Reverend Dr. Robert Wilde of St Ives in Huntingdonshire, 1615-1679
Another son of St Ives, Robert Wilde must have been familiar with Oliver Cromwell as both maintained extreme Puritan views. In addition to the accomplishment of a Doctorate in Divinity Robert appears to have become a poet of some note;
Winged mimic of the woods! thou motley fool!
Who shall thy gay buffoonery describe?!
Thine ever-ready notes of ridicule!
Pursue thy fellows still with jest and jibe:!
Wit, sophist, songster, Yorick of thy tribe;!
Thou sportive satirist of Nature's school;!
To thee the palm of scoffing we ascribe,!
Arch-mocker and mad abbot of misrule!!
The 17th century language seems a little odd today but it is not for his poetry that we in St Ives remember Robert Wilde but you have probably guessed from the pictures above!
It is recorded in verse (anon) that Robert died from asthma but it was also recorded in his Will the bequest of a sum of money to provide a dozen Bibles, six for the boys and six for the girls, each year to be cast for by dice on the Communion table. It was Dr Wilde’s intention to show that the word was in the Bible and not in the pomp and circumstance that went on within some branches of the Church at that time.
Even today, gambling in Church is not something that one comes across very often and time has varied Robert Wilde’s intent, only so much as they don’t throw the dice on the communion table anymore but every Whitsun the “Dicing for Bibles” still takes place in St Ives.
So when is that then? ~ Well Whitsun is another name for Pentecost and that happens fifty days after Easter, hence 'Pentecost' which means 'fifty'. Now as Easter moves around the calendar so does Whitsun! But if you look in you diary and find Easter, then Whitsun follows seven weeks later. Hope that all makes sense, and therefore you won't miss the next "Bible Dicing" at the Parish Hall of All Saint's Church in St Ives.