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World News

100 year old church time capsule reburied along with new items

by Donna Birrell

A 100-year-old time capsule, discovered under the pulpit of a church in East Anglia has been reburied alongside an identical set of current-day items.

The capsule, in an old milk bottle was found during renovation work at the Sacred Heart Church in Southwold.

The bottle contained pages of the Times newspaper dated May 15 1923, some coins, a photograph of the church’s parish priest Fr Henry St Leger Mason holding the capsule and a card explaining in Latin that the capsule would be placed under the pulpit the next day.

Laurette Burton from the church said :

“Installed in 1923, seven years after the church was built, the pulpit seemed out of proportion with the building and blocked an aisle.  During its removal the builders discovered a time capsule underneath. Fr Henry’s note gave the name of the Pope, the Bishop of the Diocese of Northamptonshire, his name as Parish Priest and that of the King who was George V. Fr Henry also named the anonymous donor of the pulpit.

“If a pulpit is removed from a Listed church, it is preferable for the material to be reused elsewhere in the building and, if possible, where the Word of the Lord is proclaimed.  Thus it was decided that the carved stone be used to provide a new Altar frontal and an Ambo.”

On May 16 2023, exactly 100 years since the original time capsule was first placed under the pulpit, the original items were re-installed in the new Ambo (lectern) along with modern-day versions of the same artefacts. 

 A 50p piece bearing the head of King Charles III, pages from the day’s Times newspaper, a photograph of current parish priest Fr Christopher Smith and details of the current Pope, the Bishop of East Anglia and King Charles III have been added to the original items.


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