19 MARCH 1988, Page 24

Bishop Blomfield

Sir: I have lent, and therefore lost, the recent Spectator article on the Synod and its compromise, so cannot refer with accuracy, but I learnt of the Gay HQ in St Botolph's, Aldgate (St Bottoms etc) which prompts this letter. My ancestor, Charles James Blomfield, Bishop of Chester and later of London (1786-1857), laid the found- ation stone of that church and presumably blessed it. He had 14 children and two wives, and his Blomfield descendants graced architecture and the Church with honour and distinction. (His comments from 'au dela' might be instructive upon the current decline of standards in both professions!) I read that St Mark's, North Audley Street is probably about to become a Garfunkel plc night club. What will happen to the fine Blomfield timber roof, stone pulpit and lovely wrought-iron screen is not known. Change and destruc- tion but not yet decay.

How much does it matter if we cease to appreciate past craftsmanship that is no longer relevant today? How can the Bishop's silver trowel with which he laid the stone be put now to best advantage? It is copiously engraved and with a mitre for a handle, a thing of strength and beauty. The Bishop lies frozen in a white marble toga in St Paul's, next to Sir Cloudesley Shovell, but his face on my wall accuses me of inaction. I cannot present it to the Gays. Perhaps a future prelate or defender of the Faith may be so inspired as to discover afresh the poetry and spiritual insight of Cranmer's prayers, realising after all that they are, given understanding presenta- tion, just the inspiration new generations are seeking. The trowel would gladly take part in a triumphant re-consecration of the old Prayer Book (most of it) — or should I roar into the Gay HQ wielding it as a weapon of righteous wrath? For that I lack courage, nor have I Lady Soames's forgiv- ing spirit (Diary, 4 July) for Alternative Services. Decay in all around I now hear.

Camilla Williams Cross Roads,

Currie, Midlothian