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

The 186th meeting of the Confraternitas being the occasion of the Annual Banquet was held on Saturday Jan 29th [1938] at 8.30pm in the Hall.

After much labour and misspent time dispatching invitations the Magister had one acceptance from the outside world Mr. C. W. Scott-Giles. The Fratres were pleased to welcome Fr’s Knox-Shaw and Richis. Fr B. T. D Smith owing to misfortune in the huntin field was unable to attend.

After the reading of both the opening and closing rites the assembly departed for the Hall there to be met by a Victus translated into immaculate Latin by Mr. Thomas.

After an excellent dinner the Fratres adjourned to be post-prandially entertained in Fr. Passant’s rooms. At last notice and inspired by Fr. C. W. Scott-Giles, there was performed ‘In Cambridge Tonight’ ably executed by Frater Biggin, Brock, Fricker, the Princeps, the Magister and Frater Passant who leapt valiantly into the breach of very short notice.

After a pause in the programme owing to a technical hitch ex. Fr. Scott-Giles was abandoned and historians were enthralled by a dark tale of ghosts and parish registers. Once again let it be said that it is to ex Fr. Scott-Giles that the success of the evening must be attributed. But for his fertile brain and ever readiness to communicate his ideas to the Magister the whole tenor of the evening might have been altered. We might never have heard Fratres Scott-Giles and Passant in their inimitable duet ‘My bonny lies over the ocean’ [army version (revised)].

Proceeding after much hilarity and singing finally wound themselves up at 1.45a.m.

Donald Mathew (Mag Rot)
A. B. Simpson (Princeps Senatus)

On Monday Feb 7th [1938] the 187th meeting of the Confraternity was held at 8.30 pm in Fr. Passant’s rooms.

After the opening rites the fratres settled down to consider a question of Commissant: the pipe smokers, sadly neglected in the past, positively yearned for tobacco! The issue to be decided was players Brown Flake v. Murrays. The Princeps was called upon to exercise his casting vote and after delicately sniffing bouquets wafted beneath his twitching nostrils Fr’s Girkins and Higgin, he pronounced in favour of Murrays.

Attention was then turned to the Magister who suffered his, by now almost customary, vote of censure with a recommendation to suavity.

Eventually the real business of the evening was arrived at in the form of Fr. Barber’s paper on “The mystery of Sir Edmund Bury Godfrey”. Having to deal in detail with a restricted subject, one with which the majority of his readers would not be familiar. Fr. Barber first sketched the background into which this incident the murder of a reputable 17th C magistrate fitted. In his earlier sections, therefore, he concentrated upon the Popish Plot. He showed those conditions of the time which made plots inevitable and plotting a popular pastime and discounted the efforts of the majority of Catholic plotters as little more than pious hopes, lacking definite plan, satisfying mainly a love of intrigue.

He then described the doubtful circumstances of Sir Edmund’s death and the discovery of his body in a ditch at the foot of Primrose Hill; which led to the posing of the problem was it suicide or murder, with some variations on this bloody theme. The scene changed. A macabre note was struck: dark lanterns, altars, corpses , mysterious figures and Somerset House all played their part in the mystery.

When the time came to read the closing rites opinion, after vigorous discussion was still divided as to murder or suicide and as to who the murderer.

Donald Mathew (Mag Rot)
A. B. Simpson (Princeps Senatus)

The 188th meeting of the Confraternitas was held in the Senior Combination Room on Sun. March 4th 1938. This being the occasion of the Annual Banquet.

The opening rites were read in Fr. Passant’s inner sanctum and the Prniceps announced that the senate for 1938 would consist of:

Fr Mathew – Princeps Senatus
Fr Hatch – Magister Rotulorum
Fr. Taylor – Pontifex Maximus
Fr. Timbs – Ceremoniarius
Fr. Fricker – Comes Sacrae Thesauri
Fr. Biggin – Fabricius

Meanwhile the visitors were partaking of post-prandial refreshment and this and all formal business having been concluded, Fratres and their guests moved to the Senior Combination Room – there to learn an able and interesting paper on The Jameson Raid, read by Professor Walker, who was introduced by the Princeps. A vote of thanks was proposed by the Pontifex, Fr. Baiss.

The writer would like to apologise for the lack of any mention of the contents of Prof. Walkers’ talk – but as the Magister Rotulorum was absent and as it is now over seven months ago since the meeting took place. The writer prefers to maintain a discreet silence rather than give a largely unimaginative and therefore probably an accurate account of the Jameson Raid as interpreted by Prof. Walker.


A. B. Simpson (ex. Princeps Senatus)
D. R. Mathew (Princeps)

The 189th meeting of the Confraternity was held at 8.30pm in Frater Passant’s rooms on Monday November 7th [1938].

The opening rites were performed with a certain lack of gravity and sincerity and the meeting began with a discussion led by the Princeps as to who was the most suitable visitor for the visitors meeting. Four names were suggested, Mr Wellbourne, Miss Behners, Professor Williams and Mr Dawson.

The Princeps now called on Frater Potter to read his paper on ‘The Colonial Element in the interpretation of History’. Frater Potter introduced his subject by a lengthy exhortation to fratres to consider and ponder over the Marxist interpretation of colonial problems. He went on to discuss the settlements XXX (were?) established in America in the seventeenth century, stressing the fact that although religious influences played some part in these settlements, especially as a consequence of the prosecution of Protestants, yet this factor has been considerably exaggerated, and it was mainly due to economic forces that the colonial movement became so strong. Frater Potter also emphasised the importance of the conflicts between seventeenth century merchants, and insisted throughout the paper on the necessity of recognising the intense personal interest of many statesmen in colonial settlement. After the paper a few intelligent questions were asked and answered, and the closing rites were read at quite an early hour in order to facilitate the performance of one of the important parts of the evening which was the contemplation of the covering and uncovering of our goddess Diana. The motion that the Lady was totally covered was proposed by Fr. Smail and vigorously opposed by Senator Biggin, and was debated with a vehemence and lack of gravity rarely witnessed in this august society. After the motion had been defeated fratres proceeded by various paths to leave.

J. C. Hatch (Mag Rot)
Donald Mathew (Princeps)

The 190th Meeting of the Confraternity was held in Fr Passant’s rooms on Monday, November 21st, [1938].

After the opening rites had been performed in the presence of our distinguished guest Mr. Lunerhi from Delhi, the protracted business of initiating five new fratres was performed by the Pontifex, assisted by many promptings. The minutes of the last meeting were then read and Fratre Smail hastened to dissociate himself from any of the performance of our good goddess Diana. His modesty was (tabfulated?) in the form of a motion which was heavily defeated. Our fratres defence of the moral traditions of the society having been duly noted, the fratres proceeded to the next business of noting on the four proposed visitors, and (many more?) the systems of voting proposed, varying from proportional representation to absolute autocracy. Eventually, after much suspicion of the work of the Magister and the Princeps had been referred, it was decided to invite Mr. Wellbourne, and Fr. Passant was asked to obtain that gentleman’s consent. Two notes of excuse were now read, one in Latin, and the other in decidedly restoration English, the latter being from Frater Biggin, whose conscientiousness in the cause of (revisionism?) definitely raised the moral tone of the evening.

Fratres now had the privilege of listening to a most interesting paper on ‘the Theory of Sovereignty in the Sultanate of Delhi between the years 1200 and 1500’, read by Mr Lunerhi, a master of arts from the University of Delhi. The speaker explained most lucidly the connection between honour and the common law of the Muslims, and went on to enunciate the numerous duties of the Sultan as head of the executive. Mr Lunerhi in fact introduced a most oriental role into the confraternitas, and displayed vividly the differences between eastern and western modes of life. Fratres showed their appreciation of the speech by engaging in a lengthy discussion of different points of interest, varying from the (role?) of the Sultan to the number of his wives. The speaker was then thanked by the Princeps and the closing rites were read.

Donald Mathew (Princeps)
J. C. Hatch (Mag. Rot)

The 191st meeting of the Confraternitas was held in Frater passant’s room on Monday November 28th [1938].

After the opening rites, various business was transacted by fratres. Various notes of excuse were read and Frater Wellington was initiated into the mysteries of our Confraternitas. Fratres next turned their attention to the annual banquet, the date was fixed for January 28th; whilst the Princeps and Senator Biggin were entrusted with the task of organising suitable revels. This business having been completed, Frater Slaughter was called upon to read his paper on ‘The Teaching of History’. Frater Slaughter proceeded to give us his particular theory of the methods which he believed should be adopted by teachers of history. His theories were certainly unorthodox as judged by the usual modern theory of history teaching and were mainly the Roman Catholic beliefs of teaching the pupil truth rather than stimulating his interest. The modern teacher’s policy of interesting his student in his subject by various devices and at all costs was condemned by Frater Slaughter, who maintained that it was desirable rather to inculcate right into the child than to teach him to think. This view was hotly debated by Fratres in the discussion which followed, and the speaker was subjected to a hat attack from all quarters, his belief apparently being shared by few present. The closing rights were at a comparatively early hour.

J. C. Hatch (Mag Rot)
Princeps (Donald Mathew)


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