Mothers’ Union Report – 12th June 2014
Sixteen of us met on a hot afternoon. Sue Attenborough led us in prayer before welcoming Father Bill Enoch to our meeting for an absorbing talk about The Archdeacon’s Visitation in 1824, which included building inspection (Our present day Quinquennial, which is carried out by an architect, is due this summer). These visitations still occur (we had one two years ago by our present Archdeacon). Thankfully our “inspection” was a little more favourable than the one in 1824.
Revd. Samuel Butler visited St Mary’s and All Saints Kirk Hallam as the last churches on a 47 day trek, on horseback around Derbyshire. As now, he found the gate and churchyard wall in good repair, as was the then smaller church and tower with its five bells (we now have eight) and “indifferent” clock. There was a gallery at the west end and box pews on a rough damp floor. Two stoves provided heat, but there was much damp along the south wall. There was one chandelier for candles. He found items which are familiar to us – a large wooden chest (now in the Peter Chapel), the crusader’s tomb, which was in the chancel and the fourteen registers, starting in 1586, which are now housed at Matlock in the archives. We still have the chalice mentioned and the altar, a plain wooden table. The services were taken from the Prayer book and Bible, both in need of repair. The Vicar, of 40 years tenure, never set foot in the church; the parish was run by the curate, Richard Moxon from 1823 to 1836 when he died. He was devout and hardworking. The Archdeacon commented on his pony grazing in the churchyard where the open drain (there were no sewers) had been cleared, presumably, in honour of the visitation. Income from glebe rents (much in the news recently) amounted to £177 per annum. The upkeep of the church chancel was the responsibility of the Duke of Rutland and the nave was maintained by the churchwardens, who could levy a parish rate on all property owners in the parish for its upkeep, much to the annoyance of the non-conformists! The church has changed greatly in the almost 200 years since, both in organisation and fabric. It was a myth that most of the population attended church. The 1851 census showed only 15% of the population regularly attended. At least now everyone is welcomed and seated without payment for a pew.
We had a raffle and congratulated the ladies with June birthdays, Brenda Healey, Ruth Perry and Sharon Topping.