To the great grief of all connected with Westminster, Lady Augusta Stanley, after a very long and tedious illness, died at the deanery on the evening of March . She was buried in Henry VII chapel at the express request of the Queen. Her funeral took place on Thursday March 9th, the Rev. Lord John Thyme officiating. Among the spectators were the Queen, Princess Beatrice, Princess Louise, Duke of Westminster, Earl and Lady Elgin, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Duke of Argyle and many other distinguished guests. There were places for twenty of the Q.S.S in the procession, and a small number of T.B.B were admitted as spectators.
The Westminster boys subscribed for a wreath of Camellias and Lilies of the Valley to be placed on her tomb.
We were supplied by a stand, set up near Poet’s Corner, from which to see the Queen’s progress to open Parliament. The stand however went to smash, but luckily no one was much injured.
The school confirmation took place on Sat. Jul 8th in Henry VIIth Chapel when a good many T. B’s and as usual the third elections were confirmed by the bishop of Winchester.
H.R.H. Prince Albert came down to the Abbey on the 6th of May. The masters and boys received him as he came out, forming a line from Jerusalem Chamber to his carriage at the archway.
A new regulation has been made by Mr Liddell, that once every month all the school should attend Abbey (on Sunday) at eight o’clock in the morning, when he or some other of the masters deliver a sermon exclusively to the fellows in the school, no one else being admitted. This new plan was begun on the second of June but omitted for some reason of his own in July.
Monday Oct. 28th 1844 being the Feast of St. Simon & St. Jude was observed by attendance at the Abbey during morning service. But it was also the opening day of the New Royal Exchange which the Queen was to open in person. Dr Williamson therefore gave the Sixth Form leave to see the procession return from 12 till ½ past 1 & from ½ past 1 till ½ past 5 which permission was of course taken advantage of. Leave out was granted to some from Saturday noon to Monday night limited of course to throw who had invitations, & refused to others. Most however if not nearly all the Boarders had leave up Town during the day. The procession on its return disappointed many as the Queen did no come back in state.
On Saturday Oct. 25th 1844 Dr Wordsworth Head Master of Harrow was installed as a prebend of Westminster Abbey in the room of three others. We had a late Play in consequence.
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.