The Reverend Canon Peter Hardman receives Maundy Money from the Queen


The following article was written by Peter Hardman who was a curate at St. Paul's and was ordained at Manchester Cathedral on 28th May 1961. He wrote as he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination and it refers to a special event for himself and his family. The current Bishop of Manchester Diocese was an Archdeacon in the area where Peter worked for most of his life, Peter refers to him as the Archdeacon of Sarum.

Colin Platt

Peter writes:

The best gifts in life are surely those that are the least expected. This was certainly true for me when, in January, I received an envelope headed: 'E II R-Buckingham Palace', and inside found a letter which read, 'On Thursday, 21st April, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will attend the Royal Maundy Service at Westminster Abbey. We are delighted to inform you that your name has been submitted by the Dean to be one of the Maundy recipients.' It went on to say that I could bring my spouse/partner who could give me 'any assistance I may need on the day' and also two further guests, who were our son and his wife.

The service is one of our country's most ancient traditional ceremonies, dating back over 800 years to King John in the 13th century, when, as an act of piety following Christ's example at the Last Supper, he washed the feet of a number of poor citizens of London. the ceremony later became an annual institution on Maundy Thursday, and was accompanied by gifts of food and clothing. It normally took place in Westminster Abbey, where it is believed that the monks would ensure that recipients' feet had been well-cleansed before the monarch arrived. The foot-washing was abandoned after James II, but it is still symbolised by towels worn over the shoulders of the ministers. In 1670, Charles II replaced the food and clothing with specially minted sterling silver coins, whose design has remained unchanged to this day. Some later monarchs seldom if ever attended in person, but our present Queen has missed only four occasions in her reign, and also introduced the custom of moving to a different cathedral in the kingdom each year.

Recipients are now chosen, it seems, as a recognition of service to the Church and the Community. The service itself is simple but deeply moving. We all had to be seated, following full identity checks, an hour before the Queen's arrival at 11am. It lasted an hour, with hymns and two readings, the Gospel being read by the Duke. The Dean presided, accompanied by the Lord High Almoner, who is currently the Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch, an old acquaintance whom we know from his time in this diocese as Archdeacon of Sarum. Most of the time is taken in the distribution, as the Queen moved through the Abbey, accompanied by the Bishop and attendants, including four children, specially chosen each year, all carrying nosegays of fresh flowers, a reminder of the odours which would have accompanied the original poor. There were 170 of us, one man and woman for each year of her age, as it also happened to be her actual 85th birthday. Each recipient received two small leather purses, one red and one white, which were borne into the Abbey by six Yeomen of the Guard, in six great silver dishes. The first purse contains a 5 coin and a 50p coin, this year commemorating the Duke of Edinburgh's forthcoming 90th birthday and next year's Olympic Games, respectively. The second purse contains 85 uniquely minted silver pence. During the distribution, anthems were sung by the combined choirs of the Abbey and the Chapels Royal, concluding with the rousing Coronation anthem, Zadok the Priest. The stamina shown by the Queen throughout the ceremony was truly remarkable, with a charming smile for each recipient, and a personal "thank you" when I wished her a happy birthday.

A splendid lunch in Church House followed, completing a truly memorable and moving experience. I understand that the Maundy money is highly sought after by collectors, but for us it will be a precious legacy to pass on to our grandchildren.

Peter Hardman

Peter Hardman and family photo is normally displayed in place of this text

In the photo above: From right to left: Peter Hardman, his wife Frances, his son and daughter-in-law in the Abbey

Peter Hardman and the Queen photo is normally displayed in place of this text

In the photo above: The Queen is presenting Peter (rear view) with his Maundy Money. Bishop Nigel is on the left of the picture


On the 28th May 2011, The Reverend Canon Peter Hardman celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination. I suppose you have to be of a certain age to recognise the name and the significance, but I fit into both categories.

Peter served his first Curacy in this Parish at the time Cyril Barton was vicar. At that time there was a flourishing Youth Group and Peter became a leader and I suppose to many of the group a good friend. Among the group were David and Ann Quarmby, Jackie Shuttleworth, David and Betty Crossley, Stuart and Carol Vaudrey and myself (Jill came along later!) Peter led us along many pathways, some on the ground, some underground and some steep, but all of them developing a young person, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

He was ordained in Manchester Cathedral on the 28th May 1961 and in his remarks at the service this year he commented on the stole he wore at that time, and in fact, when he was a Deacon. He showed us that on the inside of the stole was a strip of elastic so he could secure the stole over the left shoulder and hang across the body to show that he was a Deacon (the word Deacon means 'servant') and that piece of elastic, now 50 years old, reminded him, that although he was a priest he was still a servant.

The Thanksgiving Eucharist was held at Holy Trinity, Bradford on Avon and at the service were people from every sphere of his ministry, from St. Paul's, there were Jill and I, Jackie and Muriel and Joan Barton, the wife of the late Cyril, was also present.

On leaving St. Paul's, Peter worked for the Christian Education Movement in the North and then moved to be Assistant Chaplain and then Chaplain at Marlborough College. He continued his ministry in Wareham and was there for 20 years. In all he spent 44 years in the Diocese of Salisbury, so for someone who had a science degree from the University of Manchester (in Brewing I believe!) and spent the early part of his life in the North, he really spent most of his life'down South'.

The service was very enjoyable, we started by singing 'Jesus where'er thy people meet' to the tune 'Wareham', of course! Two of Peter's former curates gave sermons and reflections on his life and we all sang a version of the creed to the tune 'Blaenwern'. The service finished with a rousing rendition of 'Thine be the glory' and then Peter had his say. The two 'teenagers' from St. Paul's, Jackie and myself, got a mention and this allowed us to introduce ourselves as 'the teenagers' as we mingled afterwards. I think I can safely say that everyone who attended the service was delighted to be present and share in the many fond memories so many people have of Peter's ministry. We hope that Peter and his wife, Frances,continue to enjoy their lives in the peaceful environs of Bradford on Avon and the church of the Holy Trinity.

Holy Trinity church is an old church going back about 800 years and is on the site of a church founded by St. Aldhelm in 700AD. Across the road was a Saxon church and just a little way off a wonderful huge tithe barn built by the Abbess of Shaftesbury in the 13th century. In fact, Bradford on Avon is a very interesting place to visit. Within the church is the tomb of Henry Shrapnel (who gave his name to ...) and also one of the longest 'squints' in the country. The squint allowed a priest standing in the north aile to see the priest at the high altar, i.e. it is a long tunnel cut through stone about 18 inches square and at about head height. High above the town is St. Mary Tory, a pilgrim chapel on the path taken by pilgrims on their way to Glastonbury.

Colin Platt

A photo of Colin, Jackie, Peter and Jill

In the photo above from left to right: Colin, Jackie, Peter and Jill

A photo of Muriel, Jackie, Jill, Peter, Frances, Joan and Colin

In the photo above from left to right: Muriel, Jackie, Jill, Peter, Frances, Joan and Colin in Holy Trinity church, Bradford on Avon