My dear friends,
Recently I was talking to the children In sunday school about some of the furnishings in the church—the altar, pulpit, lectern, etc. Then I pointed to the old sunday school banner which now hangs on the wall, and which many of you will remember being carried in procession through the village at festivals of the church, in the old days. I asked the children what it was. One of them answered, “Oh, that is in memory of the sunday school !” As so many things in a church are in memory of someone or other, perhaps it was a natural answer. But I did not like the suggestion that the sunday school is dead and buried!
Nor is it. It is very much alive, and I am glad to say that there are more than twice as many keen members as in the autumn and a few new ones are added most weeks.
Now we move to the church day school. It is much nearer the centre
of the parish than the church, and I think a good many children, who
do not come at present, should now be able to do so—particularly
from Woodside, Mill Hill, Whitecroft and Parkend Roads.
I hope all church people, particularly those who live in these areas, will do their best to make it known, and encourage children to come along.
I am not particularly concerned to draw children from chapel to church,
if they are already keen members of the chapels. Our first aim must be
to include all the children who do not go to sunday school at all. But
I would point out to parents that if they brought their child to the
church for baptism, they are not carrying out the promises they then
made to God unless they send the child to the church sunday school.
The time is 3 p.m. every sunday, and I hope it will not be long before the old banner can once again be seen, carried in procession through the village. There is a class for very young children, as well as for those who can read, so the children are welcome at any age. As we remember how our Lord Jesus said “Suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not,” I think we must change the word “suffer” to “encourage”—for the children of sunday school today are the church-goers and church councilors of tomorrow, and it becomes even more important that they should be taught to know and love and serve our Lord Jesus Christ.
The children are also encouraged to come to church in the mornings at 10 o’clock, and this is also important, as they then grow up naturally to enjoy and understand the Communion service. There are also a few vacancies for boys and girls in the choir.
I do my best by visiting and in other ways, to bring the children to church and sunday school. But it is a large parish, and I am only one. It would be a tremendous help it all who read this would do what they can—by seeing that your own child attends regularly, if you are a parent, or encouraging your neighbours and friends to send or bring their children. If everyone who reads this were to do his or her best, I think the number of church children would soon be doubled. I believe nothing is more important.
God bless you all.
Yours sincerely in our Lord,
Charles Vernon, vicar.
CASS MEMORIAL FUND
Since last month contributions have been received from the following, and are acknowledged with many thanks:— Mrs. W. Coldrick, Mrs. A. Edmunds, Mr. E. Johns, Mrs. A. Saturley, Mrs. G. Thorne, Mrs W. H. Worgan, Total received to date: £24 11s. 6d.
We are still trying to get an estimate for erection of an altar, suitable and worthy of our purpose, within the limits of the money available. In any case, we hope to close the fund at the end of February, so it will be appreciated if people who want to make a gift would do so as soon as possible—either to the vicarage, or in one of the collecting- boxes in the village.
SUNDAY SCHOOL PARTY
The children of the sunday school and choir had a very happy party on Friday, January 21st. We are very grateful to the ladies of the church council, and many others, who did so much to ensure its success.
We were entertained by Mr. Frank Mabberley, of Saunders Green, with some good conjuring tricks and plenty of amusing patter, and the rest of the time soon went in playing games, singing and (of course!) eating.
There were 65 children present, so passers-by can have had little doubt what was going on. It did not sound a bit like the serious committee meetings which more usually occupy the school at that time of the evening!
FROM THE PARISH REGISTER
Jan. 28.—Geoffrey John Edmunds, Heathmount, Woodside, Bream.
Jan. 8,—Edward Ward, 5, Parkend Road, Bream, aged 78.
The winter outing for the choir is arranged for Thursday, 24th February. Seats have been booked for the pantomime at Cheltenham, and the coach will leave Bream at 5 p.m. Members of the choir will receive further particulars in due course.
The Church Council meets on January 28th, after this Issue of the magazine has gone to the printers, and we are not able to record the financial statement of accounts for 1948 until after that meeting. We hope to publish them next month, together with particulars of the forthcoming annual meeting of the church electors.
THE STORY OF BREAM CHURCH
There is, at the vicarage, a manuscript book, which was mainly put together by the Rev E. F. Eales, vicar of Bream. 1896-1902. Additions have been made by successive vicars. It is intended to include extracts in the parish magazine, in the hope of gradually collecting enough information to make a small book. To this end the vicar would appreciate any contributions which older inhabitants of the parish may be able to make—whether from, memory, or from old books, letters, manuscripts, etc.
The name “Bream” signifies “sharp” or “severe,” from the Saxon word “Bramma,” and probably refers to the exposed situation of the place.
There is no definite information about the origins of the old chapel from which the present church has grown. But It seems probable that there has been a place of worship on this site for some 600 years. The earliest recorded reference is quoted in the transactions of the British and Gloucester archaeological society, where we are told that “one Master Thomas, in the year 1505, was assaulted while celebrating Holy Communion in Bream chapel”
There are parts of the present building which can give some information. Thus, the Piscina is known to be of pre-Reformation date, probably between 1300 and 1500 A.D., and the dripstone over the porch doorway is of “Perpendicular” style, and therefore its probable date Is about 1500.
The two old square windows in the south wall are interesting, as they are almost exactly the same as those in the north aisle at Littledean. It is believed that the Littledean north aisle and windows were built in connection with the Brayne chantry, and as all the chantries were disendowed in 1553, we may suppose that both the Littledean and Bream windows are of earlier date than that.
So it seems likely that there was a chapel in Bream, on the present site from about 1350 onwards, though it is not clear to whom it belonged. Tradition suggests that it might have belonged to Bream Lodge (now Prior’s Lodge), or was the private chapel or oratory of some gentleman in the locality, or else that at belonged to the Crown from very early times.
At least it is certain that it was in the hands of the Crown before
1618 because at that date, on June 30th, King James I granted it by letters
patent to William Wintour and William Bell, and they conveyed it to Thomas
Donning of Bream, who made seats in the chapel at his own expense and
caused the first letters of his name to be cut on them.
At the same time this gentleman seems to have rebuilt the chapel, which had fallen Into a state of disrepair, and, probably, of disuse.
(To be continued)
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