Fisher of men

Thinking ahead to the forthcoming Coronation this month……..

In 1967, my family lived in Stockport and I was at Leeds University. My father was an electrical engineer working on military aircraft radios being produced by the various aircraft companies in the North West – Avro, Hawker Siddeley, De Havilland, Fairey, English Electric, Blackburn etc. He was then offered a job at Westland Helicopters, Yeovil, Somerset. The prospect of getting away from the continuous rain of Manchester obviously appealed because he took the job and the family moved down to the South West, temporarily moving into a flat in a huge old stately home in a very rural position between Yeovil and Sherborne – Compton House. The house was built around 1550, was magnificent, but very run down – the perfect vision of a haunted house. In the grounds was a small church with an evening  service once a month. Because of the enormous distance between Leeds and Yeovil, my visits were restricted to university holiday periods.

In one of these periods, my grandmother and I decided to go to one of the church services. We were part of a congregation of four people with a very ancient vicar in charge. At the end of the service we exited with the usual handshakes. The vicar wanted to know who we were, so we told him and asked him who he was – ‘Fisher’ was the reply, so off we went. Two weeks later we noticed in the local paper – ‘ex Archbishop opens school fete’. Yes, it was our local vicar, the ex Archbishop of Canterbury who 14 years earlier had crowned Queen Elizabeth. He had retired to a small village called Trent and was keeping his hand in at the Compton House church. I can now say that I’ve shaken hands with the man who crowned the Queen !!

John Bowes