Tuesday, 19 February 2013

It's The Bishop!

Making a rather ignominious appearance at the 2nd Battle of Ledbury was the Bishop of Hereford, who declared Herefordshire for the Anglican League at the outbreak of the civil war. After initially holding back Royalist incursions into the county, he inadvisably attempted to set up a pretender to the throne, claiming him to be the supposedly deceased Prince John, earning himself the ire of the King.

The Bishop’s forces were eventually defeated in the Severn Valley campaign (one of the first Big Games at Evesham), and he was captured and taken into custody while Herefordshire fell largely under Royalist control.

Clad in a modest black robe, the Bishop proved a quiet and contemplative prisoner, leading a simple confinement of prayer and study, earning himself a transfer from the Tower of London to a more comfortable exile at Madresfield House, Malvern.

It was here that pressure was put on him to return to Hereford as a reformed man, where he was to gain his freedom by arranging for the treasured Mappa Mundi and Chained Library to be transferred into the ‘protection’ of the King’s private collection.

However the government car he was travelling in mysteriously crashed en-route, smack in the middle of what was soon to become the Second Battle of Ledbury. Uninjured, the Bishop fled the scene and his captors, hiding in the privy of a nearby farm until he could make his way to the Anglican lines. Unfortunately the farm was occupied as headquarters of the besieging Royalists, and his presence was eventually discovered.

Assumed to have been recaptured, his current whereabouts and status are unknown…

(The figure is a Perry Miniatures Carlist War priest, with Westwind head and TAG helmet.)

Dr. Lisle Carr, the real Bishop of Hereford 1931-1941

Charles Lisle Carr (1871 – 1942) was an Anglican clergyman who served as the second bishop of the restored see of Coventry before becoming the 107th Bishop of Hereford in 1931.

He was born in Alnwick, Northumberland and was educated at Liverpool College, and St Catharine's College, Cambridge, to which he was elected a Fellow in 1934. After university he took Holy Orders at Ridley Hall, Cambridge and embarked on a varied clerical career that took him to many urban locations.

Carr was curate of Aston juxta Birmingham, 1894–97; Redditch, 1897; Tutor of Ridley Hall, Cambridge, 1897–1902; Vicar of St Sepulchre, Cambridge, 1901–02; Vicar of Blundell sands, Liverpool, 1902–06; Rector of Woolton, Liverpool, 1906–12; Vicar of Yarmouth 1912–20; Archdeacon of Norfolk, 1916–18; Archdeacon of Norwich, 1918–20; Vicar of Sheffield, 1920–22; Honorary Canon of Sheffield Cathedral, 1920; Archdeacon of Sheffield, 1920–22; Bishop of Coventry, 1922–31; Bishop of Hereford, 1931–41.

In 1905, Carr became part of 'The Group Brotherhood', originally a trio of young like-minded evangelicals who had become alarmed by the tensions between and alienation of different camps in the anti-ritualist, anti-high church evangelical movement at the time. Campaigning for a more positive, thoughtful and relevant attitude among evangelicals through a series of informal gatherings with sympathetic friends. Annual conferences were also held, and, after 18 years, the group had become structuralised with an elected committee.

During his tenure as Bishop of Hereford, Carr participated in an initiative from the Bishop of Chelmsford, who launched a grand appeal in the 1930s to help fund the building of new churches in the populous section of his diocese adjacent to London’s east end. The Bishop’s fund reached £300,000, £6,000 of which was raised by the diocese of Hereford towards the costs of £11,000 for the building of a new church at St George's, East Ham, replacing the temporary structure.

In honour of the funds raised in Hereford, the church was renamed 'St George and St Ethelbert', and Carr laid the foundation of the new church on 9 May 1936. Handing over the first instalment to the bishop of Chelmsford – a cheque for £3,000, Bishop Lisle Carr remarked, amid laughter: "I may say that this is the largest cheque I have written in my life".

Carr continued with words that, in the make-believe universe of VBCW, may prove to be rather apt: "I venture to ask all the people who will enjoy this church that now and again they will remember their friends in Hereford and pray for those in that diocese, where, in the loneliness of country parishes, isolated among our hills, where communications are bad and difficult, the beacon of God is still strong among us. Pray that He may give us spiritual life, as we shall continue to work and pray for you."

Carr retired in 1941, dying later that year.


  1. Figure painted figure there JP and a great background too.

  2. A nice model, and a fascinating piece of research. thanks for sharing.

  3. Cheers chums! It's a shame the poor guy didn't have a more dignified tabletop debut...

  4. Hi JP,

    You have a superb blog....very much in the theatre I am interested in.

    Any chance you could add an RSS feed on your blogger account so those of us with Flipboard can read it in style !


    Great stuff.


    Happy Wanderer

    1. Thanks for your comment! I'll look into adding an RSS feed - not sure how one goes about it, but watch this space...

    2. Well, I think I've done it right! The RSs feed button is just under the blog title, while I've also added subscribe buttons at the bottom of the right hand column.


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