My dear Sir.
I was purposing to call the other day at the Abbey but hearing that you were absent, my visit was stayed The object of it was to tell you that at our School Committee Meeting last week after the auditing The years Accts which were in a satisfactory state. a conversation arose as to the state of the Parish Church And inasmuch as more accommodation is required to meet the demand for seats. & as the sittings free & [illegible] & the flooring in a great part of the Church are in a very dilapidated state it was unanimously agreed that before any thing was done. The first step, & the safest was to have the opinion of an Architect
Accordingly they commissioned me to procure an Architect. <2> & I am expecting him to morrow to be at the Church by 3 oclock in the Aftn
For some time there has been a strong feeling among all classes in the Parish that the Church internally required to be put in a better condition. & in procuring a plan & estimate for the whole. Aid can be obtained fm Ch. Building Socy which wd lighten the expense & which cd not be obtained if done piecemeal.
Those present at the School Meeting, Sir J W Awdry Capt Gladstone Mr Caldwell Mr Merewether, & Mr J H Awdry, <3> hope your opinion will coincide with theirs in the wisdom of this first step of calling in the aid of an Architect
Had I not been informed of yr absence, I shd have communicated with you on this matter earlier & the speedy arrival of the Architect is owing to the absence from their homes next week of some of the Squires.
Trusting that you will excuse this hasty notice for the reasons assigned & that you will not disapprove of the preliminary step.
Believe me dear Sir yrs very sincerely
To H. F. Talbot Esq
1. On 1 August 1861, Awdry complained to WHFT that 'the Church Restoration progresses but slowly' - see Doc. No: 08439. The official re-opening of the church took plate on 10 December 1861- see Doc. No: 08475.
3. Sir John Wither Awdry (17951878), JP & Chief Justice, Bombay Supreme Court; Captain John Neilson Gladstone (18071863), MP; Henry Berney Caldwell (b. 1805), magistrate; possibly Henry Alworth Merewether, snr (17801864), author, barrister, Town Clerk of London & Sergeant-at-Law; J H Awdry, solicitor, Chippenham.