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Help and advice for Clovelly Fishermen's Prayer

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Notes & Queries, 1st vol 11, no 282, p228. 1855

Clovelly. Custom for obtaining a successful supply of herrings when the fishing season begins.

The fishermen all attend a special session at the church. The 107th Psalm is substituted for the Psalms of the day. The Gospel for the fifth sunday after Trinity is read. The Old Hundredth Psalm is sung by all the fishermen, before the general thanksgiving; after it the following prayer:-

The Clovelly fishermen's prayer.
Almighty and loving Father, Thou rules in Heaven, in the earth, in the sea, and in all the deep places; there is no creature but hears, understands, and obeys thy voice. Thou speakest the word and there ariseth the stormy wind and tempest. Again Thou speakest the word and there follows a great calm. And be Thou pleased to speak a word of mercy and comfort to thy servants in their honest calling; still the winds, smooth the waves; and let them go forth and come in safety. Protect their persons, secure their vessels, and all that appertaining unto them; and let not a hair of any man's head perish. They may with Thy Disciples fish day and night and catch nothing; but if Thou pleasest to speak such a word as Thou did'st then, they shall encompass so great a multitude as neither their nets nor vessels shall contain. Let all be done accord'ng to the good pleasure of our God, whether many or whether few, blessed be God for all.
Only we beseech Thee let not our sins withold good things from us, and therefore pardon our sins of what kind soever, especially our murmurings and our presumings, our profanation of Thy Holy Day, and Thy Holy Name; our covetuousness and unthankfulness, our intemperance and our hatred, and variance with each other. And let us make such just, wise and holy improvements of these Thy blessings, that we may have the comforts of them while we have to live, and we, and all others may rejoice in the loving-kindness of the soul. And do Thou make us O Lord to consider that we prosper more by Thy Providence than by our own industry, and that Thou canst by one word speaking send all these blessings to another shore, and to another people that shall serve Thee better and be more thankful than we have been. Make us Gracious Lord to consider the utter uncertainty of all our lives, and how easy it is for Thee, O Mighty God, to raise a blast, or commission a wave, and dash us against a rock, and throw us from this to an ocean of endless misery.
Let us therefore always have upon our minds an awful regard for the great and terrible God in whom and by whom we must live, that while we do live we may live in His fear; and when we come to die we may doe in his favour, and then partake of His glory through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Such was the use twenty years ago, and I was told "It had always been so." However praiseworthy it could not of course ever have had the sanction of authority.

H.T. Ellacombe.
Rectory Clyst St George.