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Journal of a Somerset Rector, 1803-34 (Oxfords)


Journal of a Somerset Rector, 1803-34 (Oxfords)

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    Available in PDF Format | Journal of a Somerset Rector, 1803-34 (Oxfords).pdf | English
    John Skinner(Author) Howard Coombs(Editor) Peter Coombs(Editor)
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Journal Of A Somerset Rector, 1803-1834

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2.2 (11643)
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Review Text

  • By CindyC on 13 June 2010

    Rev John Skinner was a man who set out to do what he thought was best for the working class community in which he found himself, only to be beset with personal tragedy and latterly the scorn of the villagers and his own son. He was an intellectual who wasn't able to understand the minds of the working class and how to gain their respect and loyalty. He was caring and tried his best in the only way he knew how but lacked the gentle touch. He ended up like the 'Captain Mannering' of Camerton, Somerset, marching around the village upsetting the inhabitants by telling them what they should or should not be doing.

  • By Guest on 5 April 2017

    Lovely book, quite an insight to life in those days.

  • By gille liath on 15 August 2015

    You might well be expecting a slow, cosy pageant of country life, but this is a car-crash of a book. I would be convinced it was the model for Diary of a Nobody, if it wasn't for the fact it was only published in the 1930s (about a century after it was written). You can't help laughing at some of the Rev. Skinner's Pooterish vexations, but it's a rueful laugh. He's totally incapable of understanding why farmers resent him snatching a tenth of their crops from under their noses so that he can put his feckless sons through university - when it's a struggle for their own kids to get access to elementary school - yet he insists on the rights of the poor as vehemently as his own. He likes to keep his children up to the mark, but genuinely loves them and tries to do what's best for them. The treatment he gets in return is enough to make any parent shudder. He keeps commenting - in writing of course - about the fact that his journals are of interest only to himself, yet bequeaths them to the British Museum.He's a bit vain and pompous, but not a bad man and certainly not a misanthrope. It's just that this is what happens when, instead of winking at the cheating and petty villainy going on all around you like everyone else, you try to do something about it. Unfortunately for him, Skinner's parishioners sound (even allowing for his increasing paranoia) like as appalling a set of a-holes as you could find in one place, even today. His very even-handedness makes it worse; he lays into everyone without fear or favour, from the lowliest cotter to the Lady of the manor. As a result he is without allies and meets insult and contempt on all sides, which he probably perceives as even worse than it is. Mostly it sounds as though he is in the right, at least according to the mores of the time, but much good it does him. If there's one quality guaranteed to make you unpopular, it's pulling people up about the things they tell themselves are okay, but really know aren't, and which they normally get away with. That's why people hate traffic wardens.In spite of a jacket endorsement by Lord Bishop Fisher (or is it Bishop Lord Fisher?) this isn't a book of much spiritual value; not unless desolation is of value in itself.. Like many others Skinner became a clergyman for the position it gave, because it was one of the most eligible professions of the time. He thinks Catholics are a sinister sect that needs to be Kept Down, and Methodists a bunch of ignorant fanatics. His faith is genuine as far as it goes, but woefully insufficient to sustain him in his trials. Bitter and lonely, he ends up shooting himself - a particularly terrible fate for a professed man of God, because it suggests despair of everything his life had been about.It's engaging and entertaining, both intentionally and unintentionally, but at the same time horrifying. Anyone who can read this book without at least a pang of sympathy would have to be (as Skinner might put it) an unprincipled scoundrel. It's a shame a little of his antiquarian writing (which he came to see as the main purpose of his life) and his local sketches couldn't have been incorporated, to give a fuller picture both of the man and his place.

  • By PeterAllan on 20 July 2016

    Excellent condition

  • By Guest on 13 May 2016


  • By Guest on 21 October 2014

    Unless you want to read the journal of a man who hated his life and committed suicide in the end, avoid this.Who on earth would want to read this?

  • By miss jaime reeves on 3 October 2014

    quite informative seeing as i live in the rectors village and very old house

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