Friday, 24 September 2021

Ancient and modern

I HAD the pleasure of attending a Christmas drinks party at Stonor Park where the main house has been decorated ready for the festive season.

The Hon William Stonor’s wife Ailsa and their children Tommy, Harry and Cecily did much of the work, using natural materials found on the estate.

Our hosts were also on hand to give the invited guests a tour of some of the rooms.

We even got the chance to see the priest holes where the Jesuit St Edmund Campion hid to evade capture by the authorities after the publication of his pamphlet, Decem Rationes (Ten Reasons), which argued against the validity of the Anglican Church, in 1581.

The pamphlet was printed on a press hidden in the roof of the house. Four hundred copies were later found on the benches of St Mary’s Church in Oxford, causing a sensation — rather like, suggested Ailsa, a modern-day Twitter storm!

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