... was a son of Evelyn; and himself a very considerable satirist. C.A.P.D..
I gather from a book review that someone has published a selection of his output. The reviewer mentions 'Bron's' comment on the introduction of WCs (I think some dialects of English call them Restrooms or Washrooms) into rural Anglican churches ... observing tartly that such things had been unnecessary in earlier ages when the churches were full, but appeared to be required now that they were largely empty.
It is a neat point, but as so often the satirist sharpens his barbs by eliding contextualising nuance. A pedant might remind you that before the invention of what the Victorians called 'ecclesiology', churches mostly contained Georgian 'box' pews. The pews which were provided for Gentry families had higher walls than the plebeian pews, and contemporary critics sometimes alluded to what these walls could conceal. Ladies' maids, apparently, kept close at hand discreet ceramic receptacles which could conveniently be slipped under voluminous garments. Gentlemen, perhaps, just popped out and made use of the ... er ... environment. The Victorians not only restored decayed buildings but radically reformed the informalities which had accompanied preTractarian churchgoing habits. Canon Chamberlain, my own predecessor at S Thomas's in Oxford, pointedly alluded to the indelicacies perpetrated in box-pews as good reason for his own policy of eliminating them ("scenes were enacted that prevented females attending church"). I believe there is a Hogarth print making some of these points.
Even in my own experience, it has not been uncommon for binating or trinating country clerics arriving in a hurry from their previous church to seek the traditional hospitality of the spaces betwen the buttresses on the North Sides of churches. Might it be that the women clergy of today do not find the gracious customs of English rural life so much to their taste?
Travelling clergy do deserve some sympathy. I used to spend my College Summer Vacations serving a couple of Church of Ireland churches. Most years, on one of my summer Sundays, Ned Darling the Bishop of Limerick used to make the long journey from Limerick all the way (remember that he was Bishop of seven other dioceses too, including Ardfert and Aghadoe) to the Dromod Union in County Kerry. His wife and driver Patricia was accustomed to select apt roadside bushes outside townlands for his Lordship therein to find comfort.
Happy days, for which seminary had not entirely prepared me.
One Sunday morning I cadged a lift with the Darlings from Knightstown to Waterville ... as we drove through one village, we were passed by a large and unconstrained bovine animal, travelling, very hurriedly and not without an implication of menace, in the opposite direction. "I think", said Patricia, "that was a bull".
Her eyes had not deceived her.
Ireland was such fun before it decided to move into the twentieth century.