Past and present meet at Shropham church open weekend

A typical Sunday school scene from around 1952 brought back memories for many visitors to a church open weekend.

St Peter and St Paul Church, in Shropham, opened its doors to offer a variety of displays of past and present, including parochial records and local historical documents depicting life in the village in former times, and a display focusing on the evolution of bellringing over the past 300 years.

Angela Lynne, who put together the Sunday School scene, has a large collection of children's clothes dating from the 1920s to the 1960s.

She said: 'We chose 1952 because it's the Jubilee year and it shows what children would have had and what they would have been wearing at a typical village Sunday school. You can really see how much has changed since then, and it's brought back memories for many people.'

There were also displays about the community groups in the village, such as the Village Hall and Social Club, Coffee Morning Group, Shropham Bowls Club and Shropham Grove, and the vestments worn in church today and their origins in everyday clothing of the Roman world.

The star attraction was the recently restored Shropham Nativity window, which was created by stained glass artist Mary Lowndes in 1898 and rededicated last month. Lowndes was known for her work in the Arts and Crafts Movement at the end of the 19th century, but was also involved in the growing movement for women's political rights before and after the first world war.

The Rev Michael Langan, priest-in-charge of the Shellrock Group, who was installed at the Shropham church a few months ago, said: 'We've been delighted by the response and the number of people who have come along.

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'We wanted to open the doors of the church to give the excuse for people, who might find it intimidating to come into church, to have a look and see what's on offer.

'We decided to put on a range of displays about the history of the area, which is fascinating (and the Records Office has been very helpful in this), but also about the community groups that exist today to show that we're linked to the past but that our community is also alive and has a lot going on now.'

The weekend concluded with choral evensong by the Horatio Singers on Sunday.

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