Prior Fellows

May 28, 2010

Singleton does not mention this fundamental aspect of the governance of the College before his diary entry of 26th May, 1848. The statutes made provision for five, non-resident Prior Fellows, ‘persons of eminence and weight in the country,’ who were to act in an advisory capacity. The first five (Lord Powis, the Hon. Richard Cavendish, the Venerable Arcdeacon Grant, Dr J H Markland and the Rev Charles Marriott) were elected at a College Meeting ‘with the consent of the Founders’. At least two of them were admitted to office with the same ceremony as the resident Fellows.

The majority of the Prior Fellows had close links with the founders of Radley or their immediate circles. Three, William Sewell, Anthony Grant and William Heathcote, were nearly contemporary fellow Wykehamists, whilst Charles Marriott had attended Exeter College, and Grant New College as contemporaries of Sewell or his brother, James Edwards Sewell. Other links were through the high-church movement; two were parents.

The Prior Fellows, particularly Charles Marriott and Sir Arthur Hamilton-Gordon, were actively involved in negotiations between Singleton and Sewell in 1851, and in the restructuring of the constitution in 1862. After 1862 their role was fulfilled by a number of Trustees, who were themselves replaced by the College Council in 1890.

Admitted 1850:

Dr James Heywood Markland, noted antiquary and book collector, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and founder member of the Roxburghe Club. He was resident in Bath and wrote extensively on Somerset, and it is possible that he was approached by Radley College via Edwin Monk’s connections in Frome. In recognition of his services to the Church of England, particularly his writings on church monuments, he was awarded the degree of DCL at Oxford University, in 1849. He was strong supporter of all church societies and administered a large charitable fund on behalf of the Misses Mitford of Bath.

The Rev Charles Marriott, Fellow of Oriel College, Vicar of St Mary’s, Oxford from 1850-1858. He entered Exeter College as an undergraduate in 1829. He was a close associate of Newman and Pusey, joint-editor with them of the series Library of the Fathers. He was deeply committed to education, particularly to the foundation and early development of Bradfield College, where his brother, John, was the curate of the parish. Marriott’s brother had approached Singleton about sending his younger brothers to Radley but decided eventually on Bradfield.

Admitted 1851:

The (3rd) Earl of Powis, High Steward of Cambridge University from 1863-91

The Hon. John Chetwynd Talbot, QC. Director-General of the Military Store Department, India. His sons, Charles and Gerald, attended Radley from 1854, the elder becoming Senior Prefect under William Sewell. The boys were placed under the guardianship of Sewell whilst their parents were in India. Transcripts of the Talbot family letters from the boys survive in Radley College Archives.

The Ven. Anthony Grant, Vicar of Romford, 1838-62, Archdeacon of St Albans, 1846-83. Anthony Grant was the son of the Vicar of Portsea, near Portsmouth, with close connections with the Isle of Wight, Sewell’s family home. He was a pupil at Winchester College from 1815, and entered New College, Oxford in 1827. His son, Cyril Fletcher Grant, attended Radley from 1854 to 1858. Cyril then went on to school at Marlborough College. Anthony Grant gave the Bampton Lectures in Oxford in 1843, which were important in the history of Christian mission. His sermons were edited by his son in 1884.

Admitted 1852:

The Rt. Hon. Sir William Heathcote. Politician. A close relative of William Beadon Heathcote, who became Warden of Radley from 1851-52 and was an early advisor and confidante of Singleton and Sewell. Sir William Heathcote was the patron of John Keble. He was supporter of Gladstone and in 1854 elected MP for Oxford.

Admitted 1856:

Sir Arthur Hamilton-Gordon. He was born in 1829, so was 27 when he was appointed to Radley. Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick 1861-66; Governor of Trinidad 1866, of Mauritius 1871, of Fiji 1875, of New Zealand, 1880, of Ceylon 1883-90. Created Baron Stanmore 1893. During the 1850s he served as a Liberal MP for Beverley and as occasional secretary for Gladstone, until he was forced to distance himself from the latter because of the heated disagreement between his father, Lord Aberdeen, and Gladstone over the issue of a unified Greece. He was considered one of the most able of the colonial governors, establishing systems of government which favoured native peoples over white settlers. His work in Fiji, in particular, laid lasting foundations for the contemporary state. He was an acknowledged high-churchman.

An extract from the main diary entry of May 10th, 1848.

The law runs thus, – ‘In the observance of the Fasts the College is to be guided entirely by the Bishop’; which was accompanied by a document of interpretation, not only containing some more objectionable principles, but asserting the right of each person to act as he pleases, and giving a bare protection to the churchman who might think it his duty to fast. So long as this document was valid, so long the Statute could not possibly support a right-minded Warden. It was withdrawn, but the withdrawal would scarcely better his condition; for an unsound man might fairly enough maintain that it was got rid of, not because of its bearing on the Statute, but from the monstrous principles which it contained, such as ‘liberty of conscience’, and so on; – that the rescinding of the former law, and driving away its first Warden and two of the Fellows for their adherence to it, showed plainly what the present law meant. Wadeadmitted this fully, but asked if it were not a right principle to interpret a law according to its literal, grammatical, import, independent of the opinions, or even the intentions, of its framers. To this the reply was, that, be it never so right, it was not applicable in this case; – for that a certain interpretation had already been got in, and acted upon, from the passing of the substituted law, by all parties connected with the College, an interpretation and precedent which no authority could set aside. But further, – that the law meant nothing, and what was more, was meant to mean nothing, the object being (as was almost avowed) to say to one class of people that there was a law of fasting, and to another that the members of the College might do as they pleased. ‘In the observance of the Fasts they are to be guided by the Prayer Book’, – but the Prayer Book says nothing except mentioning the days; so that it would run thus, – in the observing of the days appointed by the Prayer Book they are to observe the days that the Prayer Book appoints: – which is mere idle trifling and, in point of fact, dishonest nonsense.

I pressed the importance of their stating distinctly what they did mean, – if the object be to have a rule of Fasting, let them avow it by an unambiguous enactment, – but if not, the law, even as it now stands, should be totally cancelled. Wade saw the fairness of this, and promised to do what he could. The conversation terminated by my telling him that, unless they reverted to their former principles, or disgorged everything received before their abandonment of them, – it was vain to go on, – a worm was at the root of the gourd, which would gnaw it to death.

Singleton and Sewell maintained that a small stipend would attract able men to teach at Radley who would be motivated by vocation and by a desire to form the community of like-minds they were assembling rather than by career enhancement or the accumulation of wealth. They persisted in this belief despite doubts cast by some parents, and by the rapid turn-over of staff. Between 1847 and the reform of the Fellowship system in 1866, sixty men were elected Fellows of Radley. Of these, thirteen served for only one year, twelve for two years, six for three years, five for four years, three for five years and five for six years each. Only six out of the sixty served for longer than six years, of whom two were the Precentors, Edwin Monk and George Wharton, and three served as Sub-warden – William Haskoll, Richard Norman and William Wood, the latter two eventually becoming Warden. The other man to serve more than six years was Henry West who died in post, the first teacher to die whilst serving on the staff at Radley.

All were able men, hand-picked by Singleton and Sewell. Thirty-six were students or Fellows of Oxford Colleges, with three or four representatives from most of the colleges; nine were from Cambridge and two (including Singleton’s brother, Samuel) from Trinity College, Dublin. Only two were not university men: Captain Haskoll and William Austin, the first teacher to have been a boy at the school, who taught for one year before taking up a Demyship at Magdalen College, Oxford.
As Sub-warden under William Sewell in the 1850s, William Wood constantly emphasized the difficulties which the small stipend imposed on young fellows who, not unnaturally, eventually planned to marry. Sewell’s opinion was that each received a stipend from their respective College fellowships in addition to the Radley salaries.

1857: March 17th, Tuesday

After dinner had an hour’s talk with the Warden about Radley matters… He then went into a long explanation of his objects in founding the school and making the experiment of whether the English Church could find men who (quoting the statutes) for “victus, vistitus etc.” would work for her disinterestedly. He did not know how far he had succeeded… The old conception of the place was that the Fellows should receive £130 and the Warden £250. This could not be carried out, and Singleton had urged on him the propriety of making some change in the (actual) stipends. The Subwardenship was raised to £250 which Cox also received, because he saw the necessity of keeping Cox at that time of difficulty. The fact of my holding a Fellowship at Oxford enabled him in my case to revert to his original purpose. But he was so conscious of the use I was to the school, that it became a question whether an increase of stipend or, at all events, some present of a sum of money down were not the only fit way of showing his appreciation of it. He was very reluctant to make any permanent alteration. It would be abandoning the position he originally took up. For this purpose he had from time to time made such presents to those of the Fellows who required it, as eg. to Haskoll (who had people dependent on him), West on his illnesss – he had also promised to send him away to recover his health – Norman on leaving, Wanklyn ditto…

I told I could speak the more freely because I did not think it likely I could remain here so long as that any change would much affect myself. My own mind was made up as the necessity, if the school was to last at all, of securing that the staff should be permanent. This would be done in no way but by increasing the stipends of those who had been here longest. In this, a little expenditure would go a long way. At present, just when a man was of most use to the school from his 2 or 3 years experience, he found he could not afford to remain longer. For a man in old age there was nothing further to be wished for, but a young man looked forward to being able to save a little money and marry. If a person’s mind was made up to celibacy again, the case was different, and this constituted the essential difference between the English and Roman Church. It was a difficulty the English had to deal with. On first coming here, the stipend was ample, but when in middle life, a man began to look forward to parish work and a home, or possibly to having to leave his work from shattered health, it did seem very hard that his 6 or 7 years at Radley, a place which was in the receipt of a very great income, should have no permanent and tangible results to show…

I told him I had thought much of the question and talked about it with others, and that everybody agreed with me as to the necessity of the school increasing its stipends if it were to remain an efficient place of education… [I quoted] [Nugent] Wade speaking at St Columba’s where a friend said … “if the Fellows make the sacrifice the boys will be the victims”. I said also that I was thoroughly convinced not only of the feasibility of the system, but that in taking it up as one’s task in life, I was really fulfilling my ordination vow, as much as in parish work. That I had urged this very strongly on others of the Fellows, when they felt disposed to give it up. We held together here wonderfully, but in great measure from the great love we had for each other…

The Warden said if once the place became a mere ordinary school for making money, he would shut it up at once…

I replied … at present a man can barely live on his stipend, but if he found he was saving every year £50 or £100 from it, he would be induced to remain on and on … “This is the vital point. If the place is to live, it must live by the school: this requires that the education must be efficient, it implies men able and experienced, this demands the means of inducing them to come originally and to remain.”

[The Warden replied] … “then, how would it work, if (instead of increasing the annual income, which increase a Fellow might spend in luxury,) a certain sum were set apart in each Fellow’s name, and go on accumulating during the period of his stay, to be paid over to him when he left. This would save my principle, for such an object would be one of the legitimate ones I contemplated in the statutes. It is reasonable a man should look forward to marrying.”

I did not see much difference either in principle or in fact between the sum remaining in his name or directly placed in a bank by himself. … “Let me reassert once more my very strong conviction that it is for the interests of the place, and indeed necessary, if it is to exist at all as a good school that something should be done. That would be best done by a stated increase in the senior stipends…. Speaking commercially, Monk was the only person whom the college paid according to the use he was of; and why? Because it could not get him otherwise…”

So our palaver ended, satisfactory so far as giving me an opportunity of expressing freely my sentiments on the matter, unsatisfactory (as I expected) in that nothing seems likely to be done. A skilful use of kind words is not enough to patch up a defective system, which it is Quixotic to hope to carry out. I wish from my heart that I had not so profound a distrust of the Warden’s common sense.

(from the Diary of William Wood, Radley College Archives, unpublished)


Dublin, Saturday, 18 March
College of St Columba

In consequence of the publicity that has been given to the subject, the Trustees feel themselves under the painful necessity of announcing the Mr ELIAS T. STEVENSON has been expelled from his Fellowship in the College of St Columba by the Warden, with the consent of the Visitor, his Grace the Lord Primate, as required by the statutes, in consequence of his having become a member of a political society called ‘the Irish Confederation’.

To the Editor of the Evening Packet
St Columba’s, March 15, 1848

Dear Sir – In the second edition of your publication of last Saturday, there appeared a letter signed by the Rev MC Morton, warden of St Columba’s, Stackallan, written apparently for the purpose of disclaiming, on the part of this college, all sympathy with my act of joining the Irish Confederation. The concluding sentence of that letter – the only one in it I deem it necessary to notice – was as follows: – “I have no hesitation in affirming that there does not exist amongst the students here any fellow feeling with Republicanism, or with those views which Mr Duffy seems to ascribe to them”. This paragraph renders it necessary for me, as Mr Duffy’s informant, to reserve myself from the charge of having misrepresented to him the students of this college. That there does not exist amongst them a very strong fellow-feeling with the views that Mr Duffy ascribes to them. The words which he used in reference to them, as reported in his own journal, the Nation, do not ascribe to them the sentiments of any political party, but such only as good men of all parties would rejoice to see pervading the breasts of the young.

All Irishmen must for very shame acknowledge that they rejoice to hear that the rising generation “are determined to give their whole souls and strength to the service of their country”, instead of being trained as Irishmen too often have been, to despise their country. I am happy to say that from my knowledge of these boys, I feel confident that there are amongst them many who are thus determined. Some of them, in their manhood, may be Unionists, some Repealers, (if the Union lasts so long;) but they will all, I trust, be guided in their political opinions by a sense of Ireland’s good only.

I think it is right to state, for the sake of the parents of the boys, (some of whom have been alarmed by the recent declaration of my opinions,) that though I hold the fundamental principles of the Confederation, I never have sought to impress them on the minds of the boys.

I have sought, with all the influence I possessed, to make them proud of their country, fallen though she be – to induce them to give a preference to the manufactures of their own starving countrymen in those things which were in their power, and to interest them in her history and antiquities; but further than this, never.

In labouring thus to make them devoted to their country, I have only endeavoured to carry out the views of the founders of the college, as will be seen from the following passages extracted from the address of Mr Sewell, delivered to the warden and fellows at the opening of the college. On page 17 he says – “Although the sons of English gentlemen will probably partake in the advantages of our educations, yet this college is a college for Ireland; not only the language of Ireland, but everything which can bind its rising generation to its interests, its soil, its ancient recollections, its future hopes of peace and good, must be here brought round them, and impressed upon their hearts”. Again, page 29 – “We trust also that they will be here taught not only to love and be proud of their country, by being instructed in the brightest periods of its ancient history, and interested in the numerous antiquities which surround this spot; but to love and be proud of the place of their education”, etc. Again, the statutes found by the present trustees command that “The college shall also encourage in all fellows, scholars, and students, a taste for national antiquities, and to this end a museum of Irish antiquities shall be formed, and the study of Irish history shall be as much as possible promoted”.

I should apologise for trespassing so much on your space, but that I feel assured that your natural sympathies, so uniformly manifested in your journal, will recognise the importance of bringing before the eyes of the public the intention of the founders of this college, that it should be a truly national college, where the sons of parents of every shade of politics might be educated together, without danger to the principles in which they might have been respectively brought up. It is right too that any Irish parents, if such there be, who would fear such teaching as I have endeavoured to describe, should be warned not to send their sons here.

I hope that this letter may satisfactorily account for Mr Duffy’s allusion to our students on Thursday, the 9th inst., without it being necessary to suppose that he intended to attribute to them either republicanism or the opinions of any particular political party. I know that the comparison of them to the students of Paris has startled some; but the only quality in which a comparison was intended was devotion to their country.

I remain, sir, your obedient servant, Elias Thackeray Stevenson, Fellow of St Columba’s

To the Editor of the Evening Packet.
From St Columba’s College, Stackallan, Navan, March 11, 1848

SIR – I have had my attention called to the following statement, the Freeman’s Journal, of March 10th –

“Mr C.G. Duffy moved the admission of Mr Stevenson, fellow of St Columba’s College, in the county of Meath, for educating the sons of the Irish Protestant gentry. He had been told by his gifted young friend that among the students the same holy love of liberty prevailed and the same deep determination that their country should be free; and that they would give their whole souls and strength to her service, which has made the students of Paris the glory of the world.”

I wish to lose no time in stating, through the medium of your columns, that the proceeding here mentioned is the act of an individual, and in no sense whatever of the College of St Columba; and that it took place, not only without my concurrence, but even without my knowledge. I beg most emphatically to disclaim all sympathy with the proceedings of the Irish Confederation, and to express my conviction that their principles, so far from tending to freedom, lead to anarchy, confusion, and resistance to lawful and constitutional authority. I believe that such principles will not contribute to that object which ought to be near the heart of every Irishman, and I will add, of every Englishman also – the religious and social improvement of this unhappy and distracted country. I have no hesitation in affirming that there does not exist amongst the students here any fellow feeling with Republicanism, or with those views which Mr Duffy seems to ascribe to them. – I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

MC Morton, Clerk, (Warden of St Columba’s)

PS. – May I beg the favour of your appending to this letter a statement which has been handed to me by all the remaining members of the body: –

“We, the undersigned Fellows of St Columba’s, beg to express our concurrence in the above statement and sentiments of the Warden. Henry Tripp, Clerk, Theophilus Jones, James Stevenson, W.F. Seymour.”

The view from the boys

March 13, 2010

Singleton’s and Sewell’s utopian vision for a new school may have been shared by enthusiastic parents, but it should also be remembered that many of the boys had already experienced the hardships, privations and brutalities of life in contemporary boarding schools. Consequently they may have been less optimistic or more pragmatic in their expectations. The incident of the unequal butter portions, with its Oliver Twist inspired response, and the ensuing riot put Radley’s earliest boys firmly in the context of their contemporaries, possibly believing themselves about to undergo similar rigours.

Both Reynolds and Elliott major may have been justified in feeling a sense of grievance that Singleton imposed expectations upon them without giving them the reward of status, privilege and seniority which a system of Head Boy and Prefects would have created. Shortly before his own death, Reynolds commented on these incidents when he discovered Singleton’s diary in the College Archives. His refutation of them was written as though in the white heat of righteous anger, despite the passage of many years. He wrote that he read the diary with “pain and indignation”, and that he had been treated with shameful injustice by a Warden who, filled with “self-complacent egotism” never listened to a boy’s defence of his conduct, instead brushing aside all excuses “petulantly and impatiently”. He also commented on Singleton’s inaccurate descriptions of boys he did not like: for example, the “vulgar and ill-countenanced” Hill brothers, one of whom, while admittedly ugly, was, in Reynolds’ opinion, a “bright, good-tempered, active, energetic fellow, well-liked in the school”, while of the other “the worst that could be said against him was that he was very deaf”. Reynolds was anxious to make clear that he had no delegated duty as a Prefect; he was simply a “little bigger and a little older than any of the others”. Yet there were very many instances when he and Elliott exerted their influence “to check evil, and to maintain a sound and healthy moral tone in the school”, of which Singleton “knew much less than he fancied”.

Reynolds’ judgement of Singleton’s character was scathing, and he believed that Singleton’s mishandling of the boys and overreaction to simple incidents could be blamed on the latter’s own lack of experience of being either a schoolboy or a typical undergraduate himself:

The fact I believe to be that Mr Singleton’s training and disposition had not fitted him to be head of an English public school. He was an Irishman; he had never been at a public school and I am not sure that he had ever been at school at all; and during his stay at Trinity College, Dublin, he had kept himself practically aloof from the society and amusements of the place … I do not say that he was ever intentionally unjust in his treatment of his boys; but he was overbearing, rash, impulsive, impatient of opposition, and when he had once formed an opinion he was simply incapable of owning himself or thinking himself in the wrong.

Singleton inaugurated a system of eight prefects in 1851.

Description of the Organ

March 10, 2010


Organ Manufactory
109, St Stephen’s Green West
March, 1848

Having completed an organ of the first class for the College of St Peter, Radley, Oxford, we beg to inform you that its power and effects will be exhibited by Mr Robert P. Stewart, on – next, – instant, in our manufactory, at one o’clock, when we shall feel honoured by your presence and any of your friends.

We have the honour to be your very obedient servants, Telford and Telford, Organ Builders

Description of the organ

Three complete Manuals from CC to G in alt. The Pedal Organ from CCC to G – two and a half octaves, six composition pedals, four copulae, forty-five stops. The Great Organ containing 1146 Pipes; the Swell Organ 947; the Choir Organ 356; and the Pedal Organ 384. Total, 2833 Pipes

Great Organ, CC to G alt.
1. Double Open Diapason metal 16 ft
2. Open Diapason (Great) metal 8″
3. Open Diapason (Small) metal 8″
4. Stopped Diapason wood 8″
5. Quint metal 5″
6. Principal (Great) metal 4″
7. Principal (Small) metal 4″
8. Tenth metal 3″
9. Twelfth metal 2 ½”
10. Octave Flute wood 2″
11. Fifteenth metal 2″
12. Sesqui-altera metal 4 ranks
13. Mixture metal 3 ranks
14. Double Trumpet metal 16 ft
15. Trumpet metal 8″
16. Clarion metal 4″
Choir Organ, CC to G alt
1. Stopped Diapason wood 8 ft
2. Dulciana metal 8″
3. Viol da Gamba metal 8″
4. Principal metal 4″
5. Wald Flute wood 4″
6. Fifteenth metal 2″
7. Cremona metal 8″
Swell Organ, CC to G alt
1. Double Diapason metal and wood 16 ft
2. Open Diapason metal 8″
3. Dulciana metal 8″
4. Stopped Diapason wood 8″
5. Principal metal 4″
6. Principal (Small) metal 4″
7. Twelfth metal 2 ½”
8. Fifteenth metal 2″
9. Twenty-second metal 1″
10. Sesqui-Altera metal 3 ranks
11. Cornet (Dulcina) metal 3 ranks
12. Trumpet metal 8 ft
13. Oboe metal 8″
Pedal Organ, CCC to G – 32 Notes
1. Double Open Diapason wood 16 ft
2. Double Open Diapason metal 16″
3. Open Diapason metal 8″
4. Principal metal 4″
5. Twelfth metal 2 ½”
6. Fifteenth metal 2″
7. Sesqui-Altera metal 4 ranks
8. Double Trumpet metal 16 ft
9. Trumpet metal 8″
1. Swell Organ to Great Manual
2. Swell Organ to Choir Manual
3. Swell Manual to Pedals
4. Great Manual to Pedals

The original estimate for this organ was £1000, to be paid for privately by Robert Singleton, but constant additions to the original order raised the final cost to £2000.

Telford’s considered it the largest and finest organ ever made in Ireland, so it was accorded a public performance before export. The performance was attended by all the Dublin notables (except the Lord Lieutenant who was ‘so busy with the rebels that he could not spare the time.’) Such was ‘its power that it had the honour to make some ladies sick to their stomachs.’

In 1853 it was dismantled and sent back to Ireland to be shown at the Dublin Exhibition: pedal 32 was added at this time in thanks for the loan.

It survived in use at Radley until the 1930s, being moved from Singleton’s original chapel to the new one constructed in 1895. For much of its life, the organist responsible for it was George Wharton, Precentor at Radley from 1862 until 1914. Wharton constantly upgraded it. Two new stops were added in 1867-8, the Tuba and the Harmonic Flute, both in commemoration of Augustus Henry Woodward, who died of pneumonia on 19th March 1868, aged 18, the first boy to die at school, and his cousin Alfred Woodward, of the 12th Foot, who died at sea in 1867, returning from the First Maori War. The organ received its first overhaul when these were added in 1868, when it became a four manual organ with 60 stops. The work was carried out by JW Walker of London, who thought Telford’s mechanism faulty. Four years later, in 1872, the Vox Humana stop was added.

In the autumn of 1889 it was taken down for its second overhaul, this time by C Martin of Oxford, and in future was to be blown by gas rather than bellows. Wharton ordered the first hydraulic gas engine from Crossleys on September 24th 1889 (serial no 14796). This was a 5manpower vertical engine, sent and installed on 15 November 1889. It was re-installed at the beginning of 1890 – it was now a five manual echo organ with sixty-six stops and nearly 4000 pipes. Wharton tested the gas engine with full organ on January 30th 1890, and it was a ‘grand success’. However, the next day the ‘engine collapsed altogether’, and Crossley’s man had to be summoned to attend. After his ministrations it ‘behaved better’. But a fortnight later the engine was ‘most provoking and vexing’, and as it was ‘obviously temperamentally unsuited to the job, was ejected and a new one installed.’ The first engine was sold on to James Crabtree on 25 June 1890. The second engine, serial no 15388, was sent on 5 March 1890 and was an 1/2 hp vertical. It was used for the first time on March 13th 1890. Wharton’s notice in the Radleian magazine, June 1890, states that the blowing apparatus was ‘worked by a very clever device, invented by Mr Martin, whereby … the instrument is at the organist’s command at any moment.’ In December 1890 a new swell box and two new couplers were installed and Wharton declared that the Radley organ was now ‘as complete and perfect as possible’; however, in April 1891 Martin started to add a fifth manual, which was first used in May that year.

In 1895 Radley opened a new Chapel, and the organ, complete with gas engine was installed in a new location. However, the engine had always been temperamental, did not respond well to the move, and was returned to Crossley’s London office on 17 May 1897.

The organ continued in use. A carillon was added in 1898, and a carved wooden case by Jackson, the architect who designed the new chapel. An electric motor was installed to power it in 1927, although it was described by AK Boyd as “itself by this time little better than a ruin”. The last voluntary was played in 31st March, 1938, after which the work of dismantling began. A few stops were incorporated into the organ which replaced it in 1938, part of the oak case was given to East Hagbourne Church, and a bell from the carillon was converted into a hand-bell for use by the Warden at the daily meeting of Radley dons.

It is listed on the National Pipe Organs Register as item no. E01020.

Information on Crossley’s engines supplied by Ruth Weinberg; on George Wharton and the organ from The Radleian magazine and Wharton’s unpublished diaries, now held in Radley College Archives.


February 1, 2010

One of the earliest decisions made by the co-founders of Radley was that every tenth place should be free. This was based on the principle of the tithe, a gift of one-tenth of income or harvest offered to God as a sacrifice. It was formally proposed and written into the Statutes promulgated in June 1847. The place was awarded to a boy jointly proposed and nominated by the Founder and Warden, although there was an objection that since Singleton was both Founder and Warden he potentially had two votes.

The system was followed throughout Singleton’s Wardenship. Eight Decimals were appointed by 1850-early 1851, at which time there were eighty boys in the school. Five were awarded to the sons of clergymen, and two to relatives of those closely associated with the school, Edward Howard’s nephew, Henry, and William Sewell’s nephew, also called Henry. All the recipients were of the same social background as boys paying full fees. At this time the annual fee was £100, but, following advice that this was set too high, it was reduced to £80pa. This reduction in per capita income, coupled with the increasingly unsteady state of the school’s finances, made it very difficult to maintain the Decimal places into the 1850s, although many attempts were made to keep the system in operation.

The Decimal system was always considered fundamental to the ethos of Radley College, as a Christian foundation. Consequently, the Decimal system was revived in 1942 under Warden Vaughan Wilkes. This time the school worked closely with Berkshire Education Committee, and made the free places available to boys from local elementary schools who would not normally receive a public school education. The system operated throughout the Second World War, with fourteen boys taking up Decimal places in the five years between 1942-47.

County of Meath

The election for this county began on Monday, the 9th instant, at Trim. A very large body of military and police, including a troop of the 13th Light Dragoons, had been drafted here during the previous week, for the purpose of keeping the peace, and preserving the freedom of election.

Mr Grattan, the repeal candidate, entered the town on Sunday evening, escorted by an extremely small and rather motley-looking body, consisting principally of the rabble, and unaccompanied by any respectable supporters, and not one Roman Catholic clergyman.

Mr Corbally, the Whig, and Mr Singleton, the Conservative candidate, did not come in until the following morning.

Mr James O’Reilly, of Navan, acted as agent, and Robert Mullen, esq. as Counsel for Mr Grattan.

Messrs Cavanagh and O’Hagan as agents, and Patrick Murphy, esq., QC, as Counsel for Mr Corbally.

Mr Walter Goodman as agent, and TA Purcell, esq., as Counsel for Mr Singleton.

At eleven o’clock the doors of the court-house were opened by the sheriff, which was immediately filled to suffocation with the supporters of the respective candidates.

The writ having been read, and the usual question put by the sheriff as to whether anyone wished to propose a candidate.

Mr DRAKE rose, and in a short speech proposed, and Mr Patrick Barnewell seconded Henry Grattan, Esq., as a fit and proper person to represent the county of Meath in Parliament.

Mr WINTER then, in a temperate and judicious speech, in the course of which he expressed his opinion that this was not a time for men to dispute about party questions, but that men of all views should unite to turn their attention to the removal or remedying of those social evils with which this country is now afflicted, and to the development of its resources, proposed Mr Corbally as a fit and proper representative.

Mr Joseph BARNEWALL seconded his nomination.

Mr FOWLER then rose, amidst a storm of hooting and shouting, to propose Henry Corbet Singleton Esq., as a fit and proper person to represent the county. After silence was restored he proceeded to recommend Mr Singleton to the notice of the electors as a good and independent resident landlord; one who spent his ample income amongst his own people, and was practically acquainted with the wants and interests of the county; one, moreover, who was prepared to advocate tenant right – that the tenant should be compensated for all reasonable outlay he should make on his land.

WILLIM BLAYNEY WADE, Esq., in a long speech, during which he was frequently interrupted, seconded the nomination of Mr Singleton.

Mr FORD then addressed the electors, and catechised the candidates as to their views upon various points, and amongst others on the nature and extent of their advocacy of tenant right.

The electors were then addressed by the candidates.

Mr Singleton’s friends are confident of success, in which case Mr Corbally will, it is supposed, be the other member.

(From our correspondent) Tuesday evening, August 10th, 1847

The election is going on most peaceably – I had almost said sleepily – but sleep is often broken by disturbing dreams, and that is not the case here – not an appearance of ill-will or anxiety on the part of either candidates or voters have I hitherto witnessed, unless an attempted rescue by a Singletonian of a perplexed anti-Repealer be called such. All three candidates seem to share the public sympathy, as far as such sympathy is consistent with the individual opinion of each voter. If there were three vacancies, they would all three be in due time seated in St Stephen’s. It is to be regretted that there is not a second prize for the losing candidate, similar to that offered by the trustees of the Theological Essay Fund, where the second best essayist receives a fourth of the sum total.

As there is no such premium in reserve for Mr Singleton, who will, I fear, be the rejected candidate, all that can be done, under existing circumstances, is to say that he deserves success. I gave him a plumper, and wish I could have given him a hundred and forty plumpers; for though I have not the honour of his acquaintance, I respect him from the report of others, whose opinion I know to be founded on experience. He deserves success, not only on his own account but on that of his brother, who is, I understand, the late warden of Stackallan – an institution which wants nothing but encouragement to make it the Eton of Ireland. I had an opportunity of visiting it during the wardenship of Mr Singleton, and was both delighted and surprised at the results produced with the smallest possible outlay of money. These results were produced by method, which by substituting the charm of proportion and symmetry for those of splendour and magnitude, gratified the understanding to such a degree, as to induce the spectator to acquiesce in the exchange. The furniture was all suitable to the collegiate nature of the institution – the very crockery was dedicated to St Columba, by an appropriate inscription. The chapel was a cathedral in miniature, and the decorations were all in the best possible monastic taste. I point to this institution as the best monument to the fame of the Singleton family; and I trust that the name may yet be known in the national senate of Great Britain.

State of the poll – half-past four o’clock

M.E. Corbally – 573
H. Grattan – 482
H.C. Singleton – 319


It has been stated to us, on what we consider competent authority, that Mr Singleton has resigned.