Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Diary of Bishop Edward Feild in 1844

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Diary of Bishop Edward Feild in 1844

Article excerpt

Ronald Rompkey (ed.), The Diary of Bishop Edward Feild in 1844 (Newfoundland: ISER/MUN, 2010), 124 pp. Paper. $19.95. ISBN 978-1-894725-10-1.

Adding little to what we know of Feild, but revealing the lighter side of his personality, which is absent from his considerable correspondence with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and his many publications, and belying the rather forbidding portrait which adorns the cover, this diary shows one who delighted in nature and had a keen eye for the ridiculous. He was, for example, much amused by the missionary who called his dog Chrysostum and wrote in bad (dog) Latin.

Concerned with church furnishings and their arrangement and with the building of a cathedral, where to put fonts and the location of the holy table/altar, the diary is at times rather tedious in detail, yet it reflects the divisions brought about by the Reformation as to whether a church should be primarily for the proclamation of the Word or also for the administration of the Sacraments. Newfoundland Anglicans generally took the former view, so Feild's espousal of Prayer Book Catholicism drove a wedge in Protestant society which was to frustrate its attempts at the hegemony over Irish Catholicism achieved in Ulster. Feild's ideal of a Christian church was a very clerical one, rejecting any lay control by prosperous merchant pew holders and upholding the right of the poor to proper seating. …

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