Thinking Anglicans

Bleeding for Jesus

DLT has published a book, written by Andrew Graystone, about John Smyth: Bleeding for Jesus.

Religion Media Centre held a briefing this week, reported here by Rosie Dawson: Three moments of failure: sadistic barrister’s beatings could have been prevented, says author.

The churchwardens at St Andrew the Great, Cambridge have published A Letter to the Church Family from the Wardens, and Alasdair Paine has issued a 6 page Personal Statement. They complain that Andrew Graystone did not contact Alasdair Paine for permission to mention him.

The Church Times has published this news article: Welby should have done more to stop Smyth, says author. It includes the following:

A statement from the publishers of Bleeding for Jesus, Darton, Longman & Todd, appears unrepentant, saying of Mr Paine: “When eventually he reported the disclosure to his diocesan safeguarding adviser, he told her about only two instances of abuse — his own and Graham’s [the survivor (not his real name) who approached Mr Paine]. He did not tell her what he knew — that Smyth’s abuse had been far more widespread, and that he was still at large and potentially abusing.

“If Alasdair Paine had found the courage to speak earlier, John Smyth might well have faced justice. Victims in the UK might have had a chance to begin healing, and children and young people in Zimbabwe and South Africa might have been spared their abuse.”

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Kate
Kate
25 days ago

I find the title objectionable. I know I am supposed to get to grips with the content so that reaction may seem shallow, but to me it feels like using Jesus’s name as the literary equivalent of clickbait.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Kate
24 days ago

The young men were beaten until they bled copiously, with the reason given that this would bring them closer to Jesus. The title is an accurate, if concise, description of this appalling abuse. Why should it be toned down to spare our feelings?

The reluctance of good church people to face the painful realities of abuse is part of what has made the churches such good places for abusers to practice their crimes.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Janet Fife
24 days ago

It’s not accurate. They didn’t bleed for Jesus: they bled to satisfy their abuser.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Kate
24 days ago

Perhaps they were told they were being beaten and bleeding for Jesus. However horrible, the title is accurate.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Kate
24 days ago

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Perhaps we might apply that here.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Kate
24 days ago

They were persuaded to accept the beatings by being told it would bring them closer to Jesus, and shown Bible passages (out of context) which seemed to confirm that. So whatever Smyth’s twisted and evil motives, in their own minds they were bleeding for Jesus. That is the horror of the story, and why it did them so much emotional and psychological damage. It’s hard to overemphasise the seriousness of this, given the way Iwerne alumni are embedded into our leadership structures.

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Janet Fife
19 days ago

Janet not only was John Smyth conduct appalling and Evil, I would say it amounted in Blasphemy, and brought the holy name of Jesus into disrepute, and I wonder how many of these men,he abused in this way no longer practice the Christian Faith and are now Atheists, the damage that dreadful man did to the Church is beyond calculation, it will take a long time for these men to be healed at the deep phycological level of what they passed through, save for the Grace of God, standing where I am as Catholic I certaintly believe in both the… Read more »

Angusian
Angusian
Reply to  Kate
22 days ago

… who told them that their suffering would bring them to Jesus ! Yuck!
mediaeval sadism

Valiant
Valiant
24 days ago

I do hope that Andrew Graystone is going to respond to James Stileman’s statement on inaccuracies in the book. https://stileman.online/2021/09/01/inaccuracies-in-bleeding-for-jesus/

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Valiant
24 days ago

It reads rather like, ‘he said, no, I said’. Difficult to decide which to believe.

Valiant
Valiant
Reply to  Toby Forward
24 days ago

Isn’t checking with those you have made statements about is usually a basic thing that journalists do if they want to be sure of the facts? And asking victims if they mind being named?

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Valiant
24 days ago

Of course, but you don’t have to agree with them. He clearly didn’t.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Toby Forward
22 days ago

Precisely. A says that B did X. B says that he did not do X. That is in no way proof that B did not do X, as otherwise there would never be any convictions of people who plead not guilty. That may not even mean that B is being untruthful, at least knowingly. Memories can be unreliable. Picking at stories with arguments about whether York Street is “close” to Regent Street or whether an office is over a shop or the St John’s Ambulance offices does not alter that. It’s a twenty-three minute walk or a seven minute taxi… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Valiant
24 days ago

This is an example of the “inaccuracies”: Page 143, last para What the book says“On 17th March 2014, Stileman spoke directly to Carolyn Buckeridge. He wanted to know how the sessions were going. Buckeridge said they would need more than the ten sessions that Fletcher and Rawlinson had agreed to fund. Stileman agreed to look for more money, but later had second thoughts and left a message saying they couldn’t offer any more.”This is not correctIt is true that I spoke to Carolyn Buckeridge (the counsellor) in March and that she told me Graham would likely need more than the agreed… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Interested Observer
24 days ago

‘…on reflection I realised it was not up to me to extend the counselling’ doesn’t read too well either. If he had the means, or access to those who had means, why on earth should he not help a (fellow) victim? Isn’t this just the point of the parable of the Good Samaritan? And Stileman, by his own account, seems to be playing the part of the priest who passed by on the other side.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
24 days ago

Smyth’s abusive activities were in the public domain by 1989, disclosed in John Thorn’s book ‘The Road to Winchester’ published that year. It may have had a limited readership, as suggested on an earlier TA thread, but nevertheless that is the reality and it cannot be dismissed or ignored so readily. One hopes that Keith Makin’s report, when it eventually appears, will give us an accurate and dispassionate account of what happened in this long and tragic saga.

Susannah Clark
24 days ago

I’m a bit confused about why survivors of abuse have to be named in media and publications. I would be mortified if bad things that happened to me were made public, and my children heard the details, and everyone I knew and worked with. To me, that would feel like a second wave of abuse. Can these accounts not be anonymised? Reading Alasdair’s statement, I felt a welling up of immense sadness, knowing the way that the past can keep invading the present, long after you have endeavoured to move on. I feel really sad for him to be honest.… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susannah Clark
24 days ago

Susannah: The answer to your question, or rather concern, is that abuse victims never have to be named in media and publications, but once again it’s a matter of getting competent legal advice (which seems such an unpopular concept with some TA readers) and proper legal protection in place swiftly. I’m not in the business of promoting any law firm, but this link tells you what you need to know in both criminal proceedings and civil claims. I dealt with many of the latter (never in any church context) and anonymity orders were invariably made. I can’t remember any case… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
24 days ago

Thank you for the link, Rowland

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Susannah Clark
24 days ago

The “ outing “ controversy is a red herring. Abused Iwerne leaders’ privacy was respected for decades: in fact the identity of some has been well known within its circles for years. People from that constituency would ask me if I knew about x or y. The truth is that any of these figures could have taken up the cause of the other victims without breaking cover; they could have told their stories under a pseudonym which would have been respected. They could have just commentated, supported or privately reached out to their old friends to offer a word of… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Martin Sewell
23 days ago

Martin, I don’t know all the details of this sad affair. There may indeed be issues of ‘cover up’ that have needed to be called out. I was not writing to participate in any “outing” controversy. I was simply writing subjectively because I was distressed by the sadness of Alastair’s statement, and the whole sorry story. And because I don’t feel victims of abuse should have their abuse publicised, except on their own terms. I take no sides in any ‘controversy’ but as a human being I feel sorry for what Alastair went through. It was a personal post, not… Read more »

Caty
Caty
Reply to  Susannah Clark
22 days ago

Susannah I agree with you. As a victim of abuse myself Alisdair’s account really resonates with me and I think it is despicable that he should have been outed in print without even being asked for his side of the story. There is no possible justification for that. It is straight up victim blaming. A person is no less a victim of abuse because they go on to have a career in the church or they have conservative beliefs. They are no less a victim because they superficially may appear unaffected or even if they continue to associate with people… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Caty
22 days ago

Well I strongly identify with your painful experience, distress, and the fragile resilience with which you have tried to reclaim your life, Caty. To be plain, I was making a general comment about how sad I felt for Alistair, and I was not directing criticism at Andrew, who I do not know, and whose book I haven’t read. Mine was a personal response, not a commentary on anyone else. I leave that to others. From an abuse victim’s point of view, Alistair’s statement just resonated with recognisable sadness and struggles, and that aftermath burden that can make everything fragile at… Read more »

Caty
Caty
Reply to  Susannah Clark
22 days ago

Thank you for this. I do have a faith in God and in Jesus and it has been a significant factor in enabling me to heal from my abuse. Also my marriage and my family. On the outside I look fine and mostly I am but the increased publicity around abuse cases in recent years is a mixed blessing for me. On the one hand I am so glad that perhaps things are changing not least because a huge fear for me is that my daughter will suffer similarly. On the other hand it causes me to think about things… Read more »

Freda
Freda
Reply to  Caty
22 days ago

Caty, I want to say I hear you and I agree, I carried guilt for years over not speaking out about my abuse because I knew that the abuser had also abused people younger and even more vulnerable than I. It is a hell I would not wish on anyone.

I entirely agree with your comments about Andrew Graystone’s utterly unacceptable behaviour in outing any survivor. I also will not be buying or reading the book.

Caty
Caty
Reply to  Freda
22 days ago

Thank you for this Freda. It’s good to know that someone else gets how I feel about this.

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Freda
19 days ago

That will be a mistake – and it is exactly what those who covered up the abuse want you to do. Ignorance is their friend- that is why they took every step to hide the story. By all means raise issues but do so on the basis that you have heard the victims story. They must be central to the debate. Alistair Payne rose in the Iwerne ranks knowing minors were being abused in Africa and did nothing. He knew victims were suffering with less resilience than he – one of his old friends attempted to take his life and… Read more »

Freda
Freda
Reply to  Martin Sewell
19 days ago

Ah yes, Mr Paine is the wrong sort of survivor and doesn’t deserve to have his trauma recognised. All survivors should behave rationally at all times and do exactly what we think they should and never find it hard or impossible to confront the details of their abuse and what happened to them and others. Please. As I said I have experience of this; including when I did speak up my story being made public against my will. I found it utterly impossible to be in the same room as the other survivors and still would. I certainly couldn’t have… Read more »

Nathaniel D
Nathaniel D
24 days ago

I am surprised that anyone considers Andrew Graystone a reputable person after his involvement in this:

https://www.change.org/p/the-bishop-of-chelmsford-stop-an-abusive-priest-from-resuming-his-ministry?redirect=false

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Nathaniel D
24 days ago

I won’t respond to your comment about Andrew Graystone, but there’s a certain irony in the context of some of the comments above that the document you linked concludes with these words: “Reminder to editors: The judgement of the court provides that AB shall have a permanent anonymity.”

John Partington
John Partington
Reply to  Nathaniel D
24 days ago

Another side to the story that that petition presents is here: https://barristerblogger.com/2021/04/20/the-ordeal-of-father-bill-bulloch/?fdx_switcher=true

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Nathaniel D
24 days ago

I’m puzzled that, having read the petition, your response is that no one should trust Andrew Graystone. I only wish I’d seen the petition in time to sign it before it closed.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Janet Fife
24 days ago

I have already pointed out the irony that the petition concluded with the reminder that AB shall have permanent anonymity, but that courtesy (or legal right?) wasn’t extended to Alasdair Paine by the same author or his publisher.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Janet Fife
23 days ago

Janet, the petition was closed after I pointed out to Andrew that, regardless of the accuracy of the points made in the petition, (on which, not knowing the facts I could not comment—save to say that the allegations in the petition were prima facie libellous), the petition was fundamentally misguided. .  The petition “call[ed] upon the Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, the Bishop of Chelmsford, to refrain from granting Permission to Officiate to Revd William Bulloch until all of the evidence of his abuse of AB has been fully and properly considered.” But, as vicar of the parish of All… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  David Lamming
23 days ago

Thank you David, that’s clear.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
24 days ago

In all of this we must not forget Archbishop Welby’s equivocation about Smyth. He claims to have seen nothing whilst he was a dormitory officer and if memory serves me right said in the Channel 4 interview that Smyth wasn’t an Anglican. He presided over the CofE dragging its heels over Safe Spaces, and other provision for survivors. Matthew Ineson is still awaiting justice. An honourable man would have resigned in these circumstances. As a church we have been so badly let down by his poor leadership and yet he clings to his office nonetheless. He’s appointed an homogeneous bench… Read more »

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Fr Dean
24 days ago

Father Dean I have always felt that Justin Welby has not been properly focused, trying to do too many things at once, and as for his dabbling with Religious Life, for someone who is not a Monk nor A Religious,( and I speak as someone who in the past has lived the Monastic Life under Vows, so I know what I am talking about here) I find him quite dilettante, that St Anselm so called Monastic experiment of his could put young people of committing themselves to the real thing, and presenting a travesty of Monasticism, and as the late… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
23 days ago

It is well known that ++Justin has rooted his spiritual life and prayer in the Benedictine tradition for many years. It also explains his desire to have the life of Lambeth Palace soaked in the wisdom and Christian disciplines of shared life and regular worship. I know some who have been on the community there, have led a quiet day for the community and staff a few years ago, and enjoyed meeting the then Prior of the community. I found it very impressive and challenging. To describe any of this as ‘dabbling’ or dilitante is wholly inappropriate. 

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Fr Dean
24 days ago

One of the problems in all of this is that people speculate so much without evidence of facts. Archbishop Justin Welby’s doubts about Smyth’s ‘Anglicanism’ might stem from Smyth being rejected for ordination by the Bishop of Winchester in 1981 – we don’t know the reason. It is said that Smyth was a licensed reader in the Winchester Diocese, and recorded as such in Crockford’s, but at the time when this was first raised – now potentially as long as four years ago! – it was stated here on TA that the diocese had no record of it. Well, that… Read more »

David Richards
David Richards
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
24 days ago

Why would John Smyth be listed Corckford’s? He wasn’t ordained and was never eligible for inclusion. If he was admitted to the office of reader in the Diocese of Winchester there would be a record as it is a ministry regulated under Canon and therefore needs to be recorded via the Registry as well as the Bishop’s Office.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  David Richards
24 days ago

I can’t answer your questions. I merely stated what was said at the time here on TA. It’s a fact that he was rejected for ordination in 1981 by Bishop John Vernon Taylor. Smyth’s background was that he was born in a family of Plymouth Brethren in Canada. He clearly had Anglican links after moving to England. What is not clear, at least to me, is whether, or how and when, he was formally received into the Church of England. That is the extent of my contribution to the subject.

Dan Barnes-Davies
Reply to  David Richards
23 days ago

Admissions of readers are gazetted in the Church Times, so record might be found in their online archives (available on UK Press Online for CT subscribers) – but I’m not sure they had started to gazette them by the 1970s.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
24 days ago

With respect Rowland I don’t agree that my comments about his role as a dormitory officer were ‘effectively countered’ Certainly a number of contributors muddied the waters about what being a dormitory officer might or might not involve or could or could not have been expected to observe. I’m still incredulous that a dormitory officer would not have noticed the distress in these poor boys beaten so hard that they bled. The Archbishop has not been very forthcoming about his time at Iwerne, nor has he followed through with his offer to meet with survivors according to Private Eye. I’m… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Fr Dean
24 days ago

It’s all a matter of factual objectivity and not unsubstantiated speculation. Sadly TA is full of the latter. Your thesis depends upon boys in JW’s dormitory being beaten by Smyth, having physical symptoms of that (they would indeed be very obvious, and I have often wondered who dressed the wounds) and that this happened during JW’s watch. Unless all of these occurred, knowledge of them can’t be imputed to JW. I’m hoping that the Makin report will give us reliable factual answers (and, yes, we are all familiar with the cynical view of C of E ‘lessons learned’ reviews!); Mr… Read more »

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
23 days ago

Rowland from what I remember reading in Newspapers online, when John Smyth dispensed his thrashings, he bandaged his victims, yet the bleeding came through the bandages and soaked them, so it was impossible to cover up what had happened
Jonathan.

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
Reply to  Fr Dean
23 days ago

I have to say that as someone who went to a boarding school I am mystified as to how Smyth got away with it for so long. We all bathed and showered in communal areas, where it was quite common for us to be naked in showers and baths, and it would have been very obvious to the friends and colleagues of these boys that something very terrible had been done to them. Were no house tutors or matrons or house masters alerted to this? Did no one really notice? Was Winchester really that different from most public schools of… Read more »

Anon
Anon
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
13 days ago

I went to the same boarding house at Win Coll, Kingsgate House (K, “Beloe’s”), as many of the survivors and individuals involved in the Smyth affair. I was taken along to Smyth’s house a number of times on a Sunday for lunch between 1979 and 1980, although nothing happened to me, possibly because I found the man creepy and sinister, possibly because I had little serious interest in religion. All I recall of it is being driven to a large house with a big garden on the outskirts of town, sitting around a dining table with a number of other… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
24 days ago

I have seen an entry in the Winchester Diocesan Yearbook which lists John Smyth as a Lay Reader.

As for dormitory officers not noticing the boys’ men’s wounds and distress, I am reliably informed that only one of the beatings occurred actually at Iwerne camps. The rest took place in Smyth’s own garden shed.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Janet Fife
23 days ago

I remember your telling us about the Yearbook entry. Someone else mentioned an entry as Lay Reader in Crockford’s, which David Richards tells me is an impossibility. The suggested date for licensing as LR was in the time of a previous bishop. It would be good to have reliable factual information. Your second paragraph is really for Fr Dean. I have no reason at all to go along with the speculation about Justin Welby’s knowledge of abuse on his watch. It seems to me to be just that – mere speculation, and unworthy. I will readily apologise if I am… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
23 days ago

I have not been much of a fangirl for Justin over the years, but I’m inclined to agree with you, Rowland. We honestly have no factual knowledge as to whether Justin saw any evidence of beatings at Iwerne, and I think it is wrong to speculate that he did. My personal suspicion is that he was just another idealistic young Christian, serving at these camps, and trying to live the Christian life. I was like him myself, at houseparties run by the Stewards Trust. Privileged background, new Christian, happy do do all kinds of kitchen work and odd jobs in… Read more »

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Susannah Clark
23 days ago

Susannah, you are absolutely right about JW. There is no credible suggestion that JW knew anything whilst he was there at Iwerne or even shortly thereafter. There is a problem of inconsistency of recall when he first knew. He has said he heard of Smyth’s impropriety when working in Paris. It’s interesting that the Iwerne jungle telegraph had reached there. This lack of clarity illustrates the problem of him not having put out his own considered account out early, which many have wanted him to do for his own benefit. I can tell you that since publication I have heard… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Martin Sewell
23 days ago

Sorry to sound so censorious, but this reinforces how wrong and misguided people can be in making wholly unsubstantiated assumptions. A postscript for Susannah. I hold no brief for our Archbishop, other than to believe that he deserves to be treated with the respect due to his office and an appropriate measure of courtesy. Both seem lacking in many comments here. I watched a video of a Eucharist in USA for the consecration of a new college chapel. Presiding TEC Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was the chief celebrant and Michael Curry the chief co-celebrant. Justin Welby was the preacher, and… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susannah Clark
23 days ago

Susannah: Chronology is all important, something which I simply cannot get across to some TA readers. Just two real life examples from my own working experience: (1) A made allegations of being abused in a former residential school, long since closed, and claimed damages in a County Court action. Investigation revealed that not only was he not at the school on the dates he claimed, it transpired he was never at that school. He simply didn’t reckon that records would go back far enough to be traced to uncover the plot. The trial judge referred this to the CPS. (2)… Read more »

John Wallace
John Wallace
Reply to  Fr Dean
23 days ago

Can I recommend David Goodhew’s article on The Living Church (a US excellent website) on decline in the C of E. https://livingchurch.org/covenant/2021/09/03/whither-the-church-of-england/ Mission initiatives score badly, faithful ministry scores much higher, as I know you would agree, Fr. Dean

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
24 days ago

Unlike many commenting on the book, I have actually completed reading it. Despite it’s distressing subject, it is a compelling read and I do urge anyone to read it for themselves before judging it. Here are a few brief take away points . All abusers flourish by exploiting the context in which they locate. The Iwerne culture was ripe for such exploitation and predictably has yielded a full crop of sexual abusers – 8 at the latest count; Smyth and Fletcher are the headline names. Beside these there are dozens of “ worthies “ who knew enough about “ the… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Martin Sewell
23 days ago

I wholeheartedly apologise if I have misunderstood the dates of when the Archbishop was a dormitory officer and the abuse took place. What happened to those poor boys is so dreadful I confess I cannot stomach reading all of the details and I don’t have a lawyer’s brain to connect all the dots. Aware of that I should have kept my counsel on that particular matter. The other safeguarding matters I referred to surely still pertain. Even if the boys were beaten off site wouldn’t they be in physical and psychological pain long after the day of the beating, didn’t… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Fr Dean
23 days ago

The ‘another contributor’ (already anonymous in our current discussion!) was myself today. That was the very first question I asked myself when the news broke in 2017, and such an obvious one, that I was surprised that in the mountain of comment at the time no one else asked it. Nor do we know, even now – unless Andrew Graystone’s book deals with the point. My other question was how Smyth, living out in the country (not a great distance but not a straightforward journey crossing the M3 motorway) had access to Winchester College boys. Knowledge of local geography also… Read more »

Anon
Anon
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
13 days ago

As one of the boys at Winchester College who was shipped to and from his house, although as I say above nothing untoward happened to me, you should understand that it was not at all out of the ordinary for friends, family, or friends of friends or friends of family to take boys out on a Sunday. John Smyth was perceived as an important, trustworthy figure by the powers that be in my house, and the role and influence of Simon Doggart, a senior boy in Beloe’s around c 1978-80 and quite the sporting star (cricket, WinCoFo, rackets) should not… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Anon
13 days ago

Thank you. After writing that I realised that my chronology was amiss. Incidentally, as you might know, John Thorn was very vocal and active in the local opposition to the cutting of the M3 through Twyford Down. He was ejected from a meeting about that by HM Planning Inspector, doubtless the first time that anything so undignified had ever happened to a Headmaster of Winchester. I knew intimately two College masters from those years: Julian Smith, distinguished musician, and ‘Podge’ Brodhurst, house master (and County and MCC cricketer), both fine Christian gentlemen, and sadly now both deceased. I played the… Read more »

Anon
Anon
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
13 days ago

I remember very little of Smyth’s house, but I do certainly certainly recall Julian Smith’s wife Fiona, with whom I played in the college orchestra. I shall go and look at Morestead on Google Streetview, now I have a location, and see whether that provokes any memories (I thought he lived in the suburbs just behind St Giles’s Hill, but evidently not). I’d be very interested to know what Geoff Hewitson, an entirely honourable man from what I remember, thought of Smyth, as it was he who ultimately sanctioned all of the many Beloite visits. Did you know him at… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Anon
13 days ago

I believe that my connection with Morestead, over three decades, must have started at about the time Smyth left for Africa. I never once heard his name mentioned there, nor was I ever aware in those years that his house was literally the other side of the churchyard hedge. I ought to explain that I have no direct link with the College; only one young family member was there very recently. I came to know ‘Podge’ as he took services in the rural Winchester churches, and Julian was my co-organist at Morestead – a very much more accomplished musician than… Read more »

Anon
Anon
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
13 days ago

Thank you for your reply and, yes, I have indeed contacted Mr Makin with these details. There is no question that the boarding house sanctioned the lunches; the housemaster’s duty was to know where the boys under his charge were over the weekend, and so there can have been absolutely nothing clandestine about them. With regard to the wider culture in Winchester and in the private school system in general, I have posted an account on survivingchurch.org, to which you have already responded. You are quite right that there were many wonderful teachers at the school, but there were also… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
23 days ago

Well for myself, I have long tried to stay true to a wise pastoral principle – only seek or ask for what you absolutely need to know. On that principle I will not be buying or reading this book. I question the wisdom of it, or the idea it offers a way people can ‘make up their own mind’. Too much is uncertain, untold and hostage to varied interpretations. Of course I want justice and truth. So I continue to pray that the thorough independent review will do its demanding job and enable the accountability and outcomes that are needed… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  David Runcorn
23 days ago

I agree. Unfortunately discussion has got so out of hand, people entirely missing salient points in others’ comments, or repeating what has already been said. Keith Makin will have no axe to grind, and with his non-clerical and non-legal background will bring a fresh mind and different expertise to the role. I am quite sure he would not have accepted the commission from the C of E on any other basis.

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
21 days ago

I think it is wholly inappropriate to name a Smyth victim without his consent, and find it bizarre that Alasdair Payne is being criticised for making an incomplete disclosure in 2013, 30 years after the events in question. If a single victim and/or their parents and/or Mark Ruston, David Fletcher or any of the other Iwerne leaders had gone to the police at the time, Smyth would almost certainly have been jailed and the abuse would have ended there. I share Jeremy Pemberton’s view that the victims fellow pupils/PE teachers/school nurses should have noticed something, In addition if the beatings… Read more »

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Sam Jones
19 days ago

Paine is central to the story of the cover up. Awkward for a victim but true. Many who read it would know his situation. It would have undermined the credibility of the book if a key widely known fact was ignored. It would have made the author part of the cover up. He rose within the constituency and during that period had points at which he could have at least supported the critics without referencing his own event of abuse. He chose not to. His early knowledge that Smyth was in Southern Africa continuing to offend against minors is difficult… Read more »

Peter Hopkins
Peter Hopkins
Reply to  Martin Sewell
19 days ago

You present assertion as fact. It is inconceivable that Alasdair Paine will have told you in person what was happening to him over the last forty years. You don’t know. That’s the end of it. He is a human being who suffered at the hands of a wicked man. Nobody is entitled to judge what he should or should not have done.

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Peter Hopkins
18 days ago

That is a very interesting naive point of view. When you have read the book and the various justifications and rebuttals you might be able to see the complexity of the situation. Yes Alistair Paine and William Taylor suffered Smyth’s predations. Resilience comes into the conversation ; some suffered much worse, both physically emotionally and spiritually. They lost mental health, marriages, economically and several lost their faith. At IICSA one victim ( not of Smyth) explained powerfully that it was the way they were treated afterwards by the Church that was most damaging. Another, a Peter Ball victim, has spoken… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
20 days ago

I ordered this back in July but Amazon have just told me that they can supply it and don’t know when they will be able to.

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
19 days ago

Thanks for that. I cancelled the Amazon order and decided to support my local Christian bookshop so ordered it from there.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Richard Ashby
18 days ago

Good for you. Given the ethical problems with Amazon, I’m surprised so many buy all their books from there. Christian bookshops need our support.

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