Clifford Davies was a former royal Naval Chaplain and Chaplain to the Queen, a wonderful character but couldn’t take to suburban life so left us after only a couple of years. I remember him walking round Coulsdon to visit parishioners dressed in his bright red cassock and biretta. R.A.
Clifford Davis served as a Naval Chaplain both at home and abroad, in ships and shore bases, from 1936 until 1962. He was awarded the OBE (Military) in 1942 for his efforts to boost and maintain morale on board HMS Despatch, sailing in the Pacific, isolated and out of touch with UK.
In 1959 he was appointed Honorary Chaplain to HM the Queen. But those first golden years of his life in the Norfolk Broads always drew him back to his childhood. In 1971 he wrote The Four Poplars as a memoir of those times and a tribute to the village where he had known such happiness. The trees of the title, which stood by the spot where Clifford and his chums used to bathe were a landmark, which stayed with him throughout his life.
In 1943 Clifford married Joan Guy, who was serving with the WRNS at ITCRM, Lympstone where he was the Naval padre. They had six children, three boys and three girls. One boy, Simon, died in infancy.
After leaving the Royal Navy in 1962, Clifford held several church posts, including Truro Cathedral, St Andrew’s Church Coulsdon, St Mary’s Episcopal Church Aberfoyle and finally Holy Trinity Church, Keith.
Forty years on and 31 years after his death in 1980 at the age of 74, Clifford Davies’ family have resurrected his manuscript and entrusted it to Memoirs Books to edit and publish as Four Poplars. It is an enchanting story of an England which has long gone.
West End Completed
From 1914 until 1964 the church had a “temporary” west wall. It was plain on the inside and tile-hung on the outside, with heavy baulks of timber to support it. In the centre there was a small porch with interior and exterior doors. A small window set high up in the apex of the roof admitted a small amount of light.
By January 1964 the foundations of the Narthex had been laid, an interior partition of corrugated iron had been installed and scaffolding was being erected to permit the removal of the temporary wall.
The Archdeacon of Kingston, the Ven. P.D. Robb who had been Vicar of St Andrew’s until June 1963, came to lay the foundation stone of the extension in February 1964, He was accompanied by the Rural Dean. Henry Venables, who was a Churchwarden at that time, is also seen in the photograph. (WHere is the photo?)
The Vicar, the Rev Clifford Davies conducted a Service for the occasion, with the choir and pianist on a temporary platform. The congregation filled the car park. (Anyone got the photo?)
Clifford Davies leaving celebrations – see photos below:
Vicar: Rev. Canon Alfred George Duckett, MA
Vicar: Rev. C. J. E. Lunn, AKC (d. Sept 2011)
Connie Prentice’s 98th Birthday
….Meanwhile, as you drink your coffee after the Sung Eucharist on Sunday morning, listen to Steven Bowey playing the organ. He does it by ear, and can hardly reach the organ pedals.
St Andrew with St Francis Parish Magazine June 1979.
St. Francis Church
12 December 1987 was when the final service was held at St. Francis Church, the church’s closure having been forced by the ‘difficulty in finding clergy and a falling congregation’. In April 1989, after several months of negotiation, the premises were sold to the Coptic Orthodox Church for £550,000, a price said to be a fraction of what could have been commanded on the open market. The Diocese had resisted pressure to sell to property developers, a spokesman saying that ‘in the end we are very happy to be able to provide another Christian Church with the premises’. The proceeds from the sale were to be used for refurbishing St Andrew’s Church Hall.
21 May – Ordination of Rev Hilary Eve at Southwark Cathedral
25 May – Rev Hilary Eve – first communion as celebrant at St Andrews
Vicar: Rev. Canon M. Goodlad
Martin was ordained priest in 1967. He was Vicar of St Andrew, Coulsdon before retirement in 2005. Martin is a School, Governor of Woodcote High School and Sports College, he is a member of Rotary and is interested in genealogy and travel. Martin has been married to Mary for 45 years and has three daughters and ten grand-children. Martin has just started painting after 53 years. He now helps at St. Nicholas Church, Sutton.
2002 Major organ restoration
Re-leathering of all wind reservoirs including all new wood wind trunks. New Great Open Diapason façade pipes. Project consultant: John Norman. A major aspect of the work was the remodelling of the console from stop-tabs to an all Draw-stop console including a new bi-level combination system. Console turned round so organist faces east. Organ builder: Vincent Coggins
Vicar: Rev. V. Sims
After her time with us at St. Andrew’s, The Revd Vickie Sims formally began her ministry as Chaplain of All Saints Milan in a festive eucharistic service on Ascension Day 29 May 2014. Vickie also has oversight of the Church of the Holy Ghost, Genoa and the Church of the Ascension, Cadenabbia. All Saints dates from the end of the 19th century. It plays an important role ecumenically in this the second city of Italy, the see of St Ambrose of Milan.
LIVING next to a church is said to have its good and bad sides, and families may be testing that to the limit under a church’s resourceful plan to rehouse its vicar. The Diocese of Southwark wants to build two new houses in the grounds of St Andrew’s Church, selling the properties privately to help pay to rebuild the church’s abandoned vicarage. A spokeswoman said the plans are also spurred by charity laws dictating that it “looks to maximise the value of its assets. “This scheme will also provide much-needed extra housing in Coulsdon,” she added. The Rev Vickie Sims, who has led the church since 2005, left the vicarage two years ago, when its running costs and upkeep became unmanageable. She has since been living in rented accommodation close by in St. Andrew’s Road, and says she is looking forward to moving back into the church grounds. She said: “I am happy here in the sense that they have provided me with adequate housing, but I am more concerned to know that people know where to find me. “I think people in the church know where to find me, but there is something about having a visible presence that makes a difference.” The vicar added she was pleased that the church could help provide “more family-size housing of good quality” in Coulsdon. She said: “We keep hearing about housing shortage. For it to be happening in a really sensible and tasteful way, without overbuilding, is important.” The vicarage, built in 1927, has been boarded-up almost since the The Rev Sims moved out, after it was vandalised and plundered by metal thieves. Under the new plans, it would be demolished and replaced with a two-storey building, including four bedrooms and solar panels on the roof. “The diocese is seeking to reduce the carbon footprint of its portfolio,” explained a spokeswoman. The two houses would each include four bedrooms, a garage, and family bathroom. Former plans to redevelop the site were rejected on appeal in 2008, after the planning inspector said they may spoil the character of the 1914 church and its buildings. Agents Howard Sharp and Partners, of Sevenoaks, Kent, said the new proposal – submitted to Croydon Council last week – “fully addresses and overcomes” the previous objections.
9 August 2012 Coulsdon & Purley Advertiser
Demolition of the Old Vicarage
Church Centenary Celebrations (click here for more)
Priest-in-Charge – Rev. Esther Foss