Joined: 26 Mar 2007
| Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:24 am Post subject: The Minotaur's flag or much ado about nothing
|Lately a shakespearean tragedy unwounded on a nelsonian website:
The last Union Flag of Britain which flew at the battle of Trafalgar (on board the Minotaur) was in peril !
Stephen Hilton, master's mate, took it home when the Minotaur returned in England.
The Hilton family was living in Selling, Kent, and in the 1930's gave it to the parish church where it was displayed alongside an Austrian flag supposed to be taken by the same Stephen Hilston from the Neptuno Spanish ship.
Due to its bad condition, the flag was no more on display since 1994.
This national treasure of supreme historical importance was at peril of being disposed by the Church of England.
|If this goes up for auction, it is almost inevitable that it will go to an overseas private buyer as did the Spartiate's flag.
The disposal appears to run completely contrary to every aspect of the Church of England's own policy.
The church is the custodian of such treasures for future generations, and should not sell or dispose of any item that is integral the history and heritage of the church and the parish. In this case the church is also the custodian of the flags for the nation, and it seems nothing short of scandalous that the church appears to be abdicating its responsibility and simply views the flags as an inconvenience.
The matter took immediately a national proportion.
Can you imagine a relic that can compare with the shroud of Turin going overseas to an ex-rebel private buyer, to a Japanese yellow faced pagan, or even worse ending exposed in the tent of some sheik in the middle of the Arabian desert?
Replies and posts came by the hundreds; the Society of Antiquarians, the Nelson Society, the 1805 Club and all sort of Learned Societies soon entered the fray; the Church of England organization was dissected like a frog in college to find the least office which could be involved; letters were sent by the donkey load to the CoE dignitaries and the most modest vicar; not a single bureaucratic stone was left unturned; email boxes of the churchwarden of the kingdom were quickly overwhelmed; letters were sent to the Times and every Murdoch's newpaper including the Shetland Daily; words like outrageous were used; various possible repositories were proposed from HMS Victory to St Paul Cathedral, from Chatham Dockyard to the Queen's jewels cellar.
The Parliament would have been soon involved if a post didn't come from St Mary's Selling explaining simply that they never intented to sale the flags and that they were in negotiations with the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich for conservation and care.
Apparently nobody had had the good idea of ask the question to the rector of St Mary.
That reminds me of all the textbooks of physics since Aristote which were explaining that a vase full of water would overflow if you put a dead fish in it, but not if the fish was alive.
This experiment disappeared from the treatises when somebody tried.