Carter’s Response

In 1874, in response to what were seen as growing “papistical tendencies” in the C.of E. the Government passed the Public Worship Regulation Act. The Queen – with her soft spot for Presbyterianism – was delighted. Disraeli called high church ritualism “a mass in masquerade”. Gladstone, however, disapproved of the Church and its liturgy being made “a parliamentary football” and he opposed subordination of Church to State. Four priests were actually imprisoned under the terms of the Act, but these imprisonments of good men served to bring the Act into disrepute.

The Act gave leave for “aggrieved parishioners” to make representations to the Bishop. The Bishop, however, had the power to veto legal proceedings, thanks to a clause introduced by Archbishop Tait.

So when, in 1877, Captain Thomas Bulkley of Clewer Lodge, and others, tried to bring charges against Thomas Carter, Bishop Mackarness vetoed the action. In 1878 Dr. Frederick Julius of The Hermitage, Clewer Green, sought to bring action against Carter, but ultimately, after many legal developments, the Bishop of Oxford stood firm for Carter.

He (Carter) when the Julius case collapsed, knowing that although Bishop Mackarness had defended him he did not approve of “ritualism” decided that the honourable thing to do was to resign.

This he did, becoming full-time Warden of the Community of St. John Baptist and living in a house, St. John’s Lodge, built for him in Hatch Lane. The new Rector, Roland Errington, allowed Carter to continue to live at the Rectory until his house was ready.

Denis Shaw