Trevor Wedlake's Writings
First published in the Village Journal March, 1973
If you had been at the bus stop in the main streetof our village any Friday
evening in the 1930s when the 8pm bus arrived from Bristol, you might have
noticed alighting with the other passengers, a stocky old man in a bowler hat
and dark suit. He walked, looking over the top of his spectacles, at a brisk pace
and with a slightly rolling gait. This was Mr Henry Thatcher, organist and
choirmaster arriving for choir practice.
I was among the gaggle of choir-boys waiting for him at the North door of the
church in those days. I always enjoyed practice sessions very much, our organist's conducting antics always produced a good deal of stifled laughter among us, for his was a benign authority and he was very long suffering.. I well remember the night he finally tracked down the wayward boy responsible for what he called - "that sham tenor - that fancy descant." He warned me that he knew my father and sometimes met him !
Our church was large and grand, and it was beautifully maintained. It was what is known as a "high" church, and we were taught by the rector to bow to the altar every time we passed across the church except when the sacrament was there with the lighted lamp and veil, when we had to genuflect.
This same rector who caused some consternation in one sermon by saying he
thought for the duration of the war the whole Anglican church should be placed under the authority of the Pope, also decided the chancel was too sacred
a place for the choir practice, and moved us to the back of the church with the
harmonium. I was sorry about this because I preferred the playing of the organ. I was fascinated by it and strangely proud of it; it was by far the largest musical instrument I had ever seen.
It was while learning the liturgy and rhythm of the church that I first heard the