|All Saints & St. Margaret's, Pakefield|
A small village on the North Sea, Pakefield was two miles from Lowestoft. The Rev Lewis Price had been rector there since 1871. Nearly 70, he'd had an eventful clerical career. As a younger man, he had been one of the clergy associated with the infamous Agapemone commune in Somerset. He married one of the celebrated Nottidge sisters, although he had to go court to force her to live with him. She died in 1886.
When Price learned of the Lowestoft ball, he sent a letter to the Eastern Daily Press calling upon the mayor to cancel it. "Moses or the Prophets or Christ or his Apostles never gave a ball ... Balls are offensive to all true Christians ... they inflame the worst passions of the streets, promote the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life ... we will pray to deliver you and your people from this cursed ball." The secular press, of course, mocked Price's letter, calling it "balderdash of the most outrageous and unchristian character" and an "outrageous attempt to revive the worst traits of Puritanism."
The rector's appeal went unheard but, two nights before the ball, a noisy procession, said to number 3000 people, marched from Lowestoft to Pakefield rectory. A brass band serenaded the rector while the torchlit crowd burned him in effigy. It was noted that most of those in the crowd were not likely to have received a ticket to the ball but, still, it was an evening not to be missed. Even if, as reported, the Rev. Price was not at home.
|"Too Early?" by Tissot 1873 (Guildhall Gallery)|
The Rev Price remained at Pakefield until he resigned in 1901 at the age of 81. He had not lose his fire. In 1897, he was back in the national papers for calling village football matches "devices of the devil." He died in 1906 and is buried at Pakefield. There is a memorial window in the church that was put in while the Rev. Price was still alive which, according to the church history, is "quite unique."
Merry Christmas from the blog team & Happy New Year.
Clerical Errors, A Victorian Series, Vol. 2 is available here,