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Prayers in the Park

by Michael Ford last modified 18 Jun, 2021 10:02 PM

The Wilton Branch of Mothers' Union recently held a Covid-safe May meeting with a Prayer Walk around Wilton, beginning in the park, taking in various landmarks and ending at the factory.

The park and river was once the Great Marsh, and then became a hop garden. The Wylye, the ‘river with willows’ gave its name to the town of Wilton (Wylye-ton).

In WW2, the Home Guard guarded the bridge, the main entrance to Wilton, and built tank traps either side of it, nicknamed 'Dragon's Teeth'.

Prayers and thanksgivings were said for the conservation and enjoyment of the area, and for protection from pandemic.

The stone memorial seat marks the visit by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1908, and the date in 1910 when Lord Pembroke gave the people of Wilton the land to use as a park.

Prayers for generous giving were said here.

Wilton Bowls Club began in 1870 and moved to its current location in 1912. Ladies were finally allowed as members in 1972. Since then, two MU members - Ann Hindley and Christine Stott - have been County, and Ann has been Lady County President.

Thanksgivings were said here.

As well as formal flower beds, the park now has a wildflower meadow area.

Thanksgivings and prayers were said for the benefits families gain, physically and mentally, from access to parks and natural areas, especially for those without any garden of their own.

Moving to the children’s playground, adventure playground and tennis courts, thanks and prayers were said for children.

At St Peter's Fugglestone, where the 17th century poet George Herbert was Priest, the group read his poem 'The Elixir'.

From here, the Almshouses were appropriate for prayers for the vulnerable.

Finally, the group reached the Old Courtyard of Wilton Carpet factory. 2021 marks the 280th anniversary of the first patent for Wilton Carpets, but the buildings are younger than that - they were rebuilt after a fire destroyed them.

As well as carpets, this area is now part of a new project called ‘The Guild’, featuring the likes of soaps, cheese, preserves, other handmade gifts and home-made cakes.

Thanksgivings and prayers were said for local artisans and future initiatives, and for the prosperity of the town.

Read the fully-illustrated order of service here.

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