Vestry, 1867

Centre for Bucks Studies, PR237/8/1

25 April 1867
The Accounts of the Church-wardens for the past year were approved and passed. –
The Revd A. M. Preston (the Vicar) appointed Mr. Geo: Mayne to be his Churchwarden for the ensuing year. –
Mr R.W. Jones was re-appointed Churchwarden for the Parish for the ensuing year. –

It was resolved unanimously that in future in lieu of an annual collection the Vicar be requested if he see fit to have collections Morning and Evening in the Church the first Tuesday of every month and that the Churchwardens be empowered out of the money so raised first to assign as Sacramental Alms the average collection for the last three years then to defray current expenses and to report such expenses at the annual Vestry and to invest the surplus if any in the name of the Vicar and Churchwardens in the Bank as a Fund to be called the Church Fund for the repairs and improvement of the Church.

[signed] Alfred M. Preston Chairman


At a Vestry Meeting held in the Vestry Room on Thursday the 9th day of May 1867 pursuant to the General Notice for that purpose

Present
Mr R.W. Jones Chairman
Messrs Neal, W.H. French, Joseph King, Jno: Ingram, Simons, Josiah Archer, Hy Ingram, Fredk Roads, W.H. Lomath, Jno Varney, Geo: Maydon. W. Matthews. T.P. Willis, and Hy Monk. –

The following persons were nominated as fit persons for the Office of Collector of Property and Income Tax. –
Messrs W.H. French, G.D.E. Wigley, Richard Coxhill, John Hathaway, James Geo: Hawley and William Jones. -

The following parties applied to put out bow windows in their houses. –
Charles Keys: Sheep Street, 1 window
Wm Hy Lomath: High Street, 2 do
John Ingram: do, 6 do
Fredk Roads: do, 1 do
Henry Ingham: do, 2 do
Josiah Archer: Jno: Ingram’s property
Emmanuel Roads: High Street, 1 window
John Varney: Jno: Ingram’s property
Thomas Allen: High Street, 1 window

The following persons were appointed as a Committee to inspect the various places where it is wished to erect bow windows and also Mr Mayne’s newly erected one

The Churchwardens were requested to investigate into the legality of Mr Hutt’s erecting a closet on the freehold of the Churchyard

Proposed by Mr Monk seconded by Mr John Ingram that the Revd A.M. Preston be requested to give an explanation of the Timber sold and the amount of money received for dilapidations.


At a Meeting of the ratepayers of Winslow held at the Vestry Room in the Church on Friday the twenty second day of November 1867 at ten o’clock in the forenoon for the purpose of the Inspectors appointed under the provisions of an act of Parliament passed in the 3rd and 4th Years of the Reign of King William the 4th for Lighting and Watching of Churches of England and Wales producing their accounts and vouchers for the past year and for appointing other Inspectors in the place of those who go out by rotation and to take into consideration determining the amount of the money to be raised for the purpose of the said act in the current year.
                               
Present
Mr John King, Chairman
Messrs Monk, Grace, Jas King, Matthews, Dr Newham, Hathaway, Neal and T.P. Willis.

The accounts and vouchers of the Inspectors for the past year were produced inspected and allowed. -
It was proposed by Mr James King seconded by Dr Newham that Mr William Neal be re-elected as an Inspector. -
It was proposed by Mr T.P. Willis seconded by Mr Neal that Mr Geo: Davies Edward Wigley be appointed an Inspector in the stead of Mr Benjamin Todd who retires and carried. -
It was proposed by Mr Neal seconded by Mr Hathaway that Mr Geo: Maydon be appointed an Inspector in the stead of Mr Matthew Fulks who retires and carried. -
It was proposed by Dr Newham seconded by Mr John Grace that Mr William Hutt be appointed an Inspector in the room of Mr George Mayne who is dead. -
It was proposed by Dr Newham seconded by Mr Hathaway that Mr William Matthews be appointed an Inspector in the room of Mr Thomas Turnham who is dead. –
It was proposed by Mr John Grace seconded by Dr Newham that a sum not exceeding £45 be raised for the ensuing year for the purposes of the said act. –

                                                               [unsigned] Chairman


At a Vestry held in the Vestry Room of the Parish Church on Thursday the 28th day of November 1867 at ten o’clock in the forenoon to Take into consideration certain acts of and proceedings taken by the Vicar of this Parish and to adopt such measures respecting the same as might then be determined on. The said vestry having been duly convened by Public Notice.

Present: The Revd A. M. Preston, Chairman
Messr D.T. Willis, T.P. Willis, Grace, Maydon, Monk, Jno Ingram, Devine, Grant King, Cort, Evans, Roads, Geo: Ingram, Jesse Jennings, Hathaway, Matthews, Woodward, Jas King (Keeper), Jno: Grace, Fredk Roads, R.W. Jones, James King (Auctr), Barton, Wynter, Dr. Newham, Hy Sharpe and Richd Allen. -

Proposed by Mr. D.T. Willis seconded by Dr. Newham and resolved, -

That this Vestry regret that the Vicar refused to comply with the request of the Family of the late Mr George Mayne his Churchwarden to allow the old choir to sing a hymn or an anthem at his funeral as has been the custom in this Parish at every funeral of a Member of the old choir within the memory of the oldest inhabitant. –

It was resolved
That this Vestry regret that the Inhabitants of this Parish are not consulted by the Vicar with regard to any changes contemplated by him in regard to the Church and the services in it and that more particularly they complain of the removal and disposal by him of the harmonium partly purchased by the voluntary subscription of the Inhabitants and they also deeply regret the loose manner in which the Services of the Church are performed tending to encourage irreverence in the congregation. –

Proposed by My Henry Monk seconded by Mr D.T, Willis and resolved
That a copy of the foregoing resolution be forward to the Lord Bishop of the Diocese
               
[signed] Alfred M. Preston   Vicar    Chairman

These minutes were published in the local press, leading to extensive correspondence. "Churchman" seems most likely to be John Grace.

Buckingham Express, 7 Dec
IMPORTANT VESTRY MEETING AT WINSLOW.
To the Editor of the BUCKINGHAM EXPRESS.
  SIR.- A fully attended vestry meeting was held in the Parish Church in Thursday, November 28th, when the enclosed resolutions were passed by large majorities, and duly entered in the vestry book.
  Your readers will readily credit the assertion that the state of our parish must be bad to cause such a meeting to be held, and will fully appreciate the gravity of the resolutions passed entirely by churchmen and under the chairmanship of the vicar.
  As probably we have no legal remedy, I will appeal to your indulgence to allow me space in your next impression to give (as concisely as possible) my opinion as to the causes which have led to the meeting.
     I enclose my card and remain
                             Your obedient Servant,
                                                     CHURCHMAN,
Winslow Dec. 3, 1867.
  [We refer our readers to the report of the Winslow vestry meeting for the resolutions referred to, which will be found in another column.- ED. B. E.]

Bucks Herald, 14 Dec [The same letter was published with some omissions in the Buckingham Express. BE indicates text which was printed in the Express and edited out in the Herald.]
WINSLOW AND ITS CHURCH
TO THE EDITOR OF THE BUCKS HERALD
  SIR.- In accordance with my promise last week, I now proceed to give my opinion as to the causes which led to the late Vestry Meeting, held in Winslow; and at which meeting resolutions were passed, condemnatory of the acts of the Vicar of Winslow.
  I will divide these causes into remote and present.
  Thirty years ago the services of the Church appear to have been conducted in the true spirit of the Church, and in accordance with the prevalent ideas at that time. 
  A choir was in existence composed of most respectable inhabitants, anthems were sung and played.  The portions of the Liturgy appointed to be chanted were strictly adhered to, with the result of attracting congregations to every service, and producing a feeling of attachment to our ancient religion, and a wish to contribute to the glory of God.  During the incumbency of our late Vicar [Rev. W.W. McCreight] these praiseworthy exertions died out, - for various reasons - the principal one being, I believe, the want of musical taste on the part of the Vicar, - who did not exert himself for the support of the choir; and, in consequences, a feeling of coldness and indifference gradually stole over the congregation.  It seems to me that a general opinion was then abroad among the clergy in this neighbourhood that so long as a good sermon was preached the beautiful prayers of our Church occupied only a subordinate position in our devotions.  Let me, however, do Mr. McCreight the justice of saying that I always considered him most sincere in his opinions, and a truly good man.  In addition to these virtues he was at a later period open to conviction, and sanctioned the formation of a choir; giving once again an impetus to religious feeling and to the proper carrying out of the services.  Thus, then, you will see that I give as the remote causes of our present dissentions - 1st, the cessation of musical efforts in the Church, and 2nd, the undue preference for preaching over prayers.
  I will now discuss the present causes of the meeting; and, in doing so, feel not a little difficulty as to their description.  They are numerous, but oftimes to a casual observer might appear trivial.  In order to appreciate them, it is necessary for a person to reside in the parish, as it is a well-known fact that what may appear in writing to be an insignificant transaction yet, doubtless, the sting lies in the manner more than the matter.
  Our present Vicar [Rev. Alfred Preston] came into the parish under favourable circumstances - the feeling of supineness was passing away.  In common with many other parishes, there was, I believe, a general wish that we should in the Church awake out of our long sleep; and most certainly no parish was more ready for the principle of progression than was Winslow at that time; and, as one of the speakers at the meeting remarked, “we were happy to hold out the right hand of fellowship to the Vicar.”
  In these days of a more educated and, I may say, a religious laity, men expect to be presided over by the clergy with common sense [BE: and of this attribute, I venture with all deference to assert, our Vicar has shown himself to be deficient] Our Vicar’s first step was to inform the parishioners by printed circular that the system of ownership of pews was illegal; for he wished to have other persons, (for whom free seats were provided) put into them, and virtually, if not really, to say that no one had a right to the pews he had paid for.  I am not about to defend the system of pews as it has formerly existed, but in this Parish the circumstances were peculiar, and could not possibly be dealt with in this way, but would have to be dealt with by rules of common sense and a knowledge of the world.  I may now say that this one thing excited feelings of distrust and doubts as to what might be the next step.
  Another cause I wish to touch upon with all delicacy.  A lady - amiable and estimable in her private life, and much beloved in the parish - was buried in the Church.  An objection was made by the vicar as to the hangings of black cloth; a proceeding which roused much indignation, a general feeling being prevalent that a clergyman of our Church, or indeed, any gentleman, ought never to lose himself so far as to insult the dead.
  The musical portions of the service for some time had shown a manifest improvement, when, in the opinion of those who know the circumstances, the members of the choir were treated by the Vicar in an insulting manner.   Consequently they resigned.  A body of good singers was thus lost to the Church when with the slightest common sense they might have been retained, and although in the opinion of some persons a number of (musically) uneducated children may be preferable, yet a large majority of Church-goers hold that the contrary principle is the best.  In addition to the above, I maintain that the holding of prayer meetings, at which all denominations of Christians were invited to attend, and to offer up prayer in alphabetical order, regardless of sect, and under the presidency of the Vicar, the preaching of special sermons upon such subjects as Holy Baptism and inviting Baptists to attend, when that denomination of Christians had just established a new place of worship; the preaching of sermons upon such subjects as balls and concerts, when such private and public entertainments were about to be given; I say that in my belief, these things have been calculated to send Church-goers elsewhere, such sermons as I have mentioned coming under the head of personal ones, which should always be avoided.  In the parish there is no open Church, it is kept duly locked, except on Thursdays and Sundays; there is no observance of Saints’-days, and most infrequent celebrations of the Holy Communion.
[BE: The rite of Holy Baptism is celebrated at most extraordinary times.  The services on Sundays have even been described by the Vicar himself as cold and in my judgement consist principally of a duett between Vicar and clerk.  The surplice has only been worn during prayers, and for some time has been taken off in the reading desk and handed to the sexton.]
  Let me add but a few words in concluding this letter, which has been already, I fear, expanded beyond due limits.  In Winslow there is a most decided Church feeling.  Many of us with the greatest regret leave our Parish Church, who have never done so before; others, who from circumstances are unable to do so, feel the want of good services, but submit to what they get.  Our vicar, I believe, thinks himself sincere and right; but he forgets that other persons may (as in this instance they do) hold contrary views to his; to which views he will not yield in the slightest degree, although it would be for the benefit of the Church, of which he is a priest, and of which we are the true and loving people.
     I remain, your obedient servant,
                                           CHURCHMAN.
Winslow, Dec. 9th, 1867.
[We publish the above letter, but, in our judgment, the strictures of the writer, upon most of the matters he mentions, are quite unjustifiable, and in one instance, at least, he censures the vicar for doing that which the law, as laid down by the highest authority, compels him to do.  In most of the cases cited, the vicar is blamed because his opinions are not in accordance with those of the writer; but we should think that the vicar is the best judge as to how the services of his church ought to be conducted.- ED.  B. H.]

Buckingham Express, 21 Dec
To the Editor of the BUCKINGHAM EXPRESS
  SIR.- Having noticed in your edition of December 14th a letter dated Winslow, December 9th, headed “Important Vestry Meeting at Winslow,” in which letter your correspondent says ”at which meeting resolutions were passed condemnatory of the acts of the Vicar.”
  From reading his letter one would suppose that Winslow had degenerated, that the behaviour and attendance of the people at church are worse now than what they were thirty years ago, that the services at church are conducted in a less solemn and impressive manner, and that the people are up in arms against their Vicar.
  Now it is evident that your correspondent knew nothing of Winslow or church matters there thirty years ago or he would have never made such statements as he has in his letter - thirty years ago we had a parson who connived at vice [Rev. T.H. Walpole], a drunken choir (certainly there were exceptions), consequently a people for the most part given to immorality and vice.  Perhaps no parish has undergone a greater change for the better than the parish of Winslow during the last thirty years partly owing to the efforts of Dissenters and partly to the late and present Vicar.
  Your correspondent too is quite mistaken when he tells us that the old choir died out for the want of musical taste on the part of our late Vicar.  This I will prove in a future letter, if necessary.  But, now, a word about this important vestry meeting, the real cause of which I believe is yet kept a secret.  But whether remote or present, it certainly ended in a miserable failure.  A public meeting (if I am not mistaken) was announced to be held “to take into consideration, &c.”  Now, why does your correspondent evade this and call the meeting by another name?  Winslow contains a population of two thousand, a ratepaying population of two hundred, and yet at this important vestry meeting only twenty five attended (and this your correspondent calls a full meeting), and this after canvassing the town for votes, the promise of a good lunch after the meeting, and a paid whip to get them together, only twenty-five, and nine of them voted, but not from principle but to please certain gentlemen of influence whom the Vicar had offended.  Then there were five others who never attended any place of worship, and five “Addingtonians,” (Extreme Ritualists).  These were the originators of the meeting.
  Fearing I have trespassed too much already on your valuable space I conclude with one word of caution to your correspondent- “Sir, leave a good man alone, and don’t magnify his faults.  Then we shall believe, but not till then, that you possess that which you may say the Vicar is deficient of, viz., common sense.”
                                                   I am, sir, yours,
Winslow, Dec. 18.                                              FAIR PLAY

Buckingham Express, 4 Jan 1868
To the Editor of the BUCKINGHAM EXPRESS.
Sir,
  It may not be uninteresting to your readers to give the results of the late Vestry Meeting in Winslow, and of the resolutions then passed, and sent to the Lord Bishop of the Diocese.  The matter was considered by his Lordship to be of sufficient importance to warrant his requesting the Venerable Archdeacon of Buckingham to enquire personally on the spot, into the meaning of those resolutions.  Accordingly, on the 27th ultimo, the Archdeacon attended at the Girls’ School, and was met by a numerous and respectable body of churchmen.  After hearing the opinion of various speakers, the Archdeacon said that he considered the part of the resolutions relating to the alleged loose manner in which the services of the Church were performed--- was not borne out by facts.  Upon the other matters—good grounds existed for discontent.  He begged all parties to unite for the good of the Church; both Vicar and parishioners being, he considered, bound to meet each other in mutual concession. I believe every person present will agree with me that the conduct of the Ven. Archdeacon on this trying occasion was such as to command the admiration and esteem of all parties; and that the thanks of all Churchmen are eminently his due.
  I believe the proceedings taken in this manner were dictated by an earnest desire for the good of the Church; and should the Vicar determine upon bringing our Church up to the proper standard of the Rubric - giving the parishioners better and more frequent services - observing the seasons of the Christian year - and, above all, yielding some points and being firmer in others.  When he does these things he may hope to restore harmony in the Church at Winslow.
  One word only before I finally retire from your columns.  I had hoped in ending my letters I should not have said a hard word; for nothing could have been further from my mind; but I must say one now.  The letter of your correspondent, “Fair Play,” is written in a spirit which effectually prevents my answering it in your column; but, in my opinion and that of others, the abuse of his letter is only equaled by the falsehoods it contains.  My real name is, of course at his service if he requires it.
  Thank you for your courtesy in giving publicity to my letters,
            I remain, your obedient servant,
                                        CHURCHMAN.
Winslow, January 1st, 1866.

Further letters (more about each other than the vicar) adding no further information appeared from FAIR PLAY (11 Jan), A LOVER OF TRUTH (18 Jan, largely supporting Churchman), FAIR PLAY (25 Jan), A LOVER OF TRUTH (1 Feb) and finally FAIR PLAY (8 Feb). The end of the last letter is given below.

... I conclude sir, with giving you Mr. Archdeacon’s opinion of the Vicar, as given at the vestry held on December 27th.  After showing that he (the Vicar) had broken no law, and if he erred it was simply error of judgment, he thus concluded:- “I am thankful to say that you have a Vicar of whose piety and devotedness to our great Master all of you have borne ample testimony, and when we think of the Vicar who lived in this parish thirty years ago, who connived at vice and would sometimes present himself before the people in such a manner as makes my heart weep to think of, I cannot help thinking that you have much to be thankful for, for such a man as you have said Mr. Preston is, saving a few errors of judgment he has made, I must say a parish with such a man is truly blessed.”
                                         FAIR PLAY.
Winslow, February, 6th.


At a Vestry held at the Vestry Room of the Parish Church on Thursday the 29th day of February 1868 pursuant to Notice for that purpose given

Present: Mr John Hathaway, Chairman
Messr Simons & W.H. French

The following persons were nominated as fit as eligible to serve the Office of Constable of Winslow with Shipton for the year next ensuing. – viz.–

[signed] J. Hathaway  Chairman

Notes

The Vestry performed some of the functions later taken over by parish and district councils. The Lighting & Watching Inspectors were chosen at the Vestry and must have worked like a committee. The interest in bow windows was presumably due to possible enroachment on the highway.


See also:

Copyright 22 June, 2020