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Preacher Father

Rev Child who was Rector of Moulton from 1916 to 1928 > Simply click to enlarge... then use the [Back] button to return As a preacher my father excelled. Never longer than ten minutes ("What can't be said in ten minutes isn't worth saying at all"), and this included the story for the children who had their own pews with plenty of books to read. I remember how proud I was to learn after one service that, sitting at the back of the Church was a reporter from "John Bull", a weekly paper noted for its articles on any sensational news of the moment. I felt it was an even greater honour for my father's sermon on that Sunday to be published in full. It was tactfully placed after the 'sensations' and immediately preceding the competitions.

Mrs Child > Simply click to enlarge... then use the [Back] button to returnGradually a choir was formed. We were fortunate to have, on call , at different times, four who could play the Church organ - Mrs Florence Clarke, Wallie Poulter (son of Jimmie, and one of my best friends), my sister Mary when she was not at College, and my mother. We had several men in the Choir, including Ben Middleditch, mentioned in my last article, a Mr Clayden, and several others whose names I have forgotten. We were quite ambitious at times, and generally presented an Oratorio at Easter - my favourite was "Olivet to Calvary". We hired two soloists from Cambridge, my sister Monica and brother Eric taking the other two parts.

I myself was one of the choir boys but my one attempt at a solo ' Oh for the wings of a dove ' was an absolute disaster. The dove never even left the ground; neither did my voice! Our male members took things very seriously, having a 'gargle' at the then existing' Shepherd and Dog' which was a mere three minutes walk from the vestry. In addition, during the service a tin of 'Meloids' (now known as 'Nigroids') was passed from chorister to chorister; I can still hear the rattle of the little black sweets in their tin and smell the strong liquorice content, guaranteed to clear throat and lungs.

Among the congregation we had several trainers from Newmarket; Mr Marsh who was trainer to King George V, Mr Leader, Mr Harry Sadler and several others. My father was often asked who he thought would win the big race, which shows that trainers were in the dark as well as the public! This question was put to him before the service, and I am afraid he only once named the winner, Mr Sadler was very fond of the violin, and for some time we had three or four violinists joining the organ. ' Blowing' the organ was allocated to me quite often (no electric motors in those days). Whether the carvings on the wall all around the lead weight showing the amount of air in the bellows are still there I don't know.

There were, I believe, apart from initials, commas, flower petals and other shapes, all of which must have been carved before 1916. A small door led from this area, and next to the path leading to the south door was a tombstone, known, without any doubt to anyone living in Moulton now. It is unique and aroused sufficient interest for us to have it renovated so that a firm selling postcards of 'curios' could include it. The wording (substituting an 's; for the old-fashioned 'f' ) was :

' In loving memory of Lettice Manning' and concluded with the verse 'Oh cruel death to please thy pallet, cut down Lettice to make a sallet'. I may not have quoted the words quite correctly, but my youthful mind shuddered at the sight of such a salad, and where the 'Loving memory' came in I don't know.'

Another of the Sunday duties of my sister and myself was to visit two dear old ladies who lived in a thatched cottage next the old village school. I believe the younger, Miss Polly Willis did manage to come to church for a short time, but before long she was house-bound, as was her sister Maria who suffered severely from asthma.

HJ Child

A Forest Heath District Council (Suffolk) Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Millennium Festival 2000 Designed by ArtAtac