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Edward Lysons 1891 - 1968

Priest, Canon of Southwell Minster


Founding Priest of St. Martin’s Parish Church 1926 - 1954

Canon of Southwell Minster 1946 - 1954

Funeral eulogy, author unknown

Edward Lysons was a Worcestershire man; this was a fact of his life which seemed to have increasing importance during his long illness and to this was added the fact that he served as a Combatant Infantry Officer in the Worcestershire Regiment. His experiences in France had left scars on his memory and he would be very happy for long periods telling of his men whom he commanded until it seemed that he was living the ghastly experiences all over again. He must have been a marvellous officer and he never spoke of his men without a strange sense of comradeship and understanding which he made one feel how very real the whole period was to him, as he re-lived those tragic days all over again. His memories always contained a great humanity which he quite clearly shared with his men in all their difficulties. He must have also been an officer of great character and great determination and these gifts were shown in a different milieu but with the same effect when he came to build St. Martin’s Church in Sherwood, Nottingham.

Immediately after demobilisation, he became and Undergraduate Student at Hertford College, Oxford from where graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1921.

Edward Lysons was accepted for Ordination, after a short period of Theological reading at St. Stephen’s House, Oxford by Bishop Edwyn Hoskyns, the second Bishop of Southwell in 1922. He was made a Deacon at the Advert Ordination and he was licenced to a Curacy at St. Luke’s Parish Church, Derby, which was then within the undivided Diocese of Southwell, comprising Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

He was a marked man from the very beginning of his ministry and within four years (1926) Bishop Heywood, the third Bishop, brought him to Nottingham to tackle a new area where new houses were springing up very rapidly and where, quite clearly, a new church would be required. His decision was to build a church dedicated to St. Martin, since St. Martin’s day falls every year on the 11th November was seen as his opportunity to rededicate his life and ministry.

In the design of the St. Martin’s Church Edward Lysons sought and obtained the services of one of Nottingham’s finest architects Edward Heazell, who was not only the architect for St. Martin’s Church but also St. Margaret's Church, Aspley.

Edward Lysons determined that his church should be built by direct giving. In other words, no whist drives. On the surface, his parish was amazingly free from money making activities. Fortunately the Priest-in-Charge did not quite know everything and many a quite five pound notes and more and/or less was pressed into the Minister’s palm with a sly look and no questions asked. Edward Lysons never deviated from this direct giving determination.

By 1937, the church was well on its way to being made ready for public worship. The occasion was marked by a further step or recognition. Bishop Henry Mosley, the fourth Bishop, instituted him as the first Vicar of St. Martin’s. He was inducted by the Archdeacon of Nottingham at the same time. In the year 1946, Bishop F. Russell Barry, the fifth Bishop, conferred upon Edward Lysons as Honorary Canonry in Southwell Minster. Thus was Edward Lysons honoured by four successive Bishops of Southwell.

Many circumstances led to the complete breakdown in the Edward Lysons health. Throughout the Second World War and until 1951, he was Chaplain at the Nottingham Prison, during the time it was used as a Borstal Institution.

He also acted as Chaplain at the Firs Maternity Hospital, in addition to which he had unfailing interest in the work organised by the Diocese for Sunday Schools and the Youth of the parishes. But he was a Parish Priest first and foremost. There were only three streams in his life: World War One, St. Luke’s parish and Church, Derby and his great work at Sherwood St. Martin’s.

Rev. Edward Lysons

It is quite clear that his war time experiences told upon him and it was no surprise to those who knwe him and loved him when the time came for him to retire from active Ministry. He was admitted to hospital in May 1966 and died on the 12th November 1968. How he would have rejoiced to know that his every own church had just thanked God  for the life and service of its Patron Saint - he always sat all day in church for his Direct Gifts and after the Martin Mass of the day which brought World War One to a close and launched him into his life’s work of building a church a people of God who were for him “All that Dedicated City.”

It is surprising how soon great men can be forgotten or well-nigh-so. Canon Edward Lysons was in his day a power in our diocesan land. A very forthright man, he was always listened to whenever he rose to speak whether it was at the Diocesan Conference or at lesser assemblies. And, too, he was something to look at. Always meticulously turned out - very smart clothes, highly polished boots and always gloves, even in summer, generally chamois leather variety. Often he was accused by his friends of keeping them clean by using then in his bath!

Edward Lysons married towards the close of his active Ministry and his widow, Mrs. Doris Mary Lysons, will continue to reside at their home on Elmswood Gardens. Since his retirement in 1954, there have been two successive Vicars of St. Martin’s and the traditions so carefully built up by the first vicar have been maintained.

The present vicar with his present generation of St. Martin’s congregation have been able to complete the Church, perhaps not quite as Edward Lysons would have done it himself, but, nevertheless the new work is a fine memorial of completion to all that Edward Lysons accomplished when with great character and great determination he set about the task of building a new parish

May his soul rest in the peace of God.

November, 1968.