Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Of piscatorial parsons
The title of the blog kind of "gives the game away"- I'm a Vicar, and I fish, but I'm far from the only one. In fact, if you stretch the definitions a bit it's a tradition that goes way back to 30AD when the first disciples were called by the shores of Lake Galilee, a point Isaak Walton ( himself not a clergyman, but close friends with many, including the poet and Anglican Dean John Donne) was always keen to make. Famous fishing clergymen have included Charles Kingsley, author not only of "The Water Babies" but also of a fly fishing work entitled "Chalk Stream Studies" and Francis Kilvert whose country diaries remain popular to this day. Probably the greatest of all angling Vicars was the Rev EC Alston who died in 1977 aged 82, who for a while held both the rudd and tench records simultaneously, the rudd (which weighed 4 lb 8 oz) record lasting for over half a century before it was finally eclipsed. Perhaps the best known angling minister around at the moment is Stewart Bloor, pastor of a Baptist church in the Midlands whose weekly fishing blogs, Facebook and Twitter feeds are followed by an army of loyal fans.
Why so many piscatorial parsons is a mystery, perhaps it's because we only work one day a week and so have plenty of time to pursue our quarry,but I'll leave the last word (as I so often do) to that great Christian, churchman and friend of the clergy, Walton who wrote of fishing this:
"We may say of angling, as of strawberries: doubtless God could have made a better strawberry, but doubtless He never did, and so -if I may be judge- God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling."