Dec 162016

Following out recent Hangout-on Air introducing our next shared endeavour, a number of members are already begun their investigations. Here are Janet Barrie's initial comments. Janet will be leading the next Hangout-on-air on the topic 'Non-conformity in your Place' on 13 January 2017.

As we begin to get into our 2017 shared endeavour of 'Faith in our place', we will all relate to this topic in different ways. Some of us may have Saxon or Norman churches with a rich history and architecture with gargoyles and green men. Others may have a large number of members of a particular denomination. Still others may have had many Catholic recusants with priest holes and hidden chapels.

Some of us have small places. Springhill itself is only 12 houses. How can I study 'faith' in 12 houses?

Firstly we have Captain Charles Patrick, who married into the family which owned Springhill House. His obituary describes him as 'a staunch churchman' who nevertheless gave regular donations to places of worship of other denominations. What did he do in the church, and how did he help these places?  He was also a Freemason and endowed a church, the foundation stone of which was laid with 'full masonic ritual'. What was the relationship between Anglicanism and Freemasonry in the second half of the 19th century.

Secondly Springhill House was once occupied by the Rev Thomas Jenkins, a Unitarian. How did Unitarianism become established locally? Incidentally Rev Thomas Jenkins is not to be confused with the Rev Jenkyn Thomas, the other Unitarian minister active in the area at that time.

Thirdly Polefield Cottage was once the manse of the Baptist Church just outside Springhill. Renovations after its purchase led to speculation that the manse may have been once used as the chapel. How likely is this and is there any evidence? The speculation is based on a large 'upper room' running the length of this and adjacent cottages. A meeting room or a weaving loft?

A resident of Sunset View was a Methodist local preacher for 50 years. What changes have there been in Methodism in that time? How have local events reflected national trends?

So. 12 houses. Lots of ideas. I'm looking forward to getting stuck in.

Janet Barrie

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