Robert Hugh Benson Country
Apologies for not updating the blog over the last few days - last night I had a social engagement and the previous two nights I was staying in Hertfordshire.
The picture above is of that great Westminster priest, Mgr Robert Hugh Benson - sadly remembered more by our American friends than by his own countrymen (and the same could be said about Knox, Belloc, Chesterton and Lewis). Benson was a convert (the son of Archbishop Benson of Canterbury) and author of many novels, including Come Rack! Come Rope! and Lord of the World. Buntingford is Benson country. A few miles down the road is his house at Hare Street, which was given by Benson on his death in 1914 to the Archbishops of Westminster for use as a country refuge (not a luxury but a necessity given the stresses of the job). Cardinal Hume was a big fan as were Bourne and Hinsley (the latter died there in 1943). Priests can also use it for their days-off or for support groups - not many do, though I've been there a few times. It's a real Georgian pile, largely untouched since Benson's day and complete with a resident ghost (and quite a few have experienced something in the house).
St Richard's church in nearby Buntingford was built from the royalties of Benson's books as a memorial to him after his early death at the age of 42. It's a very tranquil place and the photo shows the wonderful presbytery garden (with sundial). A good day off - now it's back to the coal face and time for me to say Mass at one of the local schools. Adieu!