Faithful Witness

Faithful Witness

The Confidential Diaries of Alan Don, Chaplain to the King, the Archbishop and the Speaker, 1931-1946, with a foreword by Archbishop Justin Welby

Robert Beaken


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In May 1931, Alan Don travelled from Dundee to Lambeth Palace to become Chaplain to Cosmo Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury. During that journey he began a diary. He kept it faithfully for the next fifteen years, during which he also became Chaplain to the King and to the Speaker of the House of Commons. These positions afforded him a ringside view of some of the most momentous events in both British and world history – including the abdication of Edward VIII, the coronation of George VI, the rise of Hitler and the trauma of the Second World War.

Now, for the first time, these fascinating Christian diaries are laid open in full by Robert Beaken. They offer a wealth of detailed insight into the ecclesiastical, royal, and parliamentary affairs of Britain and her élite during two historically significant decades. They also open a window on the history of the Church of England and its role in the social, political and military upheavals of the 1930s and 40s as well as the lives of Alan Don and Archbishop Lang.

Much more than a memoir, Faithful Witness is a remarkable, real-time record of events that have shaped modern Britain. Anyone who wants to know more about the experience of living through those turbulent times, and how Great Britain and the Church of England survived, will be amply rewarded by this engaging, perceptive and revealing eye-witness account.