The Heart of God for Chertsey

Climate Prayer Garden

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Climate prayer garden

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“The curfew-bell is still tolled here”
So wrote Owen Manning and William Bray in their three volume, 2200 page “The History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey” which was written between 1804 and 1814 and followed on from earlier works by John Aubrey and others. In their description of Chertsey Church, they report that “the curfew-bell is still tolled here, in the following manner; from Michaelmas to Lady-day, at eight o’clock in the evening. The Clerk first rings up (as he expresses it, i.e. raises the bell); he then rings for a few minutes; lowers the bell down, and after a short pause, he tolls the number of the day of the month”.
Little did they know that they were describing the way it is still tolled over three hundred years later at 8pm between Michaelmas (29th September) and Lady Day (25th March).
According to the Abbey Cartulary records, Chertsey’s original curfew bell was cast three years into the tenure of Abbot John de Rutherwyk of St. Peter’s Abbey, Chertsey, in the year 1310. It seems however that this original bell was damaged in the collapse of the Abbey bell tower in July 1370 and a replacement bell was cast by the Abbey’s bell founding contractors from Wokingham who did so in 1380. The dedication of the bell reads “+ORA : MENTE : PIA : PRO : NOBIS : VIRGO : MARIA” – “pray earnestly for us Virgin Mary”. This “new” bell survived in the Abbey bell tower until the Abbey’s dissolution on 6th July 1537 and with the impending demolition, it was transferred to the tower of Chertsey Church which was also renamed from All Saint’s Church to St. Peter’s Church.
The Abbey Curfew bell is now the 5th bell in the ring of 8 bells and weighs 10 cwt or 500kg sounding an “A” note. Because this bell is now 640 years old, the ringers do not regularly use it to ring the curfew every night through the winter and instead use the 4th bell which is slightly lighter at 8½ cwt (425kg) and was cast in 1756.
Chertsey is now one of only a handful of places in the UK which still rings the ancient curfew. The term comes from the Norman French “couvre-feu” – to cover and extinguish the fire which burned in the centre of the house, thereby eliminating the risk of burning down the house and potentially the town, an event which actually happened to Chertsey in 1235. It was also a means of preserving public order as people who were found out and about after curfew were presumed to be up to no good.
So, once again, from Wednesday 29th September, the Chertsey ringers shall commence the ringing of the winter curfew bell.

Knit and Natter

Are you looking for the time and space in your busy schedule to socialise and do something creative? Knit and natter provides the perfect setting. We get together on the second Saturday of each month between 10am and noon, on a come when you can, go when you must basis. Each person brings their own hand held project to work on – that includes knitting, crochet, embroidery patchwork, lace making, cross stitch, & tapestry. We meet in a home, have a cuppa, nibbles, chat, share tips and knowledge and craft. All ages and levels of expertise welcome. Bring a friend and join in the fun. If you are unable to join us Sept 11th, then do join us Oct 9th, Nov 13th and Dec 11th Give me a call on 07823 419066 for more details. Warm regards Kate

Both Sunday services resume from 3rd July

From Sunday 3rd July, onwards we revert to our previous weekly service pattern (prior to
Covid19) with a traditional service of Holy Communion at 9.00am and Informal Worship at
10.30am. We are also working towards a return to full worship from 25th July without social
distancing and with sung worship. 25th July will be ‘Welcome Back Sunday’ when we look forward
to a full church. This will be followed by drinks and a BBQ lunch. Put the date in your diary!
Penton Park worship will resume in a slightly different form later in the summer