REGISTERING THE PAST
A leisurely look at the first service register of St Faith's Church, Great Crosby
A sequence of articles published in our church magazine Newslink from June 2012 onwards. It will be added to in future months.
Back in 1975, I published a history of our church, with extensive use of the entries in our service registers since Douglas Horsfall’s foundation of St Faith’s in 1900. The book is out of print now, but the full text may be accessed elsewhere in this website.
With the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic drawing near, interest in those distant years has been revived, and Maureen Madden unearthed three references to the sinking of that great ship and the tragic but heroic death of Joseph Bell, its Chief Engineer and, of course, a member of St Faith’s, remembered in the memorial tablet in the south aisle. These I added to the website pages already existing, featuring marine engineer Denis Griffiths’s piece about Mr Bell, and other assorted material and links. If you haven’t seen this, it’s at http://www.stfaithsgreatcrosby.org.uk/furnishtitanic.html
Needless to say, as the pages of that first volume turned, I was intrigued by a whole assortment of snippets of church and national history recorded in its pages: some I had used in the 1975 history, others I had not – and I felt a magazine article coming on! Now read on...
St Faith’s was consecrated by The Archbishop of York, Dr William Maclagan, on April 21st, 1900: 112 years to the day from my writing these lines. He did so despite a petition asking him not to consecrate ‘this Mass house’ – the first of many objections to what would today seem the very mild churchmanship about to be practised within our walls. The register, of course, reflects nothing of this, merely recording on May 14th, 1900 ‘Daily Matins and Evensong commenced’ There was in those early times an early Holy Communion, and at 11.00 am Matins and Litany (or occasionally Matins and Holy Communion. On May 20th at 11.00 am two verses of the National anthem were sung before the service and after evensong the Te Deum: both to mark the Relief of Mafeking.
There seem to have been only occasional services outside Sunday, and these poorly attended at times (‘S. Barnabas. H.C. 8.30 no communicants’ for example). The first vicar, the Revd Thomas Howe Baxter., read himself in (an official rite of passage), declaiming his at least nominal acceptance of the 39 Articles in two sessions on a Sunday in August; the week after ‘Part of Organ used for first time’ – and Rev C.C. Elcum preached at the ‘Opening of Organ’ service soon after.
Matins remained the chief Sunday morning service at this time, even on the first Christmas Day, although it was sandwiched between three Holy Communions, with 107 communicants in all. At Evensong on that Christmas Day there was ‘no sermon, - and no recorded collection.
There was Watch Night Service at 11.15 (presumably p.m.) on New Year’s Eve, and the new year saw the regular appearance of a Children’s Service at 3.00 pm on Sundays. Sexagesima Sunday 1901 saw writ large across the page ‘Notice appeared in the “London Gazette” that an order had been signed by the King in Council assigning a consolidated chapelry to the consecrated Church of St Faith’ Soon after, Ash Wednesday featured a Commination Service (you don’t see many of them these days!)
There were midweek Lent Services in the build-up to the first Easter. On Good Friday there was the traditional Three Hours from 12 – 3, following which we read: 8.0 ‘The Crucifixion’ – Church well filled. It was still Matins at 11.00 am on Easter Day, and 150 communicants between the three eucharists. In all there were 18 services between Palm Sunday and Easter Monday: in 2012 there were no fewer than 33 between our two churches.
The church’s first year ended with ‘Anniversary of Consecration of Church’ recorded on April 21st. The preacher at Martins was once again ‘C.C.Elcum, S Agnes, Sefton Park’ We know it as S. Agnes, Ullet Road, and it was Fr Elcum after whom our founder, Douglas Horsfall’s young son was named, and who laid the foundation stone still to be seen outside the church’s north doors. St Agnes was of course, a Horsfall foundation also, and its patron saint is one of the four whose carved figures adorn our chancel screen.
I had only meant to dip in and out of the register, but archives are absorbing stuff, and there is another century and more to go. Watch this space....
A few months ago I delved into the first service register of St Faith’s in search of references to the ‘Titanic’ anniversary, and found myself absorbed in the book as an archive and a social record. I decided to amplify the relatively brief extracts from our service books that were published in my 1975 church history (out of print but online via the church website) and dig further for buried historical treasure. The story thus continues from spring 1901, after the first anniversary of the church’s consecration.
June 2nd saw the first confirmation at our church, with 44 candidates from us and St Luke’s confirmed by the Bishop of Liverpool. On August 4th, the preacher at Evensong was, intriguingly, the chaplain of the prison at Castletown in the Isle of Man. On September 15th it is recorded that at morning and evening services a ‘Dead March’ was played to mark the assassination of President McKinley. More cheerfully, a few days later we read ‘Illuminated address presented to the Founder in Waterloo Town Hall by Canon Armour (Headmaster of Merchant Taylors’) from parish and congregation of S.Faith.’
October 4th saw the first funeral at St Faith’s (‘S.H.Lewis: full choir’) and on October 6th St Faith’s Day, falling on a Sunday is celebrated for the first time (‘Very stormy and wet’!) Then at what was obviously a special Evensong on Tuesday, October 15th it was a case of ‘Whole Nave filled’, the Te Deum sung, the Bishop of Liverpool in the pulpit and ‘The Founder of the Church was present.’ The collection that day came to £20.1.5, and on Christmas Day of the same year the total was £4.16.3 – for the ‘Food and Betterment’ Association, reported as ‘supplying halfpenny dinners to poor children.’ What would these sums be worth in 2012, one wonders.
There was a Watch Night Service at 11.15 pm on New Year’s Eve, and a sombre start to 1902, with the death on January 27th of the Rural Dean, Rev. C. De B. Winslow. His successor, Rev S.F.G.Smithwick, vicar of Seaforth, was soon appointed. Then on Monday February 24th we hear ‘Gas left on in church – church full if it Monday 8 am.’ This may refer to the gaslight chandeliers, evidence of which can still be seen in the chancel today, and which some hapless churchwarden or sidesman had perhaps extinguished but failed to turn off properly at Evensong the previous day...
On Good Friday the Three Hours Service was led by C.C.Elcum, no longer identified but obviously the priest who featured in the 1900 consecration and after whom Douglas Horsfall’s son was named. Easter Day saw 197 communicants between the 7.30 am, 8.30 am and 11.45 am communions – and the day also featured Mattins, a Children’s Service and Evensong. Then , in close juxtaposition in Mr Baxter’s neat, tiny writing, we read ‘Anthem ‘& Behold there was a gt. Earthquake’, followed by ‘Vestry Meeting. Wardens Appointed’ (!) Having come through these critical times, Mr Baxter records April 20th as being ‘Kept as 2nd Anniversary of Consecration.’
June 2th has, in larger letters than any feast day is recorded, ‘Coronation of King Edward VII. 9.0 am Litany and Holy Communion: Service of Holy Communion with special intercessions for the King.’ Nothing much happened then until Sunday, November 2nd, when the subject of the sermon at Mattins, recorded in minuscule lettering, was ‘The State of the Blessed dead.’ This innocent-sounding topic may hide something of the controversy between ‘high’ and ‘low’ wings of the C.of E. concerning prayers for the departed – one of the causes of real conflict in the early years of the Oxford Movement Catholic revival.
Tucked away in the pages of the old register is a printed letter from the vicar, which begins ‘There are many who attend St Faith’s Church who are not known to me personally, and I am most anxious to make their acquaintance.’ He goes on to ‘earnestly invite’ all such to a ‘SOCIAL GATHERING to be held in the Waterloo Town Hall’ on Wednesday, December 3rd.’ He is at pains to stress that in this venture he has ‘the hearty co-operation of the Church Council.’ Sadly, history does not record the success or otherwise of this grand gesture.
Interestingly, Ash Wednesday of 1902 featured, at 8.30 (presumably a.m.) a Commination Service. I must look that word up. The following Easter Day the total of communicants had risen to 203, and the Easter Offering, traditionally in those days given to the incumbent, came to £17.9.0. Holy Week and Easter were clearly celebrated in grand style in those early years, yet Maundy Thursday was marked by
just one morning communion service, with just 10 communicants.
On June 24th there is a lot squeezed into the margins of the book. ‘The Rural Dean – Rev. R.J.G.Smithwick, visited St Faith’s Church & recommended (1) that a table of marriage Fees be fixed in the Vestry (2) that an Inventory of the goods and furniture of the Church be made, signed by the Vicar and Wardens and placed in the Church Safe. (3) That a statement as to the position and number of Free Seats be put in the church.’ Three days later, a ‘Memorial Window dedicated at Morning Prayer – special prayers being sanctioned by the Bishop - in memory of Ferdinand Anderton Latham’.
Lest we should think that the current wet summer was a modern phenomenon, on three separate occasions of August, 1902, Mr Baxter was moved to provide meteorological annotations to the services: ‘Very Wet’ ... ‘Stormy’ ... ‘Very Wet.’ One line below the last of these gloomy records we read ‘Rev W.A. Reeves’ last Sunday at St Faith’s’. He was doubtless seeking drier climes.
More to follow, should you have read this far.
A senior moment during the compilation of last month’s titbits from the first service book meant that several of the final events recounted were attributed to 1902, whereas they actually took place in 1903. It is hoped that any future researcher will realise that it was not ‘very wet’ for Rev. W.A. Reeves’ last Sunday as curate of St Faith’s in 1902 (although it may have been) but that the heavens actually opened on August30th, 1903. Now read on...
The autumn of 1903 saw ‘F.J.Liverpool’ (the Bishop thereof) preaching at a September Sunday evensong, and attracting a bumper collection of £10.1.9. In October, St Faith does not get a mention in her day (6th) but the vicar of St Catherine’s, Liverpool came and preached. Was this the church in Abercromby Square, now no longer there, another foundation of our patron Douglas Horsfall and whose saint, complete with wheel, graces our chancel screen? He was followed into the pulpit a week later by the Archdeacon of Chester.
On October 25th, an annotation by Mr Baxter records ‘several pews were not collected from by mistake.’ Later on his sermon theme at an evensong service is ‘Prayer for the Departed’. November 23rd was ‘Showery and cold’ and those present will have rejoiced that St Faith’s was ‘heated with gas, new boiler being put in’. Preachers in the closing weeks of the year included the Vice-Principal of St Michael’s College, Aberdare, Glamorgan’ and the beguilingly-named J. Coke Norris.’ There were 140 Christmas Day communicants over three eucharists: there were also matins and evensong services on the day but as yet no Christmas Eve midnight celebration..
On January 3rd, 1904, Mr H.B.Wyatt gave ‘a Bible or Prayer Book to 39 children who had repeated 1Cor xiii’. Those were the days... Mr Baxter continues to record interesting events in nearby churches: January 24th was not merely ‘very cold and raw’ but was also ‘St Luke’s, Crosby, 50th Anniversary.’ Quinquagesima Sunday (14th February) has the marginal note ‘Wedding 7.45 am’ (!) and ‘The Bishop and Archdeacon Madden at St John’s.’ The preacher at our evensong that day was one S.J.Sykes – probably the long-serving vicar of St Mary’s, Waterloo.
Sunday early morning communicants in these months remained at anything from 7 to 30, apart of course from the seasonal boosts and great festivals. From the beginning, the regular and unvarying 8.30 am celebration had been augmented by a later celebration, following the equally unvarying 11.00 am Matins. This eucharist is variously recorded as taking place at 11.45 am, 12 noon or 12.15 pm: it is often bracketed with matins in the book, and may have followed it without a break. These services took place every two or three weeks, with no discernible pattern as to their occurrence, and attracted between 12 and 30 extra communicants. It was however, to be many years before the main Sunday service became a Sung Eucharist and matins dropped out. The equally unvarying service of evensong was always at 6.30 pm. Attendance figures are not recorded, but using collections as a guide (these being faithfully recorded for all services) evensong was significantly the best-attended act of worship, with matins not far behind; the sacramental services, although faithfully attended, were less profitable! Quite a contrast with the 21st century, at St Faith’s, with matins and evensong read for a handful of the faithful, and mostly mid-week at that.
Back in the summer of 1904, we see a rare weekday evensong on Friday 1st July, at the equally unusual hour of 8 pm; this was ‘taken by the choir of St Nicholas, Southport’ and raised the goodly sum of £5.17.5 for the Choir Fund. It’s not easy to find out how much that would be in today’s money, but more than one conversion website suggest a figure of £500. Can anyone update or correct this seemingly vast sum?
W.A.Reeves, who had left St Faith’s on that very wet Sunday in 1902, returned to preach at evensong on July 3rd. For three weeks that August J. H. Powell, took all the services, presumably during Mr Baxter’s absence. He followed the vicar’s example on August 4th, recording that it was ‘Very wet early, fine later’. St Faith’s day 1904 went unrecorded, save for the marginal note ‘Church Congress in Liverpool’. Soon after, the Chaplain to the Bishop of Lahore came to preach, while on October 17th A.E.Andrew, ‘a seatholder in St Faith’s from the first’ was laid to rest, and the following day Luke Bramwelll, ‘a regular attendant’ was buried, both at Anfield (the crematorium not the football field). To round off October, we hear of ‘new incandescent mantles’.
Clergy from The Training College Warrington’, Blundellsands and Knotty Ash variously preached in the final weeks of 1904; the year closed without the hitherto customary Watch Night Service.
In the early weeks of 1905 it is re3corded that a sermon was preached on ‘The Welsh Revival’, and that the weather successively featured ‘very severe hailstorm’, ‘stormy: showers’ and ‘very heavy rain’ – and at Septuagesima, ‘Plates used for the collection for the 1st time’. A Bible Class on Maundy Thursday attracted 22 people. More portentously, on March 19th, Charles Yeld of Grassendale preached, and tiny writing in the margin records ‘’The Rev. C. Yeld’s last sermon – he had a paralytic stroke on the Wednesday following and died soon after Easter.’
At a ‘Lent service’ on the following Wednesday, the text is recorded as ‘H.C. Names of Mass and Eucharist’, but it was to be many years before the former term was used in St Faith’s service books. Easter communicants held steady at 196 over the three celebrations at 7.30, 8.30 and 11.45. On Whitsunday ‘Litany to the Holy Spirit used after Evensong in accordance with request of Archbishop of Canterbury’. Thereafter, part from regular and usually gloomy meteorological reports, the next item to catch this writer’s eye was the replacement of ‘T.H.B’ by Thomas Robinson, M.A., who took t he services for a month from late July and whose spiky writing is incomprehensible.
With Mr Baxter back at the helm, the rest of the summer was plain sailing, with the interesting addition of a midweek Harvest Festival service 8.00 pm on Friday 22nd September. ‘John Wakeford’ preached, and the congregation parted with £4.7.10 on the plate. St Faith’s day passed unmentioned, but October 22ns was marked as ‘Nelson Centenary’ and the sermon intriguingly entitled ‘Thoughts – Discipline of Nelson’. And for the past few weeks and the next few months, numbers are recorded alongside the celebrant’s initials: they seem to be the hymns sung at each service, but with no record of the hymnbook used – possibly the English Hymnal?
Guy Fawkes Day 1905 was a Sunday, and we were visited by Arthur French (S.P.G) preaching on ‘Missions to Indian Teaching’. On December 7th, five St Faith’s adults were confirmed at Liverpool Cathedral. A Lantern Service was held on December 7th - a weekday – by ‘special permission of the Bishop’, but it only raised 9s 8d in the collection. There were 183 communicants on Christmas Day, but ‘no-one present’ for the planned service on St John the Evangelist’s day, two days later. New Year’s Eve was a Sunday, with the usual services taken this year by J.Coke Norris. There were only 8 communicants at the 8.30 service – one of the lowest recorded since the church opened in 1900, and again there was no Watch Night Service to see the old year out.
Next time, if you’re still with us, the weather worsens in January 1906...
‘Frost and east wind’ saw out 1905: ‘wet and stormy’ saw in 1906, and it was still ‘stormy and cold all day’ by Septuagesima. Names that will ring a bell with some, perhaps, were D.G Fee Smith and R.J Herring, who preached variously in the early weeks of the year. Mr Baxter’s preoccupation with the weather reached gloomy climax in mid-February: it was ‘wet’, ‘very wet’, ‘stormy and wet – very bad night’, very wet’ and ‘wet’ between 8th and 15th. Worship conti8nued, nevertheless, with a Three Hours Service conducted by R.G.Williams of Minsterley, Salop, recorded on Good Friday. Easter Day communions were down to 204. Nothing much else seems to have happened, if you don’t count ‘Imprecatory Psalms’ as a sermon theme on Easter 4, until the weather seems to have picked up in June (‘Slight shower’ on Trinity 3). The collection at Evensong on July 15th (£3.12.2) is earmarked fpr ‘Sunday School Treat’.
The vicar took a long break starting on August 5th, and J.W.Tyrer officiated all services. Mr Baxter was back on September 2nd to take the reins and note ‘great heat’. September 23rd has a crowded tiny annotation, reading ‘Ordination at Ch.Ch, Harvest F. At S. Luke’s, S. Nicholas and Sephton (the old spelling for Sefton). Box for Parish Room 9/8.’ This latter, less than 50p today, wouldn’t have gone far towards the plans for the parish hall.
Matins remained the central Sunday service, with Litany appended to it on October 14th. The next event of note, sandwiched between ‘wet’ and ‘very bad night, hail & rain’ was the opening, on Monday October 22nd at 8 pm, of the new Parish Hall. The Rural Dean, Revd C. Elcum (presumably he of the consecration ceremonies – had he moved into the Deanery, or was it larger then?) did the honours.
Sunday afternoon Children’s Ser4vices continued every three or four weeks, and on November 25th si recorded against one such service: ‘£5.8.8 collected by the children for the Children’s Porch in Liverpool Cathedral’. Christmas communicants showed an increase from the previous years, but just after we read ‘Dec. 26 &27 no one present for H.C. Snow.’
Apart from the ubiquitous weather (Hard frost...snow... fog... rough... wet) little is recorded in the first weeks of 1907 until a Wednesday afternoon is shown as ‘short service for members of the Sewing Meeting – every Weds. In Lent.’ St Mary’s features in March, as a confirmation is recorded there. After the Good Friday Three Hours is logged, there are 241 Easter Day communicants, although Holy Saturday is still not observed. On Easter 4 there is a Service for Men at 3.15 pm. Numbers are not recorded, but £2.9.2 was collected for the \British and\Foreign Bible Society. On May 31sy the margin records ‘Private Celebration’ but nothing more. Thomas Robinson, M.A. relives the vicar during August 1907 for the usual month’s break.
St Faith’s Day, October 6th, fell on a Sunday, and our patron is properly recorded as Virgin and Martyr, although the sermon at Evensong focussed instead on ‘The Diocletian Presentation’ (!). James Coles of Madagascar took Sunday School and preached at Evensong on October 13th, and five days later we read ‘Lantern Lecture by Rev J. Coles for \S.P.G. 16/-‘ A week later ‘Mr W.E.Taylor buried at Crosby. He was the 1st People’s Warden of St Faith’s.’ There was a Bazaar, presumably for our church, in ‘Blundellsands Assembly \Rooms on October 31st, Nov 1 & 2’. Then only brief weather reports adorn the ‘Remarks’ column of the register until on December 21st we read ‘Ordination in Cathedral. Rev P. Youlden Johnson ordained Deacon – to the Curacy of St Faith’s.’ He signed in and preached the next day at Evensong. The Watch Night Service at 11.15pm on New Year’s Eve ushered in the year of 1908.
January saw te Sunday School Prize Giving and the presence of our choir at St Luke’s for the funeral of (I think it says) ‘Mr Roger, Blundellsands Hotel’. Earlier, and oddly, Mr Baxter had celebrated Epiphany, on Monday, January 5th, with just five attending. D.G. Fee Smith is now recorded as coming from ‘St Paul’s, Liverpool’ – doubtless one of the many city churches which have since fallen by the wayside. A Bible Class for Young Women started on March 8th, while on 31st, at a confirmation at Christ Church, there were a healthy 25 candidates from St Faith’s. Fr Herring is now recorded as being from St John the Baptist, Toxteth and, thanks to Mr Baxter’s tireless recording of events in surrounding churches, we learn that ‘St Mary’s Church closed for 3 weeks from Mar 29th’.
A Fr Richardson from St Luke’s, Southport, dropped in to take the Three Hours on Good Friday. Whether his church’s churchmanship; was as extreme as is the case today is uncertain, but St Faith’s was yet to wear vestments and use incense, so he may have had to compromise. Easter Day saw 264 communicants. Soon after, Rev S.J. Sykes (St Mary’s, Waterloo) and our old friend Rev Charles Elcum (From Horsfall’s fiou8ndatioin of St Agnes, Liverpool) came to celebrate the Dedication Festival on April 24th. on the Tuesday and Thursday of Whitsunday week there was ‘no H.C. Vicar ill’; sooj afterwards the hefty sum of £29.12.0 is recorded as having been sent ‘as Thankoffering to the Pan Anglican Congress’.
A revealing marginal entry for 8th July reads: ‘Funeral at Smithdown Rd Cemetery, L’pool. Mrs W.E.Taylor’s old servant R Beezley’. She was the widow of the first warden of St Faith’s. On July 19th the Matins preacher was Fred. F. Grensted – a priest who taught at Merchant Taylors’ School – the first of several subsequent appearances. Thereafter there was little of note – not even weather – until an entry writ large across the book on Tuesday, October 20th, which reads ‘The Lord Bishop of Liverpool visited the Parish to inspect the Church and Parish Hall, & stated that there was nothing in the ornaments of the Church to which any objection could be made.’ This triumphant declaration was signed by Thomas Howe Baxter, Vicar and Chas. W.Huson and William Gay, Churchwardens (this latter, as Dr Gay, has a memorial plaque in St Faith’s in the south aisle.) The need for a visit, and for the statement, is evidence that beneath the calm surface of the register’s weekly entries objections from Protestant extremists were continuing; George Houldin’s 1950 history – text online in the church website – records the visit and its context. Mr Baxter addressed the congregation on the subject the nest Sunday evening after Evensong. Thereafter the weeks seem to have passed without incident. There was a ‘Guild Service’ (unspecified) on November 29th, 206 Christmas Day communicants – and £1.5.3. collected at the watchnight service which ended 1908.
We take up this unending narrative on January 8th, 1909. There was a funeral at 10.30 am (a Mrs Allerton of Norma Rd), but more interestingly, it was preceded at 8 am by ‘H.C for mourners’ – clearly the practice of Requiems at funerals had not yet been started; equally clearly this was a devoted band of mourners. There soon follows the obligatory ‘heavy rain’ , a prize giving at the Sunday 3.15 pm Children ‘s Service, a ‘Guild Service’ after Evensong on another Sunday, and a sequence of ‘Private Celebrations’ in February. R.F.Herring signs in regularly during Lent 1906, as does P.Y.L – P. Youlden Johnson. There are several extra Children’s Services on weekdays in the run-up to Easter.
There were sparsely-attended daily Eucharists in Holy Week, but seemingly ’70 to 90’ present for a service labelled ‘Preparation for H.C.’ on the Wednesday. ‘F.J.Liverpool’ presided at a Good Friday 8.00pm evensong – no numbers recorded, but a bumper collection of £3.18.4. And Easter Day saw 137 at the 7.30am celebration, 104 at the 8.30, and 75 at the 11.45. However, there was’ no one present’ to greet T.H.B at 7.00 am on May 27th.
Things went on quietly for some time after this, apart from a tiny poignant marginal note on Friday 16th July: Funeral at Knotty Ash of Vasco Herbert Lazzolo, aged 22 months. Deaths pile up in succeeding months: 16th August sees ‘death of Mr.Hogg. Buried at Sefton by the Rector’, and a few days later: ‘Death of Mr Millar-Hughes, suddenly at New Orleans, USA.’ Little interrupts the even tenor of the weeks then until October. Saint Faith doesn’t get a look in on 6th, but the Children’s Service on the 10th is taken by J.A.Sharrock of Madras, and a Lantern Lecture (remember those, anyone?) on 14th is given by Rev E.W.RBeale of Calgary and Saskatchewan.
November 1st (All Saints’ Day) saw ‘8.30 Meeting to start Branch of Church of England Men’s Society’. Later that month, on 23rd, is re3corded ‘Presentation to Rev. P. Youlden Johnson in the Parish Hall on his leaving the Curacy of St Faith’s for St Pater’s, Birmingham’.
Shortly before Christmas, there are ‘4 from St Faith’s’ at ‘Adult Confirmation at the Cathedral’ – and, unusually, on Christmas Eve a ‘Private H.C. at the Vicarage’. There were no fewer than five services the following day
In early 1910 ‘D.G.Fee Smith’ signs in more regularly, as from time to time does W.Wentworth Scott of St Thomas, Seaforth. The Met. Reports continue with equal regularity – usually ‘wet’ but occasionally ‘heavy snowstorm’.
Moving swiftly on, we gather that ‘This Lent a course of Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer was preached on Wednesdays at 8 pm.’ How many heard them is not registered. The Bishop of Liverpool conducted a Confirmation here on March 10th, but the collection only seems to have amounted to 13s.2d. The vicar of Seaforth took the Good Friday Three Hours Service. On Easter Thursday a ‘Musical Service’ is squeezed into the register, bringing in a handsome £10.16.3 for the Choir Fund. Minutely marginal writing records those performing as ‘Stanley Whinyates, St James’ Chapel Royal, late of St Faith’s Choir, Mr Tom Barlow and Tom Owen + the Choir’.
Preachers in April included Herbert A. Wadman, (St Thomas, Seaforth – a curate there?) Austin R.Taylor (St Margaret’s, Princes Road) and P.W.Pheysey (Hartley). Ascension Day was both ‘very wet’ and ‘wet’ – and the next day at 11.45 pm ‘King Edward VII died at Buckingham Palace’. Mr Baxter made the late king the subject of his sermon at the 6.30 evensong two days later, and preached to a ‘full church’. To close the chapter, Friday May 20th is registered as Funeral of King Edward VII of Blessed Glorious Memory’ and marked at 2.30 pm by a ‘Memorial Service. Litany and Burial Service No.II’ and at 8.00 pm by ‘Organ Recital’ by Mr J. Waugh (the current St Faith’s organist). The collections from the two commemorations amounted to £5.3.2, given to the Liverpool Hospital Sunjday Fund and the Whitehaven Fund.
D.G.F.S replaces T.H.B for a while in late June and earl; July; the former’s scratchy handwriting seems to record, on St Peter’s Day, ‘churching’ presumably the old service of the Churching of Women, not likely to have attracted any early feminists!). Mr Fee Smith’s subsequent sermons on ‘The Valley of Humiliation’ and ’The dark river’ may also have done little to lighten the occasions when they were delivered.
More entertainingly, August 14th saw the return of Stanley Whinyates, (again proudly listed as being from St James’ Chapel Royal Choir) to sing a solo in the anthem ‘Peace I leave with you’ – Varley Roberts at the 6.30 pm Litany. Squeezed in below this cramped annotation we read ‘900 coins at 11 + 6.30.’ This careful counting (doubtless a real burden for wardens and treasurer!) is the first such computation recorded, although service registers some year later incorporated a column for ‘coins’ for a good many years. Doubtless also today’s collection counters would welcome a windfall of 900 coins...)
Stanley Whinyates performs again on Sundays in August: the second of these two events is ‘very wet’, but the collection amount to a generous £4.15.2, so he must have been quite a crowd-puller. October 6th falls on a Thursday, and there is a 7.30 Holy Communion but no mention of Saint Faith. G. Hardwick Spooner, and H.W.Campbell Baugh (splendid names!) sign in later in the month – and pencilled in empty spaces that same month we read of Pew Rents received from Clo Huson, Mrs Thomson and Mrs Kenrick. The rentals are recorded as £2.20, 10/6 and £1.1.0 respectively. It would be fascinating to know more about the charging of these rents (when they started and finished, and why they were charged) – and to understand why Clo Huson had to pay four times as much as Mrs Thomson for her seating!
Mr Fee Smith fills in much of the November register, his blotchy pen spattering the page; he faithfully records the weather as ‘much rain and wind’, until Mr Baxter’s familiar clear script takes over again for the last weeks of the year. S.J.Sykes must have borrowed Mr Fee Smith’s wayward pen to sing in messily on December 14th. There is no worship recorded on Christmas Eve (many years are to pass before Midnight Mass appears), but Christmas Day is ‘Fine and Mild all day’ and 226 of the devout make their communion at the three celebrations. It falls on a Sunday, so there is the usual Children’s Service in the afternoon and a well-attended Evensong (you wouldn’t get them out for that these days!)
There is no Watch Night Service recorded, and St Faith’s slips quietly into its second decade as 1911 opens.
For some time now, the main Sunday morning service had been registered as Mattins, with the addition on some Sundays of ‘with H.C.’ I have not been able to trace any obvious logic to the respective occurrences, but note that the pattern continues into 111. We are still a good many years from the introduction of ‘H.C’ on its own as the main Sunday service, let alone anything so controversial as a Sung Mass, or even a Sung Eucharist. And there seems only to have been one weekday service – a regular Thursday Communion at 7.30 am, with some additional Lenten services on Wednesdays.
But on turning the page into Lent, the margin, usually the preserve of meteorological observation and financial records, is crammed with minutely recorded summaries of daily eucharists. Each is listed as @s@ or ‘B’ – which must be [Fee} Smith and Baxter, and numbers vary between 2 and 13. True to form, each has a collection recorded – those were the days! - with daily income ranging from 1s 2d from the two attendees and 6s.0d from the thirteen. By Easter Day these precise records have gone, to be replaced by the reassuring ‘showery’. There were 320 communicants between the three celebratioins that day.
‘Low’ Sunday was also the dedication festival, marked by the Vestry Meeting at 8.00 pm. For some months then, little disturbs the even tenor of St Faith’s Days, apart from ‘Coronation Day on June 22nd.
Mr Fee Smith runs the show during the vicar’s weeks off in July and August. His entries are sometimes abrupt – ‘Morng Pr’. and ‘Even Pr.’ occur – and he has still not mastered the art of using blotting paper to limit the spread of his ink-blotchy scrawlings. Mr Baxter is Soon back and the careful archival script resumes. Whether his break had involved deep political thought is of course not recorded, but a week later at Evensong his sermon subject is ‘Socialism’.
A detailed tiny note on September 15th reads: ‘At 10 a.m a Commission consisting of the Rural Dean, Canon Dickson, Rev F.Bartlett met in the Vestry to enquire into the income of the Benefice and report to the Ecclesiastical Commissioner. The Commission was appointed by the Bishop.’ It would be good to have been a fly on the vestry wall. It was ‘cold and wet’ on 23rd Sunday after Trinity, and the mood would see to have been continued at least until 24th Sunday, when the Evensong sermon column reads ‘Malachi iii.8. “Will a man rob God?” Disendowment Bill.’
Money continues to loom large towards the end of 111: ‘Decr 8th + 9th. Sale of Work for Building Fund of Parish Hall. During Advent appears the large bold signature of John Nankivell, S.Columba’s Egremont’. Later there is recorded a weekday Lantern Service’, Christmas saw 224 communicants, despite it being ‘wet’ – but on Innocents’ Day there was sadly ‘no-one present’. 1911 slips quietly into 1912, with ‘The Circumcision’ opening the years’ festivals. The Epiphany seems almost an afterthought, squeezed in in Mr Fee Smith’s writing and attracting just 3 communicants and 3d on the plate.
A ‘Men’s Service’ on the afternoon of Epiphnay2 did better, with £1.3.6d accruing to the CEMS - the Church of England Men’s Society. For several weeks in the early months of the year there are no weekday services in the register, but the inclement weather gets several mentions. There is evidence of collections for the Curacy Fund, and a Commination service crops up again on Ash Wednesday. Although no daily services are specifically logged in Lent, there is a marginal note giving numbers for Daily\Eucharists for some weeks.
Holy Week was crammed with worship: daily eucharists and two children’s services. The Three Hou8rs Devotion was led by H. Heriot Hill, of All Saints, Oxton, and that evening saw a performance of ‘The Passion’ by J.Varley Roberts, ‘sung by combined choirs of St Faith and St Luke, Crosby’, the latter providing the soloists and organist and our Mr Lewis conducting. Following this, Easter Day saw an impressive 353 communicants, with no fewer than 144 of them turning up at 7.30.am.
Just after Easter came news of the sinking of the ‘Titanic’. The events as seen through the pages of our register, with the particular poignancy of the death of Joseph Bell, Chief Engineer of the ill-fated liner and a worshipper at St Faith’s, are recorded in detail, with reproductions of appropriate parts of the register, in the pages of the church website. Concerns closer to home are reflected in a marginal note for April 30th: ‘Meeting of Protest against Welsh Church Bill in Waterloo Town Hall 8 p.m. Bishop of Liverpool in Chair.’ This clearly refers to the move to disestablish the Welsh Church, which culminated in the setting up of the Church in Wales two years later.
Thereafter men feature largely in the re4gister: on May 8th, at a C.E.M.S meeting, 23 new members were elected and 13 admitted.’ What they admitted to is not recorded, but there were 7 more admitted after Evensong a few days later. Then on Ascension Day at 7.45 am we read ‘Breakfast for Men in Parish Hall. 40 present and 4 ladies.’ These latter would doubtless have been spoilt for choice: there had been 54 communicants at the 7.00 am service preceding the meal, so presumably the other ladiesd went home unbreakfasted.
Mr Baxter took off during July, and the services were taken by E.B.Smith - as opposed to D.G.Fee Smith. The vicar took up the reins again on August 4th, in time to record the weather as being Very wet all morning. His sermon on August 14th is annotated ‘The house was filled with the odour of the ointment’ – presumably the nearest he could get to incense in these early years. Soon we read of ‘Self Denial Sunday’ with a collection of a mere 10/-, and another no-show Communion on a Thursday, A few weeks later there is an entertaining juxtaposition: a sermon on ‘The sons of Eli were sons of Belial’ and ‘Sunday School Treat’! September 16th saw ‘Blundellsands House Cadets Church Parade’, and soon after ‘H.C’ for Mrs Jackson of 33 Fir Road ‘previous to journey to New York’.
There were several visiting celebrants and preachers, including J.H.Astley of |New Brighton, Theo Madden, H.W.Campbell Baugh, C.E. Garrad of Mandalay, Burma, C.H.Hyatt and Frederick Jones, this latter delivering a Lantern Lecture, all during the early autumn. October 6th, St Faith’s Day, fell on a Sunday, but is still not marked for our patron saint. Late November saw ‘Divorce Commission Report’ and ‘Very Rough’ weather. December 11th is registered as ‘Adult Confirmation – Lady Chapel. 5 from St Faith’s.’ Given the size of our Lady Chapel, \Mr Baxter is clearly referring to that at the Cathedral.
Christmas Day saw 234 communicants, but no one present at 7.am two days later. After the traditional Watch Night Service at 11.15 pm on New Year’s Eve - with £1.6.1 in the collection - we enter the last full year of peacetime with the dawning of 1913.
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