|The Rushden Echo, 27th May, 1910, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden’s Share in The Nation’s Sorrow
The Funeral of King Edward VII
Churchmen and Nonconformists Join in Touching Tributes
Edward’s Life-Work as Peacemaker
In Rushden, as elsewhere, Friday last was observed as a day of general mourning. The factories and shops were closed, and muffled peals were rung on the church bells. Memorial services were held at 1 p.m. at the Parish Church, St. Peter’s, and the Park-road Baptist Church, the latter service being arranged by the Rushden Free Church Council.
United Memorial Service
At The Rushden Parish Church
The Rector’s Tribute
| A united service was held in the Parish Church, Rushden, on Friday last at 1 p.m. Long before the time fixed for the commencement, the sacred edifice was crowded in every part, with the exception of the pews in the centre of the church, which were reserved for the representatives of the various public bodies. Within the church was a restful quiet the congregation sitting with bowed heads. One was keenly conscious of the grief which was filling the hearts of all at the loss of their beloved Sovereign. Then the organ spoke softly and beautifully into the silence, and the lovely melody wedded to the beautiful old hymn “O God, our help in ages past,” played in the minor by the organist, Mr. J. E. Smith held us spell-bound. The sombre minor tones were strangely suggestive of a nation’s tears, a nation’s mourning at the loss of him they loved so well. Away in the distance could be heard the solemn strains of Handel’s “Dead March” in “Saul,” accompanied by the monotonous beat of the muffled drum, yet the magnificent strains at the conclusion reminded us of the victory over death. Every heart within the church was full an occasional sob broke the stillness. And yet, in spite of the solemnity occasioned by the silent sympathy of that great congregation, there was nothing sombre about the church. There were drapings of purple and black upon the pulpit, screen, lectern, and alter, but these were relieved by floral decorations of white lilac, white and purple iris, and arum lilies. Everything, the simple character of the service, the soft dim light of the church, the
of the congregation, was suggestive of peace, that peace which we all sincerely hope has become the heritage of him who was termed “The Peacemaker.”
The members of the public bodies marched to the church, and were met at the west door by the choir and clergy.
The order of procession was as follows:-
The Ven. A. Kitchin (Rector), the Rev. E. J. Keely Wright (representing the Free Churches), the Rev. E. W. Suart.
Rushden’s veteran churchwarden, Mr. G. Skinner, who remembers the funerals of five British Sovereigns.
The Rushden Urban District Council, Messrs. F. Knight, J.P. (chairman), G. H. Skinner, J. Claridge, J.P., C.C., G. Miller, C.C., C. E. Bayes, J. Spencer, and J. S. Clipson. Councillor Kitchin took his place as Rector; Councillor Ballard was attending a Co-operative Congress at Plymouth; Councillors Bazeley and Bates were at the Boot Operatives’ Conference at Kendal; and Councillor Swindall was at the Ambulance Encampment.
Urban Council officials Mr. F. L. Heygate (treasurer), Mr. Madin (surveyor), Mr. Kingston (inspector), Mr. Wing and Mr. Beetenson (clerk’s office), Mr. Hazeldine (Council Buildings.) Mr. J. Sargent (rate collector) was at Windsor.
The Board of Guardians, Mr. and Mrs. T. W. C. Linnitt, Mrs. A. Ashby, Mr. B. Ladds, and Mr. A. Gadsby.
The Educational Authorities and the teaching staff, Messrs. L. Perkins, B.Sc., Sadler, Rial, and A. Mantle (clerk).
The Rushden contingent of the H Company Northants Territorials.
The hymns sung were “Nearer, my God, to Thee,” “O. God, our help in ages past,” and “ Now the labourer’s task is o’er.” The last verse of the latter hymn was sung unaccompanied, a very beautiful effect being thus obtained. The congregation remained standing at the close while Mr. J. E. Smith played the “Dead March,” and then silently left the building to the beautiful strains of Mendelssohn’s “O rest in the Lord.”
The Rector, in a thoughtful and
said that from thousands of pulpits that day reference would be made to the noble qualities of their lost Sovereign. Public bodies throughout the country had passed resolutions of sympathy, regret, and loyalty, and the newspapers had vied with each other in paying their tributes to the dead Monarch. What was remarkable about this was that it was all true, there was nothing exaggerated, nothing overstrained, no fulsome eulogy. It had been the spontaneous outburst, the spontaneous sorrowing of the world for the noble qualities of a great king. What were the qualities which had brought that homage? A great preacher had recently spoken of the humanness of Edward 11V. He was indeed a man of whom they might say that nothing human was alien to him. He possessed that indefinable quality which, in its exercise, seemed to make all human nature kin. Their great King would go down to posterity by the name that would please him most “Edward the Peacemaker.” He possessed a reconciling personality in an extraordinary degree. His personal magnetism seemed, without an effort, to draw all nations and all phases of human life to him and to make disagreement impossible. Should not they all endeavour, in the death of their beloved Sovereign, to put aside all
Faction and Party Strife,
and work together in the interest of the nation he loved so well? Pre-eminent above all else was the King’s absolute devotion to duty. They were told that even up to 1 o’clock on the day of his death, he said, “I will not give in; I will work to the end.” The last words he uttered before lapsing into unconsciousness were “I have done my duty.” They had said “The King is dead,” but that was only partly true. In the power of influence, man never died. To live in the hearts left behind, man never died. So the King still lived. Their hearts went out at that hour to the Queen-Mother following her beloved husband to his last resting-lace. Had she not had many a thought in many a prayer? Their thoughts were also with their liege lord, King George V. Their prayers went forth for him. Surely he would be enabled, by the grace of God, to build a noble superstructure upon the foundations which his beloved father had laid. And now they would leave their loved Sovereign in the hands of God, that God who gave him his life’s work to do and to Whom he must render his account, fully believing, as they did, that he would hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
At the close of the sermon the congregation engaged in silent prayer.
The lesson, 1 Cor.xv., 20-58, was read by the Rev. E. J. Keely Wright.