September 10th, 1848 (Sunday)

September 10, 2010

During vacation Gibbings had been here, when Sewell pressed him to become a fellow, to which he seemed greatly disposed, but has scruples about leaving his curacy. However, he was to go to Ireland, and would then consult his father, who, by the way, never much relished his going to St Columba’s. This morning I had a letter from him to say that he had obtained his father’s consent, and would become one of our Society, if we would admit him. This rejoiced us all greatly; for he is so amiable, cheerful, and good tempered, – also a good scholar, a priest, and a gentleman, that I am sure he will be a great addition to our Society, – and thus all who seceded from St Columba’s have, by a curious combination of circumstances, been brought together at St Peter’s. Thus if we were driven away from an employment, to which we were all heartily devoted, Providence has united us again in a similar work, under far higher auspices, unembarrassed by a thousand difficulties which thwarted us in Ireland, and in every possible way far superior. May God make us thankful and earnest.1


1: In fact, Rev. Robert Gibbings did not take up a post at Radley until 1853, by which time Singleton had resigned and Sewell been appointed Warden. Gibbings served as Vicar of Radley parish from 1853-1865, during which time he was also on the teaching staff of the College

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September 5th, 1848 (Tuesday)

September 5, 2010

Mr Alderman Copeland, MP, called to see the College, and to inquire whether we would take his son.1 He had been advised to this by Mr Kennard. He has been unfortunate in Public Schools. There was lately an awkward occurrence at Winhester, which elicited letters in the newspapers from the Warden and Dr Moberly. A boy was compelled to fag out at cricket, and to such an extent that over fatigue brought on fever, and he died. This was a son of Mr Copeland’s. He had another at Eton, who got a blow from a hockey stick, on his leg, which had to be cut off. Much pleased with the place, and will send the boy, as I have consented to take him. He is to send some young plants of the i<Cedrus deodara from the Himalayan mountains, – and of Pinus excelsa. This little civility is very gratifying.

Dr Bloxam2 came out, accompanied by some friends, including a Mr Woodard, who is trying to establish a school for the middle classes on the Church system at New Shoreham.3 He seems to have a good deal of energy and boldness, which essential qualities are not likely to be much embarrassed by over-refinement. I daresay he is just the man for the work. Thus are sound principles of education making rapid progress.


1: William Taylor Copeland was an MP and eventually Lord Mayor of London. As a businessman, he was in partnership with Josiah Spode as a pottery manufacturer, eventually buying out Spode and taking control of the company in Staffordshire and London. In 1847, Copeland was MP for Stoke-on-Trent, but he had been closely linked with Ireland as MP for Coleraine between 1831-1837. Copeland had four surviving sons. Edward Capper Copeland, the second eldest, born in 1835, was entered at Radley in 1849. He left in 1850 and afterwards attended Harrow School. See entry in Wikipedia.
2: John Rouse Bloxam, Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and prominent member of the Oxford Movement. He was particularly involved in the revival of the choral tradition. See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
3: Nathaniel Woodard, founder of the Woodard Schools: “Woodard created what was, by the end of the twentieth century, the largest educational body in England apart from the state, comprising twenty-four schools administered by the Woodard Corporation under its five divisional bodies, Lancing being head of the southern division. There are also two associated and fourteen affiliated schools, three of the latter overseas, in Malawi, USA, and Australia.” See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

September 3rd, 1848 (Sunday)

September 3, 2010

A very kind letter from the Bishop to Sewell, saying that “he saw no objection to his proposal, and could easily understand that it would present many advantages; but that, to be in strict order, a license would be necessary, before which coming, he ought to communicate with Mr Ratcliffe”: – ending with these words; – “I rejoice in your improving and growing condition, and shall be very glad to be with you again.”

This made us go cheerily into chapel, and determined me to give the boys a sermon, which I had written during the previous week, on the chance of a favourable reply from the Bishop – subject; Naaman, out of the 1st lesson. As we have no pulpit, I stood on the top step of the sacrarium. Though I spoke very loud, the fellows told me that they missed several words. The truth is, that the chapel is very lofty, and the voice partly loses itself in the roof. However, I will try what I can do next time. So glad to preach to my dear boys; it brings one into still closer relation with them. The Head of their House being their Pastor, as well as their Master, gives him all the influence he can want, though he cannot do with less.

A Sir Walter James came, having previously asked leave to come and talk to Sewell about Plato.1 A gentlemanly, nice, person who takes great interest in St Peter’s, now that he sees what we are about. His mother married Lord Hardinge.2


1: Sir Walter Charles James, Baron Northbourne, a close friend of William Gladstone and a lay supporter of the Tractarian movement. He was also a member of the Canterbury Association
and as such would have been acquainted with Sewell’s brother and with a number of parents of boys at Radley. See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

2: Hardinge, Henry, first Viscount Hardinge of Lahore (1785–1856), army officer and governor-general of India. On 10 December 1821 he married Lady Emily Jane (1789–1865), seventh daughter of Robert Stewart, first marquess of Londonderry, sister of the second Viscount Castlereagh and widow of John James, former British minister in the Netherlands. Hardinge gladly accepted Walter, Emily’s son by her first husband, and they had four more children. See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.