Tuesday, 1 December 2020

A very naughty vicar

The reports on the case we've seen so far were all in regional newspapers and all used some agency copy as their source.

This one is very different. It's from the Daily Herald, a left-wing national newspaper. Which in the 1960s was transformed by Rupert Murdoch into that newspaper of record, The Sun. There's also some very different material included.

First, more details of Mrs. Robinson:

"Tippling And Swearing By Rector Alleged

A RECTOR whose alleged drinking bouts were said to coincide with certain phases of the moon appeared before a Consistory Court of the Winchester Diocese at Basingstoke yesterday. 

Mr. Ryder Richardson (prosecuting for the Bishop of Winchester) said it was a pathetic story. 

According to his servant, Mrs. Maggie Robinson, the rector was drinking all the time she was at the rectory. She noticed at times that his drinking bouts coincided with certain phases of the moon. He was then very insulting and peculiar thing — always accused her of stealing. 

The rector would apologise in the morning for his bad behaviour. Sometimes he would simulate attack on her. He would draw his hand back as though to strike her, but would go no farther.

He once offered to fight Mrs. Robinson's husband. Giving evidence, Mrs. Robinson said the rector "was terrible with drink." Sometimes he would tumble off his cycle coming up the drive, would call the dog rascal and try to kick him. 

It was at the moon's first quarter that the rector had heavy drinking bouts."
Daily Herald - Saturday 25 November 1944, page 3.

This makes the rector sound like a rather nasty drunk. But that his benders coincided with the phases of the moon is just weird.

Next there's a little more about Mr. van Eyk.

"Last May a Dutchman, Captain van Eyk and his friend, Mrs. Marshall, were staying at the rectory. The rector warned Mrs. Marshall of "the thieving qualities" of Maggie Robinson.

Captain van Eyk ordered the rector out of his bedroom because he made a scene about the blackout. The rector said: "Told to go out of my ____ house! We'll see in the morning whose ____ house it is." 

Bishop's Talk
Next day the rector told Mrs. Marshall he resented her sitting at his table. He said people in the village were talking about her. 

That created a scene with Captain van Eyk. The rector told her she was "a very clever woman to have got Van." 

Johannes Bernardus van Eyk, a chief engineer in the Dutch Merchant Navy, said, looking at the rector: "That man is only sober at breakfast, part drunk during part of the day, and sometimes really drunk, and sometimes very drunk in the evening.

Mrs. Sarah Jane Marshall, a widow, of Queen Ann's-terrace, Plymouth, attending on subpoena, described the rector's condition on one occasion as "definitely sozzled." 

Mr. Stephen Benson (defending) You are going to marry Mr. van Eyk? — I was at that time."
Daily Herald - Saturday 25 November 1944, page 3.

So he was a Dutch merchant seaman and Mrs. Marshall was a widow to whom he was engaged. I'm guessing that they met in Plymouth, it being a port and him being a sailor. I think we all know what the gossip about her in the village was. The rector clearly didn't like Mrs. Marshall.

The rector clearly started his drinking early and finished it late.

It seems that the rector had been warned about hanging around in pubs too much, but carried on boozing, anyway. 

"The Bishop of Winchester (Dr M. G Haigh) said he interviewed the rector because of complaints about his conduct.

"He left me." said Dr. Halgh," with the impression, whether willingly or not that he accepted my view and would keep away from public-houses.""
Daily Herald - Saturday 25 November 1944, page 3.

This article is answering so many questions. Like what was in the rector's injection:

"Dr. T. C. Evans, of Fleet, also attending on subpoena, said that one night in September, 1942. the request of Mrs de la Mothe, he attended the rector, who was intoxicated, and gave him morphia. 

Mr Mark Edward Clowes, a printer and publisher, said that once when he went to the Queen's Head in connection with his A R P duties, the rector (a warden) refused to sign the A R P book until he (Mr. Clowes) left. 

"He referred to me." said Mr. Clowes, "coming there in my admiral's uniform." 

The rector wanted to fight and eventually signed the book in the wrong column. He said Mr. Clowes was "a filthy lecherous brute and half-witted." 

The rector twice accused him of trying to shoot him."
Daily Herald - Saturday 25 November 1944, page 3.

The rector was injected with morphine to clam him down. Wouldn't that be dangerous if he was totally smashed?

If Mr. Clowes was a printer and publisher, why the hell did he own a gun? It being pretty rural, I'd assumed he was a farmer and hence had a gun. That the rector described him as "lecherous" makes me even more suspicious of Clowes' relationship with the rectors wife.

Finally more about the hedge incident:

"In The Hedge
Mr. J. A. Cook, son-in-law the tenant of the Queen's Head, said he had seen the rector wobble on his bicycle and fall off. 

Thomas Holdsway said: "One Saturday night I was at the Queen's Head and saw the rector sitting in the hedge. 

"I was in the Queen's Head about an hour and a half, and when I came out he was still in the shrubbery with his bicycle. I suppose he had had a little drop."
Daily Herald - Saturday 25 November 1944, page 3. 

Sounds like the rector was well and truly plastered.

Next time more details of the recto's life and other fun stuff.

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