Books, manuscripts and documents relating to a Victorian Rector and his family will go on display for the first time at Stondon Massey on Saturday 15 October.
The archive highlights the life and times of a well-to-do family from the Essex / Suffolk border.
Edward Reeve (1785-1867) served in the West Suffolk Militia before purchasing Stondon Massey Rectory in 1849 for his clergyman son and moving himself and his family into comfortable retirement. Among the items on display at St Peter & St Paul Church will be his commonplace book written in the last years of his life and another manuscript of 'Jottings' written in 1881 by his grandson, Lisle. Edward Henry Lisle Reeve, the subject of a recent biography, was born in the village and was the Rector of Stondon Massey, succeeding his father, from 1893 to 1935. He died 75 years ago this year. 'Jottings' is a combination of family history and stories, told presumably after dinner. It is a fascinating social history about the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Reeve's cycling trophy (dated 1880) and photograph can also be seen. A Book of Common Prayer, dated 1817, will be on display which contains prayers associated with the Gunpowder Plot and the Martyrdom of King Charles I.
Canon Reeve is credited by many for bringing William Byrd to local public attention during his incumbency in the early twentieth century.
The archive is a generous donation by descendants of the family.
Visitors will be able to purchase for the first time three booklets transcribing extracts from the commonplace books. Also available will be the recently published biography and 'William Byrd Some Notes'. Booklets are £2 each and support the upkeep of the church and churchyard.
St Peter & St Paul Church will be open on Saturday 15 October 2011 from 10.00am to 3.00pm. Refreshments will also be available on what will be the church's annual Gift Day.