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100 years ago: Flag politics in Thaxted

16 July 2021

July 15th, 1921.

[The famous “Red Vicar” of Thaxted, in Essex, Conrad Noel, had put the Red and Sinn Fein flags, as well as that of St George, up at his church.]

THE Battle of the Standards continues to rage at Thaxted, neither Bishop nor police being able to intervene effectively. Last Saturday, according to the Morning Post, there was a motor raid in force, apparently from Cambridge, and after an indecent struggle the Red flag and the Sinn Fein flag were once again removed, the former to be publicly burnt, the latter to be handed to the police, and the Union Jack was hung in place of them. On Sunday morning the Union Jack was removed by the vicar, and the services for the day were cancelled. The vicar of Thaxted is gravely mistaken in supposing that he is radiating either spiritual or political light by his persistent folly; he is merely providing undergraduates with an excuse for a spin in the country with the chance of a rag at the end of it. But the suspension of Sunday services certainly seems to give a new opportunity for an inquiry on the part of the bishop; though it is possible that an inquiry of quite another sort is what is really needed.

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