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The incumbent, The Rev. Mackarness (seated above with his family) continued his midweek 8am mass in the Lady Chapel, reassuring the small congregation that the church was the safest place to be.

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Cosmo Gordon Lang

Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of York 1908-1928

German Bombardment of Scarborough
Wednesday 16th December 1914 0800
St. Martin's Church Hit by Two Shells St Martin's Church Shell Hits

  1. Crashes through the roof making a large hole
  2. Hits the east wall damaging the stoneworkWinifred Duthoit and children

One of the congregation that morning was Winnifred Louise Duthoit, a 21 year old Help Keeper from 27, Prince of Wales Terrace.
She was due to marry Richard Garton Horsley , a 21 year-oldĀ  budding architect living in Cromwell Road, Scarborough, at St. Martin’s Church that very day.

You can see and listen to the television and radio reports on this here. Winnifred had attended St Martins on the Hill on the morning of her wedding for Holy Communion. While this was taking place, the bombardment began. Despite the church having been hit, the vicar decided to go ahead with the marriage service. The bride saved a piece of shrapnel from the momentous day. She went on honeymoon with her new husband on a motorbike and sidecar. They were caught up in crowds of people fleeing Scarborough.

Damage to the church:

Damage to the Chancel Arch Chancel Arch Damage Detail

Evidence of the damage done to the church can still be traced today in the more-faded section of theĀ  wall decoration on the right-hand side of the rood cross painted on the chancel arch by Bodley, the archtect. A shell hit the roof here causing a large hole and damage to the surrounding area. Click on the indicated area above for closer detail.


Later that week Archdeacon Mackarness received a letter of support from the Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang, which was duly read out to the congregation:

My Dear People,

You have lived through a memorable and terrible experience. Let me send a message of heartfelt sympathy to those whose nearest and dearest have been so suddenly and cruelly killed; to those who have themselves been hurt; to those whose homes have been shattered, and to you whose churches have been damaged. Our hearts burn with just indignation at this wanton onslaught on a practically defenceless town and its peaceable people; at this cruel breach of law by which civilised nations have agreed to restrain the horrors of war.

Let us sternly set ourselves to defeat its object. If the object was to create a general panic and alarm, you who have quietly stayed at home have already proved its banality. If the object was to hinder the discharge of fresh reinforcements to the battle line in France and Flanders, I am sure that the men of our county and our country will make it futile by enlisting in even greater numbers, so that for every man who is sent abroad another will be ready to take his place and defend our land.

The ordeal through which you have passed will not have been suffered in vain, if it brings home to all of us the nature of that ruthless war spirit which we and our lives are called upon for the sake of the world's peace to destroy, and that it leads us with deeper earnestness to turn to God and to commit ourselves and our cause to Him. It was given to you, dear Vicar of St Martin's, and to some of your people to teach us all a lesson which we shall never forget.

I heard with pride and thankfulness of the calmness with which you refused to allow the celebration of the Holy Communion to be interrupted by the noise of the guns or the bursting of the shells. You realise that 'God is in the midst of His Church, therefore shall He not be removed'. And today, in the quiet and ordered worship of the Church you will learn afresh the secret of strength. 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is steady in Thee, because he trusteth in Him'.

I send you my sympathy and my blessing. May God bind, strengthen and settle you. Unto His gracious mercy and protection I commit you.

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