Museum

During the sorting and archiving of St Wilfrid’s Parish records in the mid 1990s, a number of interesting documents came to light.  One such document which was written by James Beresford (Rector, 1812-1841) for distribution throughout Kibworth Beauchamp, Kibworth Harcourt and Smeeton Westerby (the ‘three townships’) is reprinted here together with the article that was delivered to every household.  Clearly the community must have been suffering from considerable drunkenness for this step to be taken!  What effect would such a step have today?  Would we need to replace drunkenness with drug addiction?

Kibworth Rectory, Aug 17. 1834

   In the hope of restraining as far as possible, the abominable vice of Drunkenness, which is so lamentably prevalent among the lower orders of this place, the Rector hereby gives notice that, in the course of the ensuing week, there will be left at every house in the three townships a copy of the printed article below, - with a few additional copies at the houses of the principal inhabitants, to be by them distributed as they may be wanted hereafter.

   The following article will be found to comprise, in few words, all the fatal consequences, present & future, which proceed from drunkenness, which is there shown to be not only a loathsome & hateful sin in itself, but the parent of almost every other offence, both against God & man.

   May our All-merciful Father so favourably dispose the hearts of those concerned in this Address, that they may frequently read & consider, as well as resolutely follow, the counsels & warnings contained in the precious little paper to which I have bespoken their earnest attention.

N.B. Let all the Keepers of Public Houses, and Beer-shops, seriously reflect that they are at least as deeply concerned in the duty of preventing Drunkenness, as those who frequent their Houses are, in the duty of avoiding it. Should they doubt the truth of this, they will be terribly convinced of it at The Great Day!

Rev. James Beresford

THE EFFECTS OF DRUNKENNESS

DRUNKENNESS expels reason – drowns the memory – distempers the body – defaces beauty – diminishes strength – inflames the blood – causes internal, external, and incurable wounds – is a witch to the senses, a devil to the soul, a thief to the purse – the beggar’s companion, the wife’s woe, and children’s sorrow. It makes a strong man weak, and a wise man a fool. He is worse than a beast, and is a self-murderer, who drinks to others’ god health, and robs himself of his own. He is worse than a beast, for no animal will designedly intoxicate itself. By the effects of liquor his evil passions and tempers are freed from restraint; and while in a state of intoxication he commits actions which when sober he would have shuddered only to have thought of. Many an evil deed has been done, many a MURDER has been committed, when those who did these things were intoxicated; scarcely an assize passes without some unhappy prisoner attempting to excuse his guilt by the plea that he was under the influence of liquor. This excuse the law allows not, and most justly; for if men voluntarily deprive themselves of their reason, surely they cannot be innocent of whatever evils they commit while in that state. Tremble then, O drunkard! reflect before you put the cup to your lips; remember that you are about to make yourself ready to commit every crime to which an evil nature, no longer checked, can incite you, and that you may awake from this state, guilty of offences against the laws of your country, sufficient to draw down just vengeance upon your head; and, while suffering the punishment of your evil deeds, or reflecting on the harm done, perhaps to your best friend, what consolation can the remembrance of your worse than beastly enjoyment give you? All the crimes on the earth do not destroy so many of the HUMAN RACE, nor alienate so much PROPERTY, as DRUNKENNESS.

 Hear what the word of God declares: “Awake, ye drunkards, and weep” Joel i,5. “Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contention? Who hath wounds without cause? They that tarry long at the wine, they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine; at the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” Proverbs xxiii, 29-32. “Strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it” Isaiah xxiv, 9. “The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: uncleanness, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you, that they which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God” Gal. v, 19 & 21. “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” Rom. viii, 13. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap everlasting” Gal. vi, 7& 8. - Drunkards there is yet hope for you. God has said in his word, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” Isaiah lv, 7. “This is a faithful saying , and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” 1 Tim. i, 15. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life” John iii, 16.

Published in Modern

Many local people still remember Canon Edward Fletcher (1902-1933). The antics of his dozen-ish children will also be remembered as they ‘terrorised’ the village for a generation (including air-gun attacks on people as they walked past the church!); several of them achieved distinction in their own right including Anthony, who himself was ordained, spent time in North Africa with the Army during the second world war and finally emigrated to become a fruit farmer in Canada. He recently returned to Kibworth for a visit in 1995 at the age of 85, and he had not been in Kibworth since a brief visit after his father’s funeral in 1937 – 58 years earlier. One daughter became an actress and wrote a book with the memorable title: “Merrily we go to hell”! During Edward Fletcher’s incumbency the highlights were the purchase of Beauchamp Hall (St Wilfrid’s Hall) in 1922 for £250 (borrowed from five PCC members), the planting of the lime tree avenues in the churchyard the same year.  In 1922 the PCC numbered 12 made up of 6 male and 6 female. A motion was carried unanimously at the Annual Parish Meeting as follows: “That the number of male members of the Council be increased from six to twelve at the next election”! This was rescinded in 1928 when the restriction by sex was lifted.

In those days, the church was lit using gas (1924), and heated with a single coke powered stove or furnace apparatus which was fitted for £174 8s 6d (1925) by the British Pipeless Central Heating Co. Ltd of Birmingham but not paid in full until 1927 because it proved difficult to make work efficiently. The church raised £100 towards setting up of the Diocese of Leicester during 1925 and 1926. On several occasions between 1924 and 1933, the question of electric lighting was raised by Church Council members but always there was a majority against. Canon Fletcher died in 1933 after a brief illness.

 

Photo of Revd Edmund Fletcher standing in front of west door, St Wilfrid's Church (1910) [courtesy Glyn Hatfield 2009]

Henry Eacott (1934-1943) presided over more heating and lighting problems. There was some restorative work on the organ in 1935. The construction of the Belfry chamber (above current choir vestry) with glass screen was during 1935/6 at a total cost of £112 3s. In 1936 the Collection on Good Friday was split between Jews in Jerusalem and Fund for Jews in East End of London. Electric lighting and blower for organ were installed and gas fittings removed in 1937. The War Memorial was built at a cost of £17 12s the same year – it was unveiled by General Jack. Severe woodworm problems were found during 1938. Laid on mains water to National School (now Bell & partners, doctors surgery) in 1939 – grant of £25. Altar rails bought in memory of Mrs Briggs (1939). The Parochial Church Council wrote to all those serving in the armed forces who lived locally every month with a copy of the Parish Magazine (from 1940). He sold all old metal and the parish lawn mower for the war effort (1941). Canon Eacott died in 1943 after illness.

Wyndham Ottaway (1943-1949) was well-loved by parishioners. During his incumbency a new ornate wooden lectern was purchased in memory of Canon Eacott; the old lectern was given to the church in Stretton Parva (Little Stretton). A severe gale in February 1947 caused minor damage to battlements and pinnacles on the church tower and one of the pinnacles fell and destroyed the roof of the west end of the north aisle which had to be replaced. The repairs took several months and part of the pinnacle had to be re-constructed from the same type of stone. He died very suddenly in 1949. The PCC tried unsuccessfully to have his son Rev. Michael Ottaway appointed.

 
Revd. William Ottaway

Paul Rebbeck (1949-1952) was Rector for only three years. The Silver  Processional Cross used still in all communion services was donated in 1951. An electrical heating system for the church by means of tubes placed under each pew at a cost of £900 in 1951 was rejected by the Church Council. Four gas radiators were installed in the chancel at a cost of £80 the same year. He resigned unexpectedly in May 1952.

Denis Ireland (1953-1978) presided over several major developments. In 1956 the income from a charity set up by James Norman was converted into coal and amalgamated with the coal already being bought by the Trust set up by Revd. Jeremiah Goodman (Headmaster) for better distribution to the poor of the community. The church organ was renovated at cost of nearly £600.  Canon Ireland suffered a long illness in 1958. The church was re-roofed in 1960/61 at a cost of over £5,000. The Wells Organisation was commissioned to run a successful Planned Giving campaign (1960). The church electoral roll exceeded 340 names. The restoration of the choir vestry/bellringers chamber was completed in 1956. The building of a new Rectory was finished in 1965 and the old "James Norman" rectory, grounds and glebe land was sold  to Cox Builders Ltd for the Rectory Lane development.  St. Wilfrid’s Hall was renovated at a cost of over £1,200 in 1964.  New lighting was installed for the chancel at a cost of £263 in 1964. A new storage radiator heating system (Multitherm Ltd) with fans was installed in 1967 for approx. £700 and £150 per year running costs; the old coal furnace was removed by Toc H.  Canon Ireland died suddenly in 1978 leaving his widow, Lucy, who remained in the village and was one of the first occupants of Stuart Court (purpose-designed Supported Housing Scheme of the Church of England Pensions Board) in Kibworth Beauchamp until her death in May 2000 after a brief illness.

 
Revd. Denis Ireland

Frederick W. Dawson (1979-1994) will mainly be remembered for the sale of St Wilfrid’s Hall (former a Nonconformist Chapel) on the High Street in Kibworth Beauchamp (the subject of a refused planning application by the Co-op store in July 2000 who wished to demolish it to expand their present establishment) and the building of the delightful Church Hall in St Wilfrid's churchyard in 1985 using ironstone donated by local farmer, Brian Briggs.  Fred and his wife Billie had four talented children: Jonathan, Clare, Jeremy and Mary, and the parish was treated to various musical pieces performed by them over the years.  Fred Dawson resigned to take over as Rector of St Michael's Church in Tilehurst, Reading in the Diocese of Oxford in April 1994.

 

Steven M. Lee (1995-2006) oversaw some major developments during the eleven years he and his wife Sally and three children, Christopher, Nicola and Matthew were in the benefice. 

In the Spring of 1997, Richard White of Smeeton Westerby offered to complete the third (west face) clock face with local support.  The costs were met by the Friends of St Wilfrid's, and Richard completed the new face by October 1997.

In 1999 the back of the church was re-ordered by the removal of the old pews and wooden chairs and replacing them with some modern upholstered chairs. This also allowed room for a new table and cupboards for the new permanent bookstall, CD and tape library as well as plenty of display opportunities on the screens behind which spare chairs, staging and flower arrangers equipment are now stored.  The organ, church lighting and electrical wiring were overhauled and dimmer switches installed for the chancel lighting (later removed as unable to cope with low energy bulbs). 

Several items of equipment were bought including a full sound system with mixer board for use during services, video projectors, large projector screens, a laptop computer and video mixer which are used both within services and for other church activities.  Links with the Church of England Primary School were strengthened considerably, as were those with the High School.

The biggest development costing some £250,000 raised mainly by the parish, was the extension of the church hall, completed in 2006; this involved adding three more rooms, extending the kitchen and changing the toilet arrangements.  The hall extension provides much needed space for the Sunday Clubs, and for holding several concurrent midweek activities. Average Sunday congregations increased considerably during Steven's incumbency, and some popular services were to capacity. 

Before Steven Lee departed in August to take up the position of School Chaplain at St Lawrence College in Ramsgate (later moved onto become Rector of St Giles' Church in Newcastle-under-Lyme), a faculty was filed for installing underfloor heating in the chancel and replacing the remaining chancel pews with the same model of upholstered chairs as already used for the back of church. Both the new heating system and replacement of pews with chairs were completed in 2007 during the interregnum.

Revd Steven Lee with Bishop Tim Stevens after Confirmation Service (2006)

Ludger Fremmer (2007-present) took up the incumbency in September 2007. He arrived from Norfolk with his wife, Ruth, and their two sons, Jacob and Reuben. His initial thoughts were:

"My initial aim is to strengthen and encourage that which is in place so that we can then move on together into what the Lord has in store for us. I am passionate about discerning and knowing God’s will for myself and the Church, because to be in God’s will is always the best place.  Realistically I know that I will not be able to fulfil everybody’s expectations, however we are all seeking to serve the same Lord and to please Him and He is faithful to do more than we can ask or imagine.

I believe that we are called to do the work of God’s kingdom, to call people to true discipleship of our Lord Jesus Christ. I long to see the church grow in the knowledge of God and His word, and to be released in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I believe that the Lord wants us to be holy and united as his representatives, the body of Christ. I am hopeful and excited at the prospect of us making this journey together over the coming years."

 

In September 2008, the upper section of one of the church tower pinnacles (north-west corner) was observed to have moved slightly. As a precaution, the west end of the churchyard was cordoned off while tenders were sought, a faculty applied for and the work commenced in November 2008 to repair the pinnacle and check the remaining three. All was completed in time for the Christmas services.  However, the internal ladders to the tower were considered unsafe and so safety work was carried out during 2009.

There are two more articles about the history of St Wilfrid's Church incumbents - part 1 (1220-1660) and part 2 (1660-1902)

Published in Contemporary

Rectors of Kibworth

Researched by Dr Kevin Feltham (1999)

Incumbent name

Instituted

Vacated

Reason

H. de Mortuomari

1220

-

William Treygoz

1239

-

Oliver de Sutton

-

1275

resigned

Thomas de Sutton

1276

1294

resigned

Roger Barbast

1294

-

Roger de Clisseby

1321

-

Giles Lovet

1371

-

John de Elvet

1399

1404

died

Richard Holte

1404

-

William Repyndon

-

1435

died

Mag. John Arundell MD

1435

1459

resigned

John Arundell

1459

1510

Walter Lucas

1510

1534

Richard Pates AM

1534

1541

attainted

Francis Turpyn

1542

1545

William Watkyn

1545

1554

deprived

Edward Gregory

1554

1565

William Berridge

1565

1601

John Berridge DD

1602

1632

died

William Berridge AM

1632

1641

died

William Hunt BD

1641

1645

ejected

John Yaxley (A Puritan)

1647

1660

ejected

Robert Edwards BD

1662

1704

died

William Vincent AM

1704

1741

died

Richard Vincent

1741

1747

-

Peter Shuter MA

1748

1769

resigned

Christopher H. Walker MA

1769

1779

died

James Norman BD

1780

1812

-

James Beresford MA

1812

1841

died

William Ricketts MA

1841

1844

died

Stuart Eyre Bathurst MA

1844

1851

resigned

Montagu F.F. Osborn MA

1851

1884

resigned

Edmund A. Knox MA

1884

1891

resigned

Charles T. Cruttwell MA

1891

1901

resigned

Edward S.B. Fletcher MA

1902

1933

died

Henry J.T. Eacott MA

1934

1943

died

A. Wyndham Ottaway MA

1943

1949

died

Paul E. Rebbeck MA

1949

1952

resigned

Denis A.J. Ireland MA

1953

1978

died

Frederick W. Dawson BA, M.Th.

1979

1994

resigned

Steven M. Lee BA

1995

2006

resigned

Ludger Fremmer

2007

-

Current Rector

Published in Medieval
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