The Row Chapel, Hadleigh

One of Hadleigh’s less well known treasures is the Row Chapel which holds an important place in Hadleigh’s history.
Originally the chapel was intended for those who lived in the alms houses, but now the congregation comes from all parts of Hadleigh with occasional tourists from further afield.
On the first Tuesday in the month a celebration of the Eucharist, Holy Communion, is held using the Book of Common Prayer and including a sermon and hymns sung with enthusiasm. On the other three Tuesdays the service is Matins, Morning Prayer, again from the BCP, again with sermon and hymns. The Chapel predates the reformation and witnessed the journey of Rowland Taylor’s martyrdom in 1555. He gave his last coins to the folk in the alms houses as he was led up George Street to Aldham Common.
The chapel is a spiritual resource to the people of Hadleigh in general and the residents of the almshouses (to the rear of the Chapel) in particular. It is also a focus for visiting tourists.
It’s governing committee is committed to show casing local suppliers, artisans and craftsmen. The committee hope to raise sufficient funds to re-paint the internal plasterwork, install custom made cushions and replace the old carpet.
Funds are raised from the congregation via the after service coffee and biscuits and from donations. So far over £600 has been raised.
I have committed £550 from my Community Locality Budget to assist their efforts
The ambition is to restore the 500+ year old Chapel back to its former important place in Hadleigh’s history.

Tools With A Mission

TWAMOn Wednesday evening I dropped into the Churches Together in Hadleigh group. I am a trustee and my duties are not onerous and it’s possible that CTiH will deregister as a charity, in which case I and my three fellow trustees will become redundant.
The various representatives directing CTiH are an interesting group of people and one of the items  of business was “What will be the group charity this year?” The answer was Tools With A Mission (TWAM).
TWAM started twenty seven years ago, and has since then provided help by collecting and refurbishing tools and equipment no longer required in the UK and sending them overseas. Tools with a Mission enables people to earn a living and to support themselves.
So it’s not just a case of sending money, it’s a good opportunity to clear out the shed(s) and pass on the duplicate tools and those tools no longer required. The web address is and their location is  2 Bailey Close, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 0UD.

Habemus Papam (soon)

St Peter's BasilicaReuters today cited Christopher Bellitto, a Church historian at Kean University in New Jersey, who said that by citing health reasons for his decision, Benedict has also helped the Church by setting a modern precedent for resigning at a time when medical progress means the elderly can live far beyond their active years. Whilst the rules for election of a new Pope are continually under review, according to Morris West (Shoes of a Fisherman) nomination and election can also take place by acclamation. But one doesn’t have to be in the Conclave to be appointed to the triple crown. The precedent is set by Pope Fabian, who  was in Rome (236) immediately after the death of the forty day Pope Anterus. Whilst the names of several illustrious and noble persons were being considered, a dove suddenly descended upon the head of Fabian, who was not, at that time, being considered as a candidate. To the assembled brethren the sight recalled the Gospel scene of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Saviour, and so, divinely inspired, as it were, they chose Fabian with joyous unanimity and placed him in the Chair of Peter. Little is known of Fabian’s pontificate but during his reign of fourteen years there was a lull in the storm of persecutions.
Now I’m wondering that if I went to Rome and sprinkled bird seed on my head, could I organise a valid nomination to the ultimate job?
On the other hand it might be better to focus on the county election in May.

Looking for a Home

This week’s The Tablet contains an interesting discussion on the possible discovery of Richard III’s bones under a car park in Leicestershire and their subsequent reinterring. One would have thought that finding and authenticating the bones would be the end of things. But No! The Tablet highlights the arguments as to where to re-inter the bones. In Westminster Abbey (because he was a king), in Westminster Cathedral because he was Catholic (the national religion at the time), Leicester Cathedral because the current location of the bones is within its diocesan boundaries or a Franciscan friary in Nottingham because that is the nearest to the excavation.
Meanwhile the country is still split three ways as to the appropriateness of Richard’s reputation.
Some think that it is well deserved. Others feel that he was traduced by supporters of the Tudor usurpers (i.e. Shakespeare) and other (of course) are not bothered either way.
During Richard’s reign, the historian John Rous praised him as a “good lord” who punished “oppressors of the commons”. After his death, Richard’s image was blackened by his Tudor successors, culminating in the famous portrayal of him in Shakespeare’s play Richard III as a physically deformed Machiavellian villain who cheerfully commits numerous murders in order to claw his way to power. I’m beginning to understand why I once was a member of the Richard III Society.
The Society’s home page (  includes the following quotation “”… the purpose and indeed the strength of the Richard III Society derive from the belief that the truth is more powerful than lies – a faith that even after all these centuries the truth is important. It is proof of our sense of civilised values that something as esoteric and as fragile as reputation is worth campaigning for.” – HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, KG GCVO


The Fair Haired One

We have been in Paris for a week’s break. I decided one day to visit the church of St. Sulpice in Saint Germain des Prés. Overall the visit to St. Sulpice was not as fulfilling as I would have liked. I had been impressed by books recommending the Delacroix murals. It may have been that the paintings needed cleaning or that the lighting was inappropriate (it was a cloudy morning) or that I couldn’t stand back far enough to take in the mural of Jacob Wrestling with the Angel as a whole. St. Sulpice remarkably seemed to have found its pastoral role quite early and includes in its alumni St. John Baptist de la Salle (founder of the Christian Brothers) and St. Vincent de Paul. Surrounding shops are famous for containing religious medals and other devotional items (of varying quality). I declined to purchase an icon apparently showing St. Raphael. I thought it a bit so what-ish especially as this angel did not have wings nor did it show a dog. The morning was saved.  My footsteps were guided by a caring angel (possibly St. Raphael – the patron saint of travellers) to The Coolin (The Fair Haired One) – an Irish pub. The steak sandwich was cooked nicely rare.. The waitress was a young Irish lady  and the red wine eminently passable. My mood had mellowed by the time coffee was finished as can be seen by the photo of yours truly. Is this a vision of heaven? – Just look at the background!Overall I recommend the Coolin and it was quite well patronised by local people.

FIND (Families in Need)

Tomorrow (Saturday) FIND (Families in Need) is holding a fund raiser at St. Mary’s Church Hadleigh from 10 until 2. With the current changes in the economy FIND is having to provide basic necessities like food to families in need. This is a local charity which deserves our support. If you’re free and in Hadleigh on Saturday, drop in to the church and see what’s happening. Short term (three hours) car parking in Hadleigh is free until noon on Saturdays. Thereafter parking is free for all of Saturday afternoon and evening. If you are visiting Hadleigh be careful of using the long term car parks which although they are also free for the first three hours will require a parking ticket up to 5 p.m. FIND is a Christian based charity that was founded in 1990 to provide emergency assistance to families or individuals affected by poverty or dispossession. FIND is also able to offer ongoing friendship and support to those in need. WHAT DOES FIND OFFER? The charity provides, free of charge: food; cooking utensils; clothing, toiletries; baby equipment & nappies; bedding; survival sleeping bags; curtains & furniture; white goods; Christmas hampers & gifts, etc. FIND also befriends people without judging them, offers advice when required and gives support for as long as it is needed. WHO DOES FIND HELP? Anyone living within 25 miles radius of Ipswich who is deprived of a minimum standard of living, be they single, families, lone parents, children, elderly, sick or disabled. Referrals may come from: Social Services; General and Psychiatric Hospitals; The Homeless Family Unit; Victim Support; Salvation Army; Asylum & Refugee Support Agencies; Women’s Aid; The Probation Service; YMCA & YWCA; Ipswich Community Resource Centre; Family Centres; Health Centres; other charities.

Not the Whole Truth (2)

Not all cardinals have spotless reputations. “Not the Whole Truth” (1971) the partial autobiography of Cardinal John Heenan contains the following vignette:
“One of our escapades (invariably leading to an official complaint to the school) was to change compartments (of the train) between stations. This involved climbing out of our compartments and walking along the footboards. It can be dangerous even to lean out of a window…We foolish boys were unaware of the potential suicidal aspect of our exploits – misadventure is never very far from youthful adventures. We were delighted to shock the adult passengers. We were not malicious. It was only that we were too immature to appreciate that it was not very clever to alarm our elders.”

Not the Whole Truth

I recently read “Not the Whole Truth” (1971) the autobiography of Cardinal John Heenan up to the point when he was made Bishop of Leeds in 1951. In many ways it is a book with bits worth skipping. On the other hand he did visit Russia and Germany prior to 1939. (In both cases travelling incognito). An interesting extract relative to the current debates as to whether England is a secular or a religious society is as follows:

“When Mr Butler (1941 President of the Board of Education) began to outline a new education bill (which became the Education Act 1944) it was obvious that the Government intended to give religion a more prominent place in the curriculum. It is impossible to be certain of other people’s motives but I think the politicians were genuinely alarmed by the paganism of Nazi Germany and felt that the British as Christian crusaders should teach young citizens more about Christianity…That is why in the new Act  it was proposed to include a daily act of worship and an agreed (non-denominational) syllabus of religious instruction.”

Who wears the dog collar?

Today’s column by Damien Thompson in the Telegraph  (  reports  as follows:
More trouble in the Anglican Communion, I’m sorry to relate. Traditionalists in Canada have taken offence because a woman priest, the Rev Marguerite Rea of St Peter’s, Toronto, gave communion to a dog – specifically, a German Shepherd cross called Trapper. Ms Rea explained that this was “a simple act of reaching out” to a new congregation member and his pet. Alas, the Synod has yet to approve extending the sacrament to dogs – and I predict a fuss when the proposal does come up, not least from cat owners who will feel excluded. Also, as my Catholic priest friend Fr Tim Finigan points out on his blog, ( ) “an incidental problem for trendies wanting to give the wafer to dogs is that they are not likely to follow the more modern practice of receiving in the hand”.

CAFOD & BDC Thursday May12th 2011

We go to Sudbury where Alice & I are hosting lunch at Prezzo for two CAFOD officials, the CAFOD rep for Sudbury and Fr. Peter Brett. (I am the CAFOD representative in Hadleigh). We discuss how we might co-ordinate our activities and what events we might promote such as gathering up print cartridges and old mobile telephones.

Later that evening I drop into the Babergh District Council informal get together. Not as entertaining as I expected. But I had a pleasant chat with Dave Busby (Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny (Stewardship) Committee) about future plans.

No wine was served at the function and afterwards I dropped into the White Hart to see who was there. I bumped into one of the candidates in Hadleigh South and we had an interesting conversation about his experiences with the Council and the personal history of one or two officers.