1921

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


The 64th meeting of the confraternity was held on Monday, the 31st January [1921] in Fr. Passant’s rooms. Following the formal opening by the Pontiff, the minutes of the 63rd meeting were read and, after correction, confirmed.

The Magister read to the confraternity letters he had received from the Rev, the Master of the College and Dr Thacker, accepting the Honorary Membership which had been offered them by the Senate.

The names of Messrs. Denton, Rio and Stanford were proposed and seconded for membership.

Fr. Johnson, the Comes, then introduced the Budget for the current Lent term. The preamble notable for its force, vocabulary, general garrulity and length was perhaps intended to stultify in their inception any objections to the extraordinary suggestions, the amazing proposals and the flights of fiscal fancy which followed. The financial board had evidently lunched exceedingly well. The society was, however, fully equal in its opposition to persuading the fluid financier to withdraw all taxes save those necessary to preserve the confraternity from the shameful inquiries of the official Reviewer in Bankruptcy.

At a comparatively early time the closing ceremony was performed.

Signed:
G. James Passant (Prin. Sen.)
C. Boyd. Bowman (Mag. Rot.)


The 65th meeting of the confraternity was held on Monday, 14th of February 1921 at 8:30pm in Frater Passant’s rooms. After the opening, F. A. Rice was admitted by the Pontiff to the membership and privileges of the society and took the oath.

Dr. C. R. A. Thacker then took the special oath appointed for Honorary Members and inserted his name in the book. The first of the new Hon. Members was thus received by the Confraternity.

The minutes of the 64th meeting were read by the Magister Rotulorum and approved without comment or correction. The Magister read the letter he had received from Dr. Vance accepting the Hon. Membership conferred upon him.

Proposals for new members were then received, the following names being brought forward and seconded, Messrs. Denton, Stanford and Milner.

The Ceremonius, Frater Horrax, delivered his paper on ‘Old English Sports and Pastimes’ tracing the origin and development of many of the great sports which are widely known today.

The Pontiff closed the meeting at an hour still early with the appointed mysteries.

Signed:
G. James Passant (Prin. Sen.)
C. Boyd. Bowman (Mag. Rot.)


The 66th meeting of the confraternity was held on Monday, 28th of February 1921 at 8:30pm in the rooms of the Socius Honorabilis. It is a matter for profound regret that, owing to the culpable negligence of the Magister Rotulorum then in office, the minutes of that important meeting have to be written by his successor more than seven months after the meeting took place. This is particularly deplorable in view of events which rendered this meeting as notable in the annals of the Confraternity.

The meeting was honoured by the presence of the Rev. the Master of the College, who was formally admitted to honorary membership having taken the appointed oath, he inscribed his name in the book amid general applause.

The Princeps then introduced Frater Pakeman, one of the first members of the Confraternity, who read a paper on ‘The Devil and the Whigs’. Frater Pakeman, basing himself on Dr Johnson’s assertion that the devil was the first Whig, launched a brilliant attack upon the whole political outlook of Whiggism and cast his net so wide as to include the barons of St John’s reign in the scope of his denunciation. The paper was cordially received and a lively and critical discussion followed, in which Frater Rogerson, another old member of the confraternity, who was also present, played a prominent part.

The meeting was closed with the usual ceremonies at a late hour.

Signed:
C. E. F. Goodall (Prin. Sen.)
N. Hind (Mag. Rot.)


The 67th meeting of the confraternity was held on Monday, the 17th of October 1921 at 8:30pm in Frater Passant’s rooms. After the opening ceremonies had been performed, Frater Passant announced that he had resigned from the position of Princeps, that the senate had elected Frater Goodall to succeed him, and Frater Horrax to be Pontifex Maximus. They had also co-opted Frater Hind, who had been elected Magister Rotulorum. The Magister Rotulorum and the Pontiff were thereupon admitted to their offices with the traditional ceremonies.

The newly elected Princeps then delivered his address to the Confraternity. Though long favoured in the Confraternity as a master in debate, Frater Goodall had never before displayed is oratorical powers with such devastating effect. His amazing eloquence held the fratres spellbound, and the younger members were heard to gurgle and weep by turns. As his manuscript roll gradually covered the floor, the Princeps dealt in masterly fashion with the commencement of the academical year, reviewed with penetrating insight the present activities of fratres no longer with us, and exhorted the fraters to continue steadfastly in their devotion to the Muse; the whole discourse being interspersed with a number of weighty philosophical reflections and lit up by flashes of mordant humour. Owing to the generosity of the Princeps, this monument of eloquence has been placed among the archives of the Confraternity.

The Magister Rotulorum moved the reply to the address and was ably seconded by Frater Hawkes. The Magister Rotulorum then read the minutes of the last meeting, which were approved without comment. The Confraternity then proceeded to the election of two senators and two tribunes. These elections were duly carried out in the manner prescribed in the Codex Juris. Fratres Hawkes and Giles were elected Tribunes and took the Tribunician oath. Frater Rice was then elected Fabricius without opposition. The following names for membership were duly proposed and seconded for submission to the consideration of the senate: – Messrs. Temple, Stanford, Kerr, Berwick, Stanway, Simpson, Kerridge, Weatherill, Hopkins, Milner, Appleton and Thorman. The Princeps then announced the provisional programme for the term. Frater Giles having drawn attention to the illegibility of parts of the Tribunician oath, the Magister Rotulorum proposed that Frater Giles be instructed to rewrite the oath. This was seconded by Frater Passant and carried with one dissentient vote. The meeting was closed with the usual ceremonies.

Signed:
C. E. F. Goodall (Prin. Sen.)
N. Hind (Mag. Rot.)


The 68th meeting of the confraternity was held on Monday, the 31st of October 1921 at 8:30pm in Frater Passant’s rooms. After the opening ceremonies, L. V. Stanford, D. C. Temple and J. W. Weatherill were formally admitted to membership. The Princeps then read a letter from the Master expressing regret at his inability to be present; and Frater Passant conveyed the regret of Frater Knox Shaw and Frater Thacker at their enforced absence. The Princeps also announced that the Senate had elected Frater Arthur to the office of Comes and Frater Lancaster to that of Ceremonius. The Magister Rotulorum then read the minutes of the last meeting. Notwithstanding suppressed mumblings from the direction of the chair, these were approved without alteration. Frater Giles presented a copy of the Tribunician Oath, which he had re-written at the request of the confraternity. The Princeps expressed the thanks of the society to Frater Giles for this very valuable service. At this stage Frater Arthur introduced his financial proposals for the current term. In accordance with the tradition of the confraternity, these were criticised in the most sweeping fashion, the Comes withdrew two of his three budgets and the remaining alternative was carried unanimously.

The following names for membership were duly proposed and seconded for submission to the consideration of the senate: – Messrs. Kerr, Milner, Wood, Kerridge, Stanway, Hopkins, Berwick, Trew and Simpson. After a certain amount of frivolous private business had been summarily disposed of, the Princeps called on Frater Giles to read his paper on ‘Dante’.

This was a particularly illuminating and erudite exposition of a great subject and was followed by an animated discussion covering a very wide range. The hour was late when the closing ceremonies were performed.

Signed:
C. E. F. Goodall (Prin. Sen.)
N. Hind (Mag. Rot.)


The 69th meeting of the Confraternity was held on Monday, the 14th November 1921 at 8:30pm in the rooms of the Pontifex Maximus. After the opening ceremonies had been performed, G. P. Kerr was formally admitted to membership. The Magister Rotulorum then read the minutes of the last meeting. It is a matter for profound regret that the dignity of the confraternity’s proceedings had not duly impressed the XXX mind of Frater Giles who, as far from recognising the superlative excellence of the minutes, was moved to propose a number of ridiculous amendments. These proposals duly met the fate they so XXX deserved, each of them lapsing for want of a seconder, and the minutes were signed without alteration. The Magister Rotulorum then read a letter from Frater Vance, expressing his hope to attend the meeting and one from Frater Hawkes expressing regret at his inability to be present. The Magister Rotulorum also attempted to read a document which he had received from Frater Temple, but the task proved beyond his powers. Frater Giles expressed his dissatisfaction. The Fabricius thereupon moved that Frater Giles be instructed to make a fair copy of Frater Temple’s letter. This was seconded by the Magister Rotulorum and carried nemine contradicente.

The following names for membership were duly proposed and seconded for submission of the consideration of the senate: – Messrs. Kerridge, Milner, Berwick, Stanway and Trew.

The Princeps then called on Frater Lancaster to read his paper on ‘The Italian Renaissance’. The Ceremonius read a delightful paper passing in review the main features of the Italian Renaissance and illustrating his matter by a series of well chosen quotations. After some discussion the Pontifex Maximus closed the meeting at a late hour.

Signed:
C. E. F. Goodall (Prin. Sen.)
N. Hind (Mag. Rot.)


The 70th meeting of the confraternity was held on Monday, the 28th of November, 1921, at 8:30pm in the rooms of the Socius Honorabilis. After the opening ceremonies had been performed, D. R. Berwick was formally admitted to membership. Frater Horrax then delivered his Pontifical Charge – a truly inspired oration exalting the dignity of the Senate and solemnly warning all fraters against any spirit of levity in the confraternity and especially against those who had the tenacity to question the accuracy of the minutes. The Magister Rotulorum then read the minutes of the last meeting, which, as usual, seemed to rouse violent passions in the breast of Frater Giles, who, however, was so cowed by the Pontifical Charge that he did not dare to frame any amendment, but strove to content himself with a few more than usually incoherent remarks. The minutes were then signed, as usual, without any alteration. Frater Passant at this stage made a statement regarding the fund for the relief of students in Central Europe. Frater Giles then presented a report on his investigations into the document which Frater Temple had forwarded to the Magister Rotulorum before the previous meeting. Frater Giles alleged that this was a Persian code and offered a translation. Without expressing any dogmatic opinion on the merits of the translation, the Confraternity solemnly decided to place all the documents in the archives. The Socius Honorabilis having pointed out that by ancient tradition the Princeps did not rise to his feet when addressing the society, the old custom on this point was again observed.

The following gentlemen were duly proposed and seconded for membership of the society and their names submitted to the consideration of the senate: – Messrs. Thorman, Simpson, Trew and Hill.

The event of the evening was the paper by the Princeps Senatus, Frater Goodall, on ‘Some Aspects of Puritanism’. Herein were displayed all the eloquence and erudition which the confraternity had learned to expect of its Princeps, and the breadth of his learning was clearly revealed in his demonstration of the affinities of Puritanism with a variety of European movements throughout Medieval and Modern History. The paper aroused a stimulating discussion and the hour was late when the Pontifex Maximus closed the meeting.

Signed:
E. J. Lancaster (Prin. Sen.)
N. Hind (Mag. Rot.)


The 71st meeting of the Confraternity was held on Tuesday, the 29th of November, 1921, at 8:opm in Frater Passant’s rooms. The opening and closing ceremonies having been performed, the society adjourned to rooms kindly lent for the occasion by Dr Thacker, where the Annual Dinner was served. This took the form of a Restoration Banquet. The solemn ceremony of ‘Cutting the Capon’ was performed in accordance with precedent, after the cup of Ipocras had passed around the tables. Following the Banquet the Confraternity was honoured as once only before in its history, the Lady Clio herself being present, attended by two cherubs of wondrous beauty. The fratres were indeed spellbound as our Lady uttered gracious words of praise in a voice of the sweetest melody and well it was that in the most noble Princeps they had a spokesman able to express in fitting words their gratitude at the distinction they had received. Offerings were then placed before her throne in the name of her Sister Muses. At the call of the Princeps, Fratres Hawkes and Rice broke into verse with commendable promptitude and their Odes were clearly pleasing to Our Gracious Lady. In an Interlude which followed, the lights were suddenly extinguished and terror struck the chicken-hearted as amid the clanking of chains, with gore dripping from its fingertips, there entered a ghastly spectre. This proved to be none other than the ghost of Oliver Cromwell. After the manner of the very best ghosts, it broke into some score or so lines of blank verse, ending with a rhymed couplet. Dire threats and curses did it hurl at various among the fraters whom it hated and well it was indeed for the Princeps that with the resourcefulness from his experiences in the making of History he bethought himself in time to interpose the Cup of Ipocras betwixt himself and the threatening arm of the spectre. The ghost disappeared as mysteriously as it came and the final episode in the revelry began with the entry of two Bacchanalian dancers who gave a demonstration of amazing energy and in the intervals for breath delivered further verses relating to the Muse of History and matters appertaining thereto with almost incredible speed. Before her departure, Our Lady Clio, bestowed an unprecedented distinction upon the one time Princeps Senatus, who, she said, had been unwavering and steadfastly loyal in his labours and devotions to the Muse. Upon the bow, therefore, of Frater Passant, summoned before her throne, she placed a laurel wreath made with her own fair hands. The noble frater was naturally somewhat overcome at this unexampled honour but though his remarks were somewhat incoherent, they showed clearly enough that he recognised the full significance of the event. By gracious permission Dr Thacker was allowed to kiss Our Lady’s toe as she left.

When the strain of this exacting experience had worn off, the fratres, reassembling in Frater Passant’s rooms, enjoyed right jovial good fellowship until the all too rapid approach of the midnight hour necessitated their departure with such haste and dignity as they could still command.

The Confraternity are especially indebted to Fratres Thacker, Passant and Lancaster for their part in the preparations for the Banquet. The names of the fratres, not already given, who participated in the Masque of the Muses are given on the opposite page.

Signed:
E. J. Lancaster (Prin. Sen.)
N. Hind (Mag. Rot.)

———

The Masque of the Muses

Clio: The Pontiff
Attendants: The Ceremonius, Fr. Kerr
Ghost of Oliver Cromwell: Fr. Temple
Bacchanalian Dancers: Fr. Giles, Fr. Stanford


The 72nd meeting of the Confraternity was held on Monday, the 23rd January, 1922, in the rooms of Frater Passant. After the opening ceremonies had been performed, Frater Giles was inducted as Magister Rotulorum and Frater Hind received form the hands of the retiring Pontiff, and donned, the pontifical robe. Frater Lancaster, the new Princeps, then took his seat, and the minutes of the last two meetings were ready. The Magister Rotulorum protested against the garbled version of the 70th meeting written by his predecessor, and congratulated the Confraternitas on the fact that Frater Hind had now been elevated to an office in which personal beauty and a knowledge of the ancient tongues were required, rather than sound and unbiased indignant of men and things.

Frater Stanford was elected to the senatorial bench, Fratres Rice and Temple were elected to the Tribunicial offices, and took the oath. Frater Weatherill was elected to the office of Fabricius.

The following gentlemen were duly proposed and seconded for membership of the society and their names submitted for the consideration of the senate: Messrs. Hill, Milner, Thorman and Simpson. The Socius Honorabilis drew the attention of fraters to the ancient policy of the Confraternitas only to admit gentlemen reading for honours to membership.

Letters of apology for absence were read from the Master and from Frater Hawkes. The latter was recommended to the committee for consideration. Fraters heard with regret that sudden indisposition prohibited the attendance of Frater Kerr.

The Confraternitas then proceeded to XXX audition spread by Frater Arthur in a paper on ‘Mohammedanism’. The interest with which fratres received the learned frater’s discourse was shown in the subsequent discussion, in which the merits and demerits of the Mohammedan system were debated. An attempt by the Pontifex to earn the right to smoke by giving an empty and fatuous echo of the learned eloquence of Frater Giles, was foiled through the wit of the latter, backed by the sound judgement of the Princeps.

Signed:
C. Wilfred Giles (Mag. Rot.)
E. J. Lancaster (Prin. Sen.)

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