St Mary's church
Interior and memorials
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The interior of the early church must have seemed very austere at first, as the only furnishings were a stone altar, pulpit and font, and there was no organ.
The spaces between the narrow windows of the nave were filled with scriptural sentences in red, purple and gold (possibly somewhat like those found in Newland church). These were described as "gaudy" by John Noakes, 'The Rambler,' writing about his visit to the church in 1845, immediately after it was built.
The walls must soon have been painted over, as the earliest photographs show the walls as plain except for the east wall where the Ten Commandments flanked the altar. These were later covered by oak panelling which was the gift of John Henry Stapleton and his wife Sarah Stapleton. This is commemorated on a small brass plaque near the vestry door. The plaque reads,
In memory of John Henry Stapleton and Sarah Maria Stapleton who in their lifetime panelled the chancel as a thank offering.
John Stapleton was churchwarden for many years and a generous benefactor to the church. He was the grandfather of Joan Hudson, a well-known local nurse and midwife.
The small portable altar immediately in front of the main altar was a gift to the Revd Frederick Newson by his friend the Bishop of Durham.
Inside the church, the first window on the left is in memory of Emma Maria Louisa Wathen nee Andrew, the wife of the Revd John Bateman Wathen who was the first Rector of St Mary (from 1857 until 1905).
The wooden statue of the Madonna and Child was a gift from the Parish of Masasi in Tanzania.
The blue plaque on the wall of Madonna and Child was a wedding gift to Revd and Mrs Newson by the Countess Beauchamp (Lady Lettice Grosvener 1876 - 1936), wife of William Lygon the Seventh Earl.
Next comes a window dedicated to a Charles Andrew, died 1899, whose grave is opposite the church door. He was the brother of Revd J B Wathen's wife Emma Andrew. The 1881 census records Charles Andrew living at Coughton Court, occupation Justice of the Peace like his father who was a cotton manufacturer.
The third window is a memorial to a Victorian churchwarden, Thomas Need, who died in 1883. He was one of a family who had farmed in the district for about four hundred years.
Another window on the south wall is dedicated in memory of Elizabeth Bullock died 1883. The 1881 census records Elizabeth living with her husband John Bullock, a farmer of 14 acres at Cherry Orchard, just down the road from Revd J B Wathen and his family at the Rectory.
Another window is in memory of a child, but sadly it does not say who.
The carved oak pulpit, which replaced the original stone one, is a memorial to Revd John Bateman Wathen whose photograph appears left; it was dedicated on 11th December 1906, and was paid for by public subscriptions.
The ornate brass lectern is a memorial given by Ann Lees in memory of her sister, Alice Simpson, who died in 1879.
A pair of floor-standing brass candlesticks, which matched the lectern, were stolen in the 1990s, along with the Bishop's Chair. The candlesticks were replaced, but sadly the replacements do not match the lectern. The present Bishop's Chair, made by Vanpoules of Surrey, is a near-replica of the stolen one.
Of the three beautiful east windows, the first is to the memory of the sixth Earl Beauchamp, who gave so much to the new church. He died in 1891.
The middle window is to Edward Archer, another most generous benefactor and churchwarden, who died at sea in 1892. He was proprietor of the 'Mount Pleasant Hotel', the 'Foley Arms' and adjoining wine shop at that time; and he paid for the re-glazing of some of the windows in the Priory, as well as giving a new bell to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887.
John Bell, who is commemorated in the third window, died in 1890 and is buried in the churchyard. According to the census he was an ironmonger who lived at Peckham Grove, a black and white cottage now known as 'Littlewood House', in Poolbrook, opposite the Three Horseshoes, where once lived the mother of Barbara Cartland the novelist and earlier Lady Lyttleton. John Bell had a connection with the church through his sister Agnes who married Rev William Joseph Fancourt curate at Guarlford from 1846 to 1852.
The carved oak cover for the font was given by a Mr Taylor who lived at Cherry Orchard in the 1930s. It replaced an ugly tin cover of which he strongly disapproved.
On the west wall above the font is placed a beautiful statue of Madonna and Child. On the base is attached a small brass plaque. The inscription reads,
In memory of Philip Nicholls who fell asleep St Matthias Day 1918
from South Lea School fellows and friends
South Lea School, in Albert Road Great Malvern, had strong links with Guarlford Church, as Revd Newson taught there for many years and was held in great esteem by staff and pupils, some of whom regularly attended Guarlford Church.
The plaque relates to a pupil of the school who died at a nursing home in Priory Road on 18th February 1918 aged only 11 years and is buried at Wolverley parish church. He was the son of Francis Welcome Nicholls and Hannah Street. Francis was a fruit merchant and farmer of Brookfield, Wolverley near Kidderminster who had died in 1913. Sadly Hannah died shortly after Philip leaving her seven other children orphans. Philip's elder brother Francis had to be the executor of his little brother's estate; he went on to develop a large and successful wholesale fruit and vegetable business.
The church plate was a gift from Charles Morris; he came from London to live with his sister in Malvern and seemed to spend the rest of his life supporting good causes including provision of a water supply in North Malvern. The chalice was remodelled in 1909 by 'Ramsden and Carr'; it had been too top heavy.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century an Embroidery Guild was formed, and the ladies who met on Wednesdays took responsibility for the provision of altar frontals, vestments and banners. The banner of Our Lady, begun in 1909 and renovated a few years ago by Mrs Barbara Hill, still hangs over the pulpit. In the early 1990s, another group of ladies crafted many of the colourful kneelers to be seen in the church today; and, to commemorate two thousand years of Christendom, yet another group of ladies in 1999-2000 made new communion rail kneelers, cushions and additions to the pew kneelers. New altar frontals were also given in memory of Frederick and Lily Clarke of Guarlford, Mr Ronald Smith, a long serving churchwarden, and Miss Helen Smith, who for many years gave freely of her time to play the organ at services as well as carrying out sacristan and other church duties.
Part way down the north side of the nave can be seen the Guarlford British Legion Standard. When the British Legion was formed after the First World War, for the welfare and comradeship of ex-servicemen and their dependents, most veterans from Guarlford joined the nearest branch at Hanley Swan, but in 1929 Guarlford set up its own branch under the leadership of Commander Ratcliff. Each year on Remembrance Sunday, the members would muster at Hall Green and then march to Guarlford Church for the Remembrance ceremony. By the mid 1980s, membership had dwindled, the few remaining members transferred to the Barnard's Green Branch and the Guarlford Branch was closed. In keeping with custom, the standard was laid up in the parish church.
On the wall, near the British Legion Standard, is a plain wooden cross in memory of Second Lieutenant J E Eyton-Lloyd of the 10th Squadron Royal Flying Corps, who died on 24th June 1917 in France. The basic construction of the cross and the rudimentary metal labels recording his details leads to the assumption that it is the original grave marker. The Royal Air Force and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission both confirm that the officer was Lieutenant John Wathen Eyton-Lloyd, who died in 1917, aged twenty-two, and is buried in Choques Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais. He was the son of Dr Albert Eyton Lloyd and Bertha Midwood Wathen, of 'Alanwood', Avenue Road, Great Malvern, previously of Rhyl.
The reason John Wathen Eyton Jones is remembered in Guarlford Church is that he was the grandson of the first Rector Revd John Bateman Wathen.
On the north wall of the nave, adjacent to the organ, is a list of men who served in the First World War, but it is disproportionately long for the size of the parish and it is likely that the list is of those for whom members of the congregation wanted prayers offered. Many came from surrounding parishes, some may have been ex-pupils from South Lea School, and some seemed to have no connection with the Malvern area. There are also omissions: for instance, the Panting brothers are not mentioned. Included in the list is Hubert Jones, former Rector at Guarlford.
The fine painting of Madonna and Child, in the ornate gilt frame, was a gift from Mr Robert Bartleet of Cherry Orchard in memory of his father the Reverend Canon H H Bartleet, a former Vicar of Malvern Priory, who lived at Cherry Orchard in his later years.
A small painting depicting a crib scene bears another plaque in memory of a pupil of South Lea school.
The inscription reads,
In memory of James Hamilton Symonds who fell asleep 16 October 1918
from South Lea fellows and friends.
AMDG is an abbreviation for the Latin,
Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam
which translated means 'To the greater glory of God'.
James Hamilton Symonds (died age 12 years) was the son of Dr George Henry Hamilton Symonds. James' elder brother Rowland Charles Symonds of Hereford went on to become a Brigadier in the Royal Artillery and married into the Peerage.
In 1998, through an anonymous bequest, an inductive loop for those with impaired hearing and a sound amplification system were installed; and, in 2004, the organ received a major overhaul in memory of Mrs Dorrie Smith.
A plaque on the north side of the chancel dedicates the new lighting system installed in 2003 in memory of Malcolm Russell, a Lay Reader, friend of the church and former teacher at the Chase High School.
At the back of St Mary Guarlford is a brass plaque in memory of Mary Garlike. The inscription on the plaque reads,
In memory of Mary Garlike late of Melton House, Great Malvern, daughter of the late William and Lydia Garlike of the same place. born on 28th January 1784 died on 10 March 1867 and was buried on the south side of the churchyard
affectionately inscribed by Eliza Dooley.
Immediately below is a second plaque.
The inscription reads,
The above named Eliza Dooley
departed at Malvern March 6th 1869 aged 53 years and is buried in this churchyard by the side of the said Mary Garlike.
Who were these ladies and why was Mary buried in Guarlford churchyard if she lived in Great Malvern?
The census confirms that Mary Garlike, born Marlborough in Wiltshire, resided at Melton House, which lay near Rose Bank, on Belle Vue Terrace; from about 1841 to her death. The census does not record her occupation but she employed four servants so must have been a person of considerable means.
Her gravestone in the churchyard reveals her parents were Dr William Bennett Garlike, died Great Malvern 26 April 1841, and Lydia nee Barbour the daughter of an attorney, who are buried in a vault in the north aisle of Great Malvern Priory. William Bennett Garlike is recorded as an Executor of the estate of the Earl of Ailesbury who owned Tottenham Park in Savernake Forest and is said to have presented flowers to Princess Victoria and her mother when they visited Great Malvern.
Eliza Dooley born Budworth, near Tatton Park, Cheshire, is recorded as a servant in the 1851 census so must have become a long standing companion.
It is possible Mary Garlike subscribed to the building of Guarlford church in 1844 in memory of her father, and valued the sermons of the Rector, Revd John Bateman Wathen, who moved from The Priory to Guarlford. If you have more information about the Garlike family please let the webmaster know.
Based on chapter 5 of The Guarlford Story with photos and further research by Angus and Rosemary McCulloch
Last updated 26th March 2014