Monday, April 18, 2016

"Remember, I am to have the housemaid!" - The Rector of Fincham, Norfolk

 Fincham, in the Victorian directories, is uniformly described as a “neat village on the Swaffham road.” And so it is today on what is now the A1122. There were once two houses of worship in this well-churched part of England but Fincham St. Michael was pulled down in 1744. Fincham St. Martin remains, a 13th-century structure of flint with a square embattled tower, sitting on a prominence north of the road. For such a small village, the church – with its 83-foot long nave - is quite impressive. An old Fincham rector, Mr. Forby, said but for the “pewing,” it would “be the prettiest church in Norfolk.” The Forby family had provided the rectors in Fincham for just over a century, beginning in 1723. In 1825, the Rev. Joseph Forby fainted while taking his bath. The last of the Forbys slipped beneath the soapy waters and drowned.

The Forbys and their accomplishments would dominate The Historical Notices and Records of the Parish of Fincham, County of Norfolk, as compiled by the Rev. Henry Blyth, who had become rector of the village in 1846. In obvious embarrassment, however, Mr. Blyth makes only one fleeting mention of the man whom he had succeeded. In the interval of the twenty-one years between the late and lamented Mr. Forby and young Mr. Blyth, the people of Fincham were ministered to by the Rev. Arthur Loftus. Of those two decades, Mr. Blyth – with the greatest possible discretion - dares only to record that the Rev. Mr. Arthur Loftus was “deprived on 12 December 1845.”

The full story of the Rev. Mr Loftus can be found in BLAME IT ON THE NORFOLK VICAR, published in 2008 by Halsgrove (Somerset). The book may be ordered from the publisher or from 

See also the author's new E-book: CLERICAL ERRORS - A VICTORIAN SERIES, Volume 1. There are several more fascinating tales of clerical miscreants, some of which are discussed elsewhere on this blog. 
Available NOW at ($5.49)
Available NOW at (£3.86)
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The photo is © Copyright Adrian S Pye and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.

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