Cushiest/ hardest jobs in the year of the Whitechapel Murders

Barmaid Victorian

Some examples from 1,000 Ways to Earn a Living (1888)

Secretaryships to institutions

‘Are held usually by clergymen or retired military men. These positions are much coveted, and in a recent instance 967 applications were received in reply to a single advertisement in The Times. Secretaries of clubs are frequently members of distinguished families. Such positions fall only to the fortunate. The renumeration is from £400 to £1,500 per annum, including apartment and board.

Private, Household Cavalry

1s. 9d a day plus rations, lodging, clothing &c equal to 15s per week.

Bishop

‘Speaking of it as a profession, the Church is one of the widest of all. Most of the professors at our Universities, the masters in our schools, and numbers of secretaries of religious and other bodies, are qualified priests. In order to become a clergyman it is almost absolutely necessary to obtain a University degree, although it is not requisite ( as is popularly understood ) that that degree should have been granted by either Oxford or Cambridge… From the point of view of a livelihood, it is unfortunately too well known that the Church is far from being a lucrative profession, though, like others, it has its co-called prizes…yet…there is no reason why a clergyman’s leisure time should not be profitably employed in a material as well as a moral sense. The pursuits of tuition or literature are always open to him… Continue reading

Seth speaks…

 

Agharti 1982Found in the Peter Haining Archive ( though how it got there is anybody’s guess) is a letter addressed to Alec McClelland, author of The Lost World of the Agharti from someone called John Hanning-Lee.

Bearing no year date ( but it must be dated after 1982, when The Lost World of Agharti appeared ) it urges McClelland to read Seth Speaks by the American psychic and author Jane Roberts (1929 – 84), who from 1964 received spirit messages from a male being called ‘ Seth’, whose pronouncements were later made the subject of a number of published works by Roberts collectively known as the ‘Seth material’. In his letter Hanning –Lee particularly focuses on the chapter in Seth Speaks devoted to the lost underground civilisation that predated Atlantis. Hanning-Lee describes the inhabitants and their civilisation thus:

‘They had blown up their own civilisation prior to that and the underground existence that followed was, of course, a reincarnational one. They excavated whole cities, by that I mean they excavated extensively so that their cities and communicating passages were entirely beneath the surface. The means of doing this was by means of sound vibrations where certain low notes sounded with power can cause a tunnel to form where there was solid earth. I suppose an analogy would be if you were to manipulate iron filings so that a path was formed through a mass of them placed on a sheet of paper and the paper tapped lightly. These ‘ caves ‘ they formed were, then, far more extensive than the ordinary idea of the word ‘cave’ and ran for miles, Their knowledge of the plates of the Earth’s crust and the science of earthquakes was almost certainly far superior to ours. Continue reading

‘Abide with me’ – an answered prayer

51vLEzW1JIL._SX362_BO1,204,203,200_Found – this newscutting from The Times (London 1926) about the origins of the much loved hymn ‘Abide with me’ by Henry Francis Lyte. The reference to Wembley Stadium is slightly  obscure as Wikipedia says the hymn was first sung there in 1927 at the cup final…

AN ANSWERED PRAYER.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.

Sir, – As one of the few living descendants of the author of the hymn “Abide with Me,” which nightly thrills the great audience in the Wembley Stadium, I have been greatly interested in the correspondence in ‘The Times’. It is only those who know the tragic circumstances under which this beautiful hymn was written who can explain the inner meaning of the words “Fast falls the eventide.”

My great-grandfather, the Rev. Henry Francis Lyte, the author of the hymn, was vicar of Lower Brixham, in those days a picturesque little fishing village on the shores of Torbay. He was the author of numerous poems and hymns, some of which are in “Hymns Ancient and Modern.” During the latter part of his life he devoted himself to the service of the humble fisher folk of Brixham, among whom were many of his best friends. His labours undermined his health, but he persisted in his noble work until his health broke down completely under the strain and his doctor told him he must go abroad at once. He was then dying of consumption. He preached his farewell sermon the following Sunday evening in Lower Brixham Church and, after the service, walked slowly home to his house at Berry Head. It happened that on that night  there was one of those glorious sunsets which are sometimes to be seen at Torbay. The sun was setting in a blaze of glory and the purple hills of distant Dartmoor stood out darkly against a flaming sky. In the foreground was Brixham harbour like a pool of molten gold. Several times on the way home  the poet stopped to rest and to gaze on this wonderful manifestation of nature. We can well imagine his feelings. He had just said “Goodbye” for the last time to his parishioners, and he knew that he had only a few weeks at most to live. The setting day reminded him insistently of his life, which was drawing swiftly to its close. Continue reading

Haining brought to task on the subject of Black Magic

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Found in the Peter Haining Archive, two letters that raise objections to the author’s views on Black Magic expressed in his Witchcraft and Black Magic (1971). Both emanate from distinctly offbeat sources. Here is the first letter. The second may feature in a later Jot.

The first letter ( dated only May 30th) was sent by someone called August Vironeem on behalf of ‘ the Directors ‘ of an American ‘Thelemic ‘ group ‘ described by Vironeem as an ‘ offshoot of Aleister Crowley’s ‘Initiatory lodge in England known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn ‘. Objecting to Haining’s section on Crowley as ‘ totally eroneous ‘, the writer goes on to repudiate ‘ with a high degree of certainty ‘ the Great Beast’s association with Black Magic:

'neither Crowley, not any of his disciples, partisans, sympathisers, nor modern day devotees do have, or have ever had, anything thing at all to do with black magic, ( and here , I must firmly state that Manson’s Solar Lodge of the O/T/O and other perversions do not bear upon Crolwey. Had he been alive today He’d have been nasueated by such groups.'

Vironeem ends by maintaining that although Crowley had his faults, he also had his ‘ moments of genius’; he then invites Haining to ‘take a quick look at’ Crowley’s ten volume set of The Equinox.

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Your present Jotter is not really qualified to comment on Crowley or his philosophy, but most of his apologists have strongly denied that their hero practiced Black Magic. Indeed, the Crowley Wikipedia entry tends to suggest that his cult of Thelema was a much more intellectually nuanced philosophy than his simple-minded critics would have us believe. To me as a tyro it seems to be a philosophy that centres on a world view of extreme individualism, containing aspects of anarchism, and showing the influence of William Blake.

It appears that someone with the name August Vironeem actually exists and very probably did have connections with Thelema. Today, in Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, lives August Vironeem, aged 65. According to the records, someone with this name was born in 1951 in New York. And as the present HQ of the International College of Thelema is in Sacramento, CA, it seems possible that our Mr Vironeem became an early follower of Crowley, then by his early twenties had moved to California to take a leading role in the‘ offshoot‘ of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn that eventually ended up as the International College of Thelema. This is all speculation, but the facts are suggestive...[R.M.Healey]

Vera Wainwright, poem on Powys

An excerpt from a signed typed letter addressed to the feminist bookseller and Powys specialist, Joan Stevens from Phil Coram (among other things the bibliographer of Hugo Manning.)

Vera Wainwright… have you heard of her Joan? She met the Powys family in 1927 and was “greatly enriched by this meeting”… a curious tie-up here… she was published in COMMENT, the very magazine which Hugo had such difficulty in getting hold of. She was also a good friend of Victor Neuburg and Austin Osman Spare… both of whom were involved with Aleister Crowley. In fact I have a copy of POEMS & MASK by Vera Wainwright which is illustrated by Austin O. Spare (and not published till 1968… 13 years after Spare’s death). These illustrations, as far as I know, are not published in any of Spare’s other books. The thing which may be of interest to you however is the first poem in the collection… at the risk of copyright here goes…

For John Cowper Powys

The sad sea shell that murmurs all the day

Its memories faint; the lost, abandoned stone;

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A Regency Scam ?

alchemyIn the classified section of the London Times for October 12 1820 appeared this intriguing advert:

AN INCOME of from £200 to £400 per annum may be OBTAINED by a CHYMICAL PROCESS on certain Mineral Matters as taught by a respected private individual, a professed Arcanist in docimastical philosophy residing near town: the manipulations not inconvenient to, nor militating against, the life and habits of a gentleman: the premium for instruction will be 200 guineas, for which security will be given till the full satisfaction of the party as to the verity and yield of the process, which will be imparted to only a select few. Applications by letter only, post paid, with real name and address, will meet with attention; to be left for W.,care of Mr Cartwright, 79, Long-Acre.

Are we taking about alchemy here? It sounds like it. Although the word arcanist is nowadays associated with the occult, back in 1820 most educated people would have linked it to something less devilish, such as alchemy; and the word ‘ docimastical ‘, though absent from many dictionaries of the time, was a serious technical term connected with the assaying of metal, which was borderline alchemy. We should also remember that Michael Faraday, one of the greatest scientific intellects of the nineteenth century, believed sincerely that alchemy should not be dismissed entirely, although this opinion was probably influenced by his admiration for Sir Isaac Newton, who had spent years of his scientific life on doomed alchemical experiments. In the absence of a personal address we will probably never know who this ‘W’, the respected private individual ‘ in question was. Moreover,among the various Cartwrights listed in Boyle’s Court Guide for 1819 no one of this name lived at 79, Long Acre. It’s all a bit reminiscent of the Susannah Clarke novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, which was dramatised on TV not long ago. [R.M.Healey]

Joan Abbay – Art & The Holy Grail

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Found —  a slim volume of poetry from 1927 Lodequest: A Ballad of the Grail (Ancient House, Ipswich 1927) by Herbert Hudson. His wife produced the illustrated cover and also contributed one of the poems. She was Joan Abbay an East Anglian artist, and this is the only example of her work currently online, although it is possible some of her paintings are occasionally sold at auction.

The introduction to the book places the Grail legend in context, quoting from Jessie L Weston’s The Quest of the Holy Grail (1913)- (also an influence on a somewhat better known poem*):

“Every student of mediaeval literature will bear witness that there were strange current stirring in those days, that more was believed,that more was known than the official guardians of faith and morals cared to admit; that much, very much of this undercurrent of yearning and investigation was concerned with the search for the source of life; life physical, and life immortal. I contend that the Grail romances were a survival that period of unrest….The secret of the Grail I hold to be above all a human problem. When seekers after Truth will consent to work together in harmony, doing full justice to each other’s views, then,and not till then, the secret of the Grail will cease to be a secret.” Continue reading

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David Lodge on Edmund Randolph – forgotten Catholic novelist

Before he made the big time as a fully fledged comic novelist David Lodge was principally a literary critic who wrote the occasional novel. When I was taught by him at Birmingham University his reputation rested not on his four novels—Ginger You’re Barmy, The Picturegoers,  The British Museum is Falling Down, and Out of the Shelter, but on his doorstep-sized anthology of literary theory and his books and articles on mainstream twentieth century Catholic novelists.

Lodge’s article on the hardly known late Victorian novelist Edmund Randolph, which I discovered in a copy of the Aylesford Review for Spring 1960, belongs to the period when he regarded himself as primarily a writer on the history of Catholic novel, a subject he had chosen for his M.A. dissertation at London University. This research involved reading a number of ‘forgotten Catholic novelists‘of the nineteenth century. Clearly, he had not been impressed by their quality:
 
‘…Between the waves of the Oxford movement and the Decadence there lies a trough in which English Catholic novelists produced little besides sentimental pietistic romances and propagandist historical novels…’
 
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Madge Gill and the Bournemouth crime

Found - a curious and very rare spiritualist book The Spirit of Irene Speaks published in Bournemouth in 1923. The title refers to a notorious murder in 1922 of a young cook, Irene Wilkins, who had travelled down to Bournemouth to London in response to a potential employer from an advertisement she had placed in a local paper. She had been met at the station in a large Mercedes and her body was found in a field the next day battered to death. Eventually a chauffeur was arrested, one Thomas Henry Allaway. An astute car designer had noted the car's registration number at the station and he was also recognised by a telegram clerk… The book claims that through 'psychometrics' (in this case the psychic tracing of the murderer through clairvoyant communications from an object from the murder scene) a medium had solved the case and there is a weight of convincing evidence in the book and suggestion of police co-operation. No account of the case found online mentions this aspect of the case.

However the book is notable for other reasons. It has a long plea at the beginning by Dr Abraham Wallace for the repeal of capital punishment as being irrational and unchristian and a further article on 'The Futility of Capital Punishment.' The endpapers of the books are designed by the cult outsider artist Madge Gill. She is mentioned in the text as having produced these 'automatic drawings'. She is called Madge E. Gill from London ('this lady through her mediumship obtains gorgeous oriental designs in marvellous colour schemes, and quite unusual in conception.  She also, under control, does the most beautiful embroidery and needlework…)

Madge Gill (1882- 1961) was a prolific outsider and visionary artist.  She was introduced to Spiritualism by an aunt when she was in her teens in East London. Later when she was about 40 she began creating thousands of mediumistic most done with ink in black and white. She claimed to be guided by a spirit she called "Myrninerest" (my inner rest) and often signed her works in this name. Many feature a young woman in intricate dress  often thought to be a representation of herself or her lost (stillborn) daughter, and female subjects dominate her work. Her drawings are characterised by geometric chequered patterns and organic ornamentation, with the blank staring eyes of female faces and their flowing clothing interweaving into the surrounding complex patterns.These endpaper drawings, different at both ends (rear endpapers pictured) do not have the female face…a book on her came out in 2013 by the musician and occultist David Tibet.

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The Beatles as a religious cult

Found in Photoplay- A British Film Magazine from March 1964, this piece by Ken Ferguson who appears to have been the magazine's editor. It was called 'Are the Beatles a Religion' and has soundbites from fans, vicars (who had more of a voice in 1964) teachers, impresarios and the lads themselves. The 'Adam' referred to is Adam Faith, a pop star of the time. 'Cliff', of course, is Cliff Richard…here is an abridged version:

Beatlemania, is a form of hysterical worship instigated by four young men who call themselves The Beatles. John, Paul, George, Ringo have written themselves into musical history with their savage, pulsating, hypnotic sound.

The other evening I felt the full blast and fury of Beatlemania as I sat in a theatre along with almost 2000 screaming, hysterical worshippers of the Beatles. It was fantastic. On stage, the four boys moved their lips and went through the motions of a performance but nothing could be heard above the roars of mass appreciation. How did it begin? Why did it begin? Where will it end?

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Eviction of Adam and Eve

Found in Arrows 87 (Summer 1964, edited by Roger Ebbatson) this amusing piece about Adam and Eve. The magazine was produced by Sheffield University Union and had poems articles, graphics etc., This squib was by Peter Mottley (1935-2006) who became an actor, director and playwright.

Eviction by Peter Mottley.

Dear Mr. Adam,

I am instructed by my client to serve the enclosed eviction order concerning the property you now occupy.

He feels that he is justified in this action in view of your recent behaviour, which constitutes a breach of the terms of your lease.

You will remember the Clause 4 in your lease permitted you full access to the garden on condition that you undertook 'to dress it and keep it', and that my client generously allowed you to take for your own use any of the fruits and flower which grow there. However, he specified quite plainly that you were not under any circumstances to touch the prize-winning fruit tree in the south-east corner. This clause has been broken quite blatantly by your wife, who has freely admitted taking fruit from this tree. Her excuse, that she thought it would be all right, is considered by my client to be inadequate.

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Dattatreya Rama Rao Parvatikar

Found among the papers of Leslie Shepard this article on the Indian holy man and musician Dattatreya Rama Rao Parvatikar (1916 - 1990). Shepard refers to him as Sri Ramdatta Parvatikar. The article appears not to have been published. For more on Shepard follow this link to an earlier piece of his on Charles Fort.

SRI SWAMI RAMDATTA PARVATIKAR

A Portrait of an Indian Musician

by LESLIE SHEPARD

  It is twilight in the Himalayas, by the side of the sacred river Ganges, a magic moment when the forms of the visible world tremble as night falls. The dark outline of the hills with a shaggy growth of jungle might be a giant's head. Across the water comes the cry of rooks and the call of a boatman. The white domes of temples become unreal in the fading pink glow of the half-light. The sound of rushing water is like the music of dreams.
  From the old Sri Shatrughana Temple comes another music - the notes of a Rudra-Vina, a traditional instrument, played by a master hand. On the temple steps is a picturesque figure with a small group of devotees. Sri Swami Parvatikar Maharaj has the long uncut hair of a sadhu plaited and twisted round the top of his head. He has a majestic beard and keen eyes. He wears a tattered red cloak, and sits in padmasana, the lotus posture, as he plays his instrument in the service of the Lord. A cow stumbles past noisily, but nobody takes any notice, entranced by the subtle and powerful vibrations that pour from the strings of the Rudra-Vina like the swift current of the Ganges.
  Sri Swami Parvatikar is a commanding figure, with an extraordinary dignity and power. He is a sadhu - a wandering monk - but he is also a Bachelor of Science, a radio artist, and one of India's greatest religious musicians. With all his contradictions, the man is inseparably connected with his background...
  The scene is part of a timeless India. Day by day in the big cities, men are struggling with the hard economics of five-years plans, with the new threat of enemies on the border, but here, at Rishikesh, one man is preserving an ancient way of life for the benefit of a modern world.

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The ‘Belfast of Canada’

Anyone with even slight Catholic sympathies would probably not have got on well in Toronto during the late nineteenth century, when it had become a hotbed of Protestant ascendancy. By the turn of the century, the power of the Orange Order, who returned twenty of the twenty three mayors in fifty years, got it nicknamed 'the Belfast of Canada'.
Even by the 1940s this legacy had not waned sufficiently for the artist and writer Wyndham Lewis who, forced by circumstances to spend several years there during the War, was constantly frustrated and angered by the philistinism and religious bigotry of its leading lights.

The prevalence of militant Protestantism in mid nineteenth century Toronto is well illustrated by this scarce flier of c 1869 from Maclear and Co, the dominant publisher in Canada for many years. In advertising the forthcoming reprint of The Siege of Derry, originally published in 1823 by  the Rev John Graham, a clergyman from Ulster , it combined blatant propaganda on behalf of ‘ the heroes of the Irish struggle in 1688 – 90 with a nifty aside aimed at backsliding Anglo-Catholics:

'When men bearing the once-revered name of Protestant , aye Protestant clergy, have set up the Confessional, the Rags and mummeries of Rome…'

A rather appropriate piece of propaganda, given the crisis now attending the power-sharing agreement at Stormont.

R.M.Healey

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Nobody Has Ever Died II

The second and last part of this booklet by Shaw Desmond (1877-1960). (see first part here.) He was an Irish novelist, poet, founder of the International Institute for Psychical Research in 1934, and author of many works on the afterlife and several Scientific Romances- some dystopian and possibly influenced by Olaf Stapledon. He appears as himself in Haunted Palace(1949), a documentary, directed by Richard Fisher, in his role as a ghostbuster. There is more on Desmond at the at the SF Encyclopedia.

VI.
STORIES FROM MY CASE-BOOK

It is impossible in a little booklet of this kind in every case to give the minutiae of authorities, places, times, people present and conditions of phenomena described and other references, but the reader wose interest has been stimulated to further study is advised to refer to the author's books and to those of others. The books of Geraldine Cummins, in particular, will be found of the utmost value, especially her Scripts of Cleophas and their kindred volumes, which can, with the author's, be obtained at any good library.
  The following experiences from my case-book and from other records may be relied upon. They run the gamut from tragedy to comedy. They are of the stuff that helps to make psychic history.
  Some years ago I was travelling on one of my American lecture tours in my Pullman, from San Diego to San Francisco. In the night, I was awakend by a most powerful influence which kept on "calling out," so to speak, the name of Annie Flynn.
  This spirit influence brought to my memory a lady of this name I had known thirty years before in Ireland, and with whom I had since lost all connection. Annie had been a lovely girl of the typical Irish model, with blue eyes and black hair, tall and of a certain queenliness which had remained in my thought.
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‘Nobody has ever died’ – A psychic manifesto I (1946)

Found in the Coleman collection this striking pamphlet. The collection consisted of 3000+ books and booklets on parapsychology, spiritualism and the occult accumulated by a zetetic Bedford scientist determined to disprove all aspects of the paranormal. This pamphlet by Shaw Desmond from 1946 is actually quite late in the day for spiritualist and psychic publications. They were at their height in the early 1930s. There is a theory that they blossomed in the 1920s with the business of putting grieving parents in touch with their dead soldier sons…In the age of Dawkins these pamphlets are still published but the flood has (sadly)  become a  small stream. Shaw Desmond (1877-1960) was an Irish novelist, poet, founder of the International Institute for Psychical Research in 1934, and author of many works on the afterlife and several Scientific Romances- some dystopian and possibly influenced by Olaf Stapledon. He appears as himself in Haunted Palace(1949), a documentary, directed by Richard Fisher, in his role as a ghostbuster. There is more on Desmond at the at the SF Encyclopedia.

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Coventry Patmore rejects his uninspiring ‘vegetables’

The poet who composed the long love poem, The Angel of the House, which appeared in four volumes from 1854, became, like many of his generation, a convert to Catholicism, and so his remarks, voiced in a letter to the editor of the Spectator  regarding a bust of Cardinal Newman by the pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner, come as no real surprise.

The original letter, written from Hastings, was discovered in a pile of similar autographed material.

‘It may interest some of the readers of a Paper which has shewn so special an interest in and affection of Cardinal Newman, that by very much the finest likeness of him in existence is the bust which was made of him some ten or fifteen years ago by Thomas Woolner…I was once in a room containing first-rate busts of all the most famous men of the past generation. That of Newman made all the others look like vegetables, so wonderfully was it loaded with the great Cardinal’s weight of thought and character.’

We don’t know who the sitters for other busts were, or the identity of the sculptors, but we do know that as a friend of Woolner, as indeed he was of Dante Rossetti, W. Holman Hunt, and other Pre-Raphaelites, Patmore was bound to defend the merits of the Newman bust over perhaps some more conventional works of art. As a child, Patmore himself wanted to be an artist and at the age of fifteen won the Silver Palette of the Society of Arts. The poverty of his father made such an ambition impossible and Patmore ended up in the British Museum library. In later life, spurred on by his association with the Pre-Raphaelites, he wrote on Art, but he is best known today as the author of The Angel of the House, although it is generally recognised that his best poems, which have strong spiritual qualities, were written towards the end of his life. [R R]
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The Red Priest and the Architect

It might perhaps be guessed that Conrad Noel (1869 - 1942), the 'Red Priest' of Thaxted, whose Socialist views once outraged the Tory faithful of his North Essex parish, would be sympathetic to the Art and Craft movement, whose guru was the Socialist poet and designer William Morris. But an inscription, dated April 1906, in a copy of The Country Cottage, presented to him from its co-author, George Llewellyn Morris, confirms it.

Amazingly, I found this inscribed copy of the little book, a hymn to the virtues of both the humble thatched labourer’s cottage and its much more sophisticated Arts and Crafts imitations in brick, plaster and tile, profusely depicted in photographs, in 2006 among the trashy novels in the ten pence box outside a well known bookshop in Saffron Walden. The book had been given to Noel four years before he became Vicar of Thaxted, and it had somehow found its way from here to that bookshop, just 12 miles away, in the intervening years.

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John Mason Neale

John Mason Neale (1818 – 66), was a High Church Anglican best known today as the author of several Christmas carols, such as ‘Good King Wenceslaus’ and hymns like ‘All Glory, Laud and Honour’. A talented classicist at Cambridge, he was nevertheless prevented from taking an honours degree because of his poor performance in mathematics. This must have been dire indeed considering how very few undergraduates of promise were failed because of their ineptness in this particular discipline. Indeed, there could be more sinister reasons for this treatment. It is easy to imagine that someone with his quasi-Romanist leanings, which he probably did not hide, displeasing die hard Anglican dons at the University.

Be that as it may, Neale was appointed Chaplin of Downing College in 1840 and two years later became Vicar of Crawley. However, disagreements with his diocesan bishop, which dogged him for fourteen years, led to his resignation in 1846. Luckily, soon afterwards he was appointed Warden of Sackville College, a large almshouse of seventeenth century origin in East Grinstead. Here he remained until his early death aged 48 in 1866.

The attached document, found among some autograph material, is dated 1850 and is headed by an engraving of the courtyard at Sackville College. Under it Neale has penned a letter, or the draft of it, in Latin, seemingly to a fellow scholar, possibly in Europe, the first few lines of which some Classicists among the growing audience of Jot 101 might wish to translate. Here are the opening few words:

Viro doctissimus ----Brossch, Academiae Petropolensis Socio, Joannes M. Neale S.P.D.

Quantas gratias , Vir Clacissonie, et ago tibi et agere delco, qui literas tuas humanissimas…

At this point we at Jot 101 gave up. Some of the rest can be viewed above. Unafraid of religious controversy, Neale went on to found the Society of St Margaret, an order of Anglican women dedicated to tending the sick. At a time of strong anti-Papal feeling, such High Church activities were regarded with hostility by both the higher clergy and the laity, and Neale was banned from any preferment in the country of his birth. When recognition for his scholarly work eventually came, it was in the form of a doctorate from a college in Connecticut. [RMH]
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Henry Philpotts—that devil of a bishop

If the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells out of Blackadder was a grotesque fiction—the reign , centuries later, of Henry Philpotts, one of whose letters is reproduced here,  is something we might associate more with  tyrannous Tudor bishops than with their supposedly anodyne Victorian successors.

Philpotts (1778 - 1869 ) was Bishop of Exeter between 1830 and 1869—the longest episcopacy since the 14th century. One of 23 children of an innkeeper, he is said to have been elected a scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, at just 13, and  graduated five years later. In 1802 he was ordained and by 1809 had held four livings, cementing in that time  a lucrative connection with the diocese of Durham, where he became a Canon. Some idea of his aggrandising nature may be gained by the fact that after his election to the bishopric of Exeter in 1830 he asked that he be allowed to retain his former living of Stanhope, Co Durham which, due to the value of church land in such coal-rich territory, was then worth the enormous sum of £4,000 p.a.—amazingly £1,000 more than his new bishopric. This happy arrangement was refused, but Philpotts was permitted to keep a residentiary canonry at Durham, which brought with it a similar sum to that which he had lost, and which he retained until his death. The distance between Durham and Exeter is around 350 miles, which raises the question as to how often he, as Bishop of Exeter, was able to satisfactorily fulfil his obligations as a residentiary canon at Durham.

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A request from the Archbishop…

Found by relentless jotter RR, this rare manuscript scrap from his collection.

The Archbishop of Canterbury believes that Mr Brodie left a prescription yesterday at Mr Godfrey’s shop directing a medicine to be prepared for ye Archbishop’s use. If so, Mr Godfrey will please to send it by ye Servant who delivereth this note.

Lambeth Palace Nov: 27th 1827

RR writes:- The Archbishop in question was Charles Manner-Sutton—by all accounts a rather conservative prelate who led the Church for 23 years at a time of great social and political upheaval. As someone who claimed direct descent from King Edward III, and therefore from William the Conqueror, it has been said that he is arguably the most aristocratic of England’s Archbishops of Canterbury, and therefore quite likely the sort of posh cleric who might use a word like ‘delivereth ‘in a letter to a tradesman. However, an analysis of the handwriting suggests  that he would have dictated his request to a flunkey.

At the time, the Archbishop’s health was not good and he died eight months later, in July 1828 aged 73.

Note: written requests for medicine from Archbishops of Canterbury to ordinary shopkeepers  are extremely rare.