1949

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


A meeting of the Senate of the Confraternity was held in the rooms of Frater Goodfellow at 1.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 18th January [1949].

The minutes of the previous meeting having been perfunctiously read by the Princeps and approved by the remainder of the Senate without audition or comment, arrangements for the forthcoming Banquet were discussed. The Fabricius had made appropriate enquiries from the Steward and the Kitchen Manager and, in the light of the information which he had obtained, it was decided –

first, that the Fabricius should further liaise with the Kitchen manager and arrange the bill of fare,

second, that the meal should be washed down by dinner wine and by a Port, which, at the insistence of the Pontifex should be of importatum other than by and omni-provident governments,

third, that the Socius Honorabilis, Frater Thomson, be approached in the hope of having the cost of the banquet debited to fratres’ termly accounts,

and fourth, that, though it was felt that in the interests of harmony of guests there should be a temporary diversion from custom in approving lounge suits as the mode of dress for the Banquet, the feelings of the plebs on the matter should be tested at the next meeting of the Confraternity.

The meeting closed at approximately 2.15 p.m.

Signed:
K.F. Goodfellow (Princeps)
B.F.J. Pardoe (Magister Rotulorum)


The 267th meeting of the Confraternity was held in the rooms of the Socius Honorabilis, Frater Smail, at 8.15 p.m. on Friday, 21st. January [1949].

The customary invocations to the divine Clio were made and, the minutes of the previous meeting having been read and approved without comment, the Princeps proceeded to deal with certain items of business. As a sop for the Plebs the Comes gave a spirited rendering of the state of the Treasure Chest after the depredations of Michaelmas Term. The Comes was obviously very pleased with his financial administration for his reading was punctuated by mirthsome gurgling of such violence that he seemed at times almost in danger of suffocating. The complexity of the accounting in marks was, it is feared, beyond the comprehension even of those fratres who had at some time been inveighed into reading Keynes on money, and, though the statement of accounts was approved, one can but conclude that the approval was given only on account of the Comes’ obvious satisfaction.

The Princeps then called upon Frater Coles to deliver his paper on ‘Sorel and Modern Politics’. Carefully avoiding dull chronology, Frater Coles gave an excellent outline of Sorel’s complicated career of radicalism and an admirable account of his philosophy and thoughts, which, despite its formative influence upon current political ideologies, Frater Coles considered to be muddled, and as indigestible as a college lunch. A tolerably lively discussion followed and eventually, at approximately 10.30 the meeting closed.

Signed:
K.F. Goodfellow (Princeps)
B.F.J. Pardoe (Magister Rotulorum)


The 268th meeting and first post-war annual banquet of the Confraternity was held in the College Hall at 8.15 p.m. on the Saturday next before the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, being 29th January [1949].

The Senate, the Socii Honorabilis, and the guests, the distinguished fratres ‘emeriti’, Messrs. T. Knox-Shaw and Asa Briggs, foregathered in the rooms of the Princeps and there carried out aperitive formalities. The customary invocations were made to the divine patroness and the Princeps, the Pontifex, and the Socii Honorabilis, Fratres Thomson and Smail, were given preliminary lubrication in preparation of the post-XXX XXX.

Twenty-nine fratres partook of a substantial repast, the excellence of which was marred only by the undue savage-ity of the canard which formed its principal course; and then over some most excellent port, marred only by its small quantity, toasts were proposed first by the Princeps to the Lady Frances Sidney, and then by the Pontifex to the Lady Clio. The Princeps filled with mellifluous liquids and indigestible duck excelled himself with a brilliantly witty speech. He stressed the great honour accorded to the Confraternity by the presence also of our distinguished guests and by the presence also of what he called our brethren, Frater Tibbotts and the Tribunes of the Plebs, Fratres Hall and Phillips. Then amid references to the cavalier treatment received by Cromwell from the College and to the College’s new Popish leanings (at which a certain frater was heard to gurgle contentedly), he pointed out the seemliness of the eve of the anniversary of the execution of Charles I as the occasion of a celebration for a society claiming the mighty Cromwell and several doughty Cromwellian generals as its precursors. The Socius Honorabilis Frater Thomson replied in dignified manner and was followed by the Pontifex who, having apologised profusely for being off form, sat back to listen to a scintillating response from the Socius Honorabilis Frater Smail who recounted how he had suffered the most dreadful hallucinations during their afternoon. It is to be hoped that in future he will benefit from this frightful experience by treading his Friday night halls with a little more moderation.

Shortly after ten o’clock when the port decanters had regrettably run dry the meeting adjourned to the rooms of an egregiate historian, Mr. Paul Granville. There the Fabricius had arranged for a XXX of ale to be in readiness and there until near midnight the Confraternity merrily poured into its libations to the Lady Clio’s ever attendant spirit, John Barleycorn.

Signed:
K.F. Goodfellow (Princeps)
B.F.J. Pardoe (Magister Rotulorum)


The 269th and annual visitors’ meeting of the Confraternity was held on Monday, February 7th [1949], at 8.30 p.m.

Fratres and guests assembled for coffee in the rooms of the Socius Honorabilis Frater Smail and there engaged in the exchange of pleasantries until at approximately 8.45 p.m. the Princeps broke the hubbub of chatter to request adjournment to the neo-Tudor splendour of the Senior Combination Room. Whilst guests, Socii, and plebs were minding their way the Senate reverently celebrated the rites of Clio and then huskily brought up the rear.

The meeting having adjusted itself to its new surroundings, the Princeps rose and introduced the principal guest, Canon A.R. Viellier, D.D., who then proceeded to read a paper on the relations of Church and State. Having pointed out the principal features of the historical background to his topic, Canon Vieller elaborated an argument emphasising the importance of the Church as keeper of the state conscience.

The ensuing discussion was lamentably slow in getting under way but thanks to the Princeps’ uninimitable manner of rolling out very chairman-like questions on such occasions it did eventually become tolerably animated. The paper was most learned, and admirably read but perhaps a trifle too metaphysical for most fratres if participation in discussion may be taken as any inclination.

At approximately 10.45 p.m. the Princeps declared the meeting informal and conversation and discussed continued until Canon Vieller left to retire to bed.

Signed:
K.F. Goodfellow (Princeps)
B.F.J. Pardoe (Magister Rotulorum)


The 270th meeting of the Confraternity was held in the rooms of the Socius Honorabilis Frater Smail at 8.15 p.m. on Monday, February 21st [1949].

The opening rites were carried out with all due reverence and then to the exhaustion of the Magister three sets of minutes were read over. The presence of those banqueting fratres, the Tribunes of the Plebs, had signified that there was something unusual about the occasion and auguries were fulfilled when the quart-sized member of the Tribunate, Frater Hall, rattling some dirty sheets of foolscap broke out into a recitation of grievances which the he purported to be those of the plebs. Never was such saucy presumption displayed before the Senate or such slanderous accusations made. Though he might well and justifiably resorted to drastic action, the Princeps was mindful that condescension is called for in dealing with those who know not what they do, and, curbing any indignation he may have had, he merely deferred his pronouncements until the absent Pontifex should have been consulted. The Plebs seemed unaroused by the subversive declamation of their Tribunes and readily accepted the proposal of the Princeps so that there was no further mention of the threatened secession to the Volunteer.

At long last Frater Tinker was called upon to deliver his paper on ‘Some European Adventures in 18th Century India’. The paper proved highly entertaining. The adventurers of whom Frater Tinker chose to tell were all soldiers of fortune and we could feel that the colour which he continued to give the whole paper was partly the result of personal experience of Indian military life. One imagined that like his adventurers Frater Tinker too must once have been distinguished by his capacity for the consumption of strong waters.

Discussion followed and, eventually on the completion of the closing rites, the meeting became informal.

Signed:
K.F. Goodfellow (Princeps)
B.F.J. Pardoe (Magister Rotulorum).


The 271st meeting of the Confraternity, Cromwell Night, was held in the rooms of the Socius Honorabilis Frater Smail at 8.15 p.m. on Wednesday, 2nd March [1949]. The Confraternity was honoured by the presence of the Socius Honorabilis Frater Knox-Shaw and of Frater R.E. Heutsch, who was on a visit to England from Switzerland. He had heralded his coming with a present of six tins of the most delicious biscuits which Tunbridge Wells can produce for the export market. These the Magister had carefully preserved from the depredations of socii honorabiles, senators, tribunes, and other ravening wolves especially for the occasion of Frater Heutsch’s visit and during the course of the meeting most of them were consumed and with great relish. Indubitably a memorable meeting.

After the opening rites the Magister was called upon to read the minutes of the previous meeting. Frater Parker took it upon himself to object to the reference to a petition of the Tribunes in the minutes as ‘dirty-papers’ and, with a display of learning and the Latin tongue unusual in the suckling historian not yet weaned on Stubbs, he declared that the Magister ought not to have passed opinion on the petition whilst it was yet ‘sub indice’. Heated exchanges followed but finally Frater Knox-Shaw rallied to the magisterial cause with the crushing submission that any paper written upon was ‘ipso facto’ soiled and therefore dirty. Frater Parker and his minions withdrew in disorder and the Princeps, satisfied that senatorial dignity had been maintained, proceeded to read from a voluminous script the reply of the Senate to the virulent attacks made upon their integrity by the malicious tribunes. The plebs were duly instructed in the duties of obedience to their betters and, reminding them of all the blessings and XXX which had been bestowed upon them by a gracious Princeps and his Senate, the Princeps closed by pointed out how, whilst endeavouring to adhere to tradition, the Senate had notwithstanding bowed to the democratic flavour of the age in even publishing a statement of the condition of the Treasure Chest.

Frater Ball made a few most relevant remarks as though further to delay the reading of his paper but the Princeps refused to be decoyed and called upon him to commence his paper on ‘Sir Roger L’Estrange’.

The discussion which followed the paper turned chiefly upon the nature of the 17th cent. coffee-house and inevitably also on the domestic affairs of poor Sir Roger. Frater Ball, enlarging on his original description, likened the function of coffee and the coffee house in 17th cent. England to that of Coca-Cola and the XXX-store in modern America. Frater Smail then clinched the question by a short dissertation on the importance of appreciating the significance of the rise of a money economy.

At approximately 10.30, at the Princeps’ behest, the closing rites were performed and the more stalwart fratres then ended the evening by consuming the remaining beer. Needless to say, there were no casualties.

Signed:
K.F. Goodfellow (Princeps)
B.F.J. Pardoe (Magister Rotulorum)


The final meeting of the Senate of the Confraternity in the 39th year of the Confraternity was held in the Princeps’ rooms at 1.30 p.m. on Friday, 10th July [1949].

The minutes of the previous meeting having been read, approved, and signed, the Senate proceeded to the election of officers for the coming year. The following were elevated:-

Princeps: Frater B.F.J. Pardoe
Pontifex: Frater D.O. Jones.
Magister: Frater C.A.K. Saunders
Caeromonarius: Frater M.E. Wellington
Fabricius: Frater F.B. Selby
Comes: Frater R.W. Parker.

The question of next year’s guest-speaker was most discussed and it was decided that steps should be taken to invite one of the following:-

  1. Rev. T.S. Eliot
  2. Christopher Dawson
  3. Miss. Wedgewood.

The Princeps then made a brief and informal resume of the events of his year of office and expressed his thanks to the Fabricius to the excellent way in which the Banquet was staged.

The meeting closed at approx. 2.30.

Signed:
B.F.J. Pardoe (Magister Rotulorum, Princeps)


The first meeting of the Senate of the Confraternity in its 40th Year was held in the rooms of the Princeps on Monday, the seventh day previous to the Ides of October [7.10.1949].

The minutes of the previous meeting having been read, the Senate proceeded to discuss the programme for the coming year. It was agreed that three papers should be given during the Michaelmas Term by Mr. Saltmarsh, and Fratres Wellington and Selby; it was also announced that a joint meeting was to take place with the St. John’s Historical Society and St. John’s to sit at the feet of our own honourable Socius Honorabilis, Dr. Smail. During the Lent Term the Confraternity would be honoured by a visit from Rev. T.S. Eliot, it would benefit from the clerical wisdom of Rev. G.K. Tibbotts, and the Princeps and the Pontifex would uphold their own dignity by completing the programme. Further it was decided that following the unconscious precedent set last year, due to a regrettable ignorance of custom, the Confraternity Dinner should be arranged for the Saturday next before the Conversion of St. Paul. It was also proposed that the annual Peregrinato in Omnibus should be to Hinchingbrooke House, and take place at the beginning of the Easter Term.

As befitted the dignity of his position, the Princeps then proceeded to review the position of the Confraternity; it was evident that he had made considerable research to ascertain the true nature both of constitution and custom. It was therefore agreed that according to ancient practice red XXX at all meetings and notes of apology in case of absence should be required of all fratres and that suitable penances should be imposed for the coercion of recalcitrant plebs. It was also agreed that Matriculation should be renewed at once and be included within the Initiation Ceremony, itself purified and revivified according to the original rites. The Princeps also proposed that to accord more nearly with the classical genius of the Confraternity and to increase the already heavy mental toil of the Magister, the dates of all meetings should follow the Roman Calendar. Regrettably the proposal was adopted.

A somewhat distressing discussion followed upon the solvency of the Confraternity. The Senator could account for the continued presence of a half-sovereign in the Treasury, for its origin. The continued debasement of the coinage by lewd politicians and the grasping fingers of the trading class precluded any reduction in the terminal subscription or any change in the nature of refreshment; nevertheless the Fabricius was requested to make diligent enquiry with a view to economy in the latter.

There being no further business the meeting closed at 3 p.m.

Signed:
Colin G.K. Saunders (Magister Rotulorum)
Fr. Pardoe (Princeps)


The 270th meeting of the Confraternity was held in the rooms of Socius Honorabilis Frater Smail a little after the 2nd. night XXX on Thursday, the thirteenth day prior to the Calends of November [19.10.1949]. The opening rites were conducted by the Pontifex Maximus; it was noted that the Pontifex in particular and all Fratres in general appeared unfamiliar with the ritual. Such woeful failure should be speedily remedied lest the invoking of the muse be in vain.

The rites completed and the minutes of the previous meeting duly read and approved, the Princeps delivered his inaugural address. Two matters of importance were stressed; firstly that the Princeps intended to maintain unaltered the ancient customs of the Confraternity which it should be the duty of all Fratres to obey, and secondly that the Senators as the guardians of the sacred Constitution, and the most honourable of their generation, should be accorded the due respect and obedience to which they are entitled. At the close of the Principial address, the Caeromonarius rose to make a regrettable request which now became XXX by tradition, namely that Fratres should be permitted to indulge their vicious natures by imbibing strong liquor during meeting. To this the Princeps graciously assented.

In view of the laudable request made by the Princeps that due respect be paid to the authority and dignity of the Senate, it came as blow beneath the belt that a Socius Honorabilis, who to his shame shall remain anonymous, proceeded at this inauspicious moment to cast doubts upon a Senatorial decision. The burden of his complaint was that the traditional card of the Confraternity had been discarded, and that such action set a dangerous precedent for the undermining of that ancient custom by which the Confraternity lays such store. While deprecating the affront to which Senatorial authority had been subjected from one who should set an example for the Plebs in such matters, the Princeps graciously assented that the Senate would make diligent enquiry into the question.

This painful business having been completed, the Princeps welcomed guest speaker Mr. John Saltmarsh of Kings who thereupon delivered a delightful paper on ‘Mediaeval Cambridge and the Foundation of Peterhouse’. It came as something of a surprise to many brought up among more rugged aspects of Nature to learn that Cambridge was built upon seven hills. A little later a nostalgic look crossed those faces which fear the approach of each College Terminal Account when Mr. Saltmarsh mentioned that in the good old days University lecturers were required to give their service free in return for the conferring of a degree.

Questions followed ranging from the derivation of St. Tibbs to the disastrous floods of 1947. These having been completed, the closing rites were performed and the meeting declared informal.

Signed:
D.O. Jones (for Princeps)
Colin G.K. Saunders (Magister Rotulorum)


A meeting of the Senate of the Confraternity was held in the rooms of the Princeps on Tuesday, the eighth day previous to the Calends November [24.10.1949].

The minutes of the previous meeting having been taken as read, the Princeps recalled the painful circumstances which had necessitated the calling of the Senate. The lack of respect for Senatorial decisions shown by Socius Honorabilis R.C. Smail, in calling in question the previous year’s Senate’s justification for instituting a new form of Card, was duly deprecated by all Senators. It was decided, however, that the Socius Honorabilis should be met by the inclusion of the words “a quinque fratribus hugius collegii A.D. MDCCCCX candita,” which had been omitted from the previous card, upon all future cards. It was agreed that the design instituted the previous year should stand, but the Senate agreed with the Socius Honorabilis that any further change in the card should be strongly discouraged.

The Senate was deeply grieved to learn that the Princeps would be absent from the next meeting of the Confraternity. A wealth of instruction was offered to the Pontifex, in whose capable hands the meeting would be held, in order that nothing should be amiss due to the Principial absence. The Princeps also announced, with generosity unparalleled of late, that he would be “at home” to all members of the Confraternity upon the evening of the following Monday.

There being no further business the meeting closed a little after the eighth hour.

Signed:
B.F.J. Pardoe (Princeps)
Colin A.K. Saunders (Magister Rotulorum)


The 273rd meeting of the Confraternity was held in the rooms of Socius Honorabilis Frater Smail a little after the second night hour on Wednesday, the fourth day prior to the Nones of November [1.11.1949]. The opening rites were conducted by the Pontifex Maximus, who doubtless placated the Muse with his considerably increased fluency.

In the absence of the Princeps the meeting was conducted by the Pontifex. The first business of the evening was the initiation of new members, completed with traditional dignity by the Pontifex, and confusion of the initiates. The imitation completed the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. The Pontifex announced the Senatorial decisions with regard to the card, added further warnings upon the necessity for the observance of customs, and then called upon the Caeromonarius to deliver his eagerly awaited paper upon “British Pioneers in Mesopotamian Archaeology.” The inevitable stampede in search of liquor having subsided, the meeting settled down to enjoy an interesting and human account of the adventures of those early British Archeologists. If the colourful but extortionate Turkish Pashas have departed hence, the ability of orientals for making money through large-scale forgery and deception can still be vouched for by those who were forced to tolerate their attentions while serving His Majesty on more recent occasions.

A lively discussion followed, no doubt increased by the desire of sundry fratres to enjoy the fire-weed. Several fratres appeared to be considering the possibility of imitating the late George Smith in the hope of gaining employment in the unknown depths of the British Museum. The discussion completed, the closing rites were performed and the meeting declared informal.

Signed:
B.F.J. Pardoe (Princeps)
Colin A.K. Saunders (Magister Rotulorum)


For its 274th meeting the Confraternity was invited to join the St. John’s History Society to listen to a paper entitled “The Origins of Christian Knighthood” delivered by the Socius Honorabilis Frater Smail.

The Senate, having been assured of a certain amount of publicity (by now almost notorious) thoughtfully provided through the agency of the Caeromonarius, were reluctant to let so auspicious an occasion pass without a lively show of strength or, indeed, fervour, and so led the procession of dutiful fratres to the gates of St. John’s. That they did so without emitting a breach of the peace was, no doubt, the result of good timing and some persuasive arguing by the Magister. Nonetheless, one cannot help feeling that the circumstances were a little fortuitous.

Unnerved perhaps, – or possibly stimulated – by these devotions, Socius Honorabilis Frater Smail tactfully reminded the members of the St. John’s History Society that the Confraternity possessed more often XXX efficiency and modernity of their own motivation, so giving them no cause for further wonder as for the doubtful sanity often guests, and thence passed on to XXX the theme of his paper.

He was concerned, he said, “with the metamorphosis of the rough horseman, who comprised the bulk of the invading forces of the Roman Empire into the high and polished chivalry of the 11th. century” and the paper was an attempt to explain the significance of the factors – and particularly the attitude of the Church – which had led to that change.

In the Dark Ages and in the period which followed the XXX of Europe, there was one fundamental and abiding problem which confronted the Christian World. That problem was: How to assimilate the martial instincts of predominantly warlike peoples into a Christian society. That society had always considered warfare in the light of its consequences to the individual, and, if that individual were a Christian, the opportunity for mortal sin was never far away. The Church, it was true, had its own armies: but they were the militia Christi or the militia of God – never to be infused with the more brutal and licentious hordes of the purely secular militias.

Frater Smail suggested three reasons for the change of attitude and the acceptance of those new representatives of the martial motives. Finally, the presence in Western Europe of large numbers of people of Germanic stock amongst whom the warring spirit was held in great esteem. Secondly, the example of the Carolingian state which used its military power to defend and extend the realm of Christendom and, thirdly, the movement towards Church reform which resuscitated an essentially active mission in order to Christianise society. The effect of the latter was readily apparent in the institution and growth of the XXX XXX, first in time and then in spaces until, eventually, the employment of warfare for Christian ends became a recognised feature of the mediaeval scene. But, in extending its influence to include the assimilation of the military representatives of these pagan peoples, the Church – even XXX was unable to eradicate their war-like instincts – could infuse into them certain elementary Christian rules of XXX and did create and treat the soldier as God’s instrument. To that extent the knightly clans deserved the designation Christian and the pervasiveness of its ethical origins were apparent even to the end of the Middle Ages.

The discussion opened with a preliminary skirmish on a high intellectual plane on the respective merits of the Roman XXX military virtues in observing ecclesiastical recognition. Some fratres were observed to be woefully ill at ease during this period, and their discomfiture was XXX when the discussion wound to a comparison between the medieval knight of Europe and the Samurai of Japan. It was fortunate, indeed, that the Japanese XXX of the Confraternity was there to participate in this surprising turn of events although there did not appear to be any lack of protagonists for the claim of the Samurai to be termed chivalrous. It was in this oriental atmosphere that the discussion became informal at 1037 p.m. The closing rites being performed by a XXX quorum in the rooms of the Pontifex at 1105 p.m.

Signed:
B.F.J. Pardoe (Princeps)
Pontifex.


The 275th meeting of the Confraternity was held in the rooms of Socius Honorabilis Frater Smail on the fourth day to the Calends of December [27.11.1949].

The rites having been performed and the minutes of the previous meeting having been read and approved, the Princeps proceeded to the business of the meeting. This was the much debated annular election of the Tribunes of the Plebs; as is usual on this occasion the Plebs showed little interest in the election of their representatives although Frater Ball was moved to propose Fr. Davies on their behalf. This nomination was revoked however on the disinclination of Fr. Davies to accept the honour, and as now seems customary the nominations of the Senate were approved; thus Fr. Milroy and Fr. Steventon were elected Tribunes for the current year.

There being no further initial business to discuss, the Princeps called upon the Fabricius to deliver his paper on “The English Factory in Japan”. The story of typical English initiative in the face of Japanese suspicion, Dutch competition and lack of support from those at home, ending finally in withdrawal and censure by the governing body must awaken the sympathy of all those who appreciate the value of enterprise and are hamstrung by the workings of bureaucracy today. Together with colourful descriptions of Japanese life in the seventeenth century, this paper made extremely pleasant listening. At the close of the paper the Princeps invited the fratres to put questions, but the present scribe regrets that fear of tutorial displeasure resulting from uncompleted tasks forced him to withdraw before the closing rites and the formal closure of the meeting.

Signed:
B.F.J. Pardoe (Princeps)
Colin A.K. Saunders (Magister Rotulorum)

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