Neil Bayley:
Clerk to the Trustees of Tyndale's Monument, North Nibley.

In 1956 I was a Solicitor working in a practice in Gray's Inn. My wife and I had for some time wanted to move out of London to the West Country and when the chance came to take up a job in Dursley we accepted. My parents lived in Cheltenham, and while negotiating over the new job my father took us for a drive in the surrounding area. On that drive I saw Tyndale's Monument for the first time.

I joined the firm in Dursley and the second file of papers that was placed on my desk was about the Monument. I found, somewhat to my surprise, that I was Clerk because the partner I replaced had been Clerk. The Clerkship had been held by a partner in firm since about 1907.

I remained as Clerk for 35 years until 1992 when I retired. They were happy years which put right much of my original ignorance about Tyndale and his Monument.

Because the Clerk was the one fixed point, (Trustees came and went with their term of office) hundreds of people wrote to me. Of course some were complaining about the state of the Monument, or the roadway leading up to it, but many more were giving me useful information about Tyndale or about the Monument. And very many people came to see me. Like the letter writers some of them were complaining or wanting a free trip to the viewing chamber at the top of the Monument, but many more wanted to tell me something they knew. People like the professor from Oregon whose great grandfather had worked on the building. Everyone who had worked on it was given a beautifully bound copy of the Authorised Version of the Bible, and he brought me his great grandfather's copy to show me. People like a man from Quebec who claimed to be a member of the Tyndale family, and to be writing a book about his ancestor. Well, he left all his papers in my office and never came back for them, so I imagine the book was never written.

Over the years there we made appeals for funds and minor repairs were carried out. In the early sixties one of the games played by local youths was to carry a large stone to the top of the Monument and see how many tops they could knock off the railings round its base. Luckily modern youth is a little less fit and that game seems to have stopped. But there was a minor appeal for repairs to the railings.

Then in 1985 we had to launch a major appeal because extensive repairs were needed to the whole fabric. As one facet of this I was asked to go and talk to one or two organisations, and I had to do some research to give these talks. But in the Quincentenary year the Gloucestershire branch of the Prayer Book Society held their summer service at North Nibley on the theme of Tyndale, and I was asked to preach. That led to more invitations. By the end of the year I had given 24 talks and 3 sermons. This year bids fair to being very much the same. My innocent joining of a Gloucestershire legal practice has been a strange introduction to the fascinating world of William Tyndale.

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