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Mabel Dearmer

North East QuineNorth East Quine Shipmate
edited April 7 in Ecclesiantics
I wasn't sure where to post this - it's something I thought people might find interesting, rather than a discussion.

The new Covid-19 hospital in Glasgow is being named after Louisa Jordan, one of the nurses who volunteered to serve in a Serbian hospital in Kragujevac ravaged by typhus in the First World War. As was almost inevitable, she died of typhus there. One of the other nurses who also died of typhus there was Mabel Dearmer, wife of Percy Dearmer. Percy Dearmer was serving as chaplain to the Ambulance Unit in Serbia. Within three months of volunteering, Mabel was dead.

Many years ago, I came across the name Percy Dearmer here on the Ship. I hadn't heard of him before, and wondered if he was any relation to the (as far as I was aware) much more famous Mabel! I soon realised that most Anglicans know about Percy, but not about Mabel.

Every year, on 14 February, the people of Kragujevac, Serbia decorate Mabel's grave, and the graves of Dr Elizabeth Ross and the other nurses with wreathes, and the graves are then blessed by an Orthodox priest.

Comments

  • Fascinating, thank you.
  • Mabel showed incredible courage. She is buried next to Dr Elizabeth Ross, who died in Feb 1915 only six weeks after arriving at the hospital. Mabel knew that other women had already lost their lives when she volunteered in April 1915. She died in July 1915.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    They also serve...
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    A very sensitive reminder that the medical staff are often heroic - I wouldn't say unsung but undersung I guess. 🕯

    I confess I hadn't heard of Mabel ... but neither had I really heard of Percy much.
  • Percy Dearmer and his writings are fairly well-known in the C of E, and much of what he wrote in The Parson's Handbook is still of practical use, even in today's changed circumstances.

    Dearmer himself, albeit once remarking that 'ecclesiastical vestments are for MEN' (my capitals), was a keen advocate of women's ministry in the church, though I don't know offhand what his views on women's ordination might have been.

    Mabel was about 5 years younger than him (Percy's dates are 1867-1936), and she was only 43 when she died. He must have missed her a great deal during the last 20 years of his own life.

    RIPARIG, both of them.
  • Dearmer himself, albeit once remarking that 'ecclesiastical vestments are for MEN' (my capitals), was a keen advocate of women's ministry in the church, though I don't know offhand what his views on women's ordination might have been.

    He apparently co-led a non-Eucharistic service with a female congregationalist minister, which must have been very daring for the time, both in terms of ecumenicism and its views on gender roles.

    I don't know whether he would have believed that women could be ordained in apostolic succession. That would have been considered quite radical indeed at the time.

    Keep in mind that, at the time of his death, a few Methodist and Congregational churches allowed female ministers, and the Church of Scotland had fairly recently approved female deacons (female elders and ministers were a ways off). And it would be over a decade before even the most daring Anglican and Lutheran churches would consider it (and, of course, quite a bit longer before it became widely accepted).
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 8
    O yes. I wasn't being critical of him in any way - he wrote (IMHO) a lot of sensible stuff, but he was 'of his time', so to speak.

    BTW, I note that Rev Florence Li Tim Oi was ordained in 1944, only 8 or so years after Dearmer's death. I wonder if he would have been pro or anti?
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited April 8
    Percy Dearmer was pro-women's ministry in his later years, but I don't think he made the leap into supporting W.O., even though he was quite noticeably Liberal after WW1. In his later years, some of his views were a bit enigmatic.

    He remarried in 1917 to Nancy Knowles, who was about 20 years younger, and they had four kids. By a strange quirk of fate, one son from Mabel and Percy's family died in WW1, and one from Nancy and Percy's in WW2.
  • Pangolin GuerrePangolin Guerre Shipmate
    edited April 13
    PDR wrote: »
    Percy Dearmer was pro-women's ministry in his later years, but I don't think he made the leap into supporting W.O., even though he was quite noticeably Liberal after WW1. In his later years, some of his views were a bit enigmatic.

    He remarried in 1917 to Nancy Knowles, who was about 20 years younger, and they had four kids. By a strange quirk of fate, one son from Mabel and Percy's family died in WW1, and one from Nancy and Percy's in WW2.

    Tragic generations, indeed. But also to be admired. I question whether I would have their mettle, but hope never to be so tested.
  • CorvoCorvo Shipmate Posts: 3
    Percy Dearmer (1867-1936) was a well-known writer on liturgy, worship and church art.

    He rejected the traditional Christian doctrine of hell and eternal punishment and believed in a universal salvation that he thought spiritualism helped explicate.

    His second wife Nancy Knowles, who he married in August 1916, was herself a medium and together they authored a book recoding messages she had received through automatic writing from 'a man of academic distinction' who had fallen in France in 1918.

    Percy and Nancy Dearmer The Fellowship of the Picture. An Automatic Script taken down by Nancy Dearmer London 1920
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    That is fascinating @Corvo. I have sung his hymns knowing nothing about him. Love the way the Ship expands the mind!
  • Yes, I'd forgotten that he became interested in Spiritualism, and that he was something of a Universalist!

    Spiritualism was quite a popular subject of thought and study late in the 19thC, and around 1914-1918 (World War 1), perhaps not surprisingly.

    The author and doctor, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, became a convinced Spiritualist during WW1, albeit having dabbled in it for many years previously.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Clearly demonic (Leviticus 19:31). I shall eschew all Dearmerism in future.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Percy Dearmer was also guilty of changing the words of hymns if they didn't fit his particular theological shibboleths, so as to make them fit. This was particularly so with Songs of Praise the later of the two hymnals he produced.

  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Don't think I'd heard of either Dearmer, but they sound like brave and interesting people. Yay re universalism and increasing roles for women. I'm not big on spiritualism. (If there's anything to it, EEK! And if there's not, then probably only a good thing for people who find some comfort from it.) I knew about its popularity back then. Hadn't thought about a WWI connection, but makes sense.

    I think Doyle hung out with Mme. Blavatsky and company.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    Percy Dearmer was also guilty of changing the words of hymns if they didn't fit his particular theological shibboleths, so as to make them fit. This was particularly so with Songs of Praise the later of the two hymnals he produced.

    I think a lot of us would like to do that with certain hymns. *squints at In Christ alone*
  • CorvoCorvo Shipmate Posts: 3
    Golden Key wrote: »
    . . .

    I think Doyle hung out with Mme. Blavatsky and company.

    In his “Memories and Adventures” 1924, Doyle says:

    “I was deeply interested and attracted for a year or two by Theosophy, because while Spiritualism seemed at that time to be chaos so far as philosophy went, Theosophy presented a very well thought-out and reasonable scheme, parts of which, notably reincarnation and Karma, seemed to offer an explanation for some of the anomalies of life.

    Shortly afterwards, however, there appeared Dr. Hodgson’s report upon his investigation [exposing} . . . Madame Blavatsky’s [fraudulent] proceedings . . .

    We have also had in our branch of the occult many dishonest mediums, but we have hastened to unveil them where we could do so, and Theosophy will be in a stronger position when it shakes off Madame Blavatsky altogether. In any case it could never have met my needs for I ask for severe proof, and if I have to go back to unquestioning faith I should find myself in the fold from which I wandered.*
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Corvo--

    Interesting. Thx for the info. Long ago, I read something that linked them.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    My exposure, as it were, to Blavatsky was through my interests in DH Lawrence
  • I have undergone a philistine cultural development, so I just recall an Irish song where Blavatsky was made to rhyme with taxi.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    :joy:
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Mme Blavatsky stars in a limerick, but alas it has slipped from my mind. I think the rhymes were taxi and axed it.
  • CorvoCorvo Shipmate Posts: 3
    It's no go the Yogi-man, it's no go Blavatsky,
    All we want is a bank balance and a bit of skirt in a taxi.


    Bagpipe Music by Louis Macneice
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I like it, but it's not the one I had in mind.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited April 21
    I rather enjoy MacNeice. There's rather a good one about Dublin that begins, if I remember correctly with the line

    Declamatory bronze on sombre pedestals...

    MacNeice's father was the CofI Bishop of Down and Connor, and Dromore in the 1920s and 30s.

    Back to the main topic. Mabel Dearmer's illustrations remind me a bit of 'The Yellow Book' but perhaps that is just me. In some respects very simple, and then again most decidedly not!
  • Corvo wrote: »
    It's no go the Yogi-man, it's no go Blavatsky,
    All we want is a bank balance and a bit of skirt in a taxi.


    Bagpipe Music by Louis Macneice

    Quite. This (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cknPRTW0CHE) was the version I heard. Rather too indicative of a certain social set during my years at Trinity in Dublin but that it's a poem of MacNeice's lends it a certain depth.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    edited May 8
    .
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