Letter: Parish Clerks don't eat hymn sandwiches in church

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The Independent Online
I READ with great interest your article ('Dinner rites that take the cake', Business, 20 December) regarding the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks, of which I am Master. There were, however, several points upon which I would presume to correct Richard Thomson. Firstly no person may enter the company unless they are a duly appointed Parish Clerk. We do not allow, nor can we, as other livery companies do, admission by Patrimony, Servitude or Redemption, thus ensuring that all our members have strong ecclesiastical connections. We do not indulge in hymn sandwiches: our church services always consist of either Evensong or Holy Communion. The Master does not read out a long list of benefactors; this is done by the Clerk and is known as the Silent Toast, why I do not know, as it is anything but silent. Cross-toasting is enormous fun; it can be noisy, but never constitutes 'an appalling din'. We have not had champagne for years as we cannot afford it, having had our property confiscated by Edward VI. I do not agree with one of my brethren that the Master in his regalia 'looks rather daft'. I think I look bloody stupid, but that is a small price to pay for maintaining a tradition of over 700 years.

L L Brace

Master, Worshipful Company

of Parish Clerks

London SW8