Canon Daniel Clement is Rector of Champton. He has been there for eight years, arriving at the invitation of the patron and landowner, Bernard, Baron de Floures, of Champton House. Daniel's previous post was curate at a smart central London parish, where he got to know the de Floures family through his brother Theo, an up-and-coming actor and socialite. Audrey Clement, his widowed mother, lives with him at the Rectory on the estate. He has two dachshunds, Cosmo and Hilda. The story begins with Daniel announcing from the pulpit a plan to install a lavatory in church. This is long overdue, he thinks and so does Bernard de Floures, but the announcement goes down badly with the parish. Firm opposition comes from Mrs Harper and Mrs Dollinger of the Flower Guild, who are habitual opposers of change. There is opposition too from others who do not like the the thought of matters lavatorial in church.