News from St Mary’s – June 2023

I am writing this prior to this year’s Open Day and will give some (hopefully) positive feedback to everyone in the July issue. Meanwhile, here is some background to the event. 

Mary Thorley lived at The Granary in the High Street and was a regular member of the congregation until she passed away in 2004. She is buried with her mother in the front churchyard area on the Rectory side. In addition to the property at The Granary, she owned two adjoining fields, including the one immediately behind the established rear churchyard. 

She was anxious to ensure that the environment of St Mary’s retained its rural aspect after her death, particularly as in later years developers were regularly knocking on her door with lucrative offers.

She left the lower field to the Parish, and the upper field to the Countryside Trust, thereby ensuring that they would remain unspoilt and free to all to enjoy. The lower field was consecrated in 2004, and a line of recent graves can be seen along the ridge that divides the two areas.

In 2015-16 there was a substantial voluntary effort to clear large parts of the area which had become overgrown with bracken, and where fly tipping had taken place. 

Providence then took a hand, in the form of the Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ Scheme which funds improvements to green spaces in England and Wales. We developed a project bid and in November 2016 learned that our project was one of 50 in south-east England (out of 3000 applications) to receive a grant. 

The field has commanding views across the Uck valley, and is a place of beauty and calm. Our plan included a seating area and table unit made from reclaimed wood, with a large planter in three parts featuring woodland shrubs and flowers.

The grant also enabled us to tackle long overdue repairs, replace the boundary fencing, and undertake tree surgery. There was also work done to identify and clear a flat, safe pathway along the Rectory boundary up to the garden and seating area. 

The Community Garden Project was blessed and officially opened the Rt Rev Edward Dowler, Archdeacon of Hastings in May 2018.  It was resolved to hold an Open Day & Craft Fair in May of each year, to mark the anniversary of the completion of the project. 

We hope that our work does justice to the wishes of our benefactor, past and present worshippers, and to the wider community of Buxted.  

Keith Revoir

SAVE OUR MURALS

In 1887, the building of S. Mary’s was complete, and Father Arthur Wagner instructed a team of artists to paint murals throughout the interior of the church.  The murals, designed by him in the ‘Arts and Crafts’ style, took almost twenty years to complete.  Sadly Father Wagner died before they were completed.  The murals consisted of saints (some painted using the ‘Marouflage technique) and angels all emblazoned in bright colours; red, blue and lashings of gold.  Friezes of vines and pomegranates enhanced the borders along with biblical texts above the arches.  

In 1951, the then Parish Priest decided he didn’t like the murals, and in an act of total vandalism (my words) whitewashed over all of them.  Lost forever?  Well, until 2020 when the emulsion paint (9 layers) started peeling off the east wall, revealing part of the mural which we now know was painted in oil, and was therefore protected beneath the emulsion.  A recent inspection by art conservators found the partly revealed murals to be of good quality, and well worth restoring.  The cost of which will be around £30,000.  If you would like to find out more about the murals, come to S. Mary’s – the church is open most days, or contact me on 

Tel: 01825 830076, Email: colinhwoolgrove@aol.com  

Please help us save our murals.  Donations can be made by bank transfer: Account Name: Parish of Buxted and Hadlow Down.  

Account No: 11454064.  Sort Code: 40-45-32.  Reference: V Mural.

Cheques should be made payable to: Parish of Buxted and Hadlow Down, and sent to: The Rectory, Church Road, Buxted, TN22 4LP.

If you are a UK taxpayer and would like to Gift Aid your donation (25p in every £1 you donate can be claimed from the government), please ask me for a Charity Gift Aid Declaration Form.  

Thank you for your support.

News from St Mary’s – May 2023

Our special day at St Mary’s is fast approaching, and by the time this appears everything should be in place for this year’s bigger and better event. 

We have a total of 20 craft stalls booked, both inside the Church Hall and outside in the car park area and grounds surrounding the church. The Horticultural Society will have a plant sale on the large grassed area alongside the church, by the Hall.

The church itself will be looking its best, with a chance to hear the organ between 2.00 and 3.00. We have our own parish stall in the church, selling donated books and bric-a-brac. Also Hadlow Down author Paul Newton-Palmer will be there promoting his new novel.

The Harvey’s beer tent in the Top Field will be in full swing from mid-day, serving both Best and IPA, along with lager, cider and soft drinks. Our BBQ with Bishop’s burgers will once again be staffed by sisters Linda and Shirley.  

Tinker’s Park and their volunteers are an indispensable part of the event, with a centrepiece steam engine in the car park, along with their fairground organ. The ever popular miniature steam railway will once again be providing rides up in the Top Field, with the Bouncy Castle at the end of the line.

This year we are showcasing local musical talent under the Big Marquee from 2.00 – 4.00. We have Mark Broad, aka Dr Bo Karma (guitar and vocals), Simon Mellor (jazz keyboard) and Simon Joslin (blues and country) playing short sets.

 A short note about money! Many, but not all, of the craft stalls will have a card facility but the beer tent, BBQ and parish cake stall are cash only. 

Also do look out for our bucket donation collectors. We do not charge for entry or parking, so these donations are an important part of our fund raising effort.

Finally a big thank you to our group of business sponsors, which you will see listed on the big vinyl sponsor banner in the marquee.

Look forward to seeing you all on the day!

Keith Revoir 

  

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