Five Years’ Hell in a Country Parish


The Reverend Edward Fitzgerald Synnott, known to some as ‘Big Paddy’, was born in 1870 and attended West Meath Grammar School before joining the Irish Constabulary, which he left in 1894. He was ordained in 1898, before taking a degree at Durham University. He had been to Canada before serving in several English parishes, and on 22nd June 1914, he arrived in Rusper from Worthing with his wife. A compelling preacher he attracted a full congregation, but his past experience had not fitted him for a small rural community. He was right, and everyone else, wrong. The fact that he was Low Church did not please the villagers, added to which his lack of consultation on church 1natters and spiteful rumour-mongering by villagers did not help matters. He alienated most of the village, especially those from the big houses – believing that a man was created equal in the sight of God and upsetting the newly-rich. His dog, ‘Pat’, disappeared – and Synnott received his tail in the post! He became the subject of numerous anonymous letters, and Rusper was rife with gossip about his doings. Villagers complained to the Bishop, leading to his trial on a charge of serious misconduct. He had to sell his beloved cob ‘Kitty’ to help fund his legal defence, and he wrote this book after he was found not guilty by a trial at Westminster Consistory Court. Surprisingly, he remained in the village following the publication of this book in 1920, for another 13 years – until 1933.

Additional information


Rev. Edward Fitzgerald Synnott




978 1 906789 96 1




210 x 148


Country Books