed in action on 1st November 1918 was one of the last local soldiers to die before the end of hostilities. His death was announced in the Deddington Deanery Magazine in December 1918, together with the news of the signing of the Armistice. Nine Crosses, nine names, nine destinies on which to reflect next time we pass by.

From Deddington News, April 2002




Did the Queen Mother visit Deddington? I've been asked this question, presumably because I have access to old Deddington Parish Magazines. No visit of Royalty is recorded between the dates of the Queen Mother's wedding in 1923 and 1930 when my supply of information ends. Be that as it may. I nevertheless thought it would be exciting if I could find something in the "Parish News" which happened during the month of her birth in August 1900. And by a most unexpected coincidence I found that something in the following notice which appears in September 1900. "DAY SCHOOL. This School will re-open on Monday, September 10th, by which time or soon after we hope the old wooden fence, which has been an eyesore for so long, will have been replaced by new unclimbable iron railings, with gates to match. The expense will amount to £ 35, and as no assistance can be obtained from the Aid Grant, it is hoped that subscribers and others will be disposed, when they see the improvement, to give something extra towards it". Some of these cast iron railings have - like the Queen Mother ! - withstood the ravishes of time for 101 years. They have fulfilled their duty to each new generation, have watched over their safety and enjoyed their merry games. They have seen the world change out of all recognition but have gladly kept up with the various trends. The Queen Mother's long life has now ended. The railings, a bit bent with age and the little gate between ornate posts, remain. Will they see the end of this decade? edited by Kristin

From Deddington News, May 2002




edited by Kristin GLEANINGS FROM THE PAST Readers may have noticed that SS Peter & Paul Church is presently without an organist. Some of s' who have been members of the Church Choir for nearly years, are trying to recover from a deep sense of loss which has unsettled our comfortable and well-loved way of life. A Choir family in bereavement ! How did our forebears cope? The Choir existed before my records start in 1897. Thomas Manchip, Headmaster of Deddington Boys School led it for 34 years. He raised the necessary funds to robe his Men and Boys Choir and 'allowed' lady singers to join in 'mufti'. Miss Boniface, sister of the Vicar, played the organ from 1889 to 1903. Miss Edith Churchill then took over until 1907. 'The following year Lilian Alice Weaver became organist and remained in the post for 60 years. She is remembered with love by many parishioners. Her devotion was that of a saint. In 1976 Glyn Davies became Organist/choir giving a generous slice of his tine to the Church. He stayed. until 1990. There followed a younger generation of organists who seldom stayed long but who enriched music in church. Deddington struck lucky again when Linda Bloxham became organist in 1994 and stayed until 2000. A brilliant organist, she gently nudged the congregation in the 21st. century of church music. She was followed by Graham Thornhill, one of her choristers who served church and Choir until his retirement at Easter this year. Only now, when bereaved, do we realise how much commitment and devotion by organists we take for granted. Organists willing to serve in village churches are becoming a very rare species ! The sad thought springs to mind: what of the future of village church music, bereft of organists ? Pipes and shawms or canned music ?

From Deddington News, June 2002




THE BUILDING OF AN ORGAN Those lucky enough to have heard the mighty sound of the organ in SS Peter & Paul Deddington may spare a thought, and offer a silent thank you to parishioners of yesteryear who gave their donations freely and those who sponsored generously the building of a new organ. The whole process can be followed in the Deanery Magazines from 1894 to 1912. August 1894. .. .The next great work to be undertaken for the Church seems to be a new, or improved organ. It has occurred to us whether any person connected with the parish by birth or otherwise would like to present an organ..... July 1895. The Choral Association of this Deanery held its 31st Annual Festival at Deddington Church. There could be no more appropriate place in the district for this Festival than the little town of Deddington with its noble church. The only draw back was the organ, but that difficulty was overcome by the happy thought of an orchestra.... December 1910. The Vicar and Church Wardens have decided to make an effort to improve the organ which is the oldest in the district having been built in 1840. It has done some good service but is small, old fashioned and not worthy of our fine Church. It has been decided to open a subscription list at once and it has been arranged by a large and influential committee of parishioners to have a Bazaar and Variety Entertainment next Easter... (Regular reports of funds state names of individual donors from as far a field as Skibo Castle, Scotland and Taunton, Somerset, but mostly Deddington parishioners). March 1912. The organ has now been ordered. It will be built by one of the best builders of the day, Mr J J Binns, of Bramley, Leeds, and the case will be made in our own parish by Messrs Franklin & Co. It will be placed in the same position as the old one, the console being on the opposite side of the Chancel, the connection being under the floor. May 1912. Owing to the coal strike, the organ builder is unable to promise us the organ by June 11th for the Choral Festival. The festival will be held at Adderbury this year, and we hope at Deddington in 1913." "July 1912. The old organ was removed during Whitsun week and the Chancel has been prepared for the reception of the new organ, the erection of which we expect to begin about the middle of this month. September 1912 The chief object of interest during the past month has been the erection and dedication of the new organ. The organ began to be erected on August 2nd, and the dedication of it, which was performed by the Right Revd Bishop Richardson, formerly bishop of Zanzibar, took place on August 20th when in spite of the unfavourable weather a large congregation and full Choir were present. June 1913. All the money required for the organ has now been raised. Total cost: Organ £460, Case £171-11s, Trench £17-6s, Architect's fees £9-9s, Incidentals £3-14s. In Hand 4s 8d.

From Deddington News, July 2002




Asylum Seekers are seldom out of the news at the present time. Wars, Civil Wars, oppression force unbelievable numbers of people to migrate in search of a better life in a better country. The constant stream of these refugees, whom communities either welcome or do their best to keep at a distance, create a picture of an impersonal mass of humanity catered for by somebody, but not me directly. Much different it was in February 1915 when the news of refugees was brought right into the midst of Deddington, and I quote from the Deddington Deanery Magazine 1915: We were pleased to welcome on January 18th, two families of Belgian refugees of the working class both by the name of Vandendries, from Antwerp. Two mothers, whose husbands are at the war, with five children. They will be supported by the weekly subscriptions of the parishioners and are located in a house kindly placed at the disposal of the Belgian Refugee Committee at a reduced rent by Mr Painter. At an even earlier date in the 1890s, children from London had the pleasure of spending a fortnight in the country at Deddington. The following notice appears in the Magazine 1891. It is proposed, as last year, to give some children from the Walworth District of London an opportunity of spending a week or two in the country here. The cost of maintaining a child is 5/- per week. Some money has already been contributed. Any wishing to assist towards this object are requested to forward their contributions to Mrs. Kinch, by whom they will be gratefully received. We need hardly add, that it is a great boon to London children to spend a short time during the summer in the country.

From Deddington News, September 2002




The reader of today's Deddington News may not be aware of just how much the volume of this worthy publication has increased over the past years [10.5 pages of news and comment, plus 2.5 of adverts], together with the number of copies which stand to date at 1060 a month! But, if the reader is a member of the duplicating team, the following announcement in the DEANERY MAGAZINE 1916 might lift her heart! Owing to the war, paper is now three times its usual price, and for that reason the size of our Magazine has had to be reduced and the print is one size smaller...... But apart from having to reach for one's magnifying glass that Great War brought other responsibilities to those left behind in our village, to wit the National Egg Collection. The eggs are collected locally and are forwarded to the Central Depot, London, to be sent out to our wounded soldiers and sailors in the British Hospitals, France, also to London and Provincial Hospitals, and are urgently needed. In April 1919 parishioners are informed of the closure of the Egg Depot. Eggs collected in Deddington (from 1915- 1919) numbered 7,787 and from Hempton 2,185. A notice printed in October 1916 is headed: VEGETABLES FOR THE FLEET and proclaims: In connection with the collection of vegetables for the Fleet, which now include other parishes besides our own, Dr Jones arranged a small show in September , when some excellent stuff was exhibited in Colonel Murray's coach-house, and a few prizes given to the best collection of vegetables. All exhibits were forwarded to the Fleet. And finally, in October 1918 we read : Arrangements have been made again this year for the school children to collect blackberries for the Government! Sadly there is no explanation on how the Government made use of all those blackberries. Suggestions are welcome!

WHAT WENT ON IN VICTORIAN DEDDINGTON? A few years ago I found the following snippet in the Magazine "THIS ENGLAND": "According to legend the churchwardens of Deddington once sold their own church bells in order to buy drink." Already in the following issue of this publication came the reply: "As a former churchwarden of that church, let me give you the true version. It was not the churchwardens who sold the bells but the Vicar, incumbent from 1848 to 64. He pledged the ROPES for drink at the Unicorn Inn and the bells were not allowed to be rung until the debt was paid. Hence the legend "Drunken Deddington - where the Vicar pawned the bells". Ruth Johnson

From Deddington News, October 2002




Residing in the parish of Duns Tew I just occasionally feel a "foreigner" in the parish of Deddington. To describe a bit more clearly how I feel let me give this example. The other day 1 asked an acquaintance to tell me who had bought a particular house (not in Deddington) and she replied, "a foreigner". As soon as she had spoken she looked at me, caught her breath and said "no offence meant". Of course not! In this context I am delighted that even after living over half a century in dear old England my friends remember my country of birth and I am proud to belong, so to speak, to two nations. But, coming back to feeling less than 100% Deddingtonian. It pleased me no end to read the following in the Deddington Parish Magazine, December 1880 under the title "DISTRICT NURSE: Through the kind exertions of Lady Dashwood, of DUNS TEW Deddington parish with the parishes of Duns Tew and North Aston, is to have a district nurse. The person engaged has been duly qualified for her work at a Dublin Hospital, where she obtained her certificate. She will reside in Deddington, at Mrs Frank Berry's. Philcock Street, and will come on December 1st for three months on trial. Her work will be among the poor, to nurse the sick,- and for a small payment to attend poor women in their confinements." One hundred years ago Deddington was always referred to as a town and unless it is a misprint, Philcote Street may have been known as Philcock Street. But how nice, that somebody from my village of residence instigated the wonderful service of District Nursing in the town of Deddington.

From Deddington News, November 2002




GREAT DEDDINGTONIANS. 1879-1930. Voting on who will be thought the GREATEST BRITON is at present very much in the News. So why not try a similar exercise confining ourselves to Deddington? On top of my list must be: THE REVD THOMAS BONIFACE 1844-1931. Here's the obituary written in the Deddington & Deanery Magazine, May 1931 by the Vicar Dr Maurice Frost, his successor : It is difficult for one who only knew him for six years to write adequately of all he did for Deddington during his incumbency of 46 years (1879-1924). He had become as much part of the Parish as the Church itself. Looking through the registers one finds that while he was Vicar there were 1,398 baptisms, 410 weddings and 1,235 burials - most of which he conducted personally. Of his many interests, the Day Schools were one of his dearest and he remained correspondent - to the great relief of his successor - until his death on Easter Monday evening. The efficiency with which he performed the task was shown by the balance sheet issued a week or two ago to subscribers. We may be thankful that after such a long life of loving service he was spared a lingering illness, and also was able to make his Easter Communion on Monday morning. He has left the Church a complete set of Parish Magazines from 1879-1930, which will be kept in the Church chest. Also a roller and mowing machine for use in the churchyard, for the upkeep of which, a few years ago, he left £200 in trust with the Diocesan Board, the interest being paid to the PCC. The funeral was on Saturday, April 11th, when a large congregation attended, both from the Parish and outside. In spite of the announcement in the local papers of No flowers' several friends in addition to the relatives sent offerings - the churchwardens, and sidesmen, the choir etc, while the good people of Clifton all joined in giving a very handsome floral cross

From Deddington News, December 2002




ANOTHER GREAT DEDDINGTONIAN - 1879-1930 THOMAS ALEXANDER MANCHIP 1843-1911 In the Church of SS Peter & Paul Deddington hangs a Memorial tablet above the Choir stalls. We read: "To the memory of Thomas Manchip, for 37 years Headmaster of Deddington Boys School and 34 years Choirmaster of this Church who died March 9th 1911, aged 68 years. This tablet is erected in affectionate remembrance and grateful appreciation of his work in this Parish by old boys, members of the choir and personal friends" And in the Deddington Deanery Magazine of April 1911 his obituary includes praise for his ability and courtesy with which he fulfilled his offices: "He was always ready to aid any undertaking for the benefit and amusement of the people. His vocal powers were very useful....." were some of the comments. Also in the Church of St Peter & Paul, in the Choir vestry, hangs a photograph, dated 1906. Here the jolly, rotund Headmaster sits to the right of the vicar surrounded by the Choir he developed over so many years. As Headmaster he had plenty of opportunities to "sell" MUSIC and CHOIR MUSIC in particular to his pupils and their parents, and judging from their numbers in 1906, he must have been most successful. His life's work in the School also coincides with great events in the Victorian age. He and his pupils were the lucky contemporaries of such great names as Bell, Edison and Pasteur. He was able to tell his boys at first hand that the first successful transatlantic cable had been laid, that the EifFel tower was being constructed and (dare I mention it in the same breath), the first ascent of the Matterhorn made! He would have been the first to embrace with approval teaching methods in our present, go-ahead Deddington Primary, where lucky pupils can surf the internet and contact every corner of our world. But, looking at the friendly face of Headmaster Manchip, I think I would rather sit at his feet, than stare at a cold screen, but that rather gives away my age!

From Deddington News, February 2003




GREAT DEDDINGTONIANS- 1879-1930 I need to declare an interest in adding the kindest, most unassuming, genteel lady to those who have left an indelible mark on this village, and we need to extend the above time span to 1976. I was privileged to know LILIAN ALICE WEAVER, organist for 60 years in the Parish Church, piano teacher, singing teacher, accompanist and promoter of love of music in this parish. Born 1885, she began her long and faithful service as organist on Easter Sunday 1908. Those of us who knew her in old age will never forget the love that radiated from her frail body - her love of music, her love for her fellow parishioners and her love and trust in God. It did not surprise us that she never thought of material gain or aggrandisement. She started her organist's duties literally for the love of God. Once a year a grateful congregation made a house-to-house collection for her round the village. When in later years she had to agree, for tidiness' sake, to accept a salary she was wont to post a part of it back into the Alms box in Church. Did she sell herself short on home comforts ? The story goes, that she enjoyed a sandwich with butter and mustard with an imagined piece of ham in between! - She looked upon the Church as her home, spent a good deal of her day in it, writing letters, receiving visitors and finding out parishioners' likes and dislikes of hymns ! Parishioners also remember her for her sense of fun and eagerness to use her gift for the good of the village. In the good old days when villagers had to make their own entertainment she never refused a request to play at a dance, a village hop, play at dancing classes or accompany a budding soloist at a concert. She taught the piano to many children and adults in and around the village. In the 1940s Edward Short remembers spending four pence ha'penny on a bus ride from North Aston to Deddington where in her home, next to the Co-op, surrounded by her many rescued cats, he started his musical career. She enthused him to try out the organ and graciously sat beside him at the console to advise and encourage. Edward Short celebrated, last year, his 50th year as organist in North Aston Church. In the musical world of Deddington, she was irreplaceable. She died at the ripe old age of 91, never I am sure, having harboured an unkind thought, or spoken an unkind word. Until her mother's death she cared for her. In her own old age she brushed handicaps aside, let her mind dwell on joyful memories and placed her trust in God. Her many friends looked after her and cared for her to the end. Ruth Johnson with help from Topper Davis and Edward Short

From Deddington News, March 2003




GREAT DEDDINGTONIANS The Revd Dr Maurice Frost The weather in London is wet and windy! So the voice of the pilot on our approach to Heathrow. We were still above the cloud in deep blue skies, in brilliant sunshine, a glorious firmament that had stretched above me during my entire holiday in alpine regions. Inevitably, when returning to England through low cloud into wind and rain one shuts off the present and continues to dream of past days. That wonderful on top of the world feeling, as far as I was concerned, refused to give way to serious thoughts on an article to be written on yet another Great Deddingtonian. The Revd Dr Maurice Frost, Vicar of Deddington from 1924 to 1962 certainly needs to be included in the ranks of memorable local personalities. He is however so well remembered by many present day parishioners that I hesitate to tell his story. When, some months ago, I wrote a short history of the Church Choir, Topper Davis and Arthur Lewis shared with me many delightful remembrances of this strict, vaguely eccentric hymnologist who, as shepherd of his rural flock, left such a lasting impression on his young Choir boys. I urge them to let us all share their memories of a great man. It really does not take many bribes to set them off talking of Times gone by. This I discovered when I met, by chance, George Hirons on a sunny Sunday morning in Daeda's Wood. He too remembers the Revd Frost with delight. Many times, he and ten young Choristers travelled in the Vicar's small car to Clifton Church to sing Evensong. He still chuckles when recalling the occasion when the same small car, this time causing an obstruction on the parade ground of the Home Guard (outside the present day Co-op), was lifted by some men and deposited outside the Church. He has never forgotten misbehaving in Choir during the sermon which Revd Frost interrupted to call the boys to order! - Story follows story of life in Deddington when the Revd Frost was very much the centre piece of village life, respected, loved and never forgotten by those who knew him.

From Deddington News, April 2003




GREAT DEDDINGTONIANS William Long Franklin 1853 - 1917 Eastertide ! Step into any of our churches in the Parish and you will find it beautifully decorated with flowers arranged by skilled crafts-people. Their creations are vying with each other in colourful eruptions of spring colours greeting the visitor with their message of joy. However in the words, most impressively sung by basses in a well known Anthem by S S Wesley: The grass withereth and the flower thereof falleth away ! The rich pickings of grapes and the various flowers and leaves William Long Franklin designed, and with his craftsmen carved in wood into the pulpit of our Parish Church, has already lasted for over 100 years and with due care will last in its glory for many more generations to come. The pulpit and the magnificent Eagle lectern are a lasting LOCAL memory to this great man. He trained his workforce of men to the highest standard of church carving and his firm became internationally known. At his death the incumbent of the Parish Church wrote the following in the Deanery Magazine: We regret to announce the death of Mr W L Franklin, which occurred near Taunton on August 13. Mr Franklin was the last representative of the famous church building family here, which did such excellent work, both at home and abroad, one of their last undertakings being the erection of the beautiful screen for Hobart Cathedral, Tasmania. He was also parish warden for twelve years, during which time the church was much improved by a new organ, a beautifully carved pulpit, and other additions. He also laid out the new churchyard and the approach to it. Much sympathy is felt for Mrs Franklin and her family.

From Deddington News, May 2003




The Revd W Cotton Risley Benefactor of St James Church Clifton Thanks to Buffy Heywood last month we have been reminded that the consecration of St James Clifton took place on 10 June 1953. 50 years later the Deddington Deanery Magazine described the celebration of its Golden Jubilee: On Wednesday June 10th, the Jubilee of St James was celebrated. The foundation stone was laid on September 8th 1851: the church was consecrated on June 10th 1853. Previously services had been held in a barn by the Revd George Venables, now Canon of Norwich, to whom, and to the energy and liberality of the late Revd W Cotton Risley, the people owe their church. At 8 o'clock there was a choral celebration of Holy Communion. At 2.30 there was a special form of Thanksgiving Service. The Bishop of Reading preached and the following clergy were present(a very long list). At 5 o'clock 146 people sat down to tea in a barn. Evensong was at 7.30 when the preacher was the Revd W C Risley (Willy, son of Revd W Cotton Risley), rector of Shalstone. The singing at all the services must be mentioned and great praise is due to the organist, Mr Wolgrove, and the Choir. In spite of incessant rain we shall be able to look back to the day as a time when the people assembled with one accord to render thanks to the Almighty God for his many blessings given to us. It is interesting to record that one copy of the form of service used at the Laying of the Foundation Stone has been preserved. It is hoped that when the centenary of the Church is celebrated some of the younger ones who took part in this Jubilee will have their copies of the Form of Thanksgiving Service, and that they will have remained as true to their Church as Mr J Drinkwater, who, though in his 79th year is still doorkeeper in the House of his Lord, and as true as Mr T Hone, who has been in the Choir ever since the Church was built. There follows a precise statement of accounts in connection with the Jubilee. The expense of washing up - 2 shillings; sawdust - 6d; and Choir boys and girls - 6 shillings is interesting.

From Deddington News, June 2003




LIVING HISTORY It would need a huge amount of research to mention names of Village Bobbies who policed Deddington over the years. Maybe the following remembrance by Ron Canning will encourage more parishioners to dwell for a moment on their own recollections of encounters with the Law! It was Sunday 3 September 1939. The vicar of Deddington, the Revd Dr Maurice Frost had come to the end of his sermon preached from the pulpit. The choir boys in the stalls, by now a bit fidgety, suddenly heard the heavy oak door, leading to the South porch, creak and slowly open. That event alone, happening in the middle of a service would enthral the most pious of choristers. But greater things were to happen. There, in the open door, stood Police Constable Reg Butler with his helmet tucked reverently under one arm. Hardly daring to breathe the boys watched him slow march along the centre aisle towards the chancel. He seemed to will his big boots to tread as noiselessly as possible, not wishing to disturb the sanctity of the church. On the steps to the chancel priest and policeman met and exchanged a few whispered words. A deadly hush hung over the congregation while the policeman almost tiptoed back down the aisle to the door which he closed with the greatest of care. Congregation and choir now turned their full attention to their vicar who stood head bowed for a moment, then stepped to the centre of the nave to inform his parishioners that “Great Britain is at war.”
Ron hardly remembers singing the closing hymn, but to this day he remembers clearly the moment in church when war was declared, and he still sees his elders who at close of service stood together in little groups fearfully speculating on a future that would change most of their lives.

Ruth Johnson