Saturday, January 21, 2012
Let me first apologize for the general lack of formatting in these last few posts. I'm immensely grateful for my iPad, but it is a little cumbersome in some respects as it relates to my blogging software. There's evidently something I'm not getting. Another day in the country, this time seeing large swaths of the Diocese of Salisbury, where my friend Graham Kings is Bishop of Sherborne, one of the suffragan sees of that diocese. I took the train to the village of Tisbury, where Bishop Graham met me. After a few miles of hedgerows and roundabouts (I'm fairly certain roundabouts are unwholesome and contrary to God's will), we met up with Robert, his omincompetent lay chaplain/executive assistant, who took over the driving chores. I was treated to a pub lunch (a "gastro-pub", I was informed, which means the menu is upscale from the traditional fare) in a town the name of which I cannot remember. We all had the special: pork belly, mash, and black pudding (google that last one; I only had one bite). Our destination was the parish church of St Lawrence in the village of Hilmarton. Like all other churches in the 1500s and 1600s, they once had a large Bible chained to a pillar at the rear. Published resources of any sort were scarce, and this custom at least allowed people to have personal access to the scriptures. Eventually it was shoved in a cabinet and forgotten about until the 1850s when it was rediscovered, liberated from its chain, and returned to a visible location, this time as a symbol, since most anyone who wanted a Bible was able to obtain one. Once again, it was all but forgotten until, just last year, which was the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version, somebody got curious, and it was discovered that Hilmarton Parish Church had its hands on an original edition (1611) of the KJV, complete with a couple of notorious misprints. So people from the four parishes of the united benefice gathered to celebrate this find, and for Bishop Graham to bless a newly-constructed lectern/display case for this special volume. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event, including "tea and cake" in the church hall afterward. Our timing was not auspicious, so I had a ninety minute wait at the Westbury rail station for my train back to London. It was already 9pm by the time I got back to my room, so I decided not to go back out on the town, and had dinner at one of the hotel restaurants.