Sunday, 13 February 2011

Name dropping

After I moved to Suffolk and began to take a more serious interest in history, I discovered a small out-of-print volume about our village written by a former vicar. Some years later it came to my attention that his son Diarmaid had grown up to be a historian too. In fact he was eventually exalted to be a Professor of the History of the Church at St Cross College, Oxford. In my time at Queen Mary he had chaired a seminar that I had attended, and later I followed his BBC4 series on the history of Christianity. I finally had the chance to meet him in person last year at a talk hosted by the Bury Past & Present Society on the topic of the historical forger, Robert Ware. The great man confessed he had once written a book in which he had relied on a so-called speech by Cranmer to the newly crowned Edward VI that had been concocted by the above scoundrel. Afterwards I couldn't resist doing the groupie thing, introduced myself and my friend, and got him to autograph one of his late father's local histories.

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