Bourne Abbey Church


From the Archives


Harvest Festival at Bourne Abbey, September 1868

This photograph shows Bourne Abbey Church decorated for  Harvest Festival Sunday services on September 13, 1868.

It is it interesting, not only to see how the Chancel and the front of the nave were decorated for this important festival, but it also shows how the church was furnised almost 150 years ago.

Note the Jacobean pulpit, the box pews, the gas lamp brackets on the Norman pillars, the recently installed reredos and east window donated by the Vicar, the Rev Joseph Dodsworth. The opening for the organ chamber was not created for another two years (1870) when the North Aisle was extended and the organ chamber and vestry created. There are also two hatchments on the Chancel wall, probably relating to the Digby or Pochin families.

Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury

Friday, September 18, 1868


The annual harvest thanksgiving services were held in the Abbey church, Bourn, on Sunday last. There were overflowing congregations both in the morning and evening. By the kind help of several ladies and gentlemen, whose zeal on these and kindred occasions cannot be too highly spoken of, the church had been beautifully decorated. Small sheaves of wheat, barley, and oats were massed in ornamental profusion around the fine old pillars; the reading desk and pulpit were models of ecclesiastical ornamentation; and the display within the chancel and close to the elaborate reredos lately presented by the worthy Vicar, of large baskets of the choicest fruit, &c, completed a picture the like of which has seldom or never been seen in this fine old parish church, now (for the second time during the incumbancy of its present Vicar) about to undergo further restoration and adornment. A most appropriate sermon was preached in the morning by the Rev J Dodsworth, after which the thank-offerings of the large congregation were gathered by the respected churchwardens, and by them carried to the officiating minister, to be applied to the funds of the Eastgate National school, who (standing within the altar rails) reverently laid them upon the holy table. The prayer for the Church Militant and the Blessing concluded this service. In the evening the services were of the most joyous character, being choral throughout. A procession of the choir and clergy was formed at the Abbey gates, and the effects of their singing of that fine processional hymn, “O Paradise,” as they passed through the church lane and on through the west door of the church to their seats in the chancel, had the most awakening and devotional effect. The prayers were sung by the Rev. E. E. Hadath, the Curate, and the choir, ably sustained and directed by Mr. Frost, gave remarkable life and heartiness to a beautiful service. An impressive and eloquent sermon, by the Rev. J. L. Whiteford, Rector of Maidwell, Northamptonshire, terminated a festival which will be long remembered in the parish.


Interestingly the same newspaper reports the following:

BOURN – Contracts for additions and part restoration of the Abbey church (Mr. E. Browning, architect, Stamford): - Hinson, Bourn, £1400; Richardson and Roberts, Stamford, £1373; Millson, Donington, £1316; Bagnell and Tinkler, Stamford, £1193 10s.; Halliday and Cave, Oakham, £1172; Perkins, Easton, £1079 10s.; Hall, Norman, and Vinter, Bourn (accepted), £1080.


Newspaper extracts with thanks to the Stamford Mercury Archive Trust

BAC 1868 harvest Festival B&W