Thomas Raymont (1864 – 1953)

From the papers of L.R. Reeve* - this profile of Thomas ('Tommy') Raymont,  an unsung educationalist. His Principles of Education is still in print with the bald declaration on the cover 'b. 1864.' He died in 1953 and the book he appears to have written in old age was Modern Education (1935). Reeve, a native of Newton Abbot, refers to him as 'the great Devonian'...


It is a good many years since Thomas Raymont, M.A., wrote the Principles of Education, one of the standard books of its kind, but even today no one could read it for the first time without feeling that he had learned some immutable laws on child guidance; and if any earnest student asked me whether there was one sound book on the market for students in training I should suggest Raymont's sensible contribution which was written when the author was an exceedingly busy educational giant.
  Shortly after he ended his two years as student at the Borough Road Training College and was top at the final examination, I believe he was appointed as lecturer at his old college, and there is no need to stress the fact that such an appointment to a young man is rare.
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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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F. H. Shapland

From the Reeve collection.* This is a fascinating character (especially from a bowling point of view) and although manager for Team England (as it was not known then) for the 1958 Cardiff Commonwealth Games bowls team and a superb and noted player of the game he is unknown to Wikipedia and turns up online mostly in club lists. But all has changed, changed utterly, thanks to fellow Devonian L.R. Reeve's writings…

English Team, Commonwealth Games 1958


I have met a good many busy men in my long life, but cannot believe anyone could be more active than Harold Shapland. Yet he seems to thrive on his multitudinous commitments, and to the world he appears to be one of the happiest men alive, with his ready wit, ready smile and readiness to chat with any bowler who happens to be near him when watching a thrilling encounter.
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The Devil’s Hoof- Marks

Another chapter from this fascinating forgotten work Oddities: A Book of Unexplained Facts (Allan, London 1928) by R.T. Gould. The illustration is from an Edwardian novel (possibly Quiller Couch or Baring Gould.) Info on the polymath Rupert Thomas Gould (1890 – 1948) can be found at the foot of this post..


  A Scottish minister once preached a sermon upon the text "The voice of the turtle is heard in our land".* He was literally-minded, and unaware of the fact that the "turtle" referred to is the turtle-dove, and not that member of the Chelonia which inhabits the ocean and furnishes the raw material of such "tortoise-shell" articles as are not made of celluloid. In consequence, the deductions which he drew from his text were long remembered by such of his hearers as were better-informed.

* Canticles ii. 12. 

  "We have here", he is reported to have said–"we have here, my brethren, two very remarkable signs and portents distinctly vouchsafed to us. The first shall be, that a creature which (like Leviathan himself) was created to dwell and abide in the sea shall make its way to the land, and be seen in the markets and dwelling-places of men; and the second shall be, that a creature hitherto denied the gift of speech shall lift up its voice in the praise of its Maker."

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