Friday, 1 July 2016

Ingatestone: Somme Commemoration

The events of the first day of the Battle of the Somme were remembered at 8am today with a simple service by the War Memorial to mark the centenary.  Gordon J W Francis, a Private in the Royal Fusiliers died on 1 July 1916 and is remembered on the Memorial. He was born in 1891 and lived at 21 High Street, now the butchers. He was a carpenter and married Lillian in 1907. He had two children.  He was a bell-ringer and is remembered also on the War Memorial in Chelmsford Cathedral and, specifically today, in the ringing on muffled bells at the church he attended.  An ordinary man - like the nearly 20000 who were killed 100 years ago to the day.

1st July 1916: The Opening Day of the Battle of the Somme

The Revd. Edward Reeve, rector of Stondon Massey, kept a diary called ‘Notes for a Parish History.  In it he wrote his observations of the First World War from his study in what is now Stondon Massey House.

“1st July 1916: As I write, the reverberation of the great guns and explosion of mines are shaking the windows of the Rectory and of all the other houses, I suppose, in the southern and south-eastern counties of England.  There is evidently a very heavy bombardment in progress."

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Blackmore: Queen's 90th Birthday. Trooping The Colour Flypast over village

Annual Official Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen ...

... with traditional flypast over Blackmore at about 12.55pm

Small party of plane spotters on The Green.

Red Arrows at Blackmore ...

... and at Buckingham Palace

Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh make balcony appearance to view flypast

Friday, 10 June 2016

Friends of St Laurence, Blackmore. 'Zeppelins Over Essex'. Thursday 16 June 2016

'Zeppelins Over Essex: 31 March 1916' is a talk to be given by Andrew Smith, with audience participation, to mark the 100th anniversary of the great Zeppelin raids across Blackmore and Essex during the First World War.  

Thursday 16 June 2016
The Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore

The talk follows the AGM of the Friends of St Laurence.  Admission free, followed by refreshments.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

ESAH160: Gaps in 'Current Archaeology'? We can help.

ESAH160: Gaps in 'Current Archaeology'? We can help.: Current Archaeology.   The Essex Society for Archaeology and History has received a complete run of Current Archaeology from #1 to the year 2011 which we do not need for its Library ...

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Blackmore: Auberries

Received 11 April 2016

Hello Andrew

I wonder if you could possibly tell me when The Auberries at Blackmore was demolished.  On the SEAX website there is a picture of this rather large house with a couple standing outside Ref l/Mb 38/1/15. I can find no other reference to The Auberries on SEAX.

The reason for my asking is in the 1901 census a distance ancestor Sarah Oliver (sister to my Gt3 Grandmother Lydia Caton Nee Oliver) married James R White a doctor and they were living at that time at The Auberries and I was wondering if by a slight chance the couple standing outside could be them.  Would he have been the local doctor at that time?  If the Auberries was demolished within the last 100 years or so then possibly it won’t be them as they are not on the 1911 census.
Thank you for any help you may be able to give and for your time.

Best wishes
Wendy Snowdon (Mrs)

Replied 12 April 2016

Hello Wendy

I do not know when The Auberries was demolished. 

James R White was the parish doctor but died in 1901.  The entry in the (unpublished) Burial Register states that he was 59 years old and buried 9 August 1901.  The Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore has a memorial window to the man, inscribed: “The window was erected by Parishioners and Friends to the Glory of God and in memory of James Robert White MB resident Doctor in this Parish. AD 1870 – 1901”.

On the 1910 Electoral Roll we have registered at The Auberries, Dr. J. Lynn Allen.  Investigation of names on the War Memorial, a survivor of the Great War was Major H.C.C. Hackney, who is named in Kelly’s Directory 1937 as living at The Auberries.



Thursday, 31 March 2016

Monday, 21 March 2016

Talk. 'Zeppelins Over Essex: 31 March 1916'.

Zeppelins over Essex: 31 March 1916

Blackmore residents had a very close shave a hundred years ago when the German Zeppelin L14 dropped bombs in the parish.  The stained glass in what is now the kitchen of St Laurence Church commemorates the night with these words: “This window is erected as a thank-offering to Almighty God for the protection in the Great Air Raid of March 31st 1916” (see illustration).

Andrew Smith has researched what happened that night and tells the story in a presentation to be given to the High Country History Group on 31 March 2016 (8pm Toot Hill Village Hall), and this summer, on 16 June, at the Friends of St Laurence Church Blackmore AGM.

The Rector of Stondon Massey, Revd. Reeve recorded details in his ‘Notes for a Parish History’:  He lived at the Rectory, what is now Stondon Massey House.

“At 11.45[p.m.] a Zeppelin dropped a series of bombs at the point where is the junction of Stondon with the parishes of Blackmore and Kelvedon Hatch: within easy distance of Soap House Farm.  A machine-gun had been lately established at Kelvedon Hatch to watch for the raiders … causing it to drop the bombs hurriedly.

“Large numbers of persons from Brentwood and the surrounding district visited the spot next day, and the large craters caused by the bombs, some 15 feet in diameter and varying from 3 to 9 feet in depth, were the astonishment of all.  The whole saucer-like cavities were left entirely clean by the explosion. … Nine of the thirteen holes were quickly found: and fortunately no life was lost or building injured. … Our windows at Stondon Rectory were violently shaken and considerable alarm was naturally caused.

“Further enquiry shows that the bombs dropped on March 31st fell between the Soap House and the corner of Blackmore between the Church and Miss Barrett’s house.  Two were dropped in the lane near the site of the old Blackmore Mill.  The remaining holes were to be found in a straight-line across the fields to Miss Barrett’s at very short intervals.  Many panes of glass were broken in the house by the concussion.”

Four people were killed in Braintree that night by the same Zeppelin crew.  To hear the full story come along to Andrew’s talk.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

'Blackmore Memories' Facebook Group

A new Facebook group has been launched by Judi Wood of Blackmore.

Blackmore Memories is for people who live in Blackmore, or used to live in Blackmore. Also people whose families came from the village,and who want to share memories of the Village and village events from the recent and distant past, and possibly get in touch with old friends from the village.

The site has a different administrator to this one. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Essex Record Office: 'Essex Archives Online'

New look for ERO's online catalogue

Users of the Essex Record Office online catalogue, Seax, will notice a big change on Thursday 21 January.
We have been busy working on an updated version of the site, which is going to be renamed Essex Archives Online.
We have tidied the site up to give it a cleaner look, and make it easier for you to find what you are looking for. See below for a sneak preview of how the new site will look.
The main changes you will notice will be in how the site looks rather than how it works. The changes will not affect any subscriptions or information you have saved on the system.
You will still be able to access the service through the existing web address but can now also reach it directly via
The site will include user guides should you need any help in navigating it, and as always you can contact us on should you need any assistance.
To allow the changes to take place, the site will not be available 9.00am-10.00am GMT on Thursday 21 January; we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
Happy searching!

The ERO Team

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

ESAH160: Theft of Coins from Chelmsford Museum: Urgent

ESAH160: Theft of Coins from Chelmsford Museum: Urgent: I regret to advise you that the Chelmsford Museum have suffered a theft in the course of which 14 of a display of 16 late Roman coins were...

Saturday, 2 January 2016

High Country History Group: Journal No. 58 (December 2015)

High Country History Group: Journal No. 58 (December 2015): Members of the High Country History Group receive a quarterly journal. In this edition are the following items: - Ogborne's History ...

Friday, 25 December 2015

Blackmore: Christmas Letters from Revd. Montague Hardwick Knott (1969)

Christmas 1969

19 - CHRISTMAS - 69

Dear Friends,

The Vicarage, Blackmore, Essex.

Last year's Christmas Letter concluded with a post-script making it easy for recipients to remove themselves from our mailing list. It is a source of encouragement a pleasure to record that only a few have dropped out from total of nearly five hundred, and many wrote to ensure the they would continue to hear from us.

Reading again last year's letter leaves me with the impression that, in a number of areas, we seem to have little that is new to report. However, behind the scenes there is continuing activity. As regards the church, the organ was rebuilt and is giving great service and pleasure. No further work has been done in the church but we are so to carry out modifications to, and renewal of, fabric and furnishing which will add greatly to the charm and useful ness of our church. The celebrated wooden bell-tower is been further restored during the next stage of repairs.

Parish activities continue to thrive. The community has its Choral Society, Drama Group, Women's Institute, Social Committee and Sixty-Plus Club, in all of which members of the church take part and bring their influence to bear. The monthly Family Service and the monthly combined service of Evening Prayer and Baptism fill the church. The fortnightly Bible Study continues profitably and there is a marked advance in our outreach to the young. The group of keen young couples mentioned in last year's letter, have met had marked success in home meetings for Bible study but are strengthening the Baptist and Anglican churches with their active membership. They plan to build up the churches youth work within the framework of the Covenanter Movement. We have also started Guides and Brownies and hope that Scouts and Cubs will follow.

Highlight of the year now drawing to a close was the Flower Festival held over the second week-end in August. The Saturday was our Parish Gift Day and the Sunday our Patronal Festival. St. Laurence, to whom our church is dedicated, was a deacon in the church in Rome and was martyred during the third century. If the legend concerning him is true he was a man who counted his treasure in souls won for Christ and not in silver or gold. Our ancient church makes an ideal setting for a flower festival and this year's effort seemed to surpass previous festivals. It was so much more than a moving display of beautiful flowers and foliage, people were moved to a spirit of grateful worship and they came in their hundreds from within and without the parish. On each day Choral Evensong was followed by a music recital of impressive quality.

As regards the Anglican Church in this country and union with the Methodists, the will of the majority seems not so much to be no but not yet or, not in this way. We are now committed to Synodical Government and this is to be welcomed as tending to a greater lay participation. The 4 policy of a service of naming and blessing for the babes of those parents who desire their children to mark their entry into Christ's Church by baptism upon their own decision to become Christians, is getting slowly off the ground. Old traditions die hard.

Coming back to ourselves and the situation in the Vicarage, Miss Pamplin still brightens our home with her cheerful and practical presence. We anticipate that she will move to another sphere of service in the Nursing Profession before the year's end. The improved state of Hilda's health left Miss Pamplin free to take a post as ward sister in a nearby hospital, at the beginning of March. She has continued to reside with us and has been a tower of strength when off duty.

A year ago our doctor thought Hilda had reached the end of the road as far as her earthly pilgrimage was concerned but thanks to careful nursing and a strong constitution she has made a wonderful come-back. The lesser half! is greatl blessed both in the home and in the parish. It is good to feel oneself supported in one's work for our wonderful Lord by such splendid helpers as our congregation provides. I am sure we feel ourselves to be, as Scripture puts it, "Fellow workers together with God".

To conclude this letter, may I share a few thoughts concerning our present situation and future prospects as Christians, for Christ came to secure our best interests in respect of both. Our present must be causing thousands to reflect upon the future. Fundamentally man does not change. As always, he is born, he dies, he works, he plays, he love he hates, he rejoices, he sorrows. Man is ever learning and ever forgetting. He creates new situations and discovers new skills and in the process makes old the previous situations and forgets the skills they produced. Surely no situation has arisen before like that of this generation. Automation, the computer, space exploration and the uncovering of the deeps with television to bring these modern wonders to the eyes and ears of Jr. Everyman. Inevitably there must be concern for the future and speculation as to what it holds.

Is man of a stature spiritually and morally to carry such responsibilities? Will he overreach himself? Is there a danger that he could be a carrier of earth disease or that he could expose himself to hazards beyond his power to cure? Is privileged man cocooning himself with specialized foods, specialized medicines, hygiene, central heating, powered travel so that the withdrawal of these would leave him resistless to the conditions under which the underprivileged manage to support their existence. Have we been blowing a big beautiful and many-hued bubble which could burst or are we on the way to other and more remarkable situations? In our situation are we really living, with the prospect of a fuller life?

We are about to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ who said, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly". The Bible states, "He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life". Life has its source and continuance in God who communicates it through his son, Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit. It is this life principle vivifying the spirit that makes a man a Christian. It relates to the present situation and the future prospect. This life has resources within itself that infuse the being with vigour, overcome the frailties to which man is heir, sustain his confidence through every vicissitude and keep bright his hope of life's extension beyond the grave where, the Bible says, "No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him". The Christian should be able to say - this I know, this I believe, this life I have. May this be your rich and all sufficient experience throughout the year to come.

Please accept this as a personal and grateful acknowledgement of a letter or greeting from you if I have not been able to write before. It has been a joy to have seen and had fellowship with friends from home and overseas during 1969. We rejoice in the ties that bind. God grant you joy and blessing this Christmastide and throughout 1970.

With affectionate greetings

Hilda and Montague H. Knott. 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Blackmore: Christmas Letters from Revd. Montague Hardwick Knott (1968)

Christmas 1968

19 - CHRISTMAS - 68

Dear Friends,

The Vicarage, Blackmore, Essex.

Thinking of Christmas, I find it a great comfort to realise that our Saviour, Jesus Christ is a real person, whose birth is both accepted and attested. We live at a time when so much previously held Christian dogma is be in surrendered in face of the claims of rationalism, humanism and evolutionism. How good it is to read in Matthew's Gospel, "The birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. The record goes on to relate the time, place and manner o that birth.

As to time. Paul in his letter to the Galatian Christians writes, - "When the time had fully come, God’s forth his son, born of a woman". It was a time establish in the eternal purposes of God, long foretold, when it came Jesus was born. As to place. This too was by divine appointment. Where is Messiah to be born? asked Herod. Bethlehem, answered the chief priests. And so to Bethlehem (meaning Place of Food) he came and was born who said, "1 the bread of life", and again, "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give will never thirst". As to manner.  Matthew's Gospel quotes Isaiah's prediction, "A virgin she conceive and bear a son". Luke's Gospel adds, "The virgin’s name was Mary   And the Angel said ..,.. you will conceive and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus.

Birth is the inevitable precursor of death for ever human. Only Jesus need not have died yet he chose to die and filled out the promise of his name - "You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sin.  Let me remind you that we commemorate the human birth of Jesus who made possible our spiritual birth. That regeneration which makes us children of God and servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. With the Psalmist we say, Bless the Lord, O my soul'.

Before turning to local news I would comment on the preoccupations of the Church of England. The proposed union between the Anglican and Methodist Churches seems to be meeting with stiffening opposition in both camps. Government by Synod is on the way and could democratize the administration of the Church. The Pastoral Measure is quite revolutionary but applied with charity and wisdom, could make the Church pastorally more effective. A new policy on baptism envisages a growing practice of believers’ baptism, and a service of naming and blessing of infants taking the place of infant baptism where parents are not desirous of becoming regular church members.

The new series of orders of public services is provisional and experimental, nevertheless it meets a pressing need and is welcome as a constructive move in the direction of an agreed and settled replacement of the Book of Common Prayer, which has served us so well for so long a time.

In Blackmore more work has been done in the restoration of our ancient parish church. The domestic situation which has curtailed my own activities has opened the way for one of my churchwardens to do a splendid job in this department. The south dormer windows have been reglazed, the walls lime-washed, the ceiling shields and bosses are being restored. Our organ is being rebuilt and improved, and new pews are to be installed. The latest inspection reveals the need for urgent repairs to the walls of the tower. This last will be our next care.

We had no Flower Festival this year and for the second year running rain spoiled the Garden Fete. Nevertheless people rallied round and most of the items for sale were sold.  Once again the congregations of the Deanery of Ongar went from church to church throughout Lent and found blessing from the ministry and pleasure in mutual fellowship. Our Young Wives Fellowship now numbers around sixty and is thriving. The Junior Church has increased also. The Primary Section now meets in the Village Hall and the Juniors in the Church, as before. The fortnightly Bible Study continues steadily and the studies, taped, are she by some half dozen smaller groups in private houses. We have just concluded studies of the lives of Abraham, Ise Jacob and Joseph.

A happy fellowship continues between the friends at the Baptist Church and ourselves. In this connection the Holy Spirit seems to be pointing what may be a new way in this community. Several young couples recently moved into our parish, who are keen Christians, recognizing the organised religion lacks appeal for many are planning to meet people on their own home ground. To this end, after the pattern of Acts 6:4, a committed group has said, "We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word". It is hoped that a series of house meetings will lead to an extension of Christ's Kingdom.

I have constantly stressed the need for the Church identify with the local community in service. I feel I fairly say that ours is a happy one and well integrated. I believe Christ's servants have had a constructive part in creating this situation. Our new village hall is most impressive and will be ready for occupation before Christmas. The Committee responsible has done excellent job. The Donkey Derby they organised again this year was a great success. The Parish Council is negotiating for a village sports field and play area. An urgent need with our enlarged population. Our new Primary School is to be enlarged to cater for an increasing intake. The Blackmore Charities continue to assist older parishioners and the distribution of Christmas Gifts to this group is always appreciated.

The year under review has brought us great testing & and great blessing. Hilda, whose health deteriorated in second half of last year, did not improve with the coming this. Whilst away for a few days with a clerical friend at the beginning of July I learned that my dear one was in hospital. After a week or so Hilda returned to the friend with whom she had been staying and a week later came home. This was made possible because God sent a dear Christian nurse, Miss Pamplin, into our home. She has been a tower of strength in every way to Hilda and to me. We say from our hearts:-

How good is the God we adore, Our faithful unchangeable friend! His love is as great as his power, And knows neither measure nor end!

Our good wishes for Christmas and the New Year accompany our affectionate greetings.

Hilda and Montague H. Knott.

P.S. Our Christmas Letter has been sent year by year to those we believe to be interested in us and in our Christian ministry. With the passage of time and other changes, which affect us all, we have no right to assume a continuing interest. Therefore receipt of an acknowledgement or a greetings card will be taken as indicating that you would like to be on our mailing list for 1969.


Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Blackmore: Christmas Letters from Revd. Montague Hardwick Knott (1967)

Christmas 1967

19 - CHRISTMAS - 67

Dear Friends,

The Vicarage, Blackmore, Essex.

As is usual with our annual Christmas Letter we sit awhile and cogitate seeking some inspiration for the opening lines. It is our custom to compose the letter in October in time for copies to reach overseas destinations in time for Christmas by surface mail. This is written on the second day of December so it will be airmail for some.

All this year we have been trying to catch up. From early February till the end of April I was out of action through a slipped disc and Hilda has found life a real struggle. Nevertheless our times of testing have allowed us to see how wonderfully God has provided through our friends both in and out of the parish.

Last year we wrote of the changing face of our parish and the change continues as regards buildings and newcomers. In some respects however it has been a stand-still year. Nothing more has been done in respect of the restoration of our ancient church, although things are on the move now. We still have only two out of five new classrooms and ancilliary buildings of our new primary school. This seems to have resulted from "the Squeeze". Neither have we been able to start the new village hall, possibly for the same reason.

Church life in the parish continues largely as usual. Our parish magazine "Friends" is delivered to each home as far as we can ensure this. We hope the majority are read. This gives me a chance to minister through the printed page. We hold a baptism service each month. Usually the church is comfortably full. This, and the monthly family service, affords me the best opportunities for the ministry of the Word. Otherwise, whilst our services are better attended than in many country churches, the size of the congregations prove that the worship of God and the ministry of his word have little appeal to the majority. A highlight of the year was the holding of Deanery Lent Services in a different church each week. Large congregations gathered to hear the Diocesan, Bishop John Tiarks who preached on each occasion.

For the first time in ten years our Garden Fete, held at Jericho Priory in June, was marred by incessant rain. Over the August Bank Holiday large numbers attended the Flower Festival during which friends presented a delightful concert of chamber music. In church was a display of kneelers which a group of our talented ladies are embroidering. The harvest services and supper were joyous occasions in their turn and our year will close over a new ecclesiastical year already begun with the Seasons of Advent and Christmas.

While in some respects the cycle of events seems unchanging one may discern shadows of a sombre hue creeping over the events of our time. It makes news that China is catching up in the nuclear missile race. Vietnam has agonised through a generation of warfare that has achieved nothing but loss of life and material impoverishment. Rich nations have problems as numerous and complex as nations that are poor. A massive unrest seems to grip the world and escape seems not to lie in either wealth or poverty, strength or weakness, health or sickness, wisdom or folly, youth or old age. Yet as the same sea will rage where tossed by the tempest and at the same time lie placid in some sheltered inlet so in the sea of humanity, tossed by the exingencies of our time, will be found those restful souls who pursue an untroubled course.

The Prophet Jeremiah was given a word to his people from God which points the way to a state of rest - "Stand by the roads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it and find rest for your souls." This is an invitation to look to past experiences and note that righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people. As with nations so with individuals. The person who fails to take note of the good way which has trodden by men of worth from ancient times, will find no in this restless world. The Prophet links a state of real with the good way.

God the Son, whose birth into this world as Jesus, Babe of Bethlehem, we commemorate at the Season of Christ declared - "I am the way", "learn from me   and you will find rest for your souls." This is our prayer for : that over this Christmastide and through the corning year may enjoy the rest that stems from God Eternal, by the 'of the Holy Spirit over your mind and heart, and by walking in that good way that leads to fullness in Christ.

In sending our affectionate greetings we express the hope that the season of joy and goodwill which prompts this letter to you will also stir you to send your news to us.

Hilda and Montague H. Knott.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Blackmore: Christmas Letters from Revd. Montague Hardwick Knott (1966)

Christmas 1966

The Vicarage, Blackmore, Essex.

19 - CHRISTMAS - 66

Dear Friend,

Having taken pen in hand to compose this tenth Christmas Letter from Blackmore, one pauses to reflect -the fire of memory burns brighter and in its flames one sees faces and places, some near, some far. How good it would be to sit alongside and ask: How are you? How have you fared through 1966? We can learn only as we hear from you so we would encourage your communication by sending you news of our own affairs.

The face of our village is changing. The rash of new buildings which, in recent years, has been so evident in the Hook End and Paslow Common areas of the parish, is now very evident in the village itself. More than half of the bungalows and houses are less than ten years old and many less than two. The growing population puts pressure on our school facilities and at long last a new school is in building with the first stage almost completed. We are well on the way to a new village hall. The land has been donated and planning permission given.

We now have a Blackmore Choral Society which is conducted by the Headmaster of our local primary school. The Society sang Stainer's Crucifixion in the parish church on Good Friday evening. This was much appreciated by a company which filled the church. The Blackmore Women's Institute has grown in number and is a lively unit.

The foregoing are among the signs that the nothing-ever-happens-here village to which we came nine years ago is changing. We try to identify Christian service with as much of the life of the community as we can, with a view to making the Christian Message available to any who show interest.

Although we cannot report that our parish church is full at the times of services, except on special occasions and at festivals, we are not without encouragement. In particular, our Young Wives' Fellowship, which has grown in numbers and is quite go ahead; also the Youth Club has managed to keep going for two years now, though its attachment to the church is rather tenuous. From our point of view it is worthwhile as offering a point of contact with our local youth. The fortnightly Bible study is encouraging and seems to be appreciated by those who attend and by those who share by means of the tape recorder. The studies have drawn several friends from the Baptist Church in the village. We rejoice in this coming together. During the year on one occasion the Baptist Congregation came to a service of Evening Prayer and on another our congregation joined in worship at the Baptist Church. The Mothers' Union, Women's Fellowship and Junior Church continue much as they have done in other years but within the membership of the church there is a growing readiness to serve.

The church accounts and the annual Garden Fete which, for some years, had been among the Vicar's responsibilities, have been taken over by able members of the congregation. We held a Flower Festival over the August Bank Holiday for the second year. This was a great success and brought hundreds to see our lovely old church and, we trust, to worship God and praise him for his handiwork in nature and for the skills of man. Recently a party of our ladies started the task of making embroidered kneelers for the church. Another group made up Christmas Cards to sell in aid of the restoration of the church. Thus it can be seen that interest and active participation grows.

During the year the two large dormer windows on the north side of the church have been restored and this means that we are now able to concentrate on the interior. All that has been done to restore the church fabric was urgent but nothing like as apparent as will be the interior. If all goes well the appearance of the church inside will be worthy of so ancient and historic a place of worship.

The passing centuries have established this season of Christmas as a sign of world-wide significance, speaking of the coming of God into the world and affairs of men in the t human person of Jesus, born at Bethlehem and anointed the Cl Saviour of the world.

To those of us for whom the Bible is the authoritative word of God is found within its pages a revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ whose coming was foretold hundreds of years before the event. Among those who prophesied this coming none spoke with greater clarity than the Prophet Isaiah a man of learning, culture and deep religious experience. He recorded God as saying, in reference to the coming One: 'Behold my servant whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delight I have put my spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice the the nations . . . I will lead the blind in a way that they know not, in paths that they have not known will I guide the I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough place into level ground. These things I will do and I will not forsake them". Isa. 42: 1 and 16.

To read the chapters in the second half of Isaiah as a message from God to man is to set oneself free from the frustration, uncertainty and hopelessness that characterises so much of this modern world. In the foregoing selections in particular there is God's invitation to know the Source of true peace with justice and to experience in one's daily life that providence which marks out a clear pathway and lightens it as we go.

As we grow older the years seem to pass ever more quickly. With the closing of 1966 we look back with gratitude at the many mercies of the Lord for our own well-being and for much fellowship with Christians. With this our news and views we send our Christmas Greetings and sincere good wishes for 1967.

Hilda and Montague H. Knott.