On June 7th 1844 the King of Saxony came to view the interior of Westminster Abbey; on which occasion School broke up at ¼ to 5 but the reason was not much known, or the circumstance observed in the School, & I myself did not know it, until told it afterwards at the Fields. Dr Williamson was introduced and also two of the QS who happened to be aware of his coming & went into the Abbey at the time Dr Williamson said “he has asked a Holiday for you” & consequently a week was expected but not obtained – & instead thereof we had an Early Play – Worse than ever!
J. Preston O.P.
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.
Among the principal events relating to Westminster this year, The Dean, Dr. Ireland died, at an advanced age, Sept. 8th 1842. He was succeeded by Dr. Turton, formerly Regius Professor of St. Catherine’s Hall, Cambridge. The late Dean, as it was said, left £60,000, out of which he did not leave the least trifle to Westminster, although most of it was acquired from his Deanery there; but strange to say, left £2,000 to Kings College with wh. he could have had nothing to do whatever. He was Dean of Westminster somewhat more than 25 years. Dr. Turton was installed into his office Nov. 8th and Williamson gave us a late play in consequence.
*Dr. Turton was before he came to Westminster Dean of Peterborough, & Dr. Ireland was, I understand, a director of Kings College wh. may in some measure accord for his extraordinary behaviour. It would however, I think have been scarcely amiss if he had in some way endeavoured to profit Westminster, a place where he got all his money, which he might easily have done and still left Kings College a handsome legacy.
Added by J. Preston Op.
This Dean not having been a Westminster was without a precedent then, not now I am sorry to say. I hope all who see this and have hereafter a voice in the election of a Dean of Westminster may suggest to the Primate’s notice the propriety of a Westminster again filling that station as no other persons can be supposed to take an interest in welfare of the school so warmly as an old Westminster would do.
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.
The Musical Festival in the Abbey July 2nd 1838
At this Festival as at the 2 last seats (by the favour of the Committee of Management were allowed to the whole school in the place were the T.B. sat during the Coronation. Williamson granted us a late play for the purpose and we took our seats about ¼ before 12. The whole concluded about 4.
G.F. Bentinck Prin: Opp.
The Coronation June 28th
At this Coronation as at the two former seats were appointed to the T.B. to view the august ceremony in the South East aisle close to the Peers seats. We took our seats about 8 o clock in the morning and the whole was concluded about 4 o clock. The next day being a Saints day general leave out was given.
G.F. Bentinck Prin: Opp.
In consequence of the Musical Festival, His Majesty was pleased to increase our Bartholomewtide Holydays, by the addition of a week to them.
Musical Festival in the Abbey – June 24th-26th-28th July
At this Festival, as at the former one, the whole school had seats in the Abbey. These seats were in the Quoir, and from them little or nothing of the company could be seen, but the music was heard to great advantage. We took our seats at about half past eleven, and the music ended at a little after four.
The Dean having received a most gracious communication from his Majesty expressive of his entire satisfaction at the arrangements made in the Abbey for the Coronation, was pleased to give us an extra week’s holiday this Xmas in token of his approbation of the conduct of the Westminsters during that ceremony –
The Coronation Sept. 8th 1831
At this Coronation as at the last seats were assigned to the whole School Townboys as well as King-Scholars to witness the ceremony. Those allotted to us were separate from the KS and close to the Peers seats in the south transept; in full view of the thrones though not of the alter. We took our seats about ½ past 7 in the morning: the ceremony concluded about 4 o’clock. Leave was given for the sixth and shell to go out from 8 to 10 in the evening to see the fireworks and illuminations.