Defrocked Rector of Stiffkey Arrested



Considerable publicity again came the way of Mr. Harold Francis Davidson, the ex-Rector of Stiffkey, consequent upon an incident which occurred at Rye’s Pavilion on Sea View Pullover on Wednesday afternoon last.

As is generally known, the former Norfolk Rector is this season figuring in the role of a modern Daniel in the lions’ den, his “turn” having already been witnessed by thousands of visitors.

On Wednesday last two members of the Skegness police force proceeded to the venue in question for the purpose of effecting the arrest of Mr. Davidson on a warrant to show cause why he did not discharge a debt of £7 owing to Westminster Police Court in connection with a previous offence for trespassing at Victoria Station, London.

The two officers failed to discover their man, and on learning of their quest Mr. Davidson’s manager called at the police station and explained that the ex-Rector was out of town that morning but would be appearing in the lions’ den as usual at a certain hour in the afternoon.

The intimation by the police that they would effect the arrest during that period was naturally seized upon by the manager, and newspaper-men were present when the police arrived to find the ex-Rector addressing an audience from the lions’ cage.

The two officers were Insp. Harvey and P.s. Withers, and the first-named informed Mr. Davidson that he held a warrant for his arrest.

Mr. Davidson replied: “You will have to come in here and fetch me out.”

There were two lions in the cage and as the Inspector’s experience has not extended to arrests of individuals in close proximity to wild beasts, the officer politely declined the invitation.

Mr. Davidson then asked what would be done if he chose to remain in the cage, to which Insp. Harvey intimated that he was not particularly pressed for time and was content to remain where he was until Mr. Davidson came out.

Ultimately the latter left the cage-and accompanied the two officers to the Police station. He signed the necessary papers and was released on bail forthwith, on his own recognisances, to appear at Westminster Police Court yesterday (Tuesday).

Source: Skegness Standard 28th July 1937

Davidson in the lion’s cage in Skegness, pictured in 1937, just before his death


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