It gives me great pleasure to write this introduction of
myself as your new priest elect.
I was born and brought up in the parish of Mapledurham near Reading which is a small village that only has two claims to fame, one that William IV's illegitimate son was vicar there; the other being that it is where the film "The Eagle has Landed" starring Michael Caine and Donald Sutherland was filmed, whilst pretending to be a village in Norfolk!
After leaving school I worked for British Gas as a service engineer working on both domestic and commercial appliances. During this time I discovered that there are hundreds of different ways to make a cup of tea!
I did my fulltime theological training at Oak Hill College, in London. After which I was ordained Deacon in 1993 at Lincoln Cathedral and a year later priested. I served my Curacy at the market town of Brigg along with the villages of Wrawby and Cadney. My first incumbency was at Billinghay, also in Lincoln Diocese, at the same time that a certain Alastair Redfern was Bishop of Grantham. A later move saw me being Rector of the Kelsey group of parishes which was a group of 7 rural parishes in North Lincolnshire.
Then in 2009 we moved to Bermuda from whence I am writing this now, in the sunshine looking at the sea with the palm trees blowing in the breeze and fresh bananas growing in our garden. Experiencing the Anglican Communion overseas has been an enriching time.
Now we are looking to the next stage of Ministry with you in beautiful Derbyshire where we have spent many a happy holiday.
I am delighted to be selected as your new priest and am looking forward to working with you at St. Lawrence, Great Barlow and the whole community of Barlow, along with St. Peter &. St. Paul's Church Old Brampton and Loundsley Green Church, in what can be a challenging yet also rewarding time for the church.
I am married to Doreen who is a teaching assistant and one to one learning support assistant and we have 2 children, Luke who is 16 and Emily who will be 14 by the time you read this.
As a family we enjoy the countryside and have in the past reared sheep, pigs, chickens and ducks. We also have a love of steam traction engines of which we own two, so don't be surprised to see your vicar covered in coal dust and oil, as the intention is to bring them to Derbyshire once we have found somewhere to keep them.
So until July 17th may God be with us all as we start a new chapter in the life of the churches together.
God Bless, yours Peter
Larger versions of the
photos can be viewed on our Photo
Apart from the (re)building of the chancel in the nineteenth century, there have been no changes to Barlow church for centuries. Over the last few decades, our programme of concerts in Church, flower festivals and open church events have prospered to the extent that the lack of ancillary facilities has become a bit of a handicap. One might say that the lack of conveniences has become a great inconvenience. And it is.
The PCC has discussed the question of installing a toilet in church for some years, but what spurred us into action recently were two very generous bequests from Harold Needham and Ray Jones, the latter enabling us to proceed without the need for a prolonged fundraising campaign. Then in November 2007, when we appointed Anthony Short & Partners of Ashbourne as our architect, things really began to happen. It has taken from then until September 2010, when building commenced, to design the scheme and to obtain the necessary planning and diocesan consents. English Heritage objected, but thankfully their opinion was set aside.
The extension far exceeds our original humble aspirations for simply a toilet, for we will have a kitchen, storage area, nappy-changing area and loo for the disabled. The work will also include the refurbishment of the vestry. We think this is a great step forward. We will be better able to provide refreshments, we will have somewhere for small meetings, and, with a bit of luck, we will be able to clear some of the clutter elsewhere in the church. Some of us might no longer have to go behind a tree. Yippee!
Our contractors, W Howlett & Sons of Kirkby in Ashfield, originally hoped to have the extension finished by the end of December 2010, but the snow and arctic conditions in late 2010 meant that work had to stop completely for several weeks. We hoped that the extension would be complete when the Bishop of Derby came on 13 March 2011 to bless it, but he did bless what was there, together with our aspirations. For that occasion, Lord Manners of Haddon Hall hoped to be with us. His family has played a very significant part in Barlow village over the centuries, and we looked forward to welcoming him and the Bishop.
Susan and I lived in Dublin for 16 years until 2003. When we came back to England we had a son here and a son and a daughter stayed there. Now, the son that was here lives in Texas. Over the last year, Susan and I have felt increasingly that family circumstances are telling us that we should be closer to Victoria and Edward in Ireland, and that that is where the future is taking us. When we came to Chesterfield, we thought we'd be here until retirement. That no longer seems right. Circumstances change. In the space of only three weeks, I have enquired, had conversations, and been offered the post of Rector of Portlaoise, 50 miles from Dublin. We plan, therefore, to move back to Ireland in mid - or late August. There is time in the next four months to celebrate what we have done together in three years, but for the moment, Susan and I hope that you will understand our situation, at least a little.
Where is Portlaoise?
Air/public transport: Flight to Dublin, bus to Dublin Heuston railway station, fast trains to Portlaoise every hour (destination Cork or Limerick, or outer suburban, journey time one hour). Church of Ireland church 5 min walk from station.
Road: Ship from Holyhead to Dublin Port (Stena, and Irish Ferries) or Dun Laoghaire (Stena only). Follow signs for N7 to Cork/Limerick and keep going. St Peter's (Church of Ireland) is in the middle of town near the railway station (the huge church on the edge of town is RC). Journey time: 3.5 hrs to Holyhead, 3 hrs 15 min on ship (1.5 hr if fast ferry), 2 hr from port to Portlaoise (maybe less if Dublin traffic tolerable, which it rarely is).
Stanley's institution at St Peter's, Portlaoise, will be at 7 pm on 28 August. All welcome.
Click here to view a carousel of photos of the wells and the flower festivals of both St. Lawrence and the Methodist Churches.
Follow the link to our Photo Gallery for a small selection of photographs for the 2011 Blessing and larger versions of the imags below. Father Stanley Monkhouse, on his final day in the United Benefice, along with fellow vicars from the surrounding area churches led the procession on Wednesday August 17th to bless the three Well Dressings in Barlow. This now long standing tradition follows the feast of our Patron, St Lawrence and continues to celebrate the Patronal Festival.
You Tube snippets of Well Blessing Procession.
Our thanks to John Adams for the above 3 photos of the wells.
Follow the link to our Photo
Gallery for a
small selection of photographs for the 2010 Blessing on Wednesday
The Main Well – this year dedicated: ‘In Memory of the Departed’ was a splendid but moving design; and was the first to receive the blessing with Holy water and prayers. Poignantly, this year marked the sad passing of Mr Peter Booker – a dresser of this well since childhood.
The procession, growing ever larger moved onward; led by Church Warden Julie Ferreday and the Castleton Brass Band.
With a pause at the Fun Fair for the blessing of hard work and the happiness that this annual visitor brings to the village; the procession continued onto the Small Well and ‘the boy who never grew old’: The swan song for Methodist Church Minister Chris Gardener; he was acknowledged here and with both lessons and prayers devoted to the wonderfully designed dressing; the march continued to the Commonside Well.
‘Rebekah at the Well’: This year’s decoration is a stunning glory of flowers and it is interesting to note that all the Wells use full flower heads, not petals.
With the traditional May Pole dance by village children and copious ladles of Holy water to ‘cleanse’ the audience! - The ceremonies ended – conveniently adjacent to another watering hole; the Tickled Trout!
We look forward to 2011 where the wells may be blessed yet again by these dressings – these silent sermons to the gift of water for us all.
As our vicar, Stanley, was in Eire at his daughter's wedding celebrations, he'd had to find someone to act on his behalf in the service and procession of Blessing the Wells. And what an admirable "stand-in" he'd arranged in Bishop Jack Nicholls, until his recent retirement, Bishop of Sheffield. Bishop Jack , with his wonderful communication skills and his famous Lancastrian sense of humour led the service in Church and the individual blessing of the "Main" well and Valley Rise Well, together with the Fair site, whilst the village Methodist preacher, Revd. Chris Gardner, blessed the "Small" well.
Holymoorside Brass Band headed the procession through the village from the Main Well, via the Fair site to the Small Well and on to Valley Rise.
Each well was blessed through word and the waving of incense and also at each site, the sprinkling of Holy Water, both on the well and the "people".
A while ago, we published :- "A new way of charging for water is proposed by water companies. This would result in enormously increased bills for the drainage of rainwater that comes off the roof. This petition is now closed, but an encouraging response has been received from No. 10.