Valerie Holland has transcribed sections of the St Mary, Hitchin Parish newsletter (1900-1941) that mention Preston and has very thoughtfully sent them for inclusion on this web site. They are spread over five pages
Of Preston people
Ashton Family.June 1926.Our very great sympathy to Mr. Ashton and his family at this time of sorrow and bereavement. He will know without being told that the Preston Congregation will have been remembering their Organist in these days of tribulation which have come upon him.May 1934.As this goes to print the news has come of the death of Thomas Ashton, for long organist at Preston. For many years he gave faithful service there.Ashwell Family.December 1901.Mr. Ashwell, People’s Warden. We regret to say that we have lost the services of Mr. Ashwell, who has left Preston. He will be missed both at this Church and at the Men’s Class, in both of which he took a keen interest. The good wishes of all go with him and his family.Currell Family.August 1939.(Langley) Another familiar figure has gone from the village in the passing of William John Currell. The sympathy of all who know her goes out to Mrs. Currell in her loss.Deed Family.June 1935.We are very glad to have Miss Deed back again to her school duties after her illness and hope that her change at the sea has improved her health for future work connected with the village and its welfare.November 1942.Miss Deed’s friends in Preston heard with regret of her death on October 9th. Miss Deed was Headmistress of the Village School for 14 years up to her retirement in March 1937. Happily, she was spared any long suffering.She visited the village and had dinner at the School Canteen only a fortnight before her death, she then seemed very well and happy.Dewar Family.June 1943.The Village suffered a great loss by the death of Mrs. Dewar on May 16th. She will be greatly missed, too, by the Preston and Stagenhoe Women’s Institute of which she had been President since it was re-formed in 1939.Gribble Family.April 1920.Mrs. Gribble is having the South Chancel glassed in memory of her son, Captain Julian Gribble, V.C., who died of pneumonia as a Prisoner of War in Germany on November 25, age 21. He was awarded the V.C. for a magnificent act of gallantry in holding on to the last a position which had become entirely isolated. For some time his fate was unknown, and he was thought to have been killed when his gallant Company was at last over-whelmed by the German hordes. But he escaped death then, only to find it later through pneumonia.Hunt Family.May 1902.We ought not to close our Preston news without mentioning the loss we have sustained in the resignation of the Schoolmistress, Miss Hunt. We deeply sympathise with her in the family affliction which has called for her presence in the home and we desire to record in the annals of the Parish our thorough appreciation of her work. She was a Church Schoolmistress of the type we almost fear is dying out, that is to say, she was one of those who took a keen and genial interest in her pupils outside her school. We believe that there is not a parent in the village who did not hold her in deep respect and there are some sick folk who will miss her very much indeed. It was she who kindly looked after the distribution of the Magazines and in any Church work she was a ready and willing co-operator. She has left us with the true sympathy and the best wishes of all who knew her.Priestley Family.July 1941.Sir Joseph Priestly, K.C. The gathering at the funeral service in St. Martin’s Church, Preston, on June 12 testified to the respect in which Sir Joseph Priestley was held. Owing to lack of space it was not possible to accommodate the general public; only intimate friends and the representatives of the county were present. The service itself was simple and dignified, as befitted a man of simple and dignified character. It is not only Preston but all Hertfordshire which mourns his death; and we wish to express our sympathy with Lady Priestley in her loss.Reynolds Family.March 1927.Miss Ethel Reynolds was married to Mr. Ernest Brown on February 19, at Hitchin Parish Church, by the Vicar. We should like to offer our heartiest congratulations to the bride and bridegroom, and wish them every happiness in their married life.July 1944.Thelma Reynolds, of Hill Farm, Langley, who attended Preston School has won a Special Place at Hitchin Girls’ Grammar School.Sanders Family.January 1901.On Saturday, Dec 29, 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.Seebohm Family.October 1913.The hamlet of Preston has been cast into universal mourning by the sudden death of Mrs. Hugh Seebohm. The kindness and most sympathetic of neighbours, always interested in the children of the village, she was actually joining in the school recreations within a day of her call to the higher lifeThe pathos of the simple funeral rites in the small graveyard of St. Martin’s Church with its mingled thoughts of her happy example and of sympathy with the greatly respected husband left with his young children can hardly be described in words.January 1918.A Memorial Tablet has been placed in the Chancel Wall by Mr. H. E. Seebohm, in memory of the lateMrs. H. E. Seebohm, who took such a deep interest in the welfare of the parish, and this Memorial will be dedicated by the Vicar at Evensong on some Sunday near Easter.April 1918.On Monday afternoon, March 25, at 3.30p.m., the Memorial Tablet erected in Preston Church byMr. H. E. Seebohm, to the memory of the late Mrs. H. E. Seebohm, was dedicated by the Vicar at a simple service.Sharp Family.Very much sympathy is felt for Mr. and Mrs. Sharp, of Jack’s Hill, in their sad loss. Sidney Sharp, their son, was killed in action on July 30, at the age of 31. He was a popular young man in Preston, and we shall all feel the loss of such a brave fellow.January 1929.Before I write of anything else this month I must say for my own part how greatly I feel the loss of the two wardens who have died in the past month. Mr. Sharp had been Warden at Preston for many years, and I understand that he was one of the main stays of the Church life there.Smith Family.January 1917.There has passed to rest early Christmas morning, a good and sincere communicant in the person ofMiss Smith, sister of the wife of our Churchwarden. Her life was gentle. Loving and faithful; she loved everything connected with Church-life, and the night before her death was looking forward to her Christmas Communion, but she received a greater blessing in that she passed into Christ’s rest. Hers is an example to follow of piety. The Rev. J. G. Williams kindly assisted in committing her to her last rest. Much sympathy is felt for Mr., Mrs. And Miss Sharp. Miss Smith suffered a long illness very patiently.Swain Family.Another little child, Jane Swain, aged 7 months, has been laid to rest in St. Martin’s Churchyard, after a short and painful illness.Ware Family.April 1901.It is with much regret that we have to record the loss of our chapel-warden, Mr. Ware, who has left Preston for Broadwater. Not only do we lose a valuable and painstaking Church officer but also an important member of the choir. He now dons cassock and surplice and swells the music of Knebworth choir. Our loss is their gain.Wray Family.September 1915.The first Preston lad to die for his country is Ernest Wray, who was killed instantly in action in France on the 24 August. Very sincerest sympathy is felt for Mr and Mrs Wray who are old inhabitants of Preston and who have two other sons serving their King. Charles, the eldest soldier son, is now in England, having suffered terribly from gases, and is still very ill, and Bob, the youngest, who has once been wounded, but now recovered, was with his brother in France serving with him side by side, and was present at Ernest’s funeral on the evening of the 24. The brave lad was only 24 - he died for a good cause. We commend him to safe keeping to a loving father, and pray that his parents may have every comfort in this sad time of trial.
Gifts for Preston Church
April 1901.Our heartiest thanks are due to Mr. and Mrs. Macmillan for the gift of several interesting and instructive books for the library. They will be very much valued and appreciated. The beautiful oaken chair which stands in the chancel of St. Martin’s Church is also their gift. This article was needed to complete the furniture of the Sanctuary and it harmonizes well with the other appointments. Preston will miss Mr. and Mrs. Macmillan very much and they will long be remembered in connection with the place. Especially will their names be associated with the little Church for which they have done so much and in which they have always shown such interest. Quite recently they have given another £100 towards the reduction of the debt. This materially lightens the burden and when Mr. Barrington-White’s kind gift of £50 is added, the day of emancipation seems to be in the near future. Speaking of the Church, we hope to use for the first time, on Easter Day, a beautiful festal frontal, the gift of Mrs. Matthey of Offley Holes. She it was who presented the handsome green and gold cloth which was used at the Consecration of the Church. We feel very grateful to Mrs. Matthey in thus supplying us with what few village Churches possess, i.e. rich and artistic altar cloths. Let us see that these gifts are real aids to our worship of Almighty God concerning which St. Paul has said “let all things be done decently and in order.” September 1901.That the Church of St. Martin is now entirely free from debt is a subject for heartfelt thanksgiving to Almighty God. One of the best ways in which all can show gratitude for this blessing is by a more regular and increased attendance at the services. There are many yet who have hardly entered the Church, and the number of Communicants and regular worshippers is comparatively small. In spite of the Vicar having arranged for an unbroken succession of Morning Service (thereby entailing more work on the Clergy and heavier expenses for the Parish) it must be confessed that there seems very little appreciation of this step. It is to be hoped that the inhabitants of Preston will soon begin to see that the earlier Service is the more important of the two and that, above all, the Celebration of the Blessed Sacrament has the greatest claim on their careful and reverential attendance. A further present to the Church is a pair of handsome silver mounted glass cruets for the wine and water at the Holy Communion. The giver of these very necessary vessels is Miss Clay, late of Hitchin.Among the other needs of the Church are the following:-1. Solid silver Vessels for the Holy Communion.2. A Safe in which to keep the above together, with Registers, &c.3. A Cupboard for the Vestry.4. A Purple Frontal for Lent.5. A Set of Stoles. October 1901.All who are interested in St. Martin’s Church will be glad to hear that one of the needs (the most important) specified in last month’s magazine, has been met. Mr. and Mrs. Cazenove who are well remembered in Preston have kindly promised to provide a silver Communion Service. The parishioners, especially those who are Communicants, feel exceedingly grateful that this real want will be so soon supplied.November 1901.The chief item of Preston news to record in this month’s issue of the Magazine is the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Cazenove’s gift to St. Martin’s Church. It consists of a beautiful silver Communion Services, the chalice of which bears an inscription to the memory of a daughter. The set is made up of five pieces, viz., a handsomely chased and moulded chalice two plain silver patens, and two glass flagons with silver lids and handles. The whole is contained in a neat oak case, in which is inserted a brass plate engraved with the name of the Church.That this most urgent need of the Church has been supplied is a subject for heartfelt thanksgiving to God, and we trust that this feeling of gratitude will show itself in an increased reception of and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. December 1901.Gifts are still needed for the Church and, we are thankful to say they are still coming in. We have toacknowledge a very handsome white Stole, presented by Mr. Pryor, and used for the first time at the Patronal Festival. He is also giving a dark steel-blue antique-velvet Frontal for Advent and Lenten use. Will not someone provide a Stole to harmonize with it and also one to go with the green Altar cloth? We hope shortly to have in the Church a suitable warming apparatus to replace the present inefficient and expensive oil stoves. Mr. Barrington White has kindly made himself largely responsible for the expenses connected with this improvement, but the Preston people are requested to contribute something towards that which so materially tends to their comfort. May 1902.A very beautiful Easter gift was presented to the Church in the shape of a pair of altar vases of unique pattern and designed by Mr. Bodley, the well-known Architect. The giver of this handsome present is Miss Orr of Temple Dinsley. An oak credence table, after the design of Mr. Carter, our own Architect, is in the course of construction; this much-needed piece of furniture is the gift of Mr. Barrington White. Here is also the place to mention the very efficient heating apparatus which makes our Church so warm and comfortable on a cold day. Through the kindness of Mr. Barrington White, this has burdened the Church finances to a very small extent. His kind gift of £20 left a very small sum to be met by the Churchwardens and as there was a very fair balance in the Bank, we are quite free from debt in this respect.July 1902.The new Credence Table (the gift of Mrs. Barrington White) now stands in the Chancel of St. Martin’s Church. It is of massive oak and of excellent workmanship and was made by Mr. Millard of Gaping Lane, Hitchin, to the drawings of Mr. Carter, the Architect of the Church. February 1904.It is with much regret that we learn that Mrs. Matthey is leaving us. She has been a true friend and supporter of the Church at Preston. To no single request for help and sympathy has she ever turned a deaf ear. Living at some distance from the Church, and being frequently from home, she has not been in our midst as she would have liked, but we have always felt her sympathy and interest. From altar frontals down to dusters and tapers she has supplied many of the needs of the Church and many homes in the village have been brightened by her kindly actions. Many good wishes will go with her when she bids us farewell.March 1904.Mrs. Barrington White has very kindly presented the Church with a beautiful fine linen cloth for the credence table, thus supplying a long-felt want. January 1905.I beg to make known to all interested in St. Martin’s Church, Preston, that Mrs. Barrington-White has presented the Church with two beautiful stoles, viz.:- a green one for ordinary days and a purple one for Advent, Lent, &c. All clergy officiating at this Church, and among them myself, will be most grateful for this gift, since it saves not only the carrying of stoles to and from Preston, but also damage to the same by being crushed in a bag in transit. We have also received a promise of a Christmas present for the altar, vis.:-a brass book rest, from R. de V. Pryor, Esq., of “The Laburnams,” Preston. May I therefore, through the medium of the Parish Magazine, express the thanks in anticipation of all concerned? F. Peel Mears. January 1911.Our best thanks are due to Mr. and Mrs. Priestley for a most acceptable gift of hanging and other lamps for the use of the schoolroom and Village Club. They were badly needed and will be most useful. Mrs. Seebohm has kindly given to the Church new blue hangings for the pulpit and reading desk, on which she has worked patterns of vines and grapes. We are now able to avoid having different colours in different parts of the Church. She has also made us some more book markers.Will anyone give us a small oak cupboard, fitted with a wash basin, for the vestry, to take the place of a very poor box which has to do duty now? June 1916.Many thanks to Mr. Spurr for the gift of a St. George’s Flag. December 1916.Lady MacMillan has very kindly handed over to the Vicar of Hitchin and his successors the mallet and silver trowel with which the foundation stone of St. Martin’s, Preston, was laid by her on St. Martin’s Day, November 11th, 1899.April 1920.Mrs. Gribble is having the South Chancel glassed in memory of her son, Captain Julian Gribble, V.C., who died of pneumonia as a Prisoner of War in Germany on November 25th, age 21. He was awarded the V.C. for a magnificent act of gallantry in holding on to the last to a position which had become entirely isolated. For some time his fate was unknown, and he was thought to have been killed when his gallant Company was at last over whelmed by the German Hordes. But he escaped death then, only to find it later through pneumonia.The window, which in colouring will harmonise with the east window, represents St. Julian as a young knight in armour guarding a bridge, which is seen in the background. Behind the bridge is a landscape of distant hills and a stream winding its way along with a white-sailed boat upon it. St. Julian is a Patron Saint of travellers and boatmen. This window will make a beautiful addition to the little Church, and it will be nice to have this delightful gift. Arrangements for a service at which the window will be dedicated will be made as soon as possible after Easter. September 1920.Mr. Cunnington has made us a present of a very large and handsome Bible for the Church. This was used for the first time on Sunday, August 1st. December 1920.We have to thank the Hon. Mrs. D. Vickers and Mr. H. E. Seebohm very much for a gift of new Bibles and Prayer Books for the Day School. March 1921.The Entertainment given by The Grange Concert Party on January 31 made a profit of £2 3s. for Preston Church Funds. We must thank them very much for this welcome assistance. September 1925.We have to thank Mrs. Priestly for kindly giving 20 new Psalters to the Church. The old ones had become quite unusable. January 1927.We have once more to thank Mr. Walter Peters very much for supplying candles for this chandelier in the Church.