A Memory of Bishop Wedgwood
Philip Burgess (written in 2001)
As I am not a Liberal Catholic, I did not see as much of him as many others. But as I was a frequent visitor to Tekels Park I did know him slightly. At that time (late 1940’s) he was an old man and I was in my early thirties.
He was a very pleasant person to speak to, but towards the end he had occasional lapses of memory to the extent that during a conversation he would stop in mid-sentence, look blank and ask you what he was saying. When prompted he would soon pick up the thread again.
Clearly this meant that he was unwilling to conduct Church services on his own, but when I attended as a visitor I observed that he had another priest with him (I don’t remember his name) to cover the gaps when his memory went. It only happened once on that occasion and all passed smoothly and very tactfully.
In general, I would say that Bishop Wedgwood had a quiet sense of humour. For example, one hot sunny day the Theosophical Society had a day seminar of the sort where Members brought their own food and ate it on the lawn behind Dormy House* dining room - the dining room was smaller then, it has been extended since.
The Bishop was sitting on a low stool with his back leaning against the wall of Dormy House - he could easily have eaten at home but he chose to be with everyone else. As I walked past he was opening a paper package and said, “Do you know the esotericism of this parcel?” Of course I expected something profound but he just said, “This is my lunch.” - and that is a fair example of his type of humour.
To sum up, I found him to be a good, kindly man and a real Christian.
*the old name for the Guest House
Bishop J I Wedgwood outside his house at Tekels Park (1948)