My dear friends,
You will have gathered, from other articles in this magazine that I am very interested in the past history of Bream, as well as in the present, and so it was with much interest and gratitude that I received from Mr Will Smith now of St Brlavels, formerly of Bream, an old book with articles in it which were written by the Revd. Corneilus Witherby, who was the second vicar of Bream.
He was responsible for the building of the Boys’ School as we know it today—at that time the only school in the village. He left Bream in 1869 to go to Bristol, and there was a small debt still outstanding in connection with this building. He did not wish his successor, the Reverend John Gosling, to start at a disadvantage, and so he wrote a serial story for the S. P. C. K., which they published monthly in a church paper, and the proceeds were used to clear the debt as long ago as 1871. It was a story of the people of Bream of that time and earlier, and the names are disguised, as a good number of the characters were real people and ancestors of people who live in Bream today.
Though it is all eighty years ago, there is no doubt that the same characteristics live on in a village community anywhere and I have ventured to quote a part of the book, which some readers may find amusing. This refers to the church as it was many years ago, before the organ was built, when the choir and orchestra occupied a gallery at the back of the church, near the present belfry.
I am not quite sure at what date this balcony was removed. There was no organ till 1861, and I think probably it was at the time of the Rev'd Cornelius Witherby’s restoration of the church, when the nave was lengthened, that the balcony had to come to an end.
In those days the orchestra included Pastor Kear (Bass viol), William Cullis and Samuel Haywood(clarinet) John Webb (flute) Thomas Ames (bassoon) and William Webb (conductor).
I hope to quote again from this book on other occasions.
Meanwhile, the postponement of the carnival has meant that this issue of the magazine had to be postponed as well so I am sorry it must reach you rather late. We now look forward to our sunday school outing to Barry Island, and hope we shall have a fine day for it and a happy day for the children.
All good wishes.
Yours sincerely in Our Lord,
CHARLES VERNON, Vicar.
CHURCH FETE AND CARNIVAL
I Was very disappointed that this function was not able to be held on July 15th, owing to the heavy rain; the more so as every part of the village had done wonders in decorating vans, set prices and groups, and individual items. It. was generally agreed that this would have been the best carnival for years.
However, it. was decided to try again, and on the 22nd a second attempt was made, the tent erected in the field, and everything got ready. Alas, it rained again harder than ever, so we had transport all the entries, and as many spectators as poossible into the Boys School.
The judges had a difficult task and we are very grateful to Mrs. Carson, Mrs. David. O’Driscoll and Dr. Michael O'Driscoll fbr their successful efforts in this matter.
As the paper goes to press it is too early to know what financial result would be, but we are very grateful to the ladies who served the teas and ran the stalls, and to all who contributed their time and money to bring in some profits where there might otherwise have been a loss.
In spite of the difficulty of appearing in a schoolroom instead of in the open air, the competitors for the carnival competition showed many bright and original costumes, and it was evident that they had worked very hard to achieve these result.
Prizewinners Were a follows:-—
1. The Tufts and New Road.
2. High St. and Lydney Lane
1. The Tufts and New Road.
2 High St. and Lydney Lane.
1. John and Donald Treherne
2. Lilian and David Haynes.
3. Norman and Graham Watkins.
Beryl, Christine and Valerie Watkins.
Young Individual Children:
1. Maureen Legge
1. Jennifer Tye.
2. Anita Wintle.
1. Laurie Thomas,
2. Sheila. Robins.
" A PRIMITIVE SUNDAY"
(.Extract. from a book published in 1871—see the vicar's letter).
The Chapel was a strange little building, consisting of a nave and porch and the smallest of chancels.It contained huge pews for the local gentry. and the poor folk sought accommodation on benches behind them.
Along the western wall ran a gallery, some six foot above the floor. This was the Domain of the singers. With this even Parson Evans had nothing to do, The singers were as distinct from the congregation as the parson was. Would they think of telling him what to preach, or what text to choose? Then no more ought he to tell them what to sing!
And very well they could sing, heartily if a little coarsely. For the voices of miners as is well—known, are usually good and musical, and it was so in the Forest.
But there was confusion among them today. Parson Evans had ended his part with the Litany, and yielded the service to the officials at the opposite end. Up stood Job Ward and said: “Let us praise God by singing the "133rd psalm." Upon which Joseph Gwatkin exclaimed, " No ‘taint.” Job Ward repeated “ The 133rd psalm” and gave out the first verse:
How vast must their advantage be,
How great their pleasure prove,
Who live like brethren and agree
In offices of love.
When again Joseph Gwatkin oracularly uttered —’’No ‘taint.”
“Then what is it?’ said Job tauntingly. for he knew what was coming. What is it, eh?"
‘Tis the anthem day, Joby Ward. Thou dost know it is."
"Oh, anthem day, is it? Then we be going to sing the 133rd psalm, Joey Gwatkin, for all thy anthem day. Now then. Ralph." And forthwith the instrumentalists struck up the tune, and the congregation stood up. But Joseph Gwatkin took up his hat, and with a surly yet humorous grin, walked down the stairs and out of the church.
From this it will be seen that there was discord among the humorists. Joseph and others were ambitious to introduce something more florid in place of his psalms - an innovation that the rest strenuously resented. So a compromise was effected. One sunday in the month an anthem should be sung; on two others, the old system should he continued, and the little scene just related, was owing to the business of the numerically stronger party, who had broken the agreement.
The squire and his family, Parson Evans, and the congregation listened to the dispute with shame and amusement combined, but when the psalm was finally sung, the parson, like the wise man that he was, proceeded with the service.
FROM THE PARISH REGISTER
July 2.—Robert Malcolm Worgan. New Road.
" 16—John Charles Brookbanks, Prior’s Lodge.
" 23.—Ronald John Phillips, 39, Parkend Road.
July 22.—-Frederick Hubert Jarrett Liddington and Eileen Wintour (Brockhollands).
July 2.—Walter John Martin, 50. Parkend Road.
" 4.—Ann Elizabeth Baldwin, Coleford.
" 16 —William Lucas. Coleford Road, Bream.:
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