Friday, 3 March 2017

. . . Hanged From A Gallows, "Havinge A Holye Water Bucket, A Sprinkle . . . And Such Other Lyke Popyshe Trashe Hangued Aboute Him".



In August, 1549, the Parish Priest of The Church of Saint Thomas the Martyr, Exeter,
Fr. Robert Welsh, was hauled to the top of his own Church Tower, Vested as for Mass,
and hanged from a gallows at the top,
The Church of Saint Thomas the Martyr, Exeter.
Rebuilt and renamed The Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle in 1657.
Illustration: EXETER MEMORIES


Text is from FR HUNWICKE'S MUTUAL ENRICHMENT
unless stated otherwise.

The Asperges and Martyrdom.

In August, 1549, the Parish Priest of The Church of Saint Thomas the Martyr, Exeter, Fr. Robert Welsh, was hauled to the top of his own Church Tower, Vested as for Mass, and hanged from a gallows at the top, "havinge a holye water bucket, a sprinkle . . . and such other lyke popyshe trashe hangued aboute him". The Holy Water bucket related to one of the most "up front" features of his weekly Ministry . . . what we now call (even when, in Eastertide, the formula changes) "The Asperges".

The Procession at the beginning of every Sunday's Parish Mass had just been abolished by Dr. Cranmer. Very probably, the absence of The Asperges at the start of Sunday Mass on Whit Sunday 1549 (the day the First English Prayer Book was ordered to be used) represented the first moment at which the people of England realised, with a fury that mounted as that Mass continued, that they were being robbed of the communal rituals which cemented not only their Religious but their Secular Life; if, indeed, one may distinguish the two.

The Asperges was not just a preliminary to Mass, or (as it is described in the Modern Rite), an optional way of doing (that Post-Conciliar innovation) "The Rite of Penitence"; it was an elaborate Procession, which went around the Church to sprinkle the Altars (themselves, expressions of the intricately-interwoven Common Life of The Mediaeval Christian, with his system of Guilds and Chantries) and the Members of the Congregation.


It, perhaps, went outside and sprinkled the graves of the departed, symbolically bringing into one unity the departed as well as the living. The Holy Water was taken into households and sprinkled to put the Evil Spirits to flight. Eamon Duffy writes of the "emphasis on the location, and maintenance of Blessing, Healing and Peace, within the community". The Congregation, that is to say, was not an atomised association of individuals, who chanced to be in one place, but an organic, living whole.

Fr. Welsh, as even his Protestant chronicler acknowledges, "verie patientlie toke his dethe, he hadd benne a good member in his commonwelthe had not the weedes overgrowne the good corne and his foule vices overcomed his vertewes".

His "foule vices", of course, were his brave resistance to the tyranny which was bent on depriving the people of England of their Faith, and, in doing so, of their whole social cohesion. Neither their Worship, nor their "commonwelthe", ever recovered from that most un-Godly, most un-Spiritual, Pentecost of 1549.


The following Text is from EXETER MEMORIES

The grandfathers of the artist, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and British Army Officer, Major-General Charles Gordon (killed, 1885, at Khartoum, The Sudan) are buried in the Church Yard. There is also a Memorial, outside of the Church, which commemorates Grace Darling (Editor: See paragraph, below).

There were still Public Stocks in the Church Yard before The First World War, although, not still in use.

Sources: Kelly's 1897 and The Flying Post.

The following paragraph is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia.

Grace Horsley Darling (24 November 1815 – 20 October 1842) was an English Lighthouse-Keeper's daughter, famed for participating in the rescue of survivors from the shipwrecked paddle-steamer, Forfarshire, in 1838. The paddle-steamer ran aground on The Farne Islands, off the coast of Northumberland, North-East England; nine members of her crew were saved.

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