SINCE 1918 St David's Home has been in Castle Hill Lodge, which had once belonged to Queen Victoria's father. Rebuilt for its purpose during the Great War, it was founded by two worthy women, Lady Anne Kerr, daughter of the 14th Duke of Norfolk (her son David having been killed serving with the Scots Guards), and Mrs Ceeily Passmore (who served 55 years on the committee, dying within hours of her hundredth birthday).
The Home is now run by the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, much modernised since 1918. It can cope with more than fifty patients in residence, some in wheel-chairs, some limbless or otherwise damaged.
These patients need an ambulance to enjoy outings during the summer months; an ambulance with its own hydraulic lift to allow easy loading for wheel-chairs. Such an ambulance is to be presented by the Army Benevolent Fund and handed over by its President, General Sir John Mogg (or possibly his deputy), to the St David's Chairman, Mr John Poland in the presence of patients and Sisters and management committee.
Perhaps because that committee includes, of long standing, indeed since 1964, Lavinia Watson, one would expect the day to be both an Ampleforth and a Household Cavalry show — and expectations are not to be disappointed. Lavinia's brothers and nephews, the French family, were all in their turn at Ampleforth; and she is married to Major J. N. P. Watson who, before his present work on
Country Life (mainly covering polo, hunting and wild life), commanded the London-based mounted squadrom of the Royal Horse Guards (the Blues).
I must confess that I was at school with Frenches, knew Lavinia before she married, and soldiered with Johnnie Watson in the Parachute Brigade in Cyprus and Suez.
So we see that on June 22, on a Tuesday, the Household Cavalry are to be the hosts at Hyde Park Barracks for this event. Colonel A. J. Hartigan, once Ampleforth and now commanding the Household Cavalry; and Lt Col A. H. Parker Bowles, once Ampleforth and now commanding the Mounted Regiment, are generously allowing the presentation to take place against the backdrop of the returning Queen's Life Guard.
They are then extending an invitation to disabled exservicemen to tour their stables and riding school, followed by refreshments in a Mess. So it seems that a little schooling together is not a disastrous thing!
Mugging in London
THOSE WORDS of Thomas Hobbes came to my mind: The condition of man is one
of war, everyone against everyone'. In the Times Deaths column there appeared this little notice: 'On June 3 suddenly in London, Edith, widow of General Lord Robertson of Oakridge. Funeral arrangements to be announced later.'
Perhaps a little background to this would be in order. As Alanbrooke was to the Second World War, so more or less was Field Marshal Sir William Robertson to the Great War (though he ended it rewarded only with a baronetcy). His senior son Brian emerged from Charterhouse and RMA Woolwich just in time to become a Sapper officer in the Great War, emerging from it with a DSO and MC.
All those who ever served in the Control Commission (CCG) — and that included my father, who twice in his soldiering life helped to adminster a defeated Germany — held the name of Sir Brian, later Lord, Robertson, in the greatest respect. That respect has been rekindled so recently as last November in the showing on BBC 2 of five episodes (written by Patrick O'Donovan indeed, though by the time of the showing he was very ill) of Zone of Occupation: Germany under the British, the last being 'Let Germany Live'. Edith Christina Macindoe of Glasgow, became Lord Robertson's wife in 1926 during his first period of soldiering. She was at his side for all the great periods of his life, except of course the Italian campaign in the War; and found herself widowed in 1974.
She has lived on the family estate whence came his baronial place-name Oakridge in Gloucestershire, coming up to London from time to time to stay with her late husband's sister Helen, married to Sir Lacey Vincent, second Bt.
On Thursday June 3 she came up on one of her usual shopping trips, staying with her sister in law at Eresby House, her Rutland Gate flat. She seems to have got lost on the stairway alone as she came in from shopping; so she opened a door leading to a maintenance room, mistaking it for the lift shaft, She confronted a mugger, a dark man of six feet or more. This young man attacked this defenceless frail woman of eighty, knocked her to the ground, took £25 and two credit cards from her bag, and then kicked her violently as she. lay on the ground after he had got what he wanted.
She struggled to her sister-inlaw's flat, but later died of internal bleeding in hospital. What an appallingly sorry tale in the heart of civilised London. 'The condition of man is one of war, everyone against everyone', so it seems too often: even the dignity of an honourable past is no protection, nor the dignity of age and grey hairs. Alas, alas!
'And did those
Foots • • . s THERE ARE some families which spill over their talent in all directions, so that one can only be incredulously delighted at the sight.
Such, for instance, are the sons of Rt Hon Isaac Foot.
The first was Dingle, who went to Balliol and became President of the Oxford Union in 1928 before becoming a be knighted lawyer and a Privy Councillor.
The second was Hugh, who went to St John's and became President of the Cambridge Union in 1929 before becoming one of our proconsular barons as Lord Caradon.
The third was John, who went to Balliol and became President of the Oxford Union in 1931 before becoming a solicitor whose recreation is 'defending Dartmoor', and then becoming in his turn a baron.
The fourth was Michael, who went to Wadham and became President of the Oxford Union in 1933 before disappearing into the morasse of politics, also becoming a Privy Councillor. They all appeared good on the feet, those Foots.
What made me call to mind those eagles was an innocent little thing I found in a Graduate, a prayer card for Unity Week, January 1960.
It included the week's programme, which included an event at the Town Hall of Oxford on the Wednesday evening, the speakers being Rev Professor Henry Chadwick (Anglican), the Jesuit Fr Bernard Leeming (he who later wrote The Vatican Council & Christian Unity), Dr Nicolas Zernova (Spalding Lecturer in Eastern Orthodox Culture, and Warden of the Oxford Orthodox house), and Rev Douglas Stewart (Baptist).
I think of these, only Henry Chadwick is still alive; and he is very much that, as the greatest of the Anglican champions of A RCIC and its Final Report.
We were in the Quire at Canterbury Cathedral for the papal visit, and at the moment of the kiss of peace he did a very charming thing: he crossed a gangway and came to me with the greeting Pax Christi, Alberice — to which I replied et cum spiritu tuo but had not the wit to add Herzrice.
Now he is._of a nest of eagles begotten of a Kent barrister; and, I thought at that moment, had he allowed circumstances to take an episcopal course it might well have been him who was at that moment host to the Holy Father.
Instead he chose to keep close to his books; his place had been to fly out to the Pope in January to persuade him of the importance of promulgating the ARCIC Final Report.
Of John Chadwick's four sons, the first was a diplomat who ended his career as the United
Kingdom deputy to the OEDC in Paris, a decade ago. The second is the great Cambridge pluralist, Rev Owen Chadwick: Master of Selwyn, Regius Professor of History and Vice-Chancellor of the University.
He began his current interest in rugby with three blues for Cambridge in the 1930s. His writings, devoted largely to Church history, span the whole gamut of its life from Western Asceticism through the Reformation, From Bossuet to Newman and on through the Victorian Church, the European revolution and the response of the modern papacy.
His range is huge, and his capacity for detailed work at so many levels enormous.
The third is Henry, who at Eton became a music scholar, which took him to Magdalene
Vows of stability
IT IS STRANGE to see where monks get to, despite their vows of stability. (Incidentally, despite what writers put upon us, we do not take vows of either poverty or chastity, though our other vows do catch us there).
Were you to open your Times for Saturday, June 5 on page two, you would be confronted with a photo of the Israeli ambassador, recently shot, being lifted into an ambulance in the Hyde Park area of London. In the background looking pastoral is a dim Fr Brown figure, who — did you but know it — is the Headmaster of Downside, Dom Philip Jebb, far from his madding crowd in Somerset!
As to that, on the day that the Pope popemobiled his way from Archbishop's House to Buckingham Palace, I found myself off Victoria St lunchtime at the Anglican HQ off Dean's Yard. I thought 1 would be among only Anglicans, but the next table from ours contained two abbots and two other English Benedictines, rejoicing after the Cathedral Mass.
Two new pamphlets
NEW THINGS hove into view as life goes on, thank God. Because I seem to have come to the Catholic League's
notice, the Catholic League has come to my notice.
It was formed in 1913, open to all members of the Anglican Communion as one of several societies dedicated to the cause of Christian unity, with the specific aim of fostering unity between the Church of England (ie Anglicans in Britain) and the Catholic Church worldwide.
It especially encourages prayer and theological study, and for that reason — the heart, surely, of all ecumenism — it seems good to me. The priest director is Fr Raymond J Avent of St Augustine's House, Kilburh Park Rd, NW6 5XI3 (01-624 1637). The League's journal is The Messenger, monthly 32 pages 15 pence.
Two pamphlets have recently emanated from the Catholic League, both — interestingly — printed by the Catholic St Michael's Abbey Press, Farnborough.
The first, by Fr M J L Perrott, is: "Development in the petrine
primacy between the Vatican Councils". It is a good account, with a good bibliography. The oonclusions are these: that Vatican I left a legacy of legalistic terminology in its ecclestology; that Vatican II has introduced such liberating concepts as communion, tradition and witness, these better able to express the life of Christ's mystical body.
The Pope is then seen as the touchstone of apostlicity with a primacy among the collegial communion of bishops. In this, the old is bound eventually to come into collision with the new, which should cause a deep renewal of ecclesiology, which in turn will profoundly affect the ecumenical sphere.
The second pamphlet, by Fr Michael Rear, is: "One step more between Rome and Canterbury". Its approach is historical: it begins with the English Church, its origins, isolation and reconciliation.
Daniel Counihan is on holiday.