The Heart of England
Cornish Mission IAM not normally a great reader of advertisements in newspapers, not even in the Cyrooric HERALD. However, while on holiday in darkest Cornwall, where seamist and thundery rain beat all records this year (according to the local inhabitants), I found whilst sitting by the fire, a little advertisement on the paper's back page of great interest. Enquiring about Mass on Sunday morning. we had discovered that it was said in a local hall about three minutes' walk away from where we were staying—almost as good as home. The advertisement showed a little map of part of Cornwall and marked all the places where missioners from St. Mary's Priory, Bodmin, said Mass on Sundays. The Priory is in the hands of Canons regular of the Lateran, and they are only a handful. How they get about to so many places on Sundays I can not imagine. But they do, and it is a service for which holidaymakers in that part of the world should be most grateful. Normally. I might never have been struck by that advertisement, yet, just because I was there, the story became alive and full of romance. Many of our appeal advertisements have doubtless equally romantic stories behind them, if we but knew.
Source of a Proverb THERE are very few Catholics in
Cornwall today, I imagine, yet few places seem to possess more Catholic roots. The guidebook took a rather jaundiced view of Cornish towns and interior, reserving its praises for the coastal scenery, which indeed is unique when you are able to get a glimpse of it through the mist and rain. But I found the towns and villages fascinating, if only because they look as though they had been there since the dawn of civilisation. In Bodmin itself our car broke down, thereby causing a traffic jam which even the kindly Cornish police could hardly sort out. But it gave
The Vicar of Morwenstow YEARS ago, I visited Morwen
stow, the last Cornish village before you cross into Devon to be welcomed by Welcombe, and I have always retained a clear picture in my mind of the church of St. Morwenna (also unmentioned by Attwater) which stands in a valley facing a tall heather-covered cliff that falls 500 feet down to the sea. St. Morwenna, daughter of a Welsh king. takes us back 1,500 years. But the church, Saxon and Norman in parts, acquired a fresh fame In the 19th century through its Vicar, Robert Stephen Hawker. Seeing it all again after some 30 years, nothing was changed—and that is Plymouth cemetery. He was received into the Church on his death-bed by Canon Mansfield. '1 he death-bed conversion caused a good deal of controversy, since the priest was asked for by his Catholic wife. She, however, must have known his sentiments best and have satisfied Canon Mansfield that he wanted to die a Catholic. On the other side, some people accused him of long disloyalty to the Church of England and of long being a Catholic at heart. Certain at least it is that be hated the prevalent Methodism of Cornwall. and Baring-Gould's book has many amusing stories of Methodist superstitions, rantings and devil-hunting. In one deserted " High " Cornish church I made my first study of the altar Missal in English. I was delighted to find the Mass for SS. Thomas More and John Fisher, and I wondered what name tilled the X at the mention of the "Chief Bishop" in the Canon.
Glastonbury: The Key HAWKER was a poet whose most ambitious work was another version of the story of Arthur and
the Holy Grail, He called it the " Quest of the Sangreal ". BaringGould thinks its quality compares well with Tennyson's. Having journeyed through Amesbury and the restored Stonehenge and spent a night or two in Glastonbury to end my holiday near Tintagel and Camelford, I had every opportunity of soaking myself in early Britain and the Arthurian legend. It surprises me that Catholics in this country make so little of the one authentic thread that runs through it all: the story of Glastonbury. From the Lake villages in preChristian times (to be studied in the museum. not on the spot) right on to the Reformation, Glastonbury or Avalon has a history as mysterious and uncanny as the contours of its hills. Without accepting the Joseph of Arimathea legend or even the grave of Arthur (though this is quite possible) or the Holy Grail, this land remains the continuous link between aeanism, the earliest of Christian settlements, the t chic and Roman periods. the British and the Germanic invaders, English
Christianity a n d Augustine's mission. the Anglo-Saxons and the Conquest, medieval England and the Reformatinn it was the -,r.-.
eminence and English Catholic and Roman tradition of the great Abbey which caused its utter desruction by Henry and Cromwell as well as the sordid and savage martydom of Abbot Whiting and his companions at its most significant and striking spot, the summit of Glastonbury Tor. It is really the heart of Catholic England and should be marked by some great church or monastery attracting pilgrims and visitors from all over the country.
Do What You Like AL MOST unique, I imagine, is
the little miscellany of prose and poetry called "Vril" — its significance escapes me, as does the wild-life pastoral drawing which surrounds the name — which is published at half-a-crown by the Quodlibetarian Society at Beaumont College. The Society is a literary society to which many of the older boys belong. I liked a Bellocian touch at the end of a story in which bickering between husband and wife caused Michael to feel justified in pushing Caroline into "a moderate expanse of rather muddy water." The last paragraph reads: "Michael felt a warm glow of satisfaction within him. but when the children appeared and asked, 'Where's Mummy r he was a little at a loss to know what to say."