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Sunday, 13 January 2013

ESAH Sunday Series: Church stories

This story might or might not be true. It was recorded as a family story by Edward Henry Lisle Reeve in 1881.

The Rector of Liston

There is a good story told of Dr Wallace’s son, Tom, Rector of Liston [from around 1783].  It was the custom in those old times for the Clerk to give out the hymn in Church, and the second hymn in the afternoon service was turned to account for the officiating minister, who would take the opportunity of retiring to the vestry and exchanging his surplice for the black gown wherein to preach.

On one occasion – celebrated in the annals of the parish – Revd. Wallace left his sermon at home by mistake; and being an easy-going old gentleman, he thought, when he found himself in the vestry, that the chance to escape was too good to be lost, and made off through the vestry to return no more.  The Clerk and Congregation, in the loyalty of their hearts, lengthened out the hymn by sundry additions and doxologies to give their pastor time to don his robes and it was long before they perceived the true cause of his delay.  They were enraged as all may suppose, and here lies the gist of the story.  Next Sunday the Clerk did not give out the second hymn at the usual time, but waited till the Rector had returned with the black gown from the vestry and ascended the pulpit.  Then, and not until then, he slammed the pulpit door, and keeping his back against it, with an exulting cheer cried to the congregation, “We’ve got him, my boys, now let’s sing to the praise and glory of God”.

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