Mrs Becher's Diary


Julia Bigge

I think it is encouraging to find that the Saints of this earth are capable of human frailty. And if there have been Saints in Tylers Green, Julia Bigge has a high place among them. Gentle, meek, lowly of heart and with a child-like love of Jesus, she seemed to make the Church more holy with her presence when she came to worship there; and we were blessed indeed to have her walking the Holy Life in our midst.

I think she must have been very conscious of her own unworthiness, for I remember her once saying to me “I wish the Vicar would not pause so long after we have made our confession before pronouncing the Absolution. We have time to sin again”.

Her sister came to live with her at the Pines and they were both deeply interested and worked for the Guild of S Rafael and Healing by Faith. After two years her sister died and it was then I learned of her dread of nurses. She must have been deeply hurt because she spoke so bitterly of the callous treatment she had experienced at their hands. It was the only unkind word I ever heard her utter and when she came to die there was no question of a nurse for those about her attended to her needs.

One would often meet her taking solitary walks about the village and when she became a little frail she would be accompanied by her maid. I remember speaking to her one day on the road, and as we talked an acquaintance passed by and I asked if she had called on her. She screwed up her face in the quaint way she had and told me “no – I have no clue to her!” She was small and aristocratic looking with gentle brown eyes. I think she was lonely but she loved beautiful things and took an immense interest in her garden. She was ill for a long time and suffered much as she got weaker, but her patience and gentleness were the outcome of the life of faith which she had lived so beautifully among us.

The small oak table on which her private Communions had been Celebrated is now in the Vestry of the Church and has been ever since her death for the preparation of the linen and the Sacred Vessels.

To her memory was given to the Church by Lord Stamfordham (her brother) the Funeral Pall on which her name is embroidered. And in acknowledgement of the kindness she received from him, Lady Teignmouth presented to the Vicar a white silk Chasuble which I worked at her request.