St. Augustine Church
The above picture of the church is dated between 1911 and 1922.
The picture above is dated sometime in the early 1920's.
The above picture comes from David James's collection we guess the date is about 1902, probably taken at the wedding of Alice Blacklock and Alfred Pamplin making it the oldest picture of the inside of the Church that we have. Could the two ladies be talking to the Rev. John Sedgwick?
The above picture of the church taken from the garden of Birdbrook Hall come from Jackie Browne date unknown.
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If you are visiting the church pick up a copy of Patrick Crouch's lovely colour guide book explaining the history of the building. Available from the church and reasonably priced at £1.50.
The Church Bells
The following comes from Leaman's:
Peter Hawkes - A Bellfounder of this name was working in Essex and Suffolk during the early years of the 17th Century. At present, only the following bells by him have been noted. Shopland, near Southend, date 1608. - Little Stambridge, Rochford, date not noted. - Birdbrook, near Haverhill, 1612, - and the Tenor at Poslingford 1613. It is not known where he worked or lived, or maybe he moved from church to church. The inscription at Birdbrook is in fine gothic lettering, and a bird, presumably a hawk, is introduced as the founder's badge.
Have you ever wondered what happened to the old church organ?
The following comes from 'History of Hedingham School 1943 - 1993', written by S. Prior.
AN ORGAN TRANSPLANT
In the Spring of 1967 I heard, by bush telegraph, that Birdbrook Church were looking for a home for their pipe organ which they hoped to replace with an electronic instrument.
Very soon afterwards headmaster Willis was convinced that the school needed such an asset! Being an organist, and also head of the school's craft department, it fell to my lot to supervise the removal from the church and re-erection in the school.
A keen team of pressed men and boys started the operation during the Easter holidays. On a pleasant Spring day the organ was taken down and some hundreds of pipes, large and small, and the casework complete with tracker action, bellows and blower, were carefully stacked amongst the gravestones to await the arrival of transport. All the parts had been carefully numbered with a felt-tip pen to make re-assembly an easy job. By the time the transport arrived an April shower had removed most of the indexing!
The promised transport duly arrived driven by the Chairman of the school governors, a large horse box complete with straw and horse' visiting cards. Undaunted, all organ parts were loaded and transported to Hedingham. These were stored in the hall and on the stage but caretaker George Warner was not at all pleased to see non-organ horsey attachments dropping on his mirror-like polished floors!
During the Summer term the organ was rebuilt by boys and staff and helped by anyone who showed even the slightest interest. Finding the correct position for the pipes proved most interesting and eventually, after rough tuning, the notes sounded to be about right with the appropriate pressing down of the keys. A final tuning was carried out by an organ-builder friend from Ipswich. The organ was ready for use early in the Autumn term.
Soon after this a well-qualified organ builder moved to Castle Hedingham and he was quickly engaged to tune the organ regularly. Reg Lane became a personal friend and has since given help and advice to improve the instrument.
Whilst still at the school I had much pleasure, along with several others, playing for school assemblies and occasionally for concert with the school band. The worries and headaches now seem worthwhile.
A small brass plate attached to the organ reads:-
The organ is no longer at the school we understand a teacher has it at home assembled in a spare bedroom.
The following articles are taken from the 'Birdbrook and Sturmer Parish News' May 1968
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Meeting on a cold unpleasant evening we decided to leave the vestry and try our luck over the hot air vents in the nave. This seemed to work quite well and a good meeting followed. A great deal of business was got through leading off with the re-election of all our officers. I did my best to thank them and I do hope my stilted words conveyed to them my real feelings of gratitude. We have a good understanding between us that I trust will continue. Then I tried to remember the numerous others who render willing service, flower arrangers and so forth, but especially this time Mrs. Harry Hayes because we connect her closely with the altar plate which she has cleaned for years now. On show was the new set in rhodium plate, a material that needs no cleaning. All the same Mrs. Hayes will not be out of work as we shall continue to use the brass flower vases on special occasions to help out in windows and other places where we put flowers say at Easter or Harvest Festival. There is also the brass pulpit desk used by visiting preachers and again kept up to the mark by Mrs. Hayes.
It is always a pleasure to speak of good causes supported and I am delighted to be able to give a short list of subscriptions made by Birdbrook P.P.C. to Essex Clergy Widows £3 3s. 0d., to St. Luke's Hostel £3, Missions to Lepers £10 and to Sturmer Church £15 0s. 11d. It was also agreed to offer to Sturmer the brass alms-dish which because of the introduction of the new plate in Birdbrook will not now be used. I may say on behalf of Sturmer both gifts were gratefully received.
NEW ALTER PLATE
On Easter Day a very fine set of rhodium plated articles for use at the alter were dedicated in Birdbrook Church - I mentioned these in my remarks about the Vestry Meeting - and I now give the full list : - Cross, candlesticks, vases and alms dish. They are in a modern style without being aggressively so, I think you will like the clean simplicity of design and the wonderful 'new' material in which they are made.