800 years’ service to Pirbright Christians

LAST Sunday was another sleepy Sunday in Pirbright, but not just any sleepy Sunday because the celebration of a lifetime (actually, 10 or more lifetimes) was being readied at the Church of St Michael and All Angels.

HISTORIC PRIDE – the bishop and vicar with the banner embroidery and most of the ladies who worked on it. It was inspired by Jadwiga Grimshaw (immediately to the right of the banner)

HISTORIC PRIDE – the bishop and vicar with the banner embroidery and most of the ladies who worked on it. It was inspired by Jadwiga Grimshaw (immediately to the right of the banner)

A special 4pm service was held at the church to celebrate the completion of its eighth century in the service of God.

The 800th Anniversary Service had a focal point in the form of a beautiful commemorative embroidery depicting a standing St Michael with a dragon at his feet, and a variety of flora and fauna around them marking Pirbright’s historic rural values.

The two are surrounded by branches of leaves and golden pears, the significance being that the original name for Pirbright was ‘Perifrith’, meaning ‘field of pears’.

Rhoda Nevins, the Chairman of Pirbright Parish Council, was the principal creator of the 47in x 32in embroidery, which bears the dates 1214-2014, though historians point out that in 1214 the church building was probably just a wooden shack.

The present church is thought to date back to the time of King George III.

Presided over by the Bishop of Dorking, the Right Reverend Ian Brackley, with the assistance of the vicar, Reverend Chris Musser, the well-attended service included the consecration of the 800th Anniversary ‘banner’ (the embroidery), and of the newly refurbished Lady Chapel.

Woking MP Jonathan Lord was there, and says of the event: “It was wonderful to meet up with my friends inPirbright to share this very special service with them.

“O their behalf I would like to thank Catherine Cobley in particular, who worked very hard to organise this important service.”

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