High Street,
Essex CO7 6DE

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April 2014

Writing in this magazine, in June 2000, the Vicar wrote the following:

Some fifty years ago Canon Given-Wilson tried to prepare this parish for a serious loss. He said that Dedham should get ready 'to say goodbye to an old friend'. He was not referring to a person but to the horse chestnut tree which commands the attention of all who walk along the High Street. The horse chestnut is not a native British species, having been introduced at the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, a century after the building of our church.

To relieve the great weight the chestnut was 'crowned' in 1998. The effect of that has been to rejuvenate the venerable giant, which now has the most luxurious growth it has had in many a year. And all that weight (estimated at 170 tons) is on a very old frame. Its location against a collapsing wall can only mean that the future is, at the very best, uncertain. It remains my sad duty to have to repeat the warning given by my predecessor: we have get ready to 'say goodbye to an old friend'.

In February 2014 the PCC received a report from structural engineers who concluded that the strain on the retaining wall, and the metal plates that were put in more than thirty years ago to hold it in place, has greatly increased since it was last surveyed a few years ago. This means that, whatever the health of this ancient tree, there is a serious risk of the wall collapsing - which will inevitably put the tree (and people on the High Street) at risk. For this reason the PCC is very reluctantly applying for a faculty (Church planning permission) to take the tree down.

At the same time the next tree, a Dawn Redwood, can be seen to be pushing its roots under the Vicarage and there are signs of stress to the house as a consequence. This tree is only partially grown - if left in place it will 'top out' even higher than the church tower. This will put both the Vicarage and the church at risk. For this reason the PCC has also applied for a faculty for this tree to be taken down at the same time as the chestnut tree. There is never a good time to remove much-loved trees but the PCC has concluded that now is the right time to do what was first considered more than fifty years ago. The PCC is awaiting the decision of the Chancellor of the Diocese as to how and when to proceed.

October 2013

For more than 25 years Stuart was the Organist and Choirmaster of Dedham Parish Church, before training for the preaching ministry as a Reader, in which capacity he led services, taught, preached, and pastorally cared for the people of Dedham.

His death in July, on the same day as Margarita Moate, brought to an end half a lifetime of service to our church and community. Stuart's funeral service was held on Wednesday 14 August at Lawford church, his family home being in that parish.

There will be a special service of Evensong in Dedham in his memory at 6.30 pm on Sunday 13 October.

Summer 2013

A project has been begun that will be of tremendous interest to the many who have an interest in the family roots in Dedham.

At the invitation of the Vicar & Lecturer, Gary Sanford is creating facsimile editions of our church registers, with transcriptions of the difficult-to-read original entries and, eventually, a full index to all of the registers for the period 1560-1900.

Manuscript transcriptions, as far as 1812, were done back in 1912 by the Rev'd Reg Grubbe, a retired Vicar of Ardleigh. Modern computer technology has meant that this tremendous task is now possible with somewhat less effort and at an affordable cost.

The Parish Church is very grateful to the family of the late Samantha Hunnable who have given a donation in her memory that will help to cover the cost of the six or seven volumes that it will take to complete the task.

The first volume, from 1560-1630, should be available before the end of this year.

Summer 2013

The Vicar & Lecturer is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Verger. Gabriel Watson, wife of the Director of Music, Antony, has kindly accepted the invitation to succeed George Beeken, who retired last year.

The Vicar & Lecturer welcomes the appointment of a new Financial Administrator for the Parish Church. Sara Marshall, who is an accountant, is taking up this part-time role from the beginning of August. Sara lives on Gun Hill, Dedham, in a house that was once the vicarage for Langham.

Our thanks are due to Tracy Woods who was persuaded to 'hold the fort' in emergency and who has done so for more than a year; and to Katrina Ablett who continues to give her time in administrative support.

Summer 2013

Christopher Bailey has stepped down from more than a decade of being a Governor of the Primary School, much of the time he has been the Chairman of Governors.

His very great service to this community was acknowledged by the School on several occasions - but it is important to note here that his leadership, judgement and considerable efforts have meant that he leaves the School in very fine form.

On behalf of the community (more than the village of Dedham), thank you, Christopher.

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