2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Highly entertaining and extremely accessible, a great scandal indeed,
This review is from: Scandal in the Church: Dr.Edward Drax Free, 1764-1843 (Hardcover)
Modern vicars compare nothing to this man! Oxford University was relieved to get the opportunity to free themselves of this appalling troublemaker and then the troubles of the villagers of Sutton started. Because of the social and historical time they were forced to put up with Dr Free for many years, the final court case taking six years, after which he baracaded himself in to the vicarage, hardly surprising given his type of behaviour. Dr Free got his housekeepers pregnant, kept pornography, fought with the villagers, refused to hold the church services for weeks on end (usually because he was trying to avoid being served with court papers) and when he did hold a church service he used the opportunity to verbally abuse whoever was his latest victim. Dr Free refused to baptise or bury the dead without payment, which was an illegal payment he personally charged. He demanded tithes, he kept sheep, horses, cattle and pigs in the graveyard and stabled the horses and sheep in the church porch over night. He locked the church against his own staff, stopping them from performing their own duties and sold the lead off the church roof for his own gain. He argued with all and sundry and is probably the most outrageous Rector in the history of the church in England! To my mind he definately beats Harold Davidson! The book makes fantastic reading, has a phenomenal bibliography and notes source listing, and is of interest to those seeking ecclesciatical court and law courts accounts and history. It is a facinating piece of work and the author has to be applauded on bringing this Rector back to life for those of who never had to actually suffer him. Scandal in the Church indeed, the News of the World would have loved him!!
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