Saturday, September 07, 2013


A Very Desirable Way of Life

William Bedell Stanford (1910-1984), Memoirs (Dublin: Hinds, 2001), pp. 36-37:
One other clergyman also helped to put me on the path to scholarship. When we were living in Dundrum, the Rector of a neighbouring parish, Canon St. John Drelincourt Seymour, later Archdeacon of Cashel, was a scholar of distinction in Hiberno-Norman history. (He was also an expert on ghosts and demonology as witnessed by his True Irish Ghost Stories and Irish Witchcraft and Demonology.) A quiet, rather frail looking man, with a drooping Edwardian moustache, he would sometimes come out of his study to watch his sons and me playing tennis on their desperately uneven court. He said little to us, and I remember nothing of it. His study is what I remember, book-lined from floor to ceiling and slightly aromatic with the smell of a mild, scholastic pipe tobacco. As I went through it to the dining room in eager expectancy of Mrs Seymour's delicious cakes — she was a Stritch from an old Dublin family with a fine house in North Great George's Street — I would see him reading or writing in contented tranquillity amid the domestic noises round him, the very image of that rare but estimable character, the Parson Scholar with a minuscule congregation and a majuscule library and an international reputation. It seemed a very desirable way of life even to a boy of sixteen.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

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