Recollections

by
03 February 2017

Corrected: the Trinity in the top tracery, showing previous repairs using glass fragments belonging elsewhere

Corrected: the Trinity in the top tracery, showing previous repairs using glass fragments belonging elsewhere

The Revd Toddy Hoare writes: IN FELIXKIRK Church, in North Yorkshire, there was a medieval window of jumbled heraldry. In an idle moment, it was always a brain- teaser which bit of glass should really go where. When the quin­quennial suggested that it should be re-leaded in the late 1980s, whom to approach but Peter Gibson (Obituary, 23/30 December) at the York Glaziers Trust?

There was a chance to rectify the damage of years, if not by Crom­well’s men. With a faculty, a grant was obtained from English Heritage, but when it stipul­ated that the glass had to be re­­turned to the same place, sup­posedly to preserve the history of the window, Peter and I jibbed.

With the support of the PCC, we turned down the grant and, on Peter’s advice that we would restore and enhance the window, we applied successfully for another faculty and a grant from the Glaziers’ and Painters of Glass Company. As the people who are com­memorated in the window by their heraldry were linked to the big house that had been a Commandery of the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem, the occupants con­tributed also, to add a memorial to their late eldest son, for which I did the lettering design.

The rest is history. Pieces were moved to where they matched, and devices or decoration were com­pleted. Other pieces had missing bits copied from what existed else­where, and Peter’s bank of medi­eval glass supplied other needed pieces.

Thank you Peter. It was fun working with you, and we had the bonus of your knowledge telling the parish about glass.

 

Professor David McClean writes: In the years in which I served in the House of Laity as vice-chairman to Oswald Clark (News, 6 JanuaryGazette, 20 January), and later as his successor as chairman, there were many issues on which we disagreed. Oswald was always very clear in his opinions, showing great tenacity in opposing legislation — which I sometimes introduced — that he saw as threatening the established teaching of the Church of England.

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He brought to debate formidable arguments, and a quite remarkable and testing attention to detail. That never affected the kindness, court­esy, and generous friendship that I, like so many others, enjoyed. I think Oswald and I both took pleasure in finding ourselves, on the day of a critical debate on the ordination of women, kneeling side by side at an early communion service in one of the chapels of Westminster Abbey.

He had a great gift for names and, at one time, was said to know the name of every member of the House of Laity. He made one mem­orable error, one that revealed some­­thing of his method. A mem­ber stood to speak. Oswald, in the Chair, called “Colonel Ball”. The member standing hesitated before saying, almost apologetically, “Actually, Sir, it’s Major Batt.”

Others have written of the metic­ulous preparations Oswald made before speaking in the Synod, and the forcefulness of his interventions. For six years, I sat immediately behind him, and was able to watch the final part of the process. He would bring a full text, always hand-written, with about a third of the words underlined. As the debate went on, he would underline more and more, so that when he rose to speak there was scarcely a word that was not underlined at least once.

In the year after I succeeded him as chairman, I was able to invite Oswald to preach, in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales, at the Westminster Abbey service to mark the centenary of lay participa­tion in the governance of the Church of England. In his address, he offered a characteristic lay manifesto, calling for the Church to be agreed in its allegiance to its historic faith; speaking clearly and with assurance; deploying the full and true collegiality of clergy and laity; and not afraid to be tri­umphant. Vintage Oswald.

Oswald’s love of the Prayer Book was well known. It was no great surprise that, in his will, he asked that the Prayer Book order for the Burial of the Dead be used at his funeral “without any omissions from or emendations of the text therein prescribed”.

So it was, and we committed the body of a great Christian gentleman to the ground, in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life.

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