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Service of Remembrance to William Barnes

By Marion Tait

The wreath was laid at the foot of William Barnes statue by David Downton
The wreath was laid at the foot of William Barnes statue by David Downton

On Sunday 8h October 2017 10:30am, at St Peter’s Church, Dorchester, the Morning Service to commemorate the death of William Barnes took place. It was followed by a wreath laying at the statute.

17th Sunday of Trinity.

The Service was officiated by the Revd. Claire McClelland and the Revd. Canon Richard Franklin preached the Sermon.

It was a beautiful day with sun shining and a blue sky. There was a good attendance  from both the congregation and William Barnes Society members

The hymns for the service included:

  • Christ is made the sure foundation
  • God is love, his the care
  • Great is thy faithfulness
  • When I survey the wondrous Cross
  • All for Jesus.

The post communion anthem ‘A Grace’ was written by William Barnes with music composed by the Church’s Director of Music, David Fawcett, and sung beautifully by St Peter’s Church choir.  It was the first time the anthem had been heard in public.

Sermon-Matthew 21. 33-end   The Parable of the Wicked Tenants.

Canon Richard Franklin gave a very interesting and thought provoking sermon where he linked the gospel reading regarding  the tenants being thrown out of the  vineyard to the plight of  tenant and other small farmers in the Blackmore Vale where William Barnes grew up.  He outlined some of Barnes’ achievements as a poet and scholar. before considering the religious elements in his work, his love of nature, his trust in God,  the connection between faith and life and finally the dignity of work.

Canon Franklin presented Barnes as manifesting the best of Anglicanism, indeed the best of Christianity.  William Barnes spoke to his parishioners in the language of ordinary people-Dorset dialect.  He concluded by emphasising the importance of caring for creation and the need for the church to stay close to the society it serves.

Following the sermon Brian Caddy the William Barnes Society Chairman read a dialect poem ‘Sleep did come wi the dew’

Sleep did come wi the dew
By William Barnes

O WHEN our zun‘s a-zinkèn low,
How soft‘s the light his fiace da drow
Upon the backward road our mind,
Da turn an‘ zee a-left behind;
When we, in chilehood, us‘d to vind
Delight among the gilcup flow‘rs,
Al droo the zummer‘s zunny hours;
An‘ sleep did come wi‘ the dew.

An‘ ā‘terwards, when we did zweat
A-twilèn in the zummer het,
An‘ when our daely work wer done
Did use to have our evemen fun;
Till up above the zettèn zun
The sky wer blushèn in the west,
An‘ we laid down in peace to rest;
An‘ sleep did come wi‘ the dew.

Ah! zome da turn,—but tidden right,—
The night to dae, an‘ dae to night;
But we da zee the vust red strēak
O‘ marnen, when the dae da brēak;
An‘ zoo we ben‘t so piale an‘ wēak,
But we da work wi‘ health an‘ strangth
Vrom marnen droo the whuole dae‘s langth,
An‘ sleep da come wi‘ the dew.

An‘ when, at laste, our ethly light
Is jist a-draèn in to night,

We mid be sure that GOD above,
If we be true when he da prove
Our steadfast fâith, an‘ thankvul love,
Wull do var we what mid be best,
An‘ tiake us into endless rest;
As sleep da come wi‘ the dew.

After the Service the choir processed to the ceremony at the William Barnes’ statue.

The choir sang 'Linden Lea' -words by William Barnes with music composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The wreath was laid at the foot of William Barnes statue by David Downton,  Dave Burbidge  read the first part of  verse 4 from 'Culver Dell and the Squire'. 

‘But now I hope his kindly feace, is gone to vind a better place, But still, wi vok a left behind, He’ll always be a kept in mind.

This was followed by a short prayer by the Revd. Claire McClelland.

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