HISTORY LESSON – 4

The Trojan Hearse.

A lot of the fascinating parchments I inherited when moving into the Cliff Top Residence concern information about weird goings on with members of the clergy.

For instance, one stained and dog-eared manuscript describes the Very Reverend Charletton Grimsbody, who was defrocked in 1738 by the then Bishop of Wainwright.

By piecing together snippets of information gleaned from this document, and another source that I’m afraid I can’t reveal, I’ve learnt that Charletton Grimsbody was defrocked for wearing frocks when in office. A blind eye was turned for several years by the local parishioners, but matters were brought to a head when he insisted on donning high heels to complete the outfit, precipitating a tottering incident during a baptism. The baby was fine, but the font fell over and the Widow Arbuthnot , a woman of extremely small stature, was squished to such an extent she had to retire from her career as greyhound jockey to the nobility.

The Very Reverend Grimsbody was immediately banned from entering his own church ever again.

Now, the interesting part of the story [and about time too I hear you say avid reader] I discovered in yet another document.

Charletton Grimsbody was extremely upset about the whole business of course and when he remembered that he had left his favourite pair of shoes under the alter he was forbidden to approach, he lost it completely.

He came up with a cunning plan.

He faked his own death and wrote a codicil in his will that he wanted to have his funeral service in his old church. The elders of the parish could see no harm in this; he was dead and no longer presented any danger to the locals.

The coffin was taken into the church and placed on trestles just before the alter …. at which point the Very Reverend Charletton Grimsbody flung the lid open, sprang forth, dived under the alter, grabbed his shoes and fled down the nave and out of the doors, never to be heard of again.

The undertakers, who had been completely fooled by the Reverend, thereafter always referred to the incident as ‘The Trojan Hearse’ episode.

Post script : 3 people died of heart attacks, the coffin lid concussed two choir boys, an ignorant rather large woman gave birth to triplets, and a lot of the congregation had little accidents. The local washer woman who 20 years later died a millionairess laundress, often said “T’was the bestest thing that ever ‘appened to I.”

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(You could dis-establish the church single handed, couldn’t you, Peabrain? Lo,TG Ed)

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