Friday, December 23, 2011

Harmony at Parsonage Farm


As a sort of Christmas card one of my parishioners, Rupert, a student who is at university in Brighton sent me this video of his family in the 1970's, there were 14 children.

Joe the 18 year old cellist in the programme, is Rupert's father, 40 years on he has 10 children of his own, and the musical tradition continues to the present generation, some of his sons, Rupert's brothers, occasionally come and sing at Mass here.

The video, made by Harlech TV speaks of a gentler time. For me the star of the show is the rather wise and sensible mother, Molly, who along with her husband Roger is now dead. I pray she has now attained her ultimate goal, Heaven.

13 comments:

Matthias said...

Thank you for this Father,it made me think of my own parents and their example of faith. Being English migrants to Australia,they knew what it was like to be a stranger. they were given in Hospitality,as St paul puts it,every day of the year. Christmas day we had usually about 50-80 people.all from various countries or with disabilities .I think fondly of those Christmases.

Anonymous said...

Presumably David is the organist from Cardiff???

pelerin said...

What a delightful film. Many thanks to Fr Ray - and Rupert - for sharing it with us. How unusual for every one of the family to have inherited a musical talent and what talent! The Ave Verum at the end was truly sublime. What wise words from Rupert's grandparents too. I especially liked his grand mother's comments on womens' lib. It was indeed a gentler time

Nicolas Bellord said...

Very inspiring. But before one dismisses it as something from the past I wonder whether anyone saw last night's programme about young people from England visiting an Amish community in the USA. The Amish mother suggested to the two young girls from England that one should be chaste until marriage and the girls seem to have brought into the idea. How many people, including Catholics, over here would dismiss such an idea as moonshine?

umblepie said...

Thanks for sharing this inspiring video. Lovely family and beautiful singing.

tempus putationis said...

What a beautiful approach to life. Are there any families left in the UK like this today, I wonder?

JARay said...

Absolutely beautiful!
What a lovely family and what rich talent!

servusmariaen said...

Father Ray,
That is a beautiful film. I should think EWTN would like to broadcast it. The children in this film are fortunate to have had such parents and a family life such as this. I was very impressed. I grew up on a farm in the 1970s in America and it was not uncommon then for Catholic families to have 10, 12 or 14 children. Our's was small with 4. We had a large vegetable garden and even larger potato patch. We had milk cows, swine, chickens, goats and geese. We never went hungry. I can't imagine there being very many families such as this anymore. sadly. One thing that struck me more than anything was the mother saying that her goal was heaven. She wanted to be good. How many people would say that today?

IanW said...

There is still a fecund, musical and devout branch of the family in that neck of the woods.

Physiocrat said...

Very nice, but that house and smallholding would probably cost a million or two now. Who could afford that?

Catholic families like this can not exist without the classic Chestertonian economy whereby three-acres-and-a-cow is a possibility for everyone.

From his reading of Rerum Novarum, Chesterton founded the economic philosophy he called "Distributism". Unfortunately, the task of working out a fiscal and legal framework for a distributist economy was left uncompleted.

In Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII argued that property was a universal right. It follows, as Chesterton pointed out, that everyone should have some, which was not possible if a only few possessed most of it!

A house and smallholding was just about possible for a well-paid provincial schoolteacher in the 1950s but such has been the increase in land prices since then that it is beyond reach today.

The same issue applies in cities. The young couple who are buying my house can just about afford it, and it is barely big enough for the and their two children, since dad will want one room as a work room.

We need that Chestertonian revolution more than ever today.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Physiocrat: Sadly you are probably right. But there are such things as allotments and I cannot help feeling a better distribution of land would help - with less planning restrictions! If you go to northern Portugal, where I live part of the year, you can still find a distributist society of sorts. Very fertile land, plenty of rain and sun and practically everyone owning a little bit of land upon which it was easy to get planning permission to build a house. Our neighbours give us practically all we need in the way of vegetables. Barter is very common. Okay there are ups and downs. In the present recession you might lose your job but you can fall back on the family smallholding and keep a pig, rabbits and chickens and grow things throughout the year. Somebody remarked that the only food she bought in the shops was salt and sugar. And the Faith is still very strong.

Robin Smith said...

Allotments are a medicine to treat the effects of rack renting and locking the people out of the land in the first place To call for more allotments is to call for more slavery.

Physiocrat seems to already be calling for better distribution by returning the land to the commons using the methods he proposes. A modern day and permanently reoccuring jubilee by collecting the economic rent for public revenue.

Land in the country is worth relatively little. Yes why not build there. But the vast majority want to live where a living is easier to make. On expensive urban land. We must ask why there are a million empty homes in these locations and 2 million people looking for shelter.

Speculation in land is root cause of that. Unless that wrong is righted nothing will improve. Leviticus 25:23. We seem to keep asking for it though .1 Samuel 8. Its everyones fault. This is the true sadness.

frahasio said...

Hello all. 'Twas I that uploaded the video - I'm another of Rupert's cousins and the oldest of Tony's eleven children. We are all musicians too - in fact I run a sacred music publishing company, www.prestopublications.co.uk

Anyway, enough marketing, I thought I'd chip in to say to Physiocrat that Parsonage Farm is for sale at the moment - last time I checked they were asking 695k. It's still in the family

http://www.roderickthomas.co.uk/Property/Residential/for-sale/Nr-Wells/-/236