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A Poem written by Rev HM Townsend, October 1940


A poem was recently discovered in the village that was written by Rev HM Townsend. Here are some words from Edward Gill describing his memories of him in the form of a correspondence with Ron Lucas, along with images of the poem.

"I remember the Rev.Townsend well, in fact I have a photo of him with his dog; I shall look it out and send it to you. Rev.Townsend came to Norton in Hales for a few weeks rest from the bombing and shelling of Ramsgate in 1940 and our Rector, Rev.Cullimore, went to Ramsgate on a sort of exchange. I remember us bidding a sad goodbye to our Rector, little did we know we would never see him again. After a few weeks the sad and surprising news came back that our Rector had suddenly died; we were all heartbroken, I think it was too much for him and the Rev.Townsend returned to Ramsgate. Not surprising that Rev.Townsend wrote as he did about Norton in Hales. It’s all part of the village history.

I remember the Betton Centenarian, Mrs.Bourne telling me of her response when Rev.Cullimore expressed doubts to her as to whether he was doing the right thing. ‘Well Rector’ she said in her usual forthright way, you say you are called by God and so you are, therefore – you must go!’ He did and we never saw him again. I remember singing in the choir at his Memorial Service. There is a commemorative tablet to him on the chancel wall at St.Chad’s."

- Edward Gill




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