Extraordinary Coincidences Spanning Three Centuries!

What is the connection between the persona of Pope John Paul II, Sir John Aylef, featured in the Hans Holbein painting of “King Henry VIII and the barber surgeons”, the Oxford born and educated Mark Todd and the Kalgoorlie Western Australia born and raised Elizabeth Brinsden with the UJEP university, Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic?

There seems to be a direct connection.

In September, 1983, Pope John Paul II was visiting Vienna, the Australian born and raised, Elizabeth Brinsden was playing the organ for the service, which was broadcast live on Austrian Television. ( ORF) The Czechs, living close to the boarder heard it, illegally of course as at that time the country was still under Communist rule. Soon afterwards, Elizabeth Brinsden received an offer to come and give a performance at the Olomouc Music Festival. She thereupon came and gave a performance at the festival in 1985. At this festival some friendships were formed between her and people such as Jiri Fukac, from Brno.

Not without irony is the fact that it was none other than Pope John Paul II who played such an important role, resulting in the ultimate fall of the Communist system, thereby facilitating the entry of Mark Todd and the re-entry of Elizabeth Brinsden into the Czech Republic.

When the Communist wall did then come down and people in this country were looking for people to come here and teach English, Elizabeth Brinsden decided to return whereby landing at the UJEP University Faculty of Socioeconomics (FSE).

At that time, Mark Todd was teaching at the English Department at UJEP. A friendship between them was struck up. Some time later, some research was carried out by people in England and it was established that the roots of the Brinsden family could be traced back to Sir John Aylef. Elizabeth received an invitation to come and give a recital at the church in Winterbourne Monkton where the ancestors had been clergymen in the Anglican Church- e.g. Reverend John Brinsden ( born in 1642) an Oxford educated Clergyman. Mark Todd had by that stage returned to England but he attended the concert and even organised for a cellist to play with Elizabeth Brinsden.

Recently, Mark Todd discovered a will which had been drawn up by a lawyer for his ancestor and it had been signed by Rev John Brinsden.

This exhibits many quaint ironies, which are the spice of life per se.