No. 118

There had been for some time a discussion, concerning fagging, tanning and other matters connected with the discipline of the Seniors. The result of this discussion was that the following new rules were drawn up:-

Rules for Discipline.

  1. Authority to be committed to Seniors in College VIth Form Town boys, & Head-boy of Boarding Houses on the nomination of the House Master; but no boys under the age of 16 yrs. or below the VIth Form, to hold authority except for some special reason.
  2. Each Boy before he is invested with authority, shall sign a promise in a book kept by the Head Master, as follows: “I promise to observe the rules of the School, as recognised by the Masters to the best of my ability: and to do all in my power to secure their observance by others.”
  3. No authority can be delegated to any boy not invested with it by the Head Master; but as heretofore, in the absence of any regular authority the Head boy present is responsible and bound to keep order, and report offences to Head Boy of the House or the Head Town Boy.
  4. No severe punishment shall be used except for grave moral offences, such as falsehood, dishonesty, impurity, profanity, bullying, resorting to public houses or other improper places, drinking or smoking, contumacious defiance of authority, or breach of rules after warning given.
  5. Before any such punishment is inflicted, the case shall be brought before the whole body of those entrusted with authority (in College or) in the boarding houses & decided on by a majority of those present: who shall also be bound to see that no undue severity is used.
  6. No instrument of corporal punishment shall be used, other than a cane or a light stick.
  7. In any such case, if the offender demand it, he is to be allowed the option of having that whole matter reported by the Captain or Head Town Boy to the Head Master.


It is to be hoped that in the consequence of the promulgation of these rules, there will be no more disputes between master & heads of houses, about tanning &c, which have been so numerous in past times.

Oswell Macleay

Prin. Opp.

No. 55

It will be seen on looking back to Arts. 38 and 47 that in March 1863 Scott decided that no Townboys in the Under Remove should have power to fag. In July 1863 he reversed that decision but gave no written order. Mr Marshall refused to allow the Under Remove Townboys in his house to fag. So in November I went to Scott about it and in February 1864 he gave me a written order of which the following is a copy.

“In respect of the rules made Oct. 1860 the arrangement of forms having since been altered and the under Remove formed, the Rule is henceforth to be

  1. That the right of fagging belongs to Townboys in the VIth form and Upper and Under Remove, provided they are above 16 years of age.
  1.  That no Townboy who is in (or above) the Upper Shell shall be liable to be fagged.” Chas B. Scott Feb. 1864”

I have put the order in Scott’s writing in the box in which these ledgers are kept.

F. P. Tomlinson

Prin. Opp.

No. 47

On Monday the 11th June I went to Scott, in pursuance of a determination formed last Half – and asked him to allow the Under Remove to fag, urging several reasons, and among others, the small number of Townboys then having the power of fagging, and the necessity of keeping up discipline among the smaller fellows, and of giving the Town Boys a fair weight & influence in the upper part of the School, to counteract the (I am sorry to say) increasing predominance of the Q. S. S. He behaved very well in the matter, said that he was sorry to find so few Town Boys in the Upper part of the School, but had been endeavouring to remedy it, by awarding the absurd rules (his own words) brought him last Half, & that, had not Dowdeswell objected most strongly, he should then have allowed this fagging to continue. He took about a fortnight to consider, and then gave his formal assent to the Under Remove fagging & enjoying the same privileges as the Upper.

F. Bandinel

Prin. Opp.


No. 38

I have copied Scott’s rules almost word for word, only changing such words as are offensive to a Westminster’s ears such as “head of a house” instead of “Captain” as he had written it, & “picking up” instead of “picking up balls at the fives court”. N. B. The Rules in his own handwriting with his signature affixed are in the box with the former ones of the same kind.

At a meeting of Townboys in the VIth L Remove & Upper Elections the following resolutions were proposed and agreed to. (Phillimore in the chair). By Dowdeswell (Prin. Opp.). That

  1. Town Boys in the Sixth & Upper Division of the Remove only have the power of fagging.
  2. That Townboys in the Under Division of the Remove & the Upper Shell are exempt from fagging but have no power to fag; except in the case of a boy who is head of a house.
  3. That no boys above the under Vth Form nor any in the first eleven of cricket or football, or in the eight, be liable to be called to pick up – (by Besly QS).

These rules have been made under the following circumstances. When the extra form (the Under Remove) was made (vid. article in this ledger) it was never properly decided whether the Under Remove were to be considered equal with the Upper, & in consequence have the priviledge of fagging.

Well – As long as there were big fellows in the form it was all very well, & no one cared to moot the question, but this half year there is but one big fellow & he is going into College at Whitsuntide. Now the question was, whether it was better for the school that the little fellows should fag who could not maintain their authority, & that a minor candidate should fag who would himself be fagged, during the next year as a junior. The meeting decided in the negative and drew up some rules; wh. with Scott’s modifications I have inserted above. No 3. was thought necessary because, on the Under Remove being small, all the forms were of course put up a step, the old Upper Shell becoming Under Remove, & Under Shell, upper &c. The consequence of this was of course to upset the working of Scott’s former rules (vid. art. 569 in the old ledger) wherein he forbids any boy above the Upper IVth to be called to pick up. But those who were then called the Upper IVth are now named Under Vth, & thus a whole form (nearly 20 fellows) become exempt from picking up, wh. was quite contrary to the spirit of the rules. I proposed the clause about the eleven & eight being exempt from picking up because (as will be seen by looking back to the above mentioned article) the whole question about picking up was raised by a fellow in the eleven being tanned for refusing to pick up. Some people say that I have not stuck up sufficiently for the T. B. in this matter, but I have done what I thought my duty in keeping things as they were, never, since the School began, have more than two forms fagged among the Town Boys, & I do not see why it should be broken through now, when we are only 130 strong. As to my taking away the Under Remove’s priviledges I say, that though their fagging was winded at it was never formally acknowledged, & therefore could not be taken away.

E. R. Dowdeswell

Prin. Opp.

No 32*

I have decided to post this entry, No 32*, after No 44 which appears to be its rightful place – ECW 08/03/2016

The papers from which this number is copied having for some time lain loose in this book I have thought it right to copy them into it for the benefit of posterity.  As no exact date is applied to them the list of the Sixth has been my guide as to the place for their insertion, the names of some who are mentioned in them, being in the list mentioned.

C. Osborn Head Boarder


About the middle of October 1821 a proceeding was set on foot, which as it maybe of importance hereafter it has been thought fit to transcribe.  It had been the immemorial privilege of the Sixth Form of West. to conduct among themselves, and determine, by their own voice, alone (and which power was acknowledged by Dr Page the late Head Master) (vide No. 7) everything relating to fagging.  To the astonishment of the whole body Mr Knox (the Usher of Mrs Du Brieux) gave out regulations relating to shoe blacking, cleaning candlesticks, knives etc none of which (as his orders [professed] to imply) were after Michaelmas day, to be done by the fags.  Upon this being communicated to the Sixth Form it was settled that the Prin Op should mention to Dr Goodenough their wish that some security should be given them that he should proceed no farther in such alterations.  Before this communication was made to him he told part of the Sixth to come to his house to hear something for their benefit, on their going thither he entered at full length upon the business and asked them their opinion on the point and on their disinclination being made known to him, he paid no attention to it whatsoever.  Great dissatisfaction was felt through the school but no further proceedings were instituted till the following Monday when a Committee was appointed to consider the case consisting of the following members – Mansel [P. Op] Morgan Mrs Stelfoxes Phillpotts, Wood Mrs Bests Wyld, Maurice Mrs Grants Shell Monk, Paget, Barton, Tryon, Dowdeswell jr Ridley.

It was then submitted to them that Mr Knox had forbidden the use of Blacking Brushes, Jack baskets or even potatoes the night before. Upon this it was resolved that a remonstrance signed by all the Upper School should be given to Dr Goodenough that if he paid no attention to their wish that no Sixth Fellow should take leave of him, on leaving, that no fellow should touch his hat to him, the other Masters or particularly Knox.  The remonstrance afore mentioned was ordered to be prepared which was to the following effect –

We the undersigned protest against the alterations which Dr Goodenough is making, against the system of fagging, merely on the ground of having no security against further innovation and we are of opinion that the Princeps Oppidanus, should request Dr Goodenough to give his promise to that effect —  On Tuesday these papers were brought into School, signed, but just before they were to be given up – two or three of the sixth withdrawing their names, the whole sixth! followed their example – it was too much odium to throw upon the shell alone and therefore the remonstrance was dropped, previous to this however, Mr Knox called in Mansel and told him, that he must be cautious how he acted in this affair, that he was watched, and that he (Mr Knox) was convinced that Mansel intended to oppose both Masters and Ushers, and that he should recommend Dr Goodenough expel him on the spot. But after some time, said that he would not mention it to Dr G – if Mansel would promise not to say, that he (Mr Knox) had threatened him, which was accordingly promised, the conversation (tho’ not with whom) being mentioned, it was determined that Mansel could proceed no farther with safety – things were in this situation when the lists were deprived of the names of the 6th. It was then thought right to ask Dr G – to allow the head of the Boarding houses to wait on him, at 12 o’clock – which he readily assented to, they first represented to him that the school were desirous for a promise to be made , and  that he would endeavour no further to alter the rules of fagging, in any way whatever – to wh[ich] he answered, that he could not fetter himself in anyway whatever, that he had no intention however remote, of doing so, but that still he left himself the discretion, if he found it necessary to use it.  That with respect to Mr Knox in his Boarding House, he could give no redress.  That if Mr Knox had used improper language, it would afford us an excellent opportunity of exhibiting an example of forbearance. At this time a report was spread by some fellows at Mrs Du Brieux’s that Mr Knox had ordered the maids to tell him whenever they saw anything boiling at the Kitchen Fire – Previously to this Mr Knox had told Mansel that now it would be a double crime in him (Mansel) as Prin Op if he interfered in any of the rules of the house. This naturally acted as a preventative to Mansels’ making any more objections, at this stage of the business it was determined that Dr Goodenough should be hissed, upon entering the school early in the morning, but an agreement being made overnight that Mansel should not but that Morgan 2dTB should represent first to Dr G – the pitch to which the feelings of the fellows were roused, this was accordingly done, Mansel having been requested, not to proceed any farther and an appointment made for 12 o’clock it was then agreed that all plans agreed on before- should be suspended till then. Upon Morgan’s going to Dr G he repeated his former communication merely adding that if any boy at Mrs Du Brieux’s had a complaint to make, he would hear it (which consent, under existing circumstances, was considered nearly equivalent to a refusal) – Telling Morgan at the same time, that Mansel had wisely withdrawn himself, and that he placed himself in a very responsible situation, this threat, in terrorem, caused Morgan to withdraw himself entirely and thus the succeeding part of the affair was managed by the Shell, to whom the greatest thanks is due for coming forwards readily on an occasion of so much importance, the answer of Dr Gs having thrown no light upon the subject it was resolved that he should be hissed  – it was accordingly done.  The whole school being drawn up in a semi-circle to receive him, on his entrance he was received with some very warm hissing, upon his commanding them to desist the hissing was still more vigorously repeated, at length exasperated he ordered some fellows by name to sit down in their places which being complied with, the rest followed.  After prayers the hissing was renewed, he more indignant ordered the monitor to stand at the door and not to let any one out and at the same time told every one who had a complaint to make to come out.  No one came out and thus the affair was dropped. About ½ past 5 the same evening Mr Knox requested the Sixth to wait on him which they did and he represented to them that he had no intention of doing away, with any part of fagging and desired Mansel to state, what innovations, Mr Knox had been making – an explanation then took place and after some abusive language from Mr Knox to Mansel, Morgan (who with the assistance of 3 others had acted as judge) expressed his opinion that Mr Knox had completely cleared himself of all the charges and that Mansel had perverted whatever Dr. G said into the most glaring colours possible.  Phillpotts immediately got up and said “Yes Sir, and I can prove it” Mr Knox then shook hands with them and wished them “Good night” and immediately afterwards Morgan sent the following letter to Mansel –


Upon mature consideration, I think it necessary to retract as false, and unfounded that which I said in Mr Knox’s apartment this evening.  Concerning your having perverted what Dr. Goodenough said in his house, to us, as I have very good reason for so going – I likewise request you will show this to Mr Knox and request him, not to mention anything about it to Dr. Goodenough as I certainly shall not substantiate it if by chance I should be called upon to do so.  I trust you will ever find my ready, when I have done an injury or said anything improper, to make ample reparation if you consider necessary let me have one.



(A copy agreably to his request, this letter was shown to Mr Knox the next morning, Dr G. told the heads of house to come to him, at their coming, he asked Morgan, if the was not satisfied, that Mr Knox had cleared himself about the rules, innovations &c to which he answered, “yes perfectly Sir” sentence of expulsion from office was then passed upon Mansel.  A charge was them immediately made against Morgan (44) in his own vindication by Mansel.  Mr Knox submitted his conduct to the investigation of the Shell against the wishes of Masters, Ushers &c. but the Sixth declined it, Mr Knox as a last response sent an official letter to Dr Goodenough and by the advice of the Dean it was determined that Mr Knox’s request should be agreed to, that he, Mr Knox, would not remain, if Mansel was not removed during the week other circumstances rendering it impossible for Mansel to go to any other house, and therefore his being about to leave Dr Goodenough, to prevent his leaving with any reflection on his character, restored him to his former station and placed him in the exercise of the official acts belong to it.

This is all that is contained in the manuscript alluded to.  Whether any other is missing, it is impossible to say.  No names is affixed to it and in some places it is almost impossible to decipher it.

Added by C.D. Osborn H Boarder

No 43

On Friday Septr 28th, 1821, Dr Goodenough called the head boys of the different boarding houses into his house, and told them that, as the school was much on the decline, being very thin, particularly the Under School & that the reason always assigned by persons for not sending their sons early to Westminster was, the objection they had to their son’s cleaning shoes & candlesticks – Which thing having been so often said before him by parents as their objections, in the present state of the school, he was obliged to take notice of these objections & if possible remove them by the following rule – But at the same positively assuring them, that he had not the most remote intention of abolishing fagging or making further alterations, as he saw nothing more objectionable – & that on the contrary he always upheld fagging –

The following is the rule or order which Dr G sent round to the Mistress of each boarding house –

“Order relative to the cleaning of shoes and candlesticks &c &c &c in the boarding houses –

“The Mistress of each boarding house will immediately provide a person to clean the shoes of all the boys in her house upon the following terms –

Each boy will be charged 5s.3d per quarter & will be entitled to have two pairs of shoes cleaned daily – the boys in the sixth form will be entitled to three pairs – the management will clean one pair of candle sticks for each room.

In any house where the number of boys does not exceed 30, the Head Master will give £15 from the school fund per annum in order to make up the payment to the shoe cleaners.

No boy in any part of the school may clean either shoes, candle sticks, grates, hearths or fire irons – If he is made to do so, the Head Master must be informed of it – the grates, Hearths & fire irons are to be properly cleaned & left in decent order by the servants of the house –

Septr 28, 1821, E. Goodenough

Which rule after a few remonstrances, & a little hesitation, was agreed to, & accordingly put in force after Michaelmas Day –

C.O.S Morgan Prin. Opp.

No 7

In February 1817 a dispute arose between the Town Boys and King Scholars. The second election in the Sixth insisted on taking a fag (when out of school) before the Shell, which the Town Boys opposed alledging that no Senior even was allow’d a Fag, but as a matter of favour from the Head Boy – After a long war of words – the Town Boys received the following letter-

to the TB-

“The Kings Scholars desire Bennett (the head Boy of De Brieux[1] in which house the dispute originated) instantly to give Biscoe (King Scholar in the second election) back his fag, as they sufficiently proved his right, although the T.B. would not be convinced. If this is not immediately attended to the K.S will be under the disagreeable necessity of using a different kind of argument, more convincive and perhaps not quite so palatable to Bennett, as they consider it an insult not only to Biscoe but to the whole of their community”

The following answer was immediately return’d-

to the K.S.-

“The Town Boys beg leave to inform the King Scholars that they are not to be intimidated by the dread of those convincing arguments mentioned in their letter; they will take care to guard against any violence intended to Bennett, by supporting him, and defending their rights to the best of their abilities.

The Town Boys being resolute in maintaining their rights the matter was  referred to Dr Page (Head Master) who gave his opinion as an individual that the K.S being a distinct body from the T.B. had no right to fag them. This opinion the K.S rejected and commenced open hostilities with the T.B. But in the end Dr Page provoked by the conduct of the K.S gave a positive command not only as an individual but as Head Master, that no King Scholar should attempt to fag a Town Boy.

C.E. Walker HB TB

Charlotte de Brieux

[1] Mrs. Charlotte Driffield, Dame of 1 Dean’s Yard circ. 1805-1822 married the Chevalier de Brieux