Christmas cheer as pioneer is celebrated at church event

PUBLISHED: 13:24 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:25 13 December 2019

The spirit of William Winstanley (Jonathan Webb)  lives on in Quendon Church. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

The spirit of William Winstanley (Jonathan Webb) lives on in Quendon Church. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Copyright © 2019 Celia Bartlett Photography. All rights reserved.

A celebration of "The man who invented Christmas", William Winstanley, was held at Quendon Church, St Simon and St Jude on Sunday, December 8.

The older pupils did their readings. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYThe older pupils did their readings. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Winstanley, head of a wealthy family in the village, defied Oliver Cromwell's ban on yuletide festivities in the 1650s when Quendon Church was closed by the Puritains.

He held celebrations at his home, The Berries, and is credited with inventing traditions including decking the hall, Christmas crackers, giving gifts and alms to the poor.

A prankster, he would hide a dragon along the roadside and note people's reactions in pamphlets which he sold in London, raising money to found the almshouses in Saffron Walden.

Children from Rickling School and other villagers dressed in 17th century costume, sang carols and rang bells with villager, Jonathan Webb entering the church dressed as Winstanley.

Children played their part. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYChildren played their part. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

A village spokesman said: "This is an annual event, which we revived four years ago. It was a great occasion and the church was full."

The younger pupils were chased by Winstanley's Dragon. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYThe younger pupils were chased by Winstanley's Dragon. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

The younger pupils were chased by Winstanley's Dragon. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYThe younger pupils were chased by Winstanley's Dragon. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Jonathan Webb as William Winstanley - preserver of the traditional Christmas traditions. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYJonathan Webb as William Winstanley - preserver of the traditional Christmas traditions. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Puritan villagers and William Winstanley - Carrie Williams, Tracey Hepting, Jonathan Webb and Katherine Nuthall. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYPuritan villagers and William Winstanley - Carrie Williams, Tracey Hepting, Jonathan Webb and Katherine Nuthall. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

A girl in costume takes a break from the Winstanley performance. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYA girl in costume takes a break from the Winstanley performance. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Villagers dressed in Puritan style, ring out the handbells at the opening of the Winstanley Day celebrations. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYVillagers dressed in Puritan style, ring out the handbells at the opening of the Winstanley Day celebrations. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Two boys from Rickling School sang the opening solo verse of Once in Royal David's City. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYTwo boys from Rickling School sang the opening solo verse of Once in Royal David's City. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Carol singing. CELIA BARTLETTCarol singing. CELIA BARTLETT

Carol singing. CELIA BARTLETTCarol singing. CELIA BARTLETT

Carol singing. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYCarol singing. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Carol singing. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYCarol singing. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

More traditional songs and readings. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYMore traditional songs and readings. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Introducing William Winstanley. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYIntroducing William Winstanley. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

William Winstanley (Jonathan Webb in Quendon Church. Picture CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYWilliam Winstanley (Jonathan Webb in Quendon Church. Picture CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

The youngest pupils from Rickling school had their parts to play in the presentation. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYThe youngest pupils from Rickling school had their parts to play in the presentation. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Each child had their part to play, some in appropriate costume. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYEach child had their part to play, some in appropriate costume. CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

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