Bishop of Bath And Wells, 1808-1897
It seems to me but a very
little while ago that I was sitting down to make out a list of Vestry
Meetings from the earliest times to put into the last number of the
Wedmore Chronicle, with the intention of bringing out several more numbers
in quick succession. But somehow since that last number came out seven
years have slipped by, and none of those intended numbers have been
written. In fact, the intervals between one number of this Chronicle
and the next have often been so long that it is' wonderful how a second
volume has ever been reached at all. And I think that the having to
choose between so many subjects connected with the history of the parish
is much more responsible for those intervals than any lack of subjects
or material. There is no lack of that. If there was little choice, one
would take what there was and sit down to it at once. But when there
is so much choice, one hesitates between this, that and the other, and
while one is hesitating weeks ans months and years slip by.
During this last interval
of seven years my father has finished his earthly course. I put his
portrait into this number of the Chronicle. It will not be foreign nor
out of place there. As Bishop of this Diocese, as patron of this living,
as one who was a frequent visitor here and took a great interest in
the place, both in its present and in its past, both in its people and
in its history, his portrait will not be out of place here. I will just
add a few dates and facts.
My father was born August
20 th, 1808, at his father's London house, No. 6, St. James' Square.
That house was built for a member of our family, a certain John Hervey,
in the reign of King Charles II., more than two hundred years ago, and
has been owned by the family ever since. When first built it was in
fields outside of London; it is now right in the very middle of London,
so great has been the extension of London on every side. I daresay there
are few villages where some family has not owned the same house or field
for two hundred years; but in London the changes are so enormous that
this cannot happen often. My father was born in the original house,
the first house that ever stood on the site, but that house was shortly
afterwards pulled down by my grandfather and the present one built on
My father's father was Frederick
William Hervey, fifth Earl of Bristol, and first Marquis of Bristol.
Though the title was taken from Bristol, yet there was no connection
whatsoever with that place nor with the West of England, the family
being a Suffolk one for now over four hundred years. Nowadays when a
man is made a peer and takes a title, he takes it from some place with
which he is somehow connected. But at one time it was the custom to
take any title that had lately become extinct, connection or none. There
were Digbys, Earls of Bristol, from 1622 to 1698; then they came to
an end, and my father's great great grandfather, John Hervey, being
made an Earl just afterwards, that lately extinct title was chosen for
him. I suppose it did as well as any other, but it would have been more
sensible to have taken one from the part of England with which he was
connected, and not from the part with which he had no connection.
My grandfather was born in
1769, and died in 1859, being at his death only a few months short of
ninety years of age. In his younger days he had been a violin player,
and when at College about 110 years ago had often sat up of nights playing
with Canning, who was afterwards a great statesman and Prime Minister.
That violin he gave me when I was a very small boy, and I can recollect
performing before him.
He had nine children, six
sons and three daughters, who grew to maturity, and all but one have
The eldest, Frederick William,
1800 to 1864, was in the House of Commons till his father's death; he
was a Peelite, i.e., a Conservative who became convinced of the iniquity
of the Corn tax and followed Sir Robert Peel. He was a most excellent
man, with literary and archaeological tastes.
The second son, George, 1803
to 1838, was in the army.
The third son, William, 1805
to 1850, was in that profession on the top step of which is an Ambassador.
He did not reach the top step, as he died comparatively young, but he
was a man of very good abilities and character. He was also about the
best amateur tennis player (not lawn tennis) of his day.
The fifth son, Charles, 1814
to 1880, was a clergyman in Essex. His activity and nimbleness have
left an impression upon my mind. There was a very large larch tree in
my father's garden in Suffolk, with great branches sloping towards the
ground, and I have seen him run up it like a squirrel.
The sixth son, Alfred, 1816
to 1875, was in Parliament and held office at Court. He stood as a Conservative,
but sometimes gave a liberal vote, which caused him to fall between
two stools and lose his seat, first at Bury St. Edmunds, afterwards
at Brighton. His eldest son is a clergyman in Norfolk, and has the Prince
of Wales for a parishioner.
My father was the fourth
of these six sons, and the last survivor of his family. His three sisters,
Augusta, Georgiana and Sophia, married respectively Mr. Seymour, Mr.
Grey and Mr. Windham.
For five years, 1817 to 1822,
my grandfather and all his family lived abroad. On their return my father
was sent to Eton school, where Gladstone was amongst his schoolfellows.
Another schoolfellow, Colonel Pinney, of Somerton, in this county, has
just passed away at the age of ninety-one years. After leaving Eton
in December, 1826, my father went up to Trinity College, Cambridge,
where he was for over two years. By getting into the first class in
the Classical Tripos he gave proof of good abilities and much industry.
Letters written at this time by those who were over him speak very highly
of his character.
In 1832 he was ordained a
clergyman by the Bishop of Norwich, and immediately afterwards was appointed
by his father to the Rectory of Ickworth, in Suffolk. To make this appointment
possible he had to be ordained a priest within a month of being ordained
a deacon. This was an ecclesiastical irregularity at which he would
smile when he mentioned it in later life.
Ickworth was his first and
last parish, for he remained there as Rector from the time of his ordination
as deacon and priest in 1832 to the time of his ordination as Bishop
in 1869. He only left it when he left Suffolk and came into Somerset
to do the work of a Bishop. If he had not been made a Bishop and had
continued there till his death in 1894, he would have held it for the
long period of sixty-two years. I will therefore give some account of
Ickworth is in West Suffolk,
three miles from Bury St. Edmunds. It has been owned by the Hervey family,
and has been their place of residence for over four hundred years. They
first acquired it about 1470, coming there from Bedfordshire. The whole
parish lies within a park of about 800 acres, into which no public road
nor even a public path comes. Its great size, its beautifully undulating
ground, its, stately old oaks, and about seven hundred deer, all combine
to make it as lovely as anything of the kind can be. At the time of
my father's appointment to the Rectory the number of houses in the parish
was about ten, the population about sixty. It is still about the same.
Of these ten houses, one
was a gigantic big house begun by my great grandfather, who was an Irish
Bishop as well as an English Earl, Bishop of Derry. He died in 1803,
before the house was habitable; but by 1832 the building was sufficiently
advanced to enable my grandfather to move into it from the old mansion
a few hundred yards off The move was made just about the time when the
country was in a great state of excitement over the first Reform bill.
My grandfather was against Reform, and consequently had the windows
of his London house smashed. I am afraid that both sides sometimes smash
windows though I think the Tories are the worst at it.
This move into the new mansion
made the old one vacant, and it became my father's rectory.
The other eight houses were
cottages scattered about the park for gardeners and gamekeepers. There
was thus practically no village, i.e., no street, no school, no Rectory,
nothing but the park containing two big houses, a church and eight scattered
cottages. There had once been a small village, but that had been swept
away in the time of Queen Anne. Only a pond called Parson's pond remained
to mark where the Rectory had stood, and only an indentation in the
ground marked where the village street had been.
My father's house being the
former mansion was a better house than rectories often are, the rooms
being large and lofty. Thinking it too big for a clergyman, he had some
part of it pulled down when he first entered into it, though the arrival
of twelve children in the course of years made it necessary afterwards
to build again. There was a beautiful garden attached to it, though
it would have been no great hardship to have had no garden at all in
the middle of a park so private as Ickworth.
This is the place he came
to in 1832 as Rector, though not of course as a stranger, not for the
first time, for the days of his boyhood had been partly spent there.
He was then twenty-four years old and unmarried.
Ickworth Church stood close
by in the middle of the park; some parts of it were over six hundred
years old. There was but one bell in the tower, and that had an American
twang about it, as though it were crazed; but I must say that when I
lately heard again its familiar sound on a Sunday morning calling the
new big house and the old big house and the gardeners and gamekeepers
to come and worship together, I thought that its sound could not have
been more charming than it was.
In this Church there was
always a Sunday morning service, and of late years, during the summer
months, there was an evening service as well. The pleasant walk through
the park often brought people to it from the neighbouring villages.
A population of sixty, of whom about thirty were often in London or
elsewhere, does not provide much material for a choir, but my mother's
energy succeeded in getting some sort of a choir together which she
led and accompanied. Sometimes a harmonium was wheeled backwards and
forwards between our house and the Church, and sometimes my eldest sister
merely gave the starting note on a concertina, and my mother, who had
a powerful voice, carried it through. Of course I am speaking now of
things within my recollection, say after 1850, and not of things as
they were at my father's first coming in 1832.
Just outside the Churchyard
wall, as near as the Manor house here at Wedmore is to the Church, there
had formerly stood an old mansion which had been the residence of the
owners of Ickworth for several centuries; it preceded the later mansion
which had just (1832) become my father's house, just as that old house
preceded the new and present mansion. I use the word mansion in the
sense of a house occupied by the owner of the estate. About two hundred
years ago the oldest of the three mansions had been deserted and allowed
to fall to pieces; there is nothing of it now standing above ground
any more than there is at Court Garden, Mudgley. But the foundations
have been left in the ground not far below the surface, and in a dry
summer the grass over them gets burnt up, so that you may trace the
lines of the old house. Soon after coming to Ickworth as Rector, my
father had carried on some excavations there and had made out the plan
of the old house. That was before I can recollect. But I can recollect
when we children sometimes strolled up there with him, and grubbed about
and made small holes with our sticks and fingers, and sometimes unearthed
a big stone. And I recollect one occasion when I was grubbi.ng away
and making a small hole with a small finger and a small stick, my father
contrived to slip his gold ring in, so that I might come upon it suddenly
and think I had made a great discovery. I did come upon it suddenly,
but I don't think I was taken in. This is a very small incident, but
it helps to illustrate a feature in my father's mind and character,
which was to be seen all through life and in all that he did, viz.,
the combination of earnestness and lightness, or of seriousness and
humour. Nobody threw themselves into what they were about more seriously,
more earnestly, more thoroughly, than he did; whatever it was he was
doing he threw into it all he had; he could not do a thing half-heartedly,
or flippantly, or triflingly, or with half his power, or without caring
about the result; but at the same time he was never heavy or dry; be
always had a light touch, and was ready for any little joke or humour,
so long as the joke or humour did not interfere with the way in which
the thing was done.
Since those days I have made
other and deeper holes with stiffer fingers and stouter tools; those
other and deeper holes made here in this West of England have given
me much pleasure and caused much excitement; but none of them have caused
greater pleasure and excitement than those little childish ones made
in the east, when one was as it were going back into the chamber and
presence of one's forefathers, and treading the soil which had been
trodden by them, and hoping to pick up something which they had left
Such a parish as this, a
park with ten houses including his own and his father's, did not give
my father much scope for work within it. But he had other parochial
work. When he first came there the small neighbouring parish of Chedburgh
was united to Ickworth and held with it. He also held the Curacy of
another neighbouring parish, Horningsheath alias Horringer, and was
Chaplain to the Gaol at Bury St. Edmunds. After a time Chedburgh was
separated from Ickworth, and Horringer was united with it instead. From
1852 to 1869 he was Rector of Ickworth and Horringer.
Horringer lay just outside
Ickworth park pales; its Church stands on the village green, hard by
one of the park lodges; a part of the parish, though not of the village,
lay within Ickworth park. Two Churches implied at least three full Sunday
services in winter, and four in summer, which he and the Curate divided
between them. Week-day services and isolated celebrations of the communion
were scarce. Such things were less common then than they are now, and
I don't think my father had much sympathy with them. My mother played
the harmonium and also led the singing at every service in either Church,
except when there were two services at the same time, and then of course
she could not be at both. At first the Horringer school was the Horringer
choir; but after a time we got a little more ritualistic, and the school
children retired into a corner and a surpliced choir of men and boys
took their place. A great deal of pains was taken with this choir. My
mother was very fond of music, had a good voice and a good touch on
the piano, and was musical. My father was not musical; i.e., he had
that general intelligence and breadth of mind which made him see what
a valuable thing music was, and which made him anxious to promote it
everywhere, he had good taste and a perfectly correct ear, which made
him able to detect if anything was done in bad taste or out of tune,
and he had a bass voice, but he had nothing like a passion for music,
and he had a difficulty in learning the bass part of a simple chant
or hymn tune. I can hear him now at a choir practice learning his part
in a new tune, going all round the note, first a little above it, then
a little below it, when it seemed to me that the right note was so simple
and obvious that it was more difficult to miss it than to sing it. For
an hour or so before each service my mother would sit down before the
piano and play through the tunes over and over and over again; through
a space of thirty or forty years I have a distinct recollection of hearing
the tunes played through before service scores and scores of times,
so as to make sure of them. I don't suppose that this was really necessary,
as my mother was a good musician; but, like my father, she was not one
to do things flippantly, or carelessly, or by halves.
Sometimes now when I go to
a Church and hear the organist constantly blundering and playing wrong
notes, it brings to my mind those tunes I heard played through so often,
and I wish that all organists would be equally careful to avoid blunders.
If blunders must be made anywhere, it is much better that they should
be made in the voluntaries than in the accompaniments. Organists are
often not near careful enough about how they accompany. They accompany
too much, never letting the voices say a single syllable without them;
they accompany too loud, drowning instead of accompanying; they play
wrong chords, and think nothing of suddenly spurting and altering the
time. I am thankful that here in Wedmore we have nothing of that sort.
The accompaniment is always accurate and in good taste, and kept within
I cannot leave Ickworth and
Horringer without some allusion to its cricket club. My father never
played in a cricket match within my recollection, and I don't suppose
that he ever did so after being a clergyman, but he sometimes came out
and played for a short time with us boys. I recollect his action in
bowling. It was evidently the action of cricketers of his younger days,
seventy years ago or so. It was not overhand bowling, where the arm
goes right up as high as it can and bumps the ball down on the ground;
I am old enough to recollect that style coming in. It was not round
arm bowling, where the arm goes high enough to be at a right angle to
the body but no higher; that is an older style than the overhand; I
got into it forty years ago and have never got out of it, but I see
very few left in the field who bowl that way now, which reminds me that
it is time for me to give up. And it was not plain underhand. But it
was a sort of half-way between underhand and round arm, i.e., when the
ball was delivered the arm was about half-way between hanging straight
down and being at a right angle. It was delivered with a little jerk,
was of a medium pace, and there was a good break, though I don't recollect
now which way the break was.
Of course, amongst us boys
and the households of the two houses in the park there was constantly
cricket going on somewhere in the park or garden. But it was not till
after 1860 that we formed a regular Ickworth Club, and pitched upon
a spot in the park to play on which has the making of as fine a cricket
ground as any club could wish for, being a dead level, sheep-fed and
mown, with short grass and no trees in the way nor boundaries of any
sort. Such of my brothers and cousins as might be at home and a young
gamekeeper or two were all that Ickworth could supply for matches; Horringer
sent its schoolmaster and one or two others; no village team is complete
without a schoolmaster; my father's former parish of Chedburgh sent
a publican, a very keen and steady player; the West Suffolk Militia
Barracks at Bury St. Edmunds sent a sergeant or two; one of them, Horsley
by name, never missed a match; he was rather stout, but a very keen
and useful player; he was an old soldier, bronzed by long service in
India; he always walked in from Bury, arriving on the ground with military
junctuality, instead of that slovenly slip-shod disregard for time which
some cricketers seem to think is a part of the game. Sergeant Horsley
nearly always played for us, but I recollect one occasion when he played
against us; he hit a ball hard to square leg; my youngest brother, then
a very small boy, was standing short leg and received it full on the
forehead; he went down before it as a stump goes down when Kortright
or Richardson hits it, and ought to have been killed, but somehow was
not much hurt. If the ball had struck him a little more on one side
or the other the result would have been different. Since then I have
always thought that very small boys ought not to play with those much
older than themselves. The rest of our players in matches were young
gentlemen of the neighbourhood. We had a great many very pleasant matches
with little or no squabbling. The matches were always whole day ones,
beginning at eleven and drawing at seven, in the height of the summer.
I can only recollect one
squabble, and that was soon settled and over. We were playing a club
from Bury St. Edmunds, whose captain or secretary was one Neagus, a
painter by trade. There was a Militia sergeant (not Horsley) who had
been asked to play for both sides and had said yes to both. We found
this out just as we were going to begin. I was captain of the Ickworth
team, and Neagus and I proceeded to argue who should have the sergeant,
contending for him as Jannes and Jambres contended for the body of Moses.
My brother George was standing by, and seeing Neagus begin to get rather
angry called out, "Hot Neagus!" and then with his hands on
his knees laughed loud at his own joke. That did not make Neagus any
cooler. However, the matter was soon settled, and the match proceeded
very pleasantly and Neagus was most amiable. Neagus is a Suffolk name
that I have never met with elsewhere.
I must not forget our umpire.
He was an old man from Horringer, by name King. He knew the game thoroughly,
and was as fair and good an umpire as one could wish to have. Being
a poor man, we sometimes offered him a shilling for his trouble, but
he always refused it. He was on the parish, and according to the wise
rules of the Guardians in whose merciful clutches he was, if he had
occasionally added anything to what they allowed him he would have forfeited
his allowance altogether. One would have thought that they would have
been only too glad for him to have done so. But no, they forbad it.
Oh! the dense thickness of the heads which sometimes gather round long
tables and make rules for others! Why don't they put themselves in the
place of those for whom they are making rules? Would they then give
an old man 2/6 a week and forbid him to add an occasional sixpence to
it? They don't forbid sixpences being added if they are got by begging,
they only forbid their being earned! My only cause of quarrel with our
old umpire was when sometimes both sides agreed to shorten an interval
and get out to play at once. We might do so, but I believe he would
have gone to the stake and suffered martyrdom rather than go out one
minute too soon or one minute too late. He was a great stickler for
the exact letter of the law, and could not distinguish between those
rules in breaking which you only break the letter of the law, and those
in breaking which you break the spirit. The one may be broken if need
be, the other may not be broken. But that not being able to distinguish
between the two kinds of rules is a common thing, in cricket, in religion,
in many other matters.
My father had been pretty
good at high jumping. I have often heard him say that as a young man
he could jump up to the height of his chin. As he was 5 feet 10 inches
high, that was a very fair jump. But much more wonderful was the way
in which he retained his spring to a late time of life. Between our
house and the park there was a stout gate. I cannot say exactly when
I last saw him go over that gate, but I distinctly recollect seeing
him do so after I went to College, when he must have been close upon
sixty. I am sure that not one man in a million would at the age of sixty
have such a combination of pluck and spring, the one to send him at
that gate, and the other to carry him over it.
My father had been one of
the best amateur tennis players (real tennis) of his day. A small challenge
silver racket and chain, which was played for annually in London, was
won by him three years following, about seventy years ago, and so kept.
One of my brothers has it now. I have heard him say that his brother
William was rather better than himself, though they could play a good
game together. The game of real tennis is very little played or known,
there being so few courts. London, Oxford and Cambridge, have two or
three courts each, and there are about half-a-dozen private houses containing
one. The game is one that requires much head work as well as bodily
activity. As soon as my eldest brother was big enough to toddle my father
put a racket into his hand, and taught him to play a sort of tennis
on the lawn. This game we all constantly played at Ickworth long before
lawn tennis was invented. The fruit of the racket put thus early into
my eldest brother's hands was seen a few years afterwards in the fact
of his being one of the two players chosen to represent Cambridge against
Oxford. For some time after we came to Wells, and when he was long past
seventy, my father would come out for an hour or so and play a set of
tennis on the lawn. He kept his beautifully correct form as an old tennis
player to the last, and the severity of his strokes and the accuracy
of his return were simply wonderful. When he played he played, i.e.,
he played the proper game in a proper way, and with all his might; he
did not knock the balls about anyhow, or keep up a running conversation
all the time, as the manner of some is, but his whole attention was
given to the game, and any unnecessary interruption was resented. I
recollect an absurd thing once in his early days as Bishop. He was playing
tennis in front of the palace, and had just loudly called out the score,
"deuce," when an elderly clergyman was seen coming up to call.
Tennis was not so well known then as it is now, and my father hoped
that the clergyman would not go about telling people that he had heard
the Bishop using bad language.
He had learnt real tennis
in Paris from professionals, and the advice which they gave him he gave
to us when playing lawn tennis. One bit of advice that was being constantly
given to us was to stoop when we played the ball; not to hit it when
it was high up in the air, but to let it drop to within a foot or two
of the ground and then stoop and return it. Anybody who has tried the
two ways, stooping and not stooping, will see the value of this advice.
Baissez vous, Baissez vous, the French professionals had cried out to
him when he was a boy, and Baissez vous, Baissez vous, he in his turn
cried out to us. Another bit of advice was to try and be where the ball
was likely to come, and not stand anywhere, and then have to rush after
it; and he used to tell the story of a French professional who so exactly
judged the spot to which his adversary must return the ball, that he
was always there ready before it; and a French gentleman seeing it asked
very simply, "Why does the ball always go to where you are?"
My father gave up anything
like sport when he became a clergyman, but he continued to be fond of
riding and driving to a late period. On horseback he had a military
seat, riding long in the stirrup, and always looking his full height.
He was a dashing and fearless driver, and his visitors at Wells were
driven by him to all sorts of inaccessible places. He always gave a
fair price for his horses, and had good ones, which together with his
good management of them may chiefly account for his seldom having any
I have said that when he
was appointed to the Rectory of Ickworth in 1832, he was unmarried.
Perhaps I should have said sooner that after nearly seven years of single
life at Ickworth he married Patience, daughter of Mr. John Singleton.
This was in July, 1839. The fiftieth anniversary of the wedding-day
was celebrated at Wells in July, 1889.
My mother's father was born
in 1759; he was born a Fowke, but took the name of Singleton the very
year that he was born. And that came about in this way. In the early
part of the last century a certain John Fowke (whose mother was a daughter
of Sir Humfrey Sydenham, of Chelworthy, in Somerset), moved out of England
and settled down in Ireland. He married Patience Singleton, whose brother,
Henry Singleton, was Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. They had a son Sydenham,
who was my grandfather's father. Lord Chief Justice Singleton dying
unmarried in 1759, left a part of his Irish property to his nephew,
Sydenham Fowke, who thus took the name Singleton the very year that
his son John, my grandfather, was born. My grandfather afterwards bought
a house charmingly situated on Hazely Heath, in Hampshire, not very
far off the great road from London to Basingstoke, etc. A younger brother
of his was grandfather to the Rev. James Sydenham Fowke Singleton, Vicar
But I must push on. These
small parishes, Ickworth and Chedburgh first, Ickworth and Horringer
afterwards, did not give full scope for one with so much life and energy
and with so many abilities as my father had. The neighbouring town of
Bury St. Edmunds gave him a field for further and voluntary work. He
also always had some literary work at which he was engaged, Biblical,
historical, genealogical, and so on.
In 1862 he was appointed
Archdeacon of Sudbury, which of course did not take him away from Suffolk
nor from Ickworth.
In 1869 he was appointed
by Mr. Gladstone to the Bishopric of Bath and Wells, which of course
took him away from both. I recollect, as though it were yesterday, the
coming of the letter which offered him this promotion. I happened to
come down first in the morning and saw a letter with the initials W.
E. G. in the corner. As there was a Bishopric vacant at the time, and
as my father had for some years been considered as likely to be promoted,
I naturally guessed what that letter from the Prime Minister might contain.
He was away from home, but was coming back that same day. My mother
drove to the station at Bury to meet him, taking the unopened letter
with her. I can see the carriage returning across the park with them.
I stood at the gate, the gate I had seen him jump over not very long
before, and his nod and pleased expression as he passed through plainly
told me that the offer of a Bishopric had been made to him. The Bishopric
was that of Bath and Wells. Soon afterwards the Bishopric of Carlisle
became vacant, and Mr. Gladstone wrote to offer him that if he preferred
it. But he had accepted Bath and Wells, and did not wish to change.
So he came to this diocese in December, 1869, and therein lay his work
for nearly twenty-five years. He died on June 9 th, 1894, aged 85 years
and nine months.
I will say nothing of his
life and work as a Bishop, but will confine myself to this short account
that I have given of his home at Ickworth. I will only say that the
multitudes who were present at his funeral at Wells, and the noble monument
which the diocese has erected in the Cathedral to his memory, bear witness
to work well done and generously appreciated.
I have said more than I intended
to say. When I sat down I only intended giving a few bare dates to accompany
the portrait. But when one begins to look back and draw upon one's memory,
it is always difficult to restrain oneself. The tendency is to put down
everything that one can recall. This going beyond my original intention
must be my excuse for the lack of order, and especially of proportion,
in what I have said.
I should like in conclusion
just to set down anyhow a few qualities that I think my father possessed.
He was accurate, careful,
and painstaking rather than brilliant and quick. He had not the breadth
of mind and wide sympathies which enable one to understand those who
think very differently to what one does oneself; I rather think that
the boundaries which enclosed his power to understand other opinions
than his own were narrower than they need have been but he had other
qualities which kept him from bigotry or narrowness. Within certain
limits he was tolerant. He was very just, and had nothing of the tyrant
in him. He was considerate, always recollecting that what was due from
others to him was likewise due from him to others. "Let us put
ourselves in their place," I have often heard him say when discussing
anything, and he generally did it, though I think there were some cases
in which he was less able to do it than in others. He had a judicial
mind, though again I think there were some matters in which he was less
able to be judicial than in others. He was as high principled and honourable
as a man could be, no schemer, perfectly open and straight, and simply
incapable of anything mean, false or tricky. His mind was clear and
exact, free from slovenliness and confusion. He was always calm and
cool, neither excitable nor phlegmatic. His temper was very even. He
could be angry, but his anger was never violent, and always under control.
It consisted rather of an exceeding grave and serious manner, which
was more full of awe than a mere torrent of loud words. I should think
it must always have been rare for him to lose either his head or his
temper. He was strong in habitual self-restraint and self-control, stronger
I think in that than in self-denial. He was shrewd and sensible, and
had much tact and good judgment. He was not of a suspicious nature,
and was not a quick discerner of character. He had not a very good memory,
and was not a great devourer of books. What he read he read thoroughly,
and so deliberately. I don't think he ever skimmed a book. He was thoroughly
practical, and never exaggerated. He had that general intelligence which
made him appreciate and try to promote every branch of learning, but
his own tastes were chiefly archaeological. He had a strong sense of
humour, and he could tell a story well. He was liberal without extravagance,
and thoroughly enjoyed dispensing hospitality. He enjoyed seeing others
enjoy themselves, and the bicycle movement always interested him very
much from its beginning. He was not very methodical in the arrangement
of his letters and papers; but this deficiency was amply supplied by
my mother, who kept them all in such perfect order that anything wanted
could always be produced at a moment's notice.
He was essentially a man
of moderation in all things. His place as regards parties was always
in the middle, not because he deliberately chose a middle place as people
for safety sake choose a middle carriage in the train, but because the
disposition of his mind naturally took him there. In politics he was
a Conservative; I cannot think of any question on which he took the
liberal view or would have given a liberal vote; but he had some liberal
tendencies which carried him a little in a liberal direction and away
from the other end of his party. In church matters also he occupied
a middle place. He had begun his ministerial life as an Evangelical,
and though his office as a Bishop may have pulled him on a little, yet
his views always kept something of their old evangelical character.
He certainly never got so far as to regret the Reformation.
The various gifts and good
qualities that he had were all there in due proportion; one was not
great and another small. When you looked there was no one thing, whether
talent or grace, that instantly caught your eye, and that overshadowed
or over-balanced the rest, but you saw the assembly of many things in
their just proportion. Together they made a harmonious and symmetrical
whole. It was something like Salisbury Cathedral, which being all built
at one time and in one style, is not beautiful in this part or in that
part only, but as a whole. This is a type of character which has its
disadvantages as well as its advantages, and the work of the world requires
that there should be both types.
The mingled dignity and ease
of my father's manners, his courtesy and pleasantness, always charmed
those who met him. In height he was 5 ft. 10 in., active and well made,
and though not heavily built yet possessing a certain breadth of shoulder.
He always carried himself well. Though he probably could not have roughed
it much, yet he was thoroughly sound and seldom had a day's illness.
The youthfulness of his mind and his interest in everything that had
interested him before, he kept to the very last day of his life. His
activity of body he kept to a late period, but was crippled during the
last few years of his life by something of a rheumatic nature. Though
always engaged in literary work, even up to the last day of his life,
yet he has not left many volumes of his own writing behind. His intense
love of the Scriptures directed his attention towards them, and the
archaeological turn of his mind decided which of the many points contained
in them he should take up. It decided chiefly in favour of historical,
genealogical and chronological points. He was proud of being able to
say that he had taken a part in three great works that had come out
in his time Dr. Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, The Speaker's Commentary,
and the Revised Version of the Bible. The same turn of mind which made
him write one book on the genealogy of his own family made him write
another to reconcile the genealogies in Matt. I. and Luke III. His views
on this last point were ingeniously worked out, and are, I believe,
generally accepted. That same turn of mind made him see how valuable
the numerous genealogies given to the Old Testament were for settling
I have jotted these few points
down anyhow, and here I will stop.