The Think and Thank Screen Part 1



The South Transept Screen and the history

of the Ryburgh War Memorials as seen in Revd. Hugh

Tatham’s reports in the Ryburgh Parish Magazines and his

letters to the architect, John Ninian Comper .


The letters and drawings are part of the J.N Comper Collection, RIBA Drawings & Archives, British Architectural Library. These are held in the RIBA Drawings & Archives Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

They are found in 13 boxes of uncatalogued correspondance 1906-1959. Boxes CoJ/101-103 were examined to reveal these contents  There is also a folder of related drawings of which date details are included. The images were supplied by the RIBA Drawings & Archives Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum.,with permission to reproduce on this website Thanks are due to the curators who facilitated the visit to make these researches possible.  



N.B.Parish Council Minutes from this period seem not to have survived.


Kelly’s Directory for 1933 states the following:

In 1921 a beautifully designed screen, containing on the front panels the names of the fallen under their regimental badges, and on the other side the painted figures of saints was erected across the south transept, at a cost of £240, as a memorial to those who fell in the Great War, and as a thank-offering for those who returned:

A memorial was erected in the main road in 1921, inscribed with the names of those from Great and Little Ryburgh and Testerton who fell in the Great War, 1914-18; the cost, about £150, was defrayed by public subscription.



1.Photograph dated 1923


2. “A friend’s” photograph sold for fundraising in 1922.


3.Photograph dated 1923



Examination of the Ryburgh Parish Magazines that were issued monthly from 1910 right up to the death of F.H.Tatham in 1947 partially solves the conundrum of the two separate war memorials here in Ryburgh. It can only be partial at this stage because the story is only filtered through Hugh Tatham’s words, in excess of 6500 of them! The story starts in1917 when the Revd. F.H.Tatham was beginning to think of a War Memorial in St.Andrew’s Church by way of the restoration of St Thomas’ Chapel following a visit to architect  J.N.Comper in London probably in May of that year. Plans arrived in Ryburgh by the end of January 1918 and they were reported to be of screens for both the Chancel and the South Transept. A drawing survives today in the Comper Archive showing just such an arrangement.  Already in August 1918 he is addressing the question from the village.  “Why should it be in the Church” and of course he can think of no better place and by November he is raising funds for “The Rood Screen Memorial to the Fallen” As in many parts of this tale it has to be left to the imagination as to the extent of opposition to Tatham’s, dare one say “restoration by memorial” scheme, but in January 1919  he suggests a public meeting so everyone can  “see and hear about the proposed screen in the Church” .Hugh Tatham was also part of the Parish Council and so he reports of a Council meeting in May which decided on three proposals  to be later discussed and one assumes put to the vote. These were the Church Memorial, an obelisk in a public place in the village or the purchase of a Recreation Ground. In July the following year 1920, he appeals for “a mutual arrangement that will please all “especially the relatives of those killed.  In August a public meeting is called to consider afresh a war Memorial for the village and by September he writes: “The collection for the Parish War Memorial amounted to close on £200 and it has been decided to place the Memorial on a piece of ground given by Messrs. F. and G. Smith just between the garden of Mr. Lovett (Foundry Manager) and the gate leading to the Football ground. The actual form the Memorial is to take has not yet been decided.” Bearing in mind that he had been collecting for a Rood Screen Memorial  designed by Comper for the previous three years, he compromises seamlessly into this: “Side by side with this public Memorial, a Memorial is to be placed in the Church as has been done in very many parishes and the relatives of those who have fallen are collecting for this object-------Mr. John Page, Architect, has prepared a beautiful design for this Memorial and I very much hope that we shall be able to carry this through in accordance with the wish of the relatives. “ There are good contemporary reports about this Screen which was dedicated in Nov 1921 though the Magazines reveal that it was incomplete at the time and the debt on work done was finally cleared in May 1923. The completion of the screen, namely the paintings of the 8 East Anglian Saints was finally achieved in November 1927 in time for St Andrew’s Day celebrations. They were painted by an as yet unknown artist from Walsingham Church Shop.

Kelly’s Directory for 1933 states that the Church Memorial cost £240, however  no published accounts for the Screen have been found.

When the Village Memorial was built, and by whom is still unknown. Hugh Tatham writes in  May 1924  when publishing the accounts for the Village Memorial:

“The conveyance, minute and balance sheet were given into the custody of the Clerk for safe keeping among the Parish Records--------the minute, list of names and balance sheet being recorded in the minutes. The Parish Council, together with the co-opted members from the parishes of Little Ryburgh and Testerton, will in future be the Committee for the care and upkeep of the Memorial and site.”  The final published accounts show that the total cost for the Village War Memorial was £207-5-2d. and not “about £150” as the entry in Kelly’s 1933 Directory puts it! These have since been lost, and one lives in hope that they may turn up.


The full texts of the Magazine entries and letters are transcribed below:



May 9th. (1917)   Ryburgh Rectory Fakenham.


Dear Mr. Comper,

It seems years since I heard anything of you or the Lizard &c. I am hoping to come  to London to see my poor mother in the week beginning May 21. & want much to see you  & talk over various things with you in view of eventualities in regard to the Church. Will you be in London that week & if so when is the best time to catch you free?

Yrs sincerely



May 11th.  1917)  Ryburgh Rectory. Fakenham.


Thanks for your p.c. I will do my best to get to see Monday afternoon (21st.) but cannot say for certain. What’s the nearest station to you & best way to get from Regent’s Park? I can’t remember but I know I went to the wrong station last time & had a longish walk& I cannot walk far now with my cruchy leg. If I don’t get on 21st. Keep the windows & put blame on me when you write to Wm. I’ll try to telephone to you when I reach London. But do send me a p.c. as to means of reaching you & nearest station or bus.

Yrs in haste

F.H. Tatham


June 1917

Memorial Chapel. I saw, while I was in London, Mr.J.N.Comper, the architect who designed the beautiful work done in our Chancel, and I asked him to prepare a rough sketch and outlines for the restoration of the Chapel of S. Thomas in the South transept. My suggestion is that we might make the Chapel our Memorial to those who, from our parish, have laid down their lives for us. I hope this may meet with approval, as it would not only be a lasting and fitting memorial, but will be of great use for daily services.

I thought I would mention this at once so that if any relatives like to do so they could start subscriptions towards it in memory of their dear ones who have fallen in the War and if not able to give any large sum they might give small sums in installments say so much a month. I shall be glad to hear what any of you think of this suggestion.




June 5th 1917                                                                    Ryburgh Rectory


Dear Mr Comper,

Fisher has been over today and we have taken measurements you have asked for. I hope they will be clear.

1.Total width of transept wall to wall 18ft. 3 inches

2.Width between window….

3.Width of opening…

4.Height from present base of floor to capital of arch. …

5.Capital from base to top

6.Total length of transept….

outside edge of the screen would be to South wall 28ft 6.

Hope this is what you wanted.

I find there are no tiles in the transept in the floor. Between the seats is stone and I feel almost sure we will find more tiles when we take up the present floor The matter of hot water pipes we are considering. As soon as you can, let me have a rough kind of sketch showing Altar and screen etc. I should like to have it in place before the people. I wonder much what you would propose re roof which is vile

I think you or the Lizzard will have to come and have a look to renew your memory.

Yours sincerely,



June 20th.1917

Dear Mr Comper,

I have been cussing you like brother William and as a result received your letter this morning. I now enclose rough sketches and measurements which I trust are quite clear. It’s funny work trying to explain the odd decorations and make it all clear but I trust you will be able to gather the particulars you require. Of course the nuisance is the many levels and I only wish I could have got all those put right before we started originally. Let me know if you want any further particulars and do let me have just a rough idea and sketch of what you consider would be the plan to proceed upon.

Yours sincerely,



July 1917

The collections on June 11th and 12th have been placed in the Bank as the first start towards the Fund for the Restoration of S. Thomas’ Chapel in the South Transept. I am sorry to say Mr. J. Comper has not been able yet to furnish me with a sketch of the proposed work, the delay being due like all other delays to the War and shortage of hands.

As soon as I have the sketch I hope to call on all relatives, &c. of those who have fallen in the war and shew them the sketch and ask for their support or possibly it may be better to call a meeting and lay the whole scheme before them and other Church people who may be interested in the matter.



July 22 1917


Dear Mr. Comper,

Am I ever going to hear from you & see, as I have asked many time, a rough sketch of your proposal for S. Thomas’ Chapel?  You might also be preparing design for screen &rood to Chancel as I am going to try & get my family &c to join together in putting the screen &rood up in memory of my dear mother whom as you doubtless have seen passed away on July 2.

Yrs in haste


P.S. I have just given your name for a window to M.Hervey Esq of East Bilney Hall, E. Dereham


September 1917

The Memorial Chapel. – We are still waiting for Mr Comper’s designs. He begs me to have patience as he says he has very little help now in his work as so many of his former helpers are serving their King and Country




Oct 13  (1917)                                                 Ryburgh Rectory Fakenham

Dear Mr Comper,

I think you are evidently desirous of making me surpass even Job.

You asked me some months ago to be patient & I am sure I have not only tried to be but have been very patient. Can’t you give me a sketch of proposed rood screen &c for chancel arch and screen for side chapel itself. Do please give me something to show people so that I can begin to collect & also something on which Fisher or someone can give a rough estimate. I know you like all of are overdone with work but surely after so long a time you have been able to give me a little time. Cannot you really take it in hand? I do not want to have anyone else but what am I to do.

Yrs in haste


And finally the drawings of the proposals arrive in Ryburgh:



























The full drawing
















































The Chancel Screen and Rood 


















































The St. Thomas Chapel Screen.


February 1918

I have at last received the plans from Mr. Comper and shall hope to be able to show them to all who are interested in the restoration of the Church and a Memorial to those from Ryburgh who have laid down their lives for us. The plans are just now in the hands of the contractors to be able to get estimates for the proposed work.

May 1918

The Rector showed those present [at the Easter Vestry Meeting] Mr. J. N. Comper’s designs for the Screens in the Church, which were much admired.



June 1918

The Memorial to those who have fallen in the War. Some of those who have seen the plans of the screens, which can be seen at any time on application to myself after any service in Church, think the rood screen would be the most appropriate memorial. So far I have received two 15/6 certificates towards the

Fund.  I would suggest that the giving of money for certificates is a good way of subscribing, as in time they increase in value, and one subscriber is putting aside so much per week and buying stamps and then when 15/6 has been collected, handing it to me to buy a certificate with for the Fund.


August 1918

I have to acknowledge the receipt of £1 towards the Memorial in the Church to those who have fallen in the war, from a widow. I wish very much others would come forward and help. Surely the least we all can do , let alone the relatives of those who have fallen, is to put up a fitting Memorial to them, in as much as they have laid down their lives for us.

I am given to understand that some have said “Why in the Church”? I can only answer “Where else”? I might also point to the fact of it always having been so to do. I think you have only to go to Norwich and you will find in the Cathedral numberless Memorials to those who have fallen in war.

Can anything be more permanent than our ancient Parish Churches, and can any better place be chose? We have Memorials there now dating back to the 16th Century

September 1918

The Memorial to those who have fallen. I have received the promise of a guinea from a mother—Will those who are doubtful about giving to such a fund read over thoughtfully the 2nd lesson for last Sunday’s Evensong(Aug.18), especially verses 6-13. Matt. Xxvi.


The Rood Screen. I found in the box in Church some money wrapped in paper and the following written on the paper:-“For the proposed Rood Screen, a mite from a visitor from Norwich who admired the beautiful way this Church is cared for and who will remember the good work in his prayers.6-9-18. I wish we, in the parish, worked for, subscribed to and even prayed more for the good of our Church. Surely there are many who could help towards the proposed Memorial to those who have given their lives for us. I have received the promise of one guinea towards the Memorial from the mother of one who has fallen. Roughly nearly 20 have fallen from our parish, and the relatives of 3 only have subscribed and the friend of a 4th.

November 1918

The Rood Screen Memorial to those who have fallen: Since the last issue of the Magazine the following donations &c. have been received: Anon.J.B.2/6, Mr Lovett ?, Per Church Box 4/-

Three mothers of sons who have fallen have promised subscriptions.

January 1919

War Memorial and Thanks-Offering for Peace. It has been suggested that soon after Peace has been declared we should have a Public Meeting open to all parishioners to decide on what shall be the War Memorial, and give all an opportunity to see and hear about the proposed screen in the Church, and the estimated cost of it. I shall be pleased to do all in my power to carry the suggestion into effect.


February 1919

War Memorial. I have received a promise of help, unsolicited, this month from one bereaved in the war towards this memorial. The one who offered was afraid it might be too late to make an offering!

April 1919

War Memorial and Thanksgiving for Peace. I have seen reports of and heard of many parishes where they have had meetings on this matter and we seem to be somewhat behindhand. However it is well to be deliberate about such a thing. I hope that a meeting will be called soon after Easter when I trust as many parishioners as possible will attend and that we shall manage to agree unanimously about the matter. Something should be done worthy of the memory of those who have fallen, something that will show our thankfulness to God who has given us the Victory and something that will stand for ages and which are (sic) shall not be ashamed to hand down to future generations as our memorial and thank-offering.

May 1919

The War Memorial and Peace Thanksgiving.  Wherever I go now almost I am asked questions about this and would like to point out that there is a sketch plan of the proposed Memorial in Church, on the left hand side as you go in at the door. Everyone I have spoken to so far is pleased and anxious to help with it and all think it is an excellent idea.



June 17.1919                                                          Ryburgh Rectory Fakenham


Dear Mr. Comper,

It is ages since I wrote or heard from you. I trust you are keeping fit & all is well with you. I fear now with things as they are & the ridiculously high prices of lab our & materials that the estimates I got for Rood Screen from Fisher & Gough will not stand. Fisher’s was £215 for screen & Gough £124 for figures, ends of cross, cresting & fibrous plaster. Now what I want to know is whether you could not very much simplify the design & not have quite so much expensive work in it. I really don’t think we shall be ever able to carry out the original plan with prices as they do now. Anyhow will you let me know what you think-will you want drawing returned so that you can recall what you intended.

Excuse scrawl. An early answer will much oblige.


Yr ever



I have seen a good many oak screens much cheaper with figures from Black Forest &c.


June 1919

Parish Council Meeting. At a Meeting of this Council on May 10th , convened for the purpose of considering “Peace Celebration” the question of a War Memorial was brought up and it was decided to call a Meeting of all the Parishioners, and that notices to that effect be posted in the village stating that the date of the Meeting would be notified later, and also that the Notices should show the proposals put forward by members of the Council. They are as follows:-

(1)The Parish War Memorial and Thanksgiving should be placed in the Parish Church.

(2) That an obelisk should be erected in a public place in the village.

 (3) That a Recreation Ground be purchased.

Personally I must say how strongly I am in favour of the War Memorial being in the Church. It is about 2 years now since I first put forward this suggestion in the Magazine, and I may say that it has the support of the relatives of those who have fallen and whose Memorial it is to be. I do not say of all who have fallen for I believe there are the relatives of possibly 3 or 4 to whom I have not had the chance to speak. But I will leave further discussion of the matter till the Meeting.

July 1919

Church Restoration. As you will see I am now getting in money to prepare the way for the Screen. The floor levels have to be put right before the screen can be erected, and I hope the greater part of the amount needed in hand before the work commences.

I think a good deal of this work could be done by voluntary labour and I do think it would be a great gain if some of the men in the place would volunteer to help in this work. There is quite a lot of shoveling and barrow work that will not need experts, and if this was done voluntarily a good deal of money could be saved. It could be done at odd hours. If I could be assured of a good band of workers I would arrange for the work to be started.

August 1919

Church Restoration. I am sorry to report that no one has come forward and volunteered to help. I must confess that I am disappointed as I did think there would be some willing to do such work as I suggested in last month’s magazine.

I am glad to say that probably before this magazine is in your hands the parish will have  shown their gratitude and respect for those who have done “their bit” in the war by entertaining them. It is expected they will be given an entertainment on  August 8th. I think you will like me to extend our united sympathy to Mrs Nobes in her great sorrow. Such accidents ending so sadly make us realise how it is that “In the midst of life we are in death” and should teach us to seek for God’s help to succor while with us it is still “to-day.”


My dear Parishioners,

I must apologise for the lateness of the issue of this month’s Magazine. I must confess it is my fault, but so many things came in the way just when I should have been writing it. Since our last issue we have celebrated Peace and I can only hope to the satisfaction of all who took part in the celebration as it was all done in accordance with the wishes expressed at the public Parish Meeting. But now “Lest we forget” we must remember those who have given their lives that we might have peace. Do not let us be selfish. It seemed easily done and done very quickly, when we collected for one day’s enjoyment and we raised close on £130. Now surely, if we can raise that sum to spend on ourselves we should be able to raise a very much larger sum to spend in memory of those who have laid down their lives for us. I am hoping that shortly a meeting will be held and I do trust that as many as possible will attend the meeting; and do let us see if we cannot work together and place in our Parish a really fitting and LASTING memorial to those who have fallen.

September 1919

The most important thing that has taken place since the last issue of the Magazine, is the meeting about the War Memorial. It seems to me a very great pity, to say the least of it, that no consideration at all was paid to the wishes of those who are mourning their dear ones who have fallen in the war. They should, I feel, have had the first consideration, and they feel I know very much hurt about the matter and have got up and signed a protest against the proposal carried in spite of their expressed wishes. It is very sad that there should be any division of opinions on such a matter and I very much hope still that wiser councils may prevail and we may yet unite together to erect a memorial worthy of its object and also in accordance with the wishes of the relatives of those who have fallen.

November 1919

MY DEAR PARISHIONERS, I am sorry to have to refer to a vexed question but I feel it is necessary under the circumstances. The reason is this that there is a report going the round of the village which is apparently receiving some credence but which fortunately has reached my ears and which I am in the position to be able to contradict as I know that it is absolutely untrue. The report is that the protest presented to the War Memorial Committee was signed on a blank page of paper and the protest written after the paper was signed.

This was not the case as I know because I was actually shown the protest before any signatures were appended and the protest and the signatures were written in duplicate and I hold at the present one of these copies.

Further I am informed by the person who took the protest round that the words of the protest were read over to those who signed and the meaning carefully explained before anyone was allowed to sign.

Those who have lost their dear ones have suffered sufficiently with their being maligned, and I, who have been with most of them in the times of their deepest sorrow, feel I must take up their case and give the lie to any malicious tales that  may spread about them and their supporters.

I trust this may be the last time I have to refer to this vexed question in the columns of our Parish Magazine. Let us pray for more unity and brotherly love in our united parishes

May 1920

One hears and read of War memorials being unveiled and dedicated all around and personally I long for the time when we as a united Parish, giving due and sympathetic consideration to the wishes of those who have lost dear ones in the War, are ready to place in our Parish Church a worthy Memorial to those who gave their lives for us and a worthy thank-offering to Almighty God for their example of self sacrifice and for the Peace He hath vouchsafed to us.

I am your affectionate friend and Rector, April 20th, 1920  F.H.Tatham.



July 20th (1920)                                                     Ryburgh Rectory Fakenham


Dear Mr. Comper,


I am returning these drawings as it is quite hopeless to attempt either screen & the people here want something simpler & cheaper for a War Memorial & so we are trying some local man. I told him we had hoped to have your designs &c. & he said he could not come in whereon I told him I would write & explain matters. I am hoping to get the seats in chancel done which you designed years ago but have only the small sketch you sent me. The large one you asked me to return & I did years ago. I remember it was one you had used previously for another church. Fisher however is going to try & give me an estimate on the small but if he cannot do it for the money we have in hand we shall have to chuck it. You can’t get money out of a stone nor can you out of the present day “moneyed” people,

Excuse hurried scrawl

Yrs ever sincerely,


July 1920

War Memorial. It makes one quite sad to read of other parishes as one does day after day having their War Memorials dedicated and think that Ryburgh is behind hand. Can we not come to some mutual arrangement and erect something which will please all, and most especially those who have lost their dear ones? As I have always said that is the first and great consideration, theirs is the heavier loss, and it is up to us in honouring our dead and in thanks-giving for peace to consider first and foremost the wishes of those who mourn chiefly their loss. If anyone will come forward with any suggestion that will carry out this idea I shall be only too pleased to do what little I can to forward the matter.

August 1920

Tuesday August 3rd.  On this day at 7.30p.m. a meeting has been called by the original Committee, appointed for the purpose , to consider afresh a Memorial to those who have fallen in the War. If this is to be a success all parishioners should make an effort to be present at almost any cost in order that the views of all should be expressed. It is no use talking about it afterwards. Come to the Meeting and express your views openly and let us have the opinions of all so that we may come to a good decision.

So few attended the last Meeting and in my humble opinion we want to have a genuine and unbiased expression of the feelings of the majority with just one proviso and that is consideration  for the feelings of those who mourn the loss of their dear ones.


The following letter was received by Hugh Tatham

from Mr. Comper:


4th August 1920


Dear Mr. Tatham,


The screen drawing has reached me safely (though rather crushed in the post for want of a stiff roller) and I am very sorry to hear that you have to abandon hope of carrying it out. I am enclosing a small account, which is half of what would be the recognised charges for the work so far as it has gone.

It is a disappointment also that you have not asked me to design the war Memorial you have settled on, for I do not suppose it will be any simpler or cheaper than some which I am doing.

If you will send me the scale drawing of the seats in the chancel which you want to carry out, I will see what can be done.



My Dear Parishioners,

The collection for the Parish War Memorial amounted to close on £200 and it has been decided to place the Memorial on a piece of ground given by Messrs. F. and G. Smith just between the garden of Mr. Lovett and the gate leading to the Football ground. The actual form the Memorial is to take has not yet been decided.

Side by side with this public Memorial a Memorial is to be placed in the Church as has been done in very many parishes and the relatives of those who have fallen are collecting for this object-------Mr. John Page, Architect , has prepared a beautiful design for this Memorial and I very much hope that we shall be able to carry this through in accordance with the wish of the relatives. I feel sure there are many in the parish who will like to subscribe to this Memorial and Peace Thanksgiving. The design will be placed in the Church, near the entrance so that those who desire to do so can see what is proposed to be done.  Any who wish to subscribe can send their donations to me or the collectors, Mrs. Alfred Neale and Mrs. R.W.Barker of Riverside (now Bridge) Cottages. However small the contributions may be they will be thankfully received and any who desire to be anonymous can intimate the same to me and I will see that their contributions are so treated.

Do let us remember that we are commemorating before God, those who made the supreme sacrifice and also our thankfulness for the end of the War and so we want to use some self sacrifice in our Memorial.

October 1920

The Memorial and Thank Offering in the Church. – Subscriptions continue to come in little by little. I have written to every ex-service man whose name appears on our Church Roll of Honour and the answers I have received so far (it is less than a week since the first letter went out) have been very encouraging. I shall write up the list in Church as I receive donations. One ex-service man no longer living in the Parish wrote as follows “I am very much in favour of a Screen being placed in your Church.” –Others wrote, sent their donation “as a thank-offering and to help with the Memorial to our pals who gave their all.”

Besides these I have received promises and donations since the last issue amounting to over £6.

November 1920

The Memorial and Thank Offering in the Church. A good many of the Ex service men have answered my letter to them and I have not received any refusals, but those  who have replied have sent subscriptions and expressed their pleasure in helping and wished every success to the scheme. I have not received answers, though I begged for a reply from many of those to whom I wrote. Is it forgetfulness.  I hardly like to think it anything else. I hope to put in a cyclostyle list of subscriptions with the Magazine this month when it is issued.

December 1920

List of Ex Service Men

 who have subscribed to

the Memorial and Thank offering

in the  Parish Church.

H[enry] Crisp  5=0

H [Alfred?] Firminger    10=0

W[illiam] Walpole and

R[obert] & H[arry] Barker 10=0

J[eremiah”Jack”] Harris  2=6

Percy Platten (Gt. Ryburgh)  5=0

Reggie King     10=0

Frank Wilkin    2=6

Herbt. Thompson   2=6

Sid.  Bacon  2=0

Bertie Platten  5=0

Bertie Beales  5=0

Capt. H.E.F.Smith  1=1=0

Wal. Youngman     5=0

Fred  “   5=0

Capt. F.H.T.Tatham  1=0=0

G.L.Tatham   1=0=0

Percy J. Platten (L. Ryburgh)  10=0

Ernest Betts   5=0

Ernest Platten   2=0=0

Promises have also been received from Serg. W[alter] Utting and Abel Coates.

December 1920

The Church Memorial and Thank Offering.  Subscriptions continue to come in slowly and we have now in hand or promised £115. I shall probably print a list to be enclosed with this issue of ex-service men’s subscriptions following on from the one issued with last month’s Magazine. I will again state that subscriptions will be gladly received by Mrs. Neale, Mrs. R. Barker or myself.

January 1921

The Church Memorial and Thank Offering.  We have now in hand or promised about £[…] and there are one or two who have promised help but so far have named no definite [sum] but there are many others who might [……] However though we have not yet reached the amount required. I’[d] have thought it w[ould] make a venture of faith and I have given [an] order for the work to be begun—what par[ticularly] urged me to take this step was that Mr Rudd who is going to do the painting can be doing  a great part of it during the winter months  at home---and so the work can be done [there and] brought to the Church and put up. I [reckon] as far as I can judge 21 Names to be placed [on] the screen. Anyone can verify them and [make] sure no one is forgotten by examining the [list] in the Church. There are 22 Names on th[e list of] 2the fallen” but one does not properly belong to this parish( Probably Nicholas Gould from North Elmham)  and is commemorated in his [village].

The Church Memorial and Thank Offering. 

List of Ex Service Men’s

 Subscriptions up to date Jany 7th 1921

H[enry] Crisp   5=0

H [Alfred?] Firminger  10-0

W[illiam] Walpole and

R[obert] & H[arry] Barker  10=0

J[eremiah”Jack”] Harris    2=6

Percy Platten (Gt. Ryburgh)  5=0

Reggie King  10=0

Frank Wilkin 2=6

Herbt. Thompson 2=6

Sid.  Bacon 2=0

Bertie Platten 5=0

Bertie Beales 5=0

Capt. H.E.F.Smith 1=1=0

Wal. Youngman  5=0

Fred  “ 5=0

Capt. F.H.T.Tatham  1=0=0

G.L.Tatham  1=0=0

Percy J. Platten (L. Ryburgh)  10=0

(Sidney) Baldwin   1=0=0

Ernest Betts  5=0

Ernest Platten  2=0=0

Owen Whitlock   10=0

Albert Thompson    10=0

Percy Thompson  10=0

Victor Thompson   10=0

H Rushby  4=0

Alf Slegg  5=0

E. Bone  5=0

Geo Plummer   1=0=0

April 1921

Further amounts towards the Church War Memorial and Thank offering still keep coming in and promises to help. This is very satisfactory as the work has started and I have already seen some of the carving for it. I trust none will hold back from giving through thinking their offerings are too small. Every little helps.

June 1921

The Church Memorial and Thank Offering.  --- The work on the screen is proceeding apace and all the top portions have been carved now. I am sorry to say that Mr Rudd who was to have painted the Screen died suddenly at the end of April.

It is a great loss to us as his work was very good and he had the work at heart and did it more for the glory of God and love of the work than for mere money making. Mr. J. Page and I are trying to find some one to do the work and we can only hope and pray we may be enabled to find some one with the same artistic sense as well as the same devotion to his work that Mr Rudd had.  I am hoping very soon to start the preparatory work in the transept and as soon as we start the S. Thomas’ Chapel will have of course to be closed and the daily services will have to be held in the Chancel till the work is finished and the Memorial dedicated.

To save expense in the preparatory work in the South Transept it would be splendid if some of the male parishioners would offer their services and so help me. Otherwise I am going to ask some of the unemployed to do part of the work but I would rather hope some may offer to help after work hours or perhaps on Saturday afternoons.

July 1921

The Church War Memorial etc.  The work in preparation for the Screen is progressing favourably and the floor levels will soon be completed. We made the most interesting discovery and what makes it more so is the fact that the discovery rather coincides with that made in the Chancel when we restored the levels there. What I refer to is the original foundations of the Altar in S. Thomas Chapel. Exactly in the place we thought the Altar originally stood and where we had the Altar, just as we discovered the North and South foundation stones of the High Altar in the Chancel. Also we have found some of the old original floor tiles one or two in very good preservation with the glaze intact.

I am glad to say I have managed to find a lady who will undertake the painting of the Screen that the late Mr. Rudd was to have done--- and one who will love to do the work and put, I feel sure, the same devotion and artistic care into the work that Mr. Rudd would have done.

The following subscriptions have been received lately.

An anonymous Friend   1=0=0

A  Friend


Mr. W. Evans (late of the Bucks Hussars)   3=3=0

As the work has begun I shall be glad to receive the subscriptions which have been promised but not paid in.

September 1921

The Church Memorial and Thankoffering.  The actual woodwork of the Screen is practically finished and most of the work in the S. Thomas’ Chapel. The painting of the Screen will start during September and I trust by the Anniversary of Armistice Day all will be completed. May I again appeal to those who have promised to help to send in their contributions during the month, and if there are any who wish to subscribe and have not done so I would ask them to send in their subscriptions too. I have received since our last publication two sums of 2/6 from friends who wish to be anonymous.

October 1921

The Church Memorial.--- We are still waiting for the painting. Miss Woodward has been somewhat delayed owing to the illness and death of her father but she hopes to be able to come over soon and start her work and I am very much hoping to be able to have the screen and restored Chapel of S. Thomas opened and dedicated about the time of the Anniversary of the Armistice.

I have great pleasure in announcing a generous gift towards the memorial made just previous to the death of one of the givers-Mr and Mrs. H.E.Smith £25, and further Mr. A. Thurnall £1, Mrs. R.L. Barker £1.

November 1921

I am very glad to announce that the War Memorial and Thank offering is nearly completed and the work of restoration etc. the S. Thomas’ Chapel likewise.

The Lord Bishop of Thetford has consented to dedicate the Screen and New Altar in the Chapel on Sunday, November 13th. (Armistice Sunday) at 3p.m. Seats will be reserved for the relatives of those who have fallen in the War and they are asked to apply to me on or before Friday, November 11th.  for tickets so that we may know how many seats to reserve.

Also we hope all ex-service men will attend and I extend a hearty invitation to them all and should like to reserve seats for them all and so if they will likewise apply to me I will issue tickets and reserve seats for them.

So that a beautiful hymn, which will be sung on that occasion may be known,  I am asking the congregation to stop for a few moments after Evensong each Sunday to try it over. It is a hymn called the Supreme Sacrifice.

I have just had a telegram from Col: C.D. Seymour, who commanded the Norfolk Yeomanry on mobilization and who is well known to most of us kindly consenting to unveil the Screen.

I feel sure when the Memorial is seen that all will agree that it is not only beautiful  but some what worthy of the memory of those who fought and fell as well as a worthy Thank-offering to those who fought and returned. I shall be pleased to receive subscriptions and donations still as I fear when all the accounts are in there will still be money required.

I shall hope in the next issue to give, if I may use the expression, a key to the screen explaining it in full.

December 1921.

The Memorial Screen and Thankoffering. 

It was a great joy to see such a crowded Church on the occasion of the Dedication of the above and of the New Altar in the restored Chapel of S. Thomas. Those gathered there must, I feel, have been well rewarded by hearing the splendid address given by the Bishop of Thetford, and I only hope the word spoken sunk in and will bring forth fruit. I have tried to get the address printed but the Bishop informs me that he cannot let me have it as it was not written. I want to repeat one sentence of the Bishop’s. “If they were making God take a back seat in their lives, they were in a rotten state”. I wish many in Ryburgh would realise this, if they did we should see the Church better attended that it is at present. As I promised, I will now give a key to the screen. The angel over the entrance speaks to us of the Guardian Angel each one of us has, and especially of those who watched over both those who fell as well as those who returned, and the Angel is decorated with a string of beads, as so many of our soldier relations brought back such strings from Belgium and France. The crowned T.’s are to speak to us of S. Thomas, at the entrance to whose Chapel the screen stands.

The shields in the tracery of the screen reading from the East bear the Coats of Arms of the chief patrons of the living, except the three in the middle which bear the flags of S. Andrew, S. George, and S. Patrick, which flags combined make up the Union Jack of England. The coats of Arms read thus:

John de Munpinzum, the first known patron of the living, about 1260

John, Earl of Warren 1309

Sir Robert Walkfare 1318

The Priory of Walsingham  1449

William Buttes, Esq.

Sir Robert Bacon Bart.

Queen Elizabeth (note the “fleur de lys” [on] two quarters, showing her claim to France)

Meaburn Tatham

Upon the handrails above the panels which bear the names of those who fell, is carved in relief “Peace to the souls of those who fought and fell.”

“Honour to all those men who fought and returned.”

The badges and colours of the regiments in which they served surmount the names on the panels.

On the Transom over the entrance through the screen the letters A.M.D.G. are introduced standing for “Ad Majorem Dei Gloria” “To the greater glory of God” ---and on the reverse of the same 1914- The Great War -1919.

On the Chapel side on the beam is the old inscription (dating from the 16th century) thrice repeated, so fitting to such a Memorial and Thank Offering “Think and Thank” In this case especially reminding us to think of those who made the supreme sacrifice for us, and thank God for their good example and for the safe return of those who came back.

The shields, on this side, are treated with conventional designs except for the centre shield which bears the symbol of S. Thomas, the builder’s square. I think it is interesting to note that the whole work was “native” all those who worked on it being Norfolk people.

Mr. John Page, Architect of Langham.

Miss R.E. Woodward, Painter born in Norwich.

Messrs. Fisher and Sons, Contractors Fakenham.

Messrs. Cooper and Son, and Southgate, Carvers and Carpenter, Norfolk born..

Messrs. Howard and Son, of Norwich Carvers of the Angel and Crowned T.’s.

The work on the new Altar and Altar Steps was done by Mr. F. Rush, of Fakenham and his deaf and dumb assistant, while the floor work was done by W. Tuck of Stibbard, and the rearrangement of hot water pipes and radiators by G.L.Tatham, while the leveling of the floors &c. were done by ex-service men under the Rector’s foremanship.

January 1922

During the past year we can look back and see great efforts carried through. The Parish War Memorial Erected and Dedicated.  The Church War Memorial and Thankoffering Erected and Dedicated, and the Hospitals Contributory Scheme started and working very well with advantage both to the Hospitals and to the contributors.

Nov . 30th, Church War Memorial   6/6


Church War Memorial and Thank Offering.

Receipts since last issue. Collection above. C.M. Tatham ( patron of the Living) £5-0-0, Miss Jessie Tatham £2-2-0, Mr Robert Platten 10/-, “Gratitude” £1=0=0.

February 1922

Church War Memorial and Thank Offering.

Receipt since last issue. Collections as above Mrs. F.H.Tatham. 2 guineas. Gratitude 2/6. Per Church Box 11/3.  Amount still required about £31.

April 1922

Church War Memorial and Thank Offering.

Receipts since last announcement—Anon 10/-; Anon 2/6: Mr W Long 5/-: Church Box and Guild offerings 10/-; Anon £1; Offerings at Confirmation 4/9; Church Box and Offerings March 16th, 5/6; Amount still required £28

May 1922

Church War Memorial and Thank Offering.

Receipts since last issue.----

Church Box and Offerings up to April 3rd. 17/-

 ditto up to April 14th. 8/-  G.L.Tatham  £1.   Lent Savings Anon £1 

“Precious Memory”. 7/-   Thank Offering one guinea. 

Church Box to April 25th. 3/1.  Deficit now under £25

June 1922

I am very glad to be able to report a very kind donation towards the deficit on Church Expenses (See below) but sorry not to have any further subscriptions to report towards the Church War Memorial and Thankofferings.

July 1922

Church War Memorial Thank Offering.

Receipts since last notice, Collections on Ascension Day and Whitsunday (7.30 and 8.15 am) £1-8-7. Church Box 9/9, Mr. Lister 4/-

September 1922

A friend of mine has taken a very good photo of the screen and I am going to ask for the negative and get some copies and also try to [get an] enlargement. As soon as I get them I shall sell them and any small profit on them will go towards the debt. There has been received the last issue, A Visitor 1/-. By Guild Offerings and Church Box 3/- 4d. There is still £16 remaining.

Please help to clear off this debt before the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Screen.

November 1922

Church War Memorial and Thank Offering.

It will be a year this month since the Screen and Chapel were dedicated by the Bishop of Thetford. Then there was still required over £45 to pay for the Screen. This has been reduced to £15. Surely some have reason to thank God and could they show their thankfulness better than subscribing to pay off a debt on such a thing as a screen dedicated to God’s glory, in honour of those who gave their lives for us and as a thankoffering for those who returned in safety. A short while ago we read in the local paper of a mother who was giving two stained glass windows in a Church , to the glory of God and as a thankoffering  for the safe return of her sons, and I am only asking for £15.Can we not pay off this debt of honour this month.

Photos of the Screen

These can be purchased price 6d. The small profit on their sale , if any, will be placed to the credit of the Screen Fund.

Church War Memorial

Anon. 2/-, A Friend 10/-. A mother 2/6. Guild Offerings (two meetings) 4/5. Church Box 2/7.

December 1922

The Church War Memorial and Thankoffering.

The collections on November 11th and 12th were given to the debt on this Fund and amounted to £3=4=3, two parishioners prevented from being in Church sent later 5/-

Offerings at a Baptism 8/-. And these amounts together with Guild offerings, Bank Interest, and offerings through the Church Box, now bring the debt down to under £9=10=0. Will not some of those who have much to be thankful for and who have never subscribed now come forward and wipe off this small debt?

January 1923

Church War Memorial.

Thanks to the Patronal Festival Collections and two anonymous gifts of £1 each. The debt is now reduced to £4=17=1. I very much hoped this would have been wiped off before the beginning of the New Year. Photos of the Screen can now be obtained at the Rectory or Post Office price 6d.

March 1923

Postcard Photos of the Screen can be obtained at the Post Office or the Rectory price 6d. The very small profit on the sale of these will be placed to the credit of the Screen Fund.

May 1923

Church War Memorial and Thankoffering.

Anon 10/-, George Lister 10/-

These with offerings from the Church Box have paid off the Debt on the Screen

October 1923

Screen Fund— The painter of the Screen informs me that the probable cost of decorating the panels on the Chapel side of the Screen would amount to over £40 plus other necessary expenses. I fear that unless. I fear that unless subscriptions or donations come in at a greater rate than they have done lately it will be some time before we can hope to finish the work. The amount in hand is only about £10.

January 1924

Screen Fund—Offerings at Preparation Service (Dec 21st) 2/3. Anonymous gift 10/-

May 1924

Parish Council & Parish War Memorial.

A meeting of the Parish Council was, thanks to the courtesy of the members thereof and owing to my accident, held at the Rectory on April 17th. The first business was to elect a new Chairman, vice Horace Skipper deceased- Mr. H. Malcolm Smith was unanimously elected--------At the meeting Mr. Malcolm Smith acting on behalf of the Memorial Committee and also on behalf of the donors of the site (Messrs. F.G. Smith Ltd.) handed to himself as representing the Parish Council , the conveyance of the site of the memorial, and also presented the minute of the past  and also present members of the Committee, handing over the Memorial and balance of moneys collected to the Parish Council.

The conveyance, minute and balance sheet were given into the custody of the Clerk for safe keeping among the Parish Records--------the minute, list of names and balance sheet being recorded in the minutes.

The Parish Council, together with the co-opted members from the parishes of Little Ryburgh and Testerton, will in future be the Committee for the care and upkeep of the Memorial and site.

As promised at the meeting I give here the statement of account as presented:



A very hearty vote of thanks was accorded to Messrs F &G Smith Ltd. for their gift of site and for bearing the cost of conveyance and also to Mr. Gould (Norwich) for carrying out the conveyance.

There is nothing further until:

July 1927

The Screen.

As I have announced from the Pulpit I have given the order for the panels on the St Thomas Chapel side to be painted, as originally designed. I have been extremely lucky in obtaining the services of a local artist. We have not the necessary funds and shall require help, but I am trusting to your generosity, and also to your desire to further beautify the Church and finish the work begun. I feel sure I shall be well supported and am not afraid that having made myself responsible for the payment that I shall be let down.

August 1927

The Screen.

I have seen two of the Panels for the Screen with the figures of St. Andrew and St. Withburga and feel more than ever assured that the Screen will be fittingly and beautifully finished when the panels are all painted and fitted in.

December 1927



copyright Peter Trent 2014

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