The History of St Margaret’s Church, Tylers Green, 1854-1837 – written by Mrs. Violet I. Becher.
ST. MARGARET’S CHURCH
was built by those who lived before us
not to be an interesting specimen of architecture
FOR THE GLORY OF GOD
THE UPLIFTING OF HIS PEOPLE.
Whosoever, therefore, thou art, that enterest in
To kneel and pray
FOR THE HOLY CHURCH OF CHRIST,
THIS DIOCESE, THIS PARISH AND THYSELF,
at all times to Reverence
with solemn quietness
THIS HOLY PLACE,
That it may be to Thee and to Them
None other than
THE HOUSE OF GOD
A GATE OF HEAVEN.
HISTORY OF THE CHURCH AND PARISH
THE Church of St. Margaret, Tylers Green, was consecrated on the 20th of October, 1854, as a District Church of Hazlcmere. It was built on the site of an old brick kiln, on land conveyed by Earl Howe and Philip Rose of Rayners. The money was raised by voluntary subscriptions (of which Philip Rose, who afterwards became the first Baronet, was a considerable subscriber) assisted by a Grant of £100 from the Incorporated Church Building Society.”
The Architect was Mr. David Brandon. The Church is of an Early English style of architecture, and the Builders were the local firm of Zachariah Wheeler – whose descendants to the fourth generation still practise the same trade in the village of Tylers Green.
The Church was originally served by Curates sent from High Wycombe Parish Church.
Land, as additions to the Glebe, was conveyed by Earl Howe in 1866, and again in 1871; a piece of ground as an addition to the Churchyard was given by Earl Howe in 1902, and consecrated on June 5th of that year.
The Church was built of chalk flints found in Common Wood, together with some black ‘flints which came from Clay Street. The sand was dug from Tylers Green Common. In 1932, when the extension to the Church was made, the flints were procured from the same place.
Nine years later, the actual Parish was constituted under the Provision of an order in Council dated September 12th, 1863, with the title, The Consolidated Chapelry of St. Margaret, Tylers Green, and comprised portions of the Parishes of Penn, Hazlemere and High Wycombe. The Church of St. Margaret then became the Parish Church of the new Benefice.
The Church was named after Margaretta, Lady Rose, wife of the first Baronet, and was dedicated to St. Margaret of Antioch, a representation of whom will be found in the stained glass window above the Lectern.
LEGEND OF ST. MARGARET OF ANTIOCH
THIS Saint was a daughter of a heathen priest of Antioch, and was secretly converted to Christianity by her nurse. When she grew up, the Governor of Antioch desired to marry her, but she refused him with scorn, and at the same time declared herself a Christian. Her parents were horrified; they fled, abandoning her to the power of the Governor.
He subjected her to the most cruel tortures, but nothing availed to move her constancy. She was then cast into a dungeon, and here Satan, in the form of a terrible dragon, came to tempt and alarm her; but when she held up the Cross she always carried, he fled in confusion.
Another version of the legend is that he swallowed her, but immediately burst asunder, and she escaped unharmed. Being once defeated, he came again to tempt her in the form of a man, but succeeded no better.
She was then dragged from the dungeon, and greater tortures inflicted upon her, which she bore with such patience and firmness that five thousand persons were converted by her wonderful example and desired to suffer with her.
The Governor, seeing this and fearing that more would follow her, ordered her to be beheaded, and she thus at length received with joy the crown of martyrdom on the 20th of July, in the year A.D. 306.
THE INTERIOR OF THE CHURCH
THE Church has accommodation for about three hundred persons. Additions were made from time to time, chiefly as gifts, and took the form in most cases, of Memorials to members of the Rose Family.
THE ORGAN was made by Messrs. Bishop and was presented in memory of William Barker Rose, by friends who attended his funeral on February 21st, 1872.
THE TOWER, containing eight Tubular Bells by Messrs. Harrison, was given by Sir Philip Rose (the second) and Mr. Bateman Lancaster Rose in memory of their Mother, Margaretta, Lady Rose, who died in 1889.
An old inhabitant writes: “For many years there was only one funny little bell to call us to Church, and the Voluntary was never allowed to commence before the Rose Family from Rayners entered the Church door.”
PROCESSIONAL CROSSES. There are two Processional Crosses:
1. Given in memory of Frederick Powell.
2. Given in memory of C.W.P., and presented in 1924.
THE PULPIT is of carved stone, and bears the inscription: “We preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord.”
THE BRASS LECTERN was a gift made in I876 by Sir Philip Rose and his wife Margaretta, Lady Rose.
THE FONT is of stone with a wooden cover, and used to stand just inside the West Door. Later on, owing to its inconvenient position, it was moved, and the present Baptistry was made and given by the Vicar and the Parishioners as a Memorial to Margaretta, Lady Rose, in the year I889.
THE ALTAR originally stood where the Communion Rails now are. There was a marble Reredos and panelling round the Sanctuary, which, together with the painted decorations on the walls of both Sanctuary and Chancel, had been given by Sir Philip Rose (the first) as a tribute to his wife, about I886. At a later date, plaster figures of angels playing on instruments of music, were added to the Sanctuary. These were the gift of Mr. B. L. Rose, who also gave a painted and gilt wrought-iron screen and brass candlesticks. The Altar itself was a rough wooden table made of deal. The niche behind the Altar was inlaid with gold and blue mosaics, said to have been ‘picked up in Italy. The seven gilt and brass Sanctuary Lamps were also said to have come from Italy, and these have been re hung in the new building.
The floor was of coloured tiles, but the three steps of approach to the Sanctuary were of different coloured marble. The first step was white; the second black, into which the heavy brass Altar Rails were set; and the third step was of rose colour. These marble steps were given by the Powell family and were meant to signify Sin, Repentance and Redemption.
STAINED GLASS WINDOWS. There was a large three light stained glass window at the East end of the Church,
with representations of our Lord.
1. The Raising to life of Jairus’ Daughter.
2. The Resurrection.
3. The Feeding of the 5,000.
This window was given by Sir Philip and Margaretta, Lady.Rose, in memory of their Mother, but the colouring was so heavy that very little light penetrated to the Sanctuary and Chancel. There were also two small windows in the Chancel wall facing the organ:
1. St. Lucy.
2. St. Agnes.
which were presented by Sir Philip and Margaretta, Lady Rose, in memory of a family friend, Mrs. de Ste. Croix. These were all removed in 1932 when the Church was enlarged and the East Window was re-erected in a Church in Bethnal Green. There are now ten stained glass windows:
1. King David. In memory of James Plaistowe of Loudwater Paper Mills, who died in 1885.
2. St. Peter. In memory of H.M. Queen Victoria’s 50th year of reign, 1887.
3. St. Paul.
4. St. John.
5. St. Michael.
These three windows were given in 1889 by Mr. B. L. Rose, in memory of his Mother, Margaretta, Lady Rose.
6. St. Philip and St. Andrew. A two light window given in memory of Sir Philip Rose (the first) in 1883.
7. The Baptism of our Lord. In memory of Daniel Horton, 1907.
8. The Blessed Virgin Mary. (Same as 2.)
9· St. Mary Magdalene. In memory of Robert Baxter Rose, 1887.
10. St. Margaret. In memory of Margaret Amelia Rose, 1882.
It is said that at one time the Vicar, the Rev. R. F. Ashley Spencer, made a stipulation that when a non-parishioner was buried in the Churchyard, a stained glass window should be given to the Church instead of a fee.
THE ALTERATIONS OF 1932
The present Vicar, the Rev. G. Hayward, came to Tylers Green in 1918, during the last year of the Great War; and when the world had settled down after the fierce struggles of the war years, he set to work to make the Church a thing of beauty and orderliness.
The old oil lamps, faithfully filled and tended for twenty-one years by the blind Verger, Mr. Tom Burrows, were replaced with gas; and these, in turn, were discarded for electric light when it became available.
The Parishioners have responded to the Vicar’s desire to have only the best in the House of God, and whenever a need was realized, this has been made possible of fulfilment by the generous gifts of those who worship there.
The Church possessed practically no Communion Plate, and on Christmas Day, 1919, there was dedicated a beautiful hand-wrought silver Paten and Chalice encrusted with amethysts – the gift of a few members of the Congregation. Made by Mr. Omar Ramsden, it bears the following inscription:
“I was wrought by desire of the Communicants of Tylers Green Church in memory of those men who went forth to fight and came not back again. 1914-1918.”
One of the chief subscribers was the wife of Dr. Alexander Whyte, the famous Scottish Divine, who for a short while made his home in Tylers Green.
In 1922 the whole of the interior of the Church was repainted, and a new and adequate system of heating was installed.
Originally the only Vestries were the passage-way connecting the Church with the Tower. Two new Vestries were added in 1922 and in the following year oak furniture was provided for the Vicar’s Vestry. The total cost amounted to over £300 and the money was raised by local efforts.
In 1924 the Organ was found to be in a very bad state of repair, and it was put in order at a cost of £50.
Next year it was discovered that the roof was in a dangerous state, and that the ledge supporting the Tower was unsafe. Efforts of all kinds were made to raise the necessary funds, and the roof was thoroughly overhauled and the Tower put in order at a cost of about £270.
The Churchyard, from being something of a wilderness, has been gradually improved and is now, perhaps, one of the most beautifully kept Churchyards in the County. Flowering trees were planted, and beds were cut and are kept bright with flowers. The large Limes surrounding the Churchyard had grown so large that they were making the Church dark and damp. These were cut and are now trimmed so as. to form a screen. In 1930 a tool shed was built so that proper gardening equipment might be safely stored.
It had long been the desire of the Vicar to do something to bring more light and space into the Sanctuary. Even on the brightest of days it was impossible to see there without artificial light, and reverent Administration was almost impossible owing to the cramped space. The Choir stalls were so near together that when kneeling accommodation had been provided for the Choir boys, the passage was barely wide enough for two people to pass abreast. In 1932 the opportunity came, and the Church was enlarged and various improvements took place.
Under the guidance of Mr. Biddulph Pinchard, the Architect, the East Wall was pulled down and a new and much larger Sanctuary was built on. A small rose window was put into the East end, with a two light window on both north and south sides of the Sanctuary. An extension was made on the south side of the Chancel, and a four light window inserted to give extra light. The name of Bateman Lancaster Rose is cut into one of the steps of the Sanctuary in memory of all he did for the Church during his lifetime, and in consideration for many gifts, which had to be done away with when the Church was enlarged.
The extension and the decorations to Sanctuary and Chancel follow the tradition of the late fifteenth century.
THE ALTAR. The Altar was given by a few friends in memory of loved ones killed in the Great War. It is of Bath stone, carved in panels with a Retable. The spacing and the number of steps follow the traditional order. They are of hewn stone from a quarry near Bath, and are of a lovely rich colour.
THE CROSS AND CANDLESTICKS, given with the Altar, are carved out of pieces of oak, four hundred years old, which came from the Belfry of Wells Cathedral when part of the interior was restored. The design is silvered over. Later it was found necessary to put stands underneath them, and these small blocks. are also made of oak four hundred years old, which came from the Belfry of Holy Trinity Church, Penn.
THE ALTAR RAILS. These were given by a few of his old friends to perpetuate the memory of the Rev. R. F. Ashley Spencer, Vicar of this Parish, 1883-1918. They are of oak, and have small figures carved on them symbolic of the Christian virtues – Praise, Charity, Kindness to animals, See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil, etc.
THE CLERGY AND CHOIR STALLS. These were the gift of the Rev. M. H. Hayman, in memory of his Father and Mother, who lived here and lie buried in the Churchyard. They are carved in old brown oak, from trees which have been cut in Thame Park. This particular Buckinghamshire oak, which is very difficult to procure, is of an extremely hard nature and beautiful colour.
The Dragons at the foot of each Bench-end are the traditional symbol of St. Margaret, the Saint to whom the Church is dedicated, and the carvings on the inside faces of the Poppy heads are her emblem-the marguerite daisy. On the medallions of the Poppy heads facing the Altar are representations of the two Archangels, St. Michael and St. Gabriel, and on those facing the Nave are depicted the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) and the Dove (The Holy Spirit).
THE SANCTUARY ROOF. All the wooden screens and ceilings in the Churches of the fifteenth century in England, especially those in the West Country, were painted in tempera colour and gilded; and such painting is the prototype of the painted and gilded ceiling over the Sanctuary. This painting was executed as a voluntary piece of work by five members of the Congregation.
The Foundation Stone of the new Building was laid by Editha Rose (the Widow of Bateman Lancaster Rose) on Sunday, July 24th, 1932; and the completed Building, with all its gifts, was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Buckingham on Sunday, October 9th, 1932.
Nearly the whole of the work was paid for by generous voluntary gifts, the total cost of these improvements amounting to £1,200.
When the foundations for the extension were being dug, a glass jar was found under the original Foundation Stone, containing eleven coins of the year 1854. They were of the following denominations: 2/6, 2/-, 1/-, 6d., 4d., 3d., 2d. in silver and 1d., a ½d, a ¼d and a 1/8d (half farthing) in copper. These were cleaned and framed and now hang in the Vestry. A fresh set of coins, dated 1932, were buried under the new Foundation Stone.
FURTHER ALTERATIONS MADE IN 1934 AND 1935
IN December, 1934, the Pews were scraped and cleaned of the dark varnish with which they had originally been painted, and have been left in their natural state. The result is the beautiful colour we see to-day.
Early in 1935, oak doors were added to the outside Arch of the Porch, in order to enclose it; and a four light window was inserted in the South wall of the Porch to give the necessary light. This work cost about £80.
LIST OF INCUMBENTS OF TYLERS GREEN CHURCH
WaIter Carmichael Gibbs, M.A. … … 1854
John Power, M.A. … … … … … 1862
Edward Jackson Lowe, M.A. … … 1864
William Henry Pengelly, M.A. … … … 1874
Robert Franklin Ashley Spencer, M.A. 1883
Gerald Hayward, M.A. … … … … 1918
It is interesting to note that 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 first Baptism took place on February 4th, 1885; a brass tablet has recently been unveiled and placed in the window near the South Door commemorating the death of Martha Holloway, “dearly beloved wife of Richard Holloway of Acton. She was the first child to be baptized in this Church.”
Up till April 1st, 1937, there have been 1,611 Baptisms, 497 Marriages and 1,155 Burials.
The population of Tylers Green to-day is over 1,000.
LIST OF CHURCHWARDENS
1854. Mr. Edward Wheeler.
1854. Mr. Philip Rose (afterwards became the first Sir Philip Rose).
1870. Mr. Zachariah Wheeler (brother of Mr. Edward Wheeler).
Mr. Lancaster Rose.
1892. Mr. Henry Cakebread. Elected eighteen times.
1892. Mr. Thomas Griffin. Elected sixteen times.
1910. Mr. R. F. Hayman.
1911. Colonel A. W. Becher.
1913. Mr. S. G. Long. Elected eighteen times.
1914. Mr. Alfred Ware.
1919. Dr. Beattie.
1928. Mr. J. F. Parrott.
1931. Sir Robert Evans.
At first the singing was led by Mrs. John Sutton, until the Church acquired a Harmonium.
The following ladies were known to have played at the Services:
Miss Ellen Power (about 1866-1868).
Miss Rose, who afterwards became Mrs. Wake.
The Organ was installed in 1872.
1872. Mrs. Perry and Miss Perry, Schoolmistresses. at Loudwater School.
1878. Mrs. Saba Jordan Rees, who afterwards became Mrs. Bushell King.
The Organist’s salary at this time was £12 a year.
1884. Miss Mabel Ranking.
1888. Mr. Willie Lewis Luttman, of High Wycombe.
(Appointed Organist and Choirmaster at the age of 14.) M.A. Mus.Bac.(Cantab), F.R.C.O.,
Mr. WaIter Luttman (brother).
Mr. Browne. He was blind, and only played for a short time.
1903. Mr. Stanley Galpin, C.V.T.C.L., A.R.C.M.
1918. Miss Gladys Beale, who afterwards became Mrs. Charles Small.
1928. Mr. Bond.
1929. Mr. Stanley Bridger.
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL
IT was in answer to an advertisement by the Rev. WaIter Carmichael Gibbs that Mrs. John Sutton came with her husband from Seer Green to take up the duties of teaching the children in the newly-formed Parish of Tylers Green. The only educational centre that existed before she came was a lace school where a few girls were taught lace making, and there was no other instruction.
In 1854 Mrs. Sutton opened a Church Day School in her own house (now known as Tyler Cottage), under the Vicar’s supervision, and here also she started a Sunday School a few months after the Church was dedicated. She was Head Teacher of the Sunday School for forty-four years until 1899, and continued as a teacher until her health finally compelled her to give up in 1904.
About four or five years after she came to live in Tylers Green, owing to a severe illness, Mrs. Sutton was obliged to give up the Day School, and this was taken over by Mr. Williams and held in what is now known as the Holiness Mission Room. As the number of the scholars grew, the eldest children were drafted to the Penn Reading Room, and the Infants remained behind and formed a separate Infant School. It was here also that the Sunday School was carried on.
The present School Buildings were built in 1875 as a Board School, but the Infants were not included until 1894 when it became the Council Schools.
In 1886 Sir Philip Rose gave a piece of land opposite the Church for the purpose of building a Parish Room in connection with St. Margaret’s Church. The Sunday School was moved in here on completion of the Building. It was discontinued towards the end of the Rev. R. F. Ashley Spencer’s time, but was once more started by the Rev. Gerald Hayward in response to many requests. To-day it is a flourishing School consisting of about 130 scholars, and the great attraction is the Children’s Service, held every Sunday afternoon in Church by the Vicar, and attended by many of the parents.
IT may be of interest to record that the Lamp Post at the Churchyard Gate was given by the Girls’ Endeavour Society, under the leadership of Miss Lydia Barnes, about the year 1906.
The oil lamp was also presented by this Society so that it might be lit every night at 10 p.m. during the winter when there was no moon. A collection was made yearly throughout the village in order to pay for the oil, and the lamp was faithfully tended by Mr. Tom Burrows until the Great War, when all lights were forbidden.
THE WAR MEMORIAL
SOON after the conclusion of the Great War it was desired to raise a Memorial to those men who had gone forth from the village, and who had laid down their lives. It was decided to provide a Recreation Ground and to place a Memorial in the Church or Churchyard. A Stone Cross was chosen, and this was erected on the outside south wall of the Church, close to the Porch. ‘l’he Cross was unveiled by Lord Lincolnshire, Lord Lieutenant of the county of Buckinghamshire, on Thursday, August 26th, 1920, the Dedication Ceremony being performed by Bishop Taylor Smith, Chaplain General to the Forces. It bears the following inscription:
IN THANKFUL AND
LOVING MEMORY OF
THE OFFICERS AND
MEN OF THIS VILLAGE
WHO LAID DOWN
THEIR LIVES IN THE
Ernest Bovington. John Ricketts.
Francis Coombes. Frank Rogers.
William Crabbe. Sidney Rogers.
Frank Deadman. Vivian Rose.
Frederick Eustace. Robert Saunders.
Sidney Fountain. Robert Scott.
Daniel Hazell. George Smith.
John James. Edmund Sturge.
Ernest Johnson. Alfred Trendell.
Bert Lewis. Ernest Trendell.
Cyril Long. William Wheeler.
Ernest Long. Arthur Dover.
Joseph Nicholas. Harry Dutton.
Maurice Perfect. Hugh Fryer.
THERE was no Vicarage at first, and The Red House at Rayners Gates (later on enlarged and known as The Red Cottage) was lent for this purpose until the proper Vicarage was built in about 1868. The Rev. R. F. Ashley Spencer had some medical knowledge and fitted up one of the rooms in the Vicarage as a dispensary for the people of the village. During the Great War he served as Chaplain to the Royal Navy and his place was taken by various Clergymen for short periods.
The present Vicar, the Rev. Gerald Hayward, served as Chaplain to the Army in France and Flanders before his appointment to Tylers Green.
My thanks are due to all those who helped me in the preparation of this Booklet:
To Mr. Arthur ]agger, for looking through the letter-press.
To Mrs. Wake and the many others who so readily gave me all the information at their disposal.
To Mr. Edward Sweetland for permission to publish photographs taken by him.
To Messrs. Freer and Hayter for supplying line blocks.
And I acknowledge with very grateful thanks the kindness and encouragement given me by the Vicar, the Rev. Gerald Hayward, at whose personal request this Record was undertaken.
V. I. BECHER.