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Bryan King and the Riots at St. George's-in-the-East

By William Crouch

London: Methuen, [1904]

Note by J. B. Knight

As one who was intimately acquainted with Mr. Bryan King all the time he was rector of St. George's-in-the-East, and who was a resident in the parish while it was the scene of the disgraceful riots which ultimately compelled Mr. King to give up his work there, I have been asked by Mr. Crouch to corroborate the account of events dealt with in the following memoir, and also to add my testimony to the character of the man it commemorates.

Mr. Crouch was so kind as to read this memoir to me, and it appeared to me to be in perfect accordance with my recollection of the events narrated, and as to my estimate of Mr. King's character, I can hardly find words strong enough to express the feeling of admiration I had for him. He was a man to be greatly loved and reverenced. The most perfect Christian gentleman I ever knew. He was humble and unassuming, a courageous defender of what he believed to be the truth, considerate to those who differed from him, always willing to make concessions when he could do so without sacrifice of principle, but when principle was in question, immovable as a [x/xi] rock. As a priest he was devoted to the work of saving souls, and was most exact in the performance of his ministerial duties. His manner was courteous, and he was able to keep his temper under circumstances of great provocation. He bore with exemplary patience unjust and cruel treatment, not only from an ignorant and fanatical section of the inhabitants of his parish, but also from those in authority from whom he had a right to expect support. The ritual complained of was very moderate, and such as probably no Bishop of the present day would think of prohibiting. The causes of the persecution which at last drove this excellent man from his parish were (1) an attempt on his part to give practical effect to the instructions given by Bishop Blomfield in his charge to his clergy in 1842; (2) his vindication of his exclusive right as rector of the parish to his own pulpit, and his refusal to allow a clergyman he did not respect to usurp it. Finally he broke down in health. Dean Stanley and Mr. Thomas Hughes, with great generosity and kindness, offered to provide a substitute for him for two years. This offer Mr. Bryan King accepted. He went abroad, never to resume his work in St. George's parish. Nevertheless, his labours and sufferings have borne good fruit there. St. Peter's Church, built by the exertions of Father Lowder, stands on what was then a part of that parish. Father Wainright, the [xi/xii] vicar, is enthusiastically countenanced in his Catholic ritual by every man, woman, and child of the congregation, and if Protestants of the type that persecuted Mr. King still exist in the neighbourhood, they have found out that it would not pay now to give expression to their fanaticism.

October 27th, 1903

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