No 319

A misunderstanding having arisen in the School as to whether W. Green was to be considered head Town-boy because, although he had entered the sixth previous to me I had taken him in the next examination, Green & myself looked carefully over the Ledger and finding it was not without a precedent, it was agreed that I was properly entitled to be considered Head Town-boy.

C.F.L West O.P.

I have understood now from the Masters as well that the Head TB being a boarder is head also of the HB

C.F.L West

No 300

On Octr 31st 1844 during the time usually occupied in playing at Football the Ball having bounded repeatedly over the railings of the Green, was at last detained by the assembled ‘scis without; nor was until some sharp blows had been given & received that the Ball was again forcibly restored. After the game was finished a fight arose in Bowling Street between a Fourth Town Boy of the name of Green & a ‘Sci about his own size, a crowd soon collected near the spot, & there being but few Westminsters there, & but one Sixth Fellow (a Town Boy) it was deemed necessary to send off for a detachment of certain T.B.s and QSs assembled at Shottons who immediately were on the spot the dispute or rather fight ending in nothing at all, the disturbance temporarily died away and would have done so entirely had not a “surly quarrelsome Irish superintendant”* of Police collared a Town Boy (Andrewes) & proceeded to menace him with “divers thumps in sundry places”. This he at any rate did not prove his right to carry into execution, but during the time he was arguing with Andrewes, some Beer was obtained & drank by several of us. This he took hold of & in lieu of something better, informed Dr. Williamson of the fact. *Eight of us next day were called in & accused of disorderly conduct & language, by the Doctor, & acquitted with the exception of the one who had meddled with the Porter who got *100 lines. The Question being then put to Dr. Williamson, as to what was the proper manner of proceeding in such circumstances, the undermentioned answer was given. For in the present instance, if we did not act, we were liable to be insulted; & if we did resent injury, to be taken up “That if an aggression were made by a ‘sci upon a Westminster, & the matter terminated in fighting, in case it were brought before him, he should take no steps to punish. That in case he was violating the laws of the land, & breaking the peace; his authority would not be recognised as sufficient to protect him. That now Dean’s Yard, the cloisters & even the Abbey itself were put under the hands of the Police; if he himself were quieting a row, which was going on before his own doors, & the Police were to interfere, he could not prevent their taking up even a Q.S. – That if a ‘sci attacked a Westminster & a fight ensued, he could not expect other Westminsters to stand quietly by, & that if he (the ‘sci) got a licking, he richly deserved it; yet that as gentlemen the Westminster ought to withdraw from & avoid rather than excite & encourage such disturbances. That fighting amongst each other was not allowed by the rules of the School, although where it was not of serious character it was not interfered with, & that if the authorities complained to him he must stop it. At the same time that he professed his willingness to lay the case before, the Superintendants’ (Lowies) superiors if we thought we had been unfairly dealt with. That there always was some little difficulty attending these matters, but that we must accommodate ourselves to matters as far as we could. That if a Westminster of inferior size were defended by one of a superior size against one ‘sci or more, & that one or more of his opponents were threshed at the time or even one or two days afterwards, he thought the law could not take hold of it, but if after a greater interval of time he thought it could. That in the present case he would be content with receiving from each an assurance that he individually did not behave himself with impropriety, & would proceed to punish any one no further” Which assurance we each did give him. I felt satisfied that Dr Williamson had done us justice & to use his own expression had fairly and equitably considered and decided upon the case in point.

I have taken so much space up for this insertion knowing that such things as this frequently occur & I thought it might be useful to refer to hereafter.

*Alluding to the character he bore among the force, as another Policeman informed us.

*The names were
J. Preston T.B Sixth
G. Gillett T.B. Sixth H.B.
C.G. Andrewes T.B. Sixth
W. Green T.B. Upper Shell H.B.
F. Cooper Q.S. Senior
A. Merewether Q.S. Senior
C.R. Bedford Q.S. 3d Election
D. Markham Q.S. 3d Election

*of which 50 were let off

No 287

It never has been, in my remembrance, not as far as I can understand in the remembrance of any other Sixth T.B. To have any Holiday Task set at Whitsuntide Holidays but this year, May 10th 1844 Dr. Williamson gave us a subject as unusual “Nelsonis Columna” to compose a set of verses on by after the vacation; 3 weeks 3 days. And when reasoned with on the subject still persisted in his mistake. His answer was that “if a Holiday Task was not set, by me, it was so by accident, as it is quite usual to set a Holiday Task at Whitsuntide, as it is at any other time. The exemption from Holiday Task in the past of the QS is because they are obliged to stay over the 3 or 4 days for their Election”. Now Holiday Tasks in my humble opinion are under any circumstances, most disgraceful imposition on, but most especially in the present instance, where the master is decidedly making an innovation. I suppose now it will be continued, but I dare say not without another attempt to convince Dr. Williamson of his mistake.

J. Preston O.P.

No 281

Soon after the Bartholomewtide Holidays a fellow by name G.O. Edwards, being detected smoking in a Tobacconists shop by Williamson, he was accordingly put down 4 places in his Election, & also received a long imposition. Several other instances have late by occurred; the first on record is, I believe, No 103 of this Ledger. G.O. Edwards was however restored after Xmas 1844.

No 267

I shall here take it upon me to relate an incident wh. though trivial in itself may nevertheless be deemed worthy of insertion. It chanced that 2 of the smaller Townboys, Nicholson and Chambers having quarrelled resolved to end their differences in the Fighting Green. Whilst the Fight was going on a man by name Owen; who called himself the Head Constable, chose to come down and endeavour to put an end to the fight; but we, conceiving he had no right to interfere pushed him and 2 of vergers by whom he was attended out of the Green, whilst one of the Queen’s Scholars emptied the contents of a pitcher full of water over his person, upon wh. he withdrew and the fight went on. But not long after he came again, and being again defeated in his attempts to interrupt the fight, he departed and informed Williamson, upon whose approach we were obliged to decamp, and the fight of course was stopt. Williamson took no further notice of it than by making the combatants shake hands, and thus put an end to the matter.

Wm Spurway
Prin. Opp.

No 265

At the beginning of the Summer half 1842 Williamson made the following new rules –

1st That all home boarders should go to the Abbey with the boarders every Saints Day.

2d That if a Saints Day should fall on a Saturday or Monday there shd be no leave out on those days i.e. No leave out till after church on Saturday & till 10 o’clock on Monday morning.

3dly That the Easter Holidays shd be taken away except Good Friday.

4thly To make amends for these holidays being taken away the half should always commence on the Thursday instead of the Monday as formerly, there by giving us an extra 3 days at the end of every holidays.

N.B. The 5th of November & Ash Wednesday will remain holidays as usual.

W.G. Andrewes
Prin. Opp.

No 263

March 1 – 1842

A quarrel between the TB & QSS which lasted some time began this day in consequence of Beasley a Bishops’ Boy in the Sixth having licked a Second Election.*

The facts are as follows –

The Captain* having head that this fellow in the 2d Election has been licked, sent to Beasley saying that he wished to speak to him. He went accordingly alone and unarmed, not the least suspecting what the QSS were about to do. When he arrived at College doors the Captain met him & hit him several times with a stick. Most of the QSS were there ready as they said afterwards to set on Beasley if the Captain had not been sufficient of himself with his stick to lick his unarmed enemy whose only offence was wearing a purple gown instead of a black one. But Beasley seeing about 30 to 1* thought it better to refer to Williamson at once & after a great deal of palaver & bother it ended in the Captain sending an apology to the Head of the T.B. Peace was now nominally restored, but the QSS refused to have Beasley in the boat which was to race with Eton which again occasioned a deal of quarrelling & letters were sent to Eton to say that the boat which was preparing to race them was not the Westminster proper boat unless Beasley rowed in it.
Several letters appeared in Bell’s Life upon the subject but as Beasley was taken ill about a week before the reach took place it at once put an end to any doubt concerning his rowing in the boat.

W.G. Andrewes Prin. Opp.

* W.K.R. Bedford, but who stepped in [&] impeded him whilst running after some other Boy.
G. Preston

It was not however Bedford’s fault at all that this disgraceful occurrence came to such a height, but of some other Under Election.

* He had offered to fight anyone of them on the spot, singly, but as in all probability they did consider themselves a match whilst alone, they preferred the unfair and disgraceful way related here.

No 240

On the “Chairing day” before Whitsuntide, 1840, an event occurred, which, as it maybe useful or entertaining to those who may hereafter read this Ledger, I have thought right to notice.  Mr Bentall, usher of the fifth, who, either deservedly or not, had been for some time past very unpopular amongst the fellows in general, having been hissed for some years past on the same occasion, and fearing a repetition of it this year, asked Williamson to use his authority in order to prevent it.  In consequence, on the afternoon of that day Williamson (with Bentall), happening to meet several TBs and KSs walking down to the water, stopped them and gave public notice, that whoever hissed, or caused to hiss, Bentall, would be immediately expelled.  Upon this, the fellows, who, had not before much idea of hissing, gave it up, as it was thought, entirely.  The first and second rounds, none, or hardly any, hissing took place; and the fellows only laughed at him, as he was standing at the window.  The third round, however, Lambard and Ogle, 2 third election fellows, with Merewether and Cocks, 2 second election, either heated with wine, or from some other cause, hissed and abused him for some time as loud as possible.  Bentall, who of course distinctly saw them, called them all in to his house, and declared his intention of showing their names up to Williamson.  He also called in Richards, a senior and some others, saying that they ought not to have allowed the fellows to hiss him.

At first some fears were entertained for the fellows, but on going into school next morning; it was only supposed that they would have a heavy imposition.  Immediately after prayers, however, Williamson called up Ogle and Lambard, charged them with hissing, and abusing Bentall; and ended by sending for the monitor in order to flog them.  Upon ordering Ogle (as first in his election) to take off his college waistcoat &c he refused, not wishing to cast such disgrace on his election.  Lambard followed his example, notwithstanding they were urged to the contrary by Williamson, on account of their being on the foundation.  They continued to refuse and were in form expelled by Williamson from school he hitting them both across their shoulders with the rod, as they were walking down!  The fellows of course were much astonished, being taken by surprise, though, after the public notice that Williamson had given the evening before, it must be confessed that it was not much a matter of surprise.  Ogle, however, was sent back by his father to receive, unavoidably, a flogging.  Williamson nevertheless, denying the same privilege to Lambard, (if indeed he had been so inclined), alledging his previous bad character as a reason. Merewether and Cocks, being under elections, were flogged.

It is much to be regretted that the fellows should have been induced to hiss Bentall as passing by his windows in silent contempt (if he deserved it) in contrast to the cheers which they bestowed on Grant’s would have annoyed him quite as much as any noisy mark of disapprobation and it is to be lamented that they did not consider that in its present alarmingly low state; Westminster could ill bear their expulsion.  It ought to be mentioned that the year before, some fellows that hissed Bentall had only 150 lines to learn.  The difference of the punishments, may be accounted for by the notice which Williamson gave on the previous afternoon.

M.F. Osborn Prin. Opp.