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Week St. Mary Church Snippets  1688 - 1971

Some of the more interesting snippets pertaining to the church between 1876 and 1971 are reported here and it is interesting to note that a constant flow of activities relating to the church and its administration goes to show the strength of the church in a rural environment.

churchyard     churchground


North East pinnacle struck by lightning.


North East pinnacle again struck by lightning.


South East pinnacle struck by lightning.


South West pinnacle struck by lightning.


The condition of the Church was such that the drainage from roof gutters poured through into the Church.


First meeting held for the necessary steps for restoring the Church early in 1878 – the year previously the fabric was thoroughly investigated by Mr. J.P. St. Aubyn.


Friday July 13th - Confirmation was held by the Bishop of Truro. 6 candidates in all, 5 from Week St. Mary and 1 from Jacobstow. There had been no confirmations in the parish for 70 years – an old man, John Fry, remembered it.


March 7th, Meeting of parishioners to support the movement for restoring the Church.
Nov. 8th – South West pinnacle struck by lightning at 6.45 am.


July 6th, last services in the Church prior to restoration. There were 8 communicants and the offerings totalled 4/-. Services were subsequently held in the Board School Room from July 13th to July 4th 1880.


July 8th Church re-opened. Expenses to that date were £1,502.16s.9d. Morning prayer and sermon by the Bishop of Truro, Evening prayer and sermon by Canon Cornish, the total offerings collected on the day were £24.7s.9d.


The Tower was restored with new roof and new floors throughout and the basement pointed. The bells were re-hung in a new oak bell cage and two were re-cast by Messrs. Warner & Co. This work was done at a cost of £170.


The high winds stripped off some 18 or 20 roof slates and damaged the lightning conductor.
During the year a tea was given to the children of the Board School, by the Rector and twice to the Sunday School.
The Church tower needs pointing, the rain beats on the bricks and then drains through the joints making the walls inside very wet. The work must be done soon or the tower will suffer.


A subscription list has been opened for repairing and pointing the tower. On 21st September the offertories on Revel Sunday and at the Harvest Thanksgiving the next day amounted to £2.7s.3d. besides which a Sale of Work realised £6.0s.0d. and the sale of the old organ made another £6.0s.0d.
October – The Parish Room in the Rectory Yard was opened for games, reading and amusement for men and adults during the winter months – and a very good number attends, Popular lectures and tea parties are occasionally given by way of change, instruction and sociability.


November – A new public road has been made and opened from the Tavistock road to the one leading to Bude, coming out by Haydah so that going down and up those steeps by Haydah are avoided.


May 25th, the Tower is now finished and looks well able to withstand the storms once more – a fitting memorial of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
June 1st, to celebrate the completion of the restoration work a public tea was held in the rectory rooms and about 80 people sat down to tea. At 7.30 pm there was a service of thanksgiving in the Church. The tower was opened entirely free from debt and a statement of accounts was printed and sent to each of the subscribers to the fund.


A new two manual organ by Messrs. Bevington & Sons, Charing Cross Road, London, was built in the Church on the south side-aisle, to replace the old organ which stood on the north side. The original estimate for this organ was £223.10s. This sum was raised by voluntary contributions, concerts, etc and the old organ was sold to Bradford Church, Brandis Corner, N.Devon for £30.


March 31st, The Bishop of St. Germans confirmed 25 candidates in Week St. Mary Church today.
A surpliced Choir consisting of 11 boys and 5 men was instituted on Whit Sunday, June 3rd.
The extensive restoration & improvement of the Rectory was begun April 18th and were completed in 1907. The old kitchen was converted into the Dining Room, the Hall was enlarged, the old Dining Room became the Study, the old Study became the new Kitchen. Bathroom, lavatories etc. were provided. New windows were supplied throughout and a new back entrance and steps leading from the road was made, the old tumble-down cob buildings at the back were removed and a new stone wall built. The out buildings were also restored and improved. The total cost was defrayed by money from private sources.
The old dial was found at the Rectory, it was used as a step to the old Schoolroom. It was repaired and erected over the Church door.


A clock was placed in the Church Tower early this year. The clock was obtained by Mr. N.F.A. Cobbald for a small sum and he and S. H. Haslam made the face, hands and connecting parts and erected it in the tower. It has been going steadily and keeping good time for several months.
King Edward VII died May 6th and was buried May 20th. A united memorial service was held at the Church according to the authorized form at 1pm, the time appointed for the interment, the Church was crowded with representation from every house in the parish.


Early in 1921 Rev. C.J. Whitmell became unwell and resigned on 1st April. Rev. M.V. Hardy came into residence for Sunday September 11th and was inducted on November 5th.
The Rectory Room, built by Rev. Haslem and bought from him by Rev. Whitmell has now been purchased from him by the Church, for £150.


Rectory Room, new stove bought. Boiler house built.
New stoves were put in the Church at Revel, when the total amount of cost was raised (£25). The new stoves were made like the old ones, the wisdom of this is doubtful as they are very small, but supplemented with two Perfection heaters, they give a fair result.
The Church Army visited the Parish in October.


New lamps were put in the Church at a cost of £40. Some of the old lamps were put in the Rectory Room.


The Rectory Room was painted on the outside by voluntary helpers led by Mr. Rowland.


As the chairs in the Church are all very old, worm-eaten and gradually collapsing it was necessary to re-seat the Church. £48 was raised on Easter Day to start the re-seating fund.
There has been a very successful Flower & Vegetable Show and Garden Fete during this year.
The Church Army van visited the parish in November and there were some very good services.


The Rectory Room was enlarged by the addition of a room for refreshments and a gentlemen’s cloakroom.


June: Death watch beetle – the first years treatment with Presolini carried out on all necessary Church timbers.


Death watch beetle treatment – completed with its third annual application by workmen of the village.
During the year new sets of Churchyard gates and posts have been supplied and fitted.


Thursday 21st February: The S.E. pinnacle and centre of the Church Tower were struck by lightning, after a hailstorm lasting around 2 hours, causing large pieces of masonry to fall through the Church roof and resulting in a great deal of damage to the building. This article is reported elsewhere: click here
The following telegram was sent to the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office, 11 Norfolk Street, London WC2, from Bude at 4 pm., the local telephone service being dislocated by the storm: “Church struck by lightning; seriously damaged; immediate inspection suggested; writing.” A reply telegram arrived from Bude 6pm, stating that their assessor, Messrs. Ware & Co., Beaford Circus, Exeter, would visit the Church at once. Mr. Ware arrived the following day at 12 noon and took charge of the Church on behalf of the Insurance Office. Services took place in the Rectory Rooms until January 12th 1936.


Re-opening services were held on Thursday 16th January, the Bishop of the Diocese preaching and holding a Confirmation.


A new piano was bought for the Rectory Room and the exterior of the building was painted.


At 11 am on Sunday September 3rd, War was declared against Germany at its aggression on Poland.
September 17th Sunday Services of Feast of Dedication held as usual, on Revel Monday the Foxhounds Meet 8.30 am, Tea 4 pm, Evensong 6 pm, Social 7.30 – 10 pm, the sports etc. having been omitted. Future evensong 3 pm, Air-raid Signal: two bells, All-clear: Tenor bell.


On Tuesday May 8th Victory was won and proclaimed in Europe against Germany. The Service of Thanksgiving was Festal Evensong at 7.30 pm attended by a crowded congregation, greatly moved at so great an occasion.
Thursday July 5th: Labour Government declared, Mr. Attlee (Prime Minister), whose brother Mr. T.S. Attlee is one of the chief laymen of the diocese.
Wednesday August 5th Victory was proclaimed in the Far East against Japan and the Great War ended. The Service of Thanksgiving was Festal Evensong and similar to that held in May.


In considering a stained glass window at the high altar, the Rector called attention to the fact that all three East end windows are out of centre to the North, while the lower arch is out of centre to the South. Apparently no-one had ever noticed this before.


In the autumn a Sunday School and a Choir were formed.
A Parish Magazine, to be called “The Beacon” was begun at Advent.
An electric boiler was installed at the Rectory Room at a cost of £11.


Electric lighting and organ blowing was installed in the Church in March at a total cost of £200. A grant of £70 was made by the Rural Churches Fund and the rest of the money was raised in the parish over a number of years.
A very successful Garden Fete was held in the Rectory grounds on June 16th, the first one to be held for some years. The sum of £45.8s.1d. was raised towards the Church Thanksgiving Fund.
The Churchyard paths were re-laid with tar by voluntary labour at a cost of £30.
The exterior of the Rectory Room was repainted by Mr. S. Barber during July and August and some necessary repairs were done at the same time, at a total cost of £47.10s.0d. The money was withdrawn from the Rectory Room repair fund.
A new stove was also installed at the end of the year, £9.5s.6d.


A new Churchyard gate was made by Mr. T. Pauling and the rest were repaired and painted. The coal shed was also repaired.


Some necessary repairs done to the foundations and floor of the Rectory Room, under the Ladies Cloakroom, at a cost of £22. The work was done by Mr. Barber of Week St. Mary and was consequent on extensive rotting of the main floor beams through faulty pillars and lack of free passage of air beneath the building.
During the past five years the following improvements have been made to the Rectory and paid for by the Cornish Church Thanksgiving Fund: Boiler in the kitchen, washing up basin in the pantry and electric light in those rooms before unsupplied and electric pump for the water supply from the well to the house. The Glebe Farm buildings in the lower yard were sold. The old schoolroom was excepted from this sale as it might be of use in the future and was not subject to dilapidations.
On June 26th a Garden Fete was held in the Rectory grounds, raising £34. The cost of recasting and re-hanging of the bells was finally paid off on June 12th.  
On February 15th, the day of King George VI’s Funeral, a Requiem was paid at 8.00 am and a combined Memorial Service was held at the Parish Church in the evening – a full Church.


The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was marked by a broadcast of the Service in Westminster Abbey, in the Parish Church. The broadcast was most successful and the congregation, although small, took all opportunities of joining in with the Service. The rest of the day was spent enjoying sports, public teas and a bonfire.


On the departure of the Reverend Townsend, the Christmas Crib, which had been in use in the Church for the past eight years, was left by him to the Church for future use. This crib was made in 1945 by German P.O.W’s, to their own design on R.A.F. Station Upper Heyford.


The carol mime “Nativity” was presented in costume, in the Church, on Thursday December 22nd, at 7.30 pm, by the Sunday School children.
It also took place in Whitstone Church on the following Thursday and again in Week St. Mary Church on Sunday January 1st 1956.

Just for the record:
That's me (David) extreme left looking quite solemn, of course, with one of my sisters alongside.  No doubt some of you will either be in the photograph or recognise some of the participants.



The electrical heating system installed in the Church by Messrs. Woolacott of Stratton, was switched on for the first time on Sunday December 23rd.


January 1st: The Rectory Room was sold by the P.C.C., Week St. Mary to the Rector for the sum of £60. (This was signed by the Rector, W.T. Simpson and by the Treasurer, M. Cobbledick).

© All of the content of the Week St. Mary website is the copyright of David Martin & Linda Cobbledick except where stated 2006-2018