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The following account of a Harvest Festival service held in Plumtree Church in October 1877 was printed in the Nottinghamshire Guardian on Friday 26th October 1877. It is reproduced below verbatim with explanatory information added in the form of pop-up footnotes.

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Harvest Festival at Plumtree - On the evening of Thursday, the 18th (St Luke's Day) [1], the annual harvest thanksgiving service was celebrated in this church, which, beautiful in itself, was rendered still more so by the taste and skill displayed in the decorations for this special occasion. The various contributions from the parishioners of harvest produce and fruits of the earth were all utilised, the pulpit and font being more elaborately decorated with flowers, &c.

Service was appointed for 6 p.m., at which hour the church was well filled, many having to stand till extra seats were provided. "Come, ye thankful people, come," No. 223 Ancient and Modern [2] was sung as a processional hymn. The clergy present were, Rev. J. Cruft (Edwalton) [3], Rev. P. Douglas (Thrumpton) [4], Rev. E. S. Taylor (Sutton Bonington) [5], Rev. A. A. Welby (Tollerton) [6], Rev. W, Burnside (rector of Plumtree) [7], and Rev. A. Marshall (curate) [8].

The first part of the prayers were said by Rev. J. Cruft, those after the third collect being taken by Rev. A. Marshall. The special lessons were read by Rev. W. Burnside, rector. The sermon was preached by Rev. Philip Douglas, who selected as his text, "The harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels," St. Matthew, xiii., 39 [9], it being a curious coincidence that these very words were used in the decoration of the chancel and arches [10]. In the course of his sermon, which was listened to by a most attentive congregation, the preacher made a touching appeal on behalf of the sufferers by the famine in India [11], and drew attention to the peace and plenty with which we in England are blessed, as contrasted with the war now raging in Eastern Europe [12], and the terrible famine which is scourging far-off India, urging them as incentives to a hearty giving of thanks to God at such a service, which was peculiarly one of thanksgiving  The offertory amounted to £24 5s. 6d. [13], of which £10 was in notes, £10 in gold, the remainder being made up of silver and coppers.

The musical portion of the service was well rendered and much appreciated by the large congregation, who joined most heartily in the well-known hymns and chants. "Tallis's Festal Responses" were used in the service. The special Psalms, Nos. 144 [14] and 147 [15], were carefully and steadily sung to a single chant by Heywood, the "Magnificat" [16] to a single chant by Woodward, and the "Nunc Dimittis" [17] to a beautiful single chant by Dr. Chipp [18].

The anthem was, "The Lord hath done great things for us," [19] (H. Smart), one of great beauty and merit, which was well rendered by the choir, whom we must congratulate on the successful performance of a by no means easy composition. The solo, which is very pleasing and effective, was sung by the Rev. A. Marshall, curate of Plumtree. The hymn before the sermon was the well- known one, "We plough the fields," No. 360, A. and M. [20], that sung during the collection of the offertory being "Crown Him with many crowns," No. 318 A. and M [21].

The whole service was one in which all seemed to join "with heart and soul and voice," and the musical portions were given with a steadiness and accuracy which reflected great credit on a country choir. The organist, to whom a word of praise is due for the skilful and musician-like manner in which he accompanied all parts of the service, was Mr. Campbell [22], schoolmaster, of Plumtree.


Original research by Phil Carruthers

This item is based on an article that appeared in the Nottinghamshire Guardian, dated 26 October 1877 and is made available via the British Newspaper Archive. ©The British Library Board. All rights reserved.


[1] St Luke’s Day. Saint Luke's Feast Day is October 18th (a Thursday in 1877). It is often celebrated by reading the Acts of Apostles and praying the three canticles - the Benedictus, the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis.

As the first Christian physician, Saint Luke is the patron saint of physicians and surgeons. On his feast day, intercessions and prayers are usually for doctors and those who care for the sick.

[2] "Come, ye thankful people, come"

1. COME, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of Harvest-home:
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
GOD, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to GOD'S own Temple, come;
Raise the song of Harvest-home.


3. For we know that Thou wilt come,
And wilt take Thy people home;
From Thy field wilt purge away
All that doth offend, that day;
And Thine Angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast,
But the fruitful ears to store
In Thy garner evermore.

2. All this world is GOD'S own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares therein are sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
Ripening with a wondrous power
Till the final Harvest-hour:
Grant, O LORD of life, that we
Holy grain and pure may be.


4. Come then, LORD of mercy, come,
Bid us sing Thy Harvest-home:
Let Thy saints be gathered in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin;
All upon the golden floor
Praising Thee for evermore:
Come, with all Thine Angels come;
Bid us sing Thy Harvest-home.

Written in 1844 by Henry Alford (1810-1871), and set to the tune of St George’s Windsor, by Sir George J. Elvey (1816-1893)

[3] Rev. J. Cruft (Edwalton). Rev. William J. Cruft was born in London in 1831and came down to Nottingham in 1858 as choirmaster of the then newly-formed Notts. Church Choral Union. He filled this post for 33 years, and had a very large share in bringing about the great improvement in church singing which took place among church choirs in that time.

In 1869 he was ordained by Dr. Wordsworth, the late Bishop of Lincoln; and in 1873 he was presented to the living of Edwalton by the late Mr. J. Chaworth Musters, of Annesley Park.

The annual festivals of the Choral Union held in Southwell Cathedral or other large churches were the outward sign of much patient teaching and heavy labour of organisation.

Unfortunately, the double burden of musical and parish work at length told on his strength and in March 1890 he was struck down by an attack of paralysis, but recovered so rapidly that it was hoped that he would be spared to carry on at least his parish duties for some time. However, he suffered a more severe seizure in July 1891 and passed away in painless peace less than a week later.

It is no exaggeration to say that there are hundreds of men in this county who have at various times come under Mr. Cruft's gentle, yet effective musical instruction. He was interred on Tuesday 28th July at Edwalton, amid the people for whom he had laboured patiently for nearly 18 years, and won a place in their affection which will never lost.

Based on an obituary printed in the Nottingham Evening Post on Monday 27 July 1891.

[4] Rev. P. Douglas (Thrumpton). Rev Philip Douglas was rector of the parish of Thrumpton for 51 years until his death in post in 1914, aged 79. He was a lover of cricket and always listed results in the Deanery magazine.

In 1878 he married Lady Lucy Byron, and so became the patron of the parish as well as the resident incumbent. Lady Byron’s first husband was Admiral George Anson Byron, 8th Baron Byron, who died in 1870, and whose youngest brother was the Rev. Hon. William Byron.

[5] Rev. E. S. Taylor (Sutton Bonington).  Rev. Edward Stuart Taylor M.A. was the rector of St Anne’s Church, Sutton Bonington from 1875 to 1902.

The following obituary to the Rev. Taylor was printed in the Nottingham Evening Post on Wednesday 18 June 1902:

FUNERAL OF THE REV. E. S TAYLOR, OF SUTTON BONNINGTON. Amidst every token respect and regret the remains the Rev. E. S. Taylor were laid in their last resting place in the beautiful churchyard St. Anne’s.

As was anticipated, the funeral was a large one. The united choirs of St. Michael’s and St. Anne’s proceeded to the rectory and met the procession. At the entrance to the churchyard the opening portion of the burial service was conducted by the Rev. R. O. Yearsley, of Sutton St. Michael’s.

As soon the cortege had entered the church Psalm 90 was chanted by the choirs, and the remainder the service was conducted by the Rev. P. Douglas, Rural Dean. A large congregation assembled in the church. Floral [tributes] were numerous.

[6] Rev. A. A. Welby (Tollerton). Rev. Abraham Adlard Welby M.A. was the rector of Tollerton from 1867 to 1904, when he retired as a result of ill health. Born in Uttoxeter in 1838 to Adlard and Clara Welby, he married Bertha Sobraona Edlin in Plymouth in 1868; the pair lived in the village for many years and had a total of seven children.

In 1871, Rev.Welby visited San Paulo, Brazil, "on account of his health". During his stay, he wrote a letter to the South American Missionary Magazine. The letter was published on November 1st 1871 and is reproduced here adobe reader logo The Brazils - Pira Pora.

The following obituary to the Rev. Welby was printed in the Nottingham Evening Post on Wednesday 03 October 1923:

37 YEARS RECTOR OF TOLLERTON. DEATH OF THE REV. A. A. WELBY, M.A.  The death is announced at Bournemouth, where he had been living in retirement, of the Rev. Abraham Adlard Welby, M.A., at the advanced age of 85 years. For 37 years, from 1867 to 1904, Mr. Welby was rector of Tollerton, near Nottingham.

Graduating from Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1861. Mr. Welby took holy orders in the same year, and was licensed to the curacy of St. Blazy, in Cornwall. He afterwards held curacies at Devonport, at Compton, in Devonshire, and at Crandall, Hampshire, whence he was appointed to Tollerton.

[7] Rev W. Burnside (rector of Plumtree). William Burnside was born in 1817, the second son of William Stanford Burnside. He was ordained by the Bishop of Lincoln in 1841 and, in 1847, was presented to the living of Broxholme, Lincolnshire. On 20 November 1856 he married Frances (Fanny) Houson, daughter of the Rev. Henry Houson, rector of Brant Broughton, Lincolnshire. They had no children.

In 1865, on the death of his uncle, Rev. John Burnside, William became rector of Plumtree, being presented by his brother, John Elliott Burnside, of Gedling (Lord of the Manors of Tollerton and Plumtree). He remained rector of Plumtree until his death. In 1876 he was chaplain to the High Sheriff (his brother John Elliott Burnside).

William died on Saturday 7th April 1883, at Fulbeck, near Grantham, in the residence of his brother-in-law, Captain Henry Basil Houson. William's obituary in the Grantham Journal stated:

Mr. Burnside never sought prominence, either as a popular preacher or in any sphere of public life, but his kindness of heart and unobtrusive generosity were unbounded, and he will be greatly missed by his parishioners and throughout the county generally.

adobe reader logoBurnside Family Tree

[8] Rev. A. Marshall. Rev. Arthur William Beaty Marshall was curate to the rector of Plumtree (Rev. William Burnside) for six years until 1879. He was then appointed to the rectory of Heythrop, near Chipping Norton, Oxon, in the gift of Mr. Albert Brassey, of Heythrop Park, master of the Heythrop hounds.

On leaving Plumtree, Rev. Marshall was presented with… ”several very gratifying tokens of respect and esteem, among which were an alabaster and ormolu drawing-room clock, from the parishioners of Normanton and Plumtree; a silver-plated inkstand, from the Sunday-school children; a silver-plated fish slice and fork, from the Plumtree Cricket Club; a gold lever watch, from the Rev. William Burnside; and a silver tea and coffee-pot, from Mrs. Wm. Burnside; besides several handsome presents from more private friends.”

Whilst rector of Heythrop, he married Lizzie Blanche Dyer on November 24th 1898 at St. George’s Church, Edgbaston.

By 1909 Rev Marshall was back in Nottinghamshire, as the rector of St. Peter’s Church Clayworth. Whilst there, he wrote a paper about the church which is available on the Nottinghamshire History website at: http://goo.gl/tcNrrH

He remained at Clayworth until his death on 11th May 1925, aged 83. He was survived by his wife, and son Hugh Arthur.

[9] St. Matthew, xiii., 39, in context:

37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one];
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

[10] ...decoration of the chancel and arches. This decoration is no longer visible, having been painted over in the twentieth century.

[11] The famine in India. This was the Great Famine of 1876-78, which was one of around twenty instances of famine that occurred in British-occupied India between 1860 and 1910. It is regarded as the most severe of these famines, and affected the south of the country, including Chennai (Madras) and Mysuru (Mysore), and the west, including Mumbai (Bombay).

Up to 10 million people lost their lives in the Great Famine, either to starvation or disease.

Several agricultural, economic, and political, factors caused or intensified the Great Famine. Most significantly, in 1876 and 1877 there were severe droughts in southern and western India, as well as reduced rainfall in the north of the country. Additionally, in the years leading up to it, an increase in selling farmed and stock-piled grain to Europe, left the region without sufficient grain stocks in case of emergency.

Once the Great Famine was underway, the British government was reluctant to provide much in the way of famine relief.  This was partly due the experience with the Bihar famine of 1873-74 for which they had offered effective relief, but this had been prohibitively expensive.  When the Great Famine occurred, the Second Afghan War was raging, and there wasn’t the money to provide famine relief.  For this reason, and to prevent people becoming dependant on aid, the government instead adopted a laissez-faire attitude, and largely left the area’s recovery to economic forces.

[12] War now raging in Eastern Europe.

This is a allusion to various uprisings that occurred in Eastern Europe between 1875 and 1878, referred to as The Great Eastern Crisis. It involved those countries that were under the control of the Ottoman Empire, which had been in decline throughout much of the 19th century.

The first of these rebellions occurred in Herzegovina in 1875. Various factors triggered and aggravated this rebellion, including aggressive taxation of the Christian population (following the Ottoman Empire’s borrowing money from European powers), the poor living conditions of the country’s peasants, and several foreign influences (from Russia, Austro-Hungary, Montenegro and Serbia).

Rebellion soon spread to Bosnia, and Bulgaria saw a rebellion in 1876, which was brutally suppressed. In June, Montenegro and Serbia both declared war on the Ottoman Empire, but both countries faced similar suppression, and were promptly defeated. This suppression also led to European powers, including Russia, pushing for Ottoman reforms.

Following rejection of Russian demands, in April 1877 Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire, and was joined by Serbia and Montenegro in December of that year. This war ended with the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano in March 1878, which was replaced by the Treaty of Berlin in July of the same year following pressure from European powers. Drawn up by the major powers of Europe at the Congress of Berlin, it granted independence to Serbia, Montenegro, and Romania, and autonomy to Bulgaria, as well as placing Bosnia and Herzegovina under the administration of Austria-Hungary.

The Ottoman Empire finally collapsed in 1922.

[13] £24 5s. 6d. in 1877 would be worth around £2,527 in 2014, according to the Bank of England.

[14] Psalm 144 (King James version)

1 Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:
2 My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.
3 Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!
4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.
5 Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
6 Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.
7 Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children;
8 Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
9 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.
10 It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword.
11 Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:
12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:
13 That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets:
14 That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.
15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.

[15] Psalm 147 (King James version)

1 Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
2 The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
6 The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
7 Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
9 He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.
13 For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.
14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.
16 He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
17 He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
18 He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.
19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.

[16] The Magnificat, also known as the Song of Mary, is a canticle taken from Luke 1:46-55:

My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of
their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.

[17] Nunc Dimittis, also known as the Song of Simeon, is a canticle taken from Luke 2.29-32:

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace: according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen: thy salvation;
Which thou hast prepared: before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles: and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

[18] Dr Chipp. dr edmund thomas chippDr Edmund Thomas Chipp was an organist and composer of church music. The following obituary to him appeared in the London Daily News, on Friday 24 December 1886:

DEATH OF DR. E. T. CHIPP.--We have to announce the death at Nice, where he was staying for the benefit of his health, of Dr. Edmund Thomas Chipp, organist and Magister Choristorum of Ely Cathedral.

He was a son of the late Thomas Paul Chipp, the famous harpist and kettle-drum player, and was born on Christmas Day, 1823. As a boy he was a chorister at the Chapel Royal, under William Hawes, and he also studied the violin, playing as a violinist in the Queen's private band from 1846 to 1855.

His earliest appointment as organist dates back to his 20th year, and after holding various posts in London, Ireland, and Scotland, he was in 1808 appointed to Ely Cathedral. He wrote an oratorio, "Job," and a quantity of services, anthems, and other Church music. As an organist he held a high reputation. He gained his degree of Mus. Doc. at Cambridge University in 1860.

[19] The Lord hath done great things for us. Words taken from Psalm 126:

1 When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.
2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.
3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south.
5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

[20] "We plough the fields"

1. WE plough the fields and scatter
The good seed on the land,
But it is fed and watered
By GOD'S Almighty Hand;
He sends the snow in winter,
The warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine,
And soft refreshing rain.


2. He only is the Maker
Of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower,
He lights the evening star:
The wind and waves obey Him,
By Him the birds are fed;
Much more to us, His children,
He gives our daily bread.

All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above,
Then thank the LORD, O thank the LORD,
For all His love.


3. We thank Thee, then, O FATHER,
For all things bright and good,
The seed-time and the harvest,
Our life, our health, our food;
Accept the gifts we offer
For all Thy love imparts,
And what Thou most desirest,
Our humble, thankful hearts.

This is a translation of the German hymn Wir pflügen, composed by Matthais Claudius in 1782.

[21] "Crown Him with many crowns"

1. CROWN Him with many crowns,
The LAMB upon His throne;
Hark, how the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own:
Awake, my soul and sing
Of Him Who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless KING
Through all eternity.


4. Crown Him the LORD of Peace:
Whose power a sceptre sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease,
And all be prayer and praise:
His reign shall know no end,
And round His piercèd Feet
Fair flowers of Paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet.

2. Crown Him the Virgin's Son,
The GOD Incarnate born,
Whose arm those crimson trophies won
Which now His Brow adorn:
Fruit of the mystic Rose,
And of that Rose the Stem;
The Root whence mercy ever flows.
The Babe of Bethlehem.


5. Crown Him the LORD of years,
The Potentate of tine,
Creator of the rolling spheres,
Ineffably sublime.
All hail, REDEEMER, hail!
For Thou hast dies for me;
Thy praise shall never, never fail
Throughout eternity. Amen.

3. Crown Him the Lord of Love:
Behold His Hands and Side,
Rich Wounds, yet visible above
In beauty glorified:
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends His burning eye
At mysteries so bright.

Composed by Matthew Bridges in 1851.

[22] Mr. Campbell. John T. Campbell was Plumtree’s schoolmaster and the church choirmaster. He was born in Derby around 1851, and appears on the 1881 Plumtree census living with his wife Mary, who was the schoolmistress, and their five children: Lilian (7), Archibald (6), Winifred (4), Eleanor (2) and Rosamund (1).

Campbell was head teacher of Plumtree School from 1873 to 1884.

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