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Reverend C.W.O Jenkyn

No description of bellringing in East Garston would be complete without mentioning the late Rev. C.W.O. ]enkyn. Cyril Walford Osborn Jenkyn was born In East Garston in 1874, the son of W.O. Jenkyn, who was the vicar of East Garston from 1870 to 1901. He attended Marlborough College, then moved on to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a BA in 1895 and was a member of the First Rowing Eight. He then attended Wells Theological College, becoming a Deacon in 1897 and a Priest the following year. He married Olive Mary Beale at East Garston in September 1898 - the reception was held at Manor Farm. image of Reverend Jenkyn and his wife

Rev. Jenkyn learned to ring at East Garston and Lambourn as a boy - William Woodley used to proudly relate how he had taught Jenkyn the basics of handling a bell. He rang his first peal ( a memorized sequence of 5040 changes usually lasting over three hours) at Cambridge in 1894 - exactly 39 years before his death.

He became Curate at Waltham St. Lawrence, and then moved to Witney from 1899 to 1910, where he became fully involved with the local community, and organized activities for the local youth - also finding time to undertake a camping tour of Palestine. He then became Chaplain of Queen Anne Girl's School in Caversham - and while serving here, also found time to be Chaplain to the Caversham Freemasons Lodge, President of the Caversham Nursing Association and a member of the Reading Leander Club.

image of haymaking scene with  Reverend Jenkynimage of Reverend Jenkyn with horse



He also served on the committees of Reading University, Royal Berkshire Hospital and the Reading Tuberculosis Dispensary Care 

Association, as well as serving as a locum minister in the Reading area. Between 1915 and 1919,Rev. ]enkyn served as an Army Chaplain in Flanders, and was awarded the Military Cross in 1916 for fine and gallant work helping to rescue wounded soldiers under fire. It was during this time that he suffered a gas attack from which he never fully recovered.

image of Reverend Jenkyn in military uniform
image of Reverend Jenkyn at military hospital

He became Branch Chairman and also Librarian of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers and was elected Master of the Guild in 1910. He liked to ring heavy bells, including the tenors at Southwark and St. Mary le Bow, and the tenth at St. Paul's Cathedral - all these bells weigh over two tons (2000kg).  His frequent visits to the many towers in the area were eagerly awaited by the local ringers.

On Easter Monday, 1933, Rev. Jenkyn spent the morning with his wife in East Garston, walking in the woods which he loved. In the afternoon, he went to St. Nicolas Church in Newbury to listen to the bells, which had recently been augmented with a 9th and 10th. He descended the steep staircase from the ringing chamber and walked towards the canal at West Mills to listen to the bells.

It was there he was found collapsed, and doctors were unable to save him - he had finally succumbed to the effects of the gassing he had endured in the first World War. The funeral took place on 27 April 1933 at East Garston. Ringers from as far away as the Midlands, London and South Wales attended, filling the church and spilling out into the churchyard. Over one hundred floral tributes were received, and memorial services conducted all over Berkshire. Simultaneous peals were rung at East Garston and Newbury, and a peal on handbells was rung over his grave. His photograph hangs in All Saints and many other belfries in the area to this day, and there is a memorial in his memory at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. This remarkable man is still remembered today, not only for his many achievements but also for his friendliness and infectious enthusiasm.

image of Reverend Jenkyn with Dog image of remembrance card for Reverend Jenkyn

Research and content courtesy of past resident Mark Brock