Diary of Rev Edward Stevens

1874, December 2, Wednesday 

A lady called about a French pupil, but nothing came of it. I drove to Sibford from Banbury taking new lamps for church with me, of the “Silver pattern”. It was very cold. Divine Service at 7pm. Special for God’s blessing on Missions. I preached ex tempore. The new lamps give a soft, diffused and pleasant light in the church. Received £4.5 from Miss Macmaster for examining her pupils’ exercises. Put up at Mrs Elley’s.

1874, December 3, Thursday

Paid many visits in Sibford, among them to William Poulton, carpenter, who in answer to my request said he should not remove his timber from the front of the church till he was forced. His wife also was very rude and even passionate and tearful about it. “I a’ allays lent water for the church and lent a hammer too when they was decoratin’ for Harvest Festival, and I a’ done a good deal like o’ that for the church I ‘ave. But now I ain’t a goin’ to do no more. When you preached your first sermon in the church I did say I thought as how we’d got a nice good gentleman at last for a clergyman, but now you no sooner comes into the town than you wants to take the bread out of our mouths you does,” said she, whimpering.

“No, Mrs Poulton, I don’t want to take the bread out of your mouths but I want to take your timber away from the front of the church, where you have no right to put it and where it constitutes a nuisance in more ways than one. I would rather you did so at my friendly request than at any compulsion. But you will have to do it.” I left them still talking.

Returned to Oxford.

1874, December 6, Sunday

Funeral of labouring man named Hone, the first I have had in Sibford. There was a very high wind with rain so that I could stand in the church yard only with difficulty. I had a very dark drive back to Banbury this evening. John Harris junior a postman of a district the other side of Banbury was with me. His parents are tenants of my cottage, and as he walks out to see them on Sunday mornings he is glad to get a “lift” on returning.

1874, December 10, Thursday 

Received from Miss Ackerley, Sefton House, West Derby, Liverpool, £1/2 for examining her pupils’ exercises. Returned from Sibford by 4.45 train from Banbury. Leonard came to dinner. Stock of Pembroke, Mack, the Cingalese of Exeter, and Frank Coghlan, of Balliol were invited but could not come. Hughes came this evening.

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