Sampford Courtenay was the Parish Church of most Sticklepath villagers
Auntie Kate has often told of the rebellious nature of them folk at Sampford Courtenay. Twas not only the Prayerbook rebellion… but Musical Mutineers too! One can not imagine the genteel choir of today breaking down the door!!! But in August 99 years ago…
Extract from PATRIOT Wednesday 23 October 1833 a accessed via Britishnewspaperarchive
“The Church of Sampford Courtenay was the scene of a curious occurrence on Sunday, the 29th ult. :—
The Rev. clergyman entered his desk and commenced the service as usual, when shortly afterwards some members of the choir came into the church, bringing their musical instruments with them. The Rev. Gent., as if suddenly paralyzed, made a dead stop, and the pause continued for nearly three quarters of an hour.
This dread and solemn silence was broken at times by a few whispers, and an occasional titter from the thoughtless; at length the serious people fancying they had had enough of nothing, arose from their seats, and a general disposition for a clearance was manifested.
The parson, to arrest this defection, now stepped into the vestry-room, and sending for the leader of the choir, informed him that the service would not be proceeded with till the musical instruments were removed. The leader expostulated, but the parson was inexorable, and so returning into the church, the leader in a loud voice, proclaimed the mandate of the Rev. Gent.
The choir determined to take themselves and their instruments out together, and proceeded to the school-room, in order that they should not be deprived of the customary exercise of music, in which they indulged themselves on the Sabbath. Their friends followed them, and the church was nearly empty; but here they were frustrated, for the parson anticipating their movement, had deprived them of the key; they became desperate, and broke open the door.
We leave the reader to draw his own picture of the state of excitement into which such strange conduct must have thrown such an excellent parish as that of Sampford Courtenay.”
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