A History of Preston

in Hertfordshire

Preston Parish

Notes - Two

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January 1896.

On behalf of the parishioners at Preston, we desire to return our very sincere thanks to Mr. And Mrs. Macmillan, for their kindly interest in every household.  None were forgotten this Christmas, and presents of a very substantial character, were given away on December 23. The Charity Bread (18 loaves) was distributed on Christmas Day.  This Charity was founded by Joseph Kinge, whose will bears the date 14 November 1693; in later years it was added to by others, “for the Poor of Hitchin Parish.”

 

December 1911.

Application  for the Nurse should be made to the secretary.  In case of sudden emergency, when there is not time to obtain leave from the Secretary, the Nurse may be applied to direct, but notice must be given to the Secretary immediately. If the Nurse is required for a confinement case, at least two months’ notice must be given to the Secretary.. The Nurse may receive no gratuity, nor beer, nor spirits. On visiting a house, the Nurse will be expected to make the patient and family as comfortable as possible, doing any light work.

 

Subscriptions are as follows:- Cottagers are 2/6 per annum, to include mother and father and children up to 14 years of age.  Children over 14 years of age, 1/3 per annum, until the age of 21.  Young men and women at home earning wages, over 21 years of age to pay the annual subscription of 2/6.  Farmers not less than 5/- per annum.

 

Non-subscribers can have the attendance of the Nurse for 3d. per visit, but in the case of the Nurse being required for two persons at once the annual subscriber has the first turn. Confinement cases are 2/6d extra to annual subscribers of 2/6. If the Nurse is required to live in the cottage, 2/6d for the first ten days and 1/3d per week afterwards for a month from the day of confinement will be charged.  The Nurse must be withdrawn at the end of the month. Any patient wishing to give a donation to the Nurse must do so through the Secretary. N. Dawson, Hon. Secretary, Temple Dinsley, Preston.

 

January 1911.

We all welcome Nurse Phillips to Preston and trust that she will be happy in her work amongst us. Several cases of illness have quickly shown how useful it is to have a resident Nurse in the village.  The generous terms of securing this help should induce all to become subscribers.

 

January 1914.

By the kindness of Mrs. Fenwick, two teas have been given to villagers during December.  On

Wednesday, December 17, the women who take advantage of the Nursing Fund, both at Preston and Langley, met at the Club, and after a delightful tea enjoyed a pleasant social evening.  Parents had an opportunity of seeing the Country Dances, which the School Mistresses have so carefully taught the children; and also of watching the Boy Scouts go through their drill and exercises in ambulance work. Mr. Tallents called for hearty cheers for Mrs. Fenwick, and then for Mr. and Mrs. Dawson and their helpers who had worked to make everyone happy.

 

February 1914.

Several instances of the valuable work done by the Parish Nurse in Preston and Langley have recently come to our notice; and we take this opportunity of expressing appreciation of the fact.  We are glad to know that so many of our parishioners are subscribers.  It sometimes happens that times of sickness come to those who have not joined, and so have no right to the service of the nurse.  Surely when a very small yearly payment is asked for, it is not too much to hope that everyone should see to it that they become members and can call in the devoted attention of Nurse Phillips in the hour of need.

 

Mrs. Dawson, the Hon. Secretary of the Nursing Association, is at all times anxious to promote its good work, and glad to receive subscriptions for its continuance.

 

January 1916.

The two hamlets of Preston and Langley are very sorry to lose Nurse Phillips, who is leaving the district about the middle of this month.  When the Nurse came, people asked “What is there for her to do?  Now she is going, the question is “What are we going to do without her?”  Nurse Phillips has unfailingly done her best.  She was at the beck and call of all, and night or day she rose to that call.  We wish her every good wish, and long will she remain in our memory.

 

February 1916.

Nurse Phillips has asked us to publish the subjoined letter of thanks:-

“To the Parishioners of Preston and Langley. I take this opportunity of thanking you all for the very handsome gifts given to me, and for the many kindnesses shown to me while I have been here.  I will carry away with me not only your lovely gifts, but also memories of four very happy years.  I hope you will make the path of my successor as smooth as you have made mine.  Wherever my work may take me my thoughts will still go back to the grateful patients and kind friends of Preston and Langley

“Again thanking you all, and wishing you all good-bye. Yours faithfully, E. PHILLIPS.”

 

With regard to the Nurse for Preston and Langley, Mrs. Dawson asks us to announce that an arrangement has been made for the present for Nurse Cummins, who has just taken up her residence at the Kings’ Walden Nurses’ House, to undertake duty also in Preston.  Mrs. Dawson will be pleased to give all particulars and to arrange for Nurse Cummins to attend any cases.  The District Nurse at Codicote will look after Langley for the present.

July 1910.

A Church parade of Scouts in St. Martin’s on the first Sunday after Trinity will, we hope, become an annual fixture. This year not only our own Patrols – “Peewits” and “Otters” – but also Patrols from Whitwell, “Hounds,” “Cobras,” and “Panthers”; from Gosmore, “Cuckoos”; and from St. Ippolyts, “Owls”; paraded to the total number of forty-two and filled the North side of the Church.  The singing of the hymns by the strong-lunged, clear-throated boys was a thing to be remembered and heard again.

 

On 8th June the “Peewits” and “Otters” had the honour of being inspected, with other Scouts of the

neighbourhood by Major General Sir Robert Baden Powell, in the Grounds of Ickleford House.  On Hospital Sunday they joined in the Demonstration and were present in St. Mary’s at the Service at which the Lord Bishop of the Diocese preached.

 

September 1911.

We were glad to welcome some of the St. Andrew’s Scouts to Church when they were camping out at

Poynder’s End.  Congratulations to the Preston Scouts who surrounded their tent whilst they were neither watching nor sleeping.

 

November 1915.

The Scouts have had a pleasant summer session, a camp in a born at King’s Walden, and two or three

Church Parades.  Every lad and boy ought to join and learn while young to be useful to his Country.  Many Scouts in England have proved worthy of their noble founder and Chief Scout, Sir Robert Baden-Powell.  It is hoped that (now the dark nights are coming on) all available lads will join us and learn something useful.

 

January 1925.

We are very sorry indeed to have lost Miss Partington, captain of the 1 Preston Company, out of this District. Although she was only in the Guides for six months or so, Miss Partington did very good work in the time, and gave the 1 Preston Company - whose existence is very largely, if not entirely, due to her energy and enterprise, an extremely good start in life.  We are most grateful to her for all she did, and we wish her good-bye and the best of luck in her next venture in the Guide World wherever it may be.

 

1st. Preston is to be temporarily captained by Miss M. Long who is being very kindly lent to this District for the purpose by the County Commissioner, Mrs. Wolverley Fordham.  It is very kind of Miss Long to undertake this extra work as she already has a Company of her own in Ashwell. QUENEBOROUGH WRIGHT, District Commissioner for the Girl Guides in Hitchin and District.

 

March 1926.

There will be a Church Parade for the 1 Preston Company of Girl Guides with the dedication of their Colours at Evensong (6.30 p.m.) on Sunday, March 7.

 

January 1929.

What a splendid entertainment the Guides and Brownies gave us on December 17 and 18!  Admirable materials served up to us in the most delightful way, with that attention to every detail which makes such a difference to the success of such performances.  Preston fathers and mothers must be very proud of the talent their children show, and very grateful to those who run their troop.

 

The Vicar and Mrs. Routh want to say how very grateful they are to Lady Priestley and Mrs. Dawson for asking them to the Guides’ and Brownies’ Tea Party pm December 19, and so giving them such a splendid opportunity of meeting the children and their mothers.  Both enjoyed every minute of their stay, and only wish they could have remained till the end.

January 1911.

The damage to the Church was found to lie not in the foundations but in the roof, which was causing the walls to be thrust out.  To remedy this, two tie rods have been inserted, which should effectively prevent any further damage.  The cracks have all been filled up, and the outside rough-casting made good.

 

August 1915.

St Martin’s Church is beginning to show signs of falling into a certain amount of disrepair.  Slates have come off the roof, and the water is getting into the walls in many places.  Sir Frederick Macmillan has very kindly send £2 towards the cost of the materials needed for these repairs, and Mrs. Fenwick has made the very kind offer of allowing her men from the Temple Dinsley estate to carry out the work.  We should like to express our grateful thanks for both these kindnesses, and also to Mr. F. Newton who was preparing to take the work in hand, but most kindly waived his claim to the work when Mrs. Fenwick made her kind offer.

 

December 1926.

Three Valor Perfection Oil Stoves are being provided for the Church with the object of keeping us warm this winter.  Our heating apparatus was always rather useless and is now entirely worn out.

 

July 1932.

It was satisfactory to hear at the last Parochial Church Council that the external work at the Church is on the way to being satisfactorily completed.  Under Mr. S. B. Russell’s oversight Mr. Currell has laid new drain pipes to carry away the storm water, and laid ballast and gravel all around the Church.  When Mr. Fidler has fixed the  new troughing and stackpipes, as he has been commissioned to do, we shall have removed the cause of the  damp that has for so long been spoiling the walls, and shall be able to feel that another considerable step has been taken in the restoration and improvement of our Church.

 

July 1934.

At Preston doors are being made to put up in place of the curtains that now cover the entrance from the porch to the Church.  Mrs. Hooper has kindly made this possible by a generous gift from the money gathered by her entertainments in the winter.

February 1904.

After holding office for some years Mrs. Thrussell has resigned the caretakership of St. Martin’s Church.  The position will soon be vacant and the Churchwardens will be glad to entrust it to some regular church attendant.  It is not in any sense a menial post; on the contrary, it is an honour and a privilege.  Those who feel the beauty and truth of the 84 Psalm will not need to be told this.  To be “a doorkeeper in the house of my God” is to be an honoured officer of God and the Church.  The Church Fabric is the property of the people, and therefore there should be a general readiness on their part to see that it is properly cared for, and it should never be a mere matter of pounds, shillings and pence. In some parishes the entire cleaning of the church

is voluntarily undertaken by the parishioners.  It is good to hear of such parishes and may Preston soon be added to their number.

 

Since writing the above, the Churchwardens have appointed Mrs. B. Peters to the post of St. Martin’s, Preston.

August 1901.

On Monday, July 22 the choir of St. Martin’s had a day outing at Yarmouth.  The weather was all that could be desired and everything went off very well.  A comfortable saloon carriage, together with refreshments, made the long journey seem quite short, in fact many felt that it was by no means the least enjoyable part of the day’s pleasure.

 

Arriving at Yarmouth a rendezvous was appointed and all were at liberty to follow their own inclinations.  The children were soon happy on the sands, with spades and pails, while the elders went off, some for a trip to Lowestoft, others to see the old Church and all the varied sights of Yarmouth.

 

At 4.30 all met for a very substantial tea in one of the handsome cool rooms of the Aquarium.  After tea, there were two or three hours to spare before starting for home, and so, after arranging time for assembling, all went their ways to enjoy themselves afresh.  Trips on the Backwater, purchasing of souvenirs, collecting seaweed, &c., soon passed away the time, and at 8.15 the start was made for home.

 

The G.N.E.R. was very kind and came along at a good pace, making very few stoppages; consequently Hitchin was reached a little earlier than was generally expected.  However, 1a.m. was quite late enough to start a drive to Preston, in fact the conveyances had not arrived at that hour owing to some misunderstanding as to the return of the train; but at last all got home safely home after a most successful and enjoyable day.

 

July 1925.

A start has been made in running the Choir and has so far met with a most energetic response.

 

March 1930.

We have received the estimate for the repair of the Organ.  It is more than we expected - £37 10s. 0d. - but Messrs. Walker say that all the items in their specification are really necessary to “make a job of things,” and we have decided to put the work in hand as soon as possible.

 

September 1930.

At last I have the pleasure of announcing that our organ is in action again.  One can hardly realise that it is the same instrument, the builders have made such a thorough job of it.  I feel sure everyone will be thankful and enjoy the services much better.  Good music makes such a difference, and I hope all our parishioners will support us with their presence and so make the services brighter with more singing.

 

October 1930.

All who have been connected with the Church at Preston will wish to express their appreciation of the work done by Mr. Ashton for so many years.  For some time Mr. Ashton has expressed his intention of resigning his work as organist and his final decision was therefore not a great surprise.   It is difficult to realise what such a long term of regular service means and to thank him sufficiently for it, but we do our best in the hope that he will understand what we cannot adequately express.

 

Mr. A. J. Lane has kindly undertaken to play the organ and it is hoped that all will give him support and encouragement in his work.

January 1901.

On Saturday, Dec 29th, the first burial took place in St. Martin’s Churchyard.  It has fallen to the lot of a little innocent child to emphasize the sacredness of God’s acre in our midst.  Charles Robert Sanders, age 11 months, who died after a short painful illness was laid to rest on this bright sunny afternoon.  His little lonely grave should speak to us all of peace, innocence and rest in God.  It should also bring home to us the sacredness of the spot where rest the holy dead.

 

June 1902.

All who take pride in the little Churchyard will appreciate the useful work done under the direction and at the expense of Mrs. Matthey, the new Chapelwarden at St. Martins.  The untidy plot round the Church has been put in thorough order and fresh grass sown, while the many ragged spots in other places have been dealt with and made neat and tidy.  The Churchyard bids fair to be a very pretty little place.

 

January 1903.

All will be glad to hear that the entrance to St. Martin’s Churchyard has been very much beautified by the erection of a Lych-gate.  It is of simple design and in complete accordance with the harmonious style of the Church.  The material is stout British oak and the work was executed by Mr. Day of Ickleford.  It is good to see it standing in its place and to know that its erection is a willing and unsolicited act of devotion on the part of the worshippers in the Church.  The people’s warden led the way and the people followed.  It may be interesting to some to know that the word Lych comes from the Anglo-Saxon Lic. ‘a body,’ ‘corpse’.  The bodies of persons brought for burial are set down under the shelter of the Lych-gate while the opening words of the service are read.

 

October 1916.

A new plan has just been made of Preston’s Church-yard, and it is a regrettable thing that many graves cannot be identified, especially the children’s graves.  If anyone can help us to complete the list of names of all those who sleep in God’s Acre, we shall be glad of that help.

 

June 1920.

The hedges round the Churchyard have been cut and trimmed and the improvement effected is very great. The little Churchyard has been looking particularly beautiful just lately with the red may and wild cherry in full bloom.  It is a sweet spot which we are very fortunate to possess.

 

July 1932.

A complete new drainage system has been installed, under the guidance of M. S. B. Russell, which will remedy the cause of damp inside the building. It will take some time to dry out so we must still put up with the ugly discoloration for the present.

 

An effort is also being made to keep the Churchyard tidy. Will those who have friends there kindly assist us as much as possible by taking the dead flowers to the North-East corner for burning.  A wonderful collection of wreath wires and broken jars was unearthed in the ditch.

July 1902.

On Monday, June 30, the children had their Coronation Tea.  This was provided for them at the expense of Mrs. White.  They met in the Temple Meadow at 3 o’clock for games, and at 4.45 marched down to the Schools to do justice to the ample spread awaiting them.  Mrs. Matthey had very kindly and thoughtfully sent a present of a handsome Coronation Mug for each child; they were by no means small yet it was wonderful how frequently they came back to be replenished.  After tea, the happy party adjourned to the field to find a table groaning under the weight of numerous prizes to be given to the winners of the various races.  These were superintended and organised by Mr. Pryor with his usual zeal and vivacity and every child succeeded in winning one of Mrs. White’s kind gifts.  Then when all was over, after three hearty cheers for Mrs. White and her friends, and the singing of the National Anthem, came a liberal distribution of sweets (including tempting little  packets given by Mr. Pryor) and the gift to each boy and girl of a very pretty coronation badge provided by Miss Orr who was unfortunately unable to be present.

 

Thus was spent one of the happiest days that the children of Preston have experienced for some time.  Their happiness was so complete and exuberant, that although their elders could not but feel the one thing lacking (i.e. the Coronation itself) yet being cheered by the good news of the King’s progress they were all agreed that it would have been a pity to have disappointed the little ones of their treat.

 

July 1911.

The Coronation has naturally occupied our thoughts lately.  We were rather disappointed not to have our own rejoicings in the village, but we were so well entertained in Hitchin that all regret has passed away.  It was a long day for the children to come down in the morning to see the big procession and then to take part in the children’s programme, but all seemed to enjoy themselves and to be quite content.  Certainly the children were well represented in the afternoon as over 60 were present at tea.  The Coronation mugs will be distributed in due time.

PRESTON AND LANGLEY CHARITY

PRESTON AND LANGLEY NURSE

PRESTON BOY SCOUTS AND GIRL GUIDES

ST MARTIN’S BUILDING REPAIRS

PRESTON CARETAKERS

PRESTON CHOIR

ST MARTIN’S CHURCHYARD

PRESTON CORONATION TEA (1902)