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St Giles’ Church, Oxford

Parish News

December 2017 Free
Vicar: Canon Andrew Bunch, 01865 510460
The Vicarage, Church Walk, Oxford OX2 6LY
Associate Priest: Revd Tom Albinson 01865 515409 or 07426 948251
Lay Minister: David Longrigg, 23 Norham Rd, Oxford OX2 6SF 01865 557879
Benefice Manager: Henrietta Mountain-Ritter 01865 512319
10 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HT
Maureen Chu 01865 726011
Joanne Russell 01865 760788
Acting Treasurer: Rod Nixon
Organist: Andrew Patterson
Choir Director: Nicholas Prozzillo
PCC Secretary: Sarah-Jane White
Captain of the Bells: John Pusey
Church Flowers: Mary Whitlock
Benefice Secretary: Anne Dutton
Twitter @StGilesOxford
Instagram stgileschurch
Sunday: 8:00 am Holy Communion (BCP)
10:30 am Holy Communion
6:30 pm Evensong (BCP)
Monday: 5:30 pm Evening Prayer
Tuesday: 5:30 pm Evening Prayer
Wednesday: 12:30 pm Eucharist
5:30 pm Evening Prayer
Thursday: 5:30 pm Evening Prayer
Friday: 1:15 pm Taizé Worship
5:30 pm Evening Prayer
Saturday: 5:30 pm Evening Prayer

The newsletter is free, but if you wish to contribute towards production
costs this would be much appreciated. Please put your donation in the
wall safe, and mark your envelope Parish News. Items for inclusion in
the January 2018 magazine should be sent to secretary@st-giles- by Friday 15th December.

Contents – December 2017
Jazz at St Giles’ – Brickwork Lizards concert Page 3
Letter from Iceland – Siân Grønlie Page 4
Religious Education in Schools – Gill Evans Page 7
Reminiscences of Sybil Pusey (2) – Life as a VAD nurse Page 9
“Don’t Like Jazz!” – Jean Darke Page 14
Bellringing News – John Pusey Page 16
The Men Behind the Names (6) – Alison Bickmore Page 17
An Account of the Presentation of the Roof Campaign Page 21
Benefice Advent Carol Service Page 23
100 Years Ago – St Giles’ Parish Magazine, December 1917 Page 23
Dates for your Diary – December 2017 Page 24

Saturday 9th December at 7:30 pm: Brickwork Lizards
Back by public demand, this band’s exotic and intoxicating fusion of
Arabian/Turkish/Balkan/gypsy music had people dancing in the aisles
(welcomed by the Vicar!) at their 2016 JASG appearance. Extraordinary
Arabian ouds, other unusual instruments and “eastern” vocals much in
evidence! “… a genre-defying sound that never fails to have audiences
on their feet.” (Oxford Times). No smoking but “hookahs” (note correct
spelling!) allowed. Tickets: £15/£12/£5
Tickets are available at the door or online from
Proceeds go to War Child, Save the Children, and Project 900.


D EAR ALL: We’ve been living in Iceland now for just under two
months and the days are getting dramatically shorter. Benji and I
have enjoyed some beautiful sunrises on the way to school in the
morning, but now it is pitch black well into the beginning of the school
day, and the temperature has dropped to just above 0°C. We are told
that we have been lucky with the weather - a typical autumn in
Reykjavik features strong winds and horizontal rain - but we have had
many sunny days and clear nights, allowing us some wonderful views of
the Northern Lights. Even with the lights from the city, we can see
them as we stand on our balcony, shimmering and dancing in the sky
above us like fairy lights, dropping in curtains across the sky.
Sometimes they glow more intensely as we watch, moving in ripples
back and forth; other nights they are more diffuse, spreading out
slowly from a single point like a glossy sheen over the dark sky.
Despite our good fortune
with the weather, much of our
early travel was difficult. We
went to the Blue Lagoon in
strong winds and heavy rain,
drove through thick fog to see
volcanic craters and boiling mud
pots, and visited the site of the
medieval Icelandic parliament
(on the mid-Atlantic fault line)
in periodic blustery showers.
Last week, when we travelled to
the south west, the forecast
was gale-force winds and
flooding, so it came as a
surprise when the worst we
suffered was a light drizzle. We
had beautiful views of the
glaciers and mountain ranges, and black volcanic sands stretching out
along the coast. We stayed in a tiny mountain cottage surrounded by
Icelandic ponies and a handful of curious sheep. The Icelandic
landscape is like that of no other place we have been - wild and

strange, as well as beautiful and awe-inspiring, creation still in
progress. Despite
the increased tourist
industry here, it’s
still possible to be
on your own in the
middle of a moss-
covered lava field,
with Snaefellsnes
glacier at your back,
and to visit places
inhabited by elves
and nature spirits
according to folk
tradition and the sagas. Snaefellsnes is inhabited, so the sagas tell us,
by a nature spirit named Bárður who was half giant and half human.
He came to Iceland with the first settlers but eventually withdrew into
the glacier, protecting its inhabitants from trolls and other malevolent
beings. We were able to visit the hot pool where he used to wash, and
some places where he wrestled with trolls and evil-doers, casting them
down from the top of the mountain and causing a deep rift to form in
the rock. Like the glacier, such spirits are both a comforting presence
and an ominous threat, both beautiful and full of danger. But the sagas
tell us that, with the advent of Christianity, beings like Bárður were
driven away. Visiting this narrow peninsula to the west of Iceland made
me understand why the sagas from there are so full of supernatural
events. The few scattered inhabitants are still dominated by the wild
forces of nature, in a tiny strip of land between tall mountains and the
rough sea.
Reykjavik also has its protective mountain, Esja, named after an
Irish Christian who settled there, and we have got to know her in all her
moods, dependent on the quality of the light and the height of the
clouds. We have visited some impressive churches around the city,
many of them built quite recently, and all of which are designed to
echo and respond to the mountains by which they are surrounded. We
have finally settled down at Hallgrímskirkja in the middle of the city, a
church named after Iceland's foremost religious poet, Hallgrímur

Pétursson. It’s a church which has come very much to represent the
city, as you can see it from wherever you are. It has a wonderful new
organ, which Benji is itching to play, and two excellent choirs, as well as
a lively Sunday school for James. Since Icelanders still pay a church tax,
the churches here have beautiful buildings and excellent resources.
Although the interiors seem strangely blank and white to us, there’s a
certain elegance and beauty to their Lutheran rigour. Despite the
familiarity of the liturgy, though, we have found it difficult to follow the
services: Iceland has its own musical tradition, so the hymns are all new
to us; the sermons are no doubt excellent - but in a language we still
don’t quite understand.
The language barrier has
been most of a challenge for
Benji, who has been singing
with the Reykjavik boys' choir
during our stay - to his
consternation, nearly all of the
singing has been in Icelandic,
with many folk songs and
popular melodies. The boys
have been good at translating
for him, and he has started to
understand some of the
directions. Excitingly for us, the
boys’ choir was invited to take
part in this month’s
performances of Tosca by the
National Icelandic opera, so we
have spent a lot of time at the beautiful new opera house, Harpa, while
Benji rehearses with the British soprano Claire Rutter and other famous
Icelandic singers. He has been awed by the opportunity to sing with a
proper orchestra and professional singers in such an exciting
production - and we were thrilled to be given tickets to the first
performance and to see him on stage. Sunniva, meanwhile,
undeterred by language, has made friends with all the children in the
Icelandic department at her school, and is already making plans for
future visits. She is in a mixed class in which the children are already

studying for their GCSEs, so the homework has been intense, but she is
brilliant at coping with all the demands on her time. Still, it is the
youngest, little James, who has been the first to speak Icelandic,
announcing to me one day: “Næsta stopp er Landspítalinn”. He has
memorised all the bus stops in Icelandic and will surely never get lost
on this bus line!
I have been studying the earliest Bible translations into Old
Icelandic, and examining the text and illustrations in the oldest
manuscripts - Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and
Esau, Joseph and Pharaoh. There are very few illuminated manuscripts
from medieval Iceland, so it is a real treat to work on these, and to see
how the biblical translator has reshaped the stories in the style of the
Icelandic family sagas, stories about tenth-century Icelanders who
didn’t behave much better than some of our Old Testament heroes.
The translation was probably made by a Dominican monk who had
studied in Paris and Bologna, but the illuminations resemble medieval
English manuscripts, especially those produced in East Anglia. They
might have been copied from an English Psalter brought to Iceland by a
travelling priest or wealthy landowner. There are close links between
the church in England and Iceland, and some of the early missionaries
to Iceland might have been English: the sagas mention a Rudolf
(Hróðólfr) who stayed several years in Iceland and later became abbot
of the monastery in Abingdon, where he is buried.
I think it’s fair to say that, as the days get shorter, the children
are counting the days until we get home. We miss the warm and
friendly community at St Giles’ and were touched to hear that you have
remembered us in your prayers. We send you our warmest wishes
from the cold North, and look forward to our return.
Siân Grønlie, Andy, Sunniva, Benji and James

V ICTORIAN Oxford produced a high proportion of the Anglican
clergy of the day. It could hardly be otherwise while the Fellow of
a college who wished to marry would have to resign his Fellowship and
would very often accept a college living and move to a parish as its
incumbent. Ordinands and the ordained came willingly forth from an

education which had had them in obligatory chapel or church
throughout their youth.
There have been some recent headlines about the fewness of
children and young people to be found at worship in Anglican churches
today. There is a lot to be said about sociological reasons for this, but
one seems not to be catching the interest of journalists and that is the
sheer lack of grounding in the Christian faith in the ordinary course of
education, which might make it of interest to a young person to drop-
Two enormous shifts have taken place in teaching about religion
in schools in recent decades. One has been the adoption of a ‘religious
studies’ syllabus which rolls up ethics and philosophy in a general set of
principles to live by. In non-statutory Government guidance on
‘religious education’ the ‘importance of RE’ is listed under the headings
of ‘spiritual, moral, social and cultural development’; ‘personal
development and well-being’; ‘community cohesion’.
The other is towards teaching religion in state schools in a
multifaith way appropriate in a multicultural society, yet inevitably
covering fragments of each faith or belief system but none in depth.
Outside active faith communities which look to the instruction of their
young people, this leaves a good many children with limited
understanding of any tradition or much reason to call it their own.
When I was at school we had ‘Scripture’ every week, with a
teacher whose name lent itself to the nickname ‘Miss Church-Bones’.
Conscientiously she took us at a plod through book after book of the
Old Testament. We found it very dull indeed. But it placed a row of
hooks in the mind onto which we were subsequently able to hang
innumerable literary references and a fair bit of politics, history and
geography too. Learning your Prophets from the Authorised Version
provided another set of mental furniture by way of quotations. And
before the days of Google it gave one the then essential skills to use
Cruden’s Concordance.
Grown up and teaching myself, at first I could reasonably expect
my pupils and then my students to recognise Biblical references or to
know where to find them. But that knowledge leached away with the
years to the point where I found I had to go back to basics in lectures
because few had any real acquaintance with the Bible at all. Then they

began to grumble about the nuisance of having to learn as young
adults what they realised they should have been offered at school.
They felt they had been deprived of something important and useful.
I confess to all the faults which readers who have got this far are
probably pointing to. The Government guidance on ‘religious
education’ is realistic and modern. I have been fortunate enough to
teach bright children and very able students whose hunger for text and
theology was innately strong. How would this work among less
advantaged students? I live in a nostalgic bubble. Fair enough. But the
question remains. If the young are to come to church they probably
need to understand more about why they might wish to.
Gill Evans
My aunt, Sybil Pusey, was born in 1898, lived at No 18 Parks Road, and
she and her family attended St Giles’ Church. Reminiscences, which she
wrote down in the 1980s, continue:

W HEN my elder sister Hilda left school, early in World War 1, she
had no academic aspirations, and for a time was at home doing
house-wifely and domestic duties while considering what to do
ultimately. Then one day, she suddenly said that she was going to join
the VAD [Voluntary Aid Detachment] and become a VAD nurse. But
Mother said ‘You’ll never make a nurse. You can’t bear the mention of
a tooth or a damaged fingernail. How can you ever hope to nurse
wounded men?’ Her answer was ‘I have just seen ABC (a school
colleague for whom she had very little time) in VAD uniform, and if she
can be any good, so can I.’ And in that spirit she applied and was
accepted and never looked back. Later on, after the war was over, she
took her general training at St Thomas’s Hospital, London, and became
one of the first batch of SRNs [State Registered Nurses].
Somerville College had by that stage in the war been taken over
as a hospital for officers, as The 3rd Southern General Hospital, and it
was there that Hilda remained till the end of the war. In due course I

also achieved the object of my education, and passed the Higher
Certificate, satisfying the examiners in five subjects: Elementary
Mathematics, English, French, German and Botany.
Having spent about six months at home after leaving school, I
quoted my ‘war age’ and was accepted as a VAD nurse, working at first
voluntarily at the Wingfield Hospital, Headington, which at that time
consisted of two single-storey hutment types of ward with verandas.
My chief recollections are of night duty – of which, in my time, I seem
to have done a great deal. As I was working voluntarily, I was still
sleeping at home, so had to cycle from Parks Road to Headington; and
as it was pitch black on account of the ‘blackout’, Mother used to
accompany me most nights. When the Night Sister realised this, she
suggested that I should ride up with her and so save Mother the
However, she made one stipulation. The journey from her home
brought her past our house; the stipulation was that I should be ready
and waiting for her, as she passed, because ‘she must not get off, as
she found mounting her bicycle in the dark a difficult and often
impossible performance’. I knew that to be the case because towards
the end of the journey, about half a mile from the Wingfield, where the
hill was very steep, she had to get off and more often than not was
unable to get on again. So the result was that I often did the last part
of the journey, past the Warneford Mental Hospital and onwards, on
my own.
After about six months, I changed my status from a voluntary
worker to a salaried VAD who was also housed and fed. This meant
that I was transferred to the wards in the Examination Schools in High
Street, and to a billet in Merton College. I shared a room with another
VAD in what appeared to be a fairly recent building in a quad, whose
bathrooms were situated on the side opposite to where our room was
situated; and one had the choice of walking across the open quad in
dressing gown, carrying towels, soap and washers and possibly some
clothing, or one could go underground, if weather demanded it, among
bicycles, trunks, boxes etc. After some months, I was moved to a room
in Longwall House in Long Wall Street, again into a shared room, and
there I remained until after the Armistice.

The Examination Schools made beautiful light airy wards, with
carved panelled walls; the staircases were wide and the landings light
and spacious. The 3rd Southern General Hospital, in addition to the
beds it had in the ‘Schools’, also had beds elsewhere in Oxford, which I

Examination Schools ward decorated for Christmas 1915
suppose one might describe as annexes. For a while there were even
some in the Drill Hall in the Town Hall buildings; and I believe that, for a
while, there were some actually in the Town Hall, but I may be wrong
in this. Two Quads in University College were in use – the Radcliffe
Quad and the Durham Buildings on the opposite side of Logic Lane; and
many in New College Gardens; and Somerville Hospital for Officers also
came under the 3rd Southern General Hospital.
New College Gardens provided a long row of beds alongside the
old City Wall which forms the east boundary of the gardens. A wooden
floor was laid down at the base of the wall, several feet wider than the
length of a bed; and over it was a roof of corrugated iron extending
from about halfway up the wall, and supported on its farther edge by
wooden posts. Waterproof curtains to provide protection from the
weather could be drawn across the spaces between the posts. The row
of beds thus provided for reached from the rear of the buildings in High
Street to the junction of Long Wall with Holywell but on the west side
of the wall.

Before I did another spell of night duty, in the winter, the beds
towards the Holywell end had been occupied by some ‘shell-shock’
patients, who found the gardens a very pleasant place in summer – and
all went well with them until the autumn. Then, as the horse-chestnut
trees which overhung the wall began to shed their conkers which fell

Patients and Nurse Wace in New College garden quad
rattling on the iron roof, the patients became so disturbed and terrified
that – as a temporary measure until arrangements could be made to
transfer them elsewhere – the roof was thatched. I had no personal
experience of these happenings, but I believe the accounts I had of
them were true.
My spell of duty was in the wintertime; and one night a bowl of
water was spilt between two of the beds; I went to the far end of the
terrace to get a floor cloth to wipe it up, and came back, not to find a
pool of water, but a glassy ice slide !
Later on, during a spell of day duty, I met more of the ‘shell
shock’ patients, many of whom showed no evidence of their trouble.
But in one room were five men, four of whom suffered speech
difficulties in various forms of stammering. One stuttered
‘’; one opened his mouth, threw his head back and for
several seconds was unable to make a sound, then explosively found
and uttered the right word; a third made a whistling sound on every

word beginning with ‘wh’. I can’t remember the impediment of the
fourth, though it was different from the other three. I wondered how
soon the fifth man would develop a stammer, for I am sure
stammering, like measles, is catching.
Another patient in another ward spoke quite fluently, but was
likely to repeat – perhaps the operative word – five or six times. I
heard him asking Sister for ‘a clean pair of socks, socks, socks, socks,
socks.’ Yet the same man, seeing me one day at the bottom of the
flight of stairs he was coming down, serenaded me with Roses of
Picardy or some other wartime favourite. It was well sung, and there
was not a flaw in the words throughout. Later on these patients were
transferred to a special hospital – the Ashurst War Hospital at
Littlemore – where they received special treatment from psychiatrists
and speech therapists.
There was always an ebb and flow of patients in the hospital,
transfers to other hospitals, convalescent homes etc, in readiness for
admissions which arrived in quite large convoys. Such a convoy arrived
in the night when I was on day duty in one of the smaller surgical wards
(of about 34 beds; the larger ones held 56, 60 and 70 beds). When we
went on duty, we found that the convoy consisted solely of cases of
fracture of the femur and wounds. All were transported wearing
Thomas’s splints, with traction applied to the lower end of the splint.
As the splints had to be suspended by some means, nails had been
driven into the precious linenfold panelling of the walls and beds put

Patients, nurses and tents in New College gardens
‘foot to the wall’ for the time being. The next proposition was to get
Balkan frames in sufficient numbers to support the splints, and to
arrange weights and pulleys to counterbalance the limbs and make
movement and lifting easier. By the time everyone was fixed up, the
place looked like a timber-yard. As there were no preparations, as far
as one could see, for the receipt of such an invasion, I do not think
there can have been any warning of the nature of the cases being
And it was while these ‘long-stay’ patients were in the hospital
that the influenza epidemic was raging outside. Oxford was full of
servicemen – officer-cadets in training and others – many of whom
were billeted in the colleges. Among them were Australians, New
Zealanders, Canadians, big strapping men, yet they seem to have been
particularly susceptible to the infection, and among them the death
rate was high. Several of the nursing staff took the influenza and there
was one death. But I think that those of us who were in the wards with
fractured femurs, where the turnover of patients was very slow, were
saved from the risk of infection from admissions. Most of us escaped.
To be continued.
 These photos have come from a collection given to Oxford by Judy
Burge from Australia, the grand-daughter of Nurse Wace, who appears
in the centre of picture 2. The originals were given to Magdalen
College, but I traced them and obtained these copies through the
University Archives and the Archivist at New College. John Pusey

W HEN I try to persuade people to attend our tremendous fund-
raising Jazz at St Giles’ concerts - unless they are already fans
and aficionados - that is, alas, the general reaction. A pity, because
given the general erudition of our congregation, I think the same
people would find the music intellectually stimulating. Alas, jazz is
often confused with some noisy, banal and utterly tuneless ‘Pop’. Jazz,
when performed by top-class musicians of the calibre of those we
engage, is every bit as satisfying and musically fulfilling as classical
music (and I am a trained, CLASSICAL musician). I discovered jazz
through my jazz (and classical music-loving) late architect husband

Geoffrey, in whose memory the Jazz at St Giles’ series began (at the
suggestion of Vicar Andrew), just after Geoffrey suddenly died after
singing the Fauré Requiem at St Giles’, in November 2011. Geoffrey
had also introduced me to Bach and the wonderful St Matthew and St
John Passions, in which I was lucky later in my career to perform the
soprano solos. So it was singularly thrilling for me to have the
supremely talented young Italian saxophonist Tommaso Starace to
include in his ‘jazz’ programme here on 4th November, a virtuosic
performance on soprano saxophone of the Sarabande from Bach’s solo
Cello Suite Number 3, which he had transcribed for his instrument and
which indeed he had recently recorded in the church, along with other
movements in the suite, and which will be issued before long as a CD,
to accompany his many other award-winning CDs. The complexity of
the sublime counterpoint in his haunting solo rendering, played
walking from the back of the church, held the packed audience
spellbound. Two weeks before that we had another superb
performance by the eminent composer/jazz pianist/supreme/baroque
harpsichordist (!) David Gordon (so well known to JASG audiences) and
his trio, when our minds were exercised delightfully following not only
his wonderful melodic line, but also in unravelling the Bach fugue-like
meanderings of his astonishing improvisations on tunes we thought we
knew well, in this case, from Latin America.
As I write this I relish the thought of the excitement and
stimulation musically I know we can expect tomorrow night (Saturday
18th November) when the internationally famous guitar duo of Pete
Oxley and Nicholas Meier will present their “Guitar Project” with their
plethora of different guitar instruments (accompanied by their brilliant
quartet), and have us concentrating hard (but delightfully) on an
exciting musical journey. Musical food for thought (accompanied of
course, as ever, by delicious wines supplied by our long-time and loyal
chief sponsor, The Old Parsonage Hotel, next door). Everything to
satisfy the most erudite egg-heads in the audience. That’s not to say
there are not more relaxing lyrical quiet moments in these
distinguished musicians’ performances - witness the absolutely spell-
binding playing, accompanied softly by piano accompaniment (on our
splendid new Grotrian Steinweg grand piano), of Paganini reincarnation

violinist Ben Holder of the beautiful Star Dust Melody at his packed out
concert on October 28th, another utterly hushed moment.
I don’t want to frighten anybody into thinking our jazz is too
mentally demanding, and indeed we are letting our festive hair down
on December 9th, the final concert in our most successful, fund raising
(for war Child, save the Children, Project 900) series yet, when we
welcome again ‘Brickwork Lizards’ with their wonderful exotic mix of
Arabian/Turkish/Balkan /gypsy ‘jazz’ if you can call it that - employing
intriguing Arabian ouds, and Eastern vocalising.
Finally, so successful have the jazz concerts been (“this highly
acclaimed series” (Oxford Times), and “I rely on these wonderful Jazz at
St Giles’ concerts to get me through the winter...” (Elderly, enthusiastic
audience member), that we have decided to sprinkle the odd jazz
concert or two in our usually classical only Music at St Giles’
Spring/Summer series. “DON’T LIKE JAZZ”???? - YOU DON’T KNOW

O NE of the most important civic events in which St Giles’ takes a
visible part is the open-air Remembrance Day service, which took
place this year on Sunday 12th November. As usual, the St Giles’ bells
were rung half-muffled before the service, and although only four
ringers were available from St Giles’, all eight bells were rung for the
half-hour before the service, with the help of additional ringers who
had agreed to come on to ring at St Giles’ on this occasion after having
already rung elsewhere - two each from Marston and the Cathedral,
and one each from Headington and Cowley.
This illustrates the importance of the links which the St Giles’
band have with the bands of ringers at other neighbouring towers. The
AGM of the Oxford City Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild took place
at Wolvercote on Saturday 18th November, with two St Giles’ members
present. Membership certificates were available for presentation for
three from St Giles’ who had been elected as members at the previous
half-yearly meeting, though unfortunately none are still ringing - two
have left Oxford, and one has been affected by long-term health
problems. Although we do as much as we can to recruit and teach new
ringers, retention is also a problem. John Pusey


T HIS is the final article about the 18 men named on our Great War
In August 1914 the British Army was a professionally trained and
equipped force, but of modest size - some 200,000 men. (There were
to be some 5 million enlisted men by the end of the fighting in 1918.)
Before the war the army consisted of voluntary recruits with no
statutory conscription of young men for military service - unlike other
major European combatants in the Great War. On the outbreak of war,
the Territorial and Reserve forces were mobilised and the voluntary
recruitment of the ‘New Kitchener’s Armies’ began, but it was the
professional pre-war army that made up the Expeditionary Force sent
to France and Belgium in 1914.
There are three names on our War Memorial to represent these
professional soldiers – Frederick Hastings, David Bickmore and John
Bywater-Ward - although the phrase ‘professional soldiers’ needs
qualification. Frederick Hastings had been a regular serving soldier
before the war and had completed his original term of service before
the war started: consequently he would probably have been called up
as a reservist to serve again in 1915. David Bickmore had been a junior
officer in the Indian Army in 1913 and John Bywater Ward had been an
officer in the Royal Navy (the ‘Senior Service’) since 1903.
FREDERICK HENRY HASTINGS was born in Wytham near Oxford in
1885. At the time of the 1901 Census he
was 15 and living with an uncle in
Wolvercote, working as a labourer at the
paper mill. By the time of 1911 Census
he had joined the army and was serving
at Sialkot, Punjab in India. By the middle
of 1914 he was no longer a serving
soldier and was living in Oxford.
In April 1914 he married Lilian
Laura Hancock Hudson at the Register
Office of the Headington District, in the
Parish of St Martin & All Saints. Their
marriage certificate describes him as aged 28, a bachelor, living at 49 St
Giles Street and working as a Hotel Porter. Lilian was aged 30, a widow

and living at 3 Eagle and Child Yard, St Giles. (The Yard, which housed
nine families at one time, is now part of the Eagle and Child pub.)
Frederick is next identified in the St Giles’ Parish registers when
his and Lilian’s daughter, Freda Dorothy Gertrude, was baptised in St
Giles’ Church in October 1914. Also baptized at the same time were
Lilian’s two daughters by her first marriage to John Edward Hudson.
Frederick’s occupation is given as Commissionaire and the family were
all living in Eagle and Child Yard, St Giles. A son, Frederick Harold, born
20th January 1916 was baptized in St Giles’ on 30th April 1916 when his
father is described as Sergeant in Black Watch. So sometime between
October 1914 and December 1915, Frederick senior had been recalled
or re-enlisted in the army as a non-commissioned officer with the 1st
Battalion of the Black Watch.
Frederick was killed in action during the fighting on the Somme
on 3 September 1916 (and on the same day as two others
commemorated in St Giles’ – Reginald Webster and Frederick Skinner).
His body was never found and his name is one of more than 72,000
commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He was 30.
His widow continued to live in Eagle and Child Yard until at least
1926, did not remarry, and died in Oxford in 1953 aged 70. Their son
and daughter both grew up to marry and have families in the 1940s
and ’50s in Oxford.
DAVID FRANCIS BICKMORE was the only child of the Rev Francis Askew
Bickmore and his wife Lucy, and was
born at Leigh Rectory in Worcestershire
on 11th April 1891. He was educated at
Harrow School and New College, Oxford.
In the 1911 Census he is described as a
“student, army candidate”. He had
been in the Harrow School Officers’
Training Corps: The London Gazette of
11th July 1911 records his commission as
Second Lieutenant in the War Office
Territorial Force, in preparation for a
career in the regular army. He went up
to Oxford in the autumn of 1911 to read for a two year degree in
history before embarking on his army career.

While he was in Oxford he met Grace Pelham who lived with her
widowed mother at 20 Bradmore Road. Her father, Professor Henry
Pelham, had been Camden Professor of Ancient History and President
of Trinity College and had died in 1907. David took his finals in 1913
and also become engaged to Grace that summer. On leaving Oxford he
was commissioned into the Indian Army joining the 6th King Edward’s
Own Cavalry, and went out to India later that year.
On the outbreak of war in 1914 David returned from India to
France with his regiment, as part of the First Expeditionary Force. In
1915 he was attached as company commander to the Cheshire
Regiment: from there he was posted as an Instructor to the 3rd Army
School in France, transferring to the British Army and joining the
Norfolk Regiment. Also in 1915, on 2nd September, he and Grace were
married in St Giles’ Church.
In 1917 he was made Second in Command of the 51st Division, 7th
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. After attending the Senior Officers’
Course in Aldershot in early 1918, he returned to France in April as
Lieut Colonel in command of the 1/4th Battalion Gordon Highlanders.
He was reported ‘wounded and missing’ on 19th July 1918: he had been
leading an attack at the start of the German retreat from the River
Marne. He was 27. The subsequent allied forces’ “final push” in
August eventually led to the Armistice on 11th November 1918.
David’s death in action was not officially confirmed until January
1919, six months after he was reported missing. He had been
mentioned in despatches and awarded the Distinguished Service Order
for his actions on the battlefield.
A Memorial Service was held on 1st March 1919 at St Giles’
Church and his name is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial to
the Missing in Aisne, France.
His widow Grace continued living in Oxford with their only child,
also David, who had been born in September 1917. Grace was a
member of the congregation at St Giles’ for the rest of her life. She
never remarried and died, aged 91, at home at 13 Winchester Road in
April 1980 : her funeral service was held at St Giles’ Church and her
ashes are buried in the churchyard where there is a memorial stone
commemorating both Grace and David.

JOHN BYWATER-WARD was born in Oxford in 1882, the second son
with two younger sisters in the family of Dr John Bywater-Ward and his
wife. Dr Bywater-Ward was the first Medical Superintendent of the
Warneford Hospital, appointed in 1872, although the asylum had first
opened in 1826.
John, known as Jack, went to the Dragon School as a day boy in
1889 and then moved on to Stubbington House School, near
Portsmouth in 1895, in anticipation of a career in the navy. The family
came to live in the parish at 40 St Giles in 1897. Dr Bywater-Ward died
a year later in 1898, the year Jack was gazetted midshipman and
posted to HMS Royal Oak.
Jack was made a sub-lieutenant
in 1902 and promoted to Lieutenant in
1903. He spent most of his subsequent
naval career specialising in gunnery,
both at the naval shore establishment
at Whale Island, Portsmouth and at sea.
In 1907 he was posted as Gunnery
Officer on HMS Canopus and the same
year married Winifred Fisher Lawford.
In 1910 their only child, Angela, was
born in Oxford and baptized in St Giles’
on 10th October that year (her father is described as “Sailor” on the
baptism record).
On the outbreak of war Jack was serving on HMS Ajax and in
December 1914 was promoted to Lieutenant- Commander. He was
serving on this ship, a King George V Class Super Dreadnought
Battleship, at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and was awarded the
Russian gallantry award of the Order of St Anne (with swords) for
distinguished service during the Battle.
In 1917 he was promoted Commander and was stationed back at
Whale Island as Gunnery Commander. He became unwell and was
retired from the Royal Navy on health grounds in October 1918. He
died of pulmonary tuberculosis on 14th March 1919 at his home in
Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. The funeral and burial took place at St
Helen’s Church there, with full naval honours. It was reported in The
Isle of Wight Observer, and The Times carried a private obituary notice

on 17th March 1919:
“…on 14 March at Spring Cottage, Shanklin, IW. Commander
Bywater-Ward RN the beloved husband of Winifred and only surviving
son of the late J Bywater-Ward MD and Mrs Bywater-Ward of 40 St
Giles Oxford aged 37”.
Jack is not commemorated on any naval memorial or
Commonwealth War Graves site. This is not because he died after the
Armistice on 11th November 1918, but rather because his retirement
on health grounds meant that he was no longer on the active Navy List
in September 1918 (only a matter of weeks before 11 th November).
Probate of his will was granted to his widow in September
1919. She travelled abroad in the 1920s and remarried.
Jack’s mother, judging from references to her name in the
Parish Magazine, had been an active member of the congregation at St
Giles’, and continued to live at 40 St Giles until 1926, when she moved
to Wood Lawn at the corner of the Norham and Banbury Roads. She
died in 1929. Alison Bickmore
 (Illustrations: Hastings -The Oxford Journal Illustrated; Bickmore –
Family records; Bywater-Ward – Dragon School Archives)

O N Sunday 5th November 2017, at 11:45 am in St Giles’ Church,
Joanne Russell (Churchwarden) and Rod Nixon (Assistant
Treasurer) gave a slide presentation of:
 The current state of the roof,
 The cost of replacing the roof,
 The current progress in raising money - from church budget,
donations and grants.
 How the congregation can bridge a possible financial gap
between what is predicted as likely funding from future grants,
and the final cost.
A series of notice boards have been produced which give a succinct,
informative and comprehensive account of the story so far - and the
vital role of the congregation in demonstrating the will to fulfil the

aspirations of this part of Project900, as well as the further stages of
the bigger vision for the church.

Thank you to everyone who came to the presentation – please
give your feedback on how we can improve our communication: we are
very keen to get the message across.
Please look at the notices in church for updates on the progress
of the fundraising effort, and for ways in which you can participate in
the success of the campaign. Follow the progress of the campaign in
Parish News and the weekly pew leaflets. And, most usefully - feel free
to ask the Vicar, Treasurer or Churchwardens for information-we may
not have all the answers, but we will try to make things clearer.
Maureen Chu

Project900 Roof Appeal – Recently Received as at 30/11/2017
Congregation & Friends: £7,642
Concerts: Autumn Jazz series is attracting record audiences.
Trusts: £10,300
New Total: £60,832 Target: £85,000 (revised due to lower quote)
Rod Nixon, Assistant Treasurer

6:00 pm, Sunday 3rd December at St Margaret’s
with the choirs of both churches
This year, in addition to celebrating the start of the new church year,
we are also marking the 20th anniversary since Andrew Bunch was
installed as Vicar. There will be refreshments after the service.

100 Years Ago –
St Giles’ Parish Magazine, December 1917
Food Economy: In response to Sir Arthur Yapp’s appeal, a meeting was
held in St Giles’ Parish Room on November 20 to consider what could
be done to promote food economy in this parish. It is hoped to
organise a house-to-house canvass, in order to secure the universal
adoption of the rations. Food economy is an important contribution to
our success in the War, and is within the reach of every man, woman
and child.
Sunday School Association: A branch of the Diocesan Sunday School
Association has been formed in Oxford, and a very successful first
meeting was held in St Mary’s Parish Room on Thursday, November 15.
After an Intercession Service in the Church, Miss Walker gave a model
lesson to a class of infants, in the presence of about 100 teachers, and
her instructions are being continued on the four following Thursdays.
These meetings will be a very great help towards greater efficiency and
success in the very difficult work of Sunday School teaching, and we are
very glad our local Association has made so promising a start.
Military Medal: We are informed that Sergt-Major Bertie Charles
Hedges, whose name in on our Roll of Honour, has been awarded the
Military Medal. We congratulate him and his mother on this great
The Dark Streets: The dark streets are a very serious inconvenience for
us all, and, among other consequences, the difficulty of coming to the
evening services has been felt by many. We are glad to say that, in
response to the Vicar’s request, the Chief Constable has arranged for
the lighting of the lamp at the west end of St Giles’ Church passage.

12:30-3:30 pm Peal attempt
5:30 pm Evening Prayer (no 6:30 pm Evensong at St Giles’)
6:00 pm Benefice Advent Carol Service at St Margaret’s

Saturday 9th Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
7:30 pm Brickwork Lizards Concert

12 noon Chorister Concert

Wednesday 13th St Lucy, Martyr at Syracuse, 304
10:30 am-4:30 pm Advent Quiet Day (see posters for full details)
4:30 pm Decorating the church (volunteers needed)

Saturday 16th Ember Day
4:30 pm Carols round the Tree

6:30 pm Carol Service by candlelight

8:00 am Holy Communion (BCP)
10:30 am Holy Communion
11:30 pm Midnight Holy Communion (BCP)

8:00 am Holy Communion (BCP)
10:30 am Holy Communion
8:00 am Holy Communion (BCP)
10:30 am Holy Communion
6:30 pm Evensong