[The following entries have been transcribed from the minute books kept in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.]

The First Meeting of the Society…

 …was held in Mr Knife’s room on Monday Nov 21st [1910] at 8:15pm. All the members were present. The Secretary then reported the results of his enquiry into the ritual of the Corpus Christi History Society, but as the President’s rooms were only Late English, it was decided that it was impossible to emulate it. The Society was soon hard at work, but a difficulty arose owing to the fact that no mathematician was present and so three XXX elections had to be held to solve the problem of election. The business of the meeting was still unconcluded when the Secretary retired to bed.

It was immediately determined that the meeting should resolve itself into a constituent assembly. The following resolutions were then passed:

I. That the society be called the Historical Society of the College of the Lady Frances Sidney.
II. That the raison d’être of the society be papers, discussions and banquets.
III. That this club shall consist of a President, Secretary and Chaplain and a committee of four and any additional officers, which the committee may at any time see fit to appoint.
IV. That the President be elected annually by the outgoing committee.
V. That all offices except President be elected terminally.
VI. That all officers be elected by the Committee.
VII. That the Committee shall consist of the President and four members, unless that body shall deem it desirable to increase the number.
VIII. That all the Committee be undergraduate members of the college.
IX. That at the end of the year two members of the committee shall retire, but shall be eligible for re-election by the society.
X. That a ballot shall be taken to select the two remaining members of the Committee.
XI. That each member of the Committee shall have three votes.
XII. That if after three ballots no decision be arrived at, the choice shall be arrived at, the choice shall be either by lot, or by the votes of the whole society at the discretion of the Committee.
XIII. That all ballots be secret.

[Page missing.]

XXIV. That if the Committee see fit, Hon members may be elected from time to time, who must be distinguished by their learning a virtue.
XXV. That Hon members be not allowed to vote.
XXVI. That no one, other than a member of the society, be introduced or admitted into a meeting unless permission of the Committee has been previously given.

Mr Knife was then elected chaplain or Pontifex Maximus whilst Mr Simpson and Mr Molony were elected members of the Committee.

It was decided that the rules concerning re-election of officers and committee should not come into force till the Summer term 1911.

In order to ensure the argument or discussion being maintained, it was resolved that the Pontifex should explain to all new members of the committee that each member of that body is under a moral obligation, if an occasion should arise, to continue the discussion. The following ceremonial was then drawn up for use at the initiation of new members.

The candidate, accompanied by his proposer and seconder, shall knock at the door of the room wherein is seated on a throne the Pontifex who shall have on his right hand the President, and on his left the Secretary. The room shall be dark, save that a candle shall be so placed that its light shall full-on face the candidate.
The Pontifex shall then enquire, Who Cometh Hither?
The candidate shall then enter and reply, repeating after the sponsor in a clear and audible voice, I (N or M), who desire to be admitted a member of the Historical Society of the college of the Lady Frances Sidney.
Then shall the Pontifex enquire, Who answereth for this novice?
Then shall the Sponsor announce, I do.
Then for a short time shall follow a silence, and if then he found no one to object to his election the Sponsor shall lead novice to the Pontifex. The novice shall then kneel and the Sponsor shall retire from the room. Then the novice shall place his two hands inside those of the Pontifex who shall then put the following questions.
Will you concur to observe in all things the statutes of the society?
Answer ‘I concur’.
The Pontifex:- Will you promise in all things to support the officers and brethren of the society?
Novice:- I promise.
Then shall the Pontifex admit him into the Society with the words, Auctoritate mili Commiosa Acconitte te in Confraternitatam Historicam Dominae Franciscae Collegii Sidney Sussex. Then shall the Pontifex escort the new member to uphold the dignity of the society, and shall dismiss him, the ceremony being concluded.

Will you swear to keep all the rituals of the Society secret?

The following were proposed and elected members of the

Mr Pakeman, Mr Smith, Mr Hayward and Mr Barker.

Mr Knife consented to read the first paper the subject being, ‘The Downfall of the Stuarts was Necessary for the Welfare of the Nation’. Mr Molony is to be the opposer.

The Committee have to thank Mr Knife for the kind offer of a minute book. The gift would be gratefully accepted.

J. W. Reynolds (Princeps Senatus)
A. Swainson (Magister Rotolorum)

 The Second Meeting of the Society…

…was held in Mr Reynolds rooms on Friday Nov 25th [1910] at 8pm. All members were present.

The Society immediately went into a committee.

It was then suggested that two new officials should be created namely a Ceremonius to help the Pontifex, and a Fabricius to help the Secretary.

The suggestions were adopted and Mr Molony and Mr Simpson were elected to the new offices.

It was then proposed and carried that the title of the secretary should be ‘Magister Rotulorum’. A long discussion then ensued us to the advisability of revising the nomenclature. The Secretary proposed that Anglo-Saxon terms should be used, whilst Mr Molony advocated the use of French names. It was finally decided, however, that since the members of the society might with one justice object to being called churls and that once the officials of the club might find a difficulty in pronouncing the French titles it would be as well to retain the original titles.

The Fabricius next produced a design he had drawn for the cause. This was accepted with acclaim.

A long discussion then ensued as to which official should have precedence, the Pontifex Maximus or the Magister Rotulorum. It was decided that at all business meetings the Magister should have the precedence whilst at all ceremonials the Pontifex Maximus. A spirited discussion was held as to which name should come first on the card, but after it had been put to the vote, a compromise was arrived at, the two names were to be written opposite one another.

After much debate the following rules were drawn up.

XXVIII. That the names of the officials be Princeps Senatus, Magister Rotulorum, Pontifex Maximus, Ceremonious and Fabricius.
XXIX. That the Committee shall be called Senatus, and the members of the society Fratres.
XXX. That the colour of the society be purple.
XXXI.That membership of the society be thrown open to the whole college, but that the majority of the Senatus must always be history students.

* The second part of note XXXI is fundamental and this rule can only be altered by the unanimous vote of the whole society.

XXXII. That in case of expulsion of a member, the motion must be brought in front of the committee and passed by a majority of four to one, or at the discretion of the committee before the whole society when the majority must consist of at least two thirds of the whole society.
XXXIII. That meetings of the society be held on Fridays, but that the committee have the power to alter that day.
XXXIV. That the meetings shall be fortnightly unless otherwise decided by the committee.
XXXV. That members shall attend three meetings a term, unless they give a reasonable excuse to the Magister Rotulorum.
XXXVI. That at all meetings of the society, unless permission has been obtained from the committee, no alcohol be consumed.
XXXVII. That during the reading of the paper that anyone may smoke, but that after the paper is finished only the reader may smoke. And anyone may smoke after XXX at the discretion of the committee.

Additional rules

I. That those Fratres upon whom the Society has conferred the honour of Socius, should form an outer cabinet to be consulted by the Senatus, should they so desire.
II. That at the beginning of each year, the newly elected Princeps shall deliver a presidential address, to be approved by the Senatus; the Magister Rotulorum shall move a reply, and this shall be seconded by a member of the Society.
III. That at the beginning of each term, the newly elected Pontifex shall deliver a pastoral change to the Society.

The following ceremonial was drawn up.

At the commencement of the meeting, the President shall lead the reader of the paper to his chair. Then the Magister delivers to the Pontifex the parchment scroll on which the rules of the society, the letter shall there solemnly be placed on the table. Until the parchment is ready the minute book is to be used instead. After this has been done, the President is to call upon the Magister to read the minutes, after which the paper is to be read. All light is to be out except for the one used by the reader while the paper is being read.

It was decided that no minute book for the committee was required, and accordingly Mr Knife finally consented instead of giving a minute book, to present to the society the parchment scroll.

The Magister Rotulorum announced that Mr Simpson was willing to read a paper on the origin of towns.

It was decided that the next meeting should be held on Friday December 2nd in the President’s rooms.

J. W. Reynolds (Princeps Senatus)
A. Swainson (Magister Rotulorum)

 Committee Meeting

A committee meeting was held in the rooms of the Princeps Senatus on Friday December 2nd [1910] at 8pm. The following alterations and additions were made to the rules of the Society.

That the Pontifex Maximus at all ceremonial functions shall wear a black cape with scarlet embroidery.
That ex-members of the committee shall be allowed to wear a scarlet cloak and evening dress.
That in rule XXXVIII for Friday, shall be substituted the word Monday.
That in rule XXX for purple, the word scarlet should be substituted.
That a new member of the committee be obliged to renew his solemn vows made at the service of initiation.
That the Pontifex shall admit him with the same formula as that used when admitting new members, but that for Confraternitatum Historium the words in Senatum Confraternitas Historicae be substituted.


The Third Meeting of the Society…

…was held in the rooms of the Princeps Senatus on Friday December 2nd 1910 at 8:50pm. A solemn service of initiation was then held. The following undertook to obey the vows and were accordingly admitted as Fratres.

A. D. Swainson, J A. Molony, H, R. Simpson, C. F. Smith, R. A. Barker, W. E. Hayward, S. A. Pakeman.

The meeting was then opened according to the usual ceremonial and Frater Knife, Pont Max, read a paper entitled, ‘The Downfall of the Stuarts was Necessary for the Welfare of the Nation’.

A good debate ensued; Frater Molony opposed the paper and most of the Fratres spoke. After the Princeps had closed the discussion the meeting became social and finally adjourned.

J.W. Reynolds (Prin. Sen.)
A. D. Swainson (Mag. Rot.)


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