The 23rd Rector of Bemerton was Mr George Herbert.
A high flying courtier, Cambridge academic, writer of the King’s speeches
and if accounts are to be believed, wearer of the finest fashions.
Herbert gave it all up and when he was 37 he came here for his first job. He died just 3 years later of consumption.
His legacy is 3 fold
Firstly – he was a great priest, and he wrote one of the first “how to” guides for clergy, called “The Country Parson”.
His life was celebrated by the biographer Isaac Walton (of Compleat Angling fame) and he has been a pin-up of the clergy ever since.
Secondly – he was a poet and a songwriter. He used to play his lute at the window of his Rectory (opposite St.Andrews church) as well as playing with Salisbury Cathedral band. 5 of his hymns are still sung widely today. (And our group have commissioned music to others!)
Thirdly – he was a poet to rival Shakespeare, and is studied as such by students of English around the world.
The little church where he served his only time as priest and where he is buried in the sanctuary gets visitors from Japan, India, USA and everywhere else.
For more information — go to the amazing George Herbert Website