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A picture for At St Johns Tisbury

There was a moderately well attended ‘in house’ but Public Consultation concerning Tisbury Parish Church’s ‘Way Ahead’. It interested me as a mere Cuckoo in the nest to hear of the P.C.C,’s aspirations for the next hundred years. Apart from the immediate need to repair a section of the roof, there was talk of the installation of under floor heating, which would necessitate the raising of the floor level, and by so doing make the floor on one plane. There was too the suggestion of an integral kitchenette, and of a newly added annex of ‘toilet’ facility and boiler area accessed through the existing North door into the Church Yard. Apparently this would necessitate the stained glass in one window being relocated to an adjoined window currently harbouring plain glass. There was too the suggestion that the rather ‘twee’ Church Porch be replaced, and that an internal Glass door be installed at the South Entry. The idea of that being that if the outer door be by default open, locals and visitors might be enticed inside on the principle of window shopping. It might be obvious to many that all are welcome to enter, but possibly others may have their doubts, much as I wouldn’t know whether one is welcome to stray into a Mosque of Synagogue uninvited. Whilst mentioning such things, the Sacred Heart in Tisbury is of daunting aspect even to a lapsed Catholic such as I, who was made welcome for coffee the weekend before last by the Methodists.

There were three other particular points. The first was the replacement of the existing Altar by a movable device, the refurbishment of the Lady Chapel, possibly the existing altar was to go there, and last but not least the replacement and the relocation of the Church Pews. Tisbury’s own Luke Hughes gave an Expert’s Presentation concerning the proposed alterations. It was he who explained that the pews were but a pastiche of relatively recent innovation, advising that whilst some of the pew ends were Jacobean, others had probably come from an Ecclesiastical Reclamation Yard. (Did he suggest that those of Mermaid Design might better be incorporated as screens for the proposed kitchenette?)

There were opportunities for Public Comment. The first was that there was a need for Public Consultation. Surely that was the whole raison d’etre for the assembly that evening. As mentioned the meeting was moderately well attended, it unfortunately clashed with General Dannant’s lecture in Salisbury, but where were the rest of the Village? Possibly just not interested ? Someone took great exception to the proposed glass door because he had once walked into one, others had no wish to see a stain glass window re-sited or the introduction of the suggested kitchenette, or any building-on of the proposed loos. One heard too, asides from an other involved in recent restoration and refurbishment, on the lines of we have ‘only just put that in’.

Someone else wanted to extend that proposed annex to accommodate a proper sort of buffet / kitchen for the preparation of refreshment, thus obviating the need for the kitchenette inside the Church Building itself. He further proposed, as have others previously, that the Hinton Hall be demolished, its site used for further car parking, and its stone recycled for the construction of the annex. As ever that proposal met with stiff opposition, seemingly the Hinton Hall purchase had been partially funded on the basis that the Church and Village had use of it. Should any consider it but another Millstone about our necks apparently it isn’t, as it was booked every night that week. Maybe it is a Millstone about the necks of all the other Halls competing for business.

Churches do change. I have a piece of carving from St.Mary the Bow Cheapside which has been in the family for at least an hundred years. Thought to send a picture of it to that Church for their records, never had an acknowledgement. Also have an item from St.Pauls Hammersmith of similar extraction, used too to have a Stone Boss from Wargrave Parish Church, one of the bits left over after the Suffragettes partially burned it down. Unfortunately that went AWOL when we moved here. The Church of its adjoined Parish, where my wife and I were married some forty years ago today *, celebrated the event by getting rid of ‘The Squire’s’ substantial stone pulpit, and acquiring in its stead a wooden pulpit from a Parish Church in Dorchester Dorset. There is nothing new about R&R. Forget not the creation St.Andrew’s Chapel, nor the re-siting of the Brass Memorial to everyone’s favourite ‘Close Relations’ the Hyde Family now to be found therein.

* Please feel free to commiserate with her. 12.June 2011