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Spilling the Beans
Like army wives, clergy wives are constantly
ready to be on the move. The houses they live in do not belong
to them and they have no choice in their size or location.
Since the Second World War, vicarages and rectories have undergone a sea change. The vast, often very beautiful, dilapidated mansions have been sold off for profit by the Dioceses, and purpose built houses have been provided for the clergy. A clergy house now must have at least four bedrooms to allow for priests with large families and for visitors, a large sitting room that can be used for small parish meetings and social gatherings, a kitchen suitable for the same, and a study situated close to the front door. They have central heating and fridges and washing machines, and most have a decent sized garden with a large patch of grass suitable for summer fetes and parish gatherings. The clergy wife is expected to give hospitality to all and sundry and to be ready for whoever may call. It has not always been that way...
In Spilling the Beans! Lisa Wright has assembled a collection of letters spanning the years 1953 - 1956, written by her mother, Margot, a rectors wife. These letters are a perfect snapshot of life in an English vicarage and a wonderful, amusing and heart-warming perspective of life in those post war years.
£9.99 with free post & packing
Lisa Wright spent her childhood in large and draughty English vicarages and rectories in the Black Country, the Essex Marshes, a Dagenham housing estate and East Ham near to the Woolwich docks. There was very little money to run these huge old places, and wartime rations and coupons made life even more difficult, but her parents, J.O. and Margot worked marvels with practically nothing, and they were all happy, exciting and characterful homes. The one thing they all had in plenty, especially East Ham, was space.
Lisa trained as a Drama teacher at the Central School of Speech and Drama, at that time housed on the third floor of the Royal Albert Hall. In 1953 she set off to America to teach in Connecticut for nearly three years.
She married Martin in 1957 and they had five children.
She was a drama teacher for 35 years mostly in large inner city comprehensives, where she wrote and directed large scale shows with elastic casts.
She started on her second career in middle age as one of the first women priests in the Church of England, still continuing to write shows, though now for parishes and diocesan activities.
Now she has embarked on a third career, as writer and performer of one woman shows.
Lisa and Martin live in South London.