The strong arm of god

The strong arm of god, in Stoke circa the 1860s…

“It was very rarely that the Rector of Stoke employed physical force: perhaps the mere sight of his sturdy form and powerful limbs was enough for most people. One instance of his doing so is, however, remembered. It was on a Sunday, and he was on his way home from his Bible class, his robe case being carried by one of the members. They were just passing through a rather low district when they came upon a fight in process. Sir Lovelace at once went up to stop the men, and found that one of the two was an old Sunday-school boy. This fellow seemed ashamed of himself and was persuaded to go home. The other man, however, who had been getting the best of it, began hustling Sir Lovelace. The latter began by saying, “Go away, my good man: go back, I tell you!” Words, however, were of no use, and then quick as thought the Rector’s left arm went back and out there was a big thud on the man’s chest, and down he went. He lay there for a longish time, but at last lifted his head and said, “Is that parson gone? By gum! if he’d given me another one he’d have had to bury me!”

Frederick Douglas How, “Early Years at Stoke: Education”, in A memoir of Bishop Sir Lovelace Tomlinson Stamer, 1910.


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