The Very Reverend
Antony Cyprian Bridge

1914 - 2007

Dean of Guildford (1969 - 1986)

Swan Hellenic

From the mid 1960s through to the mid 1990s Tony was invited each year to be one of the Guest Lecturers on these well known cultural cruises , at first with the much loved Greek cruise vessel ANKARA then ORPHEUS and finally MINERVA. Each of these vessels had a charm and character of its own and people still speak with affection and enthusiasm for the personalities of the Captains and crews and of the Greek staff at the various ports of call that made Swan Hellenic just that much more than the usual traditional holiday experience! As Tony was a man “of many parts” he soon became well known for his lecturing and then writing abilities and it was through the support given so generously by Kenneth Swan that he became inspired to write a number of books. I have created a separate Website page for these Swan inspired books, namely The Crusades, Theodora, (Portrait in a Byzantine landscape) Richard the Lion Heart and finally Suleiman the Magnificent together with brief reviews for each book. Most of these books are now out of print with the exception of Theodora which has recently been republished by the Chicago Review Press in America.

I have also included on this Website some copy of just a few of the lectures Tony prepared and delivered during those Swan Hellenic days. These include TRAFALGAR (one of his favourites) and then WAR IN THE DESERT which was much appreciated by many of the passengers as it was based on his own time as a serving officer in World War II. Then you will find a number the more traditional lectures on art and history in Greek, Byzantine and early Christian Society which I think really should be included online instead of just being kept in a filing cabinet.

But perhaps the most significant item I would like to include on this page is a copy of a letter Tony sent to Kenneth Swan’s widow Marion when he heard the news that Ken had died. I have included it because not only has he made a most eloquent tribute to a very great man, but also because it is a glimpse of that quite unforgettable character that made Tony such a warm and loving individual..

Dear Marion,

The death of a friend is always a wretched business, but the death of dear old Ken was far more than that. It was a bitter blow to me - he was a very special person - nothing and no one was ever quite like him - a big man in every sense of the word. Who else could have coped with the rows and rows of great men (and even greater prima donnas, some of them!!) who constantly travelled with Swan Hellenic? Rick Wheeler, Jack Wolfenden and dozens of others amongst the Lecturers - not to mention some of the Bishops and Archbishops, and some of their ladies too! Your Ken tamed them all with his kindness, friendship and superb efficiency.

There really never was a man just like him, bless his heart, as you above all must know. You must be horribly desolate without him, Marion, but don’t be. He lived a marvellously full human life, and noting is surer than that wherever God is, Ken will now be with him there. So don’t be too sad. You will be re-united with him one day - of that I am sure.

Lots of love and thanks for your friendship with me and Di, and thanks for letting me share some of my life with you and your Ken.