No. 455

There has been I am sorry to say a row between the Monitors and Masters about the old moot point of whether Monitors shall punish offences which take place in the presence of Masters. A short time ago, James the Q.S. Capt. came up to me upon coming from Morning Abbey, and said he required our attendance at a Monitors’ meeting at 9.30. a.m. He further explained to me that two small Townboys, Nesbitt and Churchill, had been disgracefully behaving themselves during Abbey, in the afternoon of two days before, namely Saturday. At 9.30. we all appeared in library, where H.N. Robson the head of Rigaud’s, advised us not to have the boys up into library until we had asked Scott’s opinion for Mr James had declared that all offences committed in Abbey were to be taken cognisance of by him. Accordingly, James and myself went to Scott, and without using any names, asked if such an offence could be punished by Monitors, quoting Mr James’ words to Dr Scott. Scott replied in the affirmative, adding that he did not recognise an such rule as the one that the masters contended for, and which I have mentioned at the top of this page. But he told us not to act, until he has spoken to Mr James, so as to prevent the possibility of an “explosion”. – With this decision we were well content – The next day Mr James and Jones both set upon me in the latter’s study, and tried to wring from me, all we had been doing; at the same time alleging that some injustice was being done, as the two boys denied the charge. Of course I was much surprised at what seemed to me such extraordinary conduct; for since the Monitors had taken no active steps, the affair was not public, nor had Mr James any right to take any notice of it. The next day (Wednesday) Robson and Poland went alone to Dr Scott and Robson tried to persuade him that the two boys were innocent. That afternoon Dr Scott sent for all the Monitors and explained to us that he thought us right in punishing such an offence. He further said that the Masters some years before had urged the introduction of the above-mentioned  rule, and then his answer had been to them, “the head-master I supreme in matters of discipline.”  This he said he meant to repeat to them, when he called his Masters’ meeting. He also told us that the two Bous had come to him to state their innocence. It then transpired that Robson had informed the two boys of the measures being taken, and advised them to have recourse to Scott, if they thought themselves innocent. He had also informed Mr James of the matter, which now explained to me that Master’s hitherto incomprehensible behaviour. This conduct of Robson’s appears to me, as to the majority of the Monitors, exceedingly ill-directed; For if he disagreed with us he ought to have informed us of that fact at the Monitors’ meeting, or at any rate, have openly given us notice of the information he was going to give to Mr James and the two Boys; instead of acting against us secretly, and so leaving us in the dark as to his real motives.

Dr Scott at the same time told us that it would never so to introduce such a rule as that depriving the Monitors of a right to act when Masters were present: He said that Masters could not see everything. And the thought no school could be properly governed, without the conjunction of the head-boys, to repress disorder, and encourage discipline …… After this we heard no more for some time; but a short time since, Mr Jones triumphantly assured me that Dr Scott compelled by a threat of resignation on the part of one of the Masters, had sanctioned a rule, and promised to frame it, to the affect that we were to be deprived of all power to punish when in the presence of Masters. Jones also told me that I was wrong in what I had sone myself, a few days before up the house, namely that I had tanned a fellow for misbehaving at prayers, a Master being present – This I would not allow. I then informed James (the Capt) of what Jones had said to me. – Nothing more was then heard of the matter for about another week; Scott neither told the Monitors anything, nor James personally. However about the 20th inst. of October, Scott gave James (the Capt) and myself, the following rule.

Rule 17

“When a Master is in charge of any form or number of boys, no offence then committed except such as the master himself could not have been cognisant of, shall be dealt with by any boy in the way of discipline. And in any such case the offender shall have the option of having the matter laid before the master in charge at the time.”

N.B. In my opinion this rule entirely releases the Monitors from any responsibility; because nearly every offence committed may be said to be done beneath the eye of a Master. The Masters will not govern the school with us, let them govern the school without us. Scott seems to me to have behaved with great weakness in the matter, although perhaps he may have been driven to it by the Masters’ threat of resignation. The Masters throughout have behaved in the lowest manner possible, especially Mr Jones and James who have taken the leading part.

No. 438

Friday June 18th gave rise to one of the most serious rows that have occurred here for many years:……. On Friday June 18th after ‘speeches’ up School a most unseemly disturbance was made by the greater part of the school, and which the masters took no steps to quell whatever. At the advice of Dr. Scott the monitors made a list of offenders, – although I must confess that the greater number did not show themselves up – Thereupon the masters jumped at the conclusion that we were going to tan them all [which was not our intention at all, we were merely acting on behalf of Dr. Scott] and sent a protest to Dr. Scott saying that we were infringing on their rights, and that we had no power to act up School. Mr James and Mr Jones then resorted to the following plan to openly insult the monitors: – at breakfast they announced that if the monitors sent for anyone they were to appeal at once. – This was utterly blackguardly and uncalled for, because, as we were acting under Dr Scott, if we had sent for anyone there could have been no appeal! I at once resigned my place as Head of Grants, but Mr Jones apologised to the house and I was satisfied.

When this apology was given however I was not present, and afterward discovered that his apology was virtually no apology at all as it only concerned me as head of the House:- Up Rigaud’s, Mr James, with that utterly blackguardly vein of humour which defies all description, held Robson up to the ridicule of the House, and stigmatized the monitors as a set of big brutes who wanted to tan fellows smaller than themselves :- What a pity it is that no rule exists to enable monitors to kick masters! – Afterwards, however, I will do Mr James the credit to say he humbly apologised for all he had said to the whole House, when he heard we acted in accordance with Dr. Scott’s wishes.

Now the reason why Dr. Scott was at first inclined to put the case into our hands was because the masters has utterly neglected their duty in allowing such a disgraceful disorder to go on, and one of them, Mr Marklove, had shirked School altogether, during speeches, & he naturally thought they deserved to forfeit their right of dealing with the case:- But the masters were determined to assert their rights; they assembled in Mr Jones’ house, signed a protest, three of them declared their intention of resigning if the monitors officiated, & so compelled Dr. Scott to give way:- Here let me say that Dr. Scott behaved admirably, & had his score off them in return by a polite circular, which, I believe, commented on Mr Marklove’s absence, [He had been bitingly sarcastic to us and inclined to pooh-pooh everything], and generally sat upon them.- Dr. Scott did not allow the masters to deal with the case, but took the matter into his own hands and gave those forms which were most to blame an hour’s work on Wednesday afternoon…. It is needless to say that the masters up School cut that hour very short….. Previous to this the monitors unanimously signed a protest, clearly laying before the masters what we thought of their disgraceful behaviour, in abusing their own authority and trying to undermine our’s…. Perhaps it was too plain, for they did’n’t like it, and demanded an apology. We said we were sorry if the masters had taken offence at what we said. The masters now thought they had sufficiently asserted and vindicated their honour, but really only held themselves up to the ridicule and contempt of all the Upper School…… We are not ‘Bargees’, but the course adopted by the masters deserves stronger language than I care to use, and for them any Public School ought to blush.

Let me add that Dr. Scott told James that such a rule as the master’s represented, viz: that monitors has no power in the presence of a master, never had and never could exist.

Magister docet, says the Latin grammar truly, but, if they cannot keep order, they need not interfere with those who can. Moral.

H. Clifton Benbow. Prin: Opp:

Cff: §205 where the masters sent a protest to Dr. Scott under circumstances of a similar character: But were over-rules, altho’ they maintained that “an offence committed in School in the presence of the masters should not be dealt with by the boys.”

No. 186

This morning, Monday 21st July /73., Otter (Captain) told me that there was a matter which must be decided by the Council of M & accordingly Phillimore, Rodocanachi & myself went into College where the meeting was held. It appeared that on Saturday a QS had left his gown on Grant’s steps & it was taken by the servant till after “Abbey” when he gave it to a T.B, named Lefroy, to return to it’s owner. Lefroy, as he crossed the yard, put on the gown & sat on School steps with the gown still on, waiting for the Q.S. to whom it belonged. Just then one of the Q.S. Monitors came out of College (named Holthouse) & saw Lefroy wearing the gown, he immediately told him to take it off & Lefroy, of course, did so. These were the facts of the case & on this ground Holthouse & the other Q.S. said that Lefroy ought to be tanned. I, however, said that though Lefroy had done wrong in putting on the gown, still he ought not to be tanned for it, as it was such a trivial matter, & there was no rule that a TB should be tanned for wearing a gown, although it was an understood thing that a TB should never put one on; as the other two T.B monitors agreed with me & voted against the tanning the Q.Ss were unable to carry out their intention (Vide Entry no. 182 see 8). This did not satisfy them however, so Holthouse showed up to Scott with a view, I suppose, of getting his consent to the tanning. Scott did not view the matter in the same light as the Q.Ss but he spoke to me about it & said I had acted perfectly right in not giving consent to the tanning, & that he should have done the same has he been in my place, but at the same time that, as the Q.S.s has imagined themselves insulted, Lefroy must apologise to Otter as being the chief representative of the Q.Ss. This I think a satisfactory way of settling the matter, but the hostile spirit shown by the Q.Ss has excited no little ill feeling amongst the T.Bs & it is much to be regretted that the Q.Ss took up the affair so hotly, for had Holthouse asked for an apology at first, without making an absurd fuss about tanning, the matter would have been settled quietly. This officious Monitor also spoke to me today about fellows in the second II wearing white shags up fields, but as this has always been the custom, I took no notice of it, beyond telling Otter that for the last 3 years, at least, all T.Bs & Q.Ss in the Second II had always been permitted to wear shags.

H. J. Roberts

Prin Op.

No. 183

There are 6 TBs in the Sixth this term,

H.J. Roberts. (Grants)

E.G. Phillimore. (Grants)

M. Rodocanachi (H.B. Rigauds)

E. Rodocanachi (H.B. Rigauds)

H. M. C McPherson (Home Boarder)

L .S. Bristowe (“”)


Scott announced up school that he has determined to make three T.B monitors & nominated myself, Phillimore & E. Rodocanachi, of course we do not read prayers up school & the title of “monitor” seems to be rather an empty one, however the Q.S.S. were in a great state about it & not one joined in the clapping which ensued after Scott’s speech, this, to say the least of it, was very bad taste.

H.J Roberts.

No. 176

*This rule or at least a similar one had been made in 1862 (vide Entry No. 30) but it had been broken once or twice since.

H.J. Roberts

In consequence of a T.B having been tanned in College without the consent of the head T.B. Scott has given the following rule “That the Captain & Monitors have a general authority to deal with moral offences which may fall under their cognizance but that no T.B shall be sent for into College or be punished by a Q.S without the consent of the Head T.B or Head of the House. The following were the circumstances. On the night of the first Play, a 3rd election  Q.S named Randall observed one of the T.Bs who did not seem to be doing his share of clapping, & because he (Randall) had been tanned when a T.B for no clapping at the Play, he showed up the T.B (Barber H.B Rigauds) to the godkeepers after the Play was over, next day Stuart Q.S one of the godkeepers sent for Barber & tanned him in College without asking leave of either Bramwell or me. As soon as I heard of it I went to Bramwell & asked if he had given permission for the tanning to take place, he said that he had heard nothing about it till it was over, so I asked him to go to Scott & demand an apology from the Q.Ss but he said he would rather that I went; accordingly at 5 ½ on Friday I went to Scott’s & told him the whole matter saying that all the T.Bs were determined to have an apology & that if one was not given no T.B would clap on the second night; Scott agreed with me that an apology was due & said he would speak to Rawson (Captain) Q.S about it The next morning Rawson spoke to me about it & said he was quite ready to apologise & wished that the matter should not got to Scott, he also said that he had been opposed to the tanning himself but that all the other Seniors were for it, however I told him that as Scott already knew about we had better leave it in his (Scott’s) hands. Accordingly at 10 A.M Scott sent for Rawson & myself to his house where Rawson apologised in the name of the Q.Ss for having tanned barber without asking leave of the head T.B & I in the name of the T.Bs expressed myself satisfied; Scott then dismissed us after thanking us for having settled the matter amicably, for had it got into the papers in might have created a row like the “Winchester funding affair” which had just taken place.

H.J. Roberts.

No. 172

There was no Charterhouse match this year on account of that school being moved to Godalming, so instead we played the M.C.C at Lords & were beaten in the first innings by over 200 runs. The disgraceful conduct of some of the younger townboys present at this match must not be passed over without mention. Some of these specimens of Westminster took it into their heads that they could not leave the Pavilion without leaving their traces behind them, so they proceeded to break some of the chairs placed on the roof & also some of the slates on the top, they then amused themselves by throwing the pieces of slates about & succeeded in breaking one or two windows, & finally one of them turned on a watertap; this was not discovered till next day when an indignant letter was received by the Captain from the M.C.C, stating that 50£ damage had been done & mentioning that this was the first time a Public School has so disgraced itself. Of course great indignation was felt about it amongst the fellows in the VIth & Remove, & a large number of fellows would have been tanned but the matter got to Scott’s ears & he contented himself with handing the two principal culprits; if the matter had become have been public it would, without doubt, have done Westminster an immense amount of harm. I am happy to add that no Grantites were concerned in the row.


No. 135

In March another of those unpleasant rows took place which have from time to time made their appearance in the chronicle. Several articles had been missing in this house (Grant’s) from October last, when about the time of the Athletic Sports a boy named Lefroy had lost a little mechanical engine under circumstances which left no doubt that it had been stolen. All available means were tried to discover the culprit but without any result, and several other depredations were committed between that time and the play. Of course, as is always the case in these matters, suspicion attached to one boy but the event has proved that such ideas were entirely unfounded, and it needs very little if a boy be unpopular, as was to a slight extent the case with this fellow, to point the finger of suspicion at him. Well, as Jones had made a row about these losses at Christmas it was confidently expected that we had seen the last of them for nobody thought the thief would be so audacious as to persist in such a course when the probability of detection was so much greater. However soon after we returned for the present half, a pair of skates very mysteriously disappeared from Kitchin’s drawers, & were mysteriously put back when a noise had been made about their abstraction during a few days after the occurrence. In this matter also we were quite powerless, but a few days after one of the smaller boys had 10L stolen from one of his drawers where he had foolishly left it exposed to the gaze of any who from curiosity or other motive might be prowling about. As all the servants were above suspicion, the only feasible plan for detecting the culprit was tried viz:- to compel every boy return an account of his money affairs and to compare such account with any other means of ascertaining their correctness. The only account which presented any occasion for further inquiry was that of a boy named D*, a general favourite in the house, and as he was unable to explain satisfactorily the discrepancies in his return further inquiries were instituted. He was then found to have taken other boys’ books & sold them to the four booksellers in Hollywell Street, and on this being proved his friends were requested to remove him from the school, which was accordingly done. A fortnight afterwards a little fellow who had only just come to the house came forward and confessed to the theft of the money, which of course complicated matters to a much greater extent, as it seemed doubtful whether D* ought not to have his sentence mitigated when he was shown to be innocent of the charge which though indirectly had nevertheless brought about his expulsion. However Scott, & I must say I think his opinion was correct, declined to readmit him to the house and school on the ground that, taking the books was quite an equivalent offence to stealing the money, and as he was 15 years of age he was quite capable of distinguishing between right and wrong to this extent. K* who had taken the money was flogged but owing to the exceptional circumstances in his case, his youth, a severe family bereavement that had lately bereaved him, his penitence & that his confession alone could have convicted him of the guilt, he was not required to leave. The issue of this sad matter was much complicated by the interference of the Seniors who while the matter was ‘sub judice’ came to the determination to tan the little wretch and they accordingly sent for him without asking my leave, but when this reached the ears of one of the masters he put an immediate stop to the proceeding and K* got off untanned, but of course this unwarrantable interference with T.B. business caused a little ill-feeling though I rejoice to say it has soon subsided. Thus ended one of the most vexatious and distressing rows that has occurred for a long time at Westminster.

Oswell Macleay

Prin. Opp.

No 30

Scott handed a fellow the other day for his imprudence to a master & on caning him in the Library expressed a wish (in my absence) that the Q.S.S. would look after the discipline of the Townboys a little better. On the strength of this O’Brien, head monitor, sent for the fellow who had been tanned & told him that if it happened again he should tan him up school. This I could not stand. So, as they seemed determined to stick to what they said, we went to Scott & laid the case before him. He seemed to think it very trivial & said his words had been somewhat misunderstood. That a monitor had a perfect right to tan a town boy, for break of discipline, indecency, or lying, but always with the full consent of the head town boy. Phillimore (the captain) waged that if VIth T.B.s might tan, seconds could also, since they ranked about town boys, but Scott said that his meaning was that there should always be more than one boy in authority among the town boys, adding that if there were as many T.Bs as Q.Ss in the VIth he should limit power to the first 4 town boys. So we altogether came off victorious, since no Q.S. may tan without the head town boy’s leave, & the precaution concerning the seniors & VIth T.B. is put to rest forever.

 E.R. Dowdeswell

   Prin. Opp.

No 27

Two days after the above had happened Bandinel a VIth T.B. told me his gold watch was gone from his cupboard in Chiswick. We consulted together & determined to examine everyone’s drawers, which we did on the following morning, but found nothing. The same day I was informed that a fellow named Bray had lost 2/6 from his drawers. Suspicion again pointed to T– who had been seen by one of the maids with a gold watch, which evidently was not his own. Worsley too (a shell T.B.) had his suspicions about him stealing the half crown. He gave his reasons, which are too lengthy for insertion. I sent for T– & heard the whole case & at length after telling innumerable lies he said he wished to speak to Marshall. We of course thought he was going to confess his crime, & so were very glad, thinking our business in the matter would end here – but not so. Instead of confessing he seems to have told Marshall that we were unjustly making him answer to charges of which he was innocent. Marshall sent for me & I gave him the true account, reading off the evidence which I had taken down on paper. The consequence was that he had T– in with him for a couple of hours, at the end of which he had confessed to both stealing the money & the watch. After progress we were surprised to hear that Marshall had sent for T–‘s hat and that he had gone down to the cloisters. Of course we thought he had gone to the Dean but it turned out the next morning that he had hidden the watch in a hole in Fighting “Green”. He was expelled, or rather taken away privately, & now I think we may be quite sure we have no more prigs. So much for T–. But we had not finished the matter. Marshall called the first four of us into his room the next day & instead of thanking us for doing out best to clear up this mystery, began by telling us that looking into the fellows by telling us that looking into the fellows drawer was illegal, & that we ought to have brought the case to him sooner. Now we thought this very hard for without us the thief would never have been found out, & as for its being illegal to search the drawers, it was done with the consent of everyone, as a means to clear them of all suspicion. I hope to God such a case may never happen again in the house, but if it does, I strongly advise the head of the house to have nothing to do with any investigations whatsoever, but leave Marshall to find out for himself.

E.R. Dowdeswell

   Prin. Opp.

No 26

Hardly a week had elapsed after the last row when Scott asked me to inquire among the fellows, about a thermometer of his which he had lost from its place by his desk up school. Now it happened that a boy named T had been seen with a thermometer the night before the loss of Scott’s was perceived. I of course turned to him first, & asked where his thermometer was.  He said that he had broken the bulb to get the mercury. I told him to bring me the wooden part, which he declared he had lost, but afterwards produced. There was only one other in the house, so I took them both up school & tried them in the place where Schott’s had been. One only fitted. That was T–‘s. I then asked him where he had got it from. He said that he had brought it from home, that his father had bought it!! & given him one. This was a palpable lie, so I took the thermometer to Scott, who immediately identified it. T– was sent for & after telling several lies at last confessed to have taken it down to look & to have been afraid of putting it back, for fear any should see him. Scott flogged him in the library, merely for telling lies, judging, & I think fairly, that he intended to put it back, only had not the moral courage. This is another instance of the gentlemanly spirit which exists at Westminster at the present day.

E.R. Dowdeswell

   Prin. Opp.