Clerical Errors: A Victorian Series, Volume 2

Clerical Errors: A Victorian Series, Volume 2

by Tom Hughes

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Overview

When Victoria took the throne in 1837, there were about 14,000 clergymen employed in the Church of England. By her death, that number more than doubled. From the grandest episcopal palace to the remotest rectory, almost without exception, these men lived and died in service to their Church and congregation. Temporally, they avoided notoriety. They broke no laws. They married happily and raised their young. Misconducting clerics were few. Still, for those who delight in a good vicarage scandal, the Victorian church offered an "unpleasantly abundant crop."

The anti-clerical Reynolds' Newspaper declared in 1870, "Clerical scandals have of late grown as rife as those peculiar scandals which pre-eminently affect high society." But profligacy amongst the peerage was almost to be expected. "Sinners that we are, we instinctively expect something better from the gentlemen who undertake to teach us the way."

The five anecdotal accounts herein were selected from the author's unique database, numbering hundreds of Victorian clergymen. For more details, see the acknowledgements.

Parson Young's Night Out - a boisterous Yorkshireman finds himself rector of a posh parish in a quiet Surrey village. The Rev. Charles Gordon Young was initially popular in the pulpit and on the cricket ground. His critics, however, suspected the rector drank too much. What were the local "swells" of Chipstead to think when their clergyman was found in a notorious London club with a lady of the evening upon his knee?

A Case of Heartless Villainy - His prospects blighted, his health ruined, the Rev. Richard Marsh Watson made a living in a clerical agency and selling sermons. And a bit of blackmail. Having seduced his wife's sister, Watson required her to purchase his silence. When she, at last, refused to pay, the ensuing trial shocked all Britain. Still, as one newspaper wondered, "What are we to think of the young women who yielded to the advances of a scrofulous parson with one leg?"

A Clerical Lothario - The Rev. Turberville Cory- Thomas, complimented frequently on his "dagger moustache," was quite popular with the church ladies in the rapidly growing parish of Acton Green in West London. His vicar praised him regularly. Until, that is, Mr. Cory-Thomas was accused of attempting to seduce two sisters - one over lunch at Gatti's, the other in a grim bedsit near Euston Station. The ensuing slander trial shared the front pages with news of Queen Victoria's death.

I'll Do for Dicky Rodgers - A summer outing on the Broads was under the charge of the Rev. Edward Rodgers, curate of Lowestoft. Too much sun, too much smoke and drink at the "after-party" in the pub, and Rodgers was poorly. A local youth offered to help him home. What happened in the darkened lane between the hedgerows? George Rix began telling everyone, "He must have thought I was his wife."

The Irreproachable Mr. Karr - Handsome, sporting and the darling of the raffish set at Berkeley Castle was the Rev. John Seton Karr. In the town, however, the vicar's suavity may have gone too far. Was Mr. Karr's gift of satin dancing shoes to a local solicitor's wife in any way appropriate? But when Mrs. Gaisford, known for her extraordinary teeth, called upon Mr. Karr at his London hotel, sensational rumours were aroused leading to a series of legal battles that, literally, worried a Bishop to death.

These vignettes will surely delight all Anglophiles (worldwide), Victorianists, church-crawlers, fans of true-crime & courtroom tales, local historians and more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781546328117
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 07/09/2017
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.42(d)

About the Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sometime about the year 2000, Tom Hughes began compiling notes on Victorian clerical scandals. The database - titled Curious Conduct of the Curate - now numbers several hundred clerics. Inquiries, additions, corrections are always welcome at victorianga@aol.com.

Previously published:
Blame it on the Devon Vicar (Halsgrove, 2008)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/184114861X
Blame it on the Norfolk Vicar (Halsgrove, 2008)
https://www.amazon.com//dp/1841148628
Clerical Errors - A Victorian Series, Vol. 1 (2016) https://www.amazon.com//dp/B01CRD2D8O

Tom is also a contributing writer to The Marylebone Journal, published in London six times a year. His work has also appeared in Dorset Life, The Weather Magazine, and Covent Garden Magazine.

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