Thaxted etc

David Cawley dcawley at w...
Mon Jun 14 23:03:10 BST 2004

Don't know about Michael Howard coming from Thaxted, but maybe if he did it accounts for the care with which these beautiful bells were produced. Mrs Howard senior certainly drew the cartoons from which the engraver produced the stamps for the General Dance bell.

Appripriate that the Morris Men gave the bell - the theological reason for it is implied in its inscription, I RING FOR THE GENERAL DANCE. It hearkens back to the teachings of Fr Conrad Noel, the Christian Socialist Vicar of Thaxted in the 20's and 30's, in which the "Dance of Life" figures prominently. See the well-known hymn "The Lord of the Dance" for a simple introduction to the theology.

Fr Noel's teachings had followers far and wide. In Canterbury, they were enthusiastically taken up at the late lamented St George's (5, 14-cwt in F# minor - chiming only) enthusiastically supported by Archbishop William Temple and Dean Hewlett Johnson - and subsequently vigorously opposed by Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher and the rest of the then Chapter. The non-rebuilding of St George's after the blitz of the city was as much political as anything. Its (vacant) tower only remains (see Dickon's site). Otherwise, who knows, we might have had a Gillett ring in the city.


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