The Rev. Canon Martyn Griffiths has been Rector of Henley with Remenham since 2005.
After schooling in Sutton Coldfield, Martyn attended Nottingham University and Kelham Theological College, followed by a year at St Martin’s College of Education, Lancaster.
Following his ordination to the priesthood in 1975 Martyn served in parishes in the Dioceses of Birmingham, Manchester and Blackburn. He also worked on various Diocesan Committees, including the Finance Committees in both Manchester and Blackburn, and the chairmanship of the Property Committee in Blackburn, with responsibility for all clergy housing in the diocese.
From 1980-1984 Martyn served as Assistant Administrator at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, Norfolk.
Martyn is married to Anne, a primary school teacher, and they live in the Rectory, immediately opposite the church in Hart Street.
Rector’s Letter for August 2017
I was recently contacted by someone in the United States who was investigating their family tree. Requests such as these are not uncommon as, thanks to sterling work by the Henley Historical Society many years ago, we have a complete set of transcripts of all baptism, Marriage and burial registers dating back to the early 1500’s.
This one, however, was slightly different in that my correspondent was inquiring about a former clergyman of the parish. The Rev’d William Chapman was Curate of the parish under three Rectors, from the Rev’d Morrell to the Rev’d J. F.Maul via the Rev’d Greville Philimore. First of all this illustrates the necessity of changing usage of some words in the Book of Common Prayer services – when they were written the word ‘curate’ referred to the Rector or Vicar of the parish. as he was the one with the ‘cure’ of souls. In William Chapman’s day, in the latter half of the 19th century, the word ‘curate’ could be used for the Rector or the Vicar but was more usually a reference to the assistant clergy, in the days when it was not what you knew but who you knew which mattered in trying to obtain a living in the Church of England. The Rector might be Rector or Vicar of several parishes, and as such would take the income of that parish as his stipend – if the stipend were large enough (and it usually was) he would employ one or more curates to do the work for him, especially if he were lucky enough to hold more than one benefice. He was then left free to continue his studies in continental butterflies, or whatever was his particular interest. William Chapman was not so lucky, or so well-born as to be put forward for such a position. The record of his death in the Henley Standard for May 15th 1908, stated that he held many offices in the town, including Chaplain (The Standard couldn’t spell in those days and had him down as ‘chaplin’ – as in Charlie!) to the Workhouse, a manager of the Henley Savings Bank, and a Conservative founder member of the Salisbury club. In all of these posts he was spoken of ‘in the highest terms’. William Chapman was clearly a well-loved parish priest, for ‘his familiar figure and cheery face will be missed by everyone’, and at his funeral ‘many blinds were drawn in the streets of the town’. Which all goes to remind us that we never know how we might influence others for good (or otherwise) until perhaps too late. There is no memorial to Fr Chapman in St Mary’s – apart from that which he left in people’s lives and hearts – that which is undoubtedly the most precious of all memories.
With Love and Prayers