05 July 2021

"A lovely camisole for 11/6d" : the 1927 HMV mobile recordings at Hereford

The HMV van at Hereford Cathedral, September 1927

Following the adoption of electrical recording in 1925, someone at the Gramophone Company (HMV) saw an opportunity for making records outside a dedicated studio or nearby building connected by GPO landline.

This led to the construction of the "Mobile Van" in 1926. A purpose-built Lancia commercial vehicle, registration number ML1003 (Middlesbrough County Borough), which contained seven tons of recording equipment. Housed at Gramophone Company headquarters in Hayes, Middlesex, it could be driven to locations across the United Kingdom. Although planned to make conventional recordings, it opened up the possibility of making recordings of performances in "real-time", as they happened.

The van's first task was to record Harry Goss-Custard playing the brand-new organ of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on 8th February 1927

Famous recordings made on the van in 1927 included Ernest Lough singing in London's Temple Church in Mendelssohn's Hear my prayer, and cellist Beatrice Harrison duetting with a nightingale in her Oxted garden at "Foyle Riding".

HMV advertisement
Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Friday 20 January 1928

Early in the year the Gramophone Company started negotiations with the Three Choirs Festival Committee to make live recordings that the Hereford Festival in September 1927. One of their star artists, Sir Edward Elgar, was due to conduct not only The Dream of Gerontius and The Music Makers but also the premiere of his Civic Fanfare, specially commissioned for the opening concert in the cathedral.

The Bedfordshire Times and Independent reviewed the records on Friday 3rd February 1928. The review gives us a good idea of the impact the records made on contemporary listeners remembering, also, that they would have been heard on an acoustic gramophone, incapable of reproducing the finer details:

The Dream was performed at the last Three Choirs Festival in Hereford Cathedral under the conductorship of Sir Edward Elgar himself, and records were made of one or two passages by means of the mobile recording apparatus.

The results are vividly realistic - and moat tantalizing! Directly the first record begins we are actually m the cathedral, no effort of imagination needed : the sensitive microphone has caught and transmitted to the recording apparatus not merely the beauty of tone and detail of the performance, but the actual sense of the presence of large assembly. One is so conscious of forming part of that hushed audience that the abrupt break at the end of the record is quite a shock. However, we are but eavesdroppers and must be thankful that modem science can do so much for us.

The eavesdropping begins with the passages "So, pray for me" and "O Jesu help" in Part I. The solo part is sung with extreme poignancy by Tudor Davies, and the choral and orchestral background beautifully proportioned and distinct in every detail (the orchestra is the London Symphony Orchestra). In Part II we hear Horace Stevens singing with solemn impressiveness "Jesu, by that shuddering dread", and Margaret Balfour's exquisitely tender rendering of "Softly and gently", after the last few bars of the tenor’s final passage, "Take me away". The close of this record is the most tantalizing moment: if only we could hear the rest—that glorious blinding of earthly prayers and celestial hymns of praise. 

This is not all, however. There are two records containing passages from Elgar’s The Music Makers, the composer again conducting, and Brewer's Nunc Dimittis, and in each the choral singing is extremely fine. Referring generally to all four records it is difficult to praise too highly the skill of the "HMV" experts in securing such well-proportioned and beautiful reproductions.

The reviewer in the Yorkshire Evening Post of Saturday 28th January 1928 was cautious about the results:

Recording Public Performances. 

Three Choirs' Festival on Gramophone. 

The most ambitious attempt yet made to record for the gramophone an actual public performance of great musical works was that of the H.M.V. Company at the Three Choirs Festival a few months ago in Hereford Cathedral. The discs were made by the aid of microphones fixed in the cathedral and connected with a mobile recording laboratory mounted on a motor lorry which stood at one the entrances. They have now been issued and gramophone enthusiasts will able to judge the progress which has been made. 

The portions of the festival recorded are three numbers from Sir Edward Elgar's The Music Makers and four from The Dream of Gerontius, all conducted by the composer. It is appropriate that Elgar should be associated in this way with such a development, for he and his father were violinist and organist together in the orchestra of earlier Three Choirs Festivals which go back well over 200 years, while Sir Edward has shown keen personal interest the development of gramophone. 


Frankly, one must regard these records as largely experimental. Tbc difficulties which have to be overcome are great; but it must be said at once that the reverberations of the cathedral and the noises made the congregation, such as the movement of chairs and coughing, are much less intrusive than one has heard in broadcast performances under similar conditions. 

The fact that the performance cannot be regulated to suit the recording is apparent in two or three instances where the music on the disc finishes abruptly; but in the circumstances this is almost unavoidable. In the louder choral passages, the cathedral adds a characteristic echo, and it will found in playing these records that a much better effect is obtained listening to them at some distance from the gramophone—from adjoining room through open door, for example. There doubtless some scientific explanation for this. 

The tenor soloist in The Dream  is Tudor Davies, who has developed rather irritating mannerisms on the operatic stage; but in the cathedral his singing sounds much finer one had expected. 

The music of these records often attains real beauty, and to lovers of Elgar's choral works they will be especially welcome, while the H.M.V. technicians will have gained valuable experience for future efforts.

The Daily Herald's reviewer, on Tuesday 24th January 1928, took a more light-hearted approach;


Church Atmosphere on the Gramophone

 When the singer won't go to the gramophone recording studio, the studio must go to the singers. So a neat lorry drove up to Hereford Cathedral last September and waited there during the Three Choirs Festival

The lorry was connected to a microphone inside the cathedral, and the result of this quiet visit is the production of four H.M.V. records of the actual singing Elgar's Music Makers and The Dream of Gerontius. The atmosphere of a great church is uncannily conveyed, and there is a general effect of strength and singularity.

Forty-five years later, in a letter to the editor of The Gramophone of 2nd October 1972, retired HMV engineer Bernard Wratten recalled those Hereford recordings:

One evening, after the day's music making was done, Dr. Hull invited us round to his house, where we found an impressive assortment of English composers, singer and musicians. While we were there he told us that the wife of a local baronet, a lady with a considerable reputation for silliness, had been so taken with the hat of another member of the audience sitting just across the aisle during a rehearsal that she leant over to ask, under cover of combined choir and orchestra, where the hat had been bought. She had to raise her voice and at that moment the music stopped, She was clearly heard all over the Cathedral.

The tale acquired its widely circulated form from our Public Relations Officer. It had nothing whatsoever to do with our recording but he felt there was a good news-story in it, and after decorating it he sent it out to the newspapers, most of which published it.

It was Gramophone Company veteran, friend of Elgar, and Artistic Director of the International Artistes' Department, Fred Gaisberg who recorded the most decorated version of this story in his 1942 autobiography The Music Goes Round. He also provided a valuable insight into the successes and failures of mobile recording:

One of the first innovations to follow electric recording was a mobile van, with which we could realize the dream of recording actual performances. We used it with ah the gusto of a new toy. The Royal Choral Society choir of 800 strong was recorded during a Messiah performance in the Albert Hall, Gerontius at Worcester Cathedral during a Three Choir Festival, and massed bands of 1,000 players at the Crystal Palace. The Covent Garden Opera, Staatsoper in Berlin, La Scala in Milan, and the Paris Opera were all recorded later during actual performances. Many of these records were issued to the public and had a great success. For instance, the sale of the “Hallelujah Chorus” and “Lift Up Your Heads” afforded the Royal Choral Society a revenue for several years that made up the loss on many a concert.

Yet often apologies had to be tendered for coughs, sneezes and snorts from the conductor. In Toscanini’s case, for instance, he always sings along with the ’cello part and grinds his teeth. In the actual performances of opera the prompter, spitting out the cues and singing the entrance notes for the singers, disturbed the enjoyment of these records. 

Once at the Three Choir performance of Gerontius, during a sudden silent pause after a forte climax, a lady’s voice talking about “a lovely camisole for 11/6d” was clearly exposed when the record was played back, and so ruined a fine set. ["11/6d" would have been spoken as "eleven-and-six" or "eleven shillings and sixpence." In decimal currency it is the equivalent of 57.5p, or £23.44 in 2017.]

Before any of this “on the spot” recording could be projected commercially, complicated negotiations had to be undertaken with each individual unit concerned—choir, orchestra, soloists, conductor, Dean of the Cathedral and even the sexton, and their signed permission obtained before recording could legally be undertaken. At first the public bought these records because of their novelty, but afterwards the sales dropped off and the heavy costs made the venture unattractive for the gramophone companies. 


At the first Music Festival at Queen’s Hall, a fine recording conducted by Toscanini, of the Brahms Second Symphony, was ruined by so much coughing, an unmistakable sign of an influenza epidemic, that the records had to be destroyed.  

The Temple Church Choir, thanks to the masterly training of Sir Walford Davies, came into great prominence, but it was their gramophone recording of Hear My Prayer, one of the early commissions of the mobile van, that brought it international fame and caused the dusty old “church of the lawyers” to be so overwhelmed by visitors from the Dominions and the U.S.A. that tickets of admission had to be issued. The recording took place in 1926 at a special private session in the Temple Church. Thalben Ball was the choirmaster and organist, and Ernest Lough, then between 14 and 15, was the solo boy. A happy combination of chance helped to make this lovely record: the soft, acoustic resonance of the church, a boys’ choir with a fine discipline, a choirmaster who was a first-rate trainer, and a gifted boy with a musical sensibility and a silver voice just then at its prime. A year later the moment would have passed, for the voice had changed.  

The fame of record C1329 spread like wildfire and in a few years close on one million copies were sold. The royalties payable to the Temple Church really embarrassed the lawyers, so unexpected was their sum total. After bonuses to each member of the choir there was sufficient left over for a fine holiday. With the balance they founded a scholarship. 

Although Bernard Wratten in his 1972 letter said that HMV's Public Relations Department used this myth to promote the 1927 Hereford recordings, there is no evidence of this before the Nottingham Journal's item of Friday 13th November 1931. This was on the occasion of the inauguration of the new recording studios in Abbey Road, St John's Wood, by Sir Edward Elgar. The van had been built its own garage at Abbey Road:



(From Our Own Correspondent.) London, Thursday. 

Adjoining the vast new recording studios or the H.M.V. Company at St. Johns Wood, inaugurated to-day by the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Edward Elgar, is a garage which accommodates the "flying squad" of the gramophone world.

In it is a large enclosed van containing ail the apparatus necessary for making a record in readiness to set out for any part of the country in short notice. 

It has been all over the North and Midlands to choir festivals, organ recitals and public gatherings.

It was used to make a record of an organ recital by Dr. Bairstow, at York Minster, and it has been to Leeds and Hereford for their famous choral festivals. 

"The apparatus carried weighs seven tons," one of the operators told me to-day, "and so the car has to driven very carefully. We can move when occasion requires, however. 

"The funniest experience I ever had when recording from the van was at Hereford. We were In the middle of making a record of the Three Choirs Festival when suddenly, to our horror, remark from somebody near the microphone came through loud and clear on our speaker. It was pointed reference to the silk stockings worn by one of the ladles present. We decided to scrap that record."


The Hereford photo of the van published in 1927 in a mock-up of the van outside York Minster 


21 April 2021

Family Histories

The fruits of my early retirement, and especially three periods of lockdown. You will find all these trees on Ancestry.co.uk

Music and recording

'Anton Strelezki' - mysterious musician
'Audrey Mildmay' - soprano and co-founder of Glyndebourne Opera
'Daisy Bucktrout' - English pianist
'Doris Vane' - soprano
'Evlyn Howard-Jones' - English pianist
'Fifine de la Côte' - Devonport-born soprano
'Lloyd Chandos' - English tenor
'Marie Novello' - the Welsh pianist born Maria Williams
'Maurice d'Oisly and Rosina Buckram' - two famous singers
'Olga, Elgar and Eli' - the Hudson Trio
'Ruby Helder' - English female tenor
'W. F. Watt' - Scottish-Irish tenor
Ada Sassoli - Italian harpist
Alan Dower Blumlein - pioneer of stereophonic recording
Alma - a music teacher in wartime Windsor
Andrew Bohman - music teacher
Anne Thursfield - mezzo-soprano
Anthony C Griffiths - British recording engineer
Ben and Peter - Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears
Brian Sewell - art historian - includes his father Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock)
Bryan Davies - The Rachmaninov of the Rhondda
Carmen Hill - Scottish contralto
Cipriani Potter - English composer and friend of Beethoven
Clara Butt and Kennerley Rumford - English singers
Colonel George Gouraud - soldier, inventor and entrepreneur
Constance Shacklock - English contralto 
Dame Ethel Smyth - English composer
Dame Janet Baker - English singer
Dame Patricia Routledge - English actress and singer
David Stone - composer and arranger
Denise Leigh - English soprano
Denne Parker - singer and voice coach - includes Sir Granville Bantock
Dr William Prendergast - English organist
Edna Thornton - contralto
Eli Parish (Elias Parish-Alvars) - English harpist and composer
Ethel Hobday - pianist
Felix Salmond - Elgar's cellist
Ferdinand Schottlaender -  the husband of Jessie Bond
Frank Pollock - American tenor
Frank Tapp - composer, conductor and pianist of Bath
Fred Hylands - who died in Barrow-in-Furness
George Butterworth - English composer
George Walters - a friend of E.D.U.
Gilbert, Sullivan and D'Oyly Carte
Gustav Holst - English composer
Gwen Catley - coloratura soprano
Harry Plunket Greene - Anglo-Irish baritone
Harry Yager - cabinetmaker and creator of the 'Yagerphone'
Henry Balfour Gardiner - composer
Henry Geehl - English musician
Henry Lane Wilson - English baritone and composer
Herbert Heyner and Bertha Lewis
Hope Jackman - singer and actress
Ida Haendel - violinist
Ignatius Sancho - English composer, grocer and butler
Ilse Veda Duttlinger - American-German violinist
Irene Thomas - a very special person
James Henry Lewis - Principal of the Victoria College of Music
Janet and Marion - American singers
Joan Gray - contralto
Johannes Wagenaar - Dutch composer
Joseph Bossi - trumpet player of Bath
Joyce Gartside - soprano
Joyce Grenfell - English comedienne
Kathleen Ferrier - English contralto
Lambert Williamson  - composer
Leff Pouishnoff - Ukrainian pianist
Lillian Elkington - composer
Liza Lehmann - English composer
Louise Kirkby Lunn - contralto
Margaret Ritchie - soprano
Marion Grimaldi - English soprano
Marjorie Westbury - actress and singer
Nancy Evans - English mezzo-soprano
Nicholls and Harty - soprano and composer-conductor
Norfolk Magone - conductor
Norman Del Mar - English conductor
Patricia Fairlie Baird - Australian soprano
Percy Kahn - pianist, organist and accompanist
Peter Maxwell Davies - composer
Raimund Herincx - English baritone
Rev. Thomas Helmore - the man behind Good King Wenceslas and other carols
Richard Arnell - British composer
Richard Tauber -  Austrian tenor
Rutland Boughton - creator of the first Glastonbury Festival
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor - composer
Sir Adrian Boult - English conductor
Sir Edward Elgar - composer
Sir Edward German - English composer
Sir Henry Lytton and his extended family
Stanley Bate - Plymouth's forgotten composer
Steven Peppiatt - the 'EMG Colonel'
Tahu Rhodes Family Tree
The Gresham Singers
The Ramagnano musicians of Plymouth
The Speyer Family Tree
Theo Marzials - composer
Thomas Adès - composer
Walter, Vernon and Maryetta Midgley - a trio of English singers
Two Atkins families
Dr. William Crotch - child prodigy, composer, academic and organist

Stage, Film, Television and Radio

'Charles Vane' - English actor
'Fenella Fielding' - British actress
'Gorden Kaye' - an English actor
'Hattie Jacques' - British comedienne
Ada Allen - housekeeper to Sir John Martin-Harvey and his family
Angela Rippon - TV personality
Ann Stephens - child star
Babs - Barbara Windsor - English actress
Ben Debar - English actor
Betjemanns, Boatwrights and Bishops
Christine Keeler and her world
Cliff Gordon - actor and playwright
Cyril Clensy - actor
Dame Patricia Routledge - English actress
Esmond and Rosalind Knight - English actors
Ferdinand Schottlaender -  the husband of Jessie Bond
Francis Alick Howard - 'Frankie Howerd' - comedian
George Edwardes - theatre manager
Gilbert, Sullivan and D'Oyly Carte
Hope Jackman - singer and actress
Irene Thomas - a very special person
Jenny Sontag - actress
Joan Hickson - actress
Joan Sims - English actress
John Inman and Josephine Tewson - were they cousins?
Joyce Grenfell - English comedienne
Kenneth Williams
Leslie Crowther
Mabel Constanduros - actress and writer
Marjorie Westbury - actress and singer
Peter Ustinov
Pru and Tim - two English actors
Ralph de Rohan - actor
Sir Henry Lytton and his extended family
Victoria Wood


'Ellis Walton' - the English poet
'Margaret Rose' - lyricist
Bertram Paget Matthews - playwright
Betjemanns, Boatwrights and Bishops
Cecil Torr - author of Small Talk in Wreyland
Charles and Mary Lamb
Christopher Fowler - English writer
Cliff Gordon - actor and playwright
Dora Jessie Saint - Miss Read - author
Frederick William Rolfe, Baron Corvo
Gilbert, Sullivan and D'Oyly Carte
Gladys de Mancha - the woman who wrote 'Kiddi-logues'
Henry Courtoy - Keeper of the Chapel Royal, Holyrood
Jeanne Preston - the editor of Anne Hughes' Diary
Joan Henry - English writer
Joyce Grenfell - English comedienne
Mabel Constanduros - actress and writer
Mary Maria Colling - poet of Devon
N. C. Hunter - the English Chekhov
Nell and Frank - a love story of the Great War
Pam Ayres - English poet
Peter Gold New
Peter Ustinov
The Durrells
The Provincial Lady - 'E. M. Delafield'
Victoria Wood
Wills and Langbridge - writers of The Only Way

Artists and Architects

Emily Mary Osborn - English artist
Erik Ekengren - artist
The Bonomi Family - Anglo-Italian architects
Zaida Ben Yusuph 


'Norman Scott' - a man more sinned against
Adam Wagstaff - convicted of bestiality
Charles Peace - murderer
Christine Keeler and her world
Ferdinand Schottlaender -  the husband of Jessie Bond
Jane 'Sax' - a little girl murdered by James Longhurst
Jane Pearce - victim of attempted murder
Nicholas Day - who murdered his wife
Nurse Sauvarin - wife of four days
Princess Caraboo
Ruth Ellis - the last woman to be hanged in England
Sarah Smith - poisoned by Charles Barlow
The Mignonette - the men behind Regina v Dudley and Stephens
The 'Towpath Murderer' and his victims
The Canonical Five
The Uncanonicals
The World of 19 Cleveland Street
Thomas Busby - 'juvenile robber'
Walter Charles Douse - a gullible man

Against the tide

'Catherine Coome' - who lived for forty years as a man
'Ennis Lawson' - an intriguing lady
'Gentleman Jack' - Miss Lister and Miss Walker
'Sam Redfern' - the 'Black Philosopher'
Cora - the Pearl of Plymouth
Dr Mabel Ramsay - pioneering female doctor
Eric and Irina Barton - the Wooton Timeslip couple
Florence Pannell - supercentenarian
Francis Barber - Dr Johnson's assistant
Janet and Marion - American singers
Joanna Southcott - English prophetess
Lilith Lucile Bruce - suffragist
Teddy Grimes and Marmalade Emma - two Colchester personalities
The 'Silly Hannahs' - two of Colchester's eccentrics
The Archers - an everyday story of Ambridge folk
William Penwarden - who hanged himself in a railway train

(Fairly) Ordinary folk

'Mrs Baigent' - chain-smoking cataloguer of Plymouth Public Libraries
'Mrs F. R. Phillips'
'Tilly Allen' and family
'Toddie' - Miss Winifred Todd
Alfred Haydn Pellitt - a Burnley man killed in action
Arabella Amelia Wills
Boxall Family Tree
Dr William Skelly - General Practitioner of Poplar
Eli Turner - mechanical engineer of Calais
Elizabeth Cookworthy - the woman in the Bretonside Coffin
Emma Sophia Stroud
Fred Plampin
Fursdon, Egg Buckland, Devon
Geoffrey Waring Lamb
Gilbert Slater
Harris of Southend
Grace Jane Andrews
John Burnicle - of the ship 'Friends' Adventure'
John Courtoy and his world
John Down Cockwell - laundry proprietor
John J Norton - philanthropist
John Oxland - with both possible sets of parents
Joseph Whiteside Boyle - Hampton Hill's forgotten resident
Know Thine Enemy
Little Charlie Goddard
Margaret and Mike Maker
Mary Berry - TV cook
Michael Joseph Falcon
Miss Daphne Maude Whiteman - family friend
Nurse Sauvarin - wife of four days
Peter Gold New
Richard Goyder and his family
Roe Family Tree
Ron and Win - killed by a train on their wedding day
Samuel Woolrick - designer
Sir Manasseh Masseh Lopes - First Baronet of Maristow
Spanners and Smalts
Squelch Family Tree
Stoker Wheway
Symons Family Tree
The Burridge family
The Chadder Family of Holbeton
The Cotton Family
The Crapper Family
The Curling Tree
The Eggins Family
The Goldsmith Family Tree
The Gomez Family of Plymouth
The Guhrauer Mystery
The Lort Family
The Martin Family
The O'Hara Family
The Ovington-Jones sisters of Hampton Hill, Middlesex
The owners of Erddig
The Oxland Family
The Parkers of Saltram
The Prichard Family
Theresa May - former Prime Minister
Walter Hammerton - ferryman
Whitewick Family Tree
Who was Jessie Annandale?
William and Frances - who looked the wrong way and were killed by a tram
William Clarke - haberdasher of Enfield, Middlesex
William Hoskings - a Waterloo House young man
William John Stephen Clark


Goddard-Flicker-Mellish-Harvey - includes UK royal family
Joseph Whiteside Boyle - Hampton Hill's forgotten resident - included Queen Marie of Romania
King Manuel II of Portugal


'Dr Mortimer' - headmaster of Thames Valley Grammar School
'Mr Jeremy' - French teacher at Thames Valley Grammar School
Alma - a music teacher in wartime Windsor
Andrew Bohman - music teacher
Mr Bligh - first headmaster of Thames Valley Grammar School
Peter Gold New
Rosalind Sanford
The Marmoy Family

11 February 2021

The Re-opening of St Mary the Virgin, Wivenhoe, after restoration, in 1860

St Mary the Virgin, Wivenhoe, before the earthquake of 1884

From the Essex Standard - Wednesday 13 June 1860

Wivenhoe Church had long needed restoration, and to those who see it in its renovated and re-modelled state it may not be uninteresting to glance back at what it was little more than a year ago—a source of anxious care to the Rector—of a feeling akin to sorrow to all who had a local interest in it.

The flat roofs of the chancel and aisles were in danger of falling in from decay; the nave roof not much safer, though it had undergone a recent repair, and had a stained deal ceiling, showing fair below; the parapets of tower and south aisle dangerous; the buttresses falling from the tower they should support; the damp earth of the churchyard accumulated several feet above the level of the floor; the flooring rotten, the paving damp, the pews unsightly and inconvenient; one south porch the ruin of an old oak structure, which, while the architect was talking of repairing, was blown away by the wind, leaving nothing that could be made serviceable again.

Such was the constructive condition of the church, and the old arrangement of the interior was so bad for all church purposes as to warrant a re-building, even had the state of repair not then been what it really was.

A low chancel arch, with massive piers, placed nearer the west end by 13 feet than the present, reduced the nave to 30 feet instead of 43 feet, as it now is; and the excessive chancel, void of all architectural effect or of church-like propriety, received the bulk of the congregation in high square pews, and contained also the pulpit, reading-desk, and clerk's desk, leaving to the nave a dwarfed and inferior aspect; while to open the view from a gallery, which extended all over the north chancel aisle, the old arcade had been ruthlessly removed, and the roofs were supported by the wooden posts that carried at the same time the gallery.

When we have added to this description another gallery at the west end, and a broken font, a wooden east window, and cement windows on the south side, we present some picture of the work undertaken by the Committee. Looking at the present appearance of the sacred edifice it is not too much to say that their labours have been crowned with entire success, and have produced a church which, for singular beauty of proportion and richness of design, with the chaste elegance of all its accessories, may be long without a rival and we heartily congratulate them on the termination of their efforts.

Stone porches protect both the north and south doors; the north, which forms the principal entrance, is very handsome: above the deeply-moulded entrance arch is a carved panel representing the "miraculous draft of fishes," appropriate as symbolizing the ingathering of the Church, and locally reminding us of Wivenhoe being a maritime and fishing village. Both porches are surmounted by ornamental crosses, and have oak roofs.

Massive oak doors, covered with iron-work, open into the north and south aisles of the nave, the two first arches of which are original, and, with some dilapidated windows of the north aisle, which have been replaced with new, have given the key to the architectural period of the whole work, viz., the Decorated of the 14th century. A third corresponding arch complete the length of the nave, which is terminated by a lofty chancel arch, carried on bracketed columns, with angle corbels, exquisitely carved.

The chancel has two arches in length, except that on the south side a third smaller arch is introduced, which, while its object is manifest in giving an open cheerful aspect to the seats at this end of the south aisle, gives a pleasing effect of irregularity the corresponding space on the other side being occupied by the vestry.

With the exception of the south aisle, which has been added, all the walls are on the old foundation.

As there are now no galleries, the tower arch is open, and shows the west window above the organ—the old organ in a renovated case. A little in advance of the tower arch is a new font square in shape, on polished-marble pillars, with carved capitals, at the angles of which, rounded off till they blend into the circular form of the columns, are carved lilies, to signify the dedication of the Church to St. Mary the Virgin.

The pulpit and reading-desk are of stone, combined in one composition, and placed on the north-west side of the chancel arch. A pierced parapet encloses the reading-desk, from which, on the west side, a marble column rises to support the Bible, and brass scrolls carry the prayer-desk on the south side. The front of the pulpit has a carved panel representing "the Sermon on the Mount," and round the top, under a carved cornice, are Scripture sentences. This is a memorial donation in memory of one who died before the work she had longed to see completed was yet begun.

The altar rail is also of stone: a parapet of open pierced trefoils leaving a vacant space in the centre in front of the table, the effect of which is exceedingly good.

The whole of the pewing is of oak, very massive and solid; all the parcels in the square ends of the nave seats are filled with carved tracery of varying design.

In the chancel the stall ends have carved finials of beautiful workmanship, and on the elbows are carved animals, the dove or eagle, the griffin, and dog.

The east window of the chancel and the east window of the north chancel aisle are filled with the richest stained glass, and are both memorial windows, as are also the tower window and the west window of the south aisle of the nave.

Open timber roofs of high pitch cover the building. The chancel and its aisles are in three gables. The nave is gabled, with lean-to roofs for its aisles.

The chancel roof has arched ribs of peculiar form, placed both transverse and longitudinally.

The nave roof has transverse arched ribs, with bosses carved as heads representing the twelve Apostles and the Saviour.

The effect of these unstained roofs is very satisfactory, while exteriorly their height is a great improvement, bringing the church into view from many distant points from whence it could not formerly be seen.

Considering that the Committee have ventured £500 beyond the funds at present placed at their disposal, we cannot blame them (since no actual necessity to do more existed) for stopping somewhat short of what the attainment of exterior perfection would have suggested; but we hope at some future and not distant day to see the anomalous turret removed from the top of the tower, and another effort made to replace it with a spire, which will render the outline of the edifice as complete and harmonious as the interior. As it is, however. Wivenhoe may well be proud of its church; and, judging from the holiday appearance of the village on Wednesday, the flags and flowers and decorations of various kinds which were displayed from the houses surrounding the sacred edifice, such undoubtedly is the feeling of the inhabitants, together with the pleasing anticipation of once more being able to worship in their own church, after a suspension of that privilege for fully 12 months, the first stone of the new works having been laid by Lady Georgiana Rebow on the l0th of June, 1859.

The total cost of the restoration is about £3,000. The design was furnished by, and the works carried out under the superintendence of, E. C. Hakewill, Esq., Architect, of 8, South Molton Street, London; the builders being Messrs. White, of Vauxhall Road, London, and Mr. Eade, of Wivenhoe.

The weather was exceedingly stormy; but, although necessarily a considerable drawback to the comfort of the visitors, it fortunately seemed to have no effect in diminishing their numbers; and by half-past 11 o'clock the church was filled, the congregation including a large number of the local gentry and the clergy of the eastern part of the county. The Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Rochester, who had consented to preach on the occasion, sat at the communion table with the Rev. G. Fisk, the preacher for the afternoon. The morning service including the Litany, was read by the Rector, the Rev. E. T. Waters.

The Bishop selected as his text 1 Peter II. 4, 5—"To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

[Sermon omitted here]

At the close of his Lordship's discourse the Rev. G. Fisk read the Offertory sentences, during which the parish officers—J. G. Rebow, Esq., and Mr. William Browne, Churchwardens; and Messrs. Blyth and Mr. N. Harvey, Overseers, made the collection, which, including four donations of £5 each, amounted to £87 17s. 7d.

By invitation of the Rector, the Bishop, accompanied by J. G. Rebow, Esq., and a large number of clergy, repaired to the Rectory, where an elegant luncheon had been provided.

The dining-room, though large, was not of sufficient dimensions to hold a fifth part of the assembled guests. On those who had first sat down to the luncheon rising from the table to make room for others, the Rector requested them to remain for a few moments whilst he proposed to them (which he did in a few graceful and feeling words) to drink the health of the Lord Bishop of the Diocese, who had kindly come amongst them that day, with many thanks for the valuable and excellent discourse which he had delivered in the church.

The Bishop, in rising to return thanks to Mr. Waters and the company assembled for the compliment they had paid him, assured them that he felt that so far from any thanks being due to him for appearing amongst them on so highly interesting an occasion, the pleasure—he might almost term it the selfish pleasure—of seeing such a vast assembly of the clergy and laity of the neighbourhood was one which he would not easily forget. He sincerely thanked them for the compliment they had paid him.

Mr. Rebow then rose to thank his Lordship, on behalf of the laity, for the kind manner in which he had spoken of them, and assured him that if he should find himself as well supported by the clergy as he was convinced he would be by the laity he would have no reason to complain of a want of sympathy in carrying on his work in the arduous post which he had been called upon and which he trusted he would long live to fill.

At the afternoon service, which took place at four o'clock, there was again a very full congregation. The prayers and lessons were read by the Rector; and an eloquent extempore sermon was preached by the Rev. George Fisk, LL.B., Prebendary of Lichfield, and Incumbent of the Abbey Church, Great Malvern. The second collection was nearly £19, making the total proceeds of the day £106.

In the evening the Bishop was entertained at dinner by Mr. and Lady Georgiana Rebow at Wivenhoe Park; and amongst those present to meet his Lordship were Lord Braybrooke, Lord Norbury, the High Sheriff and Mrs. Errington, Sir Claude de Crespigny, J. Bawtree, Esq., A. Stewart, Esq., Rev. Dr. Seaman, Rev. G. Fisk. LL.B., Rev. E. T. Waters, Rev. L. W. Owen (Rural Dean), Rev. C. Burney, Rev. O. Fisher, &c. The Bishop remained the night at Wivenhoe Park, and left early on Thursday morning to fulfil an engagement in another part of his Diocese.

We append a list of the clergy and the principal laity whom we observed present at the opening services, viz.,

Lord Norbury, J. Gurdon Rebow, Esq., A. Stewart, Esq., Sir Claude de Crespigny, General Waters, J. Bawtree, Esq., G. H. Errington, Esq. (High Sheriff), J. T. Ambrose, Esq., J. F. Bishop, Esq., J. Cardinall, Esq., W. R. Havens, Esq., J. G. Chamberlain, Esq., C. Smythies, Esq., E. C. Hakewill, Esq. (architect), F. Francis, Esq., P. Francis, Esq., J. H. Church, Esq. (vestry clerk), &c., &c.;

Revds. Dr. Taylor, Dr. Wright, Dr. Seaman, W. Harrison, C. A. L'Oste, L. W. Owen. C. Burney, J. H. Dewhurst, J. Papillon, P. Honywood, H. B. Newman, J. H. Pollexfen, R. Duffield, P. Fenn, W. Y. Smythies, F. Curtis, J. Todd, B. Lodge, C. S. Lock, H. A. Olivier, G. E. Carter, H. R. S. Smith, C. F. Hayter, J. M. Chapman, J. H. Swainson, G. T. Lermit, W. Thorp, H. Calthrop, V. M. Torriano, W. R. Browell, R. S. Cummins, B. Smith, P. Bennett, J. G. Jenkins, W. P. Babington, O. Fisher, J. Atkinson, T. C Brettingham, W. Walsh, W. Laing, E. F. Ventris, J. Gregory, G. R. Medley, W. Latten, H. Evans, J. Bates, S. C. Prickard (Dimsdale), — Carwithers, Chaplain to H.M.S. Pembroke, &c. &c.

Besides contributions in money, some of the principal decorations of the church are the result of private munificence.

The very handsome memorial window in the chancel was the gift of the Corsellis family, to the memory of their parents and ancestors, whose remains are deposited in the family vault beneath. The subjects comprise the annunciation, baptism, crucifixion, and entombment. In the east of the north chancel aisle is a stained glass memorial window, presented by the Rev. E. T. Waters, to the memory of his deceased wife. The two side lights represent our Saviour bearing the cross, and His appearance to Mary Magdalene in the garden; and the central light depicts Christ's Ascension. The upper tracery contains symbolical representations of the Trinity and the Four Evangelists. These windows were executed by Warrington, of London.

Another memorial window, at the west-end of the church, representing "Christ walking upon the sea and stilling the tempest," was presented by Mrs. Martin, in memory of her deceased husband, Captain Edward Martin, of the Marquis of Anglesea's yacht, Pearl.

The memorial window in the church tower, behind the organ, depicting two full-sized figures of angels, expressive of praise, was given by Mr. Isaac Blyth, to the memory of his late father, at the time of the restoration of the sacred edifice. The two latter windows were executed by Cassell, of London.

The stone pulpit is a memorial donation to the church in memory of the deceased wife of the Rev. E. T. Waters, Rector,

All the communion furniture, comprising two beautifully-carved oak altar chairs, stools, Brussels floor carpet and rich crimson velvet altar cloth, with gilt monogram “I H S” were the gift of Lady Georgiana Gurdon Rebow; and Lady Claude de Crespigny presented a handsome book cushion.

The large Bible and Prayer-book, elegantly bound in morocco on the reading desk, contained the following inscription “Presented by the ladies and female parishioners to the parish church of St. Mary, Wivenhoe, on its restoration, June 6th 1860. Rev. E. T. Waters, M.A., Rector; Rev. J. J. Bennetts, Curate; J. G. Rebow, Esq. and Mr. W. Browne, churchwardens”

Two beautifully-carved wood alms plates, with the inscriptions “Freely ye have received, freely give”, “God loveth a cheerful giver” were presented by the Rector.