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A Field Guide to the English Clergy by…

A Field Guide to the English Clergy (edition 2018)

by Fergus Butler-Gallie

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462381,319 (3.75)1
Title:A Field Guide to the English Clergy
Authors:Fergus Butler-Gallie
Info:London : Oneworld, 2018.
Collections:Your library
Tags:biography, religion, humour, read 2019

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A Field Guide to the English Clergy: A Compendium of Diverse Eccentrics, Pirates, Prelates and Adventurers; All Anglican, Some Even Practising by Fergus Butler-Gallie



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This book is hilarious. It is a collection of short biographies of eccentric Anglican clerics. There are those who drink and eat too much, those who have strange hobbies, those who are just weird. One problem with the book is that reading one short chapter after another merged all the biographies into one, leaving the reader with the impression that all vicars past and present must be mad. Archbishops are included and I felt some sympathy with the portrayal of Michael Ramsey who was Archbishop of Canterbury during my lifetime. I laughed out loud at the anecdote that after being driven through the Hertfordshire village of Baldock, ‘Ramsey was so taken with the name of this unassuming market town that he spent the rest of the journey bellowing it out of the car window at the top of his voice’ (page 103). Suddenly I stopped laughing. There was a time not so long ago when I shouted out the name of a village and its shop every time I drove through it on my way to watch football matches at Forest Green Rovers. I feel a little embarrassed to admit to shouting out UPTON SMOKERY, UPTON SMOKERY about 29 times in succession sometimes as far as Bibury. I was also taken by Ramsey’s habit, later in his office as archbishop, of banging his head on his desk three times each morning before opening his mail and shouting ‘I hate the Church of England’ (page 104). I almost laughed out loud on a train between Didcot Pathway and Bath Spa while reading this. ( )
  jon1lambert | Jun 5, 2019 |
Wow! I have always known that the Ministry of the Church of England was/is a hiding place for some exceedingly eccentric priests but this wonderfully entertaining book makes clear what and an amazing bunch of blokes have hidden in it. Carefully researched and engagily written it will inform, amaze and entertain you. ( )
  revchrishemyock | Jan 11, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fergus Butler-Gallieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Reiswitz, Stephanie vonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Judge not, lest ye be judged. This timeless wisdom has guided the Anglican Church for hundreds of years, fostering a certain tolerance of eccentricity among its members. Good thing, too. The 'Mermaid of Morwenstow' excommunicated a cat for mousing on a Sunday. When he was late for a service, Bishop Lancelot Fleming commandeered a Navy helicopter. 'Mad Jack' swapped his surplice for a leopard skin and insisted on being carried around in a coffin. And then there was the man who, like Noah's evil twin, tried to eat one of each of God's creatures... In spite of all this they saw the church as their true calling. After all, who cares if you're wearing red high heels when there are souls to be saved?

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