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although we know from the fact of " the Ball Place " under-
going some rather extensive repairs in 1 798-99, 1 that in
some form or other the Ball Courts existed in Atcherley's,
and probably in Newling's days. Boating was carried on
throughout the whole of the time Dr. Butler remained at
Shrewsbury, though not without frequent efforts on his part
to put it down. Football he held in special abhorrence, and
it was only played under great difficulties, as we have seen
in a former chapter. Mr. Gretton, who was at Shrewsbury
from 1814 to 1822, refers to cricket incidentally when
speaking of his experiences as a young boy. 2 Mr. Charles
Simpson, who was a Salopian of rather earlier date, 3 told

1 See school vouchers from 1798 to 1820 in the town records.
8 See Memory's Harkback, by F. E. GRETTON.

3 Mr. Charles Simpson was at Shrewsbury School from 1810 to 1815. He died
at Lichfield April 22nd, 1890.



the Rev. J. E. Auden that the boys used to play cricket in
his time in a field near the Flash. The description is a little
indefinite, but there can hardly be any doubt that the field
in question may be identified with the Coton Hill cricket
ground of later generations ; and, if this be the case, it seems
clear that Dr. Butler allowed the boys to use this field, which
was part of his farm at Coton Hill, for cricket purposes in
the early part of the century as well as in the later years
of his head-mastership, when it was certainly so used, for
Salopians still living remember one of the boys hitting a
cricket ball from this field over the houses into the Flash;
and Mr. Smythies, the big hitter in question, left school six
months before Dr. Butler's resignation. Cricket was also
occasionally played in the small field below the Ball Courts,
which, about the year 1850, was absorbed in the new Cattle
Market. 1

The boar hunting ^.^ duck poaching, of which we frequently
hear in Dr. Butler's time, can hardly be reckoned among
legitimate school amusements, although they seem in some
measure to have taken the place of the more wholesome
sports of cricket and football. i^yV*^

For many years past one of the most popular institutions
at Shrewsbury School has been the R.S.S.H., or Royal
Shrewsbury School Hunt. It is of course the old school
game of " Hare and Hounds " ; and, although it can never
have furnished the special excitements which belonged to
the form of the game known at Eton and Harrow as " Jack
o' Lantern," the R.S.S.H. is noteworthy for its elaborate
constitution, under which each boy finds his place, either as
huntsman, whip, gentleman, or hound. 2 For many years too

1 Mr. Humphrey Sandford, of the Isle, near Shrewsbury, remembers playing
cricket regularly in this field while he was at school between 1820 and 1830. In
later years it was chiefly used for rounders, prisoner's base, and quoits. The
Cattle Market was formally opened in 1851. This field does not appear to have
been school property, as in the school accounts of 1836 mention is made of rent
paid to Mr. Egerton Jeffreys for the playground in Raven Meadows.

2 It should be noted in connection with the independent origin of the game at
Shrewsbury that the two boys who carry scent have always been called foxes and
never hares.


the delights of the runs were intensified by the fact that they
were carried on in complete contempt of all school regula-
tions as to bounds ; and their popularity was further increased
by the perpetual feuds which they caused with the neigh-
bouring farmers. 1 Except for a gap between 1846 and 1849
the history of the R.S.S.H. has been regularly recorded in
the run books from the year 1842, but the institution itself
is of much earlier origin. Old Salopians are still living who
remember the runs in Dr. Butler's days, and relate with
pride their attainment of the honour of being pronounced
killing hound or killing gentleman. These honours were
gained, then as now, by the hound or gentleman who
" killed " ; that is to say, who came in first in a race at the
finish the greatest number of times during the season. At
one time there used to be two separate packs of hounds
one in Jee's hall and the other in Iliff's 2 and these were
hunted at different hours on the same day. Dr. Butler does
not appear to have interfered with the runs, or to have made
any attempt to put them down ; and it is confidently stated
by an old Shrewsbury boy, who was at school from 1834 to
1840, and had a long experience as hound, gentleman, whip,
and huntsman, that they met with no hindrance in the early
years of Dr. Kennedy's head-mastership. For a long time
indeed Dr. Kennedy does not appear to have been aware
of the extent to which the runs were carried on "out of
bounds," and before 1850 no record exists of any members of
the hunt being punished on that account. His eyes, how-
ever, were opened to some evils connected with the runs in
1843 or J ^44 by the disappearance of a large number of
copies of the new Latin Grammar, 3 which had taken the form
of scent, and a temporary check on the operations of the
hounds ensued. Between 1850 and 1856 some spasmodic
efforts were made from time to time to stop the practice

1 On one occasion a complaint as to the hounds "trespassing" led, first, to a
general punishment, then to broken windows, and lastly to the whole school
being sent home a week before the holidays.

8 Accounts of the runs made by Mr. Iliff's hounds in 1831 are still in existence.

3 The first edition of Dr. Kennedy's Elementary Latin Grammar was published
in 1843.


of carrying on the runs " out of bounds." On the whole it
may fairly be said of the runs up to the year 1856 that,
though tolerated by the Head Master, they had never
received his sanction. 1 In that year, however, Dr. Kennedy
made up his mind to have recourse to strong measures in the
matter, and, having first threatened to put a stop to the runs
altogether by multiplying "callings over," he subsequently
offered to sanction them for the future on condition that the
praepostors pledged themselves in writing that they should
be carried on under certain fixed regulations.

For many years it had been the annual custom for the
huntsman and gentlemen shortly before the Christmas
holidays to provide a dinner for the hounds at " Mother
Wade's," which was known as the hounds slay? 1 Now there
were certain evils connected with this entertainment which
were so patent to Dr. Kennedy that, although unwilling to
prohibit altogether a long-established school institution like
the runs, he determined to take this course, unless the
praepostors would promise in behalf of the school that for the
future no drink should be introduced at the hounds' slay
except bitter beer. The other conditions to which the assent
of the praepostors was required in order to obtain the Head
Master's sanction for the runs were four in number :

1. That the number of runs during the season should be limited
to six. 3

2. That the runs should always take place on a Saturday.

3. That the river should not, under any circumstances, be

4. That no boys should be allowed to run who were considered
by the Head Master to be unfit to do so.

1 A note in the run book, dated September 26th, 1846, says that the hounds
were tolerated, though not sanctioned, by the Head Master, and it is evident that
these terms emanated from him.

2 Hounds' slay seems to be the most generally accepted orthography, though
some old Salopians prefer the spelling hounds' sleigh. Dr. Butler speaks in
a letter to his son of the slays which masters occasionally gave to the boys.
(Add. MSS. Brit. Mus., 34,588.) Popular tradition at Shrewsbury connects the
word slay, when used for an entertainment, with the story of the killing of the

fatted calf.

3 The number was subsequently increased to seven at the request of Mr.
William Butler Lloyd, who asked Dr. Kennedy to allow a run to be taken over
his grounds at Monkmoor.


Schoolboys are very conservative about old customs, even
when they are tainted with abuses, the existence of which they
themselves are ready to acknowledge, and several days passed
before the praepostors consented to agree to Dr. Kennedy's
very reasonable propositions. But they did agree at last,
although it is to be feared that in subsequent years the
conditions were not religiously observed by the boys. 1 There
are, or used to be, two dangers connected with the runs
at Shrewsbury, which no faithful historian should omit to
mention. In the first place, one of the runs certainly, " the
Long Run," and perhaps also " the Albrighton," was a severe
trial of the physical strength and endurance of growing boys.
Secondly, it used to be the custom for some of the gentlemen,
at any rate, to carry with them stimulants, and their use
occasionally produced results almost as deleterious as those
due to over-exertion. In November, 1866, a very serious
case of exhaustion occurred, one of the hounds remaining
in a state of unconsciousness for twelve hours after the
conclusion of the run, in spite of the unceasing efforts of the
medical men in attendance to rouse him from his stupor.
Happily the boy ultimately recovered, and he has since
attained celebrity both as a traveller and as a sportsman.
Mr. Moss, who had only recently become Head Master,
was, not unnaturally, seriously alarmed by the occurrence,
and at once issued an edict to the following effect :

1. That " the Long Run " should be altogether given up.

2. That "the Albrighton Run" should not take place in the
current season.

3. That the Head Master should in future be furnished by the
huntsman with a written statement of the length and direction of
any proposed run on the day before it was to take place.

1 In his evidence before the Public School Commissioners, given in 1862, Dr.
Kennedy stated that this arrangement about Ike hounds' slay was the last formal
agreement into which the praepostors had entered with him on behalf of the
school. No mention is made in the run book of the hounds' slay as the subject of
one of the conditions of the agreement made in 1856. But there is little or
no doubt that Dr. Kennedy was referring in his evidence to the arrangement
of 1856. In acknowledgment of the stand made at this time by the praepostors
in defence of the runs, it was resolved that praepostors should henceforth be made
" gentlemen " ex officio. This institution of " gentlemen posters " lasted until a
few years ago.


In 1860 the R.S.S.H. was presented with a horn and
whip, bearing suitable inscriptions, by the members of a
Shrewsbury velocipede club at Cambridge, who, true to
Shrewsbury traditions, called themselves the Tachypods. The
subscriptions of the members of the club were mainly
devoted to the formation of an insurance fund intended to
protect them from the dangers of proctorial fines on their
return from long country excursions, and when the club,
after a short-lived but active existence, came to an untimely
end, they showed their affection for the R.S.S.H. by em-
ploying the balance of their insurance fund for its benefit

The runs of the present day no longer possess the
unwholesome attractions of illegality which formerly dis-
tinguished them, but they are carried on with plenty of
zeal notwithstanding. Another noticeable difference lies in
the disuse of paper scent, which, from the precision with
which the line of country to be taken in each particular
run is now arranged, is no longer necessary. 1

Boating comes next to the R.S.S.H. as an old and
honoured institution at Shrewsbury School. The story that
has been told in a former chapter of the verses which
Richard Shilleto laid upon Dr. Butler's desk one day when
the Head Master was denouncing boating in vigorous terms,
is a sufficient proof that up to Shilleto's time, 1825 to 1828,
the boys used to hire their boats from Harwood, whose ferry
and boat-house were on the Hereford side of the river, about
three or four hundred yards from the site of the boat-house
now standing immediately below the school-house on Kings-
land. But soon after 1830 they became possessed, somehow
or other, of two six-oars and one four-oar of their own, which
were kept at Harwood's. Although Dr. Butler still retained
his dislike of the boating, it had become by this time an
understood thing that he would not strenuously oppose it.
Certainly he must have given up his old practice of flogging
the younger boys who were caught in the act, for in 1830,

1 The old "Long Run" was subsequently revived, and is still continued, on
condition that the boys taking part in it are conveyed from Kingsland to the
" throw off," and from "the finish" back again to Kingsland, in a brake.


or soon after, it became the regular custom in the boating
season for some of the stronger douls to run down to the
Quarry between repetition and breakfast in order to take the
boats up the fords and the Gut as far as the Flash, where they
were left till second lesson was over, when some of the bigger
fellows who frequented the river would row up to the Wheel
at Berwick, and occasionally on to Leaton Knolls, where the
Squire was always glad to provide them with beef and beer
for their luncheon.

The Rev. Edgar Montagu describes the six-oars as " awful,"
and the oars then in use as " much mended with iron after
the fashion of cart shafts."

At the first school regatta, which took place in 1839, two
school crews raced each other in the six-oars. There was
also another race between the Pengwern, an eight-oar be-
longing to a town club, which was manned by a mixed crew
of townsmen and boys, and the four-oar, which had for its
crew Edgar Montagu, of Caius ; George Denman, of Trinity,
the future judge, who had come to Shrewsbury to see his
brother ; R. H. Cobbold, who, though still a schoolboy, was
on the point of going up to Cambridge ; and Heighway
Jones, of Magdalene, as stroke. To the great indignation
of the school captain the Pengwern was bumped by the
Cambridge four-oar.

There is no doubt that about this time Shrewsbury sent
up many fine oars to Cambridge. Five Salopians were in
the Magdalene boat when it rowed second on the Cam in
1840 or 1842, and three out of the five pulled once at least
in the Oxford and Cambridge boat race. Edgar Montagu was
in the Caius boat when it was head of the river in 1840, and
the Peterhouse crew included three Shrewsbury men when
it occupied a similar position in 1842. These were Robert
Henry Cobbold, "Jacob" Best, 1 and Robert Potter. 2 The

1 John Best, who was known to his school -fellows as Jacob, graduated B.A.
in 1844.

z Robert Potter, son of Richard Potter, Esq., of Smedley Hall, Manchester.
At Shrewsbury School, 1830-1832; scholar of Peterhouse ; B.A. (Senior Optime),
1840; M.A., 1843; Vicar of Bulkington, 1856-1877; Vicar of Corley, near
Coventry, 1877-1896. Died October 4th, 1896.


first named is the best known to fame as an oar. He went
up to college in October, 1839, and his rowing powers quickly
gained him the sobriquet of the Steam Engine at Cambridge. 1
He pulled in the University race in 1841 and 1842, and
would also have been in the Cambridge crew of 1840 had
he not been prevented by a family affliction.

From the time of the first regatta in 1839 boating became
a recognized institution at Shrewsbury with a regularly
elected captain, who was responsible to the Head Master for
the fulfilment of certain engagements. All boys above the
fourth form who had learned to swim were allowed to boat,
but boating was limited to that portion of the river which
lay between the English bridge on the one side and the
Welsh bridge on the other, except on the day of the Shelton

In spite of this regulation, which remained in force for
several years, adventurous spirits used occasionally to row
as far as Haughmond Abbey on the one side and Berwick
Wheel on the other.

Once a year luncheon was provided by Mr. Powys for all
boys who had made their way to Berwick by the river, when,
it may be presumed, special permission was given for the
excursion. But after a time boating in the Shelton direction
was legalised, though there seems great doubt in the minds
of Old Salopians whether the practice of going down to the
Quarry (which was out of bounds for all boys except
praepostors), after first or second lesson, in order to pull
the boats up to the Flash^ was ever distinctly recognized
as legitimate.

In the latter days of Dr. Kennedy's head -mastership
modern outriggers began to take the place of the old
tub-like craft, and it became the custom for old boys or
boating masters to give some aid to boating boys in the
form of instruction in the principles of rowing.

In 1864 a boat race was arranged with Cheltenham College
which took place in the Quarry, and resulted in a defeat for

1 Most of these details as to Shrewsbury boating are given on the authority of
either the Hon. and Rev. L. W. Denman, or the Rev. Edgar Montagu.


Shrewsbury by three or four seconds. Shrewsbury, however,
had its revenge in the two following years, winning a well-
contested race at Tewkesbury in 1865 by two or three feet, and
gaining a comparatively easy victory in 1866 at Worcester.

Since that time Shrewsbury has rowed many races with
Cheltenham, and latterly with unvarying success. So one-
sided, indeed, has been the contest of late years that
Cheltenham has given up the struggle, and an annual race
is now rowed with Bedford Grammar School instead. The
results of all these races will be given most conveniently
in a tabular form.

But some mention must be made of the foundation of the
School Boat Club, an event of moment in the history of
rowing at Shrewsbury. Up to 1866 the whole management
of boating had been vested in the "captain," an officer whose
main business it was to hire a boat for the use of any five
boys who agreed to make up a crew for the season. By this
time the old limitation of boating to the part of the river
between the two bridges had been modified, and the crews
rowed up to Shelton and back every other day. The racing
programme at the regatta consisted of a sculling race and
a competition between house fours^ which were practically
scratch fours, for the " Captain's Cups."
/But in 1866 the enthusiasm created by the victories over
>d- /Cheltenham in that and the preceding year gave rise to a
J desire to make the boating more systematic, the outcome of
\which was the formation of the School Boat Club.

This club was founded on the lines of a college club, with
a captain, secretary, and treasurer elected by the members.
Boats of their own were gradually acquired by the members
of the club, and funds were collected for the erection of a
boat-house, which, after a delay of many years, due to the
impending removal of the school, was ultimately built in
1 88 1 on the site of Evans's boat-house. A second boat-
house and a supplementary shed have since been added
to meet the requirements of the club. The boys now own
three " eights," some twenty-five " fours," and a large number
of " pairs/' " whiffs," and " canoes."




Year. Place. Winner. By time or distance.

I864 1 Shrewsbury . . Cheltenham . . 3 seconds.

1865 Tewkesbury . . Shrewsbury . . 2 feet.

1866 Worcester . . Shrewsbury . . 6 lengths.

1867 Worcester . . Cheltenham . . 6 lengths.

1868 Bridgnorth . . Cheltenham . . Easily.

1869 Tewkesbury . . Shrewsbury . . 2^ lengths.

,8,0' Hereford ' Cheltenham .

1871 Hereford . . Cheltenham . . Easily.

1872 Hereford . . Cheltenham . . 5 lengths.

1873 Hereford . . Cheltenham . . 2 lengths.
i874 3 Hereford . . Cheltenham . . I length.
1875* Hereford . . Shrewsbury . . 2^ lengths.
1876 Hereford . . Cheltenham . . 2 lengths.
1882* Hereford . . Cheltenham . . length.
1883 Hereford . . Shrewsbury . . 5 lengths.
1885 Hereford . . Shrewsbury . . | length.
1886 Hereford . . Shrewsbury . . 4^ lengths.
i887 7 Shrewsbury . . Shrewsbury . . I second.

1 888 Tewkesbury . . Shrewsbury . . f length.

1889 Shrewsbury . . Shrewsbury . . 9 seconds.

1890 Tewkesbury . . Shrewsbury . -if lengths.

1891 Tewkesbury . . Shrewsbury . . 2^ lengths.

1892 Shrewsbury . . Shrewsbury . .11 seconds.

1893 Shrewsbury . . Shrewsbury . . Very easily.

1894 Tewkesbury . . Shrewsbury . . Very easily.


1895 Bedford . . Bedford . . 2 lengths.

1896 Shrewsbury . . Bedford . . 6 seconds.
18978 Bedford . . Bedford . . f length.
1898 Shrewsbury . . Bedford . . 8 seconds.

1 Cheltenham rowed in a clinker four and Shrewsbury in a heavy shell.

2 Shrewsbury upset fifty yards from the finish when leading by about half
a length.

3 Cheltenham used slides.

4 Both crews used slides in 1875.

5 No race took place between 1876 and 1882.

6 No race took place in 1884.

7 Shrewsbury was winning easily, but stopped at the wrong station, and
narrowly escaped defeat.

8 Eight oars were used in 1897 for the first time in these races. All the
contests which have taken place at Shrewsbury have been of necessity time

2 D


The following list of Shrewsbury men who have rowed in
the various Oxford and Cambridge boat races which have
taken place on the Thames will, it is hoped, be found
accurate :

Year. Name. College. University.

1829 Edward James Arbuthnot 1 . Balliol . . Oxford.

1829 John Carter 2 . . St. John's . . Oxford.

1836 George Carter 3 . . St. John's . . Oxford.

1836 Frederic Septimus Green 4 . Gonville and Caius Cambridge.

1840 Heighway C. Jones 5 . . Magdalene . . Cambridge.

1840 George Charles Uppleby 6 . Magdalene . . Cambridge.

1840 Godfrey Meynell 7 . . . Brasenose . . Oxford.

1 E. J. Arbtithnot, son of Sir William Arbuthnot, of Edinburgh, Bart. Born
1809. At Shrewsbury School, 1825-1827. Does not appear to have taken a

2 John Carter, son of John Carter, Esq., of Coventry. At Shrewsbury School,
1822-1825; matriculated at St. John's College, Oxford, 1826, aged seventeen;
B.A., 1830; M.A., 1834; B.D., 1839; fellow, 1826-1840; Rector of Frenchay,
Somerset, 1840-1875. Died December nth, 1875.

3 George Carter, son of John Carter, Esq., of Coventry. At Shrewsbury
School, 1828-1832 ; matriculated at St. John's College, Oxford, 1832, aged
nineteen; B.A., 1836; M.A., 1840; Rector of Compton Beauchamp, Berks,

4 Frederic Septimus Green, son of the Rev. Edward Green, of Worcester.
Born 1815. At Shrewsbury School, August, 1830, to October, 1834. Rowed
also in the race between Cambridge and the Leander Club, from Westminster to
Putney, on June 9th, 1837; B.A., 1838; ordained, 1838; P.C. of Holy Trinity,
Mickley, 1846-1870; Rector of Lydham, Bishop's Castle, Salop, 1870-1891.
Died February, 1891.

5 Heighway C. Jones, son of William Jones, Esq., of Shelton, near Shrews-
bury. Born 1819. At Shrewsbury School, 1830-1839; called to the Bar at
Lincoln's Inn, November 24th, 1845. Took no degree at Cambridge ; rowed in
the University race in 1840, and was to have done so in 1841, but was obliged to
go out to Australia shortly before the race ; his place was taken by Mr. Ritchie,
of Trinity.

6 George Charles Uppleby, son of the Rev. George Uppleby, of Bardney Hall,
Burton-on-Humber. Born 1818. At Shrewsbury School, 1831-1836; B.A., 1840;
M.A., 1843 ; rowed also in the Cambridge Subscription Rooms crew, who won the
grand challenge cup at Henley in 1842, beating the Cambridge University boat
and the Oxford Subscription Rooms. The Oxford boat had scratched. Mr.
Uppleby was afterwards J. P. and D.L. for Lincolnshire and colonel of Volunteers.
He died October I2th, 1891.

7 Godfrey Meynell, son of Godfrey Meynell, Esq., of Langley, Derbyshire. At
Shrewsbury School, 1834-1838 ; matriculated at Brasenose College, 1838, aged
nineteen ; B.A., 1842 ; M.A., 1845 ; called to the Bar at Middle Temple in
1845 ; rowed in the University race in 1840 and 1841.






Magdalene .


Peterhouse .




Magdalene .


Peterhouse .


Magdalene .




St. John's


Christ Church


St. John's .


St. John's


St. John's


Gonville and Caius


St. John's .


St. John's


St. John's .

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