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at Shrewsbury. From the pecuniary point of view it would

have been better for him to stay where he was, even putting

aside the prospect of succeeding Dr. Longley. His house

at Harrow, which had been almost entirely destroyed by fire

while he was in occupation, had been satisfactorily rebuilt,

and was now a more comfortable house and better adapted

for its purpose than that which belonged to the Head Master

at Shrewsbury ; his income too was morally certain, for a

long time, at any rate, to be diminished by the change. But

Mr. Kennedy had a warm affection for Shrewsbury, and was

a staunch upholder of the general excellence of the Butlerian

system. 3 He seems also to have had a rooted objection to

any legalised system of fagging, and he thought that the

boys' devotion to cricket and football at Harrow was rather

carried to excess. 4 So, after a good deal of correspondence

with Dr. Butler, who was keenly anxious that he should

be his successor, Mr. Kennedy made up his mind to become

a candidate for Shrewsbury. Before the middle of March,

1 See an interesting letter from the Rev. Henry Drury to Dr. Butler, in
which he expresses an ardent hope that the new assistant master would not get
under the influence of a certain religious clique at Harrow, of which they both
entertained an equally strong dislike. (Add. MSS. Brit. Mus., 34,587.)

3 THORNTON'S History of Harrow School.

3 See letter to the Bishop of Lichfield by B. H. Kennedy, D.D., 1842.

4 Butler's Life and Letters, vol. ii. p. 134.


1836, Dr. Butler's anxiety on the subject was set at rest
by a private and unofficial intimation which he received
from the master of St. John's College, to the effect that the
seniors had quite made up their minds to appoint Mr.
Kennedy as soon as the vacancy should occur, and some
time in June he was formally elected Head Master of

After the Midsummer holidays the new chief, who had
in the meantime taken his Doctor's degree, entered upon his
duties at Shrewsbury with the same staff of assistant masters
that Dr. Butler had left. It is not surprising that the
prospect of his resignation should have caused a diminution
in the school numbers during the last few years of Dr.
Butler's stay at Shrewsbury. The school had reached its
culminating point of prosperity in 1832, when the names
of 295 boys 1 were on the lists. From that time the numbers
began to diminish, and when Dr. Kennedy commenced work
in 1836 they had fallen to 228. 2 Although the main features
of Dr. Butler's system of school management half-yearly
examinations, promotion by merit throughout the school,
merit-money, school bounds, and regular callings over at
fixed intervals were retained unchanged by the new Head
Master, he recognized the advisability of introducing reforms
in various matters. A remarkable letter, which was written
by Bishop Butler to Edward Strutt, Esq., M.P., on November
28th, 1836, on the subject of education, shows that the great
classical schoolmaster had now become convinced that the
time was come for English public schools " to pay attention
to modern languages and modern history," and, in general, to
" keep pace with the advancement of mankind." It was by
Dr. Butler's advice, as well as at his own desire, that Dr.
Kennedy at once made French a regular part of the school

1 It is so stated by Dr. Kennedy. But it appears from Mr. John Bather's
evidence before the Public School Commissioners that the maximum numbers
attained by the school in Dr. Butler's time were somewhat greater than this.
Mr. Bather said that there were at one time, between 1829 and 1837, as many
as 301 boys at Shrewsbury.

2 See Dr. Kennedy's evidence before the Public School Commission.


work at Shrewsbury. 1 The first modern language master
was Signor Albizzi, 2 an Italian refugee, who is said to have
been a very agreeable person and much liked. He was over
six feet in height, and was very proud of his figure. His
teaching mainly consisted of readings from his own history
of the downfall of Charles the Tenth and tirades against
Louis Philippe. Signor Albizzi eventually recovered his
property and returned to Italy.

Another reform of Dr. Kennedy's, though this was not
carried out till three years later, was to make mathematics,
which had hitherto been taught in the main as "private
lessons," part of the regular work of the school. 3 But, in
carrying out one reform, Dr. Kennedy had no hesitation and
made no delay. By this time Dr. Arnold had shown the
possibility of bringing religious influences to bear on boys in
public schools, and there is no doubt that Dr. Kennedy had
been much impressed by what he had heard of his reforms
at Rugby. 4 At any rate, he has expressly stated that he
was " emboldened by Dr. Arnold's example " to make use of
the first opportunity he had to urge upon the boys when
addressing them in chapel the duty of attending Holy Com-
munion. Naturally Dr. Kennedy took pains to make his
hearers understand that they were not to regard the matter
as having any connection with school discipline, and he
assured the boys that neither their attendance nor non-
attendance would affect his reports on their character and
conduct. The result of the new Head Master's words was
that on the following Sunday twenty-eight boys communi-
cated at St. Mary's Church, none of whom had previously

1 Butler's Life and Letters, vol. ii. p. 203. Strangely enough the upper
sixth was the only form in which the study of French was not compulsory. This
remained the rule throughout Dr. Kennedy's time. Prizes were given for French
in the lower sixth and all the other forms from 1843, but the marks obtained
in examination did not affect a boy's place in the school.

2 His full name was Signor Ottavio Rinaldo Degli Albizzi.

3 See Dr. Kennedy's evidence before the Public School Commissioners. A prize
was given for mathematics in each form, and a boy's place in school was made to
depend on the results of the half-yearly examination in classics and mathematics.

4 See letter from Dr. Butler to the Rev. B. H. Kennedy in Butler's Life and
Letters, vol. ii. p. 113.


done so since they had been at school. 1 The customary
long -lie on Sunday was also abolished, and henceforth
there was always a first lesson on that day, comprising some
form of religious instruction. Some Old Salopians, at any
rate, still speak with gratitude of the Greek Testament
lessons which were now for the first time given in the
higher forms.

Another important institution which is due to Dr. Kennedy
is known to Shrewsbury boys as Top Schools? Long before
his time his predecessor had been recommended by Dr. James
to send the boys into school to prepare their lessons under
the charge of one of the masters at any rate, until studies
had been provided. 8 But Dr. Butler does not appear to
have followed this advice. An Old Salopian, who boarded
in Bromfield's hall, speaks feelingly at the present day of
the inconvenience arising from the fact that during the
winter months the boys were locked up in their respective
houses from 4.30 p.m. till bedtime without any precaution
being taken by the house master to pay occasional visits to
the hall to see that those boys who wished to work should
be allowed to do so. " Willis," 4 he writes, " hardly ever came
among us during locking-up time." Nor did Dr. Kennedy
make any change in this respect until he had been Head
Master for some years, and the new arrangement was for a
time partial in its application.

Preparation of lessons in the presence of a master appears
to have been carried on at first in Jee's hall, and only the
junior forms were required to attend. But from 1848 or
thereabouts all boarders below the sixth form had to go to
" preparation " in the big school-room every evening, for two
hours in the winter and for a shorter time in the summer,
to prepare their lessons and write their exercises for the

1 See Dr. Kennedy's evidence as above. Early in September, 1837, Bishop
Butler held a confirmation in the school chapel, at which sixty-eight boys were
confirmed. (Add. MSS. Brit. Mus., 34,591.)

2 This institution, though always popularly described by the boys as Top
Schools, seems to have been officially known as Preparation or Reading-room.

3 Butlers Life and Letters^ vol. i. pp. 25-39.

4 The Rev. Arthur Willis was house master in Bromfield's hall.


following day, one or other of the masters being always
present to preserve order. 1

The compulsory use of the college cap by all boys below
the upper sixth is a change introduced by Dr. Kennedy
which seems to require some explanation. The truth is
that when he became Head Master in 1836 he found drink-
ing to be a vice prevalent to a somewhat serious extent in
the middle forms. Writing to Dr. Butler a few months
after his arrival in Shrewsbury, in reference to a particular
case of drunkenness in which he had been obliged to inflict
a severe punishment, Dr. Kennedy expressed a fervent desire
that Parliament would make it a penal offence for tradesmen
to encourage such evil habits among the young. 2 In default
of some legislation of that kind it occurred to him after a
time that the boys would find it more difficult to obtain
admission to hotels and public-houses if they were at once
recognisable by their dress as schoolboys. He hoped also
that the knowledge that their caps marked them out so un-
mistakably as belonging to the school would tend to make
self-respect some check upon the evil tendencies of the boys
themselves. This was the origin of the use of the college
cap at Shrewsbury, and in after years Dr. Kennedy always
attributed excellent results to this little reform. 3 It was
inevitable that some of the changes made by the new Head
Master should be regarded among the boys generally as
innovations. But Dr. Kennedy has left it on record that
he found his sixth form ready from the first to co-operate
with him in carrying them out. 4 One happy change there

1 Dr. Kennedy always considered that the responsibility for the discharge of
this duty rested with himself and the second master as holders of the only
boarding-houses, and one of the assistant masters received a special stipend for
taking the Head Master's share of Top Schools. After a time, however, this
master was relieved of a somewhat burdensome duty three or four nights in the
week by the volunteered assistance of his colleagues.

2 Add. MSS. Brit. Mus., 34,590.

3 See Dr. Kennedy's evidence in Report of Public School Commission. The
square caps or "mortar boards" appear to have been first adopted in 1838. The
boys did not at all relish the change. One of them, after all these years, writes
indignantly, "Oh why, oh why did he introduce the college cap? It was a
lowering of the school. Oh, the rage of the boys, and the smash-up they made
of them when they were brought into the hall ! " 4 Ibid.


was, to which none of the boys were likely to raise any

Although his Harrow experience had brought him to the
conclusion that cricket and football might be cultivated to
the detriment of other more important matters, 1 Dr. Kennedy
was strongly impressed with the belief that it was a moral
advantage to boys to be supplied with " the means of inno-
cent amusement and exercise in their leisure hours." 2
" Organised games," he considered, " occupied the energies
of non-reading boys," and withdrew them from " other and
vicious excitements." At the same time he thought it " ad-
vantageous in more ways than one," to "boys of high
intellectual capacity, to excel in games." 3 One of the first
things he did after he became Head Master was to hire
the field, about half a mile distant from the school, which
had been part of Dr. Butler's farm at Coton Hill, and where
he had allowed the boys to play cricket, though not football,
as their ordinary playground for all purposes. Boating
too, under certain regulations and restrictions, was distinctly
recognized as a school institution. 4

Dr. Kennedy soon made it quite apparent that the standard
of scholarship at Shrewsbury was not likely to deteriorate
under his care. Between 1841 and 1870 thirty-seven Shrews-
bury men obtained a first class in the Classical Tripos at
Cambridge, of whom nine were Senior Classics, twelve were
university scholars, 5 and eight, Chancellor's Medallists. During
the same thirty years eighteen Browne Medals, nineteen
Porson Prizes, three Camden Medals, and eight Members'
Prizes were also adjudged to Salopians. At Oxford, although
only fourteen Shrewsbury men gained first classes, either in
moderations or in the final classical schools, thirty were
placed in the second class, and five obtained university
scholarships. And yet throughout the greater part of this
time the school numbers, which had begun to fall off during

1 Butler's Life and Letters, vol. ii. p. 134.

2 See letter to the Bishop of Lichfield by B. H. Kennedy, D.D., 1842.

3 See Dr. Kennedy's evidence in Report of Public School Commission.

4 The first school regatta took place in 1839.

5 Bell scholars are not included in this estimate.


the last two or three years before Dr. Butler resigned, and
had gone on steadily diminishing afterwards, were very
small. In 1841 there were only 133 boys in the school,
and twenty years went by subsequently before that number
was ever again exceeded. At one time the numbers fell
as low as eighty. Various causes have been assigned for
this serious diminution of prosperity. It is true, no doubt,
that Rugby began to rise rapidly in public favour about the
time that Dr. Kennedy became Head Master of Shrewsbury,
and that, after a few years, Harrow followed suit. But the
nearly contemporaneous foundation of three great proprietary
schools, Cheltenham, Marlborough, and Rossall, 1 had probably
a still more injurious effect on the fortunes of Shrewsbury.
The opening of the Grand Junction Railway also exercised
some adverse influence, for after that took place Shrewsbury
became much less easy of access than most of its rivals
among the great schools of England. 2 It must not, however,
be forgotten that, although Dr. Kennedy did a good deal
to improve the domestic arrangements in the two boarding-
houses which he retained in his own hands providing a
single bed for every boy instead of requiring it as heretofore
to be paid for as a luxury, introducing a system of ventila-
tion into the bedrooms, and furnishing each bedroom with
washing apparatus to supplement the common wash-room, 3
which had previously supplied the only means of ablution 4
Shrewsbury boys had still, in spite of these changes, to
undergo discomforts which were becoming from year to
year in most other schools things of the past. And so
it came about that when the Public School Commissioners
visited Shrewsbury in 1862 they found the school trustees
unable to disagree with their own conclusion that the main

1 Cheltenham was founded in 1841, Marlborough in 1843, and Rossall in 1844.

2 No railway reached Shrewsbury till 1848.

8 Dr. Kennedy was in this particular somewhat in advance of the times.
Several years later than the date of his reform Charterhouse boys had no
place where they could wash themselves but the ground-floor lavatories known
as "Cocks."

4 See letter from Dr. Kennedy to Secretary of Public School Commission in
Report, vol. ii. p. 350.


cause of the diminution of numbers had been the unsatis-
factory condition of the boarding-houses. The Chairman
of the Commissioners went so far as to describe the accom-
modation as " utterly unfit for the present usages of society,"
and to declare his opinion that no father could help hesi-
tating to send his son to Shrewsbury if he went to look at
the school previously.

Dr. Kennedy himself, though with some natural reluctance,
acknowledged in his evidence that the many old Shrewsbury
men who preferred to send their sons to other public schools
might, " to some extent," be influenced by " a painful realiza-
tion of the discomforts they had themselves endured." It is
worth while to dwell upon these facts, for they enable us
to appreciate better the marvellous energy of the brilliant
scholar and able teacher who, in spite of the " inanition " from
which Shrewsbury School suffered during the greater part
of his head-mastership, sent out into the world an array of
distinguished men of whom any school might be proud.

Two boys, whom Dr. Kennedy found at Shrewsbury in
1836, and who remained under his charge for five years,
William Basil Jones 1 and William Walsham How, 2 rose to
be Bishops of the Church of England ; the former, after a

1 William Basil Jones ', son of William Tilsley Jones, Esq., of Gwyn Fryn,
Machynlleth, High Sheriff of Cardiganshire in 1838. Born 1822. At Shrewsbury
School, 1834-1841 ; head boy, 1841 ; scholar of Trinity College, Oxford, 1840,
and Ireland university scholar, 1842 ; 2nd class lit. hum., 1844; Michel fellow of
Queen's College, 1848; fellow of Trinity, 1851 ; Examiner in Classical Modera-
tions, 1856 ; Senior Proctor, 1861 ; Prebendary of St. David's, 1859-1865 ;
Examining Chaplain to Archbishop of York, 1861 ; Vicar of Haxby, Yorkshire,
1863-1865 ; Vicar of Bishopsthorpe, 1865-1874 ; Archdeacon of York, 1867-
1874; Chancellor of York, 1871-1874; Canon of York, 1873-1874; Bishop of
St. David's, 1874-1897. Author, conjointly with Professor E. A. Freeman, of
the History and Antiquities of St. David's.

2 William Walsham How, son of William Wyberg How, Esq. , of Shrewsbury.
Born 1823. At Shrewsbury School, 1832-1841 ; B.A. of Wadham College,
Oxford, 1845; M.A., 1847; D.D., 1886; ordained, 1846; curate to Rev. T. L.
Claughton at Kidderminster, 1846-1848; curate of Holy Cross, Shrewsbury,
1848-1851 ; Rector of Whittington, Shropshire, 1851-1879 ; Rural Dean of
Oswestry, 1853-1879; Chancellor of St. Asaph, 1859-1879; Select Preacher at
Oxford, 1868 and 1869 ; Bishop Suffragan of London, under the title of
Bishop of Bedford and Rector of St. Andrew Undershaft, 1879-1888 ; Bishop of
Wakefield, 1888-1897. Died in Ireland, August loth, 1897.


distinguished career and useful academical work at Oxford,
followed by eleven or twelve years spent in Yorkshire as
parish clergyman, Archdeacon, and Canon ; the latter, after
thirty years' parochial experience, during which he became
widely known in England by his Plain Words and other
religious works. But Basil Jones was by no means the only
one of Dr. Kennedy's pupils to become an Archdeacon.
Shrewsbury School, indeed, in his time would seem to have
furnished some special preparation for the discharge of
" archidiaconal functions."

Nine other Salopians at least, who were educated under
Kennedy, became in good time Archdeacons.

Robert Henry Cobbold, 1 who took a second class in
Classics at Peterhouse in 1843, went out to China as a
missionary, and was made Archdeacon of Ningpo.

George Hans Hamilton 2 was Archdeacon of Lindisfarne from
1865 to 1882, and now fills the like office in Northumberland.

Henry William Watkins. 3 a distinguished theological
scholar, who has been Bampton Lecturer at Oxford, was
Archdeacon of Northumberland from 1880 to 1882, and then
became, in succession, Archdeacon of Auckland and Arch-
deacon of Durham.

1 Robert Henry Cobbold, son of Robert Wright Cobbold, Esq., of Eye, Suffolk.
Born 1820. At Shrewsbury School, 1833-1839. After returning to England
Archdeacon Cobbold became Rector of Ross and Prebendary of Hereford. Died
September I5th, 1893.

2 George Hans Hamilton^ son of Henry Hamilton, Esq., of Tullylisk, County
Down. At Shrewsbury School, 1835-1842 ; B.A. of Trinity College, Dublin,
1845; M.A., 1850; B.D. and D.D., 1883; admitted M.A. (ad eundem) at
Durham, 1852, and at Oxford, 1858; ordained, 1846; Vicar of Berwick-on-
Tweed and Chaplain of Berwick Gaol, 1854-1865 ; Hon. Canon of Durham,
1863-1882 ; Vicar of Eglingham, 1865-1882 ; Chaplain of Durham County Prison,
1848-1853 ; Canon of Durham and Archdeacon of Northumberland, 1882.

3 Henry William Watkins, son of William Watkins, Esq., of Llanvetherne,
County Monmouth. B.A. of London University, 1868; M.A., 1873 ; ordained,
1870; hon. fellow of King's College, London, 1872; curate of Pluckley, Kent,
1870-1872; scholar of Balliol College, Oxford, 1872-1875 ; B.A., 1877; M.A.,
1878; Vicar of Much Wenlock, Shropshire, 1873-1875; censor, tutor, and
Chaplain of King's College, London, 1875-1878; Professor of Logic and Moral
Philosophy, 1877-1879; Warden of St. Augustine's, Canterbury, 1877-1879;
Professor of Hebrew in Durham University, 1880 ; Examining Chaplain to
Bishop of Durham, 1879; Canon of Durham, 1880; Archdeacon of Auckland,
1882; Archdeacon of Durham, 1882; Bampton Lecturer, 1890.


Henry de Winton, 1 who graduated at Trinity College,
Cambridge, in 1846 as third Classic, became subsequently
Archdeacon of Brecon.

Hugh Morgan, B.A., of Jesus College, Oxford, in 1847,
was made Canon and Archdeacon of St. Asaph in 1877.

Edwin Hamilton Gifford, 2 Senior Classic and Senior
Chancellor's Medallist in 1843, and afterwards Head Master
of King Edward's School, Birmingham, was Archdeacon of
London from 1884 to 1889.

Thomas Bucknall Lloyd, 3 grandson of Dr. Butler, and for
many years Vicar of St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, was Archdeacon
of Salop-in-Lichfield from 1886 to 1896.

John Russell Walker 4 was Archdeacon of Chichester from
1879 to 1887.

Thomas Stevens, 5 F.S.A., who graduated at Magdalene
College, Cambridge, and was for a time an assistant master
at the Charterhouse, is now Archdeacon of Essex.

1 Henry de Winton> son of Rev. Walter Wilkins, of the Hay, Brecknockshire.
Born 1823. At Shrewsbury School, 1835-1842 ; scholar of Trinity College,
Cambridge; Browne Medal for Greek Ode, 1845; B.A., 1846; M.A., 1849;
Rector of Boughrood, Radnorshire, 1849-1881 ; Rural Dean of Brecon, 1864-
1880; Examining Chaplain to Bishop of St. David's, 1874-1882; Rector of
Cefnllys with Llandrindod, 1881 ; Archdeacon of Brecon, 1875. Died at Tenby,
April 7th, 1895.

2 Edwin Hamilton Gifford. See List of Masters in Appendix, where other
details are given of some of Dr. Gifford's various distinctions.

3 Thomas Biuknall Lloyd, son of John Thomas Lloyd, Esq., of Shrewsbury,
banker. Born 1824. At Shrewsbury School, 1831 to 1842; scholar of St. John's
College, Cambridge; B.A., 1846; M.A., 1849; curate of Lilleshull, 1848-1851;
Vicar of Meole Brace, 1851-1854; Proctor in Convocation, 1885-1886; Preb-
endary of Lichfield, 1870 ; Rural Dean of Shrewsbury, 1873-1887 ; Rector of
Edgmond, Shropshire, 1888. Died February 26th, 1896. Chairman of the
school Governing Body for the last few years before he died.

4 John Russell Walker, son of John Walker, Esq., of Bury, Lancashire. Born
1837. B.A. of University College, Oxford, 1859; 2nd class lit. hum. ; M.A.,
1862; ordained, 1862; curate of Middleton, 1862-1865; perpetual curate of
Walmesley, 1865-1868 ; Rector of Heywood, Lancashire, 1870-1874 ; Canon of
Chichester, 1874-1887. Died October 3Oth, 1887.

5 Thomas Stevens. B.A., 1863; M.A., 1867 ; F.S.A., 1889; assistant master
of the Charterhouse, 1863-1866 ; curate of St. Mary's, Charterhouse, 1865-1866 ;
curate of Woodford, Hants, 1866-1868 ; curate of St. Mark's, Victoria Docks,
1868-1870; Vicar, 1870-1872; curate of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, 1872-1873;
curate of Holy Trinity, Brompton, 1873-75 ; Vicar of St. Luke's, Victoria Docks,
1875-82; Vicar of Saffron Walden, 1882-89; Vicar of St. John's, Stratford,
1889 ; Archdeacon of Essex, 1894.



Francis Morse, 1 who was in the lower sixth when Dr.
Kennedy began work in 1836, went up to St. John's
College, Cambridge, in 1838, and was seventh Classic in
1842. He was afterwards Vicar of St. Mary's, Nottingham,
Prebendary of Lincoln, and Chaplain to the Bishop of
Lincoln. He was held in high reputation as an impressive

James Fleming, Canon of York and Chaplain-in-Ordinary
to the Queen, was at Shrewsbury 1846-1849.

Herbert Mortimer Luckock, 2 who gained various theo-
logical distinctions at Cambridge, and afterwards did useful
work as Principal of the Ely Theological College, is now
Dean of Lichfield.

Robert Eyton, 3 Canon of Westminster, and George Herbert
Whitaker, 4 who was bracketed Senior Classic at Cambridge
in 1870, and has been a Canon Residentiary both at Truro
and Hereford, were at Shrewsbury in the latter part of Dr.
Kennedy's head-mastership.

Online LibraryGeorge William FisherAnnals of Shrewsbury School → online text (page 33 of 56)