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School Chapel Dedication - 1960

Extracts from the Sussex Express & County Herald

See Barbican report


Dedication at Lewes by Bishop

The Chapel A congregation of about 1,500 , including many old boys from distant parts of the country, went to the dedication by the Bishop of Chichester (the Right Rev. Dr Roger Wilson) of the new School Chapel at Lewes County Grammar School for Boys on Sunday.

Only about 350 could actually be accommodated in the chapel; the remainder heard the service relayed to them in the two school halls, where the utmost was made of every square inch of seating room. The huge congregation consisted almost entirely of parents, old boys,pupils, staff and friends of the school who have played a part through years in raising the £26,000 fund for building and furnishing the chapel.

Watching the ceremony After the service, hundreds of them queued to walk through and admire the interior of the lovely chapel created by Sir Edward Maufe, the distinguished architect, and built by William Sims, Ltd., of Golden Cross. The Chapel is a memorial to the 55 old-boys of the school who gave their lives during the last war. A large proportion of the congregation who were allowed seats in the chapel were relatives of those whose names appeared on the scroll of honour inscribed on a marble tablet in the portico.

The Main Entrance The tolling of the bell as Bishop Wilson was received outside the door by Lt. Col. Styles (Chairman of the Governors) . . . [who] prayed the Bishop to dedicate the Chapel. In response the Bishop knocked three times at the closed door with his Pastoral Staff, and immediately the door was opened by the School Captain (N. Silk). The Bishop and his entourage entered and after invoking ' Peace on this House ' the group, preceded by the headmaster passed through the Church . . . the hymn 'Hail thee Festive Day' was sung by the choir. Turning to the congregation the Bishop prayed for the Blessing of their Undertaking and the building. The anthem 'Come Holy Ghost our souls inspire' was sung by H.P. Gilbert, a junior pupil, accompanied by the choir and organ. In a solemn hush the the congregation knelt while the Bishop pronounced the words of dedication and faith, followed by the Lord's Prayer.

The Bishop, in his address, said that for all those directly concerned with the building of the Chapel it must be a thrilling moment . . . it must appear as a dream come true. The completion of the Chapel, built by long and patient work and by the contributions of many, was a unique event. ' This short and simple service had commemorated old boys of this school who died in the war ' he said. ' Their names will stand as a reminder of what we, in our day, owe to the past. We remember not what they got out of life, but what they gave.

The Bishop's address was followed by the Act of Commemoration led by the Headmaster. ' Let us remember here in the prescence of God, those who gave their lives in the last war, particularly old boys of this school. ' he said. The reading of the names of the fallen followed, and the Headmaster read the immortal lines by Laurence Binyon . . . " They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old . . . We will remember them "

Col. Styles and Mr Bradshaw The Headmaster went on to mention the school motto: ' To give and not to count the cost ' and referred also to the noble words chosen by Sir Edward Maufe, which were inscribed over the roll of the fallen - ' Search for their resting place, not in the earth, but in the hearts of men. '

The service concluded with prayers by the Archdeacon (Canon D. H. Booth) and the School prayer, led by the Bishop, followed by the Blessing. The school choir, wearing blue cassocks, were under the direction of Mr Brian Richards (organist and choirmaster).

Among those who attended were the Mayor and Mayoress of Lewes (Councillor and Mrs Yarrow), Lord Rupert Neville , Sir Richard and Lady Boughy, the Hon. Daphne Courthope (chairman of the East Sussex Education Committee), Col. Tufton Beamish M.P., and Mrs Beamish, Mr B. S. Braithwaite (Chief Education Officer for East Sussex), Mr J. L. Fanner (the next headmaster) and Mrs Fanner, and Bishop Geoffrey H. Warde.

[Note by Chris Wilkinson: I noticed the report of the dedication service taken from the Sussex Express. The report includes a photograph of a pupil, book in hand, looking out towards the chapel. I have to own up - that pupil was me. I was skiving off from a chemistry lesson and was just heading for the toilet. As I came through the swing doors at the end of the corridor I was collared by a press photographer who asked me to stand and look out over the chapel. He also wanted me to have a book in my hand (quite how I was supposed to look at the chapel and a book at the same time was not clear). As I was on the way to the toilet I had left my satchel in the chemistry lab. The only book I had on me was my hymn book which I, in common with many others always carried in my blazer pocket. This was in my Transitus year so, after five years in my pocket it was in a pretty awful condition but it satisfied the photographers compositional demands so that's what you see today. Chris.]