Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Best of Luck Ely


Rev Dr Anthony Russell is retiring as the Bishop of Ely. I enjoyed meeting him when my mother was the chairman of the county council. We attended many civic events together and quite a few services too.

While Bill Westwood as Bishop of Peterborough has an unchallenged place in my Episcopal view – he was a rebel, being the only Thatcherite on the bench of bishops and the first to take out a subscription to Sky TV – Anthony Russell’s interest in agriculture and the rural community gives him a great place, regardless of his political leanings [which I don’t know, and that in itself makes it a rarity in the C of E ].

Not all Bishops of Ely have done the country or its people so well. It was his predecessor, Robert Morton, who created ‘Morton’s Fork’ as the rule for tax collection, and one taken to heart by the Treasury today:

"If the subject is seen to live frugally, tell him because he is clearly a money saver of great ability he can afford to give generously to the King. If, however, the subject lives a life of great extravagance, tell him he, too, can afford to give largely, the proof of his opulence being evident in his expenditure."

Ouch.

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