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Why fifty fanes and which are they?

Dave the Gnome 21 Jun 10 - 07:05 AM
Dave the Gnome 21 Jun 10 - 11:38 AM
vectis 21 Jun 10 - 04:39 PM
Leadfingers 21 Jun 10 - 05:00 PM
gnomad 21 Jun 10 - 06:02 PM
Dave the Gnome 22 Jun 10 - 11:37 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Jun 10 - 11:40 AM
IanC 22 Jun 10 - 01:09 PM
vectis 22 Jun 10 - 07:10 PM
Leadfingers 22 Jun 10 - 07:47 PM
gnomad 23 Jun 10 - 03:11 AM
Dave the Gnome 23 Jun 10 - 10:54 AM
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Subject: Why fifty fanes and which are they?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 07:05 AM

In Conan Doyles poem HMS Foudroyant he mentions 'fifty fanes'. Apart from it rhymes with St Clement Danes, why is there fifty fanes? I have discovered a fane is a temple or church or at least a place consecrated to some diety so it fits the context. Is there 50 such places similar to St Clement Danes? Was the term in use more in ACDs time? Anyone any idea?

BTW - If you do a google search make sure you exclude 'clement danes' or you will just get loads of hits on the poem in question.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Why fifty fanes and which are they?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 11:38 AM

Someone must know, surely! I have never known the 'cat to let me down before:-)


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Subject: RE: Why fifty fanes and which are they?
From: vectis
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 04:39 PM

Are you sure they are not Thanes? Servants


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Subject: RE: Why fifty fanes and which are they?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 05:00 PM

Surely its a rant about what our Conservative led Coalition is STILL doing - Selling off the family silver ??


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Subject: RE: Why fifty fanes and which are they?
From: gnomad
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 06:02 PM

Verses 2&3 are listing numerous items (mostly architectural) which might be sold. Doyle would seem to be suggesting that as well as the specific instances there are 50 other temples which might be sold as well. I don't know if Doyle had a particular 50 temples in mind, but it might be relevant that St Clement Danes is one of the works of Sir Christopher Wren, who was instrumental in the building/rebuilding of many fine churches after the great fire of London.

His choice of an archaic word fits the verse, though whether it was as archaic in Doyle's time I don't know. There will always be those who rejoice in sending their readers scuttling for a dictionary. Whether they do it out of intellectual snobbery, or simple joy in finding the precise word for their purpose, is for the reader to judge. Either way it can be an annoying trait for the reader to handle, or an educational one, it depends on the reader.


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Subject: RE: Why fifty fanes and which are they?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 11:37 AM

Definietely Fanes - Not Thanes.

It is indeed about selling off the family silver and I use it often to point out that it is not a new thing! I would be careful of saying it is just the Tories though, LF - Who was it sold off the gold reserves? Don't get me wrong - I'm no Cameronite but I am pretty sure that given the option, most politicians will sell of their own Grandmothers.

I'll check out the Wren conection but I think it may be as you say, Gnomad. Just a piece of literary embelishment.

Cheers for the input one and all.

DeG


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Subject: RE: Why fifty fanes and which are they?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 11:40 AM

Ooooh - just a thought on the usage - I can see Fanes does indeed scan better. It was the fifty that was a bit of a puzzle. Why not

"St Clement Danes and all our fanes" or some such? Maybe there is a connection and maybe ACD was just making merry:-)

DeG


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Subject: RE: Why fifty fanes and which are they?
From: IanC
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 01:09 PM

Maybe for alliterative purposes.


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Subject: RE: Why fifty fanes and which are they?
From: vectis
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 07:10 PM

Have looked it up in my dictionary and fanes are
1) Flags, banners pennants.
2) Weathercocks
3) temples

WELL! There's a thing...


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Subject: RE: Why fifty fanes and which are they?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 07:47 PM

The Blessed Margaret started the ball rolling - Selling off Council Houses to turn us all into little capitalists , and Privatising lt right and centre !

Fifty fanes ? How many Churches DID Wren get built ?


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Subject: RE: Why fifty fanes and which are they?
From: gnomad
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 03:11 AM

Leadfingers: how many? Reports vary, but within the City of London just over fifty. Some got demolished before the Victorians started, but they did for several, and two wars did for some more. Luckily there are still some left.

A Google Wren Churches London will get you more references than you can shake a stick at.


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Subject: RE: Why fifty fanes and which are they?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 10:54 AM

Looking at the list there were less than 50 when the poem was published in 1898 but maybe when it was written there were 50 Wrens still standing? Some were demolished in the late 1800s and I wonder if one or more were in the process of being 'redeveloped' when ACD wrote the piece. Hence the thought of a sacred site or fane rather than a standing church? I suppose we will never really know. Still, thanks again for the input.

Cheers

DeG


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