Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Joy of Crockford's Clerical Directory

Among diversions there is none more harmless than scanning from time to time that vast repository of Imperial and Church of England arcana, the 1908 edition of Crockford’s Clerical Directory. At this date, the British Empire—and indeed the entire globe, not necessarily the red bits only—were dotted with Anglican prelates who, according to the accepted convention, adopted for the time being the name of their see instead of their surname, thus yielding a froth of signatures from a vanished age, for instance: + Kenneth Argyll and the Isles, + Alfred Uganda, + Reginald Calcutta, + Edward Guiana, + Edward Falkland Islands, + Ernest Riverina, + Geoffrey Shantung, + Montagu New Guinea, + Wilmot Zululand, + Jervois Saskatchewan, + Hugh Osaka, + William Barbados, + William Gibraltar, + William Lebombo, + Edmund Mashonaland, + John Niagara, + John Zanzibar and East Africa, + Arthur Rangoon, + Churchill New Zealand, + Foss Chota Nagpur, + Isaac Yukon, + Herbert Mid China, + Herbert Western Equatorial Africa, + Henry South Japan, + Enos Jamaica, + Llewellyn Newfoundland, + George Jerusalem, + Arthur Corea [sic, although for reasons that are elusive Lambeth Palace clung to the old spelling long after the Foreign Office mandarins abandoned it], + Samuel Rupert’s Land, + George Singapore, Labuan, and Sarawak, and + Clarendon Nova Scotia, all of whom were certainly genuine, as was the unequalled + Horace Fuh-Kien. For those who stubbornly refuse to believe this last, here is His Lordship’s full entry:

FUH-KIEN, Right Rev. Horace MacCartie Eyre PRICE, Lord Bishop in, Foochow, Fuh-Kien, China.—Trin. Coll. Cam. B.A. (3rd cl. Cl. Trip.) 1885, M.A. 1889. d[eacon] 1886 Lon. for Col. p[riest] 1888 Sier. L. Cons. Ld Bp in Fuh-Kien in Westm. Abbey, 2nd Feb. 1906, by Abp of Cant; Bps of Lon; B. and W.; Ely; Glouc; Booh; St. Alb; Wakef; Moos; and Vic.; Bps Suffr. of Kensington and Dorking, and Bps Ingham and Montgomery. (Jurisdiction: The Province of Fuh-Kien, S. China. Area 38,500 sq. miles; Est. Pop. 22 millions; Ch. Pop. 13,694.) C.M.S. Miss, and Vice-Prin. Fourah Bay Coll. Sier. Leo. 1886–89 ; C. of Wingfield, Stiff. 1889–90; Prin. Of C.M.S. Boys’ Sch. Osaka, 1890–97; Acting Sec. C.M.S. Osaka, 1897–98; Prin. of C.M.S. Div. Sch. Osaka, 1900–03; Sec. C.M.S. Osaka, 1899–1904; C.M.S. Miss. Osaka, 1890–1906; Exam. Chap, to Bp of Osaka 1899–1906. Sec. C.M.S. Central Japan, 1904–06; Archd. of Osaka 1901–06.

Despite that dismal third at Trinity, the conspicuous absence of any publication, the school-mastering rut, and the slightly flamboyant point about the vast size and population of His Lordship’s flock, contrasting so sharply with the number of pews currently occupied in and around the cathedral and metropolitical church at Foochow, one senses here an overarching air of disappointment.

By 1908 + Field Flowers Melbourne, a childless widower—Mrs. Goe died in 1901—had for seven years been living in comfortable retirement at Wimbledon, while the Church of England was obliged to wait for several decades until a suitable berth was was created for + Roderic Gambia and the Rio Pongas.

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