Although this letter was anonymous several parts strongly suggest that its writer was Adeline.
It was printed in the ‘Tilkestune’ column of the Ilkeston Advertiser of October 18th 1929….. from ‘a lady in Sussex who wishes to remain anonymous’ .
It was in response to an article which had appeared in the Advertiser in September of the same year.
‘Tilkestune’ expressed his gratitude for the letter and added some of his own notes after it.
‘The lady who lived in a Pew’ is a find indeed. These box-pews were in the original High Street Chapel, and they are still to be found in some of those old Presbyterian chapels, not merely in towns and cities, but sometimes are even now to be found in rural districts; the latter are very rare. In my wanderings thirty or more years ago I found three or four. One was at Knutsford, where I went to see the town about which Cranford was written by the wife of a former Unitarian minister; another was at Hale, near Altrincham; another was at Ainsworth, near Bolton; and a fourth at Chowbent. Regarding these as relics of the Revolution of 1688, I felt they represented the spirit which produced it. That spirit was, of course, a dissenting spirit. These chapels had box-pews and high pulpits. I consider it remarkable that after a lapse of thirty years I visited a small parish church the other week in an agricultural village, and there to my surprise and pleasure were the old box-pews and the high pulpits of the seventeenth century. One pulpit was for the clergyman and the other for the parish clerk. This church had also not been stripped by the modern restoration imp, and left like a barn with bare stones to chill the heart and the artist in one, but looked adorably white, spiritually clean and wholesome. Here was an antique indeed; white pillars and walls, lovely early English windows with a dense almost opaque glass, contrasting strongly with the dark, almost black, oak pews and pulpits through which the aisles ran like little lanes. My heart leapt at the sight. I was looking at the old box-pews again, the witness to the family worship of seventeenth century Puritans, whether Episcopalian or Presbyterian. There are two churches in Derbyshire I have visited containing box-pews, Alstonefield in or by Dovedale, and Mayfield, some miles lower down. Alstonefield was the church in which Cotton, the Derbyshire poet of the seventeenth century, worshipped. In Mayfield parish Tom Moore lived in a cottage for some time. The churches are well worth a visit’.