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Out of the question

29 May 2015

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below


Your answers

With reference to your feature on the Barchester Chronicles (Features, 17 April), does anyone recall the name of the bishop who once announced to his clergy that there was nothing he enjoyed more than going to bed with a good Trollope?


The Revd Robert Runcie, as he was when Principal of Cuddesdon in our day, did say in, I think, a pastoralia lecture (!), "There was a time when I never went to bed without a Trollope." But we suspected that it was no more original to him than all the hairy experiences he claimed to have had in his two years as curate at Gosforth. And he wasn't a bishop yet.

In 1952, Harold Macmillan said: "Whenever I feel bored, I like to go to bed with a Trollope." But he wasn't a bishop, just involved in appointing them. John Major is supposed to have said much the same. That's as far as I've got.

I'll bet someone said it during Anthony Trollope's lifetime. And there's always Joanna: rectors' wives, beware!

(The Revd) Ian Falconer
Staveley, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

In an article on The Guardian's website on Sunday 29 May 2011, "Give MPs a night in with Trollope", Mark Lawson wrote: "Reviewers of the recently published prime ministerial diaries of Harold Macmillan have commented on the remarkable number of novels the politician manages to consume even while running the country: entries regularly confirm the truth of Mac's celebrated claim that he liked nothing better than going to bed early with a Trollope."

So I believe the quotation is correctly attributed to Harold Macmillan rather than a bishop.

(The Revd) Hugh James
Norwich, Connecticut, USA

Your questions

What is the correct vesture when preaching but not presiding at mass? Some churches I have been invited to ask for alb and stole, others for cotta and stole, and sometimes a cope is thrown in for good measure. Which is correct?
F. S.

The idea of the church as a family united at the Lord's table on the Lord's Day is out, and the individualism of the "eight o'clock" is back, with the difference that the service must be entertaining, and the day and time convenient for "me". The clergy collude with this, for the sake of numbers. Is this analysis of the spirit of today's C of E fair?
A. N.

Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG. questions@churchtimes.co.uk 


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