No. 112 - Holy Trinity Cressy - Who Did Mr Brumby Bury?


The history of Holy Trinity Church at Cressy is the story of its rebuilding, repair and renovation. The first church was demolished less than 20 years after it opened while the second church was extensively rebuilt after only 35 years of service. 

The first 'Anglican' church at Cressy opened in 1839. It seems to have been served by visiting ministers from Longford, with the Reverend Davies reportedly riding over every Sunday, no matter the weather and apparently without incident.  Another minister was not so lucky, according to a report in the Cornwall Chronicle from 1846:

“On Sunday, as the Rev Mr Windsor was riding from Longford to Cressy on clerical duty, he was accidently thrown from his horse, and sustained severe injury. Unwilling however to disappoint the congregation at Cressy Church, the reverend gentleman commenced the service, in which he had for some time proceeded, when the pain he endured was so great, that he was under the necessity of leaving the pulpit, and was conveyed home for medical assistance”.

The minister’s injuries mirrored the state of the church, which was plagued by severe structural problems that necessitated its replacement with a new building.  Land for a new church was donated by James Toosey.

Bishop Nixon opened the new church of the Holy Trinity in 1858.  While this building did not suffer from structural problems like that of the earlier church, it quickly became apparent that it was not large enough to meet the needs of a growing congregation. By 1889 building another church was being considered once again. However, due to high costs, a compromise resulted in a plan for an enlarged and remodelled building designed by Alexander North.  The Examiner reported on the reopening of the refashioned church in August 1894:

“The Holy Trinity Anglican church has been closed since March last and has undergone extensive repairs, alterations and additions. The additions consist of chancel, vestry and porch. The chancel and vestry have been built on the eastern end and the entrance changed to the northeast. Over the entrance a brick porch is built…and over the front is old English woodwork…. [which] represents the seven golden candlesticks, emblematic of the seven churches of Asia. … On the eastern end is the bell turret, which is octagon shape, [and] is constructed of Oregon pine and rises 20ft above the roof of the church”.

The bell that was hung in the turret had a history of its own. It is inscribed with “Sara Christiana, July 1793”. It had belonged to a shipwrecked tea-clipper of the East India Company.  The captain had been a friend of Bartholomew Thomas of the Cressy Company. It was used to call the men to work and for meals.

At the reopening of the church Bishop Montgomery’s sermon borrowed a verse from the book of Revelations; “Behold I make all things new”:

“He…then referred to the old building, which he remembered as small and most uncomfortable”…. He asked, ‘Who would begrudge the money that had been spent on the service of God’?  And he trusted the congregation would yet be in a position to make the building more beautiful… he trusted the new chancel would not become a whited sepulchre, but that they would consecrate their lives to God’s service…” (Examiner 2 August 1894)

The Church of the Holy Trinity has had a fairly unremarkable history. However, one event was somewhat of an embarrassment although the rector and warden could hardly be blamed. In October 1880, in the absence of the Reverend Norman, the rector, Mr John Brumby, the warden, took on the duty of burying Israel Simcox.  The events that followed were widely reported across the colony. The Examiner’s report sums it up best:

“About two months ago the body of a man was found in the Lake River, near Mr Parker's estate, supposed to be that of Israel Simcox, or as he was more familiarly known as " Big Israel."  The corpse was removed to the Ringwood Inn, Cressy, and an inquest held the following day, at which Constable Stubbs identified it as that of Simcox; his identification being based upon the dress and general appearance, besides a broken nose and the loss of a number of teeth from the upper jaw; the belief was also sheared by others. A few days ago, however, Israel made his appearance on the township of Longford, and was to be heard in the principle street giving utterance to the fact that "he was not dead, but alive, and quite well," having been both at the time and since the inquest residing at the other side of the island. The question arises, who was the man upon whom the inquest was held, and can the registration of the death of Simcox, once made, be altered?”

It was never found out whom Mr Brumby had buried. The body of the unidentified man still lies buried somewhere in the cemetery of the Church of the Holy Trinity.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Line drawing of original church, attributed to Emily Stuart Bowring, unsigned undated. State Library of Tasmania [AUTAS 001124065863w800]

An extract from The Mercury:  The Mercury Friday 28 Jan 1881 

Headstones from Holy trinity Cemetery



Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018



Sources:

Von Stieglitz, K. R. (Karl Rawdon) The story of Holy Trinity Church, Cressy. [s.n, [Launceston] Tas, 1958.
Launceston Examiner Thursday 2 August 1894
Daily Telegraph Thursday 2 August 1894
The Mercury Friday 28 January 1881
Examiner Tuesday 25 January 1881
The Cornwall Chronicle Wednesday 6 May 1846 
http://www.ohta.org.au/confs/Tas/Cressy/Cressy.html
https://www.tasmaniananglican.com.au/ta200102-11/
















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