Long years ago some worthy Angle or Saxon of the name of Cafa owned an ‘edisc’ or ‘aftermath’ meadow on the banks of the Stour, and the little community that sprang up on the spot was known as Cavendish, or Cafa’s aftermath. Everyone acquainted with East Anglia knows that a place-name of three syllables gets boiled down to two if possible, and in old maps and deeds it is frequently referred to as Candish. Nowadays the three syllables are always distinctly pronounced, but for how long this has been the custom I cannot say. Little is known of the early history of the settlement, but one Edric the Deacon is said to have fought at Hastings in defence of his country.
The parish contained a large number of manors—- Overhall, De Greys, Impey, Kemsings, Collingham, Nether Hall, Newhall, Houghton Hall, Peytons, Peches, More Hall (first mentioned 1609), Stansfleld Hall (first mentioned 1637), and Bulley Hall. Overhall is now represented by a gable end with two small rooms standing in the garden of the former Rectory; Impey survives in Impey Meadow; Nether Hall still exists as a picturesque old farmhouse ; Kemsings was burnt down some years ago, but the foundations can still be traced ; De Greys is now known as Colts Hall, and consists of a modern farmhouse with old remains at one end.
Of these the manor of Overhall was the most important. After the Conquest we find it in the hands of Ralph de Limesey (d. 1093). His great-great-granddaughter Basilia married Sir Hugh de Odingseles—a name which offered some difficulty to the mediaeval spellers, Dodingseles, Odingefeld and Duddingfele being some of the variants. This lady was co-heiress with her sister Alianore, and in the time of her grandson Sir William de Odingseles the whole manor passed into the hands of this branch of the family. In 1359 Sir John de Odingseles conveyed the manor to Sir John Cavendish and Alice his wife.
Bickley, in his history of the Cavendish family, observes “The purchase is quite sufficiently explained as the whim of a rising man, who, looking round for an estate, chose to establish himself in what might at least pass as the home of his ancestors.” A rising man he indeed was. In 1366 he was serjeant, in 1371 puisne judge of Common Pleas, and in 1372 became chief justice of the King’s Bench. On the accession of Richard II, he was reappointed chief justice, with a salary of 100 marks. In 1380 he was made chancellor of Cambridge University. He made himself very unpopular with the labouring classes, probably owing to the fact that he was granted extra salary as a justice for enforcing the Statutes of Labourers in the counties of Suffolk and Essex, and when Tyler’s rebellion broke out in 1381 he was quickly singled out for attack by the' local populace. John Wrawe, a priest, headed the revolt in East Anglia, and he and his followers hastened from Sudbury in search of the justice, who had meanwhile fled from Cavendish, concealing his valuables in the church tower. This became known, and the church was broken open and the property pillaged, including we are told a “jakke of velvet” valued at 26/8, and a silver candlestick worth £7. These were distributed among the rebels, who at the same time sacked the manor house, and then made for Sir John’s town house at Bury, which they also plundered. On the following day the unfortunate justice was caught and beheaded, some say at Lakenheath, others at Bury. In his will he desires to be buried beside his wife in the chancel of Cavendish church, and bequeaths to his son Andrew “un lit de worstede” and some cattle; to Rose, Andrew’s wife, “un lit vermayl et un coupe d’argent en ou est emprente une rose, c’est assavoir ceo que jeo avois le don de la Countesse de la Marche”; to their daughter Margaret “un lit de saperye poudre des popingays”; the remainder is devoted to charity. Under this last heading comes the handsome gift of £40 “a la fesaunce du Chancell de Cavendysche”; also £20 to be distributed among the old. blind and decrepit and those who could not work, in Cavendish, Pentlow, Fakenham and Saxham, and other places where he had lands and tenements, half of this sum being earmarked for Cavendish.
His son, Sir Andrew Cavendish, was M.P. for Suffolk, and also served as sheriff. He fought in the French wars, agreeing in 1374 to serve the King beyond the seas with 29 men-at-arms and 30 archers for half a year. He died in 1394, and his widow Rose had subsequently to ask pardon for marrying William Carew without the King’s permission. He left an infant son William, who when of age (1412) sold Overhall to his cousin William, son of Andrew’s younger brother John. This William, a mercer of London, died in 1433. By his will, dated 1432, he directs that if he died in London he should be buried in the Mercers’ Chapel; if at Cavendish, in the Church of St. Mary, Cavendish, and that £20 should be given to the church where he was buried, that his executors provide an obit for him, his parents and children, in the church of Cavendish, and that they repair the highway between Cavendish and Poslingford—also between Cavendish and Clare. He gives £5 to the churches of Pentlow and Poslingford, and appoints his brother Robert guardian of his son Thomas during his nonage. This Robert, serjeant-at-law, enjoyed the property during his life. He died in 1438, and his niece Alice, wife of William Nell and daughter of his brother John Cavendish, received seisin. However, Thomas’s claim was recognised and he got the estate. He died in 1477, leaving a son of the same name, who was Clerk of the Pipe in the Exchequer, and lived in the parish of St. Alban, Wood St. He married Alice, daughter and co-heiress of John Smith of * I have vainly tried to discover the wherabouts of Padbrook Hall In the 17th century deeds of the local chapel one of the boundaries is stated to be Padbrook Bridge, and an old deed dated 1595, refers to an action about “ The Rushe Pasture in Bunefelde and Padbrook Street.”Padbrook Hall, who brought him lands in Cavendish and also in Beds, and Bucks. In 1522 his rent-roll in Cavendish is stated at £25. The arms of Cavendish quartering Smith appear twice in the old house on the south side of the Green; over a doorway in Pentlow Hall (not in situ —report says that they were brought from a house on the site of Cavendish station); and until recently on some old houses known as Cavendish Cottages in North St., Sudbury, recently demolished. This Thomas died in 1524, and the manor passed into the hands of his eldest son George, who entered the service of Cardinal Wolsey as gentleman usher, and continued faithful to him in his disgrace. He stood by his deathbed, and gave an account of his last hours to Henry VIII., by whom he was summoned to Hampton Court for that purpose. The King, though highly commending his fidelity to his master, appears to have dismissed him with no other mark of his favour than an order for the conveyance home of his goods. From Wolsey’s estate he received six of his best cart horses, 5 marks for expenses, £10 for wages and £20 for reward. The home for which he set out was probably Overhall, where his delightful memoir of Wolsey’s life may have been written. In this work he is described as “of Glemsford.” He may have held the manor there, but there is no mention of him in that parish. In 1558 we find him making over the manor of Overhall to his son William in return for an annual pension of £40. It is possible that he may then have retired to his Glemsford estate. He married Margery Kemp, a niece of Sir Thomas More, and adhered to the unreformed faith. His eldest brother, William, grew rich by the acquisition of Church lands at the Dissolution of the Monastries, married the famous Bess of Hardwick, and founded the branch of the family now represented by the Duke of Devonshire. George’s son William was in possession of Overhall in 1562, in which year he made a payment of 20d. “respectu homagiae,” but he did not long survive, being succeeded in the estate by his son William, described as “of London, mercer,” who in 1569 sold his property in Cavendish and the neighbourhood to William Downes of Sudbury, thus ending the connection of his family with the manor which it had held for upwards of two centuries. Its connection with the parish did not entirely end at that date, for in 1612 occurs in the Church register the baptism of William son of Ralph Cavendish, younger brother of the William who sold the estate.
From Downes the manor passed to John Felton of Overchrysal. Essex, and from him in 1599 to George Howe of Sudbury, clothier. In 1601 it passed to Bridget and Mary Cracherode, daughters of Matthew Cracherode of Cavendish, esquire. The register shows the marriage of these ladies, one to George Kemp, gent., and the other to—Abbott. The Kemps lived at Pentlow Hall.
It appears from a computation for timber &c. delivered to Mr. Cavendish in 1522 that the manor house had then undergone extensive repairs, but in 1601, when it came into the possession of the Cracherodes, the greater part was pulled down, and the remainder fitted up as a farmhouse, as is shown by a memorandum of that family. In 1622 it passed to Sir Stephen Soames, of Heydon, Essex, and in 1679 to Isaac Fuller of Cavendish, grocer: then in 1701 to William Basset of Long Melford. clothier; in 1730 to Samuel Thomas of Lavenham, gent.; in 1752 to Thomas Ruggles, and in 1813 to his son John Ruggles Brise. From the Brise family it passed to John Stammers Garrett of Cavendish, miller and maltster, and was by him exchanged for glebe land by the Rev. R. G. Peter, Rector of the parish. It stands in the garden of the late Rectory in a much reduced state, the greater part having been demolished as ruinous after Mr. Peter’s departure in 1894. Only a gable-end now remains, used for storing apples and potatoes. And not only has this once important mansion come do-.vn in the world, but its very name has come down with it. for if an inhabitant of the village were asked about Overhall, it is extremely unlikely that he would ever have heard of it, and on further explanation would say, “Oh, you mean Pockey Hall.” This euphonious title was attached to it at the time when, being conveniently situated just outside the main village, it was used as an isolation hospital for smallpox patients. The following record of an agreement made with the caretaker may prove of interest.
April 27 1767 Articules of Agreement made between the Churchwardens & Overseers and principals Inhabitants of the parish of Cavendish on the one part
And Samll Nutman & Rose his wife on the other part Witnesseth first that it is Agreed between the said parties that the Parish of Cavendish shall pay thirtyfive Shillings per Year towards the Rent of the Cottage were Wm. Ling Labr Liv’d; if any of the Windows are Broke by any Persons that the sd parish do put in, then either the sd person, or the sd parish, Shall pay for the mending. Second that the said parish Shall find Meet Drink fireing Beds and Other Nessessaryes for all such persons as they shall put into the sd Cottage who are sick with the Small Pox and allso for the sd Samll Nutman and his Wife Until they the persons are taking away, and the sd parish are to send all who are sick with ye Smallpox without being Charged any thing further than the before mentioned Rent for Nursing.
The Said Samll Nutman doth agree to pay five Shillings A year Over and above what is paid by the parish and to keep up the Glazing unless Broke by the persons before mentioned; and to Receve all such persons as the parish Shall send into the sd House that are sick with the smallpox He and his Wife are to Nurse them; and wash and fetch Nessessarys for them &c without any Other pay than the Rent & other Nessessarys before mentioned.
NB this Agreement to Continue Six Years from Mitsumer Next.
Signed Jno. Eagle
J. Dennis Overseers
Jno. Scott mark of x
the mark of x Jno. Prike Parishioners
mark of xSamll Nutman
A church is mentioned in Domesday Book, but the existing structure dates from about 1300 onwards. The tower, porch, and lower part of the walls of the aisles date from about 1300. About 50 years later the walls of the south aisle were raised, and the existing windows and buttresses added. Some 75 years after this the same was done to the north aisle, save that in this case the original buttresses were left intact. The tilt of the old roof can be clearly seen on the outer west wall of both aisles. If this dating of the aisles is correct, as it would appear to be from the architectural style of the windows, a problem arises, for one Richard Cagge, by will dated 1471, bequeaths 5 marks to “the new aisle in the south part of the Church.” This south aisle appears to have had an altar dedicated to St. James, for William Olive, who married Agnes daughter of Richard Cagge, by will proved in 1501 desires to be buried in the “ele of St. James,” next the grave of his father, and the families so closely united in life may have favoured the same corner of the Church as their last resting-place. He also left ten marks for a new cross for the Church. There was also an altar dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and this may possibly have occupied a similar position in the north aisle. John Glovyer or Clovyer, by will proved in 1462, makes a bequest to the Chanel of St.. John the Baptist in the Church of Cavendish, and John Dykys (1470) also bequeaths 20d “ad tabell. in Basilica Johis. Bapte.,” i.e. to painting in the Chapel of St. John the Baptist. Traces of a black-letter inscription occur on the wall between the two windows, but not enough to enable any single word to be deciphered. The north aisle contains a very fine roof, with finials added some two centuries later, two of which bear the dates 1625 and 1626. It will be noted that part of two spandrels has been hacked away. One theory for the reason of this is that the nave originally consisted of four bays, and that when the clerestory was added about 1480 these v/ere changed to five in order to support the extra weight. Or it may simply be that the arches were heightened. Round the outside of the clerestory runs an inscription, almost illegible, but experts say that it attributes the building of it to the Smith family, which lived at Padbrook Hall and intermarried with the Cavendishes. The date of the chancel can be ascertained almost to a year, since Sir John Cavendish, who was killed in Wat Tyler’s rebellion in 1381, left £40 (a very large sum in those days) to build it, the work to be started within twelve months of the Easter following his decease. It was largely restored, almost rebuilt, in 1865, when the organ chamber and vestry were added, the latter on an old site, as it contains a piscina and squint, and may very possibly have been a. Lady Chapel. As the Church is dedicated to Our Lady, it seems highly improbable that a chapel in her honour would be omitted. A former rector, the Rev. T. Castley, who left behind him a log-book containing many points of interest, states that he presumes “the building which leaned on the north wall of the chancel” to have been a Lady Chapel, and says that it was taken down by a patron of the rectory before it was sold to Jesus College. The present chancel ceiling was put up in 1811. The part over the sanctuary was painted with very crude designs in 1890, when the glory of the magnificent east window was marred by an insertion of stone in its lower part, which totally ruins its beautiful proportions. .The altar was formerly of Caroline design, with rails running round the three sides. These were ruthlessly hurled away, and the altar suffered the desecration of serving as a vestry table. Old Jacob Rice, who was church clerk for many years, assured me that he could remember the time when it served as the altar, and the style and type bear out his words. Accordingly I removed it to the south aisle, and with the aid of some old oak begged from Pentlow Hall made a little side chapel where it might once more serve its proper purpose. In 1950 this Chapel was beautified by the present reredos, given by Mrs. Brocklebank out of her father Athelstan Riley’s private chapel in his London house. The alabaster centrepiece is of Continental origin, probably of the Renaissance period, and the surrounding woodwork is by Comper. The ugly stone reredos behind the high altar was put up in 1878, and serves still further to conceal the beauty of the east window.
Two years after the restoration of the chancel attention was turned to the nave, which the rector at the time says was filled with narrow high pews, to the hindrance of kneeling and of proper accommodation. Harry Brockwell, who succeeded Rice as church clerk, told me that there was nothing interesting or beautiful about them, but that they were only painted deal. I imagine that the groove in the stonework of the south door shows the height of their backs. So out they went, and were replaced by what may well be the ugliest and most uncomfortable pews in Suffolk. As to floor space, there was scarcely an inch left, as they ran right up to the east walls of both aisles, and the front ones in the centre abutted on the pulpit and reading desk, so that one could not perambulate the church without traversing a pew. This same clerk told me that the flooring was mostly clinkers, or bricks set on edge, and that down the centre of the nave ran a long bench bearing in large letters the inscription “FOR THE POOR.” A visit from St. James might have produced some interesting comments!
A screen once divided the nave from the chancel, but no trace of it remains, though I am told that a former rector possessed a cabinet made out of fragments of it. In “ Architectural Notes on the Churches of Suffolk,” 1855, it is stated that the chancel contained part of a roodscreen. The only relic we possess was discovered in a rather curious way. In the grounds of the former Rectory, as stated above, stand the remains of the old manor house of Overhall. Supporting a beam in the ceiling was a large block of carved wood. The chimney stack fell down, and when the gap caused in the wall was bricked up this block was not replaced, but lay in a corner. An expert spotted it, and said “A piece of your old rood screen.” The block really consisted of two pieces 30 ins. long, which had been bolted together. On removing the bolts and turning the pieces the other way round, it was found that he was certainly correct. A piece of additional testimony occurs in the log-book of Mr. Castley, who notes that he had had the Rectory pew “painted wainscot.” This pew, as I was informed by the Church Clerk, abutted on the north side of the rood screen and patches of grained paint are still to be seen on the remains in question. Mr. Castley also notes that “the doorway to the steps leading up to the position of the ancient Rood loft was bricked up in the north east corner between the Church and the chancel many years before I came to Cavendish.”
Let us pause for a moment in our progress round the Church and try to imagine its appearance in the days of Mr. Castley (1808-1860). At the east end was the altar with its twisted rails, cleaned and varnished by Mr. Castley’s son in 1850. Behind it was the table of the Ten Commandments, still preserved in the ringing chamber. Over the chancel arch would be the royal arms, mentioned as being repaired in 1841. The pulpit, no doubt a three-decker, stood against the second pillar from the east on the south side. The nave would be filled with the high pews mentioned above, which Mr. Castley thinks were erected during the incumbency of Dr. Toundrow (1747-1766). Till 1823 these were of plain deal, but in that year he promoted a subscription for painting them, brown wainscot outside and blue inside. Down the centre ran the bench for the poor. At the west end was a gallery, occupied by the orchestra in the days before the Church boasted an organ. To quote the log-book again—“Before the organ was set up . . . the singers and performers were John Brock- well, clerk, who sang—John Blakelock, sang—Brockwell, a lame man, played on the Bazoon—Charles Mott on the claronet—another played on the violin—Thomas Woods played on the violincello.” The old pitch pipe used for tuning up the orchestra still survives. It bears the inscription :
To Cavendish Church I do Belong And they who harm me will do wrong.
For I was Bought here to Reside While Perfect Sounds in me abide. 1781.
The aforesaid organ was installed in 1838, and was brought from the Marquis of Bute’s mansion at Luton. The cost was £80, of which £20 was contributed by the Rector. On a form in the south aisle sat the free boys of the Grammar School. But they were there out of view of the eagle eye of the officiant at the reading desk, so “to remedy this inconvenience” a gallery was added on the south side of the existing one, reaching half way across it. I regret to say that when the walls were brushed down in 1950 a large number of mural inscriptions came to light. On the north side a similar one was added, and was occupied by the children of the Sunday School—which incidentally was founded in 1787, and must be one of the earliest in the country.
The archwav in the tower is modern, and replaces a doorway in the west wall of the nave. The ground floor of the tower thus formed a separate room—whereby hangs a tale. Prior to 1823 the poor used to receive their doles, or “statements” as they were called, in the Church. The crowd of poor people, some not satisfied with their allowances, caused much noise and inconvenience, which the worthy rector deemed unseemly. Accordingly he caused the tower chamber to be cleared of the lumber which it had accumulated, and the poor entered it for the distribution directly through the tower door, without entering the Church proper and desecrating it with their tumult. The tower was evidently regarded as not altogether holy ground, for on stripping off a thick coat of modern plaster which had grown shabby and untidy, we found the inscription “Jeremiah Hammond, Church Clark, 1749” scratched on the old plaster with a crude border round it. On the south side of the west window the letters rk could be made out, painted in some red substance. So it looks as if the Church clerks felt themselves entitled to record their office on the tower walls, much as the head boy in some schools enjoys the privilege of carving his name in some particular spot.
The palmer worm, the locust, the canker worm and the caterpillar, representing the pillage of the 16th, the desecration of the 17th, the neglect of the 18th, and the restoration of the 19th centuries, have left their mark on our fine old Church. Indeed we ought not so much to weep for what is gone as to give heartfelt thanks that anything remains at all. I know of no record of what happened here in the great pillage of Edward VI., or in the trail of devastation that marked the progress of Master Dowsing, but it was probably in the days of the latter that the emblems of the four Evangelists were hacked off the font, and iconoclastic zeal even went to the length of hewing away the figures that supported the roof, of which only the lower parts remain. Most if not all of the windows were probably enriched with stained glass, including those of the clerestory, where a fragment of blue still remaining is more likely to be a survival of what was there before than a later insertion. Of this glass only a few scraps remain. Among these are two coats of arms, both of uncertain ownership. The fragments in the east window were in a box at the Rectory, and were put together by Sir William St. John Hope. They came out of a window or windows removed when the organ chamber was built. The monuments in the Church have suffered the same fate as its appointments. A manuscript entitled “Suffolk Families, 1655” gives a long list of the armorial bearings found on the tombs there, of which only two remain. At the restoration of last century little respect was shown to the memorials of the departed. The row of stones in the sanctuary was covered with floor tiles, though the Rector did have the grace to take a copy of the inscriptions. The tombstone of a former rector’s daughter, probably because broken, was placed outside the vestry door to serve as a step. When the flooring of the choir stalls was renewed in 1935, portions of a mural monument were found scattered higgledy-piggledy under the boards, all complete with the exception of the tablet. Why is this missing, and where is it? One of the surrounds bears the inscription “Erected by Mr. Henry Grey,” and the monument would appear to have been put up by the rector’s son in memory of his mother in 1700. It would be most interesting to remove the pews and see whether anything lies below them.
The only remaining scrap of old monumental brass in the Church consists of a single shield, bearing the three stags’heads of the Cavendish family. This occurs on the tombstone now situated under the tower, but probably removed from before the chancel step, where the family is said to have been buried. The figure and inscription are gone, but three casts of the surviving shield were made under the direction of Mr. Castley and inserted in the three vacant matrices. This monument is the sole memorial to the family left in the Church.
Talking of survivals, the only memorial of the Golding family, which boasts more entries in the parish registers than any other with the exception of Brown, is the name of Thomas Goldyng scratched in early 17th century script on the second pillar from the east in the south aisle.
Visitors are sometimes rather thrilled to see two chained books on the fine old Jacobean lectern in the chancel. Alas, the chains are not ancient, having been appended by Mr. Castley in 1840 in imitation of those in Jesus College Library.
The tower houses a very good peal of 6 bells. Five were cast by Mears In 1779, and bear the following inscriptions:
Our voices shall in consort ring
In honor both to God & King.
2. Peace & good neighbourhood.
3. Music is medicine to the mind.
If you have a judicious ear
You'll own my voice is sweet and clear
I mean to make it understood
Although I'm little yet I'm good.
The tenor is dated 1869, and was presented by Mr. Ambrose Smith of Nether Hall. The little bell in the turret which strikes the hours is dated 1797.
Three of the old bells were recast in 1928, being cracked in the crown. At the same time a new frame was fitted. The old one had been made for three bells, three others being subsequently added and the frame adapted accordingly. It was an interesting old piece of work, but quite impossible from the practical point of view, having been pronounced unsafe by the experts, so it had to go.
The advowson of the benefice, now possessed by Jesus College Cambridge, has frequently changed hands. Here are a few notes as to its value. In 1572 it was sold by Edmund Felton to George Smith for £160. In 1655-an interesting date for the sale of advowsons-the next presentation was sold by Brian Smith to Thomas Bishop for £50. In 1682 it was sold by John Smith for £100 down and £20 a year for his life .Two months later it was again sold for £500 to Thomas Grey alias Bishop, the same person as the aforementioned Thomas Bishop. In 1708 Henry Grey, son of Thomas, sold it to Jesus College for £167·10. The annual value of the benefice is mentioned as £267-13·11, less £5 payable to the upkeep of Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge. This grant appears to have been made in 1661 as a mark of thanksgiving for the restoration of Charles II.-a curious means of an expression of loyalty, on which subsequent rectors have held their own views. The wording of the deed, executed by Brian Smith as patron, is as follows-“in memory & ever grateful acknowledgement of God's wonderful & speciall mercy & goodnesse in the deliverance of the whole nation, Christ's church, & himselfe therein," £5 annually to the Chapel of Queens' College, Cambridge from the tithes, pensions, &c of Cavendish.
Unfortunately no ancient churchwardens' accounts have survived. The existing records date from 1745, and contain little information of general interest. The Church possesses only two small endowments, 12/- a year on Clock House Farm, Glemsford, and 6/8 from what is referred to as Church Rood in a field on the Clare road called Potkins. There is no record of how these payments arose: probably they are ancient endowments for some specified object, such as masses for the souls of the donors.
The position of the Church as the centre of the communal life of the village is recalled by the frequent payments for repairing and cleaning "the buckets." These were probably kept in the Church tower, as was often the case, and were for use in the event of an outbreak of fire in the parish. A loose bill in the account book runs, "1810 To the Church Wardings of Cavendish February the 2 To Jeffery Cobbin-for repairing the buckets. £1·6-0." In 1780 a shilling was expended on "mending the surplus." The job was evidently well done, for there is no other charge till 1783, when sixpence suffices, but this jumps to eighteen pence in the following year. In we find "Cash paid when went Bounds of parish-£1·8-6" but how this was expended is not stated. Perhaps the "local" of the day could afford enlightenment. In 1797 the bassoon in the Church orchestra, apparently hitherto in private hands, was purchased for £3-3, with a note that it is in future the property of the parish.
In the first few years there is frequent mention of payment of 1/- to soldiers and sailors, sometimes described as "with a pass," presumably a document entitling them to solicit assistance without the risk of being arrested as vagabonds. These entries cease after 1752, which seems to indicate that the country was becoming more settled, and there were fewer disbanded soldiers and sailors roaming the land. There were no pensions for such people in those days, and when their service ended they were often in a very sorry plight.
In 1746 1/- was paid for an "order concerning cattle," and later 3/- for three more. It would be interesting to know what this was; at any rate it shows that the duties of the Wardens were far more varied than at present. Much of the work now done by the Parish Council and Relieving Officer devolved on them. In the same year we find "Act of Parliament agst. prophane swearing-6d."
In 1751 considerable repairs seem to have been effected in the Church. Ezra Neave, carpenter, received £16-17-6t, and Thomas Woods, occupation unspecified, £19-16-0-l. while over £1 was expended on nails. In the following year "covering desk &c" cost £11-3-0. Again in 1760 Neave receives £36-11-7 and Woods £40-7-8, and in 1770 Woods and John Corder of Melford £41-18-2 and Geo. Robinson £17-14-2. Unfortunately the bills are not to hand. How interesting it would be to know what was done and how much it cost.
In 1784 a "New Hood" was bought for £1-11-6, presumably for the Rector. It is the duty of the Church-wardens to provide a surplice, but in this case they appear to have been unusually generous. A surplice, which may have been the one that required mending, was bought in 1751 for £3-1-10, which seems a large sum for those days.
The wardens' expenditure varies considerably from year to year, ranging from £11-17-3 in 1750 to £385-4-0t in 1812, when extensive repairs were undertaken and the present chancel roof erected. The average for ordinary years between 1745 and 1820 was something over £20. To meet it there were no collections. no fetes, no bazaars; all that the wardens had to do was to levy a church rate. Though the principle of voluntary offerings may have more to commend it for such a purpose as the upkeep of a church, the wardens of the present must sometimes look back with a sigh to the "good old days."
An interesting record exists which contains the names of all the parochial officers from 1752 onwards. These consist of the two Churchwardens, four (sometimes more) Overseers, two or more Constables, one Sidesman, two Aletasters, and six Officers to assist in the management of the Workhouse.
These last drop out in 1759, the Aletasters disappear in 1801, and the Constables hold their own till 1862, after which they are no longer mentioned. From 1774 two or more Assessors were also appointed.
Despite the fact that payments for two constables appear annually in the overseers' accounts, it would yet appear that property in Cavendish was not as well protected as might have been wished-witness the following entry in the overseers' book:
'Whereas frequent Robberies are committed upon us whose names are hereunto subscrib'd by persons unknown, We are determined to prosecute all such as shall hereafter be detected & convicted of any such feloneies at our Joynt expence & are farther determined that all such as shall be convicted as above shall be excluded from all Benefitts or collections as may arise in the parish of Cavendish.
In witness whereof we have hereunto sett our hands the 28 Day of Febry 1758.
'We whose Names are under sign'd have agreed to stand by the above articule this 4 Day of April 1768.
Benjn Richardson J. Revel1s
April 4 1774
Thos Wraight Jno Eagle
his x mark
The agreement is in the handwriting of Thos Wraight
When in the 17th century owing to lack of small change tradesmen frequently issued their own token halfpence, there were six in Cavendish of sufficient importance to adopt this practice-William Alcocke, 1657; Daniel Chickall, 1657; James Ellis, 1669; John Merrills, 1664; Thomas Fuller, no date; John Woods, 1663 and 1665.
The Cavendish register books have for the most part been carefully kept since 1594, the year in which the existing· records begin, with the exception of a few years during the period of the Civil War. The first portion has been re- written, and contains blanks here and there where the writing was evidently indecipherable. The heading for 1628 contains the addition "per me W.W.". There is no further note indicative of the person responsible for the entries till 1657. when we find the following heading:-"The Register Booke came into my hands and was deliv'ed to mee Thomas Grey Rector of Cavendish by William Cobb in now Sexton & till then Register of the said Parish of Cavendish the first day of January according to the computacion of the Real me of Engld. 1657." (Note the correct use of the title Register, which later developed into Registrar). Lay registers of births, deaths and marriages were ordered to be appointed in 1653, and we accordingly find births recorded instead of baptisms from that year to 1657, when the above-mentioned Mr. Grey reverts to the old custom-three years before the Restoration. He appears to have been a very methodical person, for he keeps the books written up in a beautiful Italian hand, entering the totals of baptisms and burials at the end of each year, usually adding "per me, T.G." to each heading and signing each page on its completion. He allows this laudable practice to drop as time goes on, and his hand gradually grows shaky. In 1695 we find the following entry:-"This Register is continued w'th the utmost Care & Diligence from the first day of May 1695 accordinge to the late Act of Parliam .. The Sexton bringing to mee an account of all the Births & Baptisms in this Parish soe soone as they are known to be borne or are Baptized." In the Burial column appears a parallel entry:-"And soe was the Regist of the Morts & Burialls kept w'th the same care & diligence from the sd first day of May 1695 whiles I live and continue Rector here. By mee T. Grey als Bp." The only other annotations in the old books belong to the Civil War period, during which we occasionally find the lack of entries attributed to the negligence of the sexton. With regard to marriages during this period, there are several notes that none took place, of which the following for 1653 is typical:-"There were noe marriages in this church this yeare, the people of this towne of late years for ye most pt have got a custome to marry in other places." It is a matter for regret that these annotations are so meagre.
A word put in here and there can be of great historical interest, and also adds a human touch to the dry record. In the later Burial Registers we occasionally find the cause of death recorded. "There are one or two cases of death through falling off a waggon, One poor little fellow of 4 "playing behind a waggon fell, & taking hold of the wheel to rise, was drawn up under & his neck was broken." A smallpox victim is noted as being buried at night at 9.30. In 1863 two men were "killed by a sudden fall of earth on the new railway." In 1866 a factory that stood to the north of the High Street was burnt down, a lad perishing in the fire-he went back to get his waistcoat containing his watch. A curious entry is that of George Jarvis who died in 1843, "a soldier in the 66th Regiment who caught cold in Canada."
Besides the cause of death other annotations occur, such as that on a little lass of 15, "a good singer in the Sunday Schoo1." Then there was old Hannah Smith, who passed away at the age of 90-"Once she murmured much; during her last years patient and thankful": the result let us hope, of the ministrations of the good Mr. Peter. From the same hand comes the touching little comment on a baby of a week old, "She rested on the seventh day."
The recent reference to the accident during the construction of the railway reminds us that the journey to London was not the simple affair of a couple of hours or so that it is now. Communication with the metropolis was maintained by carriers, one of whom, Thomas Lorking, who died in 1786, is described as "for many years a punctual honest carrier between this place & London." Another old-world occupation is recalled in 1812 by the burial of the wife of Thomas French, "the old Bellman." The occupation of a man who died in 1828 is described as "looking for a farm." In the middle of the last century Cavendish appears to have contributed its quota towards the development of the Empire, as we find an Elizabeth Golding, baptised in 1831, requiring certification in order to emigrate to Australia with her husband and brother William. A David Newman is described in 1832 as an emigrant in America, and one Susan Twitchett is mentioned as emigrating in 1842 with her two sons to Van Diemen's Land, the sum of £5-19-2 appearing in the church- wardens' accounts as having been paid to assist their passage. Let us hope that they all "struck lucky" and prospered in their new surroundings. Another of our local worthies, Joseph Newman. also "went foreign," but at the expense of H.M. Government. being mentioned in 1840 as "transported 3 years ago." Let us hope that he too made good in the end.
Mr. Castley occasionally adds a note on general subjects.
In 1850 he notes in the margin "April the 12th in the afternoon I was obliged to go through the orchard gate to get to the Church, to the burial of Susan Ambrose, in consequence of the flood or stream running down to the bridge. The houses on each side of which were inundated-on the ground floors-- to the depth of some feet. The line of the high water mark is still visible 011 the walls." In 1858 he notes, "Total eclipse of the sun on the 15th of March about one o'clock." A form of prayer for deliverance from cholera in 1849 is pasted into the burial register, but he observes that there was not a single case of the disease in Cavendish, nor in the former epidemic of 1832.
I have tried to piece together as far as possible a record of those most important people, the parish clerks. "Francis Thetford ye Sexton" was buried in 1628. He was possibly succeeded by William Cobbin, described as sexton, who handed the books to Mr. Grey in 1657, and was buried in 1688 with the description of "Parish Clarke" (presuming that both references are to the same person). A William Griggs is described as "Clerk" at his burial in 1658. If this mean'> parish clerk, it is possible that he succeeded the William Cobb in who handed over the books, and was followed by another William Cobbin. I prefer to think that the two Cobbins were the same person, as parish clerks are noted for their long tenures of office. The next name that comes to light is Jeremiah Hammond, clerk from 1719 to 1763, who in 1749 scratched his name in the plaster of the Church tower. Jeffery Brockwell, who died in 1803, is described as "many years Church Clerk." and probably succeeded the worthy Jeremiah. He was followed by John Brockwell (1803-1825). .Tuen Brockwell (1825-1851), Thomas Woods (1851-1872), Jacob Rice (1872-1896). and Harry Brockwell (1896-1931), since when the office has been in abeyance.
The Grammar School stood on the south side of the village green, where half of it still stands as a private residence, the other half, including the big classroom, having been demolished to make way for the local cinema. It was founded in 1696 by the Rector, Dr. Thomas Grey, and in addition to its educational object was intended to assist in enabling promising lads to be apprenticed to a trade. Many old indentures of apprenticeships still lie in the box of papers connected with the school. The number of pupils was at one time considerable, and in addition to the day-boys, many boarders were lodged on the premises.
Within a few years of its foundation, the school became the subject of a law suit, a brief account of which, as recorded in an old document preserved among the school archives, may be of Interest.
It is therein stated that Dr. Grey "had throughout the whole course of his residence among them [the inhabitants of Cavendish], received continuall proofes of their affection & esteem & being very much increased in his worldly state & fortune had upon all occasions expressed the sense he had of their kindness & appeared very desirous by some public & beneficial act of charity to perpetuate those his friendly dispositions." To this intent he fitted up a house in the village as a grammar school, and purchased from Henry Kemp of Pentlow Hall the farm of some eighty acres after wards known as School Barn Farm, then occupied by Edward Nice at a rental of £25, and settled the property on trustees for the benefit of the school.
So far so good, but six years later a change came over the scene. The Rector was now more than 80 years old, "very infirm in body, & visibly deranged & impaired in the faculties of his mind & unable to manage himself & his concerns with that care as he was wont to do." A niece of his wife, Sarah Wright, who later married one Edward Nevile, came to live with him as housekeeper. According to the plaintiffs this lady "used all imaginable application & industry to be received into his family as an housekeeper & she succeeded therein. She had endeavoured by various indirect. & insinuating arts to get the ascendant over him the said Thomas Grey who dayly declined in his understanding by which means she occasioned great disorder & confusion among his dearest friends which ended in a general separation from his house & company & would not suffer him to be easy until he altered his will & procured him to sign another." Soon after this the old Rector died, and Sarah Nevile took over the farm, alleging that it had been left to her in his final will.
The defendants in their reply declared that they "did not believe that Thomas Grey did throughout the whole course of his residence among the inhabitants of the said parish receive continuall proofes of their good affection & esteem. On the contrary they had been informed & believe the said parish did not well esteem him but disobliged him very often so that he had perpetuated his resentment of their unkindness & ingratitude towards him by his last will dated the twenty- sixth of July, 1702."
Extracts from the will were then read. among them the following:-"I give & bequeath unto Mrs. Sarah Wright, the niece of my loving wife & now my housekeeper & to her assignes all those pieces of land &c," (specifying the estate in Pentlow). After her death it is to go "unto the poor people of Cavendish where I now still through the goodwill & patience of my Lord God continue Rector & to the poor people of Wickhambrooke where I was for some time Vicar." The distribution was for "as long as the world continues," and was to be divided between the two incumbents on the Feast of St. Thomas at the sign of the White Horse, but if it should be pulled down, then at the Rector's house at Cavendish, and a copy of the will was to be kept "to the end of the world in the town chest."
"I had erected a school house & furnished it within with a very convenient desk for the master of the scholars but the inhabitants proving altogether ungrateful, some slighting my kindness saying that they needed not so much but an ordinary school master to teach & instruct their children such a one as could write & read & cast accounts, now for these reasons so annoying me for what I had done & discovering their spite by advancing & raising the Rectory in the public taxes to over £100 now raised to £160 reduced to £120 now raised to £160 again so that I am compelled for nothing provokes me more than ingratitude to dispose of the said endowments to other charitable purposes."
The case was heard on July 14th, 1708, and could have but one ending. Whatever may have been the Rector's final wishes, he had no power to annul a deed duly executed six years before, and the Neviles were ordered to quit the farm and give account for the rents received therefrom to the trustees of the School.
The worthy Dr. Grey no doubt hoped that his school, no less than his alternative charity, would continue "to the end of the world." But alas for the vanity of human expectations-in 1907 it was wound up and the premises sold, and its endowment was diverted to the provision of exhibitions from the elementary school to some higher place of education. The farm was disposed of in 1938, and with this second sale the trustees ceased to be landed proprietors. The personal touch has gone, and Dr. Grey's laudable effort in the cause of education is represented by a quarterly cheque from the Charity Commissioners.
This stood on the north side of Workhouse Street-now more popularly known as Stour Street-being the first house on that side as one approaches it from the village. The surviving overseers' accounts date from 1758, when we find a salary being paid to the "governor," and soon after a "quarteridge" to Richard Hawes, physician and surgeon, who received at first six guineas per annum, later increased to eight. The following agreement will prove of interest at showing the governor's duties.
“Articles of Agreement made between the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Parish of Cavendish on the one part, and Wm. Shacklock on the other part; witnesseth, that in consideration of the yearly sum of Eight pounds Eight shillings to be paid by the said Parish by four equal payments, to him the said Wm. Shaddock, he the said Wm. Shacklock doth undertake to govern the Workhouse in the sd parish in manner and form following, without any further gain.
1st The sd Wm. Shacklock & Mary his Wife, shall take care of all such poor, as the officers shall think proper, to put in.
2nd they shall likewise keep with the famyly in the Working room, & reel the yarn of the worst of Spinners, & also see that the work be well done by the famyly & in good time & shall give all Account of every person's work weekly, to such officers as attend the house.
3rd she shall likewise make & mend for the famyly Cook & Wash for the same, being alIow'd a help to do the same, she is to look after the sick & do the household work & keep constantly with the famyly & keep them Clean & Decent.
4th The gd Wm. Shacklock shall Brew & look after the piggs. carry horne the work: as occasion shall recuire,
5th The sd Wm. Shacklock do agree not to keep his" daughter in the parish above one month, unless in actual service,
6th all the work done in the sd Workhouse to be for the use or the parish. & if any person works out of the said house to be for the use of the said parish, & that the Sd Shacklock shall not on any pretence whatsoever convert any part thereof to his or his Wife's use.
7th A Qt of ale shall be allow'd weekly for the 'wash women, also a Qt to the Governor's own use, also two Qts uppon tile Death of any person in the Honse for helps in laying forth the Deceas'd, also a Qt on Brewing Days.
8th There shall be no fire allowed in any room but the working room, except Baking washing Brewing & for persons that are sick the Governor & his wife shall victual with the famyly in the same room.
9th if any work be lost, the Governor & his wife to pay for it out of his Salary.
I0th if the said WIll. Shacklock or his wife shall wilfully Neglect to perform the sd Articles then these articles to be void & the sd Officers are to Discharge him after one Month notice paying him in proportion to his yearly Salary & he is to acquit the house immediately after such Discharge.
This Article sign'd
May ye 25, 1767
Of the long list of rectors of the parish there are not many of whom much is known. The earliest of whom I have been able to obtain any record is John Argentein, evidently a man of outstanding ability, and a notable pluralist withal. In 1457 he was elected from Eton College to King's College', Cambridge. He was a proctor of the University in 1472; MD. and physician to Arthur, Prince of Wales, and Rector of Hartest cum Boxted, 1487; Rector of Glemsford and St. Vedast, London, 1488; Rector of Cavendish, 1490; Prebend of Dernford in the church of Lichfield, 1494; exchanged for Prebend of Bubbenhall. 1497, and for that of Pipa Parva. 1501; collated to Prebend of Holcomb in the church of Wells, 1498; Master of the Hospital of St. John the Baptist. Dorchester, 1499; Provost -of King's College, Cambridge 1501. He took the degree of D.D. in 1504, and dying in 1508 was buried in his chantry on the south side of the college chapel.
Brian Smith, who became Rector in 1610, was the son of Thomas Smith of Bures. He was admitted Sizar at Queens' College, Cambridge, in 1596, proceeding to B.A. in 1601 and M.A. in 1604. Ordained at Norwich in February 1610, he was inducted to the rectory of Cavendish in the following December, and to the vicarage of Bures in November, 1612. He was ejected from Bures c.-1644, and presumably about the same time from Cavendish, where his place was taken by a minister named Daniel Sutton, who was one of the Committee of the Suffolk Classes for appointing suitable ministers. His will, proved in 1655, styles him as "of Purleigh, Essex."
The next presentation is an interesting one. In the Institution Books in the Public Record Office, Thomas Grey, alias Bishop, of Thorndon near Eye, is stated to have been instituted to the benefice on 26 July, 1661. In the passage quoted in the notes on the Parish Registers he dates his rectorship from 1657. The confusion of the times is doubtless illustrated by the fact that while the neighbouring parishes were in the hands of Presbyterian ministers, we find a man openly proclaiming himself as rector, and with a touch of his ecclesiastical wand transforming the register into a sexton. He could not be instituted at the time, and his position was presumably regularised by his institution after the Restoration. The patron of the living was Thomas Bishop, of Thorndon, gent., and it is possible that he may have been in a position to do a little quiet wire-pulling. Thomas Grey was born c. 1622, his father being William Grey alias Bishop. of Aldeburgh, gent. He was educated at Caius College. Cambridge, and was appointed vicar of Wickhambrook in 1645. He wrote a beautiful hand, and it is a joy to view the "register booke" as kept by him after the untidy tangle of the Commonwealth period. In his later years he founded the local Grammar School, some account of which will be found above. He died in 1705, and his monument, which lies at the east end of the church, describes him as Rector of the Parish for 50 years. Did he date his rectorship from the date of the sale of the advowson in 16.55, mentioned above? He was succeeded by his son, Henry Grey, born lfiofi, educated at Queens' College, Cambridge. He took his D.D. degree in 1717, and the following year was made Prebendary of Chichester. He died in 1720.
In 1708 the advowson was purchased by the Master and Fellows of Jesus College, Cambridge, The first appointment made by the College was a notable one, the nominee being the Rev. Richard Warren, D.D .. afterwards Archdeacon of Sudbury, Born in 1681, he was admitted to Jesus College in 1696, elected fellow in 1703, and was afterwards tutor. His family was conspicuous in the arts of war and peace. His father was vicar of Ashford, Kent; of his two brothers one was fellow of Queens' College and the other fellow and vice-master of Trinity Hall; his elder sonl was Bishop of Bangor, and the younger physician to George III. of the sons of the latter one was Dean of Bangor, one an admiral. one a colonel, and one an eminent physician; of the two sons of the Dean one was Chancellor of Bangor and the other, who was knighted, a major-general, and of his two sons one was killed in the Crimea and the other, also knighted, a general in S. Africa. Not a bad family record.
Dr. Warren has left us his tithe book, which gives an illuminating account of the income of a country parson in the second quarter of the 18th century. It is interesting to read such good old Suffolk terms as so many "goings" of wood and so many "jags" of barley, oats or peas. The latter was evidently not too definite a measure, as he speaks of a jag, a good jag, and a pretty good jag. Land let well in those days. In 1730 the glebe brought in £42-10, a good sum in proportion to the total income. And he does not appear to have let it all, for under the same year comes the entry "lost by farming, £17-6-11±" (be kept his accounts pretty accurately!) The letting of the churchyard brings in 1/-, probably as pasture for sheep. For publication of banns he has the more pleasing expression "For asking a couple," for which the fee was 1/-; he also receives occasional guineas for funeral sermons. Easter offerings usually amount to £2 or less, and it cost anything from 3/4 to 5/-· to collect them, this being one of the duties of the parish clerk. There are two other interesting entries under 1730-"Allow'd him (Jeremiah Hammond. parish clerk) for attendance upon Plough Monday, £00-01-00," and "Spent at the Perambulation, five years having pass'd since the former Perambulation, £01-05-00." This appears to refer to the old custom of beating the bounds, though what the money was expended on is not stated-(? refreshment).
The next Rector, the Rev. Thomas Castley, who had a long reign of 52 years 0308-1860), was somewhat of a character. (his father, of the same family was a Westmorland man and a member of Jesus College. He had a brilliant academic career, being Senior Wrangler and Chancellor's medallist, but seems to have exhausted his powers in gaining these distinctions, and though a fellow of the college, never held any office in it. He was master of the Grammar School at Castletown, Isle of Man, and chaplain of St. Mary's in the same town, and so continued from his appointment in 1758 to his death in 1807)
Thomas junior was born in the Isle of Man, and was admitted to a sizurship at Jesus College in 1783, held a variety of exhibitions, was elected fellow in 1780, appointed to the vicarage of All Saints'. Cambridge in 17D7, and later to St. Clement’s, which he resigned for Cavendish. His rooms in college were on K staircase, and it is characteristic of his curious little idiosyncrasies that he wrote a memorandum which he placed in a bottle and concealed under the floor, there to remain till it came to light more than a century later. At Cambridge his unprepossessing appearance gained him the nickname" Ghastly." Gunning in his reminiscences tells the following story of him.
"Castley was a man of very penurious habits, of which the following may be taken as an illustration: John Brooke (a fellow), whose rooms were on the same staircase, proposed that they should furnish a lamp at their mutual charges, to prevent the recurrence of much inconvenience to which they had been subjected of an evening from the darkness of the staircase. Castley said he considered it a piece of needless extravagance; but after a time he agreed to the proposition, with the condition that he should be allowed to furnish the oil on alternate nights, for he thought the porter, whom Brooke had proposed to employ, would charge too much. This was agreed to. To Brooke's great surprise he frequently found the lamp on Castley's nights burning brightly at a late hour, whereas when the porter lighted it on his nights, it had burnt out much earlier. One evening, when Brooke was reading in his room, with his door sported, he heard a very quiet step on the landing-place; and opening his door gently, he surprised Castley in the very act of puffing out the lamp, by which dexterous manoeuvre, on alternate nights, he was enabled to shirk the expense of providing oil!"
This north-country "carefulness" has stood his successors in good stead, since it was during his tenure that the payment of tithe in kind was commuted for a tithe rent charge, and the commissioners appointed to assess the benefice income found no flies on Thomas Castley, who battled well and truly for the temporalities of his cure. He had a great affection for his horne and grounds, and his log-book which has been frequently referred to is largely taken up with an account of his improvements within and without.
He married bis housekeeper, Mary Griggs, and the story goes that on the wedding day, as she was preparing to leave the Rectory by the front door, he said, "No Mary, you go out at the back door as my housekeeper. You come in at the front door as Mrs. Castley."
On one occasion, if the story is true. his cuteness was at fault. He employed some men to saw up some planks, and had a shrewd suspicion that he was being overcharged. So while the sawyers were absent he went and measured up the work, measuring up one side and down the other of each plank, and not unnaturally finding the total considerably more than he expected, he exclaimed, "Honest lads, honest I lads; they've done more than they have charged for."
In his days, Cavendish and Glemsford rarely met without fighting. Once on returning from church he saw a scrimmage in progress, and asked a bystander what it was about, and was told that it was a fight between the two parishes. "Who beat'?" he enquired, and on learning that Cavendish was victorious, toddled into the Rectory gate muttering "Bravo Cavendish."
In extreme old age he became very doddery, and the services in the Church were very negligently performed. This drove many of his congregation to Pentlow, where the Rector was noted for his "blood and thunder" style of oratory. On having his attention called to this, he is said to have replied, "I don't mind where my bees go so long as I get the honey."
He died at the ripe age of 92, and was buried in the chancel of the Church, but strangely enough there is no monument to his memory.
On the death of Mr. Castley, the benefice was presented to the Rev. R. G. Peter, Dean of Jesus College. He was one of the kindest and good natured of men, but he had his little eccentricities. Dr. Morgan, the master of the college, relates that on one occasion when preaching in the college chapel he started by reading some verses out of Timothy, but in the middle changed his mind and decided to preach on a chapter of Proverbs. For a short time he did so; then, growing likewise tired of them, he turned back to Timothy, where he began to read part of a fresh chapter. Half-way through he stopped and remarked to the congregation, "Dear me, this chapter seems so good I really must finish it," and finish it he did, and there the sermon ended.
On his appointment to Cavendish, Dr. Morgan relates the following story:
'Before leaving the college he summoned his college gyp, Frisby.
"Frisby," he said, "I shall require a carriage to drive over to Cavendish. Will you buy me one, Frisby?"
A short time afterwards Frisby appeared,
“Bought you a carriage, sir; want a 'orse, sir'?" .
"All, to be sure, Frisby, what a good idea; really I think I had better have a horse, perhaps two horses. Buy me horses, Frisby, please."
Off went Frisby, reappearing a little later.
"Got you the 'orses sir, called Polly and Jinny."
"Ah, Polly and Jinny! Thank you, Frisby, thank you."
"Want a 'arness for the 'orses, sir? Got 'orses and a carriage, must 'aye 'arness."
"Ah, to be sure, Frisby, I'd better have some harness. Buy me harness, Frisby, please."
On returning a little while afterwards, Frisby suggested a dog.
"Want a dog, sir, to run be'ind, must 'aye a dog, aJl carriages 'aye dogs."
"Yes, I'd better have a dog; buy me a dog, Frisby, please."
The story goes on to say that Frisby's next suggestion was "Want a wife, sir?", but I cannot vouch for the truth of this.
To the end of my life I shall never forget that awful drive. The horses were young and fresh, and Peter, who had not the vaguest idea how to drive, lashed them up to full speed. It is no exaggeration to say that we galloped through the town, down Hills Road, and straight up to the Gog Magog Hills. -
Bump! bump! went Dr. Westmorland and myself on a seat as hard as stone, and all the time we could hear Peter on the box, urging on first Polly, then Jinny,
Coming down the other side of the Gogs was even worse. The carriage rocked from side to side, sometimes on two wheels only.
From the box we could still hear Peter encouraging the horses like a madman. Westmorland and I rode with our heads banging out of the windows, one each side, shouting at the tops of our voices:
"Stop, Peter! Stop! Stop! ... Stop!"
All Peter did was to shout back, "Have faith. man! Have faith!"
Every moment we thought our last hour had come.
At the cross-roads for some reason, I suppose from sheer exhaustion, Polly and Jinny slackened a little and we leapt out, unable to stand it any longer.
Peter continued his mad career to Cavendish. We walked back to Cambridge.'
Such was Mr. Peter's introduction to his new cure, which he appears to have reached in safety, as there is no record of any bones having been broken.
On a later occasion Dr. Morgan visited his old friend, and relates his experiences as follows:
'One Sunday 1; went over to Cavendish to take duty for Peter. Before leaving the vestry he said:
"Now, Morgan, remember, after reading the Second Lesson I wish you to stop for a few minutes and make a pause."
As the choir were just proceeding into the church, I had not time to enquire the reason for this. but after reading the lesson I stopped and stared at the congregation, anxious to see what might happen. They looked at me for a few minutes, and then one or two began to cough, rather violently at first.
On coming out I asked the curate, Wilkinson (afterwards Bishop of N. & C. Europe), the meaning of it.
"You ought to have been here last Sunday," he said; "it was a cold day, and Mr. Peter was much vexed by frequent interruptions from the congregation coughing during the service. He stopped and said: You are an ill-mannered congregation. I will not be interrupted by this coughing again. Now next Sunday I shall stop after the Second Lesson, and you will cough then."
I in my innocence came in for this arrangement on the following Sunday.'
Another anecdote of Dr. Morgan's throws an interesting light on the character of this unworldly old man.
'Of business matters Mr. Peter had not the least idea. A large sum of money, £25,000 I believe, was left to him and his sister. He lost every penny of it in an absurd investment. On hearing the money was gone. his only comment was, "A good lesson for me, a good lesson".'
Mr. Peter never occupied the Old Rectory, but built the new one situated to the north west of the Green. This served as the Rectory till 1947, when its upkeep proved too difficult in the hard days that followed the second great war, and a house called The Yews stand.ng opposite the pond, or Waver, to give it its local name, was purchased as Rectory No.3, and Rectory No.2 was sold. There is probably no other parish that can boast of three rectories within 400 yards of each other.
So ends our hotch-potch. I have tried to verify all statements as accurately as possible, but cannot give an unconditional guarantee for every one, especially with regard to the complicated history of the Cavendish family. However, it contains no deliberate falsehood, and I hope it may serve to pass away an idle hour.