November 30, 2009
Sewell brought out Dr Bliss, Registrar to the University, Mrs Bliss, Miss Bliss, and another lady. All charmed beyond measure. The Dr., a nice old gentleman, when going away, shook one of my hands with both of his, and said he was most grateful for a delightful evening. Yet when the College was first mentioned to him, he shook his head, and declined sympathy with the efforts of extreme people, having heard all sorts of rumours about my asceticism, and so on. Sewell obliged him to confess that he (Sewell) had never joined himself to any party movement, – spoke at length about the fasting question, on which he admitted we were right, – and got his consent to paying us a visit. He is now our hearty friend. I have been raising serious objection to having lady parties; – but it appears that the University is under serious petticoat control, which was expressed to me in the form of a question: “Do you not know that ‘Universitas’ is on the feminine gender?” We are told then, that the only way to make head In Oxford is to get the women on our side, – and this we hear we have most effectually done. Indeed I can well imagine this, – for at tea Mrs Bliss (a lady, who asked me if “singing on the stairs of her own house was not a proof of her being happy”, a conclusion which I did not challenge) having heard that Mrs Cardwell had been here, called out to her elderly Sister in law; – “Oh Mary! Only think! Mrs Cardwell has seen the College, – we must go over and have a talk with her.”
Dr Barnes, or Dr Bull (I forget which) at a dinner in his own house railed at us pretty roundly, – at a subsequent one; sung his palinode.
The Dean of Christ Church has blustered, grumbling out that we are “too near Oxford”; – now I believe he has been found to yield to softer influences, and to become less fierce. In fact, we are told that the University will soon be quite with us. This is certainly a matter of some consequence at first, for it often happens that the hostility of people is a serious injury, though their friendship would be of no great service.
November 29, 2009
Lady Glasgow came with a party and a letter of introduction from Sewell. In passing through Oxford she earnestly begged permission to see the College. I believe much pleased.
November 27, 2009
Sewell brought out Dr and Mrs Hussey, John Ley, Miss Barnes, daughter of Dr Barnes of Christ Church, and a Miss Chapman. This is done in order to put an end to the absurd rumours which are current; – that we are a monastery, a mystery, only remarkable for austerity and horror of females. We sang for them, and all went away charmed.
November 26, 2009
The three bells have been safely placed aloft in their berths. They were struck by drawing the clappers with the hand, and are lovely.
November 25, 2009
Mrs Symons, the Vice-Chancellor’s lady, came with Mr Goulburn, the Bishop of Oxford’s low church Chaplain, expecting to see Sewell. I showed them over the College, with which they seemed pleased, but did not say much. Very much obliged for my civility.
Edward Goulburn was appointed chaplain to Samuel, Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, in February 1847. He was a fellow of Merton College between 1841-1846. In November 1849 he was appointed Headmaster of Rugby School, a post he held until 1857. He introduced science teaching at Rugby. He was appointed Dean of Norwich in 1866. He was the descendent of Huguenots, who began his career as a evangelical, but gradually leaned more towards the High Church tradition, although he was never a ritualist. See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
November 24, 2009
Two gentlemen (a Mr Robins of Oriel and a Mr Hill of Magdalene) brought out a note from Sewell, in which he says that he wishes me particularly to remark Mr Hill. He was a chorister and 2nd Class man, and is now a Demy. Sub-Warden and Howard were in Oxford, but Monk and I found him gentlemanlike, modest, and pleasing, though not attractive in appearance, nor brilliant in conversation. Howard knows him a little, and is surprised that he did not think of him for a Fellow before.
November 23, 2009
Monk (who, for this term, attends the meetings of the Motett Society every Monday evening, and sleeps in Oxford) brought out word that Sewell had had a letter from Mr Bowyer, saying that we were quite right in refusing to show the communion plate, and that he had written to his brother not to be so intrusive.
(Poor F. left me for Plymouth to meet the ship which is to take him to Adelaide. I suppose I shall never see him again).
November 20, 2009
Sewell came out with a party from Exeter. Mentioned that William Bowyer had lately dined at All Souls, and had spoken against me for refusing to show the Communion Plate to some ladies (I believe 2nd rate Abingdon people) whom he had brought to see the College, though Sewell had told him how we disliked curiosity hunters. He also complained that I did not come down and show them over the house. Mr Dean was fortunately present, and set matters in their proper light, – and Sewell has written to the Warden of All Souls, to explain that the sacred vessels of the Altar cannot be submitted to indiscriminating eyes; – that the Head of St Peter’s College cannot possibly waste his time with bringing strangers about the place; and that the secrecy and mystery, insinuated by Mr William Bowyer, have no reality whatever, as the Warden shall see if he will do us the pleasure of coming over. William Bowyer is very troublesome and intrusive, and Sewell intends to give it him very roundly when next they meet. We have been as civil as he has been annoying. Sewell has written to Mr George Bowyer, complaining of his brother.
Mr Grimaldi called to know if he, or Mr Bowyer, could do anything for us. Where could we have lighted on such a landlord or such an Agent? Sewell told him of William Bowyer, and he said we were quite right.
The Rector of Exeter called on me for the first time since I came to Radley; – apologized for his tardiness; – did not seem to take much interest in the place.
Sewell brought out an exquisite chest of such dimensions that it will serve to keep the ‘Liber Spei’ in. It is of wood, covered with stamped and gilded leather, and bound with bands of wrought iron. Its date may be of the 15th century. He exhibited it yesterday evening to the Architectural Society.
Two Altar Stools arrived from Markland at Bath, worked by his ladies, and handsomely mounted in walnut.
Also a box of books from Grant & Dalton, including Rymer’s Foedera and some of the fathers; besides some valuable books on Irish history for myself, as no such books would be bought by anyone else, and it is of consequence to have them in the College. Some of them very scarce, – such as Keating’s Hist. of Ireland and Ware’s works.
Sewell would become President of the Architectural Society the following year, in 1848. For a history of the society in this period, see The Oxford Architectural and Historical Society, 1839-1939, by W. A. Pantin (1940).
November 12, 2009
Monk brought out a letter which Sewell had received from the Bishop of Lincoln, in answer to his reply. It is a painfully weak production; argument and tone equally lamentable. It amounts to this; – that fasting is right, and ordered by the Church, but that the effort to establish this, or the Church system generally, would probably end in a rival Episcopal Church being set up! Alas! Timidity is every where the ruling policy in high places. It is clear that if any reformation is to be applied to the Church of England, the Presbytery must move, and force the Bishops to move too.
November 6, 2009
Sewell came over with Mr Audland of Queen’s and two other Gentlemen. I am getting tired of saying that people are struck and delighted, – but they were particularly so. He brought a letter from a Mr Scratton, whom Mr Marriott of Oriel had recommended for a fellowship. We had received one before, which did not lead us to think that he would be a catch by any means; but in the present he expressed some unsound views of confession, so that altogether we determined not to pursue that matter.
Sewell brought out a letter from Mr Powles of Exeter to me recommendatory of a Mr Wood, whom Sewell is anxious that we should appoint; but we have not been struck by him, and are determined to wait, feeling that we must have a considerable number from which to select.
The service books have at last arrived. We were very anxious to have our own book, instead of the Columban one, chiefly for personality’s sake, but also because we did not consider it pure enough. We therefore cancelled seven half sheets, changing the choral responses, making some alteration in the Litany, and withdrawing several chants, substituting others, and raising the entire number from 90 to 100. The title page now presents a figure of St Peter, engraved by Linton of London, from a design by Howard, who took the main idea from an old book. I also got all the large paper copies on hands similarly treated, and I intend having three beautifully bound and presenting one to my mother, another to the Visitor and a 3rd to the President of Magdalen.
Sewell tells me that the day after Mr Halse was here he called upon him at Exeter, and expressed himself most highly gratified with his reception, and all he had seen; particularly admired the way in which everything had been done, – applauding the idea of the great bell, whose first tone he had heard; – in fact entering warmly into the whole thing. Amongst other remarks, he said that it furnished such a satisfactory reply to those who ask ‘What is Oxford doing?’ to be able to point to Radley. Asked leave to bring Lord Clive and others to see it.
Received a hamper of plants from F., from Ireland, including cuttings of climbing roses.