Diary of Rev Edward Stevens

1886, June 7, Monday   b

Fine all day till evening when a slight shower fell.

Annual “Feast” of the Sibford Benefit Society.

Mr Izat, Vicar of Wroxton preached from text “Felix trembled.” Mrs Izat came and dined with Bell, Rosa and Cassie. Izat dined with me and the Club members. Mr Elley was there as Auditor. Mr Fox who has audited the accounts for many years was not there. Mr Woolgrove, Mr D, Sabin, Mr Thomas Hitchcox and Mr James Rimell were present as honorary subscribers.

Benjamin Messenger Junior and John Lines, Carrier, were drunk early in the day; the former got a fall which cut his head. The latter was troublesome after the dinner so that W. Kay the President ordered the Stewards to put him out of the room which they, gathering round him, prepared to do. But he, seeing that resistance was of no avail walked out quietly.

Our Brass Band played “The Heavens are telling” as a voluntary in Church before service. They also played the National Anthem, the people singing the verse in alternation with the music of the band. I had printed the words including “Confound their politics” and distributed copies about the Church. Everyone sang, and the effect was very good indeed. Mr Izat remarked what a pleasant thing it was to see so many of the villagers present at the service. It appears that no one attends at Wroxton except the members  of the Club and they are few in number.

We gave the members and their wives etc tea and coffee, cake etc on my lawn, where they talked or danced whilst the Band played.

Last year Dr Routh collected money, to which I subscribed ten shillings, and gave a tea to members and their wives, by ticket, in the schoolroom, whilst the band played in Mr Ainge’s field where those who were disposed “tripp’d the light fantastic toe.” Somehow, not explained, Mr Routh declined to undertake the task this year, so a partial return to the old custom of parading the village was resorted to. After playing on my lawn, the Band visited only Mr Woolgrove and Mr Oddie and finished at Mrs Hiorns’s where they played to nimble feet till 8 o’clock when they went to supper. I went out at 10.30 pm and found everything quiet.

Mr and Mrs Dan Shelswell were here to tea on the lawn.

The following cutting from the Banbury Advertiser of 11 June is pasted into the diary at that date.


FRIENDLY SOCIETY.—The annual meeting of this society was held on Monday last, and was favoured with very delightful weather. The members met for business at 9 a.m., and then, preceded by the Sibford Brass Band, who acquitted themselves very satisfactorily on this their first engagement marched to church at eleven o’clock. Prayers were read by the Vicar, the Rev. Edward T. Stevens, and an excellent sermon was preached by the Rev J. R. Izat, vicar of Wroxton from Acts xxiv 25, in which was pointed out with much force and apt illustration the analogy between the Christian Church and a friendly society established for rendering assistance under certain conditions to its members. The congregation, a large and attentive one, sang the National Anthem very heartily at the close of the service, the band playing the tune between the verses by way of interlude. An excellent dinner was served in the schoolroom as usual, the Vicar and the preacher being present, among whom were Messrs. J. Woolgrove, James Rimell, Thomas Hitchcox and Daniel Sabin. A letter was read from Mr. R. Oddie regretting that he was unable to be present owing to a previous engagement. The Vicar read a summary of the report prepared by the clerk, Mr Lewis Poulton, who appears to be working diligently in the interests of the society, from which it appears that the number on the books at the close of 1885 was 133, and the funds in the bank were £348 pounds 14s. 11d. It was also mentioned that as many of the members think it desirable that certain rules should be altered with the view of meeting some difficulties in the working of the society, it had been resolved to ask the opinion of the actuaries as to the best course to be pursued. The health of the Queen, the Vicar, the preacher, Henry Norris, Esq., and the other honorary subscribers having been proposed and drunk “with musical honours,” an adjournment was made to the vicarage lawn, where tea, coffee, &c., were served to the members and their families and friends by Mrs. Stevens and Miss Dix, whilst “young men and maidens” danced on the sward to the enlivening strains of the brass band. A visit to Mr. J. Woolgrove and Mr R. Oddie at Sibford Ferris and another dance in the Orchard of Mrs. Hiorns, Sibford Gower, at all of which places unintoxicating refreshments were gratuitiously supplied, made the time pass very agreeably till eight p.m. when the usual supper in the schoolroom brought the proceedings of the day to a close, and by half-past ten all was quiet again and the village was wrapt in repose.

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