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Poet and churchman

17 December 2021

A sketch guide to C of E “Grades of Churchmanship” by John Betjeman, on a sheet of paper inside a book inscribed to “The Reverend Major . . . 1939”, is one of a hundred pictures in A Passion for Places: England through the eyes of John Betjeman by David Meara, a former Rector of St Bride’s, Fleet Street, and Archdeacon of London, with a foreword by Simon Jenkins (Amberley, £15.99; 978-1-4456-8710-0). On the reverse of the paper, Betjeman took a dig at his former tutor C. S. Lewis, writing: “To laugh is light, not to laugh is deep. Light is bad, deep is good. That is what I learned, by implica­tion, from my tutor. One was allowed to laugh at what he thought was bad. That is the privilege of an educated person”

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