Controversy over burials, 1883

Hamilton A. Douglas-Hamilton was installed as vicar in Feb 1883. Liberals believed that the Conservative MP J.G. Hubbard of Addington had a hand in his appointment by the Lord Chancellor.

Bicester Herald, 31 March

THE BURIALS’ ACT.- The friendly relations which for many years have existed at Winslow, between the Established Church and the Non-conformists seem likely to be disturbed.  The new Vicar has refused to allow the tolling of the bell at funerals conducted under the Burials’ Act of 1880, a privilege which the Non-conformists in the parish have hitherto enjoyed.  We understand that the manner in which this has been done has caused a strong feeling in the parish.

Bicester Herald, 20 April

  “The Church of England is the most Catholic, and the only church which can be trusted with the position it occupies, and is certainly is the most tolerant.”- Speech of the Right Hon. J. G. Hubbard, M.P., at Winslow, April 11th.
            Forth from a lowly cottage home,
                        See the mourners slowly tread,
            As they bear away to his final rest,
                        One of their loved ones – dead.

            Yet we miss the accustomed sound
                        Of the mournful funeral knell,
            For has not the Vicar sent forth word
                        That “Dissenters” shall have no bell?

            But what matters this silent bell?
                        If the sleeper died in the Lord
            He will wake again to eternal life
                        At the resurrection word.

            While many a hardened sinner,
                        Though buried by priest and choir,
            And not redeemed through Jesus’ blood,
                         Will find “everlasting fire.”

            For this “Holy Catholic Church,”
                        With its cross and choir and bell,
            By pomp and forms of man’s device,
                        Cannot save the soul from hell.

            Catholic! But not to the dead,
                        Not to the living I know;
            Catholic only in grasping at power,
                        Wherever their agents go.

            But, “Peace,” says the Vicar, “Peace;
                        “Go quietly into the shade,
            “Bury your dead, if you must, with ours- 
                        “But be careful where you tread.”

            And I cannot but think as I read,
                        Or their forms and rituals see,
            That the Church of Rome, and not Dissent,
                        Has the clerical sympathy.
Winslow, April 14, 1883.                                 CATHOLICUS.

Buckingham Express, 7 July

  We have been requested to publish the following account of two funerals:-

  According to the Winslow parish magazine, which appears for the first time this month, the wife of Mr. Cornelius Colgrove was interred in the parish churchyard, on Tuesday 26th ult.  The ceremony was conducted by the vicar, who met the procession at the south gates, and preceded by the sidesmen and churchwardens.  On entering the church, hymn 264, ‘Thy will be done’ was sung by the choir, and the ‘Dead march in Saul,’ was played as the procession went to the grave side.

  On Tuesday, July 3rd, there was another funeral, namely, that of an old and respected townsman, Richard Willmore, born and bred in the parish, he had lived for more than three score years and ten (he was 73), having, in that time, by his honest unaided efforts, acquired a competency, and at his death we should say ‘owed no man anything.’  But alas for the friends of Richard Willmore, no church warden presented himself at the gate to meet the procession, there was not even a sidesman to be seen and as for the ‘Dead march in Saul.’ (or any other march) it was never heard, but worse than all there was no clergyman to be found, to perform the last touching and solemn ceremony.  We understand the procession, which arrived at the church gates at five minutes past three, waited outside for something like half an hour.  The deceased’s widow who is approaching 80 years of age, being kindly provided with a seat, after which it proceeded into the church, and waited half an hour longer, when the clergyman arrived.

  We do not wish to blame the worthy vicar in this matter, as we feel sure that on hearing of the occurrence (he was away from home at the time) he would be much grieved, but there was a bungle somewhere, which calls for explanation.

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Copyright 28 March, 2021