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Blackmore Area Local History

Stondon Massey: Through Changing Scenes

A history of Stondon Massey in words and music.  Written by Andrew Smith, from a performance given in 2008.
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Through Changing Scenes
A History of Stondon Massey in words and music
From a performance given at St Peter & St Paul Church, Stondon Massey (Essex), on 19 April 2008

An extended version of this script is available in two booklets entitled 'Stondon Massey: A Short History', available from St Peter & St Paul Church, priced £1.50 each or by post. Contact Andrew Smith for further information.


ONE
Reeve and Stondon Massey: the name and place.
Music: Psalm 90 plainsong
Voice (standing by the Font): 



Welcome to ‘Through Changing Scenes’: a history of Stondon Massey in words and music.   Edward Henry Lisle Reeve was Rector here from 1893 until 1935.  He was born 150 years ago this year, and was baptised, where I am standing, on 18th April by his father, the Reverend Edward James Reeve.  Tonight we remember our local priest who in his spare time researched and wrote a history of the village.  His work was published between 1900 and 1914.  Here he is now …
Reeve appears from the Vestry and climbs into the pulpit.
Voice moves to front of Reader's Desk
Reeve: 













The name Stone-don is Saxon.  It is the stony or gravely hill or “dun” in the language of our Saxon forefathers, and it is certainly well justified in the conditions of the place. To reach the summit of the Church hill (which it seems likely enough was the site of the earliest settlement) the visitor has to climb a succession of ascents from the valley of the Roding, and from then standing on a bed of good gravel he commands a pleasant view over Ongar to the Weald and borders of Epping Forest.

There was a Stone-don before there was a Stone-don Massey, though this second name was added soon after the Norman conquest.  The Marks family came originally from Marc, in Normandy, and appear to have been a numerous clan.  We owe to them our second name our second name of “Massey”, for this is a corruption of “Marci”, the Latin form of the English Mark. But I think we owe them more than this. I think we owe them the stout walls and strong foundations of our present venerable church.
Voice:

This church was built around the year 1100 and is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul.

Both sit
Music: Tu es Petrus – Palestrina
TWO
The Reformation
Readers stand
Voice:
The manor of Stondon was held by a number of families.  One of the most infamous, during the Reformation, was the Shelley family.
Reeve:











William Shelley, a papist, seems to have been an active-minded man, too active for the dangerous days in which he lived. One morning the tidings arrived that he had been attained for treason. The villagers knew of course that the lord of the manor had little sympathy with the reformation, and that he could not be expected to give a hearty welcome to Elizabeth as his sovereign, but that he had been engaged in a conspiracy to dethrone her Majesty, and to set up Mary Queen of Scots in her place came as a surprise to most of them. Yet this was the charge against him.  Charles Paget, one of the commissioners of the Queen of Scots’ dower, was reported to have landed in Sussex in Mary’s favour, and Shelley and other well known papists were arrested as accomplices. Francis Throckmorton was hanged at Tyburn, and it must have been a very open question with the Stondon people whether William of the manor would not share the same fate. This was in December 1583. 
Voice:


Shelley, with others, was committed to the Tower; and in 1585, ordered to be put to the rack.  There, under torture, he told who the ringleaders were.   He was later charged …
Reeve:
…“that he imagined and compassed the deposition and death of the Queen, and the subversion of the established religion and government of the country”.
Voice:

Pleading guilty at his trial, he was sentenced to be hung, drawn, and quartered.  But he must have had his conviction commuted because he died a natural death in April 1597.
Reeve:

He was deprived of his lands. John Norden in his “Description of Essex” in 1594, writes of Stondon, “Here is Stondon Place, formerly Shelley’s, who was attained for treason”.
Readers sit
Music: Here's a health unto Her Majesty trad. 17th century
THREE
Merchants and a Celebrity
Reeve:



John Carre, who died in 1570, was of Stondon origin.  When a young man he was introduced to the Ironmongers Company.  Later, he figures as one of the earliest members of the Merchant Adventurers Company, incorporated by Elizabeth in 1564.

Voice:

John Carre was married twice, because two ladies appear with him in the handsome brass to his memory.  His nephew was Henry Giles of “Giles’ Charity” fame, still going strong in the village.
Reeve: The will is a very lengthy one, covering several pages of closely written folio. The …
Voice:




… “goods, chattels, money owing to him, household stuff, plate, jewels, and ready money” are to be divided into three equal parts, of which, one part he bequeaths to his wife Agnes, the second part to his daughter, and the third part “for the performance” of certain legacies.

Reeve:













These include £10 for sermons to be preached in the church of the parish where he dies, viz., one each year for 20 years; £5 for a dinner to be made, at the discretion of the executers, by the parson and churchwardens of the parish of Stone-don for “the inhabitants and honest householders by way of gratification;” £5 to the “poore man’s boxe” of Stondon Parish; £15 in current money to be distributed at the discretion of the executers “among the most honest of the Stondon parishioners of the poorest sort,” half the amount on the day of his burial and half within the next half year.

A further sum of £400 is given to the “Mystery of Ironmongers” on condition that for the next 21 years after his decease “two wardens of the said mystery or occupation, and two others of the same fellowship shall provide a preacher learned in Divinitie before the Feast of Pentecoste to ryde to Stondon in Essex, and at the same feaste in the Parish Church there shall be a sermon”. For their expenses yearly on this behalf £5 is specially given.
Voice: The total value of his estate was a massive £8,400.
Reeve:












He was buried on the north side of the Communion Table at the east end of the church, in the presence of four members at least of his old fellowship, no doubt in full state-robes, to the great entertainment of the villagers!

Then, three years later Rainold Hollingsworth, the Rector’s old friend and patron, was laid to rest. Both these graves were in the due course covered with memorials and handsomely-executed brass work which have survived till our own day.

The gentleman appears in the esquire’s armour of the period, with a pointed beard in the fashion of his day.  The dress of the lady is cited as “an early example of the ornamentation of the underskirt, or petticoat, those found on brasses up to 1572 being quite plain”. Certainly John Carre’s ladies in 1570 appear in unornamented petticoats, only three years previously!
Voice:








William Byrd, the famous Elizabethan composer, lived for the last thirty years of his life at Stondon Massey.

He was a composer of sacred music in both Latin and English, writing madrigals and sonnets, and keyboard pieces.  He was quite an all-rounder.  He once wrote:

“There is not any Musicke of Instruments whatsoever, comparable to that which is made of the voices of men, where the voices are good and the same well sorted and ordered. The better the voice is, the meeter it is to honour and serve God therewith; and the voice of man is chiefly to be employed to that end”.
Music: Non nobis Domine [Not unto us, O Lord, but onto Thee be the glory] - Byrd
FOUR
William Byrd: "Our Shakespeare of music"
Reeve:

William Byrd was a remarkable man.  He was bred up to music and was appointed organist of Lincoln Cathedral probably as early as 1563, when he was only about 20 years of age.
Voice:

He was appointed gentleman of the Chapel Royal following the death of Robert Parsons, and shared the honorary post of organist with Thomas Tallis, a composer of some note.
Reeve:


Like most members of the Chapel Royal, though outwardly he conformed, he appears to have remained throughout his life a papist at heart. It was probably on account of his religion that he lived all his life some way out of London where he would be less likely to attract attention. He is described as
Voice:





“a friend and abettor of those beyond the seas”.  Byrd made no secret of his Catholicism but Queen Elizabeth the First loved his music, so he managed, quite literally to keep his head.  In 1575, so smitten was The Queen that she granted Tallis and Byrd the exclusive right to publish music for life.  They became the Lennon and McCartney of their day.

Reeve:




In 1585 Tallis died, and the patent granted to the pair became Byrd’s monopoly. His first important work was published in 1588, and is entitled “Psalmes, Sonets and Songs of Sadness and Pity, made into musicke of five parts”. He was a voluminous writer, and some have ventured to claim for him the composition of the first English madrigal.

Voice:


Byrd wrote very little for the new Anglican church but Tallis, ever the pragmatist, wrote some famous hymn tunes. One of them became known as the Tallis Canon.  So let us stand and sing it now.
Music: ALL  Tallis’s canon ~ Glory to thee, my God, this night
FIVE
William Byrd at Stondon
Voice:











Byrd’s friendship with the Petre family at Ingatestone is well known and he certainly visited Ingatestone Hall in Christmas 1585 and 1589.  It was for there that he wrote Mass settings for three, four and five voices.  If he had been caught either saying or hearing the Catholic liturgy, he would have been in big trouble.  This was a treasonable offence. 

Byrd and his family moved to Stondon Place in 1593, perhaps to be closer to the Petres’ but sufficiently away from London to pursue his Catholic faith.  Stondon Place was the home of (the previously mentioned) William Shelley. Two years later Byrd managed to obtain a grant from Queen Elizabeth for the right to live there for the lives of his three children, Christopher, Elizabeth and Rachel successively.

Reeve:



It must have somewhat nettled the Shelley family to reflect that, while Elizabeth had dealt so severely with them, she had filled their place at Stondon with one who would have rejoiced equally with themselves in seeing her throne occupied by a papist queen, Mary of Scotland.

Voice:


Following William Shelley’s death in 1597, his widow tried in vain to get the property back.  Her son gave up the pursuit and sold it to the Byrd family in 1610.  We know that the family lived there until 1651.

Reeve:

Byrd made his will as an old man of 80, in 1623, leaving the place to his daughter-in-law Catherine Bryde.  He died, probably at Stondon, on July 4th 1623. His death is recorded in the “Chapel Royal Cheque Book” as that of
Voice: a “father of musicke”,
Reeve:

… a title which however may refer as much to his age as to the veneration in which he is held by his contemporaries. He desired that …
Voice:










“I may live and die a true and perfect member of His holy Catholic Church without which I believe there is no salvation for me. My body to be honestly buried in that parish and place where it shall please God to take me out of this life which I humbly desire if so it shall please God may be in the parish of Stondon where my dwelling is: And then to be buried near unto the place where my wife liest buried, or else where as God and the time shall permit and suffer”.

A copy of Byrd’s Will hangs in the Vestry.  Unfortunately, because our Parish Registers do not survive before 1708, we have no record of his burial.  But we, and the BBC who recently made a television programme here on the life of William Byrd, believe that he is buried in our churchyard.
Reeve:


Very possibly the fact of the family having been persistent papists may have militated against any memorial being raised to the great composer in the church or churchyard.
Music: Byrd ~ Justorum animae
SIX
Crime in the 16th and 17th Centuries
Reeve:


We can judge for ourselves the personal appearance of the talented gentleman, who made a home in our village. His reputation as a musician served no doubt in a large degree to shelter him. A very stringent regulation was passed by parliament in 1593, entitled …
Voice:  “An Act to retain her Majesty’s subjects in their due obedience,”
Reeve:





… by which means an obstinate and prolonged refusal to attend public worship as now reformed was made a capital felony, and this was embodied by James I in the Canons of 1604.  Now from the year 1605 it was regularly recorded that the Byrde family were “papistical recusants”; and Mrs Byrde in particular, if the reports of the minister and churchwardens are to be believed, seems to have been very zealous in making converts.
Voice: 











“William Bird and Ellen

“For Popish Recusants. He is a gentleman of the Kings Chapel, and as the minister and churchwardens do hear the said Will Bird with the assistance of one Gabriel Colford who is now in Antwerp hath been the Chief and principal seducer of John Wright son and heir of John Wright the Elder. And the said Ellen Bird as it is reported and as her servants hath confessed have appointed business on the Saboth Day for the servants of purpose to keep them from church and also done her best endeavour to seduce Thoda Pigbone her now mayd servant to draw her to popery as the mayd has confessed and believes hath drawn her mayd servant from tyme to tyme those 7 years from coming to church and the said Ellen refuseth conference, and the minister and churchwardens have not as yet spoke with the same Wm Birde because he is from home”.

Reeve:



Byrd himself is said to have actually been excommunicated from 1598 onwards! 

In 1612, Bryde is presented “for that he will not pay the rate for his land lying in the parish to the reparation of the Church and bells, which sum is 20 shillings.”

Voice:
Churchwardens again reported “Catherine Bird. Widow” at Romford in 1624 as a “popish Recusant”.
Reeve: Interesting “presentments” to the Archdeacon are scattered up and down the Visitation Registers.
Voice:






In 1590, Sarah Kempe, “the wife of John Kempe of Stonedon” was accused that “she abuseth and slandereth his neighbors and the churchwarden Pleadest ‘She hats not abused any of the parishe in any manner of speache’”.  Her sentence: “The next Sunday she shall come to the minister into the churche of Stondon in the tyme of divine service and shall publicly ask God forgiveness for that she hath both abused and slandered her honest neighbors and also ask her neighbors forgiveness for her abuse towards them”.

Reeve:





John Foxton (1614) “for withholding the sexton’s wages, which was due for half a yeare at midsomer last past.” Robert Gurnett (1614) is presented as a “papisticall recusant, which came not to his Parish Church these two yeeres past, lyeing disolutelie and disorderlie, being an alehouse keeper; while Gurnett is excommunicate by the Chancellour of the Lord Bishop of London for abusing the Minister and the then Churchwardens.”

Voice:





Henry Whyte of Stondon was cohabiting with Christiana Witthams of High Ongar in 1593, something which was not approved. “She admits kissing him”, the Court heard. “Two years ago she had child by John Kirby of Stondon who is since dead”.  The sentence was: “Public penance  … in Brentwood market, by her, Thursday, between 11am & 2pm & Sunday after, in High Ongar Church”. Often the guilty party had to wear a white sheet, walk barefoot and carry a wand.

Music: And then he kissed me………
SEVEN
Nathaniel Ward
Reeve:





















We must now pass on to our 35th known rector.  Nathaniel Rich was at this time Lord of Stondon Manor, and he it was who in all probability presented Nathaniel Ward to the benefice.

The two men were in very much the same mind in religious matters, holding Puritanical views.

Unfortunately for Ward’s peace, Bishop Laud was most conscientiously determined to strengthen the traditional and Catholic position of the Church of England as a true branch of the Church of Christ. It was not long before Ward himself felt the weight of the same iron hand. In 1630, the Rector was “presented for not wearing a surplice in Church for the two last years past, and that prayers were not constantly read in Church on Wednesdaies, Fridaies and Holydaies”.

In 1632 Ward was suspended; then excommunicated for non-obedience to the Canons, and on 16th Dec. he was deprived.

On his expulsion from his living, Ward determined to visit New England about which he had heard so much, and in the 1634 he set sail.

The pulpit in Stondon Church with the reading desk attached was erected during Ward’s incumbency, and bears the date 1630. I think we may trace Ward’s handiwork. On the panels of the desk we find the words …
Voice: “Christ is All in All”
Reeve:

… the text of the famous discourse of his brother Samuel, “preacher of Ipswich”, which was published in 1627, while in the pulpit is carved “2 Tim. iv. 1-2”, the reference being to the words of St Paul, …
Voice: “Preach the word in season and out of season”,
Reeve: … which no doubt was a favourite Apostolic injunction with the Puritan divine.
Revd Thomas Smith
Voice:


If you were someone who after a while could not get on with the clergyman, then Stondon was not the place to live.  Between 1735 and 1935, the parish was served by only five Rectors beginning with Thomas Smith.
Reeve:








Thomas Smith succeeded his father, and once settled at Stondon remained for 56 years. He had sufficient engagements to make him a busy man. In addition to being Rector of Stondon and a Surrogate, Mr Smith was also Rector at Aythorpe Roding and from 1756, Curate of Blackmore!

I wish the Rector had known how to take a little more care of the Parish Registers!  We find entries in his handwriting inserted here and there apparently just where space seemed to offer itself, quite regardless of dates; and, while he gives us abundant information in some cases, he makes a note of others with a brevity which is, to say at least, timesome and perplexing.
Voice:

Mr Smith was twice married. His first wife was buried in December, 1779; while the second survived him 34 years, dying in 1825. The silver chalice now in use in the church was given by her in his memory.
Reeve:


I confess to having a warm place in my heart for the old man who ministered to the people of Stondon for so long a term of years, and who, like myself, was born at the Rectory House, baptised in the old Church, and brought up in the village in which he was subsequently to serve.
Music: Monsieurs Alman  ~ Byrd arr (for organ) Hatt
EIGHT
The Stondon Ghost
Reeve:


















I may perhaps be permitted to digress a moment at this point to say a word or two about the Jordan family, whose connection with the parish dates from this period. The first of the name known to us is Mr Richard Jordan the earliest mention of whom occurs in the vestry minutes of 1741. He and members of his family resided at Stondon House, and five generations were buried in the family vault in the churchyard. From 1749 to his death in 1754 he acted as Churchwarden, and so far as I know he was in every way a man of unimpeachable probity. It seems therefore very hard to settle upon him the responsibility of our traditional Stondon Ghost, but I know more successors better able to bear the burden. The tradition is that much difficulty was encountered at the burial of the body, no fewer than eleven clergy assisting; and that on several occasions on the sexton peering into the vault to see if all was well he found the corpse lying still and motionless outside the coffin! Eventually the unfortunate gentleman’s remains were chained down!  Such a burial was certain sooner or later to develop a ghost.  All sorts of wild tales were circulated about him; he had been seen late at night hovering around the churchyard, and had terrified passers by. A man returning from Ongar with a scythe in his hand which he had taken to be ground had encountered the ghost and had tried to mow him down, but had found that as he tried to decapitate the figure that his own arm remained poised in the air paralysed and helpless! Recollections of the ghost’s prowess lingered far into the present …
Voice: the nineteenth …
Reeve



… century. There is no authentic record of his appearance since about 1845 when he is said to have been seen flitting silently past the Rectory to disappear among the trees in the vicinity of the National School. Possibly he had latent forebodings that the education which this new structure symbolised would prove the extinction of all hobgoblins fairies and genii, himself with the rest!
Music: Some enchanted evening – Hammerstein arr TA
NINE
Revd. Oldham
Voice:


Succeeding Thomas Smith was the Reverend John Oldham.  He built his Rectory, now Stondon Massey House, on the other side of the road to the church in around 1800.
Reeve:





He was very particular, too, to have everything of the very best. The timber brought for the new house is said to have been twice sent back to the builders as not sufficiently seasoned to the Rector’s mind.

He was his own Architect. He is said to have evolved the plan of his new Rectory during a tour in Switzerland.
Voice: He was a good Priest who held classes each Sunday at the Rectory study.
Reeve:

Mr Oldham himself had but one eye; - a glass substitute glistened from the other cavity. But his boast was that he could see as much with one eye as many persons could see with two.
Meyer Family
Voice: The Meyer family lived at Stondon manor during the mid nineteenth century.
Reeve:







Mr Meyer enlarged and improved the cottages belonging to Henry Giles’ Trust, putting them into substantial repair with good brick sides and fronts.  In 1861, he purchased Stondon House from Mr Richard Jordan.  The Jordan family had lived very little at Stondon since the opening decade of the century; and the house had been used as a school for girls.

The lord of the manor Mr Meyer died in 1870, and his widow was anxious to leave the church some permanent memorial of him. Her proposals were:
Voice:



“to build at her own expense a mortuary chapel, to remove the gallery at the west end, build an Organ-chamber opening from the chancel, erect a new Vestry in lieu of the present one which will be taken down, and supply a heating apparatus for the warming of the church”.
Reeve:


Mr Meyer took great interest in the lads and young men of the parish, and might often have been seen in those earlier days with the young rector, Mr Reeve, enjoying a game of cricket with their youthful friends and parishioners.
Music: Laws of cricket ‘psalm’ – chant Hopkins
TEN
The Reeve's Come To Stondon Massey
Reeve:









Mr Edward Reeve, who purchased the advowson in 1849, had for some little time been seeking a suitable parish as a sphere of work for his only son. On Stone-don the selection fell. Naturally he was not satisfied with the condition of the church, and he can scarcely have unpacked his effects when he began to move for a thorough restoration. Only instituted in May 1849, we find him calling a Vestry Meeting in July “to consider the proposed repairs”.

The south door was repaired and re-hung, and the north door was closed and plastered over outside, which personally I think is to be regretted, though probably the step was taken to secure warmth for the building. A useful cupboard now stands in the thickness of the wall.
Voice:
Even more useful now is a toilet extension through the re-opened north doorway.  This was built in 2005.
Reeve:










An entire rearrangement of the seats was made throughout. In the nave, decent pews were substituted for the pens of past years, and carried to the door of the church.  An old inhabitant spoke of them quite naively as “the old calf-coops”.  The old oak screen was repaired where necessary. The Font was placed upon a new pedestal, and the Jacobean Reading-desk and Pulpit were re-arranged. Previously, these had been one above the other in the form known as the “three-decker”, the Church-clerk sitting in a special desk beneath his Rector.

Mr Hollingworth’s north gallery was taken down after a short life of 25 years, but on the other hand the humble “Singer’s Pew” at the west end was magnified into a west gallery, and adorned with a barrel organ, playing 20 sacred hymns tunes!
William Wrenn
Voice:



















This brings us to William Wrenn, an agricultural labourer living on the Green near the Bricklayers Arms, who was, in 1853, appointed Parish Clerk by the Rector.

Wrenn took his duties zealously. He led the hymns and read the Psalms, and repeated the responses with much fervour.  Frequently, when the preacher mentioned the ‘Sacred name’ during his sermon, Wrenn was known to add a fervent and loud “Amen”

He wore Reeves father’s cast-off clerical garments, arriving early on Sundays and, despite having a wife and several children, stayed all day at church bringing with him his dinner.  He perhaps found the church a peaceful place to be. 

He kept near him a hazel stick, with which he could prod youngsters who chose to speak, titter or misbehave during worship.  During Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent, when the local school attended church, his stick was frequently in use: clouting the head of an offending culprit.

As a young man he played the flute in the church choir, later turning the handle of the barrel organ which superseded the players in the west gallery.  Such was progress!  Or was it??
Music: [Gallery Band] – All people that on earth – Kethe / Bourgeois
ELEVEN
Victorian Stondon
Voice: Life in Victorian Stondon was very different to today.
Reeve:


























Well, they were the good old days in many respects.  The smock-frock of the labourer (a specimen of which it is difficult to find to-day) was the common dress of the time, and Sunday after Sunday the little church was filled with well-intentioned, if ignorant, worshippers, with a regularity which would compare favourably with our manner in these later days. All the men sat on the north side of the church, all the women on the south. The farmers clustered together in a large long pew immediately behind that of the lord of the manor which was dignified by a lock and key, while their wives were accommodated in the parallel pew on the other side of the central passage.

On their way to church the labouring men would walk each one a few paces in advance of his wife, while the good women observed a decorous mien behind her master. The order is dying out, though it was still commonly kept in my boyhood. I only remember one exception, and this was more apparent than real. The woman walked the regulation distance in front of her husband, but she was undoubtedly the better man of the two, and probably he was well aware of it!

In harvest the largest of the three bells was tolled at eight in the morning and at five in the afternoon as a signal for gleaners to enter and leave the fields. This was to prevent any unfair advantage being taken by those who had no family ties over those who were not able to leave home so readily. The introduction of machinery for mowing and reaping, and the efficiency of the horse-rakes has made anything like general gleaning a thing of the past, and the bell has not been used for the purpose for many years.

In 1887 and 1897 Stondon loyally observed the celebrations in honour of her Majesty’s long reign, with a dinner to the parish, an afternoon of sports, tea for the children, and fireworks in conclusion.
Voice:  This was the Golden and Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Music: Stanford ~ Te Deum in B flat
TWELVE
Recent Times
Reeve:













All is changing, and with the Parish Meeting to fulfil the functions of the ancient vestry, we have but little of the old order left.  In 1898 a Post Office was established at Stondon, a great step in the direction of civilisation.

What will be the future of our little hamlet one cannot say. Our numbers have hitherto been wonderfully constant, varying only from 230 to 300 all through the more recent centuries. There are evident signs to-day that the great metropolis is drawing nearer. For several years the extension of the Ongar railway has been hinted at in the direction of Chelmsford or Shenfield, and it is possible some of my readers may live to see a locomotive steaming through the valley adjacent to our old Hall. Villa residences rising in unexpected corners serve to indicate that the expiration of another fifty years may find the old parish a very different place. But Floreat Stondon! May Stondon flourish, whatever startling innovations the 20th century may have in store!
Voice:





















Reverend (later Canon) Reeve would have seen some startling innovations in the twentieth century and the gradual growth of the village.  By 1951 its population had more than doubled and today there are around 600 people living in Stondon.

Many new houses appeared.  Reeves Close was built opposite the Giles Charity Almshouses in 1947.  These were nine pairs of ‘Airey’ houses constructed with steel and concrete. The site was rebuilt in the late 1980s.  It retains the original name.

A telephone service arrived in the village in 1930.  Electricity was laid on in 1938.

The National School, which was near to the junction of Chivers Road, closed in 1953 and children were transferred to the school at Kelvedon Hatch.  The building was demolished the following year.

Stondon Massey Village Hall opened in 1919. The Blackmore, Stondon and District Ex-Serviceman’s Club, founded in 1922, had a Hall on the site of what is now the new Tipps Cross Remembrance Hall just outside the parish boundary.

At this Hall, three days a week, a Post Office operates. The local village shop closed a few years ago. But the Bricklayer’s Arms is still open. So as we raise a glass to Stondon residents past and present, we too wonder what the twenty-first century will have in store for this ancient parish.
Music: Everything’s up-to-date - Hammerstein
THIRTEEN
William Byrd - A Legacy
Voice:








As an amateur local historian Reeve was particularly interested in the life of William Byrd and keen to create a lasting legacy in the parish to this great English, but Catholic, composer. 

1923 marked the tercentenary of Byrd’s death.  At that time there was a resurgence of interest in his music.

In a letter to The Times, published on 21 June, Canon Reeve noted the commemoration of Byrd’s life and work in many leading churches and cathedrals but brought to public attention the place where the musician lived and was buried.
Reeve:

Is it not time (in these broader-minded days), that some local monument were erected to his memory? I leave the matter in confidence to your readers.
Reeve descends pulpit stairs and exits.
Voice:























The national Committee that had been formed the previous year found that following a concert of Byrd’s work in London that July and subscriptions received, there was a sufficient balance to provide a tablet to the composer’s memory.

The memorial includes “the words, in raised lettering, “A Father of Musick”, these being taken from the Byrd entry in the ‘Cheque Book’ of the Chapel Royal”.

The unveiling of the memorial was marked by a Service in March 1924.  It was attended by twenty men and boys of the Chapel Royal who sang a selection of Byrd’s work.

“Considerable local and general interest was taken in the historic event [on Wednesday] and the church was filled some time before the service started. An imposing touch of colour was provided by the long scarlet and gold-braided coats of the boy choristers, with the white laced ruffs as were used in Byrd’s time”.

“The service took the form of evensong, with sung responses by Byrd. Psalm 84, ‘O how amiable are Thy dwellings’. In the place of the Magnificat, Byrd’s anthem, ‘O praise the Lord, ye saints above’ was finely rendered. For the Nunc Dimittus, the anthem ‘Come to us we beseech Thee’ (Byrd) was substituted. After the third collect ‘Justorum Animae’ (Byrd) was sung, followed at the close by the hymn ‘For all the saints’, sung to the tune by Vaughan Williams. Practically all the singing was unaccompanied. The choir, led by Mr Stanley Roper, gave faultless renderings”.  So let’s see if we can give a faultless rendering as we conclude with ‘For All The Saints’.
Music: For all the saints – Vaughan Williams
Last Updated: 26 December 2009
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