Lewis Meredith when Bishop of Dover
A most interesting visit to St. Wilfrid's by the late Lewis Meredith's son, The Reverend Canon Roland Meredith, who met Fr. Andrew on Sunday 11th July and subsequently kindly wrote the following letter for our Centenary Year:
It was very good to be able to visit Saint Wilfrid's on Sunday afternoon - after an absence of around 40 years. I think my last visit there was to conduct a memorial service for my mother in law - who died in nursing home in Lancashire.
You may be interested in our connections with the parish.
My Grandfather (Arthur Meredith) (Christ Church, Oxford ,Trinity College, Cambridge and Leeds Clergy School) became chaplain at Saint Michael's school - (a Woodard school which left Bognor in 1939) in 1912. In the school holidays he used to assist both at Saint John's and Saint Wilfrids. He died in 1925. During that time my father was at school at Lancing and used to sing in the choir at Saint Johns.
My father in law ( Bevill Close) (Keble College, Oxford and Leeds Clergy School) served in Middlesborough and Gunnesbury before becoming Vicar of Saint Chad's Shrewsbury in 1935. After 2 years he had a stroke and retired to Bognor in 1938. He lived at 14 Nelson Road and worshipped at Saint Wilfrid's until his death in 1947. I married his daughter in 1960.
My father (Lewis Meredith) (Trinity College, Cambridge and Westcott House ) was ordained to a title in Oswestry in 1923 and then moved to Canterbury as Precentor and Sacrist under George Bell in 1926.
After a living in Yorkshire (Wath upon Dearne) he became Vicar of Bognor in 1936. He was there until 1947 - serving throughout the war. We lived in Burnham Avenue and he always had two full time curates. Both churches had a full quota of services (8.0am, 10.0am Sung Eucharist, 11.15am Matins and 6.30pm Evensong) - as well as daily Eucharist and Matins and Evensong which rotated between the two churches.
There were choirs and albed servers at both churches. Incense was used on festivals — and there was a sung Eucharist on major saints days at 10.0am when we had three ministers at the Eucharist. Holyrood school —which was in Victoria Drive used to come to Matins and sit in the side aisle.
There was a tin parish room at the back of the church. In 1947 my father became Vicar and Rural Dean of Eastbourne and an Hon Canon of Chichester. In 1957 he became Bishop of Dover from which he retired in 1964 following a stroke.
He died in 1968 and is buried in the crypt at Canterbury Cathedral. George Bell retired to Canterbury and my father conducted his funeral service in 1958.
My own life was less distinguished. As a boy I sang in the choir at Saint Wilfrid's and was a server there and at Saint John's during holidays from my boarding school. After Trinity College, Cambridge and Cuddesdon I served my title at Bishopwearmouth Parish Church (now Sunderland Minster) and was then Chaplain to the Bishop of Birmingham. I served in the Team Ministry at Kirkby, Liverpool (There were 14 of us on the staff!) and then became Vicar of Hitchin in Herts. In 1972 I went north again as Team Rector and Rural Dean of Preston - and was also a Canon of Blackburn Cathedral. My last post was Team Rector and Rural Dean of Witney and I am also a Canon of Christ Church, Oxford.
Following the death of my wife last year I have moved back to a retirement flat in Witney - 16 years after having left the parish. I normally worship at Christ Church when I am not taking services elsewhere.
As you celebrate your centenary — you may find this fills in a small bit of the past ministry of your parish.
With best wishes. Yours sincerely
The Reverend Canon Roland Meredith
14 July 2010