According to one local history book, the records show that in 1661 St Nicholas Church Rawreth raised a collection of 11 shillings and 6 sixpence (57 1/2 p) for the Duke of Lithuania. They were clearly a generous congregation; three years later they raised 9 shillings for the church of Strasbourg and 1669 5 shillings and tenpence to help release captives held by the Turks.
This shows that collecting money for those worse off overseas isn’t only a modern thing! But who was the Duke of Lithuania and why did he need money?
At that time the Duke of Lithuania was a fellow called John Casimir. He became ruler of a combined Polish-Lithuanian state in Eastern Europe in 1648, but didn’t have a happy life. When he was a young man he fell in love with a baroness, but his brother wouldn’t allow him to marry. After he turned towards a religious life and eventually became a Roman Catholic Cardinal. When he eventually became the Duke he lost out badly when the Swedes invaded.
Clearly the 57 1/2 p didn’t help John Casimir much, he eventually abdicated and ended his days in a French monastery.
Why the parishoners of Rawreth were so keen to help a ruler in Eastern Europe seems a mystery…..