21 January 2021


The reason why Riley equipped his Church with so many vestments and altars? Behind the church, he built what he hoped would be a home for retired (Anglo-Catholic) priests. I am sure he envisaged them all strolling down each morning to say their private Masses. Sadly, the scheme never took off. It has been suggested that retired clergy prefered little townships with cinemas and shops to Cornish hamlets beside beautiful inlets of the sea. Incidentally, Riley was not a papalist (indeed, he was involved in controversy with the Arch-Anglo-Papalist Fr Fynes Clinton). The Mass those clergy would have celebrated would probably have been the Order in the Prayer Book of 1549, which Riley, like Lord Halifax, favoured because it was 'Anglican' without being as marred by Cranmer's Zwinglian theology as subsequent Prayer Books were. (Possibly, this liturgical disposition may have deterred Ultramontane clerics.)

Little Petherick Church also has a very 'Comper' Rood Screen, which includes renderings of the Riley Arms.

There are, of course, no such things as 'the Coat of Arms belonging to your name'. Firms which offer to sell such things to tourists are being a little reticent in the information they offer. In English Armoury, you have Arms if you have inherited them in direct line, or if they are granted by the College of Heralds. Riley's father John had petitioned for, and been granted, Arms in 1857. But they alluded to a commerial past. A ship looking rather like a tea clipper. Three bees suggesting Hard Work. But Athelstan did not work. Athelstan did not go merchandising round the World ... (there was also a chevron and a couple of crosses).  

So, in 1918, Riley petitioned for and received revised Arms. The rather modern mercantile ship was replaced by a nice 'ancient ship'. The industrious bees disappeared. The whole thing now looks much more decently 'medieval'!

The Little Petheick Rood Screen shows these 'revised' Arms ... but dates from well before 1918. So ... a PROBLEM!

But a careful examination of the painted Arms reveals that a modern ship has been painted out, and the Ancient Ship painted over it. And the bees have been painted over ... but, in raking light, you can see the shadow of them.

Riley is up-dating his self-reinvention!

To be continued.

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