Thursday, 3 March 2011

A Company with a history

If you want to know anything about Snaffles, Pelhams,Curbs, Lip Straps, Gags, Bits or Bitting then the Loriners are your people. There is nothing they don't know about such things and more besides in the world of essential equinine accoutrements. If you have been going long enough you do have a lot of accumulated wisdom. Last night was a major celebration of the Loriners' 750th anniversary. A prodigously old Company with its Ordinances originally granted in 1261. A wonderful service was held in St Pauls, it was that ancient English blending of Compline and Vespers which we call Evensong. The Lord Mayor and Sheriffs with their spouses were there as were the Masters and Clerks of 102 other Livery Companies and a great number of other people. We made a considerable sight proccessing in.

Flicking through the Order of service, as one does, I could see we were due a sermon from the Bishop of London. What on earth, I wondered do you preach on such an occasion. The Bishop took as his theme some of the thoughts of the thirteenth century religious philosopher Thomas Aquinas, the man who tried to square the circle of reason on one hand and faith on the other. I thought he would use one of Thomas Aquinas's famous dictums :'Nothing is, everything is in a state of becoming' (becoming something else that is). It's a simple but profound sentiment well suited to the occasion I thought. But no, the Bishop launched into the three cardinal aspects of man defined by Aquinas : his appetites; his rational self and his spiritual self. These in turn, he explained, needed respectively temperance, prudence and courage. Then came the analogy--these three virtues, just mentioned, should discipline a man's life in the same way that the Loriners products disciplined a horse and enabled the correct direction to be taken. Smooth.

After St Pauls we all went to Stationers Hall for a drinks reception which with 450 people there was very much standing room only.It was rather like being in a theatre crush bar. Which was a great pity since the Master Loriner during the Reception spoke for a few moments and then gave out Awards to the total of £80,000. But so great was the general hub-bub and press of people such munificence was not adequately recognised in my view.
It's nice as a speaker however to be able to say that the Company greatly looks forward to 2061!


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