The Bishop of Guildford’s visit to the two main morning services last Sunday meant that we put on our Sunday best and polished our shoes to walk the bishop down the aisle. We felt a bit like minders but without the dark glasses and bulge under our jackets. Instead, we relied on our historic symbol of office, the warden’s wand.
The office of warden goes back seven centuries and the wand or staff, like a sceptre, was originally carried to demonstrate status. It was useful to drive out the odd sheep or goat who wandered absentmindedly into Mattins. In some churches the staff was used ‘to stop rowdiness and apprehend churchgoers who were boisterous, riotous, or indecent.’ But never (as far as we know) in Oxshott.
You will see the silver-tipped wands again on 25 April when the Bishop of Dorking leads the celebrations to welcome and install Frances Trickey in her new ministry. All are invited to attend the service in church at 7pm followed by a party in the Village Centre.
Phillip Herbert & Norman Steven