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OXFORD, M. N.-Handbook of Nursing. Pp. viii + 312. (Methuen.)
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RYAN, J. A. and MILLAR, MOORHOUSE F. X.-The State and the Church. Written and Edited for the Department of Social Action of the National Catholic Welfare Council. Pp. viii+ 332. (Macmillan.) IOS. 6d. net. By the Professor of Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America. SADLER, GILBERT T.-The Symbolic Stories of the Man in Men. An Address. Pp. 28. (London: W. H. Smith and Son.)
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CHURCH QUARTERLY REVIEW. No. CXCII.-JULY 1923.
ART. I. DIARY OF A SOMERSET INCUMBENT A HUNDRED YEARS AGO.
Journals of Travels and Parochial Matters. By the Rev. JOHN SKINNER of Camerton. (British Museum Additional MSS. No. 33673.)
ONE hundred and twenty-three years ago a certain John Skinner, A.M. of Trinity College, Oxford, was instituted to the parish of Camerton in the Somerset coalfield which lies a few miles south of Bath. He lived and worked here as Incumbent for a period of thirty-nine years until his death by suicide in the year 1839, at the age of sixty-seven. During this time he achieved some position as a local antiquary, though much strenuous effort was vainly spent in an attempt to identify the ancient Roman city of Camulodunum with Camerton. He was a voluminous diary keeper, and his writings, described as ' Journals of Travels and Parochial Matters,' were bequeathed to the British Museum in October 1839 with instructions that they were to remain unopened for fifty years. They are profusely illustrated with water-colour drawings and in a few instances with engravings of the places visited and the antiquities discovered, 1788-1832. The Journals fill ninety-eight volumes.
The following extracts, covering a period of fifteen days, are taken from the Journal of parochial affairs of the parish of Camerton for the year 1822; and are of
VOL. XCVI.-NO. CXCII.
value and interest as giving at first-hand a clear record of the mind and work of a clergyman, and shewing something of his standards of duty and service in a remote mining village at a date immediately preceding the Oxford Revival.
The efforts made by Mr. Skinner and his parishioners for the relief of the famine-stricken people of Ireland are worthy of note.
In the year 1822 the Ale Houses Act was passed (3 George IV, c. 78): to amend the laws for regulating the manner of licensing Ale Houses and for more effectually preventing disorders therein,' and it will be seen from the Journal how greatly such reform was needed, by the contrast between the state of affairs then existing and the improved conditions of to-day.
This record of the thoughts and routine of a parish clergyman day by day, more than a century ago, presents a little picture of real life-humorous, pathetic, and above all things-true!
Sunday, July 7, 1822.-Thinking it probable that Weeks the Churchwarden and Hicks the Overseer might not attend Church and consequently not know what measures to pursue respecting the collection, I sent Harris the Clerk to them, but it was of no avail. I preached the Sermon I had written for the occasion and introduced the heart-rending accounts transmitted from Ireland to the Committee for managing the subscription. The people were very attentive, but rather a thin congregation; Mr. Purnell being present after Church, I mentioned to him my intention of sending the Churchwarden and Overseer round the Parish to collect from house to house.
As John Rossiter, the person I had appointed Churchwarden, did not attend the Visitation alledging as I understood, he had never been sworn in, I asked Farmer Keel whether he had any objection to officiate, if he had not, he must go to Frome on the 16th, to be sworn in: he said