St John the Baptist Parish Church

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Book Club

Book Club - 20th February 2018

On the 20th February we met to discuss the book called “The Warden” by Antony Trollope - the first of Trollope’s Chronicles of Barchester.

The book is set in the fictional town of Barchester and is about the finances of “Hiram’s Hospital” an almshouse for twelve old and poor local men. The almshouse is overseen by the lovely warden, Rev. Harding. A local reformer called Dr John Bold who is a friend of Rev. Harding and a suitor to the reverend’s youngest daughter starts legal action against the way the almshouse is run. Reverend Harding’s son in law the Archdeacon leaps to defend the church and the way the almshouse finances are allocated.

The Penguin classic edition describes the book as “ An affectionate and wittily satirical view of the workings of the Church of England, The Warden is also a subtle exploration of the rights and wrongs of moral crusades and, in its account of Harding's intensely felt personal drama, a moving depiction of the private impact of public affairs

The book was written in 1855 and language has evolved somewhat since then. Some of the words had a different meaning then to their current usage. This caused some additional humour to that which was intended in the book.

We found “on line” a script for this book and we started the evening by reading through Scene 3 in Act 1 where John Bold learnt about a possible injustice regarding the distribution of the almshouse finances and decides to take action. Those taking part really got into character and it was very funny.

Almost all the group really enjoyed this read and thought the book was very well written. Some found the book very humorous as well.

We found the characters very realistic and of the period. The warden being a lovely and virtuous character while the Archdeacon is abrasive and someone said that he is just like the Archdeacon in the TV sitcom “Rev”. All the female characters in the book are strongly drawn but still gentle.

Talking about the book, led us to discuss as varied topics as Oxfam and its current problems, to the Press, the effect of reform, and the spending of money on Church buildings.

It is a good book to read.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 26th June 2018 at 8pm in the Church hall; the book is yet to be decided.

Anne Pelham.