Obituary: The Rev Valentine Fletcher

Valentine Fletcher, priest and writer: born Rottingdean 29 March 1914: ordained deacon 1939, priest 1939; Rector, Stratton Audley with Godington, Oxford 1971-74; married 1953 Mary Hinckley (one son); died Blandford, Dorset 23 August 1993.

VALENTINE FLETCHER was the author of the standard work on the British domestic chimney pot. Chimney Pots and Stacks, published in 1969, and shortly to be reprinted, is by no means the product of eccentricity but the result of serious scholarly research. Fletcher's collection of chimney pots from many parts of the world are now part of Park Farm Museum, Milton Abbas, Dorset, which has about 25,000 visitors annually.

Fletcher bought his first chimney pot in France in 1978, for which he paid five pounds. His collection, which he initially kept on the lawn in his front garden in the village of Tollard Royal, on the Wiltshire-Dorset Border, at its peak topped 200. The pots in his collection are all shapes and sizes, glazed and unglazed, with or without cowls and strange protuberances, home-grown or European, decorated or plain, short and tall. They come from a variety of sources: some from friends and builders' yards, some found when he was on holiday, some discovered when he was on preaching engagements.

Having read Classics at Oriel College, Oxford, Val Fletcher prepared for the ministry at Cuddesdon. Ordained in 1939, he served wartime curacies at Sedbergh and Elland. Three appointments in the Scottish Episcopal Church followed, as chaplain and precentor of Dundee Cathedral, as Rector of Goven and as Incumbent of Montrose and Inverbervie. In 1956 he came back to Yorkshire as Vicar of Lidget Green, soon to move again to Duxford, Cambridgeshire, then to Littlemore, Oxford, with its associations with John Henry Newman, and lastly to Stratton Wardley, before retiring in 1974.

First and foremost Fletcher epitomised Bishop Ken's 'good priest'. He was a faithful and devoted pastor, a sensitive counsellor and firm friend wherever he exercised his ministry. No less than 16 men (17 if he counted his own son David, who is also ordained) owed their call as a result of Val Fletcher's fostering such a vocation.

Two other aspects of Fletcher's ministry played an important part in his life. His deep involvement in the ecumenical movement, with his particular interest in both Catholic and Protestant religious communities on the Continent. Then his prophetic role as 'Mr Valiant for Truth'. He would be outspoken in his condemnation of injustice and red tape. In the 1970s he campaigned against indiscipline in schools and later was involved with the Association for Clergy, an organisation with particular concern for poverty among young married clergy and their families.

Val Fletcher inherited a gift for writing from his literary parents. Evidence of this was not only the case with his voluminous correspondence but in his own literary output. As well as Chimney Pots and Stacks, he was the author of children's books, among them The Icon and the Spindle Tree and Fun and More Fun at Fulderton, mirroring the jollier side of country life. A keen gardener, he was particularly fond of his Alpine plants.

His many friends will remember the kindness and generous hospitality that he and his devoted wife, Mary, extended and their sense of humour and delight in the ridiculous which pervaded their happy home.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower