A View From The Vicarage, August 2018

Dear Friends

I have always called these musings “A View From The Vicarage”.  As a rule, of course, the view being referred to is an opinion.  However, on this occasion I want to focus on an actual view or vista which, as I write this, is about to change;  and by the time that you read it probably has.

As I’m sure many of you know by now the magnificent Copper Beech Tree which dominates the front lawn here at The Vicarage has been found to be seriously unsafe and will have to be felled.  Very regrettably the tree is seriously diseased and the tree surgeon expects that very large parts of the bole will prove to be hollow when the tree is taken down. 

Whether the cause of this demise is due to disease or simply the passing of time remains to be seen but trees of this genus only live for about three hundred years, and it’s quite reasonable to assume that this wonderful specimen is probably  that old.  If that is correct then it’s fascinating to ponder what dramatic changes in Kington and beyond this tree has witnessed. 

When it was planted King George 1, the first of our Hanoverian Monarchs was on the throne and the house which stood close to this young sapling was the original Vicarage and the gardens extended well beyond where they do now.

Through the life span of this wonderful old tree have passed the dramatic and momentous events which Kington, its district and indeed our country and the world have passed through since.

As it was growing to maturity the sounds of revolutionary France made waves across the Channel and at about its hundredth birthday Nelson won his great naval victory at Trafalgar and then Wellington met his Waterloo.

The last two centuries of its life have witnessed conflict and barbarism on a scale unimaginable when it was planted but also the advent of free healthcare and social welfare for all citizens of these islands.  On the local scene how many weddings, christenings and funerals has it seen from its vantage point?  How many other celebrations?  The Vicarage Open Golf at Kington Church Fete has until this year been contested under the shadow ot its boughs.

It is, it seems to me occasions such as this which help us to see the upside down, topsy turvey nature of our own times in their proper context as nothing more than part of the movement of history.

In 300 years from now, Brexit will be nothing more than a footnote in history;  yes it will have brought changes, but I’m convinced that there’ll be no more dramatic than the accession of George 1 in 1714 or our entry into the Common Market, as it was then, in 1973.

Human beings will still be born, will still need to be educated and nurtured, they will still need to provide an income to support themselves and their families.  Unlike the trees and even our beloved buildings, God remains constant and unchanging and we should allow nothing or nobody to obscure our view of Him not even a much loved and deeply lamented tree.

With my love and prayers as always


Ben Griffith