Intentional Communities

Further to my article The Old Dream, Perceptio has written Corporate Association and Intentional Communities. It is remarkably astute, and the notion of “intentional community” harks back to the attention I gave to Christian and non-Christian communities. Many are models of ecology and environmentalism – with which I sympathise. Some live in old mansions, modern eco-friendly buildings, and others in forests or some other natural site in improvised wooden constructions and yurts. Public planning authorities have been known to be hostile to these unconventional initiatives, but there are signs that things are changing for the better if initiatives are carefully planned and shown to be sound.

Here are some of my older postings:

I am a little more sceptical, especially as I bring back my old memories of Wennington School. Someone has to be a leader whilst the others in the community have to take their own responsibilities. Fallen human nature enters the picture, as does concupiscence for power, money and sex (as a means of conquest and dominance over others). All of a sudden, the community collapses and someone is left with the duty of picking up the pieces.

If Christianity has any credible future in the West, it is not in a cultural or sociological model. It is more along the lines of intentional communities (perhaps a new monasticism) that deliberately blur the tired distinctions between Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant. Ultimately, the principles binding the three together are more persuasive than the at times exaggerated distinctions between them.

The problem with such an idea of a community is that it would fail to be accepted by any institutional Church, and that’s when people get cold feet – and we are back to square one. Monasteries are quite unpleasant places. Of course there is the physical discomfort of being cold and starved of sleep (and food to an extent). There is above all the fact that a monastery only works because it is run like a totalitarian cult. A Benedictine abbot put it to me exactly in those terms! Someone enters the system in full knowledge of what he’s doing, via the novitiate and temporary vows, so that gets the system off the hook. Any human community runs on the reptilian instincts of dominance, self-defence and sex. Monasteries are no exception even if sexuality is sublimated in some way. Six months at Triors convinced me that a monastic vocation was out of the question. I never even considered it.

The ecological and non-religious intentional communities (see Diggers and Dreamers) seem for the most part to have been successful in implementing a democratic structure like traditional tribes, so that dominant individuals can’t seize power and corrupt the whole. This needs to be studied. I would have greater trust in a community that is not Christian but secular, and in which all spiritual and religious expressions are tolerated and allowed to flourish as private initiatives. Secularism does take away the political power which is not appropriate for communities gathered for spiritual purposes – and that has shown proven success as long as atheism is not the “default” and “official” “religion” of the group. That is the problem with French laïcisme. Impartiality is difficult to gain except perhaps through a genuinely democratic structure. Therefore, the intentional community would be built on other principles, such as a new way for man to share life with nature, a humanist philosophy and a protest against the modern “mega” system of nations, empires, the European Union, etc.

Any attempt to make Christianity into a human community contains the seeds of its degradation into political ideology and intolerance. It is just a matter of degree. I believe that Christianity as a political ideology (the word used in its purest and etymological meaning) has no future. It cannot be totalitarian enough! Islam would do the job better in the way it happens in Saudi Arabia, Iran, territories occupied by Daesh and other terrorist organisations, and other places where life is like it was in the seventeenth century in western Europe and before the Enlightenment. That is why western liberalism seems to be supporting such a transition (as well as curbing the threat of the Extreme-Right). Christianity as a political ideology has failed, because it has been used for purposes for which it was never designed. That is why Islam has always fought to take its place.

Humanism has its limits, and seems to be something that is passing away into history. Unfortunately, it was only of passing value. We have to return to darkness – as I read in Berdyaev’s theory about the “New Middle Age”. This sounds incredibly pessimistic, perhaps even pathological, but it isn’t. I am being realistic about the general situation. On the other hand, it is an opportunity for each of us in the last few years we have in this world to find and discover the divine image within us, and thus enter into a new and wonderful world.

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More Grave Digging

Further to my post of a couple of days ago asking what was going on, Mr Bruce has just sent in a new posting, The Patrimony That Won’t Die!

This new posting really convinces me that there was never anything to report. The only information about the erstwhile Patrimony goes back to 2012. There is nothing new. All that remain are semantics over meanings of words and whether this or that canonical act had any validity.

The real issue is about a priest who was a part of this Patrimony, was deposed by the present hierarchy of the TAC in America, and who is claiming St Mary of the Angels church in Hollywood against the claim of the ACA. This dispute has been grinding through the American legal system for years, and is as boring as watching paint dry. I have no vested interest in the matter or any independent opinion.

I see no evidence that Archbishop-Emeritus Hepworth is doing or claiming anything. There is nothing to report.

It would seem that the ACA and the TAC tribunal held in South Africa acted irregularly in regard to the TAC’s in-house rules. Now, it seems hardly to matter, when history is changed and old memories are buried, unresolved. That is life in this unjust world.

As far as I am aware, Archbishop-Emeritus Hepworth has no standing in any known ecclesial body. He works for an educational association, and it would seem that he still uses the title of Archbishop. I am told that he still has a chapel in Adelaide, and I can only suppose that he continues to celebrate Mass. I would doubt that he submitted to Rome to be a penitent layman in the Archdiocese of Adelaide. I think we should now leave the matter in silence and in the hands of God, to coin a cheesy cliché.

I resent the insinuations of Mr Bruce about what is canonical or not. It pleased him to be a continuing Anglican at one time. His understanding of ecclesiastical law is highly arbitrary, as are his criteria for extending the courtesy of ecclesiastical titles. All one can say is to wish him good luck in what he has freely embraced, which is run-of-the-mill American Roman Catholic parish life. That particular Church has long ago abandoned the characteristic positions of conservatives, and now dialogues with anything “mainstream” and in tune with modern world affairs and institutions, and with secular tenets.

That’s it as far as I am concerned. No other information has come in, so this particular conspiracy theory can be killed stone dead.

* * *

He’s still shaking the rat! So, Can Samuel Prakash Actually Dissolve The Patrimony Of The Primate?

Maybe the Patrimony of the Primate was not formally dissolved, but it is de facto. There is no one in it. Nobody claims to lead it or belong to it. I belonged to it, but as soon as Archbishop Hepworth was out, I considered myself as belonging to the diocese in England of the TAC, which was confirmed by letter by Archbishop Prakash. This was because I had become an “ecclesiastical orphan”. I since resigned from the TAC in England to join the ACC, and therefore left in due form and on good terms. Any claim to its continuing existence is as absurd as claiming that France is still a kingdom!

What could possibly come out of the woodwork would be Archbishop-Emeritus claiming to be leading a “Patrimony”. If he were doing so, he would be putting it on the internet or publishing something – and we would know about it. This is not so and the whole thing is a product of the fertile imagination of Mr Bruce.

This silly hypothesis has nothing to do with the present hierarchy of the TAC.

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Living in a Cruising Dinghy with Roger Barnes

My sailing companion has produced a new Youtube film from last autumn. What do we do at night? I put up three articles last summer of my adventure at the Semaine du Golfe:

Here is a nice little story of Roger Barnes’ night on his lug-rigged Ilur dinghy Avel Dro:

He was on his own in his lovely spacious vessel, everything precisely organised and in its place. That is Naval routine at its best.

Sleeping aboard isn’t easy, and I have a lot less space on Sarum than he has. To compensate, my boat dries out flat. I have improved the sleeping arrangement with two self-inflating mattresses on wooden boards. A new lazarette (stern board and locker) will provide more length for my body. I’m beginning to anticipate the new season with improvements to my trailer and the project of the lazarette. Time and money permitting, I hope to make a new and higher tent to give me more headroom, which will involve a higher boom prop.

It feels quite strange to wake up in the boat, dried out and completely immobile, or floating and feeling the movement of the water and the lapping wavelets. The peace and silence are awe-inspiring. It is a rare privilege that you won’t even find in a monastery!

It gets better every year! All I need now is the end of the winter and the bad weather, and a little more warmth in the air for my first daysail of this year. Perhaps I’ll do a jaunt on the Seine before braving the sea – once the Atlantic swell dies down a bit. We took a battering from Storm Imogen just a couple of days ago, but much less than in southern England! As I said on a sailing e-mail list “I take it no one will be sailing“…

Anyway, enjoy Roger’s film, and I hope he will make others to promote dinghy cruising. We will see each other in June at the Route du Sable.

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The Old Dream

I have been captivated by this myself. I am talking about the old theme of integral traditionalism as it is known by some among other names. I have a bookshelf full of René Guénon, Soloviev, Frithjof Schuon, Berdyaev, Mircea Eliade, Jung and others who might have been more or less influenced by the New Right movements in Europe. I was once fascinated by Distributism and a so-called Third Way, only to find out that people responsible for that movement had committed terrorist acts. I did well never to have anything to do with that kind of thing! Disappointment after disappointment… Perhaps we have a lesson to learn.

After reading the thought-provoking posting The Great Restlessness, I thought of my own stories to tell. In the 1990’s, I bought a book about independent Catholic and Orthodox bishops – as I have been a little too curious about that less than healthy subject. I won’t give the title of this book, because I feel the need to conceal the identity of the person (X) I am about to discuss. X had a friend who died of cancer at a very early age who was a medievalist and something of a “Romantic”, and wrote books about integral traditionalism. They were both fascinated with René Guénon and founded a kind of confraternity of like-minded souls. X decided that being in charge of the confraternity justified his being ordained a priest and consecrated a bishop, which was conferred by an episcopus vagans. The confraternity proved a failure and X joined the jurisdiction of a bishop affiliated with the Metropolis of Milan. When the bishop in question had his own problems, X joined the local jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, and was re-ordained. Something went wrong, and now X lives as a layman with his family and earns an honest living. What happened? We can never be in the skin of another person, but this kind of thing (theme and variations) happens to a lot of people. Myself too to an extent.

Perceptio seems to have hit a note, the utter incompatibility between modern western life and metaphysics, any notion other than materialistic. It is then that we have the idea of secession from the system to form small communities, inspired by monasticism, university life, whatever – so that some people can “reconnect”. It is appealing, and some little communities go some way towards satisfying this aspiration, between monasteries, continuing Anglican dioceses, what we do on the internet with our blogs, forums and e-mail lists. We try to avoid being alone. Sometimes, solitude is of the essence!

I try to forge on in my own way, and this is why we need to salvage the aspects of Gnosticism which can be reconciled with what is most constant in Catholic Christianity. Then, we need to examine other mythologies with the right keys of interpretation and understanding. There have been many foolish mistakes, illusions and failures. And, so there will be in the future. We cannot give up without submitting to the morass of materialism and the crass stupidity of the hylics. I have no formula of success, any more than had other thinkers and dreamers. Each of us finds our own way, however crazy that might seem to others.

I have concluded that eccentric and spiritual ways are only for individual persons who try to be true to themselves. At the level of communities, we have to learn to get by with conventional exoteric Churches – in the same way as we live in the general population. Some Churches are more conducive to others. Some believe they have found “it” with Orthodoxy, and one can only leave them to discover reality over the years. Others join a Church which is less exclusive in its “truth” claims but in which worship is uplifting and human relationships draw at least some inspiration from teachings by Christ, St Paul and others on charity (ἀγάπη). A Church is always a compromise between our idealism and the common denominator of humanity. We cannot expect too much from Churches, any more than from the civil institutions of the country in which we live: government, law, police, armed forces, welfare state, education and so forth. Churches give some attention to the metaphysical and spiritual, and give the first guiding steps. We are responsible for our own spiritual adulthood and the discovery we are called to make throughout life.

There, we are on our own – and it will lead to holiness or insanity!

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What are you giving up for Lent?

Yesterday, I listened to an interview with Quentin Crisp, who, in spite of his flamboyance, ate almost nothing. He claimed to live on a kind of white powder bought from the chemist’s shop to which he would add plain water. Apparently, this plaster-like substance was “quite nutritious”. Asceticism is also practised through eccentricity or being too lazy to cook one’s meals. Becoming vegan or vegetarian, even temporarily, can be a part of one’s choices of life, but they don’t necessarily bring us to holiness.

The question comes up each year without fail. I have provocatively asked whether one might give up religion for Lent, with the idea that one might become kinder with other people, more critical of ideology and more human. If that is a challenge to someone, perhaps such would be a good idea.

Someone might say flippantly that he has given up hope for Lent – and never found it since last year! What is Lent if it is not a time for self-torture by semi-starvation or looking miserable to others and to oneself? Lent usually starts when we are still in the midst of foul weather and the sight of a wintered boat on hard standing. We just feel like curling up and staying in bed rather than going to work or Matins or whatever we do each day! It’s typically a time when we are at our lowest, unless we live in the southern hemisphere. It’s depressing, dark and cold! All we need then is a letter from the bank manager informing us that the overdraft limit has been exceeded, or a big bill for Social Security contributions! The cup fills to overflowing…

Strangely, I find Lent a peaceful time. Little happens, and I am left to get on with daily routines with few interruptions. When the blogosphere yields little in the way of news or stimulation for our curiosity, the time has come to read books. As Lent wears on, we get an extra few minutes of light each morning. Nature gives its little rewards from snowdrops to crocuses and the first daffodil buds, and we only pray that we won’t get a short sharp shock of ice and snow! But, overall, more is taken away from us in Lent than we would give up.

Almsgiving? We are overloaded with the world’s miseries. Our compulsory social security payments are used in part for giving benefits to refugees and migrants from abroad. We can only give so much before being challenged to give voluntary contributions to organisations that are not part of the Welfare State. Do we become hard of heart, cynical, disillusioned and bitter? That doesn’t seem to be the purpose of Lent. I would prefer to be of help to people closer to home: hospital visits, spending time with a relative going through difficulties – much more nutritious spiritually than turning ourselves into dairy cows to be milked for the money we don’t have!

Lent was originally intended for the catechesis of those who were preparing to be baptised during the Holy Saturday night liturgy. Originally, the course was three years, and catechumens were treated with rigour during their scrutinies. Precautions had to be taken against informers pretending to be converts to Christianity! Eventually, the time of Lent would be a lot shorter, and the various stages like the Exorcisms and the Salt of Wisdom determined the choice of Gospel readings at Mass just before the catechumens were sent out of the church. As time went on, the Church thought about how this time could be applied to the faithful who are already baptised. It became a time of asceticism and conversion, a time of deeper commitment to God, in preparation for the Paschal Mystery.

The thing is that a year is short for an adult. Lent, like Easter and every other feast, comes back again and again. We become jaded with the same old message and superficial attempts to adapt it to our modern consumerist mentality. It just seems to me that fresh approaches are essential. One approach is studying the liturgy and its symbolism and spiritual meaning. Ash Wednesday brings us to the same level as contemplating bones in a charnel house! We are reminded that we are not the almighty beings we think we are. We will die one day, and we will be buried, cremated, thrown into the sea, whatever. Within fifty years of that event, we will be totally forgotten as if we had never existed. Only those of us with major achievements would be remembered as famous people. Otherwise, “cemeteries are full of indispensable people”. Only the thought of an afterlife is of any consolation, but that might be much more unpleasant than we imagine as our way towards the Light is made in pain and toil.

It is above all about reality, our own reality as well as what we all have in common. If that is our basic attitude in life, called humility by the saints, then we will never be disappointed when we are not up to our illusions of grandeur. Over these past few weeks, I have been searching my entire life for the real me. On one side, I bewail the way I have failed myself and others, and am only a mere shadow of former ambitions. On the other hand, I find the answers to old questions, a sense of resolution. This is a part of our Lenten labour of self-discovery and nakedness before God. Few people ever get anywhere near it. I am also so far away!

I think that many of us will be reading more than usual. Some will go for the Church Fathers, the great pioneers of the monastic life or more recent saints. I need to go further into the themes of Gnostic mythology and their modern understanding in psychology and anthropology. The theme of Sophia is immense and goes way beyond the human mother of Jesus. There are elements that have to be apprehended in order to make real sense of Christianity that is often reduced to a children’s story! This all relates to ourselves if something is to come out of it. I get the idea that the mystery of evil would no longer ravage our faith.

Last night, I began to watch All Quiet on the Western Front, the heartbreaking story of World War I from the point of view of a young German soldier. All I was able to bear was the scene of the battlefield, the futility of so much bloody loss of life for so little in the way of devastated territory. I switched off the film totally drained emotionally and then burst into tears. This was a film, and we see death and violence all the time. Why should this be different? It was the futility of it all, the inhumanity of the officers who sent their men “over the top”, the inhumanity of those who gave orders to the officers in the trenches. The only thing I can compare with the trenches of a hundred years ago are the films of the concentration camps in 1945, the sheer horror of the depths to which humans can descend. Why can’t God send a really big meteorite or a comet and have done with us? And it is still happening with Daesh, the Taliban, Al Qaeda and all the others – and those who continue to support and finance those monsters! This is all a part of the ashing of tomorrow. We are dust and to dust we shall return. Is anything worth saving?

In fact there is, and this is our resurrection like that of Christ. We are made for love and knowledge of ourselves and God. From that comes beauty and all that is sublime, the best of humanity. I am overwhelmed with the current state of the world. Where is hope? Where is beauty? Where is humanity and love? It must still exist if we believe that some of these things reside in ourselves. We have to know ourselves and be ourselves.

That for me is the task of Lent, which goes far beyond all the “traditional penances”!

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What’s going on?

Bishop John HepworthThe saga about a little church in Los Angeles and its disputed tenancy has been an ongoing soap opera for quite a long time on St Mary’s Hollywood: The Cold Case File. The most recent posting Mr Bruce has put up is Parish Annual Meeting February 7, 2016.

In it he mentions:

Another remarkable feature was the news that retired TAC Archbishop John Hepworth is actively supervising the parish [ed. St Mary’s Hollywood]. Its renewed or continued membership in the Patrimony of the Primate is active and not simply a legal formality. Abp Hepworth underwent a serious health crisis at the time of his “expulsion” from the TAC and the ACA’s seizure of the St Mary’s property in 2012. It appears that he has recovered and is beginning to resume an episcopal role.

For several years, the parish had been canonically isolated, with the US-Canadian Ordinariate denying any connection and the ACA impersonating a parish through a bizarre and disreputable group of phony priests and unbalanced dissidents. The renewal of the Patrimony is a very important event, visually as much as canonically.

Is Mr Bruce making this up, or are we seeing a remaking of the former Primate of the TAC? If a “Patrimony of the Primate” is being resurrected, which Church does it belong to? Obviously, the present leadership of the TAC would deny any recognition of such an entity. Is there a “true” TAC and a “bogus” TAC?

Does anyone know what is going on?

PS. I extend my condolences to the TAC in Australia on the recent death of Bishop Pope.

* * *

I seem to have put the end of a stick into the ants’ nest. Mr Bruce has read my inquisitive posting and attempted an answer with Archbishop Hepworth Redux. All of a sudden, the phantom Patrimony of the Primate seems to be useful for a certain agenda. It reminds me somewhat of the old Order of Corporate Reunion, all about a kind of Rome-ward pilgrimage that will never get there and would enjoy some kind of legitimacy for as long as it doesn’t. I suppose this ghostly Patrimony that no longer represents any institutional Church must be terribly secret. That should keep us all in suspense for a few years…

Oh well…

Of course, I’m not taking any position about that little church in California. I have never been there and have never had any contact with anyone involved with it. I am no longer with the TAC, or (as far as I am aware) the Patrimony of the Primate (of what?).

If Abp Hepworth’s health and morale appear to have been restored enough for him to consider resuming the work he’d begun, under whatever auspices, I can’t see this as anything other than a very positive development. Please continue to pray for the St Mary of the Angels parish. its vestry, Fr Kelley, Abp Hepworth, and Bp Lopes.

As all this is tied to the Ordinariate in Mr Bruce’s mind, and if Archbishop emeritus Hepworth is to have any influence in the matter, then I think Rome might have something to say about the matter. Generally, if something exists, it is known about.

I am thankful to belong to a Church that is what it says on the label and just gets on with life.

All the same, I would be curious if anyone does have any information.

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Wennington School

There are many “lost causes” in this world, and among them is keeping a community of human beings going in spite of distance and having lived our lives in so many different ways. This modest posting draws attention to a school in England that closed in 1975. All that remains are the memories of a small group of ageing men and women, an archive, an association with its website and Facebook page. The establishment was Wennington School near Wetherby in Yorkshire.

I was a pupil there from September 1971 until March 1972, by which time my father had observed disturbing tendencies and made the decision to pull me out and have me put through more traditional methods of education. Truly, in the early 70’s, the school was on its last legs through poor leadership and financial problems.

The initial philosophy was the idea of involving teachers and pupils alike in a healthy community life to promote the development of personalities and help children with social difficulties. The school was founded in 1940 by the Quaker educationalist Kenneth C. Barnes. The headmaster who succeeded him was the translator and poet Brian Merrikin Hill, who was a fine thinker and man of literature but had poor leadership qualities. I lived through a brief part of the declining period of this school under Mr Hill. Wennnington closed in 1975 and the building (Ingmanthorpe Hall) has been rescued from near ruin to be split up into flats. I have chosen to write a little article about this school, because it left its mark on me even though I was there for only two terms. It was my first experience as a boarder at the age of 12.

At that time, I had very little in the way of belief in God. Reports from my previous school mentioned my finding that Moses and the Prophets were not “with it” and that I was profoundly sceptical! The 1960’s had “got” me more than I wanted to believe later on. This is the condition of the “baby boomer” that is so despised by conservatives. We “never had it so good” as Prime Minister Macmillan lamented in the 1950’s. At Wennington, I arrived in a world of 1960’s sub-culture and liberal Christianity seen through Quaker and Methodist eyes. We had no religious services, but we did have Sunday Evening Assemblies when Mr Hill would try to teach us some kind of philosophy of life. There was only so much a twelve-year old boy could take in. We could do pretty much as we wanted, whereas the founder wanted pupils to like what they did. Kenneth Barnes had been controversial and was both loved and hated.

One theme that comes out of that school is the notion of intimacy, the existence of the small in the face of modern gigantism and bureaucracy. In society as it has developed essentially since the late eighteenth century, the more visionary men and women of literature, philosophy and science have tried to fight for the human personality and the whole man. I have written a good amount of stuff on Romanticism and its reaction from the collective and the impersonal. Modern education has been largely based on the same ideas. My schooldays were a time of reform in the most conservative establishments like St Peter’s where I went soon after leaving Wennington. They marked the war against bullying, fagging and corporal punishment, seeking humanity rather than conformity to mindless codes of rules. Kenneth Barnes was a forward-looking pioneer. So was Peter Gardiner at St Peter’s.

In a strange kind of way, my experience of this educational philosophy would remain dormant for many years. I remembered it strongly as I lived many years later in another stately home – in Tuscany and in a very different educational philosophy – when I was in seminary. This is something that would never been seen in the gaunt brown-haired English seminarian playing the little baroque organ for the Latin offices in chapel. I fitted in, but yet fought to keep my own personality. In its first years, Gricigliano was a house of eccentric ecclesiastical dappers, and is now approved by Rome as some kind of institute of secular canons with strange blue garments. Was I going against Christ’s injunction saying that those who value their soul in this world will lose it in the next? Perhaps I could think of the fate of Winston Smith in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four as he finally gives up and affirms his “love” of Big Brother. Clearly, such is not what Christ meant!

Though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, Mr Hill was an enquiring personality who sought to discover as well as teach truly humanist values. I vaguely remember the slim figure with a beard and glasses, holding a copy of The Guardian, the left-wing national newspaper in England. My memory is vague, but he seemed to try to teach moral values that sounded a little stuffy to some of us. Such was the gulf between a man born during World War I and a load of unruly kids from the 1960’s.

Wennington was a place of discovery. We were left to manage. The electricity was cut off a lot in 1971, and we would find ways to manage – like stealing candles from churches. We were taught practical skills like wood and metal work, art, cooking and sewing – boys and girls alike. Wennington was closed in 1975. It was a lost cause, either because it would have seemed that children needed a more traditional education or because the progressive ideas went nowhere. Mr Hill was something of a Christian believer and made much of the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Salt of the Earth. He hoped against all hope that the school would survive in some form. The school closed down as a lost cause, but many of us who went through it are still here.

wenningtonIts philosophy has rubbed off in a most unexpected way: I fail to find anything wrong with small and marginal Christian churches like the one I belong to. I have been on many sinking ships, and took something with me as the bow disappeared beneath the waves – figuratively speaking of course.

I remember the reflections of my father about the progressive education movement and Wennington in particular. It all depends on a personality and charisma of a born leader. Kenneth Barnes was that, but Brian Hill was not. Conversely, the eighteenth century was not over when the Royal Navy discovered that ships were sailed better by captains who were loved and respected by their men – and did not rely on keel-hauling, flogging and abuse as Captain Bligh did. Progressive eduction is a science in itself and is a strong theme particularly since the late nineteenth century. It was fostered particularly by the Quakers. The idea declined in the 1970’s as did Wennington. The end came with the tail end of the baby boom and mainstream schools were able to provide a system of options as there were fewer pupils. The economic crisis of the 1970’s made it impossible to run shoestring schools. Again, progressive education was too reliant on headmasters who excelled in their vision and leadership.

The most well-known progressive school in England, Summerhill, is still going. Times have changed and we are no longer in the 1960’s or that winter of 1971 to 1972 during which I was cold and alienated, lost and rudderless. What becomes of children who go through Summerhill? Perhaps someone who reads this blog went there or has experience of schooling and parenting. Much will depend on the family background of a child and his general mental health and stability. As Kenneth Barnes said, children don’t do what they like, but like what they do.

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