Wednesday, 11 August 2010

37 Not Out
Thirtyy Seven years ago today we were married and spent the first night of our marriage at the Compleat Angler Hotel in Marlow. Clicking on that link will tell you all you are going to learn about that night. The author of the slightly enigmatic book of the same name was Izaak Walton and he had a strong link to Stafford.
The bust we are pictured beneath here in St. Mary's Church was purchased by public subscription in 1878. It overlooks the font where he was baptised in September 1593. There are various conflicting stories about his early life. The little we do know is that his beginnings were humble and that at 18 he was apprenticed to a linen draper in London. The business flourished and he became fairly rich. He joined the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers which has led to further erroneous stories of him being an ironmonger. As a Royalist the Civil War and the Commonwealth were not comfortable times for him. When Charles II fled to France in 1651 after losing the battle of Worcester he hid The Lesser George (a gold and diamond jewel from the Order of the Garter) at a farm in Staffs. Walton smuggled it to a prisoner in the Tower of London who escaped and delivered it to Charles in France. Our connection with Walton is much less exciting. When he died, aged 90, he had lived through the reign of four monarchs and a republic; witnessed the Gunpowder Plot,Oliver Cromwell's dictatorship, the beheading of Archbishop Laud and Charles II attempts at religious tolerance. He was buried in Winchester Cathedral. The Compleat Angler has been published in 450 editions which is second only to the Holy Bible apparently.

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