Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Clergy are an Exceptional Case

In November 1849, the Rev. Charles Rookes, rector of the small Devon village of Nymet Rowland, was adjudged to be no longer worthy of being a clergyman. He was deprived of all ecclesiastical preferment. Many people wondered, however, what had taken so long. Mr. Rookes had led “a life of open & abominable scandal, separated from his wife, carrying on adulterous intercourse with one woman, seducing a second, and living in open and promiscuous scandal with many others." Yet, his Bishop had done nothing until Rookes was sued in a civil court for non-support of a child born to a then abandoned mistress. The Times thundered: "The clergy are an exceptional case.  As stewards of the sacred mysteries any flaw or crack in their armor attracts instant attention and rouses instant scandal; in their ranks, discipline must be maintained with unsparing, unquestioning severity."

The story of the Rev. Mr. Rookes can be found in BLAME IT ON THE DEVON VICAR, (Halsgrove, 2008) (
For more Victorian clerical miscreants, see the new E-Book: CLERICAL ERRORS - A VICTORIAN SERIES, Volume 1. 
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The copyright on this image is owned by Philip Halling and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

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