Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. XIII.] St. Mary's Church.                           167
will be seen, is limited: it is the Churches in the new parts of the town which secure the " select preachers " who visit East-Bourne:—Bishop Vidal (Sierra Leone) ; Bishop Welldon (Calcutta); Bishop Crowther (African Negro); Bishop Billing (Bedford) ; Bishop Ingham (Sierra Leone); Archbishop Trench (Dublin); Bishop Ridley (Caledonia) ; Bishop G. F. Browne (Stepney, now Bristol); Bishop Spalding (Colerado); Bishop E. R. Wilberforce (Chichester) ; Dean Champreys (Lichfield); Rev. B. W. Bucke (Lee) ; Rev. H. V. Elliott (Brighton); Rev. P. B. Power (Worthing).
I have but very few anecdotes to relate. Here is one told me by the old Vicar, Mr. Pitman. On a certain Palm Sunday, a Clergyman who was assisting him, gave out the following notice :—" Next Friday being Easter Sunday—no ; I have told you wrong : next Sunday being Good Friday, there will be the special service appointed for that day."
I have already made mention of Mr. Pitman from the civilian side of his career, but a few more words in connection with the Parish Church may come in here. In the reading desk and pulpit he was a power. His reading of the Lessons was something quite out of the common, even at a time when there were far more good readers amongst the Clergy than there are nowadays. When he was on chapters like some of those in the Books of the Kings, you almost felt you were in the presence of the Kings and the Prophets themselves. His sermons, without being remarkable, were plain and straight­forward, and you could not doubt that he believed and meant what he said. Their length was adjusted to a marvellously exact standard of 30 minutes. It would be exceedingly rare that he was half a minute more or half a minute less than the standard length. I cannot remember that I ever saw him, even near the end of his life, wear a pair of spectacles, and he lived to the age of 85, after having been Vicar of East-Bourne for 62 years. His temperament being always autocratic, his relations with the family of his predecessor were often rather strained. Not long after he came to East-Bourne in
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