On Thursday 9th February, a prominent East Devon landmark was rededicated by two Anglican Bishops who travelled over 10,000 miles to pay their respects. The memorial at Patteson’s Cross was commissioned to remember John Coleridge Patteson from East Devon, who was a missionary and the first Bishop of Melanesia, but martyred in the Solomon Islands in 1871.
The refurbishment project by the Ottery St Mary Heritage Society was completed last September, on time and on budget. It was gratifying to learn that the life of Bishop Patteson and the importance of maintaining such a splendid memorial to his name engendered so much interest, both locally and nationally.
The institutions at which Bishop Patteson received his education – The King’s School at Ottery St Mary, Eton College and the Oxford University Colleges of Balliol and Merton – gave generous donations. Major institutional grant providers included the Tale Valley Trust, Allchurches Foundation Trust, Devon County Council and Ottery St Mary Town Council. The Heritage Society has expressed its gratitude to these bodies, as well as to many individuals, for their generosity.
prayer by the Revd. Prebendary Cate Edmonds was followed by readings by David Lanning and pupils from Feniton Primary School. The ceremony of rededicating the memorial by the Rt Revd Leonard Dawea, Bishop of Temotu and the Rt Revd Ellison Quity, Bishop of Ysabel, both in the Solomon Islands, marked a fitting completion to the refurbishment project.
The congregation included Lord and Lady Coleridge, Revd. Stephen Weston, Ven. John Rawlings, Cllr Roger Giles, the Melanesian Mission, members of the OSM Heritage Society, the Feniton History Group, pupils from The King‘s School, Payhembury and Tipton St John Primary Schools and members of the public.
After the ceremony, most people moved quickly to Escot Village Hall to socialize, with a welcome cup of hot soup and other refreshments. Robert Neal, chairman of the Heritage Society, gave a short welcoming address, and Bishops Ellison and Leonard expressed their pleasure and thanks for the opportunity to participate in the ceremony, and to meet many local residents.