We all know that Paddy was asked to leave King’s School Canterbury for what today would be called ‘inappropriate behaviour’; holding hands with ‘a ravishing and sonnet-begetting beauty’ of twenty four years of age. She was the local greengrocer’s daughter. In this short contribution to the school website recalling Paddy’s memories of King’s, she does not get a mention.
“Copious reading about the Dark and the Middle Ages had floridly coloured my views of the past; and the King’s School, Canterbury touched off emotions which were sharply opposed to those of Somerset Maugham in the same surroundings; they were closer to Walter Pater’s seventy years earlier, and probably identical, I liked to think, with those of Christopher Marlowe earlier still. I couldn’t get over the fact that the school had been founded at the very beginning of Anglo-Saxon Christianity – before the sixth century was out, that is: fragments of Thor and Woden had hardly stopped smouldering in the Kentish woods: the oldest part of the buildings was modern by these standards, dating only from a few decades after the Normans landed. There was a wonderfully cobwebbed feeling about this dizzy and intoxicating antiquity – an ambiance both haughty and obscure which turned famous seats of learning, founded eight hundred or a thousand years later, into gaudy mushrooms and seemed to invest these hoarier precincts, together with the wide green expanses beyond them, the huge elms, the Dark Entry, and the ruined arches and the cloisters – and, while I was about it, the booming and jackdaw-crowed pinnacles of the great Angevin cathedral itself, and the ghost of St. Thomas à Becket and the Black Prince’s bones – with an aura of nearly pre-historic myth.”
Patrick Leigh Fermor (KS 1929-31),A Time of Gifts (1977)