Obituary: The Rev Valentine Fletcher
Friday 01 October 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.
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Trevor Noah: Jon Stewart's replacement faces online criticism over 'anti-Semitic' tweets
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Prince Charles ‘burns 1.3 tons of carbon’ in private helicopter after urging public to turn off lights for Earth Hour
Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
April Fools' Day 2015 live: The best pranks and fake stories from around the world
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...
£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...