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Articles from 1875 part 2

Milton Lilbourne > Articles 1870s


Articles from 1875 (part 2)

The Marlborough Times, 18th September 1875:
Milton Church Restoration
The Parish Church of Milton will be re-opened on Tuesday 28th September. Morning Service at 11 o'clock . Sermon by the Rev. J.L. KINGSBURY, Vicar of Burbage. Afternoon at 3.30, sermon by the Rev. J.O. STEVENS, Vicar of Christ Church, Savernake. Collection after each service in aid of Church fund.

The Marlborough Times, 2nd October 1875:
Milton Church re-opening

Without expressing an opinion on the aesthetic or religious value of the varied forms of church ritual, we may be allowed to say that it was quite refreshing to pay a visit to Milton on the occasion of the church re-opening after its due restoration, on Tuesday last.

The old-fashioned village church is being gradually 'improved' of the face of the earth but with white-wash and obstructions, much that is good may doubtless be swept away. We may point to St Peter's Church, Milton Lilbourne, as a specimen of restoration in the true sense of the word. All the primitive characteristics of the church have been wisely retained, and the old obstructions vanished. Before this work was commenced in March last, the nave was filled with pews of every height and shape, mended with any old material (half an address would occasionally indicate a packing case as the material), the tower was blocked with a gallery and the arch boarded up, and another unsightly gallery projected from over the south door. Then the roof was not watertight, the windows were ricketty, and the walls white-washed and plastered.

These are the 'old things which have passed away', and now the nave is fitted with open seats, still of old oak. The south wall has been taken down and the new one built on a solid concrete foundation. The windows are repaired where necessary and reset, and all the white-wash and plaster removed, leaving the stonework of pillars exposed and the walls stuccoed. The tower arch and west window are thrown open, both galleries being removed and now bell ropes are visible, the font being removed and replaced beneath the tower. The aisle passages are paved throughout at one level with square brick paving in two colours, and a wooden block floor set in cement introduced under the seating. This latter possesses the merit of warmth and absence from noise, and appears a great improvement. The pulpit and reading desk are reconstructed, and the lantern removed to the east end of the church. The church is also fitted with Porrit's effective heating apparatus.

The fabric has also been thoroughly attended to, the roof having been thoroughly cleaned inside, covered with thick felt, tarred and sanded, an upper boarding placed above, and the lead over the whole re-rolled and re-laid; skirting and downfall-pipes have been added, the north aisle lowered to its original height and the roof re-adjusted; general repairs effected to the tower and pinnacles; and the earth removed four feet from the outside walls. The porch to the south door has been rebuilt, and paved to correspond with the church, and steps of pennent stone have been placed in the churchyard, leading to the church.

During the excavations there were several discoveries, the most remarkable of which was a 'Founder's Tomb' covered up with the north wall. This is now exposed and paved with encaustic tiles of singular and varied design, found in the soil. It was also discovered that the stone effigy of a crusader had at one time been sawn up and used for building purposes. The remains were too mutilated to allow restoration. A front to the altar tomb in Purbeck marble was found buried under the original floor, and here we may mention that the south chancel window contains a star of very old glass. The rest of the windows are plain, with the exception of diamonds of tinted glass irregularly placed therein.

Under the floor of all parts of the church, 'the nameless dust' of many generations were found. These have been reverently replaced together beneath the concrete, and a large slab in the main aisle contains the following inscription: "Beneath lie the bones of unknown persons found within the walls of this church 1875. Ezekiel xxxvii, v.3" Over the chancel arch still remains the Royal Arms, the Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and the Creed. The style of the church is Early English, though it possesses one very fine pointed window. The date is about the 11th or 12th century.

The architect was Mr PEARSON A.R.A. of Henly Street; the contractor, Mr RANDALL of Devizes. The work has been well, and successfully, carried out, without the slightest hitch or accident. All classes and denominations in the parish have cordially helped in the work, and the subscriptions raised (which will shortly be published, with an account of the whole) have defrayed the cost of the restoration, so that there is no debt remaining.

The church was well filled on Tuesday morning when the first re-opening service was held. The prayers were first read by the Vicar of Milton (the Rev. J.H. GALE), the lessons by Rev. W.H. AWDRY (Rector of Ludgershall) and the Rev. T.F. RAVENSHAW (Rector of Pewsey). The choir, mainly composed of ladies, with Mrs GALE at their head, was a particularly pleasing one, and led by Mr A. WALTON, of Savernake, on one of Mr PRICE'S fine Diapason Harmoniums, ably rendered the church music. Sullivan's Church Hymns as published by the S.P.C.K. were used, and the hymn 'Lift the strain of high thanksgiving' was an excellent one for the church restoration. 'The strain uprise of joy and praise' was sung before the sermon, which was preached by the Rev. Prebendary KINGSBURY (Vicar of Burbage) who took for his text 'Lord remember David and all his trouble' and ably expounded the 132nd Psalm. He remarked on the efficacy of certain prayers recorded in Holy Scripture for all times, and this one especially, for such an occasion as the present, and, in the course of a most appropriate discourse, said: "May this restored and beautified sanctuary be a symbol of the restoration in your hearts. May you, while you see around you the ancient and beautiful carefully preserved, and the new material reverently added, never cease to love and carefully retain the ordered ways of our ancient, pure, reformed and truly Catholic church, whose pure unadulterated ritual, whose faithful unsophisticated teaching so fitly enshrine, and so worthily exhibit as in a basket of silver the golden apples of divine and gospel truth. In conclusion the Rev. gentleman offered a fervent prayer for all concerned in the work.

The collection amounted to 14 10s. Service over, the very musical bells of which Milton can boast, sent forth a merry peal, the lusty ringers maintaining the credit of Milton in the campanological art. Hospitality was the order of the day in the good village of Milton and the Rev. J.H. GALE particularly entertained a large party of friends at the Vicarage, luncheon being laid for them in the school room.

At evening service there was a crowded congregation, and the singing was again led by an excellent choir. The prayers were read again by the Rev. E. EVERETT, of Manningford, and Rev. W.H. AWDRY read the lessons. The Rev. J.O. STEVENS (Vicar of Christ Church Savernake) preached a sermon which was brief and to the point, and created a profound impression. We therefore print it in extenso. The text was 2 Cor., 5. 17 [..............] The collection amounted to over 5, raising the total to nearly 20. This will be devoted to the Restoration Fund, being applied to the purchase of communion plate, etc. In the evening the choir and ringers were entertained by the worthy vicar to a substantial supper, and this concluded a most successful day, which must be particularly gratifying to the Rev. J.H. GALE and his family who have worked so energetically, assisted by the Rev. gentleman's parishioners, one and all, to bring it about.

Among those present during the day we noticed the Rev. Prebendary KINGSBURY (Burbage), the Rev. J.O. STEVENS (Savernake), the Rev. W.H. & Mrs AWDRY (Ludgershall), the Rev. E. EVERETT (Manningford), the Rev. H. & Mrs RADCLIFFE (Alton), the Revs. T.F. RAVENSHAW, E.R. CRUICKSHANK, and A. BEECHEY (Pewsey), the Rev. T. WADE SMITH (Burbage), Mrs PENRUDDOCKE (Seend), Mr & Mrs S.B. DIXON, Mr & Mrs WM FERRIS, Mr & Mrs G. FERRIS, Mr & Mrs LYNE (Barton, Marlborough), Mr H.J. PUCKRIDGE (Aldbourne), Mrs POWELL & Mr HOMER POWELL (Easton), Mr D. HAINES, Mr KINGSTONE, Mr & Mrs CROOK (Wootton Rivers), Mr & Mrs JARVIS (New Mill), Mr ROBINS (Pewsey) and a number of ladies.

The Marlborough Times, 27th November 1875:
A harvest thanksgiving service was held on Sunday, 21st inst., when a sermon was preached by the Rev. H. VAUGHAN, incumbent of Easton Royal. A collection was made in aid of the Savernake Cottage Hospital, amounting to 4 15s to which the Vicar has added the churching fees during the past year, 10s, making 5 5s in all.

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