Topic: St George's Church, Kirwee

Topic type:

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