As we are to have prayers tomorrow in the Chapel, went in thither, and tried what quantity of light we should require at evening service, – for it would not be ready till evening. Very pretty brass sconces came from Potter, which we inserted in the 18ft desks, 6 in each and 32 in all. This will not be enough. Had the servitors in, and practised the music for tomorrow. Henry Sewell suddenly made his appearance last evening, and in order to give him a bed, Sewell had to go to one of the cubicles in the dormitory. The boys were fast asleep when he went thither, so that the next morning they knew not that he was there; yet there was no talking, which is very satisfactory.

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The Rev. H Swale came to spend a few days. Is a very sensible, clever man, taking the deepest interest in all we are doing, and one of the very few, who thoroughly comprehend what we are about.

Mr Sharpe and his sister came with their little cousin, Kennett. In the morning there had arrived from Miss Sharpe two tolerably large orange trees and 6 aloes, which give the place a finished and aristocratic air. They take the greatest interest possible in the College. Mr Sharpe had arrived but a few minutes before he was at the top of the campanile to see his “old friends the bells”, with whom he had formed an acquaintance at Mears’. Miss Sharpe, who is a florist, and has a garden of her own at Chiswick, was yet much pleased with our patch of flower beds, especially with the hyacinths, which are certainly the finest I ever saw grown in the open air. They brought down a great collection of little books of amusement for the boys’ library, which were the very thing we wanted, as those we had were of a sober class, chiefly. Such apologies as they made for (as they thought) the pettiness of the gift.

Sorry to see Mr Sharpe looking so poorly. Being junior partner, he is compelled to sleep at the bank every night, and inhale the noxious air of Fleet Street. The Messrs Goslin are so hard on him, that they will give no respite, coolly saying that he would not be overworked if he did not attend to so many other concerns, these concerns being works of charity. He makes money but to spend it in God’s service: yet if he spent it upon himself, I suppose they would be more merciful. However, he is allowed one month in the twelve to breathe a little fresh air.1 Is greatly charmed with the Chapel, which he never dreamt would, or could, be so effective; and also with the organ. Miss Sharpe could scarce tear herself away from its fine tones, though very little of it is available. Next month he is to get his holiday, when they will come and spend a day on their way to the sea-side. Told Sewell that his real object in coming down to Oxford last spring was to dissuade him from the attempt to get up this College, but that he was rejoiced, and that we must succeed.

Mr Kennard came yesterday, and expressed great regret at his having written in such a way as to leave the impression that he hesitated in placing confidence in us; – for that all he needed was further information about a place, of which only a few days ago he was in total ignorance; – and that even this was more for the sake of others than for himself. To all this I replied, that I more than justified his caution before taking so serious a step, as placing his sons in a place of education; – but that if he were right to be careful in committing, so equally was I in receiving; – and that therefore it was a duty which I owed to the College and to myself, not to admit any boy whose parents had scruples, which might cause a perpetual apprehension and worry, and perhaps end in absolute hostilities. That we had already refused to accept the sons of one person of rank in society, upon this very ground, that if there were not mutual and full confidence between parent and Tutor, to educate would be a fruitless effort. That when people talked of Romish tendencies, I made it a point not to talk to them of my private opinions or Mr Sewell’s; for that a ready answer might be made, – that persons, who had spoken and written soundly and vigorously enough against Rome, had yet gone over to the Pope. That my course was always to adduce the Statutes of the College, and show the ample security which they provide against unsoundness, in placing it under the Visitorship of a Bishop, as well as under the express canonical authority of the Ordinary, who could destroy it any moment that it went astray, by withdrawing his license from Warden and Fellows. That though it was easy for individuals to change, bodies were slow to alter, and therefore, if now sound, the progress to error must be gradual, during which interval an easy remedy could be applied. Mr Kennard expressed himself more than satisfied with this explanation, and begged “as a favour” that I would take his two sons into the College, for that he was anxious to throw them unreservedly into our hands, – which I consented to do, to his great satisfaction. However, I am to have a letter from Mr. Jones their former Tutor.


1: Singleton is referring to Goslings Bank, 19 Fleet Street. The Sharpe family had been associated with Goslings since at least 1794 and continued as junior partners until 1896 when Gosling and Sharpe became amalgamated with Barclays Bank, although they were excluded from any automatic hereditary element in the partnership. John Charles Sharpe served the bank from 1838 and was still active at his death in 1913 at the age of 95, “after a lifetime of religious as well as financial activity, strongly Anglo-Catholic and a supporter of good causes”. The History of Gosling’s Branch

The services joined together are too long, so we commenced a new system of hours for Feast days, – this day. Up and down as usual: – School till 7 ½ o’clock; Chapel, – breakfast; Communion Office at 10 o’clock; from ¼ 6 to 6 ½ saying what they learnt from 7 to 7 ½ am – Chapel at 8 o’clock.

Sang Nicene Creed, King in F. This we had not reached at Stackallan, owing to the resistance of the Fellows to the music generally.

Mr and Mrs Willis came, fearing that their little boy was going on badly, owing to his scarcely ever writing, even to acknowledge receipt of things sent from home. Told them plainly that he was very idle, and had shown plain symptoms of untruthfulness, which they said were his very faults at home. Indeed, they showed me his last letter, in which he declared that he had had “a very bad cold”, (I suppose to screen his negligence,) – a mere falsehood. They are very unhappy about him, but I told them (after hearing particulars of character) not to be cast down, for that with God’s help, I could almost promise to cure him.

The students have not been spending their Sundays in a reverent way, so I began this day to bring them into school for an hour before church, morning and afternoon, and there they must remain quiet. It is very difficult to know how to manage the boys on Sundays, though it is quite clear that they must not be allowed to play or riot. Took them into the Chapel after dinner, to hear some of the stops on the swell, a few of which have been inserted, though not tuned. They were delighted. When they hear it all, they will be astounded.

Howard went into Oxford; as he is going to stand for a fellowship at Oriel. The examination will last for several days in this week. His absence the better reconciles us to the delay in going into Chapel.

A letter from Mr Kinnard,1 lamenting very much that he had expressed himself in such a way as to lead us to decline receiving his sons, and asking permission to come down on Tuesday to explain.
Three boys are to come in a few days, – Kennett, (Mr Sharpe’s cousin,) Richards, and Byass.


1: Singleton persists in referring to this man as ‘Kinnard’, although his sons are entered in Radley College registers as ‘Kennard’.

Savory went into Oxford, and heard at Spiers’ sundry theories and ideas about St Peter’s. Among others, that it was so very thoroughly Romish, – that even the very locks were got from the Inquisition. I suppose that this is some marvellous view of the lock on the Chapel door, which is certainly very remarkable for elaborate and beautiful workmanship, but not quite the sort of thing for a door of a dungeon.

Mr Young came to take his son home for a few days, but on finding that it was contrary to our Statutes, instantly acquiesced. Told him what we had done by Mr Kinnard, that as he had heard warnings of our Roman tendencies and of certain “dangers”, – and so on, – it seemed impossible that he could commit his sons to our care with that unreserved confidence which we believe to be absolutely necessary for their successful training, – and therefore we must decline receiving them. Mr Young was very sorry, and said that he knew Mr Kinnard would feel greatly disappointed, for that he had long made up his own mind, though female scruples could not so easily be got under.

A letter from Mr Grimaldi to say that he approved of a proposal which we had made, – for Mr Bowyer to drain the Park, and increase the rent. It is very wet, and it is hard to get graziers to take it, in consequence.

Sewell went to London and saw Mr and Miss Sharpe, who will be down on Wednesday with their little cousin. Miss Sharpe has offered two orange trees in tubs. Mr Sharpe’s £30 is to be laid out in an Eagle which is in hand for us, – his annual subscription helping the purchase still further.1

Saw also Nugent Wade, who has had a letter from Todd, consulting him upon the posture of affairs at Stackallan. He (Todd) has been down there and finds the Englishmen in a great fidget, and disposed to leave. Also he believes that Irish gentlemen cannot afford to send their sons. All which is very likely; for Morton never really cared about the College, nor would his being the Head of it materially increase his interest; still less would the disturbed and seditious state of it. Then for the gentry, there are but very few in the whole country who value anything of a sound education, and of those few many are poor. Todd says that he never was in despair until now, for that if the Englishmen go, it is impossible to supply their places by Irishmen. He asked Nugent Wade for his advice, and the latter has written very firmly to say, that he has shown the Statutes to a first-rate lawyer, (Roundell Palmer) who has declared that the Statute giving the Visitor and Trustees power to alter the constitution, without the College having a voice, is simply fatal: – that this law must, therefore, be altered. (I may here remark that I objected to this very law when Todd showed me privately the draft of the last Statutes before they were imposed; but I was over-ruled.) Than, that it is absolutely necessary that Dr Elrington should resign, having joined the National Board: – and further, that they should return to me all my gifts to the College. It is understood that Mr Sharpe, and others, approve of this letter. I cannot see how they can survive this pressure on every side.


1: An eagle lectern to hold the Bible in the Chapel. It appears in photographs of the interiors of both the original chapel built by Singleton and Sewell in 1847-8, and its replacement, the new chapel built in 1895. Radley College Chapel does not now possess an eagle lectern – its fate is unknown.

Gave all the workmen and Mr Telford’s men this day for rest and devotion, paying their wages as usual. Church very full. By the way, we long ago resolved not to think of going into the Chapel on Easter-Monday, as the organ would be very incomplete, and the Chapel would continue much encumbered by its parts. The tin front pipes have suffered a good deal in the carriage, though nothing that cannot be set to rights, but it takes time. Indeed, several matters were left to be finished after its arrival here. However, we have every hope, DV, of having all sufficiently ready by the Feast of Saint Philip and Saint James, the Monday following.

Sewell has at last completed a fair copy of the Statutes, introducing some alterations of consequence, – as for instance, – that no one can be proposed for a fellowship without the Warden’s consent. The Exeter Statute has been adopted, which gives the Rector no more influence than any of the fellows: at least a fellow might be elected in spite of him. Also the Decimals are to be nominated by the Warden and Fellows, each in rotation, instead of being elected. Elections are bad things, ingenious expedients for arousing evil passions, and perpetuating ill feeling.

Tried the effect of the gold brocade on the altar, which is lost, as it must be seen in a particular light to preserve its handsomeness: accordingly determined to put it up as curtains for Warden’s and Sub-warden’s seats, – and Sewell is to buy suitable velvet in London.

The servitors have lately been exceedingly careless, – indeed for a very long time, – every one complaining of them. Upon the whole they are very nice boys, – but it is clear they need smart discipline. Mrs Burky has repeatedly punished them, but it is not enough. This morning Thomas and Henry did not get up when the others did, and Thomas left a chair the whole night near a blazing fire, though over and over again rebuked for that very fault, and I had yesterday warned them to be cautious about fire. So I sent for them all, – gave them a severe lecture, explaining that I should treat them as I should the students; and then Sub-Warden and I flogged Thomas and Henry, – the other boys being within hearing. We were all sadly grieved about poor Thomas, who is a general favourite from his gentleness and good temper, and in the evening I had a tender scene with him. He seemed deeply to feel the kindness of one’s motive.

Completed rules for the boys’ library, and called upon them to elect a Librarian. Of course the power is kept in our own hands.

It turns out that Sutton’s right arm is withered, and that he is totally unable to lift a heavy dish; so I called him yesterday, and censured him for his want of truth in telling me that he was ‘left-handed’ when he came, a statement evidently implying some very good use of his right. When I asked him what on earth he had intended doing, when, on Easter Monday (for instance) he would have to remove a heavy joint from table, and replace it by a second course, – he replied that “he intended to do his best”! – which I suppose would have been to drop it into my lap, if indeed he could get it so far. Of course gave him notice, warning him against a suppression of truth on so important a point. This day hired a regular butler, who bears a good character, having lived in one service for thirty years. We are sadly annoyed by candidates for the office of Head Servant, who, one after another, have turned out quite incompetent.

Commenced digging foundations for the Dormitory. Had a good deal of discussion about a ‘terra cotta’ roof, the advantages of which would be (professed) cheapness, and its being proof against fire. We felt some reluctance to adopt what has hardly yet been sufficiently tested by experiment, and which if a failure, would be simply ruinous.

Underwood and Johnson are both against it, so the idea is abandoned. Johnson is getting things very forward, so that we have some hopes of occupying this year.

Mr Fortescue, a fellow of New College came out with a relative of his, of the same name, but much older. The latter is a great [friend?] of Mr Houblon’s, and of Gibbings, whom he estimates very highly. Was delighted to see this place and to be introduced. Nothing could exceed his interest and kindness of manner.