Sunday, August 08, 2010

Revd Andrew Wingfield Digby

I was wandering the pleasant streets of North Oxford this morning looking for the house where J.R.R. Tolkien used to live. I found it - and will show it to you sometime - but in the process I found something far more interesting.

This is St Andrew's church. According to Wikipedia it was consecrated in 1907, which is a little later than I had guessed. It is not particularly distinguished as a building, but what interested me was the identity of the vicar.

For it is Andrew Wingfield-Digby, a stalwart of the Oxford University cricket team in the 1970s. All told he took 97 first-class wickets @ 33.87 - a highly creditable record for a university bowler. He also, says Cricinfo, played for Dorset, a minor county, for over a decade.

In 1989 Ted Dexter, then the chairman of the selectors, appointed him as spiritual advisor to the England team. In that era it was a role that would have tried any man's vocation.

At my first ever parliamentary by-election (Birmingham Northfield in 1982) one of the Liberal Party's professional agents kept a room full of envelope stuffers entertained with his tales. I still recall his retailing of someone's observation on the Dorset social scene:

"To be anyone in the county you have to be a Digby, a Wingfield, a Digby Wingfield or a Wingfield Digby."

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

Must be related to the late Pamela Harriman, renowned for her advantageous marriages and as a hostess.