St Mary 850th

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From 50 years ago - The 1953 celebration

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850th Anniversary of St. Mary de Haura
By the Vicar of Shoreham THE REV. F. S. W. SIMPSON

THE year 1953 marks the 350th anniversary of the foundation of the church of St. Mary de Haura, the parish church of New Shoreham in Sussex. The beautiful edifice is a living witness of the strength and endurance of the Church and of this sturdy resolute island, epitomising much of changing history during its long life: for a study of its structure is a lesson in the vicissitudes of the church, its sturdy tower a landmark of strength in the flat surrounding countryside and the watching Downs.

This anniversary is to be marked in a manner deemed worthy of this milestone in the march of time. On the 12th of February, 1953, a special service will be held, at which the Bishop of Lewes will be present, supported by the clergy of the Deanery, and attended by the chief civic authorities of adjacent towns and urban districts. Thereafter, throughout the months of February, March and April and July, August and September the significance to the parish of the year 1953 will be kept to the fore by other services in the church, by the presentation of a series of historical tableaux depicting outstanding scenes in the long life of the church, by the staging of a morality play in the time-honoured manner; that is, on a dray drawn by a shire horse in the streets of the town.

Then again it is proposed to hold a photographic competition, the subjects being of the edifice both inside and out and of scenes closely connected therewith. 

Churches, in common with all other buildings, do not endure without unremitting care and attention and the church of St. Mary de Haura is no exception. Extensive repairs to the roof of the South Transept are the immediate care of the Church Council and provision of the necessary funds has proved a difficult problem. At the close of the period of the special celebrations, it is proposed to hold a service at which purses of public subscription will be received, to help in the work of restoration and repair.

The Church Council is, of course, alive to the fact that the anniversary year is Coronation year and with this in mind, has omitted the months of May and June for any anniversary celebrations. It feels, however, and with this the Urban Council doubtless agrees, that the Church and Churchyard form the outstanding features of the town and must figure largely in Coronation activities.

That the ensuing year marks two historical events is surely a matter for rejoicing in that the one may be regarded as complementary to the other.

from Sussex County Magazine 1953

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