Lambeth Briefing

The death of Archdeacon Andrew Armitage-Shanks, latterly Bishop of Twyford, came as a shock to many New Directions readers. The editor was overwhelmed with letters expressing grief and unbelief that so promising a career had been cut short. Many have asked about Mrs Armitage-Shanks in the aftermath of the tragic event.

Julia, descended as she was from the indomitable Cecily Alexander and from a long line of bishops of the Church of Ireland, was stoic in bereavement – too stoic in the view of family friends, who daily expected the explosion of grief which never came.

She returned to County Loiash and the decaying family home which was part of her inheritance. Cosby Castle was a modest early eighteenth-century pile which had been massively extended in the 1860s. Its cavernous rooms were full of dust, cobwebs and enormous dogs. Everything of any value had been sold. Colour reproductions of former paintings hung forlornly in their heavy gilt frames.

But Cosby Castle was not all grief for Julia. Passing a range of shelves on a landing she seldom visited, Julia drew her finger casually through the thick coating on a piece of porcelain. There could be no doubt: it was early Worcester.

Further investigation revealed an entire dinner service for twenty-four, which was duly dispatched for auction in New York. Julia determined to expend some of the proceeds of this windfall on a holiday in the Pelaponese, where, in the furthest reaches of Roumeli she met and fell in love with a fisherman half her age, bought a modest villa, and sold the dogs. With an occasional change of fisherman, she lived happily ever after.

Bill’s Briefing

Dr William Badger, whose career was the high-watermark of ecclesiastical spin-doctoring, was not in Chicago long. He returned to answer before a Synodical Commission of Enquiry (chaired by the retired Legal Adviser to the Synod, Mr Ryan Branson) which concluded that he had been exaggerating communicant figures for years. William was devastated, his career on both sides of he Atlantic in tatters. But he came up smelling of roses. Only two months later he re-emerged as media adviser to the Ministry of Defence. Since which time the size of the Royal Navy has significantly increased, as has the ducat to the Home Counties from weapons of mass destruction located in various parts of the Middle East.

Bill now lives quietly in a modest flat in Eaton Place South, venturing forth of an evening only to dine at Daphne’s with Alistair Campbell or Carol Calvin

Millennium Experience

April Heavisides, readers will be glad to know, is reconciled with the father of her child, married and a pillar of the Forward in Faith parish of St Anselm, Thornton Heath. She is a Governor of the church school and secretary of the Parochial Church Council. She is pregnant again.

Joe (Sister Immaculata of the Incarceration of St Rose of Lima) long since abandoned the religious life in favour of a position as Tutor in Gender Theology at Hort House, Cambridge. She is a favourite of Alan Bookbinder, and a regular contributor to Thought for the Day. She and her new friend Christina live in a delightful cottage in Trumpington, where Joe is visited by old friends from her thespian days. Joe and Christian have an adopted son, Vaclav.

Last Chronicle of Salchester

Bishop Longbridge did not find America congenial, and serving as assistant to his wife even less so. Though he had always heeded her advice and acted upon it, he discovered that she was not of the same inclination. Taking advantage of the prevalent marital discipline in the Episcopal Church, he and Sylvia celebrated, in her Cathedral Church of God the Mother, a ‘Eucharistic Parting’ at which each set the other free: he to a newly-found passion for a real estate agent called Douglas, she to a single-minded devotion to her diocese.

Douglas and Malcolm were married in a recent ceremony by the Bishop of South Wyoming. Encouraged by friends, Douglas is now running for election as a diocesan in the Middle West, thereby achieving another great first: the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church himself to have been married both by and to a bishop.


Like a character in a novel by Lynda La Plante, and as a result of her deft solution to the case of the missing Quadrilateral, Eve Melhuilish rose vertiginously in the ranks of the Metropolitan Police and is now Deputy Assistant Commissioner. Her added status and responsibilities naturally led her to reflect on the appropriateness of a relationship with a rugby playing opera singer whose manner and life-style proved embarrassingly infantile.

Perhaps it was the influence of a distant Scottish background which nurtured in her a taste for mature North Britons; but the gossip columns and diaries of the quality dailies have been full for some time with unattributed stories of her liaisons with senior cabinet ministers. She is, as London Spy remarked in The Daily Telegraph, well-known around Victoria Street, Tothill Street and Petty France as `the cop with a jock’.

Sergeant Whelan was devastated at the promotion of his boss, and hardly able to reconcile himself to life and work without her. He and Kumar were not received in the new gay-friendly Met with the openness they had expected. It was a blessing, then, that, with the substantial payment made as a result of their case alleging homophobic harassment, they were able set themselves up in a pub in Newquay, catering in the season to a specialist clientele.


Bridget Trollope, after a successful series of political novels about the links of government officials with oil interests in the Gulf, is now engaged on a major work about a conspiracy of Anglican Bishops hi-jacking the entire resources of the Church Commissioners. The working title, she told Newsnight, is The Way we Lave Now.

PDJ Aymes is engaged on a thriller in which a single bishop assassinates traditional theological education. It will be published later this year by CHP with the title Devil lake the Hindmost.