Friday, 21 May 2010
I have just been contacted by Bishop Edwin Follick, Director of University Libraries and University Chaplain, South Baylo University, Anaheim, California. He writes: 'Your article relating to Bishop McLaglen was so well done and afforded special insight into missionary activities related to Africa. After graduating from the Free Protestant Episcopal Seminary in London (Bishop Follick was consecrated on 28 August 1968), it fell upon me to serve as a director of education under the Bishop Primus, Charles Dennis Boltwood. The educational ministry included James Martin Bible College and St Andrew's Correspondence College, for the training of an indigenous pastorate to serve the local churches.
The Free Church is ongoing, and undoubtedly continues in service within the United Kingdom. A schismatic bishop from Germany did apparently attempt to disestablish the church and replace it with an "international" prefix hopefully perhaps trying to bring some good intention to revitalize the mission. With many of the clergy not versed in legal matters and a vacuum in leadership the usual issues of social disorganization appear. Fortunately, one of the bishops in Canada, Bishop Darrel D Hockley, literally is the consummate historian of the church.
I do have a real love of history [BA Cal State Los Angeles 1956, MA Pepperdine 1957] with majors in history and sociology. Thus, your work at the University of London is so important to record our past progress and mistakes - we don't mind repeating the progress but need to minimize the mistakes! Thus, a copy of this email is being sent to Bishop Hockley and for sure he would be able to shed far more light on the history of the church than me.
Please do feel free to post any message from me on the Bloomsbury People blog. Working in an Asian university and going to lunch with my deputy, Dr Kwang-hee Park, I jested that we should be in a pub watching the boats move past on the River Thames and enjoy the food with a pint of stout. Of course we repaired to an elegant Asian restaurant for wonderful food. But with respect for past delightful experiences the nostalgia does come through. My appreciation for your interest in the past of the now ambient Bloomsbury district.
The Most Reverend Edwin Follick is Primus and Bishop of California.
From knowing absolutely nothing about Bishop Andrew McLaglen's background when the first blog about him was posted on 6 August 2009, other than the fact he had been an apprentice missionary in Bloomsbury from 1877-1879, the Bloomsbury Project now has a link to the church.
I couldn't find a suitable picture unfortunately, but perhaps Bishop Ed will kindly send me one.
However, the Reverend Peter Fenn was not all he seemed because on 11 September 1828 he was tried at the Old Bailey for deception and forgery. An article in The Times of 2 April 1828, tells the story:
‘It appears that about thirty years since (ie. c.1800), this man was ordained in holy orders, under the name of Fall, but why he subsequently changed his name, remains at present a mystery. Under the assumed name of Fenn, he was employed as a teacher in Kirkman's academy, Islington, and about ten years since purchased, on his own account, an academy in Bloomsbury, in which he succeeded beyond his most sanguine expectations. Unfortunately for him, and, we may say with truth, for the greatest body of his creditors, Mr Fenn was not satisfied with the profits derived from his school; he started also as a bill-broker, or rather discounter of bills, taking to himself (as others of that notorious class do) an exorbitant rate of interest. He thus made many bad debts, and was himself ultimately induced to resort to other usurers, who, like himself, though more wary, were not wanting in the rate to be charged to a brother miscreant. Spurred on by this connexion, he was led to commit the crime of forgery, and not only committed various forgeries himself, but he also made one of his tutors draw and accept bills in fictitious names. He also had the unmanly hardihood to involve his pupils in his guilt, for he has also, in a like manner, made them draw, accept, and indorse fictitious bills, and has circulated that kind of rubbish (among tradesmen only) to an enormous amount; and in order to give a greater facility to his criminal traffic, an account was opened at Messrs. Ransom's bank. This circumstance gave a degree of credit to his movements, and by an insinnating address, pretended friendship, and plausibility of manner, ingratiated himself with various tradesmen. He would in some instances pretend that he possessed a a bill for a large amount, such as £2000 on this nobleman or the other, and that he was himself to receive £200 or £300 from the pretended nobleman, for the accommodation, and consequently could afford to give the unsuspecting tradesman £50 for the loan of £500. The tradesman, confiding in the sanctified clergyman, has in many instances been thus duped to the tune of £2000 or £3000. Again, the clergyman would produce one of his concocted bills, and say "If you discount me this £200 at 5 per cent, I will take £50 worth of goods, and you shall draw a bill on me for the amount of the goods", so that this fellow has in many instances obtained £250 for one of his forged bills of £200.
It appears that the circumstances which led to his immediate detection, was his absenting himself from his home, together with several of his cheques (which he had post-dated) becoming due, which were returned, as a matter of course, by his banker, for want of funds. Under these circumstances a meeting was convened, and an intercepted letter coming to hand, disclosed the whole system, and that the Rev. gentleman had emigrated to Paris, under the assumed named of George Lewis.’
Sue says: I believe that Peter Fall who matriculated from Pembroke College Oxford in 1791 and went on to be a curate in Guernsey and Jersey is our Peter Fenn. His father is given as "John of Isle of Jersey, gent" but I have yet to confirm this. Why Peter changed his name from Fall (possibly spelt Falle, as is more common in the Channel isles) to Fenn is still a mystery. I always assumed that my 3x Grandfather's middle name of Fenn (George William Fenn Lewis) would turn out to be his mother's maiden name, not the vicar's surname!
Peter Fenn was sentenced to death (see his records at Old Bailey online) but this was commuted to transportation for life to Australia (there had been a petition for clemency in The Times). Charles Dickens was aware of his case as he mentions his name in a letter to the Daily News in 1846. Fenn had hoped to be sent to Botany Bay "where,by the employment of his literary talents, he calculates upon improving his condition". But unfortunately he was sent to "The Valley of the Swells", a penal colony where he was set to manual work. He was given a conditional pardon in 1845.
My 3x Grandfather, George William Fenn Lewis (b.1819) became a Thames waterman. The photograph above shows boats on the River Thames at Southwark in 1845. Southwark Cathedral is in the foreground.
Thursday, 13 May 2010
He writes: 'I read about your research on the internet after a conversation with a student involved in your project. Sometime ago I traced my family back a few generations. My grandfather, an archaeologist associated with the British Museum (Joseph Aloysius Stanfield) was born in the latter half of the 19th century in Bloomsbury where the family had lived for some time. His work on Gallo-Roman ceramics (lovely example above) co-authored with Dr Grace Simpson (d. 2008) is still to this day an important text on the subject (J A Stansfield & Grace Simpson, CENTRAL GAULISH POTTERS: Oxford University Press, London, 1958). An affiliation with Imperial College I believe.
The name was altered form the original STANDFIELD. So any census details from before my grandfather's era will show this as the correct spelling. I know that my great, great Grandfather John William Standfield was married circa1780 to a Louise Maria Harding and they were resident in Bloomsbury. My gandfather's father John Henry Standfield similarly married and resided in Bloomsbury. I have copies of birth and mainly marriage certificates from early research I made in the mid 1980s (from waxed-written tomes at St Catherines house!) and am trying to locate them. If there is any information you may be able to provide concerning historical facts, where they may have lived, their occupations, I would be most grateful for anything you can provide. I hope you may be able to turn over a stone or two for me.'
Knowing how successful this blog has been in putting ancestors in touch, it would be great if anyone could help Tim - and the Bloomsbury Project!
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
The bottom photograph (courtesy Jamie Barras, Flickr) shows the Peabody buildings in Herbrand Street which were completed in 1885, long after Christopher Best had left the area. The street had become a slum and these superior apartments were built to rehouse working people. Peabody buildings, of which there are a number around London, were intended for 'respectable' working class tenants rather than the indigent poor or those out of work.
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Just before the Easter vacation we heard that our department is to be closed. You can read about it here. We supposedly get a two-year wind down but there is some scepticism amongst my colleagues about this. However, I will keep this blog going while I'm here, and it will be archived as an important component of the Bloomsbury Project, so if you do have ancestors who lived and / or worked in the area please keep sending me stories.