THE Rev. L. Sandys Wason, vicar of Cury-with-Gunwalloe, was, on Thursday in last week, as a sequel to his deprivation, unceremoniously bundled out of the vicarage.
It will be remembered that after he was dispossessed of the church Mr Wason remained in occupation of the vicarage, whither he conveyed the church plate and registers, and continued to say Mass and hold the service of Benediction. He declined to acknowledge the authority of the Court which deprived him of his living, and, consequently, refused to quit his house, although an attempt was made to persuade him to do so.
On Thursday in last week, however, he was surprised to find that the churchwardens and other parishioners had made arrangements to evict him. At about 10.30 a.m. Major Lee and Mr Freethy, the newly-elected wardens, appeared at the vicarage, opened the front door and entered the house.
When Mr Wason asked for an explanation of their conduct, the wardens, according to an account of the proceedings in the Western Morning News, replied that they had waited long enough for Mr Wason to leave the vicarage, and as he had not done so they intended taking possession. They had wagons ready to remove his furniture to wherever he wished it to be removed.
Mr Wason replied that he was prepared to leave provided the churchwardens produced a legal warrant from the officers of the law for his eviction. The churchwardens replied that there was a desire for him to go.
Mr Wason then requested Mr Ralph Nelson, his warden at Gunwalloe, who, with his wife and child, resided at the vicarage, to go on his bicycle and fetch the police. When Mr Nelson attempted to do so, he found his way barred by about a dozen villagers, who took his bicycle from him and advised him not to leave the place. Mr Geoffrey Biddulph, a cousin and guest of Mr Wason, also went to see if he could ride to Helston to fetch the police, but he found that the valves of Mr Nelson’s bicycle had been removed. So he commandeered a bicycle belonging to one of the villagers, present with the object of assisting in Mr Wason’s ejection, and rode to Helston, but the police at Helston refused to take any action, because, they said, it was an “ecclesiastical affair”.
Meanwhile, the two churchwardens, and the other villagers who had accompanied them, began to remove the furniture from the vicarage to the wagons. By two o’clock they had cleared out everything. On demand the church plate and the registers were handed to the churchwardens. Later, Mr Wason and his party went to the vicarage at St Hilary, about six miles east of Penzance, where they found shelter, the furniture following in three wagons.
Interviewed by a local Press repesentative, Mr Wason said that Mr Martin, the priest placed in charge of the parish by the Bishop, gave his word that nothing in the nature of force would be attempted. That was the reason why his precautions against surprise were relaxed. It was a “summary eviction”, and the first occasion on which, in the case of a priest’s deprivation, forcible means had been adopted without proper legal process.
The Rev. L. Sandys Wason, in the course of a letter addressed to “the administrators and the rev. clergy of the diocese of Truro”, says:
“Fathers,—Temporarily ejected by force majeure from Cury Vicarage, as I had previously been from the church, I celebrated Mass at Mr Thomas’s (my churchwarden’s) cottage last Sunday as canonical vicar of the parish. At present I am laid up at Mullion Vicarage, where all communications should be addressed.
“As I am unable to get lodgings in Cury parish, I am taking up residence in Mullion as the nearest suitable place. Though I am aware that it is customary for a parish priest to reside in his own parish, it seems to me that exceptional circumstances justify my living outside my parish as near to it as possible.
“I should be grateful if my rev. confreres of the diocese would offer the Holy Sacrifice for me, and help me by their charitable prayers. . .”
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