A Dark Suit

by Sheila MacInnes

This article was published in the December 2013 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society

Sheila McInnes came across a record in the Parish Registers for St Peter and St Paul’s in Rustington, Sussex for an agreement in 1835 for a salary of £5.0s.0d instead of £3.10s.0d, be paid to the clerk George Sole, for the provision of a dark suit, on condition that he wore this in Church instead of his work smock, as was his usual habit. George was her 2x great grandfather and it prompted her to write this poem:


Though long I’ve been the parish clerk
The parson and our local squire
Do not approve of my attire.

They have expressed a point of view:
The smock I wear for toil on Monday
Is not fit for Church on Sunday.

While the truth is, I believe,
Garments stitched by my wife Ann
Are good enough for any man.

The Bible teaches: Be not proud,
So I will pray down on my knees
Then try my fellow men to please

And I will wear a suit of black,
But in my heart of hearts I know
The dear Lord needs no outward show.

© Sheila MacInnes 2013

[Ed: Although obviously it’s only Shelia’s opinion on how her ancestor would have felt about wearing the dark suit, I think I’m inclined to agree with her!]