The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
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107 Years Ago - Religion - St Mary's Church

To give an impression of what life was like in Clophill 107 years ago sources from 1911 have been transcribed and interpreted.

"Presentation To The Rev. H. R. Meyer

... The avenue of elms in the Churchyard had been cut down, owing to their being unsafe, and the Churchyard has been replanted and beautified mostly at Mr. Meyer's own expense. ..."

Saturday January 21st 1911. Ampthill News

"No successor to the late Rector has yet been appointed. The Sunday services will be taken up to March 12th by the Rev. St. Clair Tisdall; and the Rev. T. Collisson, Rector of Gravenhurst, is taking occasional services, Men's Bible Class, etc."

Saturday February 25th 1911. Ampthill News

"On Tuesday afternoon, in Maulden Parish Church, eleven candidates from Clophill received the rite of confirmation at the hands of Bishop Hodges. The young people were prepared by the Rev. T. Collisson, Rector of Gravenhurst, who presented at the service.

Although nearly 10 weeks have elapsed since the departure of the Rev. H. R. Meyer, no one has yet been appointed to succeed him."

Saturday, March 25th. 1911. Ampthill News

"Mr. J. Izzard, who has accompanied the late Rector to Watton as his gardener, has received a handsome clock from members of the Church Choir, as a token of their esteem. Mr. Izzard was a member of the choir for many years and the loss of his voice is keenly felt."

Saturday, April 1st, 1911. Ampthill News

"The annual vestry meeting was held on Friday evening. As the parish is still without a Rector, Mr. Crouch, the senior churchwarden, took the chair, and Mr. Mossman presented the churchwardens' accounts, and was subsequently re-elected parish warden. The sidesmen were also re-elected en- bloc. A vote of thanks to Mr. Crouch as chairman, and also for the trouble he has taken since Mr. Meyer's departure in arranging for the Church services was unanimously passed."

Saturday, April 29th, 1911. Ampthill News

"The New Rector

The living of Clophill has been offered by Lord Lucas to the Rev. Cecil Lloyd Matthews, and accepted by him. The new Rector is the son of the late Rev. William Matthews, Vicar of Aberystwyth. He was educated at Monmouth Grammar School and Keble College, Oxford, taking his B.A. In 1902 and M.A. in 1909. In 1902-3 he held an Assistant Mastership at "The Limes" (Preparatory School), Shrewsbury, and from 1903-1907 was Assistant Master at King Edward VI School, Norwich. In 1904 he was ordained by Bishop Sheepshanks of Norwich, and held the curacy of St. Lawrence with St. Gregory until 1907. He was then appointed senior curate at Wooburn, Bucks, and had sole charge of the district church of St. mark, Bourne End. He resigned that appointment to take up the Rector of Clophill. Mr. Matthews is very keen on games. He played cricket for his school, and has also been of assistance to the local club at Wooburn, of which he is vice-captain. He also represented Keble College on the river for 2 years. Mr. Matthews hopes to be in residence at Clophill early in August."

Saturday May 13th 1911. Ampthill News

"On Friday afternoon about 50 members of the Mother's meeting were invited by the Misses Horn to tea at the Rectory lawn, kindly lent by the Rev. C. L. Matthews, who will be in residence during the second week in August. After tea, Mrs. Cunnington, speaking for the motherers, asked Miss Horn to accept from them a comfortable lounge chair as a slight appreciation of the interest she has shown in their meetings for several years. Miss Horn, who was completely taken by surprise, said that she did not know how to thank them sufficiently for their kind present. She very much valued the generous feeling which had prompted it. Songs were sung by Miss K. and Master L. Cunnington, and various outdoor games were indulged in until about 9.30, when the National Anthem was sung and the party separated."

Saturday, July 22nd 1911. Ampthill News

"The Rev. C. L. Matthews entered into residence at the Rectory on the 10th inst., and officiated at the services in St. Mary's Church on Sunday. His institution and induction are postponed until the return of the Bishop of Ely."

Saturday, August 19th 1911. Ampthill News

"The adjourned vestry meeting was held in the parish room on August 31. Mr. Crouch, in the name of the meeting, extended a hearty welcome to the new Rector, the Rev. C. L. Matthews, and his wife, and hoped they would be very happy. Mr Matthews thanked Mr. Crouch for his kindly welcome and said he hoped that all work connected with the parish would go on smoothly, and that god's blessing would rest on it. At the Rector's request Mr. Crouch consented to continue to act as the Rector's churchwarden. Mrs. Goodall presented the results of the Parish Room."

Saturday, September 9th 1911. Ampthill News

"The 112th anniversary of the Girls' Church Sunday School was celebrated on Sunday. The elder girls, as is usual, repeated the Church Catechism, and recited it well. The Rector gave a very interesting address. The offertory was devoted to the Sunday School Fund."

Saturday, September 9th 1911. Ampthill News

"The Church harvest festival was held on Friday and Sunday. The Church had been very tastefully decorated by Mrs. Matthews, the Misses Horn, Miss M. Goodall, the Misses Seabrook, the Misses Borroughs, Mrs Cunnington, Miss Mossman, Miss F. Gudgin, Miss a Bushby and Miss M. Sharman. Mr. Tatman also rendered valuable assistance. There was a celebration of Holy Communion on Friday at 10.00 a.m. And the evening service was at 7, and drew a large congregation. The service was fully choral, and was sung by the Rector the Rev. C. L. Matthews. The Rev. C. Bromley, of Maulden, read the lessons, and the Rev. W. C. Browne of, Haynes also assisted. The Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis was sung to Reade in C, and the anthem was Stainer's, "Ye shall dwell in the Land." The musical portion of the service was very well rendered by the choir, and the well-known harvest hymns were heartily joined in by the whole congregation. The Rector preached a capital sermon on "The reapers are the angels." The congregation on Sunday evening was the largest seen in the church for some years, and seats had to be placed in the aisles to accommodate some. The anthem and Reade's service were repeated, and the Rector preached on "While the earth remaineth seed time and harvest shall not fail." The offertories, which amounted to £6 14s., were divided between the County hospital (two-thirds) and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Society (one-third)."

Saturday, September 30th 1911. Ampthill News

"The congregations at the evening services at the Parish church, since the coming of the new Rector, have been very large, and last Sunday evening practically every seat was occupied. The outspoken manliness of Rev. C. L. Matthews in his sermons, appears to be much to the liking of the parishioners; and the rev. gentleman is becoming deservedly popular. The singing of the responses, and the general brightening up of the services are all changes in the right direction, and meet with universal approval."

Saturday, October 14 1911. Ampthill News


On Friday the Bishop of Ely visited Clophill to institute the Rev, C. L. Matthews as Rector. The clergy present included the Rev. J. H. Spokes, Rector of Barton and Rural Dean; The Revs. T. Collisson, Gravenhurst; Cory, Hexton; Houfe, Pulloxhill; C. Bromley, Maulden; W. C. Browne, Haynes; and May, Ampthill. The evening service was sung by the Rev. T. Collisson, the first lesson being read by the Rev. F. Cory, and the second by the Rev. J. H. Spokes. The Bishop then delivered an address. He said that the institution was a repetition of the ordination service, giving the rector his special work in the Church. He would baptise their children, would be commissioned to preach the glad tidings of the Gospel and explain the Christian doctrines held by the Church. He would remind his people that faith must be shown by good works. The Rector would also administer the Blessed Sacrament. He would prepare candidates for confirmation. He might to make up quarrels, and would sometimes perhaps speak strongly to those who were in the wrong. He would also visit the sick, and help them to make their peace with God. But we must not think that all the work of the church is done by her ministers. All must work and there were many ways in which the laity could help, e.g., Sunday School teachers, choir, etc. He asked the parishioners to pray for god's blessing on their new Rector, and also to help him in his difficult work. The Rector then made a declaration and took the oaths of allegiance to the King, and of obedience to the Bishop, and the Bishop then formally instituted him Rector of Clophill. The induction followed. The Rural Dean led Mr. Matthews to the church door and afterwards to the belfry, where he tolled the bell. The Bishop then pronounced the blessing, and the interesting ceremony was over. This is the first visit of the Bishop of Ely since 1985."

Saturday, October 21 1911. Ampthill News

"The Rector's Thursday Evening Bible Class met last week for the first time this season, when 44 were present. All men are cordially invited to join."

Saturday, November 4, 1911. Ampthill News

"On Sunday afternoon, the Rev. C. L. Matthews held a special service for men in the Parish Church, when 65 were present. The Rector hopes to hold these services on the second Sunday in each month, at 3.30. and all men are cordially invited. Mr. Matthews delivered a straight and practical address on the text, "Marvel not my brethren if the world hate you." Our new Rector is evidently a most earnest and devote worker; and that his efforts are appreciated is shown by the increased number of people who attended the services, particularly on Sunday evenings, when the church is always practically full."

Saturday, November 18, 1911. Ampthill News