Part 1: New wishes and new ideas :
Victorian Sneinton Through The Eyes of its Parish Magazine

By Stephen Best

THE COVER OF THE AUGUST 1869 MAGAZINE. By this date, the tower pinnacles had been gone for more than 9 years.THE COVER OF THE AUGUST 1869 MAGAZINE. By this date, the tower pinnacles had been gone for more than 9 years.

THE YEAR 1868 WITNESSED MANY significant events. In the United States, President Andrew Johnson was impeached, but escaped conviction by a single vote. Not re-nominated, he was succeeded by Ulysses S. Grant. The short British campaign in Abyssinia ended with the capture and destruction of Magdala, where British residents had been imprisoned. This was statistically one of the most successful wars ever waged; although 14,000 British soldiers and sailors received a campaign medal, their casualties amounted to no more than two killed and 27 wounded. At home Disraeli took over as Prime Minister from Lord Derby, but in November lost a general election to the Liberals, under W.E. Gladstone.

There were noteworthy happenings in Nottingham, too. On Easter Monday the Free Public Library opened in the old Artisans’ Library premises in Thurland Street, and during the same month the Free Grammar School moved from Stoney Street to a new building in Forest Road, changing its name to Nottingham High School. Another new landmark in Forest Road opened in June: the Congregational Institute at the corner of Mount Hooton Road, which now accommodates the Nottingham Society for the Deaf. At the end of October Nottingham experienced a slight earthquake. Sneinton itself had already received something of a shake-up on 1 August, though it may not have immediately realized it. This was the institution of the Reverend Vernon Wollaston Hutton as its vicar.

At the time of the new incumbent's arrival no parish magazine existed in Sneinton, but he quickly set about making good this deficiency. Accordingly, January 1869 saw the publication of issue no. 1 of The Sneinton Parish Magazine. Not only do early volumes of this periodical show how Hutton set about establishing his own High Church beliefs and practices in the parish, they also provide glimpses of other aspects of life in 19th-century Sneinton.

Sneinton’s parish magazine was, like many others, incorporated in a wide- circulation religious journal read at firesides all over the country. Its 24 monthly pages typically included a biography of a leading churchman of the day, an improving fictional tale of Christian morality, a printed sermon, and an account of some historical hero or heroine of the English Church. Fascinating, and full of period atmosphere though these are, we concentrate here on the purely Sneinton portions of the first year's parish magazines, consisting of either four or eight pages monthly. Queen Victoria had already been on the throne for 32 years, and her reign still had a similar length of time to run. If ever a church's year can be said to have been truly mid- Victorian, therefore, it was 1869.

The Sneinton Parish Magazine was published by 'Mrs Mundy, Stationer, &c, Sneinton Road'. Her advertisement, included in several of the monthly issues, shows her to have been a woman of parts; in addition to selling books and stationery, she was 'Glad to undertake dress-making.' The magazine was printed by another Sneinton personage, Samuel Richards of Bath Street, later a resident of Castle Street. The identity of the editor is nowhere stated, but we can be in no doubt that it was the vicar.

On the front page of each issue appeared an engraving of St Stephen's church, as it existed between 1839 and 1860. Designed by Thomas Rickman, the church is depicted complete with the pinnacles on the tower which were blown down in a severe storm in February 1860. Like the tower, the body of Rickman's church was adorned with pinnacles, forming a harmonious whole. From time to time over the years there have been suggestions that the pinnacles be restored to the tower, which is the only part of the 1839 building still surviving. Nave, chancel, and transepts were rebuilt early in the twentieth century with plain parapets, matching those of the tower in its post-1860 condition. Any alteration to the tower now would inevitably result in a sorry clash of styles.

The first page of every magazine also included a list of times of church services. One surprising detail was the timing of funerals at 2pm on Sundays, and 3pm on weekdays. The clerk, Thomas Morley of Sneinton Road, had to be notified when such a service was wanted. These times do seem unusually rigid, and one wonders what the bereaved, not to mention their undertakers, felt about adherence to such a strict timetable.

In the January magazine the vicar had plenty to say on the subject of funerals. He explained that the Burial Service in the Prayer Book was for the baptized only, and expressed the hope that, if an unbaptized person was to be buried, the interment would take place elsewhere. If such a burial were to be at Sneinton, it would have to be without any religious service. Hutton was prepared to make an exception only in the case of children of Church parents who died suddenly before they could be baptized. The vicar remarked that he had not acted strictly on this rule earlier, for fear of upsetting mourners: 'It will be no pleasure to me to have to act in a manner which many will consider harsh and uncharitable,' he declared. 'I do so because I have promised obedience to the Prayer-Book...' He did point out that Baptism was valid if carried out at a dissenting chapel, or, in extreme cases, by a layman.

The vicar estimated that six out of ten children born in Sneinton remained unbaptized. Though deploring this neglect, he wrote: 'Yet it is better that children should not be baptized at all, than that they should be brought to so sacred a rite simply as a matter of form.' The January magazine reported the success of the weekly offertory system at the church. Easily the highest collections during the last quarter of 1868 had been on Sunday 27 December, with a grand total of just over £7 for the three services.

The remaining item in this first issue of the magazine concerned Sneinton Church School in Windmill Lane. George Merchant of Sneinton Road, for over sixteen years the 'most efficient and respected School- Master,' had recently left to be head of the Wilford Free School, and had been succeeded by John Steedman of Liverpool, selected from nineteen candidates. The strain of the work at Sneinton had damaged Merchant's health, and a move to somewhere quieter had proved necessary. Happily George Merchant would thrive at Wilford until the 1880s, writing a text book on arithmetic which sold over three million copies, and afterwards enjoying a long retirement. Finding on arrival at Wilford that the regulations allowed him to charge fees for teaching arithmetic, he made the most of this opportunity. The magazine also announced that after Easter the Church School would be divided into upper and lower divisions, with a small increase in weekly charges for attendance.

The February magazine contained a long piece by the vicar on the observance of Lent. He announced that several of his clergy friends would preach at Sneinton during the forty days, including his eldest brother, the Rev. Henry Wollaston Hutton, Minor Canon of Lincoln, and Rector of St Mary Magdalen, Lincoln. The vicar himself intended to preach on each of the six Sunday evenings in Lent. He lamented the low number of communicants at the Easter service of 1868, when there had been 90 out of a parish of 11,000 people.

A page was again devoted to the Church School, which had entered 1869 under its new master, 'in a far more satisfactory manner than could have been reasonably expected.' A list of subscriptions and donations to the school was appended; this was headed by £10 from the Lord of the Manor, Earl Manvers, followed by £5 from the Rev. W.H. Wyatt, Hutton’s predecessor as incumbent, who had begun the Sneinton High Church tradition,

Further items reflected various aspects of Church life, with details of local donations to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and to the Additional Curates' Society. Vernon Hutton considered that two curates were urgently needed for the working of a parish the size of Sneinton, and was vigorously seeking the funds to secure them. Charitable activity in Sneinton was represented by the doings of the District Visiting Society, which provided relief to the sick poor, and the Clothing Club, which strove to ensure that the needy of the parish were adequately clad. A forthcoming social function advertised was the annual congregational tea party (admission by ticket, price one shilling.)

A PAINTING OF ST MATTHIAS' CHURCH, a year or two after its dedication. The rural character of the neighbourhood is apparent, with Carlton Road running across the foreground.

February also brought important news about Sneinton's new daughter church. This was St Matthias’, dedicated in 1868. 'After many difficulties and delays an endowment of £200 per annum has been obtained for this church, and a district has been assigned to it separated off from the Parish Church.' This meant, essentially, that parts of New Sneinton north of Walker Street, and the little grid of streets forming Sneinton Elements, would become the district of St Matthias. The first vicar of this new church had arrived in January; he was the Rev. Frederick Armine Wodehouse, uncle of the novelist P.G. Wodehouse, who was born twelve years later, in 1881.

Vernon Hutton urged his readers not to miss a forthcoming lecture at the Exchange Hall, illustrating discoveries made by the Palestine Exploration Fund, which searched out exact sites of sacred places in the Holy Land. Prospective attendees were wooed by the inducement that: 'The admission will probably be free.'

The February issue of the magazine closed with a modest advertisement for itself. 'An illustrated magazine of local and general interest,' it was intended as 'a means of communication between the Clergy and the Church people in the parish of Sneinton.' Priced at one penny a month, it could be delivered to subscribers who paid a shilling in advance for a year's copies. The first edition had gone well, with 380 copies sold. Advertisers were solicited, at a charge of a shilling for a tenth of a page, and the editor indicated that he would be glad to introduce an 'Answers to Correspondents' column in future issues.

In the March magazine it was announced that the Bishop of Lincoln1 would hold a Confirmation Service at St Mary's, Nottingham, in May, and the vicar wrote on the significance and importance of Confirmation. Financial accounts were published for the enlargement of the churchyard, completed in 1868; this had incurred an outlay of more than £240, with the building of the wall costing £162, and the levelling of the ground £57. The vicar expressed his wish to become personally acquainted with all members of the congregation, observing rather ruefully: 'There are many who attend the Church regularly whom he has neglected to call upon because he is unacquainted with their names. Such persons would confer a great favour by leaving their names and addresses with the Clerk.'

Job-finding for former pupils of the Church School was taken seriously: 'Persons requiring boys of good character and education for offices, warehouses, or shops, are invited to apply to Mr Steedman, School-master, or to the Vicar.' The previously-announced annual tea party had taken place on Shrove Tuesday, with a remarkable attendance of about 900. Participants had been regaled with songs and readings by a number of Sneinton worthies, including Miss Webster of Belvoir Terrace, the Misses Pratt of Notintone Place, and Mr Eyre of Sneinton Hermitage. During the evening's jollifications a walnut davenport and a tea-service were presented by leading parishioners to George Merchant, who had, as we know, 'Retired to the less arduous post of Master of the Wilford Free School.' Merchant also received a timepiece from past and present teachers and pupils of Sneinton Church School.

Two new features were included in this issue, the first being trade advertisements. Mrs Mundy's has already been mentioned, while another was that of the magazine's printer, Samuel Richards of 36 Bath Street: 'Printer, Bookbinder, Engraver &c.' Richards' advert contained the additional detail that he was looking for a suitable lad to take on as an apprentice. The third advertiser was T. Duke of 33 Goose Gate, who offered a surprising medley of services: 'Joiner, Model Maker, and Undertaker. Jobbing work promptly attended to. Funerals Furnished on the shortest notice.'

'Answers to Correspondents’ also made its bow, with a reassuring reply for the inaugural questioner. 'A regular attendant at the Church' had written to ask how much he was expected to contribute to the offertory. The answer was that he should give, not what was expected, but what he could conscientiously afford: 'We should say that the amount mentioned would be a very liberal contribution from a family such as he describes; far more liberal than a larger amount from many others.'

The March number closed on a note that must have brought pleasure to editor and printer; so great had the demand been for the January issue that a reprint had been necessary, and was now available. The Rev. Vernon Hutton could feel that his new venture had been safely launched.

The chief item in the April issue was the vicar’s article on education, written in connection with the forthcoming changes to Sneinton Church Boys’ School. As stated earlier, there would be an upper division for those who wished to remain at school until 14 or 15, and a lower for those who aspired only to an elementary education. The new weekly charges in the upper division would be 8d, 6d and 4d per week in the first, second and third classes respectively. The proposed curriculum was to include, 'As soon as the boys require them and can study them with profit,' Latin, elocution, arithmetic, Euclid and practical geometry, algebra, book-keeping, English grammar and composition, geography, drawing, writing, elements of history and natural philosophy, vocal music, etc. If necessary, a French class would be formed for a small extra fee.

The lower division charges were to be 3d for the first class, and 2d for the remainder. Mr Steedman, the headmaster, would have a newly qualified assistant teacher working under him. The Girls’ School charges were 3d over the age of six, and 2d for pupils of five and under. Hutton expressed the wish that pupils of these day schools would also attend the Church Sunday School, though he accepted that: 'It is, of course, the parents' business, not mine, to decide to which form of religion their children shall be brought up.'

The vicar argued passionately on the value of education for all children, and one has constantly to remind oneself that, throughout the period of this perusal of The Sneinton Parish Magazine, he was only 27 years old. Vernon Hutton's personality pervades the whole magazine, and much more will be said about him later. Of the school, he said: 'Education is valuable not only because it imparts knowledge, but also because it teaches good habits... It is sometimes complained that in spite of all the improved education of the last few years, crime has increased, and schools have not yet reformed the people... The class of children who produce our criminals are those who are allowed to have their own way, and who, if sent to school at all, attend with no regularity and leave directly they are old enough to earn a few pence... It may seem hard to keep a boy at school when he might be earning something to increase the income of the family, but really it is as cruel to take him away for this purpose and thus starve his mind and destroy his future prospects, as it would be to starve his body or let him go half- clothed for the sake of economy.'

The April magazine included four 'Answers to Correspondents', all on the subject of liturgy. These enquirers concealed themselves behind such noms-de-plume as 'Scholasticus' and 'A Parishioner of Sneinton'. This magazine also included a list of fees current at Sneinton Church, ranging from 11 guineas for a burial vault, to 1s 6d for a certificate of banns. Baptisms and churchings were not charged for, though voluntary offerings were gladly accepted.

The work of the Additional Curates' Society in Sneinton continued, and its travelling secretary was booked to give a lecture in the school room. It was also announced that a very distinguished son of Nottingham would preach at Sneinton on 30 May on behalf of the Society; he was the Rev. Robert Gregory, Canon of St Paul's Cathedral, and Vicar of St Mary-the-Less, Lambeth. Gregory was born in 1819 in Leen Side, son of a Wesleyan lace net manufacturer and cotton doubler. The elder Gregory had built many cramped terrace houses in the Broad Marsh area, which later caused his son much guilt and anxiety. After his father's death Robert Gregory (now an Anglican parson) arranged the building of Stewart Place, off Alfred Street South. This consisted of about fifty model small dwellings, each with front garden and back yard. The demolition of Stewart Place was one of the more unforgivable features of the St Ann's redevelopment of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Gregory's reputation at Lambeth was such that William Ewart Gladstone arranged for his own son to be placed under him as curate. More significantly for Sneinton, Vernon Hutton had also been one of his curates at St Mary-the-Less. Gregory became Dean of St Paul's in 1894, and lived to the age of 92.

May 1869 found the vicar writing on the subject of young communicants. He was also able to report that the number of communicants on Easter Day had been 98, eight more than on the same festival in 1868.' Considering the extraordinary inclemency of the weather,' he observed, 'this small increase may be considered satisfactory.' A hope of better weather to come could be detected in a notice that the annual school treat was arranged for 30 June at Trent Bridge Ground. The magazine was now on sale at some unexpected places, including William Goddard's smallware shop in Lower Manvers Street and Miss Frances Read's bakery in Carlton Road. The churchwardens' annual accounts for 1868/69 appeared in this issue; the largest expenditures in connection with Divine Service had been £20.11.8d on coals and gas, and £20 on the organist. In contrast, bell-ringers had been paid only £1.10s 0d over the entire year in question.

Readers of the June number of the magazine found themselves treated to an earnest address from their young vicar on the subject of ’Reverence in Church.' Remarking that kneeling seemed a great deal too much trouble for the 19th century Englishman, Vernon Hutton went on: 'We have invented quite a new posture only to be seen in places of worship. It is not kneeling or standing or sitting or lying down or stooping, but a combination of all these; it consists in sitting on the seat with the head bent down and buried comfortably in the arms... Perhaps lolling is the best name for this new attitude... Another peculiarity of most Church of England congregations is the hurry in which they generally seem to be to get the service finished. No sooner is the last hymn over than (after a few seconds spent in the attitude of lolling) they all disperse as fast as they can, recognizing their friends and criticizing the sermon or the music as they go.' One has little doubt that, chastened by the vicar's eloquence, his congregation bucked their ideas up and thereafter maintained a more decorous demeanour.

Further Church news included a report that 39 people from Sneinton had been confirmed by the Bishop at St Mary's. The Bishop was also to speak at a special Monday evening service at St Mary's to 'All persons engaged in Church work, such as Churchwardens, District Visitors, Day or Sunday-School teachers, adult members of choirs, &c.' Sneinton applicants could obtain tickets from the vicar, and would be admitted to 'the best part of the Church.' It was reported that a few copies still remained unsold of a letter addressed to the parishioners by the Vicar of Sneinton in August 1868, the month following his arrival here - Hutton was proving a formidable author of letters and tracts. The June magazine furnished further details of the forthcoming school treat. Expenses were expected to amount to almost £20, owing to the large number of scholars, and contributions would be gratefully received by clergy, district visitors, or teachers. Parents were invited to attend on purchase of a tea ticket, price 9d.

The back page of this issue included four interesting items on widely differing topics. First came a paragraph about a projected Children's Hospital in Nottingham: 'A most commodious and cheerful house with an excellent garden has been purchased for the Hospital, which, it is hoped, will be opened in June. The house (styled Russell House) is situated in Postern Street, immediately opposite the General Hospital... Among the members of the Committee we may mention the names of the Rev. V. W. Hutton, Vicar of Sneinton; Mr W.H. Wilcockson, Nottinghamshire Bank; and Mr J. Place, Park Valley; any of these gentlemen will be glad to give any further information, and to receive donations or annual subscriptions of any amount, large or small.'

Of the above mentioned, William Henry Wilcockson was highly respected in Sneinton. For some years a resident of Sneinton Road, he was choirmaster at the parish church, and in 1847 had acquired for St Stephen's the choir stalls discarded by St Mary's church - they incorporate Nottingham's finest surviving mediaeval church carving. Wilcockson lies buried under the east wall of St Stephen's, in a grave now sadly unmarked. A stained glass window set up in his memory can be seen in the Lady Chapel. This depicts the prophet Nehemiah, and has an inscription stating that Wilcockson 'Rescued the mediaeval choir stalls from destruction and gave them to this church about 1848.' 2

A rather more exotic note was sounded by the announcement that the Rev. Walter Chambers, Archdeacon of Borneo, had been appointed Bishop of Borneo. 'Mr Chambers' family are resident in Sneinton, and will be well-known to most of our readers.' They lived, in fact, in Notintone Place, just across the road from the church. The magazine expressed the hope that the new bishop would be able to visit Sneinton 'before he sails for his distant diocese.'

There was welcome news of the annual inspection of the Church Schools. Of 126 boys presented for examination in April,  only one had failed in reading, none in writing, and nine in arithmetic. The inspector wrote: 'The School maintains its character under its new master, and the increased accommodation has well-nigh doubled the number of scholars. In addition to the standard-work, much of which was of most excellent character, very fair Grammatical exercises were worked, accurate and intelligent acquaintance with Geography was shewn, and some excellent answering made in Scripture and Catechism, especially at the top of the school. The boys were very orderly.' All this seems most commendable, and one can only regret that it was apparently not thought necessary to verify that girls were receiving an equally thorough education.

The final item in the June magazine was the vicar's 'Answers to Correspondents', where, in response to 'Enquirer', he explained the meaning of the term 'Protestant'. As might have been expected from one holding his High Church convictions, Hutton's answer was couched in trenchant terms, not calculated to please Christians of other denominations. 'It does not express belief in anything, but only a denial of the belief of others... A man might not be a Christian at all and yet be a Protestant.' One suspects that writers of such columns nowadays often supply questions as well as answers, and it is hard to dismiss the unworthy feeling that the vicar sometimes behaved similarly. At any rate, there could hardly have been a question that could have given Hutton more satisfaction than this one. He was never a clergyman to duck controversy.

The second half of The Sneinton Parish Magazine's inaugural year began with a long address by the vicar on the topic of 'Establishment and Disestablishment.’

Hutton, who never patronized his parishioners by talking down to them, shrewdly summed up the arguments for and against Establishment of the Church: 'The present connection between Church and State is ...very different to what it was when all the people of the State were members of the Church. The advantage which the Church still gains by the connection is that it has a certain social position superior to other religious bodies; it is probable, too, that were it disestablished it would also be in a great measure disendowed: that is, deprived of a considerable portion of the property which it now enjoys.'

Hutton argued that the counterbalancing disadvantage of this state of affairs was that the Church of England was unable to alter its system without the consent of Parliament. This was acceptable when Parliament was composed of communicants of the Church, 'But now that its members are of any faith or of no faith, it seems hard that we should have to wait for their permission before any reform can take place. The Church has many wants; more bishops, more discipline amongst the clergy, greater variety in her services, more satisfactory courts to define doctrine; for all these we have to go, cap in hand, to Unitarians, Jews, and Free-thinkers, and humbly ask them to allow God's Church to do her work.'

This was all in his customarily vigorous and forthright vein, and it is significant that the July magazine also included an advertisement for a newly published sermon by Vernon Hutton, titled: 'High Church,' what is it? Priced at 2d, it was on sale in Nottingham and London. The vicar also gave notice that he would publish a letter to his parishioners and congregation, marking the completion of his first year in Sneinton. This would discuss events of the past year, and suggest what might be done in the future. It was, clearly, something not to be missed.

Following such serious considerations, the magazine descended with a bump to the mundane, a new advertiser making his bow. This was I. Banks, of 28 Hockley: 'Pork butcher, &c. Wholesale and retail dealer in Bacon, Ham, Lard, Sausages, and Pies.'

The August magazine reported a very successful annual school feast, held on 30 June at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground. The attendance was a staggering 750, of whom 620 were pupils. These Sneinton outings and get-togethers must have been a sight to behold. The venture broke even. Donations, subscriptions and ticket sales amounted to £18.18.11d, the exact sum spent on payment for the ground, ticket printing, and the purchase of refreshments. The latter seem to have consisted chiefly of bread, cake, tea and milk.

THE HUMBLING OF THE ALBION CRICKET TEAM, as reported in the August magazine. Perhaps the editor hoped to attract likely office and warehouse boys from among the players.THE HUMBLING OF THE ALBION CRICKET TEAM, as reported in the August magazine. Perhaps the editor hoped to attract likely office and warehouse boys from among the players.

Sporting news made a first appearance with the scores of a cricket match between Sneinton Church Sunday School and the Albion Chapel School. This had been staged on a field lent by Colonel James Davidson of Sneinton Manor House. The Church School, batting first, scraped together a modest 71 all out, to which Extras, with 23, was the main contributor. The only batsman to get into double figures was J. Varney, who amassed 17 not out. The Albion innings, however, made the Church School effort seem substantial. This totalled only 45, with G. Sharpe's 11 the only double figure score. One of the Albion team must be accounted highly unfortunate; R. Derrick was given out 'handled bails', a mode of dismissal then, as now, unknown to the laws of cricket. The magazine was still striving to find jobs for boys leaving the Church School. This month anyone who had an opening in an office or warehouse for a 14- year-old was invited to contact the vicar.

The August number contained the interesting announcement of Sneinton's first- ever Harvest Festival, to be celebrated on St Bartholomew's Day, Tuesday 24 August. Looking back from an age in which Harvest Festival is considered a traditional and essential feature of the Church year, it is hard to understand how controversial such services once were. Introduced during Victoria's reign, largely through the efforts of the eccentric Cornish parson and poet Robert Stephen Hawker, they were for a time regarded as highly ritualistic and very High Church. Hutton had decided to hold four Harvest services including two celebrations of Holy Communion.

He explained the object of such a festival in a parish like Sneinton. 'It might be thought that in the suburb of a manufacturing town, where very few persons are immediately engaged in agriculture, we can have but little interest in the harvest....,' but went on to argue that a Harvest Festival nonetheless held an important truth for his parishioners. 'We manufacturing people are so much engaged in work which seems to depend for its success entirely upon the skill of man, that we are likely to forget what an agriculturist ought never to be in danger of forgetting, that man may plant and water but it is God alone that giveth the increase.'

THE REV. WILLIAM HINDES WYATT, Hutton’s predecessor at Sneinton for 37 years.THE REV. WILLIAM HINDES WYATT, Hutton’s predecessor at Sneinton for 37 years.

Important though news of the Harvest Festival undoubtedly was, the keynote of the August magazine was struck by Vernon Hutton's first annual letter to his congregation and the parishioners of Sneinton. In it, all the vicar's ardour, single-mindedness, and religious conviction are revealed, and it is worth quoting in some detail. Hutton recalled that the twelvemonth had begun 'with the loss of old friends, Mr Wyatt and Mr God her, who had been with you some years, and who were replaced by strangers.' Wyatt had, indeed, been incumbent of Sneinton for 37 years, and was 43 years older than his youthful successor. Hutton well understood the problems of taking over from such a well­loved and respected figure, but was determined to confront them. 'A change of clergy brought with it some change of customs in the church; such was to be expected; new men must have new wishes and new ideas. A person who has his heart in his work must form his own plans for carrying it out, and cannot content himself with simply following the customs of others in which perhaps he has no sympathy.'

The vicar outlined the changes he had made, feeling they had met with the general approval of his congregation. First, and most important, he had introduced a weekly Communion service: 'To me, the Lord's Day without the Lord's Service is a blank; I could not hesitate for a single Sunday about making this change.' The numbers attending these services had shown an encouraging increase. Secondly, Hutton had substituted a weekly offertory for the old practice of pew-rents, with a subsequent slight increase in the average amount collected monthly. He referred to the varying levels of attendance at daily and weekly services, and made a pointed comment about the falling-off in Sunday evening congregations since Easter: 'This fine weather probably makes a walk pleasanter than God’s house ; Christianity which only consists in going to Church when there is nothing else to do is not worth much.' The vicar re-emphasised the importance of Confirmation, and spoke of his pleasure in having presented 39 candidates to the Bishop during the year.

The Church School and Sunday Schools were doing well, and the twelve ladies of the District Visiting Society were busy making the acquaintance of the parishioners. Hutton made his own position over home visiting very clear: 'I am ready at all times to call at any house in the parish or upon any member of the congregation when required in my ministerial office, or I can be seen at any time in my own house or in the church after any of the services, but I have but little time for mere complimentary visiting; this must be my excuse if I have been negligent in this respect.' He referred briefly to the magazine, now achieving a circulation of about 400 copies each month, and said he would be glad to receive any suggestions for its improvement.

As for his plans for the coming twelve months, the vicar proposed to change the times of some services, and to introduce an early celebration on all Holy Days. He intended to hold monthly meetings for communicants, and to resume the Bible class which had lapsed during the summer. Other proposals eventually to be realized, were a night school for boys, and a club or institute for young men attending the church.

Hutton was anxious to initiate two projects immediately. The first was a 'Middle-Class School', needed: 'For the benefit of those who desire a superior kind of education than is to be obtained at our National School.' Further details of this would appear in the forthcoming magazine; a considerable sum of money had already been raised for it , but a further £50 was needed before a master could be engaged.

The second proposal concerned the improvement of the condition of the church building: 'At present it is in a state of dirt and dilapidation which few of us would tolerate for a day in our own houses; nearly everyone who visits the church remarks it; the chancel roof and east end require re­painting, the altar is mean and dingy in the extreme, and floor, walls and roof alike are encrusted with dirt.' Hutton observed that funds would have to be found to carry out these much-needed works, and that the Harvest Festival offertory would be a first contribution. He had also been asked if poetry readings and concerts could be arranged for the school room during the winter; though happy to support this idea, he looked to volunteers to organize the details, considering that it was not a clerical task, and that he was too busy to attend to it himself.

The real essence of Vernon Hutton, however, is found in his final paragraph. 'Before I conclude this somewhat lengthy letter I should like to refer to a subject about which it is best that there should be no misapprehensions; I mean the Church opinions which 1 hold, and on which I must act. It is not necessary for me to state these opinions; I have done so fully in a Sermon which I have recently published. If they can be shown to be contrary to the Christianity of the Bible I am willing to retract them; if they are inconsistent with the teaching of the Church of England I am willing to give up my position here. But as I believe them to be the real doctrines of the Church, I must still claim to teach them, although perhaps in doing so I may give offence to some. I do not expect all to agree with me; if we disagree, let us do so in charity; and let us pray not that our own particular opinions may triumph, but that God may bring us all to the knowledge of His truth.'

ADVERTS in the AUGUST number.ADVERTS in the AUGUST number.

After pondering all the weighty arguments of the vicar's letter, readers of the August magazine may have been glad to look for light relief in the advertisements. Two new ones appeared this month, one accompanied by the sort of illustration so beloved of Victorian jobbing printers. This displayed a bath chair or invalid carriage, with plush padded seat, representing the wares of Joseph Wilkinson, 'Manufacturer and Warehouseman' of 28 Wheeler Gate. Wilkinson offered for sale perambulators at prices ranging from 5 shillings to £4, and his shop was also replete with brushes, baskets, tin travelling trunks, hosiery, lace, smallwares, toys, and ladies' bags costing between a shilling and a pound. He had, we read: 'Fancy Goods at Wholesale Prices: The Largest Stock in Town.' The advert of H. Barker of Goose Gate was much more modest in appearance. Barker informed his friends and the public that, because of an imminent move to more convenient premises in Bridlesmith Gate, he was: 'Selling Off the greater portion of his large and varied Stock of New and Second-hand Furniture; also Shop Fixtures. Warehouse and Office Fittings, &c.'

1.   Between 1837 and 1884 Sneinton, together with virtually the whole of Nottinghamshire, was in the Diocese of Lincoln.
2.   See: Sold for a song; the choir stalls of St Stephen's: Sneinton Magazine 27, Spring 1988.

(This survey of the first year of Sneinton Parish Magazine will be concluded in the next Sneinton Magazine. A look through the issues for the latter part of 1869 will be accompanied by a short biographical sketch of the Parish Magazine's founder, the Rev. Vernon Hutton.)