Wily ST. AUGUSTINE ANNOYED THE BISHOPS Further facts concerning the sixth century wooden chair, believed to be that which St. Augustine used on meeting the Welsh bishops at Stanford Bistiop (Herefordshire), have been given to a repbrter in Birmingham by Sir Reginald St. Johnston, the author and former Colonial administrator, who now holds a wartime appointment in that city. It will he recalled that the chair is being restored to Stanford Bishop by the Canterbury Cathedral authorities. Sir Reginald states that his grandfather was a doctor in Birmingham, and was something of an archaeologist: In his youth he sheltered at Stanford Bishop during a storm, while' on a walking tour. He asked the sexton about the obviously very ancient chair on which he was sitting, in a lumber FOOM under the tower, . The sexton said it had always been known as St. Augustine's chair, but had been relegated to the lumber room from the chancel by a former vicar.
DESTINED FOR FIREWOOD
Many years later Sir Reginald's grandfather thought again of the chair and its story and he returned to Stanford Bishop—to find that the new sexton had rescued the relic when it was on the point of heir broken up for firewood by some masons. and had installed it in his garden! The old doctor bought it and spent several subsequent years tracing the journey of St. Augustine across England and trying to fill in the history of the chair.
" He proved," states Sir Reginald, " that Stanford Bishop was the meeting-place of the Saint with the Welsh bishops—the Venerable Bede records in his Ecclesiastical History that the bishops were annoyed with St. Augustine because he did not rise from his , chair to greet them!"
The chair is of oak, obviously of extreme age, and precisely similar to the almost contemporary chair of Tiede, which is preserved at Jarrow. After his death, 50 years ago, the chair passed to Canterbury, at the direction of the testator; but it has now been returned to Stanford Bishop " on permanent loan." Sir Reginald repudiates a suggestion in a, recent letter to the Times that this chair was possibly made in the 15th-I6th century. "The accumulation of facts—on record in my grandfather's hook, The Finding of St. Augustlne's Chair," he says, " are overwhelmingly in favour of its being the histotical chair of St. Augustine."