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Harvest Festival
The traditional harvest festival celebrated every year in churches, chapels and school was only started in 1843, although a similar practice had taken place in medieval Times.

The Vicar who is said to have restarted the celebration was Robert Stephen Hawker of Morwenstow in Cornwall. He invited all his parishioners to gather together on the first Sunday of the next month to receive the bread of the new corn.
This invitation drew a large congregation who found their church decorated with fruit and flowers for what was the first modern Harvest Festival.

Churches and chapels in Linslade soon had their own Harvest Festivals.
Harvest Festival at The Methodist Chapel 1994
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In 1866 there was no public festival as on previous occasions, just a thanksgiving service at St Barnabas, as the country was gripped in a cattle plague. The church was still decorated with flowers and fruit, but on a smaller scale than normal.

Harvest festivals have not always been held on a Sunday. When most people worked on the land they would be held as soon as the harvest was gathered in. In 1864 it was held on a Wednesday, in 1890 St Barnabas held it's on a Thursday.

Todays harvest is celebrated on a Sunday during the main service of the day.

The date for harvest festival is set well in advance instead of waiting for the last of the harvest to be bought in. This is because it is no longer labour intensive with even the Children helping to gather the crops in as machinery has taken over.

You will find very few if any farmers amongst the congregation of todays Linslade as fields in the parish have disappear under housing

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Often there is a harvest supper the night before when all the parishioners bring a dish to share with others. The church is not so highly decorated today, flowers, fruit and vegetables still dominate the displays but you will not find any words created out of them.
This loaf of bread made to look like a sheaf of corn was created for The Bethel Chapel