The "Think and Thank" Screen Part 2

 

The Ryburgh War Memorial and Thankoffering Screen

 

 

dramatis personae

 

The architect was Mr. John Page of Langham and the whole work of the screen was carried out by those who claim Norfolk as their native county.

The carving of the angel over the entrance in the screen- a reminder of the guardian angels of those who fell as well as of those who returned – and the crowned T’s of St. Thomas are the work of Messrs. Howard and Sons, Norwich.

The tracery and woodwork generally was carried out by Mr James Cooper of Fakenham with his son Victor , and Mr Southgate of Fakenham under the contractors, Messrs. Fisher and Son of Fakenham.

Miss E.N.Woodward assisted by her sister and the architect was responsible for the painting.

John Page as a young man

John Page as a young architect

 

James and Emily Cooper with their children Victor and Olive.

 

The others:

The 1911 Census lists Charles William Southgate as a coachpainter. He is in the right age (mid 50's) to be working with James Cooper and his son Victor in 1921.

The Saints' figures which were not in place at the time of the Dedication and were the work of the Walsingham Church Shop in 1927 and the artist is unknown, the preffered painter Mr Rudd having died before he could carry out the work

Nothing further concerning Misses Woodward is known.

The Norwich Directory of 1883 lists Mr Howard Junior & Sons as Woodcarvers at No. 44. what is now Little Bethel Street

Kellys 1912 Directory  finds Howard and Sons,  Woodcarvers in Gaffers Yard, St Benedict’s Street

Kellys 1922 Directory  and for a futher dozen years lists Howard, John and Sons Woodcarvers in Cattlemarket Street.

Clearly a long established family business. Where else can their work be found?

If you know or have any other information regarding the making of this screen we’d love to know.

 

Unidentified Press clippings from 1921

 

found in the church safe

 

 

A NORFOLK WAR MEMORIAL

 

ENTIRELY NATIVE WORK

 

 

The memorial to the men of Great and Little Ryburgh and Testerton, who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War, was unveiled in St Andrew’s Church, Great Ryburgh, on Sunday in the presence of a crowded congregation. The dedication of the memorial, which takes the form of a handsomely carved and decorated screen, was performed by the Bishop of Thetford, and the new altar in the restored chapel of St Thomas was also unveiled and dedicated.

The screen is erected across the south transept of the church, which was anciently, and is now restored to be the chapel of St. Thomas. The architect was Mr. John Page of Langham and the whole work of the screen has been carried out by those who claim Norfolk as their native county. The carving of the angel over the entrance in the screen- a reminder of the guardian angels of those who fell as well as of those who returned – and the crowned T’s of St Thomas are the work of Messrs. Howard and Sons, Norwich while the tracery and woodwork generally was carried out by Mr Cooper of Fakenham under the contractors, Messrs. Fisher and Son of Fakenham. Miss E.N.Woodward assisted by her sister and the architect was responsible for the painting. At the top of the tracery are three shields, bearing the flags of St. Andrew, St. George and St. Patrick, and on the either side of these are eight shields, bearing the coats of arms of the chief patrons of the living------John de Munpinzun (about 1260 the first known patron); John Earl of Warren; Sir Robert Walkfare; the Priory of Walsingham; Wm. Buttes; Sir Robt. Bacon, Bart.; Queen Elizabeth; and Meaburn Tatham.

On the panels below appear the names of the fallen, grouped under the badges and colours of their regiments, while on the beam at the top of the screen are the words: “Think and thank” thrice repeated.

The service which was conducted by the Rector (the Rev F.H.Tatham) opened with the hymn, “How bright those glorious spirits shine” followed by the responses and prayers and the 130th Psalm. (Raynham), and after the singing of the hymn, “For all the Saints” the Rector read the names of the 21 men whose memory the screen perpetuates, and Colonel C.D. Seymour, at the request of the Bishop, drew aside the flag of St George and drapings which hid the screen and the altar, which he unveiled to the glory of God in loving remembrance of those who fell, and as a thank-offering for those who returned in safety. The dedicatory prayers having been said by the Bishop, the hymn “May the Grace of Christ our Saviour” was sung. The sermon was followed by the singing of “O Valliant Hearts” and after a prayer for the donors, said by the Bishop, the Benediction was pronounced and the service concluded with the Recessional hymn.

 

RYBURGH WAR MEMORIAL

 

UNVEILING AND DEDICATION

 

A Norfolk Production.

 

The Great Ryburgh Parish Church was crowded on Sunday afternoon on the occasion of the unveiling and dedication of the Church War Memorial, which took the form of a most artistic screen and new altar in the restored chapel of St. Thomas.

The screen is erected across the south transept of the church, which was anciently, and is now restored to be the chapel of St. Thomas. The architect was Mr. John Page of Langham and the whole work of the screen has been carried out by those who claim Norfolk as their native county. The carving of the angel over the entrance in the screen- a reminder of the guardian angels of those who fell as well as of those who returned – and the crowned T’s of St Thomas are the work of Messrs. Howard and Sons, Norwich while the tracery and woodwork generally was carried out by Mr Cooper of Fakenham with his son, and Mr Southgate of Fakenham under the contractors, Messrs. Fisher and Son of Fakenham. Miss E.N.Woodward assisted by her sister and the architect was responsible for the painting. At the top of the tracery are three shields, bearing the flags of St. Andrew, St. George and St. Patrick, and on the either side of these are eight shields, bearing the coats of arms of the chief patrons of the living------John de Munpinzun (about 1260 the first known patron); John Earl of Warren; Sir Robert Walkfare; the Priory of Walsingham; Wm. Buttes; Sir Robt. Bacon, Bart.; Queen Elizabeth; and Meaburn Tatham.

On the panels below appear the names of the fallen, grouped under the badges and colours of their regiments, while on the beam at the top of the screen are the words: “Think and thank” thrice repeated.

Untitled clipping

The Bishop of Thetford took as his text Hebrews xii., verses 1 and 2, and in the context of his address said that was the third occasion since he had been Bishop that he had come to that beautiful and ancient church to dedicate important improvements of a high spiritual purpose. They would be proud to know that the whole of the beautiful piece of work unveiled that day was part of their own home industry- every part of it had been done in Norfolk and it was very appropriate that the work for an ancient Norfolk church should have been done solely by Norfolk people. The memorial bore, he went on, a very interesting record of the patrons of the parish, tracing back to 1260, which meant that for 661 years people had been gathering in that building around the Altar of God, and those present that day must be very shallow men and women if they were not touched by the thought that they were upon hallowed ground that stood for so many centuries. That noble history brought out the continuity of the church all down the ages. Above the names of the fallen they read the words “Peace to the Souls of those who fought and fell, honour to all those men who fought and returned,” which were sentiments they must all feel very much. Having referred to the splendid war service rendered by Norfolk men, the Bishop addressed appropriate words to those who had lost loved ones, and said the question they all had to ask themselves was what were they doing to get right for the great meeting before the Throne of God?  Character was the only thing that would stand them in good stead before the Throne of God. If He was taking a back seat they were in a rotten state of mind. They must pull themselves up and test their lives in those practical ways so that they could do something to develop a Christ-like life and spirit, and build up character which would stand the test when they came before the Throne of God.

The service opened with the hymn" How bright these glorious spirits shine” conducted by the Rev F.H. Tatham (Rector.) Following the singing of Psalm 130, the Rev. M.F.M. McLean (Rector of West Raynham) read the lesson from Wisdom iii., 1-6 The hymn “For all the Saints” was then rendered, subsequent to which the Rector read the names of the men from the parishes of Great and Little Ryburgh and Testerton who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War, namely:- John Bacon, Herbert Chastney, Harold D. Comer, William Doy, Albert Green, Frederick Green, Everhard B. Hipkin. Percy J. Neale, Ernest Nelson, Charles Steward, Ernest Thompson (Norfolk Regiment),

Robert W. Barker (Northamptonshire Regiment), Joseph C. Howman ( Surrey Rifles), Frederick Baldwin, John Betts, Stanley Curson, Walter Fenn, Reginald Platten ( Norfolk Yeomenry), Frederick J. Bone ( Queens Regiment Royal West Surrey), Harry Chilvers ( Welsh Regiment) and Cecil Kail (Royal Army Service Corps).

Colonel C.D.Seymour then unveiled the screen and chapel, and when the large flag of St George dropped, a work of art was shown to the congregation. In performing the ceremony Col. Seymour said” I unveil this memorial, which has been erected by the parishes of Great and little Ryburgh and Testerton to the glory of God and in loving remembrance of those who gave their lives for the country and as a thank offering to God for those who returned in safety.”

The Bishop then dedicated the memorial and following the hymn “May the Grace of Christ our Saviour” delivered a sermon from the text Hebrews xii., 1-2, and in the course of his remarks said he need hardly say that he took it as a great privilege to be asked to attend that day on that very solemn, sacred and important occasion in their parochial life to celebrate their war memorial and thank offering. That was the third time since he had been Bishop that he had come into the village church to dedicate some improvements for a high spiritual purpose. He was sure they were all proud to know that the whole of the beautiful work was a piece of their own home industry. All who took any part in that work were Norfolk people. They had not gone outside their own county. The architect, the carver, the woodworkers and those who had done the painting, and their own parish priest, who had been such a good leader in the whole thing, were all natives of Norfolk. Norfolk work for a very ancient Norfolk church was a record they could be justly proud of. On looking at the memorial they would find a list of patrons inscribed, this enabling them to trace the patronage back to 1260. That meant that for no less than 661 years people had been gathering in that place round the altar of God to worship Him and to get the means of grace. They were in a noble church. They belonged to no mere modern organization brought about by any man or several men, but they belonged to the great Kingdom of the Church of God, which had been going on from age to age right down to the present moment.

Continuing, the Bishop said that above the names of the dead they would find the words “Peace to the Souls of those who fought and fell, honour to those men who fought and returned,” That exactly explained why they were there that afternoon. They wanted to honour both those who fought and fell and those who fought so bravely and had been spared to come back home. Those who came home would tell them that they thought chiefly of those who passed on to the larger life, those who made the supreme sacrifice, who laid down their lives for their God, Empire and the King. How wonderful their sacrifice was. They must be looking down upon them that afternoon. He always thought they were not far off. Perhaps they were talking about the people left behind and wondering what they would do now they themselves had laid down their lives for them.

Following the sermon the hymn “O Valliant Heart” was sung, and the Bishop gave the Benediction, the service concluding with the Recessional hymn “Now thank we all our God”

 

**************

 

This would seem to represent the reportage of at least two gentlemen of the press who must have been in attendance on the day.

It is fascinating to show here (by the kind permission of the owner) sketches of Norfolk screens made by the architect John Page in July 1921 undoubtedly as part of his research for the design of the new memorial at Ryburgh.. The pages are reproduced here in full:

 

 

Grateful thanks are due to Dr. George Acheson, Mrs. Elizabeth Savory and Mrs. Pat Ryder for the generous loan of their family archive and source materials that made this article possible.

Copyright Peter Trent 2014


The Think and Thank Screen
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Page last updated: Wednesday July 9th 2014 2:01 PM