The author has delved into diaries, correspondence, books and biographies from four hundred years of clerical life, as well as books of church history; and he does so in order to set out the life, work, habits, aims and ideals of a wide assortment of English parish clergy from the mid-1500s to the twentieth century... The book is in fact a priceless excursion into pastoral theology from the ground up rather than from theory, and it could well be listed for reading by student ordinands. It is equally valuable and salutary to people already working in the parochial ministry, to be encouraged by the portrayals of greatness as well as warned by the portrayals of the weak' (Search).
'This book is a treasury of pastoral wisdom and experience. It enshrines the essence of historic Anglicanism. It should be required reading for every ordinand. Parish clergy will be refreshed, challenged and entertained. It celebrates Anglican values, not out of sentimentality or mere nostalgia, but in the conviction that the Church of England "stands for much which society is losing, and which society may become anxious to regain"' (Church Times).
'A valuable work of reference which reads like vivid social history... Few clergy with more than a passing interest in the history of their own profession will want to be without it (it makes ideal bedside reading), and in a perfect world no ordinand would be made deacon without first having read it' (Theology).
Michael Hinton, a former headmaster, was ordained in 1985. Until his recent retirement, he was full-time non-stipendiary minister in the village of Shepherdswell in Kent.