Diary of Rev Edward Stevens

1886, June 30, Wednesday   a

Not so hot today as yesterday. This afternoon we drove Ruby through Staverton to Daventry. here I noticed a gentleman coming down the street who appeared to have a very bluish-white and black kind of beard, and whilst I was wondering what sort of dye he made use of, he smiled and came across to me, when I recognised him as a German gentleman who lived at Sandford on Thames when I was Curate there, and was tutor to the son of Mr Kitchen the proprietor of the paper mill there. He was licensed as a “Reader” by the late Bishop of Manchester, and Lee, my Vicar, allowed him to read the Lessons in Church one summer whilst I was having my vacation. He introduced himself to me on my return when Lee was taking his holiday and I could not do less than let him continue to read them. I wish I had not, however, for his foreign accent was so strong that the people could not understand him at all. He wished to continue to read them on Lee’s return but he told them that as there were two strong lunged parsons to do the service it would not be proper for us to trouble the laity for their assistance. He was afterwards French and German master at Bloxham School and appears now to be settled with the Moravian Society at or near Byfield. He said I had not altered in the least.

I visited the Church at Daventry which is very good, though it has a gallery round the North, West and South Sides. The silver maces for the use of the Churchwardens are very handsome and valuable.

Mr. Davies took me to see a friend of his who is a Civil Engineer employed on the construction of a branch line of L&NW from Weedon to Daventry. His wife shewed us an ancient lamp found in the ruins of the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, also a dried sea-horse and a very handsome carved bookcase with the (probably spurious) date of 1494. The manservant who took my horse was a Welshman whom Mr Davies recognised as coming from Bangor where he knew him as a boy in the Sunday School whose mother was Mr D’s laundress. The delight of the young man when Mr D spoke to him in Welsh was unbounded, though the tongue sounded peculiarly strange to me.

From Daventry, evidently a rather interesting town, we drove on to Dodford about 4 miles along a beautiful and well kept road. Here we visited the Rev Mr Thompson, the Rector, the gentleman who recommended Mr. Davies to the patron of Hellidon. Mr. Thompson is Rural Dean and a fine specimen of the English Rural Rector. He showed us over his Church which is ancient, interesting and well kept, and situated on a rising ground. We had some tea and a pleasant walk around the grounds and, declining a hospitable invitation to supper, left at 6.30. We had a very pleasant drive home through Newnham and Badby and reached Hellidon about 9.

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