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Out of the question

03 November 2009

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below.

Your answers

I hope to illustrate a dissertation on churching with a photo of a church­ing seat or pew. Does anyone know of a church that has a surviving example?

In their celebrated Architectural Setting of Anglican Worship (Faber & Faber, 1948), Addleshaw and Etchells included a detailed plan of an interesting arrangement of an 18th-century three-decker pulpit that incorporated a churching pew, at Romaldkirk, Yorkshire.

In an old burial register of the parish, it was quaintly described as “the women’s pew”, which once had crimson velvet hangings. This structure was dismantled in 1926, but we are given to understand that the remains of a commodious churching pew were at that time relegated to the back of the church, where they are still preserved, if not perhaps elsewhere.

In a local History of the Church and Parish of Romaldkirk, published in 1936, the author, K. Shallcross Dickinson, provided an illustration of the pulpit and churching pew in their original position — to enable the woman to kneel in the pew to be churched, and the minister to read the service from his desk.

Addleshaw wrote that “the churching pew was like a huge box, and must have made a churching a very terrifying experience for the chief person concerned.” He added that the pew at Romaldkirk “has not been used in living memory”. This rare survival — even if somewhat fragmented — will perhaps be relevant to a dissertation on church­ing in the Church of England.

(Canon) Terry Palmer
Magor, Monmouthshire

Your questions

Before 1960, Francis Paget’s Prayer for Peace, beginning “Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed”, was set to music as an SATB anthem. Can anyone tell me the composer and publisher, or supply a copy (it is probably well out of print by now)?

K. J. D. MacK.

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 13-17 Long Lane, London EC1A 9PN.


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