That great mass of fine Neo-Gothic buildings which you pass in the train or along the A27 just by Shoreham's exquisite Art Deco Airport, is dedicated to the Assumption and S Nicolas, despite its local nickname Dracula's Castle. It is very punctilious about retaining a proper spelling of NICOLAS without the H. These things matter. Don't ask me Why ... but they do.
When the College Office Book was reissued in 1914, it contained two new English hymns for the Co-Patron, both in the Sapphic metre. The first was composed by the Wykehamist Adam Fox, Master at Lancing 1906-1918, subsequently Warden of Radley College, Dean of Divinity at Magdalen College and Professor of Poetry; finally Canon, Archdeacon, and Sub-Dean of Westminster Abbey.
I had no success in urging upon my colleagues the restoration of his hymn to regular use. It was the stanza
Teach us to honour Nicolas of Myra,
Foeman to error in the Church's Councils,
Lover of sailors, and above all other
Lover of Children.
which raised their trembling eyebrows.
The second hymn was by Athelstan Riley, about whom I once wrote a piece on this blog ... does the Search Engine on this blog still work for readers? In his hymn, it was the adonius which concludes the following stanza which, around the time of Ms Spencer's sad demise, wrecked my passionate crusade to get it back into the repertoire:
Rouse thee, great goddess of th'Ephesian temple,
For, lo! the offspring of a greater Virgin
Armeth his servant to destroy thine oak tree
Dumb, dead Diana.
Fr Fox had kippers for brekker, lunch, and tea. Not many people know that. We live in a world rife with culpable ignorance.
He had wanted his memorial in the Abbey to read "A Fox gone to Earth", but his executors had as little humour as my one-time colleagues.
Stern literary critics waiting to pounce need to know that this is written in a style/genre which could be categorised as "jocose". I do not really mean to criticise or sneer at either Fox's Executors or my former colleagues; or, indeed, at the late People's Princess alias Queen of Hearts.