June 19th, 1848 (Monday)

June 19, 2010

Mr and Miss Houblon are here in company with Gibbings. I have just told Gibbings of the affair about St Columba’s: he is in amazement. Has brought his carpet bag with him, and will stay till after Wednesday. How curious to have him here at the tine of all others we should most wish! The Houblons very plain, reserved people, but much interested.

Sewell has just come with the Bishop of Fredericton, whose very unpretending appearance would not lead you to think him the admirable man that he is. He is obliged to return to Oxford, but will be back again tomorrow or next day.

Just as he went, up drove the Bishop of Oxford accompanied by the Archdeacon of Oxfordshire (Clerke). Sewell, Sub-Warden and I were ready to receive them at the corner near the campanile, as the drive to the north entrance is rough and disreputable. Conducted them to the Bursary, where was a very nice cold collation laid out for them, though we guessed they would have had a good dinner at Headington: however they took some wine and water. Then conducted them over the house, with which seemed much pleased. Went into Chapel at the usual hour (6 o’clock) the Sub-Warden and self taking the Bishop to his seat in the Sacrarium, which was one of the carved chairs out of the house. For a desk we placed the lectern, covering it with some of the gold brocade, hanging full. Chanted the service, and then brought Bishop back same way, bowing to him as we came up. The tea, he on my right, Archdeacon on left. Both talked of the fine tones of the organ, which sounded grand through the high roof. Had some little pleasantry on Sewell discovering that he ought to have asked the Archdeacon of Berkshire (Berens) instead of, or as well as, Archdeacon of Oxfordshire. The Bishop was obliged to be at Abingdon Station by 8 o’clock.1 So after a cup of tea, according to a request from Sewell, he said a few words to the boys. Asked me a moment before what he ought to speak about; – not such an easy question to answer on the moment. However, – I immediately replied, – ‘thankfulness for their blessings, and obedience to their superiors’. He spoke for two or three minutes, and then Sewell, Sub-Warden and I conducted him to the carriage. A pity that his say was so short, – but, as I have said before, – it is well to have him on any terms. I do not doubt that he was gratified, and his manners were very courteous, – but that they are to everyone.

We were very glad to have Hobhouse, a Mr Baker, and some other persons, to help to entertain him. He had confirmed in Hobhouse’s church in the morning.

1: This reference to ‘Abingdon Station’ is puzzling. Great Western Railway had proposed a line to Abingdon, with a station, as part of Brunel’s London-Bristol line in 1835, but, following obstruction by local landowners, the proposed route was diverted via Steventon, four miles to the south of Abingdon. Abingdon itself did not receive a station until 1856 when a spur was built from the Oxford-Didcot line. This station was superseded in 1872, when the line was rerouted via Radley. There is little evidence that Steventon Junction was known as ‘Abingdon Station.’ [See Abingdon Junction and Abingdon Station]

It is more likely that the Bishop is referring to ‘Abingdon Road Station’, which was at Culham, about 1 ½ miles east of Abingdon. This was renamed Culham Station in 1856. [See the Culham entry in the Victoria County History.]


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