ORCHARD, Rev. WILLIAM EDWIN, Minister of the King’s Weigh House Church, Duke Street, W., since 1914; b. 20 Nov., 1887; e.s. of John Orchard, Rugby; m. 1904, Anna Maria (d. 1920), widow of Rev. Ellis Hewitt of Aldershot. Educ.: Board School; private tuition; Westminster College, Cambridge. Ordained, Enfield, 1904, B.D., London, 1905; D.D., London, 1909.
[Illustration: DR. W.E. ORCHARD]
DR. W.E. ORCHARD
O, you poor creatures in the large cities of wide-world politics, you young, gifted, ambition-tormented men, who consider it your duty to give your opinion on everything that occurs; who, by thus raising dust and noise, mistake yourselves for the chariot of history; who, being always on the look-out for an opportunity to put in a word or two, lose all true productiveness. However desirous you may be of doing great deeds, the profound silence of pregnancy never comes to you. The event of the day sweeps you along like chaff, while you fancy that you are chasing it.—NIETZSCHE.
Until quite the other day I looked upon Dr. Orchard as a person unique in his generation. But I am now told by an authority in the nonconformist world that there are “two others of him”—one, I think, in Birmingham, the second in Clapham.
I am still permitted to think, however, that to Dr. Orchard belongs the distinction of being the first person of this erratic trinity, and therefore we may still regard him with that measure of curiosity which is the tribute paid by simple people to the eccentric and the abnormal.
But let me warn the reader against expectations of an original genius. Dr. Orchard does not create; he copies. His innovations are all made after visits to the lumber-room. It is by going back such a long distance into the past that he startles, and by coming round full circle that he appears to surprise the future.
But where originality is rare, eccentricity must not be discounted.
Dr. Orchard is a ritualist in the midst of nonconformity; the first Free Churchman, I believe, to entertain exalted ceremonial aspirations, and to kneel for his orders at the feet of an orthodox bishop. One might almost hazard the conjecture that he remains in the Congregationalist Communion, as so many Anglo-Catholics remain in the Establishment, solely to supply the fermentation of an idea which will shatter its present constitution. One thinks of him as a repentant Cromwell restoring “that bauble” to its accustomed place on the table of tradition.
In his heart of hearts he would appear to be a fervent institutionalist, a lover of ceremonial, and a convinced sacerdotalist. To hear him use the word Catholic is to make one understand how the Church of Rome dazzles certain eyes, and to hear him claim that he is in the apostolical succession is to make one realise afresh how broad is the way of credulity.