The Pattern of Worship

A further extract from Revd. Henry Stapleton’s history of the Church – link to the full article

From the earliest days of Christianity Christians have gathered together on the Lord’s Own Day for the Lord’s Own Service – the Holy Communion.  Though called the mass this was the worship attended by the villagers at the Parish Church up till the time of the Reformation.

In 1549 the service was translated into English from the Latin and various alterations made.  A further revision was made in 1552.  Then, with Queen Mary, came the restoration of the Latin Mass 1553-1558.  With the accession of Queen Elizabeth I an English Prayer Book was produced (1559) and this served till in 1645 it was proscribed by the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell.  Following the Restoration of King Charles II came the Book of Common Prayer (1662) which is the basis of worship in the Church of England today.

It is difficult to say what were the services here each Sunday after the Reformation.  But in 1743 the Curate appears to have had two services a Sunday, Morning and Evening Prayer; and Holy Communion four times a year.  From the Churchwarden’s Accounts these were held from 1795 at Easter, Whitsun, Michaelmas and Christmas.  The Sunday services were accompanied by singing metrical psalms.  The Holy Communion, too, had various parts to music also.  However, it was not till the 19th century that Hymns Ancient and Modern was produced.

From Mr. Deane’s Service Register we get a clear picture of the pattern of Sunday worship at the turn of the century – Holy Communion 8, Children’s Service 9.30, Evensong 6.30.  Mr. King started a Sung Holy Communion in November 1935 once a month.  His rota was 1st Sunday, Evensong at 6.30; 2nd Matins, 10.30; 3rd, Holy Communion, 8, and Evensong 6.30; 4th Choral Eucharist, 10.30.

With the union of the parishes various systems have been tried.  The present arrangement is Holy Communion at 10.30 and Evensong at 6 on alternate Sundays.  Holy Communion on Friday each week at 9[1].

But the villagers showed devotion to the “Old Religion”; in 1567/8 there is evidence of Catholic practices in the Church.

The Sunday School has been in existence for over a hundred years.  Each Christmas parishioners tour the village singing carols in aid of Sunday School funds – the account books record that this custom has been continuous since the 1860s.

[1] This has since reduced to a 9 a.m. Holy communion service every 2nd and 4th Sunday.

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