HISTORY LESSON – 2

St. Fudges-in-the-marsh is a tiny church that nestles in a slight dip on the Romney marshes. In this remote church, a little known but cherished holy relic lies tucked away carefully, on a stone shelf.

It sits in a crystal box. The artefact is less than 6 inches long, vaguely cylindrical in shape, brown and withered. There is a hole in the top of the box, and people who are brave enough to venture a sniff, swear that they can still get a faint whiff of the man to whom the relic belonged.
Once every four years on February 29th the relic is taken around the local villages and unblemished maidens gently hold the object to their bosom, in the belief it will help them find true love and an ability to beguile the men folk with the skilfully executed water-colours much prized in the area, and particularly in the Cinque Port town of Rye.

Now the history of this object is not as old as one might think. It’s only been there since 1946 just after the end of the 2nd World War, and what follows explains a mystery that has confused scholars for many years.

The story goes that the curate at the time was a bit of a ladies man [the only flaw in a character that otherwise was as pure as the driven snow] and that his carnal appetites were gathering pace. All the women in the area the parish covered, had in fact been covered by Cuthbert Blenkinsop, or at least chased; even the chaste.
On this particular Sunday, a few minutes before evensong, he was lying under a hedge getting his cassock into a twist with Miss Murial Walker, a spinster who had given up hoping that she would ever know anything about the pleasures of the flesh. Cuthbert was just struggling with the buttons on the third layer of her cardigans [Miss Walker felt the cold] when suddenly he noticed that his …. now how should I put it …. his raison d’etre, had turned brown and was burning at the end. He stood up rather abruptly and the love of his life fell to the ground. He screamed and ran off and although there were rumours that he ended his days in a nunnery, he was never seen in person again. Miss Walker in her naivete, presuming that this was all quite normal if a little puzzling, picked the object up as a memento and started for home. However the excitement proved too much for her and she collapsed and died under the lychgate leading into the churchyard. She was discovered there a few minutes later by none other than Winston Churchill, who, relaxing after a rather tiring war, had been painting one of his beloved watercolours in the nearby field. He was dumbfounded to see that the poor dead woman was clasping one of his cigar butts tightly in her left hand.

Nobody could fathom out what had happened and her death remained unexplained. As her purity was a byword, the cigar butt, obviously implicated in her death in some strange way, was thought to have special powers connected with the ‘undefiled’. It was taken to the church where it was hoped it’s powers would be kept in check, and over time took on the mantle of a Holy Relic.
Using my great intuitive skills and my rather awesome powers of deduction I’ve managed to piece the pieces together to offer this full and frank explanation …… my brain power is rather scary isn’t it?
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