|Title: The Akenham
Author: Ronald Fletcher
Date published: 1974
Status: out of print
What is it? The classic investigation of a 19th century scandal involving the burial of an unbaptised child at Akenham, near Ipswich.
What's it like? Clearly there was still a lively curiosity about the Rev. George Drury himself. What sort of man was he? Was the conduct of his services as bad as had been said? How - as a matter of usual practice - did he conduct the affairs of his churches? Was he a monster? Was he incapable? Inefficient? Or genuinely a man of meticulous principle - and, with in the rubric of the Church's regulations - a man of warmth and humanity?
What's good about it? A fascinating detective story - the reconstruction of an extraordinary event, and a libel case that led inevitably to a complete change in English burial law and practice.
What's bad about it? Fletcher fails to put the case in context - that this dispute was essentially one between an extreme Anglo-catholic Rector and his many militantly protestant critics.
Overall rating: 3/5