The Bible and Prayer Book, that belonged to the Revd Charles Hudson and were used by him during his time as army chaplain during the Crimean War, were given to St Peter’s Church Zermatt by his widow shortly before the dedication service. Some years later, Revd Hudson’s remains were exhumed from the village churchyard where he had been buried following his death on the descent of the Matterhorn. Just hours before his death in 1865, in the accident which also claimed the lives of three of his six companions, Hudson had been among those making the first successful ascent of this great peak.

The story of this climb and the tragedy which followed are a major part of the Museum’s exhibits, and Edi Schmid (President of the Matterhorn Museum) and his colleague Peter Graf were very excited to receive these holy books which have such relevance to the story. Now they will be displayed publicly but securely, as they should be, so that many can encounter God’s word, which inspired Hudson in his life, his ministry and his exploration of the wonders of God’s creation.

On behalf of the museum, Edi (pictured right) and Peter passed on a contribution to support the ongoing work at St Peter’s.

The Bible and Prayer Book have been placed in a case directly below the exhibit of St Peter’s Church, as it was photographed in 1871. There are plans now to move the ceiling light so that the shadows of the case will not fall upon the pages of the books.

The Bible was opened at Ezekiel 37: the prophecy of God breathing his life-giving spirit into the dry bones. The Book of Common Prayer was opened showing Psalms 46 to 49 which contain many suitable phrases about God’s strength and power in the context of mountains – and even mention the holy hill of Sion: Sion also being the name of the administrative capital of the Valais/Wallis Canton, where Zermatt and the great Matterhorn are to be found.

It is many years since this Bible and Prayer Book have been in regular use in worship, and the Church is always able to ask for these great books to be returned, especially should they be wanted for use at future special celebrations.

At our celebratory morning service on Sunday 8 August 2021, which Edi and Peter both attended, Sir Philip May read Psalm 121 from Hudson’s Book of Common Prayer: 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills' and Revd David Leaver read Matthew 16:13-18 from Hudson’s Bible: 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church'.

Jim Perryman, August 2021