Reminiscences of the Vicar, by Canon H H Rumsey
Loughborough Echo - 19th October 1934
25 years in Quorn - Reminiscences of the Vicar, by Canon H H Rumsey
Merely to stay put in these days is an achievement. That I have done for 25 years and the penalty inflicted by the Editor is a little lime light. So be it.
I had been one of a staff of ten before I came to Quorn, for Kettering was one parish of 30,000 souls. From that fellowship I came to a sole charge. I came also to live alone in a fair-sized vicarage, but that mistake was soon put right.
My induction on St Luke's Day, 1910, wakens memories. It was the lovely weather so closely associated with that day, in fact St Like's summer; Quorn House, Quorn Hall, Quorn Place were all centres of hospitality on that day. One is now a country club, another a nursing home. Tempora Mutantur.
I was instituted by Bishop Carr Glyn and inducted by Archdeacon Stocks. There was one little hitch in the service that I can remember. For a terrible moment no one was found to say to the Bishop "I present to thee this godly and well-learned man," etc. An old colleague, however, was prevailed upon to do so and now the sub-Dean of Lincoln has that on his conscience.
In my first daily office I recall this verse from Zechariah, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord of Hosts." For the open of a ministry they were significant and helpful words.
Though St Bartholomew's Church dates back to 1154, I was only the fourth vicar of Quorn. My other many predecessors had been curates of Barrow, for the order in Council making Quorn a separate benefice had only been issued in 1868. that was in the days of Robert Stammers. He was at Quorn for 55 years in all, and is still remembered as the old Reverend.
In his early days the Vicarage was built; in fact in the year of Queen Victoria's accession. Also in his days the Church was restored and enlarged to its present dimensions. My immediate predecessor was Edward Foord Kelsey. He resigned at the age of 51, have been here one-third of his life. He was a motor pioneer, and bits of his primitive car are still in the Vicarage loft. Also a great man he was for village lore, of which he wrote many a pleasing article which may still be read in the bound copies of the Parish Magazine to be found in church.
THE DAMSON TREES
Before my arrival the vicarage damson trees had yielded abundantly, and it is odd how damson jam and my first year refuse to be separated in my mind. My housekeeper, a farmer's widow, and my gardener, must soon have discoved me to be very London bred. I have often wondered since how they kept their faces when one fine May morning I brought in for new potatoes a dozen solitary tubers from the same number of plants. But have picked many a gardener's brain since then, and now, with Oliver, "I do not shame to tell you what I was?. Being the thing I am." I have other young plants, too, but the nurture of them is not so easily learned.
As far back as a century Quorn was a big village. Its population then was 1,750. In my time it has grown from 2,100 to 2,600; other growths have been more rapid. For some years after 1909 we went to Loughborough, if we didn't walk or cycle, in a one-horse carrier. Indeed, five years later the same conveyance took the Yeomanry from Quorn to Loughborough. I have a photo of it. May 13th of the following year was little dreamed of then. God rest their souls.
People of my age should have broad sympathies. Something like this has been the experience of us all, with a slight change of words. A lay life, wholly Victorian, a curate's apprenticeship wholly Edwardian, an incumbency wholly Georgian. We ought to be the people who can blend the old and the new. May we do so.
To stay put in Quorn has not been hard. Happiness, parochial and domestic, has come my way among friends whose help and kindly judgment have never failed.