""Persecution" protest from banished Rector
BY HOWARD JOHNSON
IN this feudal village where the children and the villagers still curtsy or touch their forelocks when "the lady of the manor” passes by, there have been six rectors in little more than twenty years.
Yesterday, villagers were asking, “Where can we get a rector who will stay?”
The present rector, the Rev. Hugo de la Mothe, 54, lasted four years. By decision of the Bishop of Winchester, following a consistory court judgment that he was guilty of resorting to taverns and "tippling,” he has been “banished from the diocese.”
The Bishop announced today the sentence of deprivation on him, which deprives Mr. Mothe of all benefits appertaining to the parish church of Dogmersfield, and he will be unable to accept another appointment in the diocese of Winchester.
The church organist for the last twenty years, Mr. W. Wilson, told me: “The rector before Mr. Mothe stayed a year before resigning. The one before him lasted six years, but then there was a scene at the church meeting, and he, too, resigned. It has been a most unhappy parish for our rectors.”
Tonight Mr. Mothe, wearing a peaked collar and striped tie, returned to the village from Winchester, where he had gone to hear his bishop’s decision, and called at the Barley Mow, which figured in the evidence at the Consistory Court trial, to tell some of his parishioners the result.
There he told me: “I have been banished, and in many ways I’m glad that I will be leaving this living. I have had nothing but persecution for the last two years here.
“No wonder that rectors won’t stay here. But I’m not going to be beaten. I’ve taken my last service in Dogmersfield and as soon as I have packed my traps I am off to take up another living in some other part of the country.
Sir Anthony Mildmay, Bart., patron of the living, when asked if he cared to express an opinion of the sentence, said: “I had nothing to do with the Rector’s appointment. I was away at the time and it was made by my mother and the late Rector.”
Mr. Walter C. Trimmer, people’s warden, said: “It fills me with disgust to think that I knew nothing of what was going on until about a fortnight before the trial."
General opinion among the villagers was that the ill-feeling which has existed in the parish over a number of years, even before the Rector’s appointment, should be the subject of an inquiry by the Bishop of Winchester."
Daily Mirror - Tuesday 19 December 1944, page 8.
It sounds like the local nobs had been unsettling the parish. Knowing this, it makes the defence's line of questioning more understandable:
"Mr Benson — Were all these reports from various members of his flock, or did they emanate from the big house, to put it bluntly?
Dr Sheppard — They emanated from the parish.
Mr Benson — They did not come from the patron house?
Dr Sheppard — No.
Dundee Courier - Saturday 25 November 1944, page 3.
It would be nice to know more about the Barts. Did they really keep pissing off vicars? How long did a rector usually remain in his post?
Mr. de la Mothe implies that he had already found another parish. Was that true? I'm not sure how I can find out.