Topic: St George's Church, Kirwee
St George's Church Kirwee, first services 1880.
A History of ST GEORGES CHURCH KIRWEE St Georges Church Kirwee October 1st 1983
1880-1883-1983 by NOEL FRIZZELL
This history of the Church of St. George's Kirwee has been written using the minute books of the Malvern Central Vestry. The minute books, Church accounts, services register, and Church wardens book of St. Matthews Courtenay. The minute books service register and Sunday School register of St. George's, and the minute book of the Parochial District of Courtenay. Also loose documents from these sources and . information from the Church Property Trustees and various others. The writings can be verified from these sources unless they can be read as an expression of opinion.
It is intended that this will provide a true record of the Church during the first 100 years. With the limited time and facilities available only the main points of interest are covered, and because of this names are only used for historical reasons. This, therefore, is not intended as a record of the people of the Church.October 1st. 1983.
The first recorded Anglican religious service in Kirwee was held on 14th March 1880. The offering, amounting to thirteen shillings and eleven pence was paid into the Vestry accounts of St. Matthews Courtenay. Comparisons with St. Matthews offerings suggest that a congregation of at least sixty attended. This would of course include children, and as this would be looked on as a social occasion, it would be usual for the whole family to attend.
ive more services were held that year with similar attendances. The services were conducted in the Courtenay Road Board Offices on Courtenay Road opposite the present church. As Kirwee was attached to the sub-district of Courtenay in the Malvern Parochial District, the services would be conducted by the resident curate, the Rev. H. Collins, The services continued to be held there until February 27th. 1881.
Prior to this, however, it appears conflict had been developing between Capt. R.G.D. Tosswill, St. Matthew Sffieess and the Bishop, Henry John Chatty. On October Tth. 1880 Tosswill resigned as church warden, but was asked to reconsider and later agreed to continue in this office. At the annual parishoners meeting on April 29th. 1881 Tosswills name was to be forwarded to the Bishop as one of the church wardens, but on May 4th. Tosswill (warden), and H.C. Frere, W. Anderson and J.W. Hackett (vestry) withdrew their names from the list of church officials to be sent to the Bishop for appointment. It was decided that the names of two wardens and six vestrymen be forwarded to the Bishop for approval. It was also recorded at the meeting " that this meeting having heard an explanation from the Rev. chairman with reference to the severence of a part of this sub-district, decline to give any expression of opinion on the subject, until some definite plan is laid before them." This proved to be the beginning of Kirwee becoming a sub-district in its own right.
It is interesting that Kirwee is never mentioned in the records, although the offerings from the services were received and recorded in the Courtenay cash book.
However, newspaper clippings of the vestry meetings were kept in the minute book and an extract from this meeting reads, "a proposal to constitute Kirwee, which has hitherto formed part of the sub-district, is now under consideration of the Bishop. It seems likely that under the new regime church work will prosper in and around Kirwee." This however does not appear in the minutes.
The next day May 5th. the first recorded meeting of church members of Kirwee was held at Mr. Frere's residence. Present, Rev. H. Collins (chairman), Capt. R.G.D. Toserwill, Messrs. Frere, Anderson and Hackett who had all resigned as officials of Courtenay., and Messrs. Clarke, Jennings and Batstone. A letter received the previous day from the Bishop was read. This was in respect of the proposed constitution of Kirwee as a sub-district of the Parochial District of Malvern. It was agreed that the following advantages would be gained if the proposal was accepted.
1. "That the number of Church members in the neighbourhood of Kirwee would be largely increased were further facilities and inducements offered to take interest in church matters."
2. "That the Parochial district of Malvern would benefit generally by having another sub-district established which would help to contribute towards the clergymans stipend."
3. "That the clergymans stipend would be increased by the amount guaranteed by the sub-district of Kirwee."
The following names were forwarded to the Bishop for appointment as Church Officers, Church wardens, R.G.D. Tosswill, H.C, Frere. Vestrymen, S.E. Anderson, W. Clarke, H.W. Jennings, J.W. Hackett, H.P. Malthus, R. Aymes, R. Fairburn and J.Wilson. R.Fairburn later withdrew his name, but those remaining were appointed and Kirwee became a sub-district of Malvern Parochial District. The guarantee for the year ending Easter 1882 to the Clergymans stipend was set a £20, and the offertories were to go to the payment of the debt on the harmonium, and any other expences incurred for the maintenance of the services.
On Jan. 3rd. 1883 a vote of thanks was recorded to the Courtenay Road Board for the use of their offices for services during the last two years. Mrs. Bonner had been paid one shilling a time for cleaning the offices. It appears that the services were then transferred to the Kirwee School where more space was available, and later (March 11th,) an application was received from the School Committee for the use of the harmonium for music lessons. This was granted providing the School could be used for divine service free of charge.
It was decided at this meeting, "that taking into consideration the increasing population of Kirwee, and the liberal offer of Capt. Tosswill of a very suitable site, it is desirable that steps should be taken towards the erection of a Church at Kirwee." Each vestryman was given two lists, one for a donation towards a new Church, and one for articles to be given for a bazaar, to be held at Kirwee for the same cause. The Annual Easter meeting was to be held in the Kirwee School and Mr. Frere was appointed as treasurer for the Church building fund. The Annual Easter meeting 1882, thanked Mrs. Frere for her services as organist, and Mr, Frere was thanked for his services as treasurer, lay reader, and for the trouble he had taken with the Sunday School during the past year. Mr. Frere was evidently taking Sunday School on an informal basis in 1881, because it was not until May 21st. 1883 that it was agreed to establish a Sunday School. Meetings to be held in the Kirwee school and on June 10th. Meetings started with an attendance of 19 pupils.
Discussions had been going on with the Bishop and the Church Property Trustees, with the result that, on October 9th. 1881, the Trustees agreed to lend the Kirwee Parish £100. A extract from the minutes of the C.P.T. reads; "The following guarantors for a loan of £100 for the erection of a Church at Kirwee were approved, subject to the authorization of the loan by the Standing Committee: Messrs. R.G.D. tosswill, H.C. Frere, Peter Murray, Jas. W. Hackett, S.E.Anderson, T.A.W. Griffith, Jas. A. Wilson and Robert Stewart being the Church Officers of the sub-district of Kirwee."
The response for the building fund proved to be highly satisfactory, and a building committee composed of Tosswill, Frere and Anderson was elected, and authorized to call tenders for the building of a Church. The tender of Mr. Jamieson was accepted for a building 34ft long, rail, gable, bracket and porch for the sum of £246 and the building committee was instructed to put the building in hand forthwith. This was on Nov. 10th 1882.
No mention is made of the architect by name, but it was almost certain to be F.C. Stedman, who acted in that capacity for both Courtenay, 1873, and the Sheffield, 1878 churches, and was honorary treasurer of the Malvern Parochial Centre.
The next Annual Easter Meeting has held in the Temperance Hall, Kirwee on April 17th. 1883. Capt. Tosswill, on behalf of the building committee, reported that they had taken upon themselves the responsibility of ordering the building of the vestry, and the furnishing of the seats, and the rest of the furniture, at a cost of about £53. This was approved.
On May 5th. the chairman read a letter he had received from the Primate with reference to the consecreation of the Church, naming May 15th. as the day of consecration. The Vestry expressed their approval of name of "St. George' s" being suggested to the Primate. The treasurer reported he had insured the Church and furnishings for £300. Mr. Taylor was requested to keep the key of the Church, and to keep the door always locked, except when required for use. Mr. Goodwin was to be engaged for the laying out and planting of the Church grounds. It was also decided "that on the opening of the Church for Service* all seats in the Church with the exception of the choir seats, be absolutely free, and that notice to that effect be posted on the notice board in the porch. (This notice has since been removed; I remember as a child it was on the right inside the porch,) (The writer.)
Readers would appreciate the difficulty of writing a history such as this if they could read the minutes of the Vestry Meeting held on May 21st. 1883. This meeting was held six days after the opening and consecration of the new Church, which must have been an important milestone in their lives. For the Vestry, the fruition of three years planning, an intensive fund raising campaign, and the excitement and pride of the grand opening, which would be attended by all church members in the district and representatives of other churches, presided over by their Primate.
What was discussed and recorded. The accounts showed a debit of £4. The question of purchasing the harmonium they had on loan from Milner and Thompson was referred to Toswill and Taylor to make the best deal possible, and a separate account opened to cover the purchase. A curtain hung over the entrance door and the purchase of interior requisites for the Church. The Vestry also recoginised the necessity of establishing a Sunday School. This concluded the meeting, not one word regarding the Church opening.
In March the following gifts were received through the Most Rev. the Primate of New Zealand from the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Lincoln England and other relatives of H.C.Frere.
1. A complete set of communion plate in oak case.
2. A brass cross and two brass vases.
3. A silken Dossal.
4. A miniature Font in leather case.
A Holy Bible was also presented to the Church by the Lord Bishop, and is still in the Church. A re-table or super altar was later purchased, and this with the brass vases was placed in the Church in December.
Following discussion with the Bishop, the District of Malvern was divided, and the first General Meeting of Church Officers of the lately constituted Parochial District of Courtenay was held on June 2nd. 1884. Representatives from the following churches attended; Kirwee, Courtenay, Greendale. Kimberley and West Melton. They unanimously agreed to the conditions put before them.
Section. .1. The Parsonage and Glebe land shall be regarded as the common property of the whole Parochial District, and each sub-district shall be required to contribute towards all expenses, including interest on loan, sinking fund, insurance, repairs etc. connected with the Parsonage and Glebe, from the time of this formation of the Courtenay District.
Section 2. A General Meeting of the Church Officers of all the sub-districts shall be held at least once a year for the purpose of determining what sum shall be contributed by each of the sub-districts towards (l) the stipend of the Clergyman and (2) the expenses connected with the Parsonage and Glebe.
Section 3. A committee consisting of representatives from each of the sub-districts shall be appointed every year to look after the Parsonage and Glebe and see the execution of any necessary repairs. No expenses shall be incurred in connection with the Parsonage and Glebe except by order of this committee.
Section 4. All expenses connected with the Church and the performance of Divine Service in each of the sub-district shall be borne by the sub-district in which the Church is situated and the services held.
On June 11th. the Church representatives agreed to the following guarantees for the stipend; Courtenay £40, Kirwee £30, Kimberley £15, West Melton £20 and Greendale £15. Estimated expenses of £12 were allocated in the same proportion.
1885 appears to have been a difficult time for the district financially and for the Church also. A grant of £100 was voted by Synod to St. George's, but was not acted on by the standing committee. The vestry repeated their claim on Diocesan Funds, pointing out that they were in the exceptional position of never having received any grants from the Church Property Trustees. The shortage of funds appears continually through the minutes at both Church and Centre levels. Much the same problem is still present today. However the £100 was paid, and in April 1886 "The Church is now out of debt and in a good state of repair," and "The sacred furniture was complete and the parishoners may contemplate the building and its contents with satisfaction."
In 1886 the finances of the Courtenay Centre were in such straits, that the Bishop was asked if the vicar could be given part time work in the Cathedral to supplement his stipend. This was due to the monetary depression at that time, and at the July vestry meeting the chairman, the Rev. Dunkley, read a letter from his Lordship the Primate, offering him an appointment at the Christchurch Cathedral. The vestry cordially endorsed the action of the board of church wardens in the matter, and offered its thanks, both to the Clergyman for accepting the same , and to the Board for arranging matters as it had done. The treasurer reported a deficit of £10.
The Vestry meeting held on Dec. 16th 1887 is a good example of the difficulty of relying on minute books for information. Tosswill was not present. " A letter was read from the Bishop." "The resignation of Lieut. Colonel Tosswill was accepted." We will never know if there was a connection between the letter and the resignation. The Vestry did not even write a letter of thanks. Tosswill was Church warden from 1881-83-84-87 and lay reader 1885-1886.
An unusual request was received at the meeting in April 1838, when the chairman explained that Mr. Frere (the lay reader) had written to ask for the loan or gift of the portable font belonging to the Church, and that in consideration of the fact that it had been presented through Mr. Frere's instrumentality (It was presented to the Church by the Lord Bishop of Lincoln, a relation of Frere's,) the Church wardens had lent the said font to Frere. A letter of thanks was read from him. The action of the church wardens with regard to the loan of the portable font to Mr. Frere was approved, and the question of gift, stood over for twelve months.
The Chairman was requested to obtain the opinion of the Archdeacon. As births usually took place in the family home with the help of a midwife, Mr. Frere was evidently providing a service for those who wished to hold the baptism in their own home.
May 28th. 1889. A special vestry meeting was held. The chairman the Rev. W.T.P. Winter stated that Lt. Col.Tosswill had kindly offered to present a bell to the Church. That he, the chairman, had tried the tone of the bell and was satisfied with it. The object in calling the meeting was to ascertain what steps could be taken for the erection of a bell tower. At a recent visit by Frere to Kirwee he had intimated he had collected a sum of money in England for St. George's Church, so he had been written to, and had agreed to forward a cheque for £10 when required. Some old plans of a bell turret which could be built for about £17 were studied, but as the new bell was much smaller, it was thought that a suitable turret could be built at less cost. The chairman was to write to Mr. Mountford (Diocesan Treasurer) asking for suitable plans for a bell turret.
The next vestry meeting was held on . Mon. June 10th. in the reading room of the Kirwee hotel, as was the previous one. No doubt it would have been warmer and more comfortable than the Church, but perhaps there were complaints, because no more meetings were held there. Meetings as in the past, were, in the future, to be held in the Church. The chairman had received plans of a bell turret from Mr. Mountford and had asked Mr. Anderson to give an estimate of the cost. The plans were produced, together with the estimate, and a model made by Mr. Anderson. The plans produced were approved and the work entrusted to Mr. Anderson, at the estimated cost of £11-2-0. Mr. Anderson expected to finish the work early in the week beginning June 23rd. It was decided that the event should be marked by a special service to be held on the Sunday of that week. This was the end of the building and expansion period. The Church had been built, furnished, all the accessories provided, organ in place and the bell tower erected.
We now enter the consolidation, or stagnation period, depending on the will of the Church Officers and church members, and find the position falls somewhere between these two conditions. Vestry meetings are held less frequently and in some years annually, as there is less business to attend to, and are usually devoted to deciding the Vicars stipend, electing officers, and raising sufficient money for the needs of the Church during the coming year.
The finances of the Church were again causing problems, and in Aug. 1891 it was decided to institute the envelope system for a trial period of three months, and to canvas the district to explain the system. Also, in view of the state of the finances it was decided to hold a sale of work and gift auction. The sale of work was held on Dec. 16th. and returned a nett profit of £35, which was considered extremely satisfactory. The envelope system was later dropped through lack of support.
The Womens Suffrage Movement began to have an influence in the Church, and at the Easter Meeting 1892 the following motion was put "That it is advisable that ladies be allowed to vote at Parish meetings." This was carried. Two dissenting votes were recorded. It was also decided that the newly nominated Church Officers be requested to subscribe 5/- each towards the cost of lighting the Church with kerosene lamps. On this decision the Vestry obtained the loan of two lamps from Mr. Lawrey and one from Messrs. Reece & Co. and these were subsequently purchased. These replaced the chandeliers that had been used for lighting the Church previously. Everyone would be pleased with the better light from the kerosene lamps as opposed to the candles of the chandeliers.
In the year 1892-93 the reported average attendances at Sunday services was 42. The number of communicants on the roll was 45. Total communicants for the whole Parochial district was 138. Baptisms 3. Burials 2. It can be seen from the above that even although the numbers attending Church services were down when compared with ten years previously, the Church was still being strongly supported.
The Vestry meeting on June 14th provided one of the human interest items to be found in the minutes. Church key; Mr. Anderson drew attention to the fact that only one key of the Church front doors was in the possession of the Church Officers. Mr. Turner explained that one key had been retained by the previous organist (Miss Roe) - that she had been asked for it, but would not give it up." It was decided that the Church warden procure a new lock and two keys.
Although the Church was only fourteen years old the shingles on the roof had deteriorated to such an extent that repairs were required, In order to make a more permanent solution to the problem sufficient galvanised iron for the roof was purchased from T. H. Reese and Sons, on the understanding that it be paid for within twelve months.
No further items of interest appear in the Minute Book that has formed the base of these writings, and the last meeting recorded was held on June2nd. 1904.
From 1904 until 1934 we can only rely on the minutes of the Courtenay Parochial Board and St. George's cash book. Some items of interest include the following;
On May 10th. 1904 the Board received a resolution from Synod that because of the marked increase in the cost of living no Vicar ought to receive less than £250 per annum. The present stipend was £215. This marked the beginning by Synod to issue guidelines to the Churches, in order to secure a reasonable standard of living for Vicars.
In 1908, 25 years of the Church had been established, and offerings ranged from 3/6 to £1-2-0. The average attendance was 16 and the average offering Sg- pence. The 1909 figures show an increase to 25 attendances and 4£ pence respectively. The share towards the Vicars stipend was £29. Thirteen people made donations to the stipend fund and the offerings amounted to £22-12-7, The debit was £11-11-6.
1918 saw another re-shuffle of the Parochial Districts and Darfield was no longer in Courtenay. The assessments paid by Darfield were refunded.
The Archdeacon pointed out in 1921 that the Vicars stipend amounted to £274 per annum. The diocese desired to get a stipend of £300 a year established as a minimum. Church donations tend to reflect the economic circumstances of the times and the stipend donation figures for 1920 show this.
1920. Stipend. Donations 19 amounting to £38. '1922. Stipend. Donations 18 amounting to £29-10-0.
The share of the stipend in 1920 amounted to £43-15-0 and on the insistance of the diocese was increased to £60 in 1922.
The Vicar read a circular from the standing committee of the diocese at the Annual Board meeting on June 20th. 1922 advocating the use of the motor car for church work in country districts, but stated he could not afford such a luxury. Offertories at the Burnham services amounting to £6 were received. The Archdeacon also asked if the stipend could be raised to the diocesan minimum of £300. This is the first indication that services had been resumed at Burnham, and these continued until 1943 when the districts were again re-organized and Burnham was attached to the Prebbleton Parish. Burnham All Saints Church was opened in 1864, and consecrated on All Saints Day 1865.
At the next Annual Board meeting the new Vicar Rev. Kelham accepted that if the clergyman provide his own car the Board would be agreeable to pay travelling expenses. Thus, Kelham was the first Vicar to own a motor car and use it for Church work, and in 1924 the Board decided to alter the coach house to make it suitable for a garage and provide a motor car packing case to serve as a wood shed. The question of Burnham was discussed and the warden and Vicar asked to register the Church members. The Vicar, the Rev. Kelham again brought the question of travelling expenses which it was resolved should be left to the local vestries and Parish meeting.
Accounts of meetings make interesting reading, marred only by the handwriting, which at times is hardly legible, and the precise construction of the writings is gratifying. It is soon realized that the meetings at both Church and Parish level were chaired by the Vicar who also wrote the minutes. Occasionally a slip did occur and in the Parish minutes of April 20th. 1925 the following paragraph appears; "The proposed laying down of a tennis court in the Vicarage was discussed and dismissed. It was decided to dig a cesspool and place an old tank in it. The question of cutting off the supply from the water race was discussed in view of saving the expenditure of water rate."
In 1926 the Vicarage at Courtenay was wired for electric lights. Ten lights and two heater points were needed and the Power Board required a guarantee of £12 per year. The Vicar also handed in £1 as a voluntary from Burnham and three years later the Vicar undertook to secure £12. The sale of work and produce run by the Parish produced a nett profit of £142-13-0.
In 1935 we resume the records of St. George and at the Vestry meeting on May 10th. "It was decided to write to Mrs. Dent ( the Vicars wife) saying the surplices had been received and thanking her for her generosity." The Rev. Dent had been training three altar boys. One was the lay readers son, the other two were sons of farmers in the district. However the lay reader protested so strongly because the fathers of the two other boys were not regular attenders of the church, that the Vicar had to abandon the idea.
The envelope system was again started in 1936, In the following year the Annual meeting passed the following suggestion to the new vestry which illustrates how unpredictable committees can be, "To erect a marble tablet in the Church on which names of all those who had done so much for the welfare of the Church be engraved." At the next meeting it was agreed a brass tablet in the Church would suffice and to ascertain the cost, and at the following meeting it was decided that a marble tablet was preferable and again find out the cost. There is no further reference to the tablet so the matter was dropped.
St. Matthews Church was rebuilt in 1937 and was declared free of debt the following year. New furnishings had also been bought and paid for.
The Courtenay Parish was again divided in 1943 and the Courtenay and Kirwee Churches attached to Malvern while West Melton, Burnham and the Paparua Gaol work was added to the Prebbleton Parish.
A new altar was installed in the Church in 1959. This was to replace the original which was in a poor state of repair. The Mothers Union had a new banner made which was also installed at the same time. This was the year of the Billy Graham Crusade which was voted a great success, and twelve people from the Kirwee district were committed. The St. George's new Church Fund was opened and £5 deposited to start the account.
At the Annual Meeting in 1972 the gift of a new Lectern Bible was accepted. This was presented by the family of a church member as a memorial. As some of the prayer books in use had been presented by church families it was agreed that they should be returned to the respective families and replaced with the new ones.
In 1982 a successful Bring and Buy was held in December when the Caravan Club was camped in the Kirvee Domain over the week-end, resulting in a profit of $406-40. This proved a welcome addition to church funds.
The last Annual Meeting of the Parishoners of St. George's Anglican Church Kirwee was held on 28th. March 1983, in the A.&P. Hall Kirwee. A rather depressing item appears in the minutes "Vases. Appointment to be made to Mr. Bell to have the vases valued." Although it is not yet recorded in the minutes, two vases were taken from the Church in September 1982, and the valuation was required for insurance purposes. These are believed to be the two brass vases for which a Faculty was granted in 1884'.
The following sub-committee of those present was formed to make arrangements to celebrate the centennial of the building of the Church.
Mrs. T.D. Macartney (convenor), Mr. D. Cattell (secretary), Mrs. B. Vincent, Mr. &. Mrs. J. Brooker, Mr. R. Pearce, Mr. P. Cattell, Mr. H, Williams, Mrs. J. Cridge and the Vicar Rev. H. Paterson.
The following were later elected to the committee; Mr. & Mrs. M. Wilson, Mrs. R. Pearce and Mr.& Mrs. N. Frizzell. So, we pass the 100th year since the building of the Church of St. George's Kirwee, and look on the success and failures of the Church in these years, trusting that our faith and experience will equip us to deal with the problems we will encounter in the future.
VICARS OF ST.GEORGE'S KIRWEE.
1880. H. Collins.
1884. W. Dunkley.
1888. W.T.P. Winter.
1890. G.F. Clinton.
1891;v H* Collins.
1894. H.J. Hawkins.
1899. J.M. Whitehead.
1905. G.W. Russell.
1909. E. Webb.
1914. L. Hard.
1915. P. Revell.
1920. B.G. Fox.
1923. R. Kelham.
1927. G.W. Christian.
1932. H.N. Roberts.
1934. G.W. Dent.
1936. W.H.S. Hine.
1942. F. Govenlock.
1943. J. Evans,
1948. F.C. Johnston.
1951. R.E. Coulthard.
1955. I.D.L. Cooper.
1959. G. Fitzgerald.
1962. K. Schollar.
1965. T.A. Barnes.
1966. H.S. Paterson
R. G. D. TOSSWILL.
1843-1903. Married Antoinette Dupret. One son Robert Dupret 1871-1937. one daughter Marion Antoinette 1875-, Owned farm at Aylesbury. Church warden in years 1881-82-83-84-87. Lay reader, 1885-86-87. Believed to have returned to England with his family about 1889. Dominated the Church and Vestry from the first meeting in 1880 until his resignation in 1887. The most important member during this, the establishment period of the Church. He also gave the land on which the Church stands, but is difficult to trace as he only lived in the district about twelve years.
F. G. STSDMM.
Died 1890. Surveyor to the Gourtenay Road Board 1874-76. Architect Courtenay 1873 and Sheffield 1878 Churches. Treasurer to the Courtenay Church 1873-80 when he resigned. Synodman for the Malvern Parochial District 1880- and appointed Lay Reader for Malvern in 1881. He also acted as treasurer for some time during the 1875-85 period.It is almost certain he acted as architect for the Kirwee Church.
H. C. FRERE.
First mentioned in April 1881 when he accepted nomination as Peoples Warden for the Courtenay Church but withdrew his name a week later with Tosswill, Anderson and Hackett. Appointed Peoples Warden for the Kirwee Church in 1880, and also accepted the position of Treasurer in that year. He held both these positions until his visit to England in 1884. He established the Sunday School and was Lay Reader.
ST. GEORGE'S SUNDAY SCHOOL. KIRWEE.
Mrc H.C. Frere, lay reader of St. George's began holding Sunday School classes in 1881. These were held on an informal base and it was not until May 1883 that the Vestry decided to officially open a Sunday School and hold the lessons in the Kirwee School.
The St. George's Sunday School was opened on June 10th. 1883. Nineteen pupils attended on the opening day. Both morning and afternoon lessons were held and many children attended both classes. Evidently there was a change of teacher in October of that year, and another book must have been used to keep the records of attendances, and it is not until 1888 that records are continued. By the end of this year the roll had increased to thirty five pupils. An attendance of over twenty was usual and on one Sunday thirty four were present. Pupils were divided into four classes and it is noticeable that most children were still attending both lessons.
There is also a break in the records between July 1889 and January 1896 when thirty one pupils were registered and only one lesson was being held. In 1899 the roll had fallen to nineteen pupils and records were again discontinued. In January 1901 records were resumed with eighteen enrolments and concluded in 1902 with a roll of twenty seven. Sunday School was held in the Church for many years and for convenience sake began at 1Oarn so that it would not interfere if a morning service was to be held at 11am. The present Sunday or ^Monday School" is held after the primary school lessons on Monday afternoons, and has a roll of fifteen pupils, so after 100 years lessons are being continued where they officially began, in the Kirwee School.
Vestry meeting 1884; "That the Vestry of St. Georges Church Kirwee, fully recognising the responsibility of its own debts and liabilities does not consent to become responsible in any way whatever for the debt on St. Matthews Parsonage, or for the interest, insurance, permanent investment shares or other debts or liabilities hitherto contracted by the Vestry of St. Matthews Courtenay until a statement of the said debts and liabilities be laid before the next Parish Meeting. Strong words? Three months later a gift of altar linen was made to the Vestry of St. Matthews by the Kirwee Vestry.
The Bishop of Christchurch, Henry John Chitty, consecrated a plot of ground in the northwest corner of the Kirwee Cemetary for the burial of the dead of the Church of England on December 15th 1880.
The first confirmation at St. George's was held on July 27th 1884 when 3 male and 6 female candidates presented themselves for confirmation.
The burial ground on the Church property was consecrated on May 15th. 1883. A private dedication service was held on Trinity Sunday five days later.
The Sunday School held an annual prize giving in December and all the pupils who had attended ten or more lessons during the year received a prize. This resulted in better attendances by reluctant pupils near the end of the year. This was about 1930.
A few years later a prize was given for the best attendance which was being hotly contested by the teachers son and another boy. Sunday School was postponed one Sunday when the teachers son was unwell and the teacher had to stay home to look after him.
Letter from the Bishop dated 1883. " My plan for it will probably be to divide the district and place a clergyman in the back under the hills, from which I am assured of a sufficient stipend-and supply, as I best can the Courtenay and Kirwee division-if I cannot find a fitting clergyman for it by occasional services."
1901. The stipend guarantee was fixed at £30 but the guarantee was not signed.
Remember the lay reader who sang one or two notes ahead of the organist? or did she play one or two notes behind him?
A warden of the Church is uncertain if he has been properly baptised. During the service the Vicar was overcome by a fit of coughing, and the sign of the cross was made by the lay reader.
An Aylesbury bride on the way to the Church was stopped at the Courtenay Read crossing and decided to go back and down to the Highfield Hoad crossing. Of course they were stopped by the train there, so back to the original crossing. The bride finally arrived much to the relief of all present, especially the bridegroom and an organist running out of music.
The organ is now over 100 years old and although a fine instrument, is affected by changes in the weather. A nor-wester causes the air valves to leak and on one occasion during a funeral service the organist had to call on the services of her husband to pump the organ while she played.
Capt. R.G.D. Tosswill lived at "Highfield" on the Highfield Road between Aylesbury and Courtenay, and also owned the block of land on the Courtenay Road from the Church corner to Nilsons Lane.
The esteem in which H.C.Frere was held is shown not only by the gifts received by the Church from his relations, but by the gifts from his friends as shown in the "Terrier" of 1885. These were given to the Church about the time of his return from the visit to England. He does not appear to have returned to the district to live, but did visit on at least one occasion.
The eldest daughter of a well known local couple was being married on an extremely hot day. During the ceremony the Vicar noticed the bride was becoming distressed with the heat and offered his hankerchief. Afterwards he was heard to remark, "I think we should have a fan in the Church, these local weddings are really hot stuff"