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Prayer Walk

lantern flowerWhat follows is one suggested route for a Prayer Walk around our Churchyard, but if you want to go your own way, that is fine. The leaflet is available at the back of church, or you can download a pdf copy here.

For those not used to Prayer Walks, a few suggestions are that you mix together walking and sitting, depending on how you feel, and perhaps the weather.

  • Use all your senses to experience your surroundings.
  • Look around – take in the whole scene, but also look closely at details.
  • Listen to the sounds around you – the birds and the traffic.
  • Touch things – feel the bark of a tree or the texture of a wall. Feel the air you breathe in.
  • Smell the air – damp earth, pollen, scented flowers.
  • Be aware of creation all around you – respond in your own way.

On going out of the Main Door, go up the steps, turn to your left and stop. You are standing beside the grave of Edward Mounslow, Vicar’s Clerk of the Parish, who died in 1791, aged 82. Edward was one of the few literate people in the parish and witnessed many a ‘mark’ at weddings for example.

You might want to pray for our present schools, particularly our own St Mary’s School.

Move on anti-clockwise around the churchyard and you will very shortly pass the grave of Joseph Answorth, Citizen and Wheelright of London, who died in 1727. He would have been an important person, as without properly made wheels for carts and coaches, there would be little movement of goods or people around the country.

You might want to pray for all those who bring us our goods and food from around the world, including seamen.

Moving on along the path, as you turn to the East end of the Church, in front of you is a box tomb to Charlotta Chauntrell, from Bombay. And to your right is a large box tomb to Major-General Augustin Prevost, a British soldier, born in Geneva, who distinguished himself in the American War of Independence.

These remind us that the Christian Church is world-wide, for which you might wish to pray.

Moving on around the path you come to two slabs on your right. These mark the graves of Richard Mawson, Herald of Arms, who died in 1745, and of his wife Margaret, who died in 1755. The Office of Herald of Arms reminds us, that since the Dissolution of the monasteries in the mid 16th Century, the parish of East Barnet has been a Crown Appointment, and still is.

You may wish to pray for the Royal Family.

Continuing to walk around the path, you are confronted with a well pollarded yew tree. The west face of the pyramidal monument next to the yew is to Henry William, who died 21st May 1823, aged just 12 months. You might wish to ponder on the juxta-position of the long-lived yew tree and the short-lived young boy and pray for our health-care professionals.

The elaborate memorial by the road is to Sir Simon Haughton Clarke, ninth baronet, and his family, and is so sited that it could be seen by his widow from Oak Hill, (formerly Monkfrith House, and now a theological college) where he died in 1832.

Maybe you wish to spend time remembering family and friends whom you can no longer see.

As you continue around the path, look towards the church at the Grove family memorials. The patriarch of the family was The Rev.Samuel Grove, Rector of East Barnet from 1743 to 1769. His father was a French Protestant who was forced to leave his country on the Re-vocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. In common with many other Huguenots, he was obliged, on settling in England, to embark in trade, and, as a sugar-refiner, acquired a competence. His name was Groux, which his son changed to Grove.

You may wish to pause and remember that this country has always been a haven for immigrants in trouble in their own countries.

As you walk by the large memorial of the Smart family, pause and look to your left towards the memorial to Edmund Fry, who died in harness in 1866, whilst addressing a Public Meeting in the City of London, on his favourite theme ‘Universal Brotherhood’. Like his kins­woman, the celebrated Elizabeth Fry, he belonged to the ‘Society of Friends’ or Quakers

You may wish to pray for all those who have fought for better social conditions in this country.

Pause

This is a much the same view that would have been seen for many centuries and reminds us of the countless number of people who have worshipped at St Mary’s for more than 925 years.

Close to the lych-gate is the pink granite memorial to the Jackson family, whose name is remembered in the village with Jackson Road. William Jackson, who was also landlord of the Prince of Wales, gave land for the first Methodist Church in the village. 2008 saw the launch of the formal partnership between St Mary’s and Brookside Methodist Churches.

Pray for the continuing work of both churches.

As you turn left, back towards the church, on your right is the Child family memorial. This is one of a number of memorials within the churchyard that indicate the high mortality rate of children before the days of healthcare -William aged 13 days, Harry aged 46 days, Percy aged 14 months, and Henry aged 62 days.

You may wish to pause and pray for all families with young children and grand-children.

We hope that you have enjoyed this short walk around our churchyard. Besides the memorials and the views, we hope that you have seen and heard something of the wildlife for whom this is a small sanctuary within a built-up area. You may wish to return at different times of the year, when other plants and flowers are in bloom and other birds are visiting.

Martin Horton

2008

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