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UK news in brief

12 August 2022


Grave of unknown murder victim rededicated

THE grave of an unidentified murder victim who died in 1930 has been rededicated with a new cross by the Vicar of Hardingstone, the Revd Julie Scott. The unnamed man, whose remains were buried at St Edmund’s, Hardingstone, was found dead in a burnt-out Morris Minor belonging to Alfred Rouse. Rouse was later hanged for the crime, aged 36. He had been in financial trouble when he set the car alight in an attempt to fake his own death. He was tracked down, charged, and convicted of murder after a six-day trial in 1931. An inscription on the new cross now reads: “In memory of an unknown man.” Ms Scott told the BBC: “This is a tragic story. We need to be careful not to make it a tourist attraction.”



Hymns Ancient & Modern founder commemorated

THE driving force behind the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern, the Revd Sir Henry Williams Baker, Bt, was commemorated at a special event on the last weekend of July. It was organised by the Hymn Singing Society at All Saints’, Monkland, where he was Vicar from 1851 until his death in 1877, and included talks, hymn-singing, a eucharist, and evensong. With Cheerful Voice organised the music, which included a congregational four-part singing of Isaac Watts’s “The Ten Commandments”, supported by the local Dilwyn choir. The Society was founded last year by John and Naomi King to promote hymn-singing in parish churches. Hymns Ancient and Modern was first published in 1861, and Baker was secretary of the editorial committee and first chairman of the proprietors. In 1989, Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd became the proprietors of the Church Times.


Take Welsh devolution seriously, says Williams

THE former Archbishop of Wales and of Canterbury Lord Williams has said that he hopes Welsh devolution “will be taken seriously” in Westminster. Speaking at a panel discussion at the National Eisteddfod on Wednesday of last week, Lord Williams said that the UK Government was “a problem for us here in Wales”, Wales Online reports. Last year, he was appointed to co-chair the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales (News, 22 October 2021). Its task, he said, “isn’t to decide on the future, but to discuss options — such as independence or devolution: the questions are open”. He continued: “From where I stand, more devolution is most probable.” A UK government spokesperson told the BBC: “Devolution remains a priority, which is why we are working closely with devolved administrations and ensuring the Welsh government is resourced to play its part.”


Synod member reports ISB to Charity Commission

A GENERAL SYNOD member, Martin Sewell, has asked the Charity Commission to investigate the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB), the Archbishops’ Council, and the diocese of Oxford and its Bishop. He accuses them of a lack of accountability, and cites the stepping back of the chair of the ISB, Professor Maggie Atkinson, last week, over breached data-protection rules and confidentiality (News, 4 August), as another instance of dysfunction. Mr Sewell has previously queried the ISB’s competence to review the safeguarding aspects of the Christ Church/Martyn Percy affair (News, 1 July). He writes: “We have reached a point of crisis and reputational humiliation in these matters, and early intervention by the Charity Commission is, in my submission, essential.”


Auckland Project launches member scheme

THE Auckland Project has launched the Prince Bishop Friends Scheme to celebrate its first ten years of regeneration work in the town of Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham. Members of the new scheme will have unlimited access to its attractions, including Auckland Castle, the Spanish Gallery, and the Mining Art Gallery, as well as priority booking, special events, and tours. The Project, formally known as the Auckland Castle Trust, was established by Jonathan and Jane Ruffer in 2012, originally to secure the future of the 900-year-old castle and its collection of Zurbarán paintings, Jacob and His Twelve Sons, which had hung there for more than 250 years. Ms Ruffer said: “The Auckland Project is a charity, and the support of Friends means that we can continue to offer skills and education support, create new jobs and apprenticeship schemes, support local businesses to thrive, and make our buildings and outside gardens and parkland available to everyone.”

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