February 29th, 1848 (Tuesday)

February 28, 2010

Mr Johnson of the Observatory, came with a Mr Bowen who takes a deep interest in the College, and Rev – Wilson, son of the Sanscrit Professor.

Metal cross put up on turret, after infinite disappointment. It looks beautiful, and is to be gilt.

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February 28th, 1848 (Monday)

February 28, 2010

While I was in Ireland, last June, Sewell purchased a costly group of carvings in this shape [T] 9ft x 7, representing several scenes from the life of Christ, and done with great power and genius, but with a reality bordering on caricature. The figures stand pout in great relief, and are done in gold and colour. The tabernacle work is exquisite, and altogether it is very fine in its way; – but it is quite too graphic to be reverent, and as it also bears a very Popish air, all thought it best to get rid of it; so it was sent back to Pratt today.

I do not say that it would not admit of defence in hard argument, but it would be unwise needlessly to put ourselves in such a position as to be compelled to have recourse to it. James Edwards Sewell and Henry Sewell felt strongly against it, and my own personal repugnance was great. As a matter of theology there might be a question, – but as a matter of taste I think there could be none.1


Although this object was returned to the seller on this occasion, William Sewell purchased it in 1853. It is a fifteenth century carved altarpiece, variously described as a reredos or a retable, from Brabant. Although polychrome when Sewell bought it, he had the whole gilded, in an attempt to reduce the “Popish air.” It is now Radley’s greatest treasure.

The Radley altarpiece by Tony Money, Radley College, 2006 – can be obtained from Radley College Library and Archives.

February 27th, 1848 (Sunday)

February 27, 2010

Received a letter from Mr Tibbs, and Sewell one yesterday, to say that his friends have recommended him not to stir from Aston, and accordingly resigning his fellowship.

Also one from the Bishop saying that he intended to pay us a visit yesterday, with his brother the Archdeacon. It turned out afterwards that the violence of the weather, and an indisposed coachman, prevented their coming.

Hunt and Roskell have long had in their possession a pastoral staff, of silver gilt, of fine form and chasing. This Sewell had an idea of buying some years ago for St Columba’s, but abandoned it for some reason or other. Since we saw the same kind of thing in the Bishop’s chapel at Cuddesdon, we determined to send to London for it, and, if we liked it, to see if we could manage the purchase. Accordingly it was sent, and turns out to be a very handsome and tasteful work of art, of no antiquity, but thoroughly good. Weighs 116 oz., – of considerable size. We design to put it alongside of the Bishop’s chair, as a striking symbol of our being under Episcopal control. As to payment, the goldsmiths will wait till next year, when Sewell or I hope to be able to manage it.

Sewell wrote to the Bishop on the matter, and he wrote back to say that there “was not the smallest objection to it, if in itself or ornaments unobjectionable,” but that it “ought not to be borne in processions”. Nor exhibited just at present, but that by and bye there “would be no danger”. He speaks of the great “suspicion which surrounds the undertaking.” He called on Sewell subsequently, and mentioned Mr Henley, member for Oxfordshire, as having spoken against us.1 Sewell wrote him a sharp letter, to which the reply was that he meant no harm, but Sewell wrote him another sharp letter to condemn the censures and evil-speaking of mere ignorance. I have not heard the result of this.


1: Questions were raised in Parliament on “Encouragement to Schools in Connexion with the Church Education Society (Ireland)” by Captain Archdale, Kilmore, on February 15th, from the Protestant Inhabitants of Roscommon on February 16th, Mr Maxwell, of Cavan, of February 17th, Mr George Hamilton, of Kildare, and Sir William Veiney, of Armagh, on February 18th, by Captain Jones, of Armagh, on February 21st, from several places in Ireland on February 22nd, by Captain Archdale and others on February 23rd, by Mr Grogan, from Wexford, on February 28th. Throughout this period, debates in the House were concerned with all aspects of the Irish question, of which education (and the example of St Columba’s) was just one aspect.

Joseph Henley, MP for Oxford, was present in the House and spoke or commented on a variety of petitions on February 15th, 16th, 18th and 21st 1848, but not specifically on education.

It should be remembered that Radley was in Berkshire at this time, and that the MP for Oxfordshire did not represent the constituency. Source, Hansard

Clutterbuck and Wood (min) have been fighting, and as the case was forced on my notice by Elliott inking one ear to be as black as bruises had made the other, I called them, and gave them a lecture about the sin of Quarrelling, saying that I was not going to punish them, for that I would rather prevent fighting by promoting peace. It appears that nearly all the boys in the School urged them both to it. This is very bad, and must clearly be inhibited. I made them both promise, not to abstain from fighting, but when they were provoked, to repeat to themselves the passage, -“little children love one another”.1

Clutterbuck is a terrible baby, and a very provoking baby too, so his face is almost always like Joseph’s coat.2 He is vexatious, and then every body torments him, and even little Howard is said to have given him a dubbing, – he is such a coward. The whole question of fighting is an embarrassing one, – but must be grappled with.

Sewell came out, and also Messrs Jelf, Gordon, Stokes and Temple, all “students” of Christ Church. The last has just been appointed principle of a training school for masters under the Privy Council, who for this purpose have purchased ‘Knellar Hall.’3 Very much struck, and wonderfully respectful. Howard says that it is a marvel for the ‘Dons’ of Christ Church to shakes hands with ordinary people. I was quite innocent of the compliment thereby paid, thinking it all very natural as well as very proper. It is extraordinary to see how thoroughly our plain way of going on is understood, (for we make no difference for anybody) and also how cheerfully, as a matter of course, the position of a College is conceded to us. People do not seem to dream of our being any thing else.

Sang a metrical psalm for the first time, having determined to sing one whenever we have choral service, until we can get up a sufficient number of short anthems. Have chosen Hullah’s Book, which contains 90 grand old English tunes.4

Sewell tells me that there is an article in Frazer5 about the Journal, written in a nasty spirit. However, the first edition (500) is exhausted, and a 2nd is to be got out at once.


1: Although this is a central concept of the New Testament, this exact phrasing does not appear in the King James translation of the Bible.
2: viz the coat of many colours given by Joseph by his father Jacob, see Genesis chapter 37.
3: now the home of the Royal Military School of Music. Singleton does not point out that this was one of the locations he and Sewell had considered and rejected as a home for their new school only the previous year.
4: probably The Psalter or Psalms of David in metre, from the authorized version of Brady & Tate, with appropriate tunes set in four parts, with an accompaniment for the Organ or Piano Forte, edited by J. Hullah. London, J. W. Parker, 1843.
5: Fraser’s Magazine.

Major Portman, a brother of Lord Portman’s, came in company with Mr Halse, bringing one of his sons, a little boy of 9 years old. I have mentioned some circumstances about this case. Subsequently, the parents became very anxious, to send him and a brother also, and after we had refused on the ground of their want of confidence, they protested that they felt every confidence. Major Portman much struck with the place, and Mr Halse with our progress.

Sewell came out with Messrs Marriott, of Exeter, Pattieson, undergraduate, son of the Judge, and a Mr Williams, fellow of King’s, Cambridge, who had been at Jerusalem with Bishop Alexander, but returned home, being dissatisfied with the Bishop’s proceedings. He is a very pleasing person.

Sewell mentioned a case which occurred at Winchester, even worse than that which appeared in the papers, about a boy who got a fever, in consequence of being forced to fag out at cricket beyond his strength, and died in the end. The case was this. A boy was deliberately thrown into the water, and taken out nearly lifeless; he was then thrown in again and drowned. There is something quite shocking in this. What a dreadful state of lawlessness must that School be in!

Mr Williams mentioned a rather different occurrence at Eton. Very lately a gentle, Christian-minded, boy was subjected to great persecution for daring to say his prayers. At length one day a group got round him at their accustomed work, teasing and bullying; whereupon he singled out the biggest of them all, and gave him a sound thrashing. The persecution thenceforth ceased, and some time afterwards some of these very boys came and begged him to pray for them. I scarcely ever heard any thing so grand.

Sewell came out with the Misses Richards. Wrote to —, to refuse.

February 21st, 1848 (Monday)

February 21, 2010

Gibbings came for a few days. Told him about —-, when we settled that he must be —.

February 20th, 1848 (Sunday)

February 20, 2010

Elliot’s love of mischief is becoming quite tiresome. He has been painting or inking Clutterbuck’s ear or ears. Besides all that I have said, Sewell gave him a very serious talking to yesterday about this idle propensity, saying that the next thing we shall hear of his doing will be boring holes in the panelling or breaking the carvings in Chapel. I therefore called him to my room, and told him that I was amazed at his so soon reverting to the habit, the indulgence of which had so lately brought him into trouble; that one of our objects, as he knew, was to make the boys gentlemen, and as gentlemen are not mischievous, so boys must be taught not to be mischievous; – that his age and size made his example of great consequence in the school; – that the same reason rendered it difficult to punish him for childish pranks. In fine, – that though I would take charge of young men, and also of boys, I would not consent to embarrass myself with one who combined in one person both young man and baby; that, therefore as he stood in the way of our making the College what we wanted, I should forthwith get him out of it, – and accordingly should write to his mother tonight to take him home.

This decision astounded him. He begged for mercy; – said that “he had no idea it would be thought so serious a matter”. “What,” said I, “and do you think the mode in which the College treated the late outrage was mere trifling? Do you imagine that the sound flogging was an empty joke? If you do, you make a grievous, a fatal mistake, – a mistake that will cause your mother a deep and lengthened pain, – a pain inflicted by her own son.”

When I talk to a boy about grieving his mother, I usually think that I have drawn my last arrow. Elliot cried bitterly, and then exclaimed in agony “I am disgraced if I am sent away.” “Yes, that you are, without a doubt.” “I do solemnly promise to be more careful in future, if you would try me.” “What security have I that you will keep this promise any better than the last?” “I never thought of it in the same serious light that I now do.” Believing that a sufficient impression was made, I replied; – “Well, all that I can engage is, not to make up my mind irrevocably till Post hour: in the evening you shall hear my determination. You may go now; I have nothing further to say at present.” In great agitation he asked; – “Please, Sir, may I go to the dormitory?” “Yes, you may.” Thus was the matter terminated till evening. The Sub-Warden was in the room all the time.

In the evening I wrote to his mother to say that his mischievous propensity seemed scarcely, if at all, checked, and that I had made up my mind to send him home, giving her quietly to understand that I felt I had been deceived; – but that in consequence of his grief and penitence I had determined to try him once more, begging of her and Dr Elliot to write to him in aid of my object. Brought him to my room, told what I had done, and concluded the matter with a lecture and advice. He seems thoroughly frightened and impressed.

Sewell came out, and his brother James Edwards, bringing a young gentleman, a Mr Bathurst. Also Mr Burgon of All Souls, introducing a friend, – a Mr Burger, a sound layman.

February 18th, 1848 (Friday)

February 18, 2010

Dr Bloxam, Vice President of Magdalen came with a Mr Donnison, a legal gentleman from London, who was accompanied by his son, whom he wished to place here. He had been under the care of Dr Bloxam’s brother, whose ill health has obliged him to give up pupils. As all seemed right, the boy was left; – a docile boy apparently. They dined. Dr Bloxam pleased with progress, and said the President would ask him plenty of questions.

Monk returned from Ireland last night. Gives the most satisfactory account of the organ. The ‘swell’ alone is completely finished: it is the grandest thing he ever heard. Every thing promises to be first-rate. It is now certain that we cannot open the Chapel till Easter, but there is little doubt, please God, of getting into it then.