In May - the merry month - once again we begin to see abundance in the
world around us. May blossom heralds harvest and the fruit to come.
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
The poet from Worcestershire noticed how often May coincides with the
great Forty Days of Easter - another time of abundance - a time of delight
equally full of signs of hope and promise - a time for us truly to enjoy.
Christians try never to allow the songs of Easter to evaporate and
vanish in a single day or week. The whole season offers us the opportunity
not only to celebrate the resurrection Gospel but also to gather its fruit
and - yes - to store it carefully for further use. During this time of the
year, we follow Jesus’ own advice - ‘lift up your eyes, and see how the
fields are already white for harvest. He who reaps receives wages and
gathers fruit for eternal life’ (John 4:35,36).
Think of the Easter fruit to be gathered. At the centre of the new life
for which we give thanks - Jesus’ and our own - is growth, development and
transformation, the gradual replacement of seeds with fruit. It can be
miraculous how over years, or perhaps quite suddenly, our lives and our
personalities develop and change; how communities are changed; how a
congregation discovers new strategies and confidence; how openness and
trust replace fear and anger; how forgiveness nourishes and refreshes both
our inner lives and our public face; how God’s new world replaces the old
and brings us strength and purpose.
What are the sources from which to gather such Easter fruit?
Three suggestions for the time being, each of them perhaps rather
surprising and all of them certainly demanding. Fruitfulness is found in
silence, service and suffering. As we saw in Holy Week, those were the same
three places where Jesus found the presence of God and his power to heal
and save. On the cross he endured the vast and terrifying abyss of silence;
he endured horrific and numbing pain for the sake of others (‘for their
sakes I consecrate myself’, John 17:19); and because the cup of
suffering was not taken away, he drank to the dregs.
Yet in these three places Jesus did not move further away from God but
came closest to him. This was the actual, concrete reality from which God
raised him up. No: he could not save himself from these things but God
turned them into the life-giving sources of renewal and healing. The Easter
Gospel is neither empty piety, sentiment, nor wishful thinking. It affirms
that to find God we must be with Jesus in both cross and resurrection. Nor
need we be ashamed of our frailty or our tendency, like the disciples, to
Precisely in our weakness, our sorrows, our disappointments, our
confusions, our despair, our grief and our pain we are with Jesus actually
gathering fruit, finding courage and even now receiving God’s gift of
Due to the changes presented by Fr Michael’s sabbatical, it will no
longer be possible to have a Eucharist every week at 8pm on Tuesdays at All
Saints’. There will continue to be a Eucharist at 8pm on the last Tuesday
of each month (30 May, 27 June, 25 July and 29 August) and we are hoping to
have a non-eucharistic service led by members of our Local Ministry Team on
the other weeks of the month - see future weekly sheets for details. This
may take various forms, such as Compline, Stations of the Resurrection or
the Rosary. The Eucharist will continue to be offered daily in one of our
churches across the Team and, since God’s Spirit often works through the
necessities of life, we hope this change may represent a real opportunity
to refresh our prayer lives with other forms of worship.
Faith is a life-long journey that can take many paths but an important
part of this is receiving communion, for Jesus promised, ‘Whoever eats my
flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life’ (John 6:54). At baptism
we become full members of Christ’s body, the Church, and communion does not
add to that but it does offer strength and help in living life as a
Christian, as we are changed day by day to be more like Jesus.
Classes for children who would like to think about preparing for First
Communion begin on 17 May and continue every Wednesday (except half-term)
until 12 July at St. Nicolas’ Church, 5-6pm. They are open to children from
Year 3 or above who worship at any of our three churches. If children have
not already been baptised that can form part of the preparation too.
Meanwhile young people at secondary school may prefer to prepare for First
Communion through Elevate, which meets 5-7pm on Sundays in term-time
at St Nicolas’ Hall. Beginning the classes does not mean that anyone must
make their First Communion and it is perfectly okay for someone to decide
at any stage that they are not ready. For more information or for a sign-up
letter, please contact Fr Grant.
Adults who are thinking about making a commitment of faith and
confirmation or who would just like to explore some of the questions that
being a Christian in today’s world presents are very welcome to join
Celebrate! Plus which meets at 8pm on most Thursdays. For more details,
please contact Sue Read.
At the recently held annual meeting Mr Jerry Porter and Mrs Marion
Beagley were elected as Churchwardens. Mrs Sue Bolton and Mrs Margaret
Compton were elected as wardens with responsibility to St Nicolas’. Mr
Henry Morris and Mr Cyril Beer were appointed as deputy wardens for St
Mary’s church. Mr Colin Holman and Mrs Janet White were elected to the PCC
and Mr Peter Horne was elected as representative to the Deanery Synod. The
annual report of the PCC and the financial position of the churches were
Marion Beagley, PCC Secretary
Annual General Meeting 2006
The 2006 Prestbury and Pittville Youth AGM followed the Parish AGM held
on Sunday 2 April. This marked the end of the second full year of the
charity’s operation. There were more members present this year and they
received reports on the youth work undertaken and the financial health of
The report on youth work, produced by Andy Macauly, Youth Development
Worker, detailed an increasing number of young people involved in a wide
range of activities. Six regular weekly groups had been run, as well as
holiday weeks, all-nighters, camping weeks, weekends away and monthly
Chairman, the Revd Michael Cozens, and Treasurer, Mrs Gill Wood,
presented the 2005 Annual Report and Accounts which, despite there being a
small loss on the year, showed a balance carried forward in three different
reserves. The level of funds raised from Grant-making Trusts had dropped
and more would need to be raised from committed giving by local supporters.
Thanks to the nomination of Liz Underwood at the meeting, the Executive
Committee has a full complement for 2006. The Revd Michael Cozens continues
as the Chairman and Gill Wood is Treasurer. Tricia Wilson has returned as
Hon Secretary. Charlie Chan and Julia Hook were appointed by All Saints’
PCC, Linda Biggs and Daphne Philpot by Prestbury PCC, and Julie Lane and
Liz Underwood were elected, all to serve for one year.
We recently held our Tower AGM. Fr Michael chaired the meeting, which
was held in the Tower after ringing practice. All of the officers remained
the same except for Jonathan Sweetman who replaced David Lynch as
We welcomed a band of visiting ringers from the area around Newton Abbot
who had requested permission to come and ring a Quarter peal of Grandsire
Triples on our bells. Their attempt was successful. Another band of
visitors have permission to ring in the near future. We are occasionally
joined by visitors from other towers at our normal service ringing or
practices. They are normally staying in the area on holiday and we are
pleased to welcome them.
Several of our ringers helped out on the Association Training Day which
was held in both the Tewkesbury and Cirencester areas. Our own tower was
not used for this purpose this year, but those who went as either helpers
or learners found it a valuable experience and made new friends.
Those of you who recently wondered why the clock chimes were not
sounding healthy will be interested to know that when the clock hammers
were inspected in the tower, the hammer on the third bell was found to have
sheared off from its shaft. This has meant that we have had to stop the
clock from chiming the quarters, but the hour is still struck as the
mechanism for that is separate. We are in discussion about how to proceed
with the repair.
Every year in Holy Week the bells are silent and we take the opportunity
to spring clean the ringing chamber, we are always amazed at how many
cobwebs we find!
Several weddings that have been booked for 2006 have requested that the
bells be rung, so we are approaching the busy season!
We have now done two full terms with ‘Open the Book’ at St Mary’s
Infant School. Every Wednesday four or five from a team of ten adults read
and act out a bible story to the whole school in their assembly. Both the
children and adults appear to enjoy the experience and we know that these
stories are taken home by some children and related to families - what a
wonderful way of spreading God’s Word!
At the end of term, we were invited to do our Easter story in St Mary’s
Church, together with the children and their teachers and parents. Some
parents were delighted to see ‘first hand’ what we were doing as they had
heard about it from their children. We are keen to welcome more volunteers
and there is no need to have previous experience! Please contact me if you
would like to know more.
Everything went according to plan and the weather stayed fine for us.
Very many thanks to Joan R, Joan A, Jean, Maggie, Rachael, Rosie, Cathryn,
Sheila, Eleanor, Mavis, Ann, Linda, Barbara, Gill, Noel, Colin, John P,
John M, John B, Bob, Jerry, Phil, Roger, Henry, Cyril, Jonathan, Brian,
Stephen M, Stephen A, Michael and Fr Stephen, who found a cobweb high up
and removed it!!
We enjoyed coffee and large hot sausage rolls in the middle of the
morning which went down a treat. Thank you John Fogarty, ‘Bakery Stores’,
for the sausage rolls and also for donating the milk. This interval enabled
us all to chat with one another, especially with those whom we do not know
very well; we see them briefly in Church and that is all.
Doreen & Henry Morris
8 April 2006
Prestbury v St Matthew’s
On Saturday the 8th of April, the Prestbury 1st XI faced St Matthew’s,
who had at their last clash won 8-2. Things started badly, with St Matt’s
taking full advantage of the ‘penalty’ supposedly conceded by Prestbury in
the 2nd minute, but it seemed as though Prestbury would be able to hold
out. Hopes were high, as the team had been showing a steady improvement
throughout the season.
Unfortunately, things all started to go wrong. Despite gallant work from
our stand-in goalkeeper, Ben, too many goals were leaking through the
Prestbury defence for the scoreline to stay the same for long. Andrew
Murton, on his Prestbury debut, pulled back two well-deserved goals, but
not even the arrival of Michael Wyatt as a last-minute substitute could
salvage the match, which again finished Prestbury 2, St Matthew’s 8.
Reporting from Prestbury Playing Field
On Wednesday 22nd of March, Years 3 and 4 from Prestbury St Mary’s
Junior School were doing Easter workshops at Church to do with the Easter
story. We tasted bread to represent the Last Supper (it was very nice).
Then we tasted some vinegar and lemon water to show us how sour life can be
(it was horrible). Then each one of us wrote down our fears on a piece of
paper, stuck it onto a small rock and put it by the foot of the cross. This
way Jesus can help us not to be afraid.
We had very good time doing the workshops and it taught us all that when
life starts to get sour we can trust God to help us always.
Hannah C Aged 8
The Prayer Maze at St Mary’s church was for celebrating Easter and we
were thinking about all the things that happened at Easter. I learned lots
of things about how things were bitter and sweet at that time. For that
activity we tried vinegar to resemble bitter times and after we had water
to resemble the sweet, only I didn’t want to have water because I liked the
vinegar. I also learned that Easter isn’t just about Jesus dying and rising
again. It’s about Palm Sunday and Passover too. We watched some of Shrek to
think about when Peter asked Jesus for forgiveness. The Prayer Maze was
extremely fun and I think that is was a great opportunity for children to
think about Easter. I can’t say what my favourite part was because it was
so fantastic. Overall it was a brilliant day and I am glad that I did it.
Rebecca L Aged 9
On Wednesday March 22nd Y3H went to church to do some Easter activities.
We were split into groups and given an activity to start with. There were
eight different things you could do altogether.
I enjoyed it most when we ate the bread because it was nice and fresh,
this was like when Jesus broke the bread at the Last Supper. The activity
that I thought helped me understand Easter the most was The Dead End. We
moved a red line and a white line to form a T.
The white line formed the stem of the T, we moved
the white line on after the red line so show that there was life after
Another interesting thing was when you got a stone and a sticky label
and on the sticky label you wrote something that scared you or worried you,
then you stuck it on the rock and put it on the table with the others.
At the end we got given a flag and you had to wave it and shake an
instrument while you sang Hosanna. I really enjoyed this prayer maze and I
thought it would help me remember on Easter day that Jesus died and rose
Lydia B Aged 8
The prayer maze was celebrating Easter. I liked the part where bread
represented the Last Supper. I also enjoyed singing the song at the end. I
learnt that Easter is a joyful time. I’d really like to repeat the
experience. It helped me to understand the meaning better, and what Jesus
did for me and the world.
Ben H Aged 9
pictures taken of the children in St Mary's
A grubby hungry boy pulls at my arm as we walk back from supper. In a
doorway a man with one leg holds out a hand and from my other side I am
offered beads, bracelets and Buddhas. There are few tourists in Kathmandu
this season so every trader wants my attention. We cannot possibly give to
everyone so with relief turn into the peaceful courtyard of our colonial
It would be easy to be overwhelmed by the narrow dusty streets filled
with tooting taxis, jingling rickshaws and weaving scooters, and lit by
shop generators since there is no reliable public electricity, but we do
not feel unsafe as one might do in poorer parts of London. No doubt the
Nepali are poor and the political system keeps it thus. We cannot change
that so go with the colourful throng through open markets to the sights of
any capital city.
Kathmandu is the union of three
kingdoms, so in close proximity are three sixteenth century palaces and
courtyards. The carving of the wooden verandas is intricate, the paint
faded, but metal shining from the touch of many devoted hands. Patan is
smaller, quieter and easier to take in. Outside are Buddhist stupas (right), and Hindu shrines to the gods
in their many forms. A man latches himself to us and explains again the
stories. Here there is also a sixth century public bathing pool still in
use. Hindu holy men in yellow and orange mingle with burgundy Buddhist
monks, while the common throng is all colours, the women mainly in bright
saris but the men rather grubbily trousered. Over everyone armed soldiers
and police keep a watch. Around the temples are stalls of awful trinkets
and tourist trash, the general population being no more devoted to their
duties than Europeans.
Nevertheless, during the day, a wedding party chants through with
cymbals, horns and incense; a group of women in bright red offer rice, red
and yellow dyes, and flowers to a Buddha; a family with children offer
incense, pour water and ring bells to a goddess who brings fertility and
protects children; fire is put to the mouth of a funeral pyre, and we watch
three other public cremations in various stages of combustion.
Suddenly everyone rushes to the door to the inner courtyard. A golden
sedan chair moves through the crowd and a little girl dressed in red,
yellow and golden mask is carried inside. She is the living incarnation of
the goddess Teleja and lives a cloistered life until puberty, when another
girl is chosen by ritualistic trials. Although she will receive a small
pension she will find it hard getting back into everyday life.
David and Sarah with their trek guides
Any capital city is a poor reflection of its rural life. On a four-day
trek in the Annapurna foothills we see stone and wood houses clinging to
steep mountainsides with terraced fields. Where it is too steep or high
rhododendrons fifty feet high spread pink and red above us. Monkeys leap,
parrots chirp, and eagles soar. Goats and oxen wander the woods and people
gather fodder or diced wood, which is neatly stacked under the veranda. On
busier routes teams of mules carry essentials, but small groups of a family
carry baskets slung off their foreheads, and even a small child with two
granite slabs. Six thousand irregular steps zigzagging up from a raging
turquoise river to the village cluster takes us a draining two hours, but
children are skipping up and down in their neat school uniforms.
David, Sarah, Diane and Nigel
All this is shared with Sarah whom we have met on our arrival. The team
is in good heart and has dispersed for family time out. It is fabulous to
see her again and watch the team absorb, then resolve problems. The
mountain equipment has arrived late so I sit in a room filled with Sarah’s
and Ro’s kit which has to be sorted into cycling, base camp and advance
base camp, packed and labelled. The climbers are all here, three half
asleep but my brother, Nigel, relaxed after a day with us already. We are
going out to a Nepalese restaurant tonight with the sherpa team, before the
cyclists leave tomorrow and climbers next week.
Political demonstrations are forecast in a few days time so we have
experienced a beautiful country spoiled by the squabbles of jealousy. We
detect no such thing in the EverestMAX
team and wish them wise protection on the mountain.
Sarah Lyle and the cycling team, continuing their journey from
the lowest to the highest point on Earth, reached Nepal on 14 March. They
visited the remaining two of the three charities they are supporting: a
PRACTICAL ACTION project making bicycle ambulances and an SOS CHILDREN’S
VILLAGE. On 21 March, three months to the day after setting off from the
Dead Sea in Jordan, they arrived in Kathmandu, where they met up with the
climbers (including Sarah’s uncle, Nigel Lyle) who are joining the team for
the ascent of Everest, and with family and friends who had flown out to
visit. (Sarah’s parents have written an account of their visit.) While in
Kathmandu the team member wrote their own personal reflections on the three
months’ cycling - Sarah’s message is posted on 28 March.
On 1 April the cyclists left Kathmandu, spent the next day white water
rafting, and then met the climbers at the border and crossed into
China/Tibet on 4 April. After a few days together, the climbers went on
ahead by vehicle. The cyclists followed and reached Everest Base Camp on
12 April. After 112 days on the road and 8000km through eight countries
this is end of the cycling phase of the expedition. For the full diary see
What is Prayer?
Here are the answers some regular Celebraters gave:
- A way to communicate with God.
- Trying to speak to God.
- Talking to God.
- How we pray thankfully for our family and health.
- A quiet time to think.
- Time for reflection.
What do YOU think?
The Celebrate! Prayer
we thank you for this time and place
to celebrate your love for us.
Help us to know that you are with us
as we go our different ways.
Guide us to love you and to see you
in those we meet day by day.
We ask this in Jesus’ name.
We finish off Surprise - leading to action, and then turn to the
Big Picture, which involves such things as Heaven and Christian Aid.
Do come and join us at 9.30 on Sunday mornings in St Mary’s church. Coffee
and chat afterwards.
During Lent this year the members of Celebrate! Plus decided to
attend one of the several Lent groups that are held in the parish. The Lent
groups are small informal groups held weekly through Lent and hosted at
home by members of the parish.
We were included in a group hosted by a member of All Saints’ Church,
which also included other people from All Saints’ as well as St Nicolas’
and St Mary’s.
Each session began with listening to a CD where people such as
Archbishop Rowan Williams and Patricia Routledge (aka Hyacinth Bouquet!)
discuss the topic of the week such as ‘Where is God... when we make
decisions?’, ‘Where is God... when we face suffering?’ and ‘Where is God...
when we try to make sense of life?’ and then we discussed the topic as a
It was very interesting and enlightening to hear what leading Christians
had to say about these important questions and it was a good opportunity to
get to know members of the parish by exploring and reflecting on these
questions with them.
On Wednesday 22 March Celebrate! held their first ‘Ladies night’.
With a huge thanks to Sharon who kindly hosted the event, the evening
was a great success. It was very well supported and everyone was warmly
welcomed and well looked after with good wine and plenty of nibbles. Whilst
it was a very sociable evening, it was also very relaxed and a great
opportunity to meet new friends and to get to know others a little more.
The evening was open to everyone and you were able to bring a friend.
Liz Bennett kindly brought along some Phoenix Cards and Ruth Moore
displayed some Beaded Jewellery which was great to browse over and their
efforts were very much appreciated, particularly with all the setting up
and packing away involved.
By the end of the evening, many ideas were proposed for future social
events so as we have now started, may it continue!
Part 2: Bishops, Monks and Gentlemen
At the time of the Norman Conquest Prestbury already had a manor house,
near the race course boundary off Spring Lane. At that time the Lord of the
Manor was the Bishop of Hereford. His tenure was on the same basis as that
of any lay landowner, and did not mean that Prestbury was ever a part of
Hereford diocese. Day-to-day running of outlying estates like this one was
in the care of a senior official, and the bishop himself would visit once
or twice a year to attend to any matters of importance and to enjoy the
particular amenities of the place. At Prestbury the prime attraction was a
deer park; when Bishop Swinfield kept Christmas here in 1289 his hounds
were sent in advance and 50 horses were stabled at the manor over the time
of the feast. On at least one occasion ordinations were held in the chapel,
and as late as 1480 episcopal documents were signed at Prestbury.
The deer park occupied a large area and was a dominant feature in the
landscape. The low hill clothed with forest trees stood out among the
cultivated fields of Bishop’s Cleeve, Prestbury and Swindon. On the 19th
century Tithe Map its outline is plain, showing up like a fossil in the
general pattern of fields. From the eastern boundary close to the site of
the manor house it extends west in a large egg shape, covering the whole of
the race course (why did you think it was called Prestbury Park?), and
continuing the other side of Evesham Road past Hunting Butts farm, until
the land falls away towards Swindon. South from the manor, the edge of the
park runs close against the bottom of the gardens along the Burgage, and
then follows the modern race course fence west; beyond Evesham Road the
southern edge coincides more or less with the line of the horizon north of
Swindon Lane. Today hardly a trace remains, but the park has had a lasting
effect on the development of the parish. For ordinary people the whole area
was completely out of bounds. It put a stop to any idea of extending the
village further west, and the arable lands of the great West Field along
Swindon Lane were almost cut off; they were joined to the rest of the
parish by two rows of fields either side of New Barn Lane, and an even
narrower strip of land along the northern edge between park and boundary
In the 12th century, the bishop of the time gifted a proportion of his
manor to the monks of Llanthony Abbey. At first their headquarters here
were in Noverton Lane, where excavations in the 1950s revealed a second
moated site, now built over; it seems that in the 14th century they moved
down into the village, building what we now know as the Priory. The
inhabitants of these buildings were not monks; agricultural work and
administration would have been carried out almost entirely by lay people,
with occasional visitors from the Abbey at Gloucester. But Llanthony did
provide priests for the parish church, and was responsible too for later
stages of building at St Mary’s; the carved coat of arms high on the south
side of the tower bears the initials I W, for John Wyche, prior of
Llanthony around 1420.
At the Reformation Llanthony Abbey was disbanded; its lands in Prestbury
were acquired by the Baghott family, the estate forming a second,
independent manor. By 1540 the Baghotts were living in a newly built ‘fair
house’ in Noverton, known then as Hall Place (later Noverton Farm). In the
next century they too moved down into the village, taking over the old
Society was changing now. The bishops of Hereford no longer needed
Prestbury as a hunting lodge and were leasing their land out to a tenant.
Then under Queen Elizabeth it was exchanged for another manor, and the
bishops finally pass out of the Prestbury story. The manor’s new tenant was
a retired ambassador, Sir Thomas Chamberlayne, who made major improvements
to the old house, with decorated plaster ceilings and an ornate stone
fireplace. When he died in 1580 he bequeathed it to his eldest son; it is
clear that he intended his expensively improved mansion to be the permanent
family seat - a real stately home in Prestbury.
This is the second of three
articles about Prestbury Parish.
Christian Aid in May
May is the most important month in the Christian Aid
Year, as all Christians are asked to take part in the collection for people
in underdeveloped countries. We can help by praying, giving and, if
possible, collecting and counting the donations. The house-to-house
collection is from May 14th - 20th. Do please get in touch with us
if you can spare an hour or two to help.
Before this, as a ‘warm-up’, there will be a Christian
Aid fair on Saturday 6 May from 11am - 2pm in Holy Apostles’ Church Hall,
London Road. There will be Fairtrade coffee, stalls for food, toiletries,
books and so on plus the chance to buy an excellent Ploughman’s lunch and
dessert. We shall be running the grocery stall and would be grateful for
contributions to it and to the other stalls. There will be boxes in both
churches on the two preceding Sundays. Volunteers to help on the stall
would also be very welcome. Thank you.
Paddy Spurgeon (St Nicolas’) &
Gill Ashman (St Mary’s)
Prestbury Parish Quiz - Saturday 6 May
Following on from the success of the last couple of quiz
nights, we are holding a Parish Quiz on Saturday 6 May at Prestbury Hall in
Bouncers Lane (opposite the schools) in aid of church funds. All ages are
welcome with questions to suit everyone. There will be ten short rounds
with a fun/oddball round to confuse everyone and a picture round that
always creates a debate! The evening starts at 7pm and runs till about
9.30pm with a licensed bar. It’s £2 per person to enter and the winning
team gets a cash prize, but it’s the taking part and the fellowship that is
important here. So get into teams of 4-6 and come and enjoy a fun filled
St Mary’s Bakestall
The next bakestall at St Mary’s is on Sunday 21 May with
contributions from those with surnames N-Z. Do contact one of us if you
would like to join the rota.
Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 23 May at 7.30pm in
St Mary’s Church. Our speaker will be Canon Sarah James and her subject
will be ‘Images of God’. Please join us if you can.
Dates for your diary
Sunday 4 June - Ecumenical Pentecost Picnic at the Infant
Sat 17 & Sun 18 June - Open Gardens with cream teas in
Saturday 8 July - Church Fête in the Scout Field from
2-5pm followed by a barn dance at the Royal Oak from 7.00pm with a BBQ
Please make a note of these dates and try to join us for
fun and fellowship.
Thank you to everyone who sponsored Lilies in memory of
St Nicolas’ Hall Letting Secretary
We urgently need someone to take over as Lettings
Secretary for St Nicolas’ Hall. The job is very small and can be done from
home. It splits nicely into two halves - Occasional Bookings, which takes
at most an hour a week, and Regular Bookings, which takes about half a day
twice a term.
If you feel you could take on one or both halves, please
contact Nigel Woodcock, Alan Jackson or Tricia Wilson.