HASLEMERE DECORATIVE AND FINE ARTS SOCIETY

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ST. CHRISTOPHER'S CHURCH RECORD

TWO YEARS IN THE LIFE OF A RECORDER

The idea of making a record for St. Christopher's Church was first suggested to Frankie Gaiter, then church warden, in 2005 but it was not until 2009 that the project got underway. An inaugural meeting took place in January, attended by the Reverend Norman Jones, written permission having been obtained from the Archdeacon and the Parochial Church Council.  Members of Haslemere DFAS formed a group, led by Jan Wickens, a former HDFAS chairman (2002-2005), and Frankie Gaiter, and set about researching and cataloguing the contents of St. Christopher's, compiling their findings according to a standard NADFAS format. The record was finished on 10th May 2011.

Jan Wickens Frankie Gaiter morning session in the church
From left to right: Jan Wickens, Frankie Gaiter, morning session in the church

 

St. Christopher's, the daughter church of St. Bartholomew, is a listed Arts and Crafts building, with many interesting features.  Its architect Charles Spooner (a disciple of William Morris) whose main interest was in wood carving, designed most of the interior furnishings although many of them were not put in place for some years.  Consequently it has a pleasing sense of unity. It has been largely unchanged since its consecration in September 1903.


The recorders met at the church on the first two Wednesdays of the month; after coffee and biscuits provided by Liz Hawkins and a short meeting to discuss any queries, the work of measuring and describing the entire contents and furnishings was carried out. Items were categorised and divided into nine sections: Memorials, Metalwork, Stonework, Woodwork, Textiles, Paintings etc., Library, Windows and Miscellaneous.

First meeting Liz Hawkins

From left to right: First meeting at the church February 2009, Liz Hawkins

 

Members worked on the sections which they found most interesting: Dorothy Fisher tackled the Library section; Philip Wells and Brian Dickinson worked their way through the longest section on Woodwork; Philip also did the Stonework and Brian took on the organ, the main item in the Miscellaneous section, and did a lot of research into the history of people mentioned in the various sections.
Dorothy Fisher Philip Wells and Brian Dickinson
From left to right: Dorothy Fisher, Philip Wells, Brian Dickinson


Judith Wharton brought her expertise from a previous record to bear on Windows and Margaret Wells recorded the Metalwork, learning how to smoke the silver marks in the process. Diana Butler, who was recruited during a Church Recorders Study Day, at Trinity Church, Guildford, concentrated on Paintings etc. and Miscellaneous and Pat Dutton, a late arrival, contributed her knowledge of and interest in Textiles. Liz Hawkins, who cares for the linen at the church, had made several of the items recorded. Liz Cook produced a list of the 146 kneelers, including descriptions of all the individual designs, and listing those who worked on and/or donated the kneelers. A wall tablet in memory of Rear Admiral J.W.D. Cook was installed during the recording period and was included in the Memorials section.

morning meeting over coffee Margaret Wells

From left to right: Judith Wharton, Pat Dutton, Liz Hawkins, Margaret Wells, Philip Wells; Margaret Wells examining brass ewer

Diana Butler Pat Dutton and Liz Hawkins        Liz Cook
From left to right: Diana Butler, Pat Dutton, Liz Hawkins, Liz Cook


Photographs were taken by Anna Hawtree and Jane Larkin; Anna supplied a light box to photograph the silver, minimising reflections as much as possible.  Katie Naroznik produced some lovely drawings and Colin Dodge drew up a professional plan of the church which was added to various sections. Recorders' notes were typed up, using Microsoft Word, by Jane Larkin who also processed the images for archiving on CDs and for printing (by Reids of Haslemere). A master copy was laser printed by Dragon Print, complete with photographs which were inserted using archival tabs with the help of Jan Wickens.

Anna Hawtree Katie Naroznik Clive Hawkins and Jane Larkin
From left to right: Anna Hawtree, Katie Naroznik, Clive Hawkin's head, Jane Larkin

 

Sources of information included the Haslemere Educational Museum, Service records, the internet and church faculties held in London and Woking. Frankie Gaiter was an invaluable member of the group, having extensive experience and knowledge of the history of the church and documents in the church keeping. She also generously sponsored the record, together with HDFAS. Jan Wickens was always on hand to help decide what should be included in the descriptions of items and Roger Allen, NADFAS Area adviser for Church Recording, provided advice on the compilation of the record and meticulously checked interim and final drafts. Group members attended various study days organised by the West Surrey Area and everyone checked and double checked their sources and references to ensure maximum accuracy.

Review with Roger Allen July 2010

Review July 2010 with Roger Allen.
From left to right: Dorothy Fisher, Margaret Wells, Roger Allen, Brian Dickinson, Jane Larkin, Katie Naroznik, Frankie Gaiter.

Study day at Trinity Church
Study day at Trinity Church, Guildford. Photo taken by our new recruit Diana Butler.
From left to right: Jane Larkin, Dorothy Fisher, Anna Hawtree, Jan wickens, Margaret Wells,Philip Wells.

 

Laser copies have been sent to the National Monuments Record Centre, the Church Buildings Council and the Surrey History Centre in Woking. A digital version on CD has been given to the Victoria and Albert Museum Art Library. A copy of the record will also be given to the Haslemere Educational Museum. Before the monthly HDFAS lecture on 28th June, Frankie Gaiter and Jan Wickens talked about the record, two copies of which had recently been bound by a bookbinders in Guildford. One copy was on display in the annexe after the lecture.

draft pages of the record Frankie Gaiter and Jan Wickens with bound record
Draft pages of the record. Frankie Gaiter and Jan Wickens with bound record which was on display at the 28th June HDFAS lecture


At a special service, on 18th September 2011, the  Record was presented to the new Rector, the Reverend Mary Bowden (who was licensed by the Bishop of Guildford at a service in St. Bartholomew's church the previous Sunday). Many visitors joined the regular congregation, as well as all the church recorders, Dr. Roger Allen, NADFAS West Surrey Area chairman (former NADFAS Area adviser for Church Recording), Mrs Barbara Naylor, the new NADFAS West Surrey Area adviser for Church Recording, Mr James Edwards, Mayor of Haslemere, Mrs Roscelin Rees, HDFAS President, and Mrs Penny Davidson, HDFAS Chairman. Refreshments and a celebration cake were provided by the church for all to enjoy after the service.

To see photographs of the event, CLICK HERE.

 

Finally, the second bound copy of the record was presented to Bernard Coe, Chairman of the Haslemere Educational Museum, on 27th October, 2011. This copy of the record will be retained by the Museum and will be available for the public to see. All but two members of the church recording group were present, together with Penny Davidson and Sarah Barnes and the Reverend Mary Bowden.

presentation to museum
Photograph courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum.

Producing the record proved to be both an interesting and enjoyable experience. Hard work was combined with convivial coffee breaks, a couple of Christmas lunches at The Red Lion in Fernhurst and, thanks to the generous hospitality of Jan and Brian Wickens, three delicious lunches celebrating the start, the halfway mark and the completion of the record.

identifying hallmarks Christmas lunch 2009
From left to right: identifying silver marks, Christmas lunch 2009