A Pulpit for Duck Hunting

Photo:Interior of Kirklington church, with pulpit.

Interior of Kirklington church, with pulpit.

(Photographed 1951)

Curious historical use of church furniture

In their book "English Church Furniture", Cox and Harvey* record the following anecdote about the pulpit in the parish church of St.Swithin at Kirklington:-

"In the pulpit sides are some holes filled up with more recent wood. 

The explanation is  that a sporting rector of the beginning of the 19th century used to have this pulpit, which was loose from its base, carried down on weekdays to a swamp in the parish frequented by wild duck, where it served as a screen for the parson when firing at the birds through the holes made for that purpose"

* COX, J. Charles & HARVEY, Alfred English Church Furniture (London: Methuen & Co., 1907)

This page was added by Website Administrator on 22/04/2015.
Comments about this page

This is quite true, the top part of his pulpit was detachable from the base and was carried down to some marshland bordering the River Greet, this made a perfect hide from which to shoot ducks, but the pulpit was always back in church for Sunday service.

By P.Bowler
On 23/04/2015

Arthur Mee in his 'King's England' series on Nottinghamshire also records this bit of local history, but says that the pulpit has been replaced by a stone one. 

By Edna Welthorpe
On 23/04/2015

Do you suppose the rector inverted the pulpit over himself to form a true 'hide'?

By Martin Ballance
On 26/04/2015

It looks like the wooden pulpit was replaced when the church was restored (ie rebuilt) in the 1870s.  An article about the restoration in the Newark Advertiser newspaper (29th April 1874 p8) says "The interior fittings are all new, as are also the pulpit, reading desk &c.... The pulpit is a very good one of stone".

By Jon Steel
On 29/04/2015

Following on from Jon's Comment above:  the stone pulpit dating from 1874 sounds right.  Arthur Mee's book that I referred to in my Comment above (and which mentions the stone pulpit) dates from 1938.  Also, the phot in the article is dated 1951, so this must show a stone pulpit as well (I did think it looked a bit like wood in the picture)

By Edna Welthorpe
On 29/04/2015

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