Saturday, May 18, 2013

The great Auckland Castle rescue

From The Telegraph-

We are talking by the walls of Auckland Castle, the historic palace of the bishops of Durham. It stands proud, like the medieval hunting lodge that it once was, surveying the River Wear and the hills beyond. It has an ancient park, a throne room, the largest private chapel in Europe and one of the most extraordinary sequences of religious paintings anywhere in the world. And now it belongs, through a charitable trust held on behalf of the people of the North East, to the animated and eccentric man explaining it all to me.

Jonathan Ruffer has the air of an old-fashioned Regius Professor of something or other. He talks learnedly, wittily and fast. His conversation is full of paradoxes, and circuitous but telling analogies with historical events. Surprisingly, these abilities have made him rich. As a private client fund manager, he carefully studied previous business cycles and the fundamentals of human greed and fear. Among other things, he predicted the credit crunch. He made a great deal of money for his investors and himself.

But Ruffer is also a serious Christian – an Anglican – with a contemplative side to his character. In 2010, on an Ignatian retreat in Wales, he suddenly saw clearly that he must, within two years, ''spend the last part of my energetic working life [he is 62] doing something for the deprived’’.

More here-

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