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Rector Harvey

from The Barwicker No. 57

Reginald Henry Harvey was rector of Barwick from 1910 to 1933. He graduated with BA from Christ College, Oxford, in 1892 and was awarded his MA in 1896. He attended Wells College in 1892 and was ordained Deacon in 1893 and Priest in 1894. He was curate at St Mary's, Oldham, (1893-97); Christ Church, Bristol, (1897-99) and St Mary's, Bristol, (1899-1901). He was appointed rector of Hanbury in Warwickshire in 1902 and became the incumbent in Barwick in 1910 after exchanging livings with Rev. Colman.

Rector Harvey was a strong Anglo-Catholic, a member of a movement within the Church of England to further interest in the more Catholic aspects of theology and worship. Its members encouraged changes in the frequency and ritual of the church services and the architecture, fittings and ornamentation of churches. In Barwick some features of Anglo-Catholicism were present before Rev. Harvey's time. When Charles Augustus Hope was rector, monthly communion services were introduced. Rector Colman used a mixed chalice and lighted candles and adopted the 'eastward' position when celebrating communion. When Rector Harvey arrived he introduced vestments and sung Eucharist, further features of Anglo-Catholic practice.

Although these changes were somewhat controversial here, they did not produce the antagonism that was seen in a neighbouring parish. By a curious historical survival, arising from the fact that the parish of Manston had been formed partly from the western part of Barwick parish, he found himself in 1925 obliged to appoint a new incumbent in Manston. He chose a prominent Anglo-Catholic, an appointment which later led to the break-up of the congregation at the church. Here in Barwick however, Rector Harvey was well-respected as a kind and caring minister.

The late Stan Robshaw remembered him well and it is on his recollections that this article is largely based. The members of the Harvey family were very musical. The rector's wife, Cecily Dora (he always used both names when referring to her), was also an Oxford graduate and she played the church organ. Their children were:
  • Mary, a soprano who played the viola and became a teacher.
  • John, a bass singer who played rugby for Cross Gates and emigrated to South Africa.
  • Barbara, a mezzo-soprano who played the cello and became a music teacher.
  • The twins;
    Peter, a tenor who was a rugby player and worked at Appleyards as a motorengineer, and
    Bridget, a mezzo-soprano who played the violin and became a nurse.
  • Patrick, a bass who worked for the post office.

All six children went to boarding school, John and Peter to King Williams, Isle of Man. As a family they made up their own orchestra and held musical evenings in the church and rectory. They were all members of a Leeds orchestral society.

The services at Barwick during his ministry were:
  • Holy Communion - 8am Sunday and Wednesday
  • Sung Eucharist - 10.30 am, 1st Sunday in the month,
  • Matins - 10.30am, the other Sundays in the month.

  • He formed a choir of boys for the chancel and he and Mrs Harvey formed a mixed adult choir who sang at the tower end of the church. To preach the sermon he stood on the chancel steps. He organised summer camps for the choir and bellringers to Wooller, Helmsley and Glaisdale. Stan Robshaw, Percy Thorp, Reg Goodall and Norris Stead were keen participants. The rector would pay for any boy whose parents could not afford it.

    Rector Harvey was an Oxford rowing blue and keenly interested in sports, fully supporting the local teams - football, cricket and rugby. He was an early (possibly a founder) member of Garforth Golf Club. 'The Harvey Foursome' is still one of the main competitions at the club. He is quoted as saying that he "was sure that they play golf in heaven". He was the proud owner of one of the first cars in the village, a Studebeker, and then a Morris open top tourer.

    Stan remembered him as follows; "He was the perfect gentleman, educated and wealthy. As well as supporting village activities, he was extremely generous. He was well known for his help financially to anyone in need. He spent much of his time visiting the sick, needy and bereaved in the parish."

    In 1933, he retired to Flackwell Heath near High Wycombe and he 'helped out' at many churches around Marlow. Stan visited them often with his parents and served for him in his services there including taking the lead in the Lord's Prayer (and being complimented, with his Yorkshire accent, on speaking so clearly).

    He died in early 1941. Rev. Lovell Clarke, his successor as rector, recorded these words in the March issue of the Parish magazine:
    "Suddenly at the age of seventy-four, died recently Reginald Henry Harvey, priest, Rector of this parish from 1910 to 1933. We held a Memorial for him at all services on Sunday, February 16th., at which many of his friends were present.

    He was called upon to carry out the pastoral care of this parish in the difficult days of the last war and during the uneasy years that followed the war. He had the gift of making very real personal friendships and many mourn his death. In ways which did not advertise themselves he was most generous. There are many who will never forget his kindness of heart and his sympathy with them when they were in sorrow and in difficulty.

    To me he was kindness itself. When I was appointed he invited Mrs Lovell Clarke and me to come over. He said that I should probably make alterations in the conduct of the services and he entirely understood that I must do things in the way I thought best. He took us round the garden and pointed out rare plants and trees, for he was a great lover of Nature.

    On his retirement he did much occasional duty in the parishes round his new home and was active to the last. May he rest in peace and may his widow and his family for whom Barwick Rectory was home, be comforted."

    From the recollections of STAN ROBSHAW.
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