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Sir Philip Rose’s Private Chapel at Rayners

Oratory of the Immaculate Heart of St. Mary and St. Philip, Rayners

The Rose family, Tylers Green, Sir Philip Rose Bt., Baxter, Rose and Norton
Sir Philip Frederick Rose Bt.
Correspondence with the Bishop of Northampton
Chapel at Rayners
Father Herbert Ignatius Beale arrives 1889.  

The Rose Family
As local families go, the Rose clan is an old one. They were around during the reign of Henry VIII.  Since then the names of numerous Aldermen, Mayors and Burgesses whose surname was Rose, crop in local and county records.

Sir Philip Rose Bt. – First Baronet
Wycombe born Philip Rose was a solicitor who lived in London, where he was a partner in the firm Baxter, Rose and Norton. He undertook the legal work for the proposed Great Northern Railway Line, purchasing land and drafting parliamentary Bills. He played a considerable part in bringing the first railway line to High Wycombe – the branch line from Maidenhead which used to go from Bourne End via Loudwater.

He worked tirelessly for charity and was the founder of the Brompton Hospital in London. Benjamin Disraeli, a friend and neighbour at Hughenden nominated Philip Rose to Queen Victoria for a Baronetage.

With the local community in mind, Philip Rose built for the Church of England, St. Margaret’s Church – named after his wife Margaretta.

Rayners became the employer and home to a great number of people from the the village of Tylers Green.

Sir Philip Rose Bt. died in 1883. The oldest son – Philip Frederick Rose inherited the title and Rayners.

Sir Philip Frederick Rose Bt., Second Baronet.
Philip Frederick was educated at Harrow and followed his father into the legal profession. He, his wife and children lived usually at Rayners from May to October and in London for the remainder of the year.

10 January 1885
This report in LONDON FIGARO caused a bit of a stir in Penn and Tyler’s Green.

The reception of Sir Philip and Lady Rose into the Roman Catholic Church has created some sensation in South Kensington. Sir Philip was formerly Church Warden at St Matthias, Earls Court and his perversion will be a loss in more senses than one to the cause.

Back in Tyler’s Green, any fear of change and disruption on the estate and in the village soon evaporated when it became clear that the new Squire had every intention of carrying on with the work started by his father:

  • A bell tower was added to St Margaret’s Church
  • Sir Philip Frederick donated a block of land and upon it built the Tyler’s Green Parish Rooms
  • A grand Fete and fireworks party was held in the estate grounds and all proceeds went to the upkeep of the Parish Rooms.

Getting to Mass on Sunday, however, was proving to be a bit of a headache for the Rose family. The nearest Catholic Church at the time was St Peter’s in MarIow.

March 1889
– Sir Philip wrote to Bishop Arthur Riddell, Bishop of Northampton.
Rayners
Penn
BUCKS Station, Loudwater, GWR
March 1889

 The Rt. Rev the Lord Bishop of Northampton

My dear Lord Bishop

By the death of my mother I have come into possession of the family home here.  I am a convert to the Church of some four years ago but owing to my Mother’s occupancy during her life of this place, the question which now presses upon me had not hitherto arisen.

I allude, of course to the provision of means for the practice of my religion when resident here. The position is this. I am distant, between 8 and 9 miles from Great Marlow which is the nearest Catholic Church, and as your Lordship will appreciate, it is quite impossible for Lady Rose and myself to drive this long distance, to say nothing of my family (six children) and several Catholic Servants.

Under the circumstances, I shall be glad of your Lordship’s kindly advice as to what is to be done. The house here is a large one, in the sense of there being a great many rooms in it and there is one which hitherto has been used as an organ chamber which could be adapted for the purposes of a small chapel. If, therefore your Lordship would be willing to authorise the celebration of Mass in the house, I shall be ready to provide all the necessary fittings and appliances for a Chapel if some arrangement could be made for Mass being said on Sundays and Holy Days, during such time as my family are resident here.

 I ought to mention that still being engaged in business, I am not able to reside there all year round.

But as I know that my friend Lord Alexander Lennox, when resident at Stoke Farm near Slough, used to have Mass in the house when there, which was discontinued when he was in town – I suppose such an arrangement as I should desire would be practicable.  

I should, of course be prepared to entertain any Priest who came to the house for Sunday.

May I ask your Lordship’s kindly advice and assistance?

I am my dear Lord Bishop
Yours very faithfully
Philip F Rose

20th March 1889 – The Bishop replied
Bishop’s House
Northampton
20th March 1889

 I can make the Chapel at Rayners into a public oratory for the Catholics of Rayners and the neighbourhood; the chapel would be open to the public.

  1. This I am willing to do and allow it be a public oratory until such a time as there is Mass said on Sundays in High Wycombe.
  2. After that it will be necessary to apply to the Holy See for leave to have a private oratory, if you wish.
  3. The Chapel must not have a bedroom above it.
  4. I am prepared to provide you with an Altar Stone if you have not got one.
  5. At present I cannot provide you with a priest, but I am willing to give leave for saying Mass and faculties to any priest you may secure, if he has faculties for his own diocese.
  6. I say at present because I hope to be able to send a priest to High Wycombe, this will depend however, on means for his support.

Arthur Riddell
Bishop of Northampton.

22nd July 1889 – Sir Philip wrote back to the Bishop
Rayners
Penn
BUCKS
22nd July 1889

My dear Lord Bishop

I do not hesitate to say at once that the arrangement suggested by your Lordship will be quite acceptable and I hope to hear, after your interview with the priest on Wednesday, that he will agree to them as a condition upon which I am bound to pay £100 a year.

The only alteration I should venture to suggest in the timetable would be that we should have a second Mass at Rayners, as soon after the priest arrives from High Wycombe, having regard to any confessions he may have to receive. Say that the priest leaves Wycombe (after 8 am Mass) by 8:45, he would then be at Rayners by 9:15 or thereabouts, and Mass could follow at 9:30 or 9:45. Breakfast would follow Mass, an arrangement that would probably suit the priest’s comfort better than Communion at 9:30 and breakfast between Communion and Mass.

Of course there will be an offertory at Rayners and no doubt some Catholic friends will from time to time be there, whose offerings will go to help the Wycombe Mission.

 Believe me, my dear Lord Bishop

 Yours very truly
Philip F Rose

The result of this correspondence was the arrival of Father Job Wallace who went to Rayners for a very short time. It is known that he visited High Wycombe but whether he said Mass in High Wycombe and where, is not known. Following Father Wallace, another priest was appointed, his identity is unknown, but his stay too is believed to have been short. Over the next month or two, until the arrival of Father Beale. it is believed that a number of outside priests – possibly Oratorians, known from Sir Philip Frederick’s reception into the  Church at the Brompton Oratory, came out to say Mass on an occasional basis. It is almost certain however, that Mass was said in the Chapel from July/August until November 1889, celebrated by many and various priests.

On 25th July 1889 Bishop Arthur Riddell appointed Father Herbert Ignatius Beale, as Chaplain to Sir Philip Frederick Rose Bt. He had been the Chaplain to the Scott-Murray family at Danesfield House, Medmenham near Marlow. Father Beale is believed to have taken up his appointment at Rayners in September 1889. The Revd G. V Bull was appointed to Danesfield in succession to Father Beale.

4th October 1889 – The Catholic Times

“Oratory of the Immaculate Heart of St. Mary and St. Philip, Rayners, Penn, Bucks.

Last Sunday special services were held here in the thanksgiving for the harvest and all other temporal blessings. The chapel was very prettily decorated with flowers, wheat, grapes and fruit, which afterwards, with the offertories of the day were sent to the Wycombe Cottage Hospital. There was Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with special devotions in the afternoon.”

Sit Philip’s request for a chaplain at Rayners without doubt enabled Bishop Riddell to turn his attention to establishing a mission in High Wycombe. The Bishop would have been well aware of this large town without a priest beforehand. But with all of the other missions being opened at this time, he would have been very pressed for money and priests, probably stretched to his limits.

Father Herbert Ignatius Beale was to become the first priest of the new mission of Saint Augustine’s, High Wycombe.

Death of Sir Philip Frederick Rose, Bart – 23rd October 1919
The last years of Sir Philip’s life were marked by considerable tragedy.
His oldest son Vivian, a grandson and a son-in-law were all killed in the First World War.  Vivian Rose, though over 45 years old had volunteered. He was severely injured in battle at Loos.

“My dear boy”, recorded the grief-stricken father, “returned home a shattered wreck” He lived for only a few months.

On 23rd October 1919 at 4pm, at the age of 76, Sir Philip Frederick Rose died.

Following the funeral he was interred in the family vault at St Margaret’s Church, Tylers Green. The funeral was reported widely in the Press.

Friday 31st October 1919. Bucks Free Press.

TYLERS GREEN, FUNERAL OF SIR PHILIP ROSE, Bart

“It was a bright autumnal day but a piercingly cold wind blew over the countryside and was keenly felt in the burial ground of St Margaret’s Church at Tylers Green. On Monday morning at 1O:30am a Requiem Mass was said in the Chapel (at Rayners) in the presence of relatives and personal friends of the deceased gentleman. The impressive service was conducted by Rev Canon Peacock assisted by the Rev Canon Flint from Thetford (formerly Priest at Wycombe for 22 years and Chaplain to the deceased Baronet). Rev A Tillet (Marlow) and the Rev Gerald Flanagan served the Mass. Mr Summersby acted as Cross Bearer and Misters McVey and W Jemmett were the acolytes. Masters Leo Finlayson, Leonard Watson and Tulio Caine carried respectively the Holy Water vat, the incense boat and the thurible.

During the celebration, the six unbleached candles around the coffin remained lighted and also four candles on the altar. On the coffin there was a superb wreath of roses from Lady Rose, another of chrysanthemums from the deceased’s children and a third from his grandchildren.

After the Mass, the officiating Priest, vested in cope said the prayers immediately preceding the Committal Service. When the prayer beginning ‘May the Angels lead thee unto paradise’ was reached, a procession was formed and headed by the cross bearer and acolytes, the chief mourners and other sympathising relatives walked to the place of internment. The route taken was by the drive and the Church path into Hammersley Lane. The coffin was conveyed on a wheeled bier. On its arrival at the family vault which is situated under a portion of Tylers Green Church, the grave was blessed and the verses of the Psalm ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel’ were recited alternately by the priests. After the coffin had been sprinkled and incensed, during which The Lord’s Prayer was said, it was lowered into the vault.”

The Mourners included the Marquis of Lincolnshire (Lord Lieutenant of Bucks), Earl Howe, Mr Coningsby R Disraeli, Mr Baring du Pre MP, the Mayor of High Wycombe (Mr (Owen Haines), Rev G Hayward (Vicar of Tylers Green), Mr G W Arnison  (Headmaster of The Royal Grammar School), Mr Scanes (Solicitor to the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway), members of the following families: – Vernon, Glenister, Wethered, Borlase, Wheeler, Perfect, Evans, Beale, Layne, Winter and Cakebread.

The Butler and Head Gardener at Rayners were among the named mourners as were estate and house workers and the Land Girls.

The names of those who sent floral tributes filled a further 18 inches of column space in the Bucks Free Press. Personal Tributes from the Vicar of Tylers Green, the Beaconsfield Bench and Aylesbury Magistrates also appeared in the paper.

The Bucks Free Press shall have the last word “During the Mass and during the internment, the bell of St Margaret’s Church was tolled and the flag in the Church yard was hoisted half-mast. The parishioners and the school children were admitted to the vault after the funeral ceremony, practically the whole village attending to pay their tribute of respect to the memory of a universally loved Squire.”

The Chapel at Rayners closes

Lady Rose contacted Canon Peacock and the Bishop with the news that she would be moving from Rayners to Shanklin, Isle of Wight. Subsequently, Canon Peacock with a cart borrowed from Mr Borlase moved the effects from the Chapel. A few items were brought to Wycombe, the rest to Beaconsfield.

From ‘Gem of the Diocese’ a history of St Augustines Church, High Wycombe, by Sheila Mawhood, 2003.


Sir Philip and Lady Rose Golden Wedding, 25th July 1916

The passage of the years has brought this week an event of interest to people in Penn and the surrounding district, and indeed to those of a far wider area. Tuesday last, July 25th, was the fiftieth anniversary of the marriage of Sir Philip Frederick and Lady Rose, and though the celebration of the day was shorn of festive incidents which would have marked it in normal times, it was nevertheless one worthy of special record. In a time of peace one can be certain that the hospitable gates of Rayners would have been thrown open to a large assembly of relatives, friends, and neighbours. We may be quite sure, too, that on such an occasion there would have been a notable demonstration of the best of all tests of character – the esteem of the people among which one dwells. But the shadow of War broods over the all the incidents of life and over all the homes of the land, mansion and cottage alike. Thoughts have turned from Rayners to Germany, where Captain P. Vivian Rose, the eldest son, is a prisoner of war, grievously maimed; and to France, where the second son is fighting. And within the last few days has come sad news that deepens the gloom – that Lieut.-Colonel Henderson, husband of Sir Philips eldest daughter, has made the supreme sacrifice for King and country. Under these circumstances anything in the nature of a fete was out of the question. The day went by quietly, with no outward signs of recognition – though messages of affection from many quarters showed that the anniversary was not forgotten.

The ceremony which formed the starting point of half a century’s happy married life was celebrated at St. George’s, Hanover-square, where, (as the repetition of the formal announcement to be found in another column sets out) there entered into the “holy estate” “Philip Frederick, eldest son of Philip Rose of Rutland Gate and Rayners, Penn, Bucks” and “Rose Annie, daughter of the late Rev. William W. Pym, Rector of Willian, Herts.” The bridegroom, then in his 23rd year, was a scion of a well-known local family. The name of Rose has been associated with High Wycombe for some two hundred years; Thomas Rose (the present Sir Philip’s great-great-grandfather), who was born at Thame in 1701, having settled at Wycombe, where he and his successors practiced the profession of medicine down to a comparatively recent date. They were prominent in local life and several members of the family filled the office of Mayor of the Borough. Sir Philip Rose, the first Baronet (the title was created in 1874) entered the law, and his successful career as a member of the eminent London firm of Baxter, Rose and Norton is well-known. They were pioneers in railway promotion on the legal side, in which special branch of the profession their name was a household word. They were the Parliamentary solicitors for the Bill of the Great Northern Railway in 1846 and were connected with the Great Eastern and many smaller lines now swallowed up by amalgamation with the larger trunk systems. The elder Sir Philip was closely associated with the late Lord Beaconsfield, and was one of the executors of the will of the famous statesman.

Sir Philip Frederick Rose, the present Baronet, was born on November 4th, 1843, and succeeded to the Baronetcy in 1883. He was educated at Harrow, and in 1860 went straight from school into the office of his father’s firm. He began his initiation into the legal technicalities of railway promotion at once; and it is an interesting local reminiscence that in 1861 he prepared the Parliamentary Reference for the Bill for the Extension of the Wycombe Railway (then open to Thame) from Thame to Oxford, and from Risborough to Aylesbury. In 1866, shortly before his marriage, he became a partner in the firm. With the traditions of Baxter, Rose, and Norton behind him, and his own work in Parliamentary Committee Rooms it was natural that Sir Philip’s interest in railway matters should have been keen and comprehensive. In 1867 he became connected with the Brighton Company, for which he continued to act until his retirement from professional life in 1908, when he was elected to the Board of Directors. Since that date he has by no means been an idle man. In addition to his Brighton Railway Directorship, he has for many years been on the London Board of the Life Association of Scotland and on the directorate of several other large financial Companies. He has, however, had sufficient leisure to enable him to take a prominent part in the affairs of his county, of which he was High Sheriff in 1898. He is a member of the Standing Joint Committee, and Chairman of the Wycombe Bench of Magistrates. In the political sphere he has been a notable figure on the Conservative side, being Chairman of the South Bucks Conservative and Unionist Association. Though holding strongly to his opinions, he has always been respected by his opponents as a fair and honourable fighter; and the present truce during the War had his hearty countenance and support.

Lady Rose is a daughter, by his second wife, of the late Rev. Wm. W. Pym, for many years Rector of Willian, Herts, and a grand-daughter of Admiral James Noble, who had an eventful career in the Navy, serving under Lord Nelson in the Agamemnon and several other ships during the wars with France and Spain in the last years of the 18th Century. He was severely wounded on several occasions, and for many months was a prisoner of war in France, having been captured by Napoleon when sent by Lord Nelson to the Austrian General with dispatches. Through her grandfather, Lady Rose is descended from a French ancestress, Mademoiselle de Joncourt, a Huguenot lady driven from France by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The wheels of time certainly bring about curious changes in their revolution, for 120 years ago her grandfather, fighting against the French,  was made prisoner by Napoleon, and now her eldest son, fighting with and for the French, is a prisoner in the hands of the Huns.

Sir Philip and Lady Rose have had eight children, five of whom survive – three daughters, all married, and two sons. Their eldest son, Captain P. V. Rose, who followed his father as legal advisor of the Brighton Railway company, joined the Army at the outbreak of the War as Staff Captain of the 63rd Brigade, was severely wounded at Loos last September, losing his left arm, and is still a prisoner of War in a Hospital at Aix-la-Chapelle. Their second son is a Lieut. In the R.E. and is serving in France.

It only remains for us to give expression to the hope which we sure is entertained by all who know them – that Sir Philip and Lady Rose may continue in health and strength till the day of the Diamond Wedding dawns.  Bucks Free Press 28/07/1916

Footnotes:

Death of Sir Philip: just 3 years afterwards 23rd October 1919.
The last years of Sir Philip’s life were marked by considerable tragedy.
His oldest son Vivian, a  son-in-law and a grandson were all killed in the First World War.  Vivian Rose, though over 45 years old had volunteered. As noted above, he was severely injured in battle at Loos.

(Philip) Vivian ROSE, Captain, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, 7th Battalion.
Age: 48, Died: 25 Apr 1917, Taken Prisoner of War, Died Military Orthopaedic Hospital, Shepherd Bush, of wounds received at Loos, 26th September 1915.
He is buried in the Family vault, outside the West end of St. Margaret’s church.
He was Born: 25 Mar 1869, South Kensington, London. Pre-war occupation: Solicitor.  he was married to Maud Winifred Rose née Gillian, Md. 1899, 5 Roland Gardens, S Kensington.

Lieut–Colonel Albert Norman Henderson, Killed in Action.

We much regret to record that Lieut. -Col. Albert Norman Henderson, son-in-law of Sir Philip and Lady Rose, has been killed in action (23rd July 1916, the first day of the Battle of Poiziers). His regiment was the 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire, in which, until about two months ago, he held a commission as Captain. He then was promoted to Major, and when in the great advance his Colonel was wounded, he became provisional commanding officer. This was confirmed by the War Office very recently, carrying with it the rank of Lieut. – Colonel and definite command of the Regiment. Now comes the sad news that he has fallen. Lieut. – Colonel Henderson won the Military Cross some months ago. The gallant soldier, who was the youngest son of the late Mr William Henderson of Irvine, N.B., married Miss Mary Gertrude Rose, eldest daughter of Sir Philip F. and Lady Rose, in February 1895. There are no children.  Bucks Free Press 28/07/1916. There are memorials to Col. Norman Henderson in St. Edith’s Church, Monks Kirby, Rugby, Warwickshire. and Irvine Old Parish Churchyard, Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland.  He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 9 A 9 B and 10 B, France. His wife Mary’s address was given as Little Meadow, Knotty Green, Beaconsfield.

Geoffrey Edward Rose BARTLETT, Midshipman,
Royal Naval Reserve HMS Bulwark, Age 19,
Died 26 Nov 1914, as a result of a large explosion on HMS Bulwark, whilst loading ammunition.  Buried: Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hants, Refce. 6. Born: c1895, S Kensington, London.
Parents: Edward Noel Napier Bartlett J.P. & Dorothy Bartlett, née Rose, second daughter of Sir Philip Rose of Rayners.
4 Tenby Mansions, Nottingham St, London, W1,
late of St Margaret’s Cottage, School Road, Tylers Green.


Incumbents of Tylers Green

LIST OF INCUMBENTS OF TYLERS GREEN CHURCH

WaIter Carmichael Gibbs, M.A.             1854
John Power, M.A.                                     1862
Edward Jackson Lowe, M.A.                   1868
William Henry Pengelly, M.A                 1874
Robert Franklin Ashley Spencer, M.A. 1883
Gerald Hayward, M.A.                            1918

Both Walter Carmichael Gibbs and Robert Franklin Ashley Spencer are buried in the Churchyard. The position of the Grave of the first Vicar is. now exactly under the Altar steps, although his Memorial Stone lies outside the east wall. The Rev. R. F. Ashley Spencer’s Grave is on the south side of the Porch.

(The above from Mrs Becher’s History)

John Kenneth Siderfin                1952 – 1966
George W. Young                        1967
Michael E. Hall                             1981 – 2000
Michael Bisset                              2003


Walter Carmichael Gibbs, (1854 – 1862)

Rev. Walter Gibbs, who was to be the first Vicar of Tyler’s Green, … was highly recommended to Philip Rose by a much admired clergyman friend and was described as “an unobtrusive gentlemanly man of Middle Age, of independent means and without a family, who is seeking an independent charge and is to a great extent indifferent to stipend … well known to the Archbishop of Canterbury and many of the best Anglican Clergy. His wife is said to have a gift for schools and visiting”. Rose took him to Penn to introduce him to Mr Knollis and to afford Lord and Lady Curzon the opportunity of hearing him preach and was immensely enthusiastic. He thought he was “admirably suited for the District and his accepting it may indeed be regarded as the most favourable feature in our whole arrangements”, although he did add on a more doubtful note, “he is Irish and perhaps a little too energetic in his style of preaching, but I think him very well”.

Walter Gibbs died in 1862 and is buried under the Altar steps, though his Memorial Stone lies outside the East wall.

Edited from: The History of St. Margaret’s Church Tyler’s green, Miles Green, 1984


Rev. John Power (1862 -1868)

“to crown our labour with success” – Shelf, Halifax, Apl 29 1851
Dear Sir, By the enclosed circular you will perceive that we are endeavouring to erect schools for the uneducated and poorer classes of society in Shelf. I don’t know that I pursue a more useful course for the benefit of the people and the property in the place, than to erect schools, where the children may receive a suitable education in connection with the Church Establishment in our land, and feel encouraged that you will excuse me for appealing to you for help under such circumstances. If the money for the building could be procured in the district I certainly should not think of appealing to the public at large. I endeavour to raise the endowment in accordance with the advice of my respected Diocesan, who has kindly offered £10 towards it. The Church of St Michael here is well attended and the number of scholars in the Sunday School remains the same as stated in the circular. I must it will still please… to crown our labour with success and in every plan wish believe me. Yours very faithfully John Power.

So wrote the Rev. John Power in 1851 to William Priestley of Tadcaster, when attempting to secure funds towards the construction of a school in Shelf, West Yorkshire. Born in Merevale Warwickshire in 1818 he consistently displayed the highest levels of charitable and philanthropic ideals not always so evident in the Victorian Clergy. After marriage in March 1853 in York to Elizabeth Harriet Graham he eventually ended his Yorkshire Living, and moved south to the Isle of Wight to become the Vicar of All Saints, Newchurch, he was also Chaplain to the Mission for Seamen. Back on the mainland he succeeded Walter Gibbs in 1862 to become just the second Vicar of St. Margaret’s Tylers Green, a post he held for six years. Having both a wife and daughter, not to mention a half-sister in his household, it was apparent that the existing accommodation for the Vicar, Yew Tree Cottage (now The Red House!) was too small, there was certainly no prospect in raising the funds from the inhabitants of the village, who Power described as “amongst the poorest of the poor” so Earl Howe and Philip Rose became the principal benefactors, the new Parsonage House being completed in 1865.

By October 1868 Power was on the move again, this time westwards to Exeter, where he was appointed Vicar of the Bedford Chapel, Bedford Square, he once again demonstrated his charitable principals, by introducing, despite some opposition “Penny Dinners for Poor Children”, he felt that even if only a penny was paid the recipients would not be regarded as paupers. The Chapel itself no longer exists having been destroyed by enemy action in May 1942.

After a brief spell at Dodbrooke Nr Kingsbridge he ended his days as Vicar to the parish of Altarnun on Bodmin Moor, he died on the 6th February 1887 aged 69 and is buried in the Churchyard at St.Nonna’s Altarnun.

Ronald Saunders, October 2018

Above is the only known possible photograph of John Power. It is of the wedding of Sir Philip Rose’s daughter Louisa in May 1868, it is known that John Power assisted at the wedding, (there were 2 other vicars officiating). If you look closely at the bottom left of the photo next to the man in the grey top hat you will see what appears to be a vicar. Unfortunately we cannot confirm this. This is the earliest picture in the Village archives.


Rev. Ashley Spencer’s Short Stay In Brazil

Dear VV. I came across the below from the Lancashire Evening Post, on Friday 27th March1908 (the story must have come from a press agency) and I thought it might be of interest.lt reads as follows:

‘Vicar’s Short Stay In Brazil’
A unique experience has fallen to the lot of the Rev. Robert Ashley Spencer, the vicar of Tyler’s Green, near High Wycombe. Early in February he undertook a voyage to Madeira for his health and having spent a few days there, he met a personal friend, and accompanied him on his steamer bound for Brazil. Absorbed in conversation, he found himself being carried on to Pernambuco, where safely arrived after an eight days voyage. On his arrival he at once despatched a cablegram to his wife, who, not knowing what had become of him had had an anxious time. Mr. Spencer only remained in South America for a couple of hours availing himself of a steamer that was returning to Madeira immediately. His momentary absent-mindedness involved him in a voyage of 6,000 miles.

Alan Birch, Village Voice 167, April 2015


The Last Journey of Robert Franklin Ashley Spencer

A TRANSCRIPTION FROM THE BUCKS HERALD 8th JUNE 1918

“We deeply regret to record the death of the Rev. R.F Ashley Spencer Vicar of Tylers Green. On Thursday May 30th he attended a meeting of the Ruri-Decanal Conference at Marlow, only arriving at Loudwater Station on his return at about 10pm.

He had no carriage to meet him, having arranged to walk home. He walked from the station along the private road to Rayners, and later half way home was taken ill with internal pains so severe that he felt it almost impossible to go any further and contemplated – it being a warm night – the possibility of having to remain until morning lying on the grass by the side of the road. However, remembering that his two dogs of which he was devotedly fond, called for attention, he managed with a great effort to struggle home. Mrs Spencer had been for some days taking a rest cure at a nursing home in Wycombe. Feeling very ill on his arrival at the Vicarage, Mr Spencer sent for the District Nurse, and a telephone message was sent to Dr L.W. Reynolds of High Wycombe, who came up at once. Dr Reynolds found him suffering from acute Peritonitis and sent his car in the morning to remove the patient to the same nursing home where his wife was staying, the District Nurse accompanying him. Dr Reynolds, desirous of a second opinion called in Dr Huggins, but the patient’s heart (which had long been affected) was in such a condition that both doctors agreed that an operation was out of the question, and the end came from heart failure just before 7 o clock the same Friday evening. Mr Spencer retained his consciousness until very near the end and was able to give a message to his wife, and even to choose the hymns for his funeral.

The late Rev. Robert Franklin Ashley Spencer who was born in County Wicklow Ireland was the son of a well-known London clergyman. He was presented to the living of St Margaret’s Tylers Green, by the Late Earl Howe in the year 1883 on the retirement of the late Rev. W H Pengelley. Mr Spencer’s father was a Clergyman of the old evangelical school, and the son a moderate high church man. Mr Spencer at the time of his death, had held the living for nearly 35 years. He was a very earnest and popular clergyman, and also found time to give valuable service in public affairs in the District and County. He was a member of the County Council of the Board of Guardians and rural district council which he joined in 1886 and the Chepping Wycombe Parish Council.
He had occupied the Chair of each Body, and also been Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Guardians and of the rural district sanitary committee.He was a member of Wycombe Joint Burial Board. Chairman of Wycombe Rural Food Control Committee and a Trustee and Member of the Committee of the South Bucks Friendly Society. His services in connection with these public bodies are well known to all of the residents in the district. Deceased was a Conservative and Secretary of the Tylers Green and Penn branch of the South Bucks Conservative and Unionist Association, being a constant attendant at its meetings. At an early date in the War he applied for a Naval Chaplaincy and served for many months in one of the hospital ships of the Grand Fleet in the North Sea.”

His grave is in the south-east corner of the Churchyard in a position chosen by himself during his lifetime.

Ronald Saunders, St Margaret’s and Holy Trinity Penn Parish Newsletter, August 2018


St Margaret’s Choir Circa 1925

For some while it has been a matter of concern, that there existed little in the way of a pictorial archive for St. Margaret’s, so the Revd. Mike Bisset was delighted to receive in November last year, the photo below, together with the names, from a Julia Pennbridge who resides in California. She came across it in her loft.

The picture dates from the early to mid-1920s and was taken outside the porch, which had no external doors, these not being fitted until 1935. Dominating the picture is the earnest looking Revd Gerald Hayward. He had been Vicar since the death of his predecessor, the Revd Ashley Spencer, in 1918 and was to be only the second incumbent in nearly 70 years. He wears two medals, from when he was a wartime chaplain, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Back Row (L to R) Reg Adlum (Verger), Jack Winter, Fred Hawes, Burt Wimble, John Gulliver, Robert Barnes, Jack Gravestock, Tom Burrows (Bell Ringer).
Middle Row (L to R) Gladys Small (Organist), Charlie Small, Harry Holmes, ? Tiffin,
Gerald Hayward (Vicar), Burt Rigwell, Arthur Lacey, Chris Long, Miss Rignell.

Front Row (L to R) Cyril Chivers, Fred Bacheur, Norman Wright, John Galsworthy,
Keith Barnes, Eric Gravestock, Jack Chivers, Maurice Gravestock.

With nearly 30 people pictured space only permits a small potted history of some of the people present. On the left in the middle row are married couple, Gladys & Charlie Small who had married in 1925, (this helps to date the photograph). Charlie who had been born in Aylesbury and later lived in “Woodside”, Tylers Green had served in the Great War with The Northamptonshire Regt. Gladys had been organist since 1918.

The two Chivers bothers Cyril and Eustace “Jack” were the sons of William and Rose Chivers from Beacon Hill. Cyril died in 1989 and Eustace J in 1957 whilst they were living at “Old Orchard” West Avenue. Another set of brothers shown are Robert and Keith Barnes, the sons of William and Janet Barnes. Young Chris Long, in the 2nd row, was the nephew of Ernest Long who was killed just two weeks before the Armistice in 1918.

Next to him is Arthur Lacey, son of the Tylers Green chimney sweep. Some of the names have not travelled well, for example in the middle row sits Lambert Rignall (not Burt Rigwell) from Hazlemere Road and at the end of the line sits his older sister, Sarah Elizabeth Rignall.

Harry Holmes resided at “Sunnyside”, Kingswood Road which he shared for a while with his in-laws William and Alice Tiffin.

Returning to the back row we find Albert Whimble from Richmond Surrey, he lodged for a time with Miss Oakley at Laurel Cottage, before seeing service in the Royal Flying Corps in WW1. Perhaps the best known is Tom (not Bill) Burrows extreme right back row. Tom was blind, but this did not stop him from tending the oil-lamp at St. Margaret’s as well as ringing the bells. He also weaved wicker baskets from his workshop in Beacon Hill. Three Gravestock boys are also pictured, Jack and Maurice were the sons of Albert & Zillah and Eric, probably their cousin, the son of Horace and Emily. Standing next to the Verger, Jack Winter is the son of John Winter, the bailiff at Gomms Farm.

So we are left with Fred Hawes, John Gulliver, Fred Bacheur, who may be the son of Col. Arthur W Bercher who lived in Hammersley Lane in the 1920’s, Norman Wright and John Galsworthy. There was a Galsworthy family in the village at the time but not with a son John. The nearest I could get was Lewis Thomas Galsworthy who died in 1943 in Burma in a Japanese POW camp. His name now appears on the War memorial.

And finally, the Verger, Reg Adlum. The Parish Office does not hold a record of past
Vergers so if anybody can identify Mr Adlum, please let me know.

Ron Saunders , March 2018