Unholy row by Peter Kane
A riot broke out in church yesterday as hunting parson Eric Wheeler
did battle with the Devil.
The "Devil" was anti-hunting protester Nigel Roberts.
Dressed up in Satanic robes and carrying the traditional pitchfork,
he and about 70 other demonstrators were raising hell about the Reverend
Wheeler's hunting activities.
Earlier, the police had allowed twenty of the protestors to file in
peacefully for the morning service at St. Mary's Church at Steeple
Bumpstead in Essex.
But the vicar and his flock rose in wrath as they started singing:
All things bright and
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The vicar kills them all. . .
As dozens of police moved in to keep the Sabbath day holy, Mr.
Wheeler stood at the door of the church, angrily pointing at Nigel
outside and shouting:
"Nick that devil - he has committed an act against God and the
The hymn-singing protesters were hustled out to rejoin Nigel and the
rest of the banner-waving demonstrators outside.
They had marched on the church to protest about Mr. Wheeler's
membership of the local Puckeridge and Thurlow Hunt.
Anti-hunters leader David Whitton said: "The vicar often wears
hunting gear under his surplice at services and funerals. The bishop
should kick him out."
From the Daily Mirror dated March 21, 1977.
With thanks to Mike Huskisson and the Animal Welfare Information
See 'Hunting Parsons'