My mother’s Prayer Book (1904) and Bible (1906) were both given by
the will of Philip, Lord Wharton, who died on 4 February 1696. Who was he? Is
his will still honoured with respect to Sunday-school prizes? If so, are the
terms as shown on the flyleaf of the Bible still being maintained, i.e. "The
1st, 15th, 25th, 37th, 101st, 113th, and 145th Psalms should be learnt, if
possible, by the recipient"?
Philip was the 4th Lord Wharton, of Wharton Hall, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria,
where the family had lived from the 16th century and lived until 1728. He was a
soldier and a preacher who was active in the Puritan cause; yet, although he
was an anti-royalist in the time of the Civil War, he refused to assent to the
execution of King Charles I.
In 1692, he left a legacy on his death for the distribution of an annual
supply of 1050 Bibles to children who had memorised seven selected psalms and
who lived mainly in the old counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Yorkshire.
A few Bibles were also given to children who lived in Buckinghamshire and
Bedfordshire. Prayer Books were distributed, too.
In Kirkby Stephen, where I was Vicar from 1982 until 1996, we gave them to
children in the Sunday school and choir who had been very regular in their
attendance. As the wording on the bookplates is exactly the same as it has
always been, recipients were well aware of Lord Wharton’s wishes.
(Canon) Bill Greetham
Philip, 4th Lord Wharton (1613-96), . . . went abroad during James II’s
reign. He was a Privy Counsellor of William III, whom he entertained at his
home. His charity continues. There are now seven trustees: four Anglican, and
three Free Church. About 1000 Bibles are distributed annually to children. The
clerk is Mrs R. J. H. Edwards (edwardsrjh@ btinternet.com), who can supply
The original condition that each recipient should memorise seven specific
psalms is no longer adhered to: instead, "greater emphasis is now placed on
comprehension." The condition was evidently not applied when I, as an infant,
received both a Bible and a Prayer Book from the charity at my baptism in 1935.
C. R. Calladine
Philip, Lord Wharton, married Jane, heiress of the Goodwins of Upper
Winchendon and Wooburn, in 1637. He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of
Buckinghamshire in the period before the Civil War.
Philip had become a peer in 1625, while still at university, and later
became a strong supporter of the Puritan cause in the House of Lords. Wooburn
House became a sanctuary for various ministers, and Nonconformity thrived in
He is buried in St Paul’s, Wooburn. When the church was restored in 1858,
the Vicar at that time, the Revd F. B. Ashely, described how "on removing the
floor we came across his grave and coffin: there was much magnificence, the
silk, crimson velvet and gold lace as fresh as if only just placed there."
Chris Berry (Churchwarden, StPaul’s with St Mary’s, Wooburn)
Wooburn Green, Bucks
What is the story behind the hymn "I danced in the morning"?
Would someone please explain the point of asking parents and
godparents to make the sign of the cross on a candidate for baptism. Is not one
cross, by the officiating priest, sufficient and impressive in its solemnity?
E. S. H
Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church
Times, 33 Upper Street, London N1 0PN.