1840: Lavish praise and grateful thanks in recognition of generous Cuckfield Church gift

Updated: Dec 14, 2020


Sussex Advertiser - Monday 19 October 1840


CUCKFIELD.

Dinner to T. G. Waller, Esq.—


On Monday last the inhabitants of this place and neighbourhood invited Mr. Waller to dinner at the King's Head Inn, to testify the respect in which they held him and his family, and especially to mark their esteem of his recent munificent gift of an organ to the parish church.


Between 50 and 60 gentlemen and tradesmen sat down to a most sumptuous repast, the Rev. Mr. Dixon, the curate, in the chair, supported by Sir John Shaw, Bart., the Rev. H. Fearon, Rev. R. W. Smith, N. Barwell, Esq. T. J. Bellamy, Esq., John Waller, Esq., S. Waller, Esq., Cherry, jun. Esq., T. Byass, Esq., T. Byass jun. Esq., Mr. Grainger, Mr. Williamson, and Mr, Beavington (the organ builder), Capt. Wilkinson, R. N., officiating as deputy.—Mr. Waller sat on the right of the chairman.


The cloth having been removed, the usual loyal toasts were given, after which the chairman proposed “Church and State Protestant Ascendancy," and "The Army and Navy”. The chairman in proposing the health of Mr. Waller, spoke as follows:


“In rising to propose the next toast, I confess I approach it with some degree of embarrassment; and I could wish, for your sake, that the duty which now devolves on me, and which indeed is a most pleasing one, had fallen into the hands of one competent to do justice to it.

The organ at Holy Trinity Church

“The difficulty, however, is in some degree diminished by the assurance which I feel of the most complete unanimity of sentiment on the subject which has this day called us together. (Loud applause.) We have this day been honoured with the company of a gentleman, to whom I am sure I may with truth say every member of this parish must feel most deeply indebted for the magnificent present Mr. Waller has recently made to it. (Great and prolonged applause)


“We have incurred a debt of gratitude which it strikes me we shall feel it very difficult to pay. I may say, we never can repay it. For look if you will, gentlemen, either to that Instrument of music itself, or the motive and the feelings which promoted its erection in our church. (Applause).


“With regard to the organ itself, although I am not conversant with music, I have the honour and the pleasure of knowing those who are not only good judges of instruments of music but also excellent performers of the same, and it is with great pleasure I say that I am informed by them that they never touched an organ with the compass and tone of which they were more delighted.


This one word only for the instrument itself. Permit me now to request you to turn your attention for one moment to the kindness of feeling—the beneficence of heart—the perfect disregard of self-which have induced Mr. Waller to make this handsome present. For where, let me ask, are to be found the young men of the present day, who are content to forego, or who would not perhaps, rather take delight in the pleasures and gratifications of the world, than contribute a portion of their property to so good, so excellent, so meritorious a purpose? (Great applause). In what adequate terms then can we express our acknowledgment of the obligation under which we lie to Mr. Waller? What return can we make to him who has done so much for us? To say that we thank him is to say next to nothing, and yet I fear that is almost all that remains in our power. Permit me then to hope that you will all join with me in drinking the health of Mr. Waller, and at the same time that we do so, wish him every happiness that this world can bestow and that his life may long spared to be a blessing, as I am sure it will be, to all those with whom connected. (Loud applause)


Mr. Waller, in returning thanks, addressed the company in the following terms:—


Keyboard of the organ

“Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my position was accompanied with so much novelty, that I took my seat at this festive board under considerable embarrassment: that embarrassment increased by the kind manner in which you have received and drunk my health, and I feel that I cannot find language adequate to express the sense which I entertain of your kindness. To speak of one’s self is never very agreeable; and therefore allow me to crave jour indulgence. Cuckfield Is my native place to which I feel greatly attached, and it would be strange if it were otherwise, when I have spent in it so many happy days; circumstances now render me only an occasional visitor, yet though absent, my regard for the spot does not decrease, but rather increase. With these feelings of attachment for my native place, it would strange indeed if those feelings were not coupled with a sense of attachment to the sacred building in which my forefathers have worshipped (applause).


It a source of great pleasure to me, if I have been able do anything calculated to add to the solemnity of the service; and it was that, indeed, not the impulse a moment, which induced me to come forward. I am one of those who consider psalmody no unimportant part of divine worship, and that an organ is better adapted than any other instrument to give It effect. It has long been my wish to hear the solemn tones of an organ in our beautiful church and it affords me great satisfaction, If it tends to increase the praise of God. I may perhaps be permitted to say, with regard to the fabric of our church, that few parishes boast of so fine a building (applause) And I hope that the gift may operate as a stimulus to other improvements.


Mr. Waller's speech was greeted with loud and continued applause. Several complimentary toasts followed, and the evening passed off most pleasantly, the harmony being much contributed to by the excellent glee singing of some members of the Brighton Vocalists' Society.

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