Welcome to our Festival blog

We are a small congregation who organised a highly successful 'William Byrd Festival' in May 2011 to celebrate the life and work of the village's Elizabethan composer, William Byrd (c.1540 - 1623). In 2012 we played host to the world-famous choir The Cardinall's Musick under their director Andrew Carwood.

This website contains everything you need to know about William Byrd and his links with Stondon Massey. The church is open for services, of course, and on the second Sunday afternoon in the month during the summer.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Gift Day at St Peter & St Paul Church, today. 10.00am to 4.00pm


Gift day, refreshments plus ...

Reeve Family Archive

The Reeve family moved to the Stondon Massey Rectory in 1849, and lived in the village for almost a century.  This archive is a generous donation by one of their descendants.  It represents an interesting social history of a well-to-do family of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Please handle these items with care.

1.                   The commonplace book of Captain Edward Reeve (1785-1867).  He wrote this manuscript at The White House, Ongar, in about 1860.  Edward Reeve purchased the Rectory for himself and the advowson for his clergyman son Edward James for £700 in 1849.

2.                   ‘Jottings’ by Edward Henry Lisle Reeve (1858-1936) written in 1881.  He was known as Lisle to his family.
“My father you know is always telling us the same old stories, and then he will turn to me and ask ‘if I remember that’.”

3.                   ‘Plauti Comoediae. Tom. I’.   Lisle was educated at Harrow School.  This book is dated September 1875.

4.                   Lisle was a keen athlete and cyclist during his youth.   The trophy shows success in 1880 in a one-mile and ten-mile race, with a contemporary photograph.  ‘Safety bicycles’ had just been invented, allowing the rider to touch the ground with their feet, and were first catalogued in 1885. 

5.                   Two books belonging to Edward Reeve.  ‘Watts’, a hymn book dated 1815.  Highlighted is the hymn ‘Give to our God immortal praise’.

6.                   ‘Prayer’ dated 1815.  The Book of Common Prayer, which then included prayers for the deliverance of King James I from the Gunpowder Treason (illustrated above), and a form of prayer with fasting in remembrance of the martyrdom of King Charles I.  These remained in the Prayer Book until 1859.  The service of Morning Prayer included a prayer for “our most gracious Sovereign Lord King GEORGE” (George III who had reigned since 1759 – and by 1815 was bonkers) and “our gracious Queen Charlotte, their Royal Highnesses George Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, and all the Royal Family” (George Prince of Wales was Regent and later, from 1820 to 1830 King George IV).

7.                   ‘Church Services’.  A Book of Common Prayer inscribed “Elizabeth Jane Reeve. Augst. 22nd 1884. With her father’s love”.  Jane was one of three daughters of Edward James Reeve (1821-1893), then Rector of Stondon Massey.  The book was given on her 25th birthday. The same Morning Prayer records “our most gracious Sovereign Lady, Queen VICTORIA” followed by a prayer for “Albert Edward Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales and all the Royal Family” (Albert Edward eventually became King Edward VII in 1901.  Queen Victoria’s consort, Albert, had died in 1861).

8.                   ‘Hymns for a Week’ and ‘Concordance’.

9.                   ‘Death Certificate of Edward James Reeve’ and Hymns sung at his funeral at Stondon Massey, August 1893.

10.               ‘British Museum. Reading Room’. Rules, dated 1894, reflecting Lisle’s interest in local history.

11.               ‘Stondon Massey’.  The parish history written by Revd. E H L Reeve (Lisle).

12.               Miscellaneous Papers.


The archive is the generous donation of a descendant of Edward Henry Lisle Reeve.

Available today from the back of the church are three booklets transcribing extracts from the two commonplace books on display – each booklets is priced £2.00, in aid of church funds.
-          After Dinner Anecdotes
-          Relatively Speaking
-          Captain’s Reflections

Also, the recently published ‘Revd. Edward Henry Lisle Reeve. The Last Gentleman Clergyman of Stondon Massey’

Andrew Smith
15 October 2011

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