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Blessing the Waters from a Harbour Board Launch,
14 May 1950

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101 years ago

On the 9 May 1920, the “Ancient Rogation Ceremony” of “Blessing the Waters” was “revived after the lapse of many years – probably of centuries” (Hampshire Advertiser 15 May 1920) in Southampton. In the calendar of the Church of England, Rogationtide runs from the fifth Sunday after Easter to the following Wednesday, the day before the feast of Ascension. Traditionally, this was a time to “beat the bounds” and pray for the fruits of the earth, and there had been a revival of such processions and ceremonies in rural parishes in the early years of the twentieth century.
The men behind the ceremony were Rev John Parmiter, the vicar of Holy Rood, and Rev A J Sinclair Burton, the recently appointed Port Chaplain for the Missions to Seamen, who had compiled the order of service “from ancient authors.” At 3pm, the procession left Holy Rood behind a cross bearer, boys from the Seamen’s Orphanage, and the Southampton Temperance band, after whom came another cross bearer, the surpliced choirs of the parishes bordering the water (St Denys, Northam, St Michael’s, St John’s, St Laurence and Holy Rood), and their vicars, Rev J T Costa of St Julien’s French Church, port chaplains, representatives of “the shipping world”, the mayor of Southampton in his role as Admiral of the Port, and finally more boys from the Orphanage. Boy Scouts formed a guard of honour at the quayside. After a sermon by Canon Lovett of St Mary’s, the Vicar of Holy Rood “advanced to the water’s edge and blessed ‘the sea and all that therein is’, and the assembled crowd sang ‘O God our help in ages past’ and ‘Eternal Father strong to save’, bringing an impressive and picturesque ceremony to an end.”

This year, 2021, Rogation Sunday again falls on 9 May.


Remembering the Southampton blitz day by day

See Air Raids, World War 2

10 May 1941
In the early hours of the morning, bombs fell in Alfred Street, near the Royal South Hants Hospital, and ten houses were wrecked. “Windows in the hospital were broken, but there was little other damage. No patients suffered injury and it was not necessary to remove them.” (Southern Daily Echo 10 May 1941) “In the road in which casualties occurred may people had remarkable escapes… Mr George Wing, who has been bombed before, was in bed two doors away from a house totally demolished… ‘We all got out as quickly as possible and helped to rescue a woman who was trapped under a fallen chimney in the house next door.’ “ Divisional Air Raid Warden Henry Richard Leggett was awarded an MBE for “his outstanding courage, coolness and leadership,” as he led the rescue efforts to free the woman trapped under the chimney, crawling through in the collapsing building, disregarding his own personal safety. It took one and a half hours to get the unnamed woman out.
Ten people died:
at no 16: John Alexander Pain
17: Eva Judd
20: Vera Sophie Goodfellow, known to her father Walter as “Tops” (Death notice, 13 May)
21:Thomas Barfoot
Mary Ann Barfoot
The Barfoots’ children Lilian and Charlie placed a notice in the Echo immediately (12 May) The funeral would be on Wednesday 14 May, and leave from Lilian’s home, 23 Lobelia Road, where she lived with her husband Albert Edward and son Norman.
23: Evelyn Lily Deacon
Florence Elizabeth Deacon
25: Jane Biddlecombe
Blanche Lily Hiron
John Hiron
The Hiron’s daughter Ada Price placed a notice 15 May in memory of her parents. Their landlady, Jane Biddlecombe, did not even receive her full name on the Commonwealth War Graves Register.

April 2021

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Sotonopedia last updated 9 May 2021

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