Discovering Tong book

The small village of Tong possesses an immensely rich historical and cultural heritage. Discovering Tong is a book which explores many aspects of Tong's heritage during the past one thousand years. It will particularly appeal to those acquainted with Tong, providing additional insights into the concept of 'place' and the processes by which a sense of identity is formed and sustained by a community.

Discovering Tong book Stanley tomb panel

Drawing on various resources - oral tradition, published material as well as local and national archives - the author builds up a detailed picture of the village of Tong and its institutions. Topics include the owners of Tong from 1066-1954, among them, families who played a significant part in English History; the history of Tong College; the 15th century Church of St Bartholomew the astonishing exploits of the Durant family, who came from Worcestershire and owned Tong from 1764-1854; the life, occupations and recreations of the inhabitants; records of the post-Reformation clergy and Tong's surprising literary connections including Shakespeare and Dickens. The book contains a large number of illustrations some of which have not been seen before and some that have been specially commissioned.

While Vicar of Tong and Archdeacon of Salop, Robert Jeffery became aware of the power of Tong's past and has used his retirement to document this. Following Tong, he became Dean of Worcester Cathedral and then Sub-Dean of Christ Church Oxford.

In his Foreword, the late Very Revd Dr Alan Webster\, KCVO\, Dean Emeritus of St Paul's , describes the author as “a faithful priest and honest historian” whose “reflections on Tong, a single community, surviving civil war and major religious and cultural changes are a spur in our days of terrorism to reflect on our society's future and our need for radical alignments and local resilience”.

Note: all the profits of the sale of the book will go towards the maintenance of the fabric of Tong Church.

For a full account of the village, the magnificent church, its demolished castle and all its intriguing history please visit the Tong Church web site (

You can order a copy of the Discovering Tong Book Online now for delivery in the post from this web site.

The book comprises 209 pages with 54 illustrations - six of these in colour. Book reference number ISBN-10 0955508908 (ISBN-13 978-0-9555089-0-5). For an extended overview of the book contents please see our Discovering Tong page. To enquire about availability at bookshops please quote the ISBN. First printed March 2007. Second edition printed June 2014.

If you would like to preview the book format please take a look at two sample pages in PDF format : Page 54 and Page 89. All profits from the sale of the book will go towards the maintenance of the fabric of Tong Church.

To start your online order click on the Buy Online link. We accept all major credit and debit cards. Payment is processed independently by the internationally trusted PayPal . The following charges apply for one copy :

Discovering Tong book£ 14.95 or $ 25.20
UK second class
postage and packing
£ 1.83
UK first class
postage and packing
£ 2.00
postage and packing
£ 5.50 or $ 9.25
Rest of world (surface)
postage and packing
£ 5.45 or $ 9.16
Rest of world (airmail)
postage and packing
£ 7.80 or $ 13.10

Start your order by clicking on this link: Buy Book online now for delivery in the post.

Refund policy

You are able to cancel your order, or any part of the order, up to seven (7) days after delivery of the book. If you wish to cancel your order, please contact us with your details including your unique order number. You must return the book to us in the same condition in which you received it. All cancelled products must be returned to us at your own expense. Refunds will be credited to the debit or credit card that was used to make the purchase. For more information about the Distance Selling Regulations please refer to the UK Office of Fair Trading website .

To enquiry about availability at other bookshops please quote the book reference number : ISBN-10 0955508908 (ISBN-13 978-0-9555089-0-5).

There are eight Appendices covering a variety of topics:
The Owners of Tong Castle;
Some further notes on the Durant Family;
Valuation of Tong Estate 1763;
List of Wardens of Tong College;
List of Parochial Clergy;
List of Tong School teachers;
List of guide Books to Tong Church;
Notes on the National Census Figures 1801-1901.
Followed by a comprehensive Bibliography and Index.

Book Reviews

“This book is in a distinct literary tradition - the delightful and authoritative account of his parish by a long serving clergyman. Think Gilbert White of Selbourne but add architecture.” Journal of the Ancient Monuments Society
“Forget the Archers and the disgraceful little Ruarie. Compared to Tong, Ambridge is semi-monastic. Robert Jeffery has written a history of his old Shropshire parish and it's sensational. George Durant II, squire in the early 19th century, was 'reputed to have a child in every cottage on the Tong estate.' When the details - housemaid seductions, simple homely family hatreds follow, they put the water-colourist's England into pallid perspective. This is a quite brilliant book, 200 pages of minute research showing a county family auditioning for left wing propaganda.” Edward Pearce in Tribune Magazine
“The book is in the grand tradition of quality local histories - objectively related with love - and contains not a few excellent illustrations by the author's daughter.” Journal of the Methodist Historical Society

About Robert Jeffery

Robert Jeffery

The Very Revd. Dr. Robert Jeffery was born in 1935 and educated at St. Paul's School and King's College, London. After two curacies he worked in central Church Administration at Church House, Westminster and at the British Council of Churches. He was then Vicar of Headington in Oxford and moved to Tong in 1978, firstly as Lichfield Diocesan Missioner and subsequently as Archdeacon of Salop. In 1987 he became Dean of Worcester Cathedral and in 1996 moved to Oxford as Canon and Sub-Dean of Christ Church .

In 1999 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by Birmingham University. He retired in 2002 and lives in Oxford. He was a well-known authority on matters concerning Mission and Ecumenism and is the author of eleven books and has contributed to nine other dictionaries and books of essays, including matters of Christian Spirituality and English Cathedrals.

In 2007 he was made an Honorary Fellow of Ripon College, Cuddesdon . He is spending his retirement writing, and contributes book reviews to various journals and writes clerical obituaries. He has also written a new translation the Imitation of Christ for Penguin Classics (2013). His much loved wife Ruth died in 1995, they had four children (2 musicians and 2 artists) and now four grandchildren. He worked on Discovering Tong from 1984-2007.

Robert Jeffery died on Wednesday 21st December 2016 after a long illness. An obituary from the Daily Telegraph can be read here . A memorial service at Worcester Cathedral took place on June 21st 2017.

The photograph shows the author holding one of Treasures of Tong, the priceless Tong Cup.

The Kingdom of God is like a Yoghurt Plant

A collection of his writings has been published as an interesting and entertaining new book : “The Kingdom of God is like a Yoghurt Plant”. You can purchase a copy through the Jeffery family web site .

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