New Governors – Summer 1915

It is with very great pleasure that we record that Lady Hulse, Canon Sowter, and Mr. Paget have most kindly consented to be Governors of the School. We wish to thank them most sincerely and we feel that the School is indeed fortunate in having them on the Governing Body. The first thing Canon Sowter did when he was elected was to bring, the Archbishop of Armagh to see us, who gave us one of the shortest and most inspiring addresses we had. Mr. Paget visited the School almost as soon as he was elected, and Lady Hulse has written to say she is coming when she returns to Breamore from the North.


The School and the War – Summer 1915

There is not very much that is fresh to tell the readers of the School Magazine about what the School is doing in order to try and bear in mind the great present crisis in European affairs, and also to render a little help where we may at a time when every effort, however small, is of value. We are now in the very heart of the struggle, and the geography and history lessons and the newspapers, and, above all, the masterly survey of events by Mr. Belloc’s speeches and writings, all have helped us to understand something of the progress of the war from day to day. It is greatly to be hoped that even when the thrilling- despatches from the front are published, weeks and sometimes months after the events recorded in them, they will be read with as keen an interest as the state of affairs at the moment, It would be a very sad thing to miss the participation in the details of any news of such importance and recounting such glorious deeds.

With regard to any work that the School has done, we have to record the work parties on Saturday evenings, in spite of its being the Summer Term, at which several hundreds of bags have been made for Lady Smith-Dorrien’s collection. She has already despatched 80,000, and desires to send speedily 100,000 more. the hears that the men find these little bays for their personal possessions a great comfort, and if they are invalided home many of them brim, them back for use in the hospital, and if they fall in battle they serve to collect their little possessions, which are so infinitely precious to their relations when they receive them. In the carpenter’s shop a great many ease boards have been made by the younger children under Miss Powell’s direction, and others have made cakes to send off every week to a few of the prisoners. The Mistresses continue their many activities in their spare tune in connection with the Soldiers’ Guest Noose and the Red Cross Hospital, which is just about to be enlarged. Miss Mitchell has been one of the foremost in helping to brighten up the evenings of the girls of the Speedwell Club by being with them in our pony’s field in the evenings, and it is very pleasant to hear their happy voices, and several other girls from the town, with their helper, have found their way to our little field, and the School grounds have been open on some Wednesdays in June and July to any of the families living round us who care to come. Last week one poor woman walking round looking so sad, and she told me that her youngest son (I think) had just started for the Dardanelles and that others where at the Front, and that she felt so sad in her house that she had to come out, and one felt so glad if the peaceful Godolphin garden was ally comfort to her. As you will see in another place, two or three of the leading farmers were very glad of Godolphin “hands” to help to get in the hay, and you may be sure that willing hearts and cheerful spirits went to the performance of this little service. Mrs. Harding and Mrs. Warren provided the haymakers with most acceptable refreshment, and were most kind to us. With regard to the very best thing that any of us can do at this time, I mean our prayers for those brave sailors and soldiers and all who are trying to help them, and for our statesmen and leaders, we have now rather a longer intercession service – about 20 minutes – on – Mondays at 12.20, and on the other days 10 minutes before “break.” On Wednesdays we read the names of those in the Navy, the chaplains, the doctors, the nurses, and other helpers who belong to us, and on Friday we read the names of those in the Army, and very long lists they are. We love to hear from Old Girls asking us to remember their dear ones, who are “in positions of honour and of danger on land and on sea.”

M.A. Douglas.

Relations and Friends on Active Service – Summer 1915


Third list of relations and friends who are, or have been, on Active Service, mentioned in the intercessions at the School.


Robert Gosse Humphrey Lawrence
Richard Wyndham John Winnington
Edward Isaac Victor Turner
Ronald Gilbert Cecil Holland
Henry Leigh Bennett Lionel Holland
Fred le Mesurier Norman Beynon
William Schofield Austin Elder
Jack Woolley Robin Gordon
Neville Awdry Kenneth Gordon
Reginald Ellis Malcolm Elder
John Oates Humphrey Grant
Victor Watson Gordon Monier-Williams
Harry Walker Crawford Monier-Williams
Howard La Trobe Lawrence Jowitt
Foster La Trobe Bernard Macklin
Charles La Trobe Degg Sitwell
Reginald Lister William Sargeaunt
Malcolm Leys Lawrie Kilgour
Michael Waterhouse Watson Kilgour
George Leys Burgon Bickersteth
Edward Segar Ralph Bickersteth
John Lovibond Thurston Monier-Williams
Kenneth Lovibond Harold Wood
Humphrey Gimson Frederick Maunsell
Henry Kinder Rowland Battle
Richard Kinder Leslie Harley
Gilbert Kinder George Bidwell
Jack Eddison Edward Elworthy
Geoffrey Sharpe Lancelot Kettlewell
Donald Middlemost Gordon Kettlewell
Frank Isaac Charles Brough
Lionel Chasey Herbert Brough
Christopher Keble Deans Graham-Brown
Robert Kestell-Cornish Basil Batchelor
Francis Parish Beresford Johnston
Douglas Parish


Harvey Ainslie Kenneth Alder
William Taylor Harold Skyrme
Hunter Cheyne Cecil Thursby


Frank Cunningham Nelice Maclean
Arthur Lister Alice Young
Thomas Henderson Evelyn Gilroy
Percy Adams Ruth Williamson
Helen Walford Jean Alexander
Cissie Chaplin Jessica Cazalet
Alice Richardson Evelyn Luard
Mary Gibson


Ewen Macpherson Frank Denham

War News from Old Girls – Summer 1915

Winifred Kenyon is now at an Urgency Cases Hospital, near the front, in France. She went out as cook, but has now started work as theatre probationer.

Margaret Tracey came to Nelson House at the beginning of this term to work at the Red Cross Hospital. She was night nurse.

Ruby Coventon was another night nurse, and they much enjoyed working together. Margaret was next at Longford Castle, and from there came to Roberts’ Ward in the Salisbury Infirmary, where she is working under our Miss Ashford’s sister.

Muriel Vicary is in Pembroke Ward.

May du Buisson in Radnor.

Kathleen Hulbert is also in Radnor.

Rosa Pepper is in Queensbury.

Miss Hyde’s sister, Edith was here for a month, so they made quite a party of friends.

Nancy Humphrys is coming on the 17th to join them.

Kathleen Pearce has been doing some haymaking while she stayed in Haslemere, and is now making enquiries about helping, on a farm.

Gwynnyth Hope is doing lots of Red Cross work, but they feel very far away in Australia.

Clarinda Allen writes: “Isabella and I are now working at a Red Cross Hospital (in Cambridge). At present I am only a charwoman and do scrubbing and odd jobs; but Isabella is a detachment cook; she is second in command.”

Kathleen Ensor tells us that she is spending four days a week at the Red Cross Hospital at Gloucester, where there is room for about sixty patients. Some are suffering from gas poisoning. One poor man-who was in hospital in France – was kept alive for weeks by oxygen, and has gone through terrible suffering, but is now making a good recovery. Her father has joined the city Training Corps and often goes on police duty at nights.

Dorothy Wright sends a most interesting letter from Klerksdorp, where she was staying with her sister Alice. She says: “Nearly all the girls I know are taking up nursing. I should like to, but am not strong enough. We collected over £500 in Heilbron, before the rebellion, for the different war funds, mostly by voluntary subscriptions. Besides that we sent two cases of clothing to England. Heilbron is not a big place, but compared to other places in the Free State it is very English, though the district is thoroughly Dutch. We are hoping the G.S.W. campaign will soon be over now. General Botha expects to reach Windhoek, the capital, soon. So far the Germans have not offered a very determined resistance, but it is rumored that they are taking to the mountains, and that will mean guerilla warfare.”

Dorothy Kent writes from Durban. She says: “My brother is in German S.W. Africa, and as soon as that is taken he is going to Europe. We heard on Wednesday that General Botha had entered the capital, Windhoek, so I suppose it will not be long before they are all home again. The general opinion is that the Germans will just carry on guerilla warfare so as to keep our troops there and prevent them going either to Europe or German East Africa. Public feeling has been very strong against the sinking of the Lusitania, and on Thursday night all the shops and offices were wrecked and burnt. The mob wanted to do the same the next night by the private houses, but the authorities called for special constables, and it was all stopped. It was a poor way of retaliating, as it does no good, and in many cases has thrown Englishmen out of work.”

Muriel Jowitt (Powell Jones) tells us that her husband is in the Dardanelles. She says: “He has been censoring some of the men’s letters home, and tells me that the spirit of them is quite wonderful, so full of simple faith and a sense of duty to their families and to their country.”

Kathleen Ashford tells us that their brother Jim has sailed for Egypt, and they have had a wire to tell of his safe arrival.

Amy Pothecary (Aylward) tells us of her eldest brother Dick, who has a commission in the R.E., 3rd Lahore Division, being in the dreadful battle of Neuve Chapelle, but coming through safely. Her youngest, brother Jack has been transferred into the same Regiment, only he is still in India, and is now Just outside Poona, “if he has not come over unknown to us” Her husband is still ill Flanders, and, as she writes, she is thinking of him doing another nine days’ spell in the trenches.

Molly Hodgson (Carpenter) says that her husband is at the Dardanelles, and her sister Winnie’s husband is right in the firing line at the front.

Louie Delacombe’s father, Colonel Delacombe, has gone to the Dardanelles. She says: “It came as a great surprise; on Saturday he got his orders, and was told to be ready in 24 hours, but it was lengthened out to a week. He has gone out as Intelligence Officer to Sir Ian Hamilton.”

Beatrice Litherland Nicholson (Jones) says: “What a difference this war has made to many of us Old Girls and to our homes! My husband is a captain in the 7th Cheshires for Home Defence Service only, and at present is guarding German prisoners at Queensferry Detention Camp.

Winifred Penn says: “Both my brothers Reg and Harold are engaged in active fighting in German S.W. Africa; they are suffering very much from the heat, dust and scarcity of water.

Constance Bailey (Ford) tells us how keenly her husband feels the disappointment of not being strong enough to fight; her brother-in-law is at the front now and her brother came over with the Canadians.

Winifred Henn tells us of a cousin who is a captain in the Staffs and at the front, and of other cousins in various Regiments waiting to go out.

Dorothy Fisher (Scott) tells us of the Red Cross Hospital at Whitchurch, and how wonderfully good and patient the men are.

Gwen Lupton (Holliday) says her husband has joined the Army Service Corps, and is stationed at Hungerford, where she is able to be with him.

Dorothy Hubbard (Johnson) is able to send better news of her husband, who was so seriously wounded some months ago.

Joyce Newman and Vera Coventon are both working as probationers in the Military Hospital at Dover.

Kathleen Douglas is still in the big hospital at Stoke-on-Trent.

Evelyn Perry says: “I have been meaning to write since I saw the School Roll of Honour to tell you that our only brother is, of course, fighting. He has been in France since March, and seems to have been right in the thick of it most of the time. He was in the Territorial Force when war broke out, and volunteered at once for active service. He is no fighter really, like so many of our men and boys, and I think I admire them most. He writes splendid letters, and always seems most cheerful.

Muriel and Frances Lewarne are together in one of the V.A.D. hospitals at Exeter. “We can take 220 patients, and they arrive in large convoys straight from the front. We are both working as nurses on the permanent staff, having signed on for a year. Frances has been made theatre nurse, and has to attend all the operations, and has always to wear rubber gloves. The ward she was in before had 43 beds in it. I came here a week before Frances, when we all had to do charring, as we were not quite ready for patients. I have never worked so hard in my life; much harder than in the Wilderness! We scrubbed, swept up clouds of dust, cleaned windows, and carried stores all day long. Then the wounded suddenly arrived! We had been working up to 4 p.m., and were then told to go back to our billets and rest, and come on again at 9.30 p.m. for night duty, and am still doing night duty, and shall be for another seven weeks, as it is for three months. I like night duty, as one learns more, I think, as one has greater responsibilities. Dorothy Sanders has been here, too, working in No. 1 Hospital, but she is away on leave.”

Ruth Squire tells us that her brother “Ted” has gone out to France as senior machine-gun officer of his brigade.

Jean Raven (Robertson), writing from Broadstairs, says: “It is such a relief that there is work for everyone to do-useful work, even if it is only cleaning the hospital bathroom taps! I have begun nursing now, and am doing one night and two days a week. The hospital is splendidly run by the wife of one of the other doctors, and all the work is voluntary, except for the grand old Scotch housekeeper, called Jean (I used to leap at first!) and a housemaid. Jean refers to herself and the latter as `the humble poor.’ My husband has 23 beds, one half of the hospital, and I am on his side. On Saturday he was operating, and kept us all on the go. I cannot quite manage to call him `Sir’ on these occasions; it sticks jest at the top of my throat! Most of the men are so good; not only don’t make a fuss, however much it hurts, but manage to joke through the worst part, and the few grousers get well teased. I heard one pretend to be a visitor the other day. He seized a patient’s hand, and said, amongst other things, ‘Well, and did it ‘urt yer when it ‘it yer?'”

Dorothy Lowe writes from the War Hospital, Clapton. She has such a string of cousins in the war, “almost like brothers to me, as we have been so much together,” and she asks that the old School will remember them at the daily war intercessions. The hospital she is at is a hut hospital, built on to a private house, and holds 100 men.

Auriel Parish is at home helping in her father’s school, as he cannot get a second assistant master. They have the son of Captain John Luce, of H.M.S. Glasgow, in the school, “a splendid little fellow, and so touchingly proud of his father.”

Rosamond and Nancy Wolley-Dod write from Alberta, Canada. Their only brother has got his commission in the 31st Battalion, and was expecting to be off to the front any day when they wrote in April.

Olivia Wyndham’s brother Richard is at the front with the 60th Rifles.

Nancy Walker’s father, Colonel Walker, is commanding the 4th Black Watch at the front.

Marion King is nursing in a Red Cross Hospital at Hove. Her brother was home on leave in the middle of June, and soon afterwards was obliged to return again to England to have an operation for appendicitis. He is now almost well again.

Catherine Capel is now nursing, at a Military Hospital at Aldershot. She still has good news of her brother, who was home on leave a few weeks ago.

Isabel Newson is helping at a canteen in the station at Havre. She has been staying at Rouen to be near her brother, who was in hospital there. He fell down a shell pit and tore his leg on barbed wire; he is now back at the Front.

Blackett is working as parlour maid at a Convalescent Home for wounded at Guildford.

Craig is working at a Hospital Supply Store, making slippers and all sorts of hospital necessaries.

Doris Pike is doing Red Cross work at the Military Hospital at Sutton Veny.

Joyce Guillemard tells us of very busy work parties at Rondebosch; the girls had collected money for wool and were knitting fast and furiously. The S.A. Engineers had been camping on the big Common near her home, and they had given them quite a number of concerts. She says, too, “We have had very interesting accounts and letters from men in S.W. Africa, and the other day I was sent some photographs of General Botha entering Windhoek.”

Garnons Williams tells us of her father, an uncle, a brother, and 16 cousins engaged in the war either with the Army abroad or in the Navy or serving at home, a record to be proud of.

Further News of Old Girls – Summer 1915

Mary Gordon is Assistant Lecturer in Classics at Royal Holloway College.

Emmeté Freeman is running a guest house, &c., for soldiers at Pangbourne.

Peggy Deanesly has published her book, “The Incendium Amoris of Richard Rolle of Hampole.” It is well spoken of in the reviews. “This is altogether an admirable piece of work.”

Our heartiest congratulations to the following Old Girls:

Marcia Matthews, who has been made Head Mistress of St. Mary’s, Calne, Wilts.

Dorothy Sayers, who has taken a 1st in Modern Languages at Oxford.

Amphyllis Middlemore, who has taken a 2nd in English at Oxford.

Ivy Phillips, who has taken a 3rd in Natural Science at Cambridge.

Second Lecture by Mr. Hilaire Belloc – 1915

On May 7th Mr. Hilaire Belloc came to Godolphin to deliver a second lecture on the War. He said his lecture would fall into two parts: (a) the present political situation in Europe and (b) the conditions under which peace might be arrived at, and the difficulties in the way of attaining a satisfactory peace.

(a) Mr. Belloc said that the situation would be finally judged by numbers; other things being equal numbers decide the issue in war, because when one body is brought up against another five men can tackle five, and the majority that is over can be used as you like. It is true that a small defensive can occupy a larger offensive, but that cannot last forever.

“Other things being equal” applies with peculiar force to this war.

(1) It is a war after long peace; all combatants are more or less equally prepared. Such inequalities as may exist are as nothing compared to the inequalities that exist when a civilised nation fights an uncivilised.

(2) The size of the campaign. As numbers increase the chances of the smaller against the larger party get better; the quicker brain has great advantage in deciding where to mass the men.

But this is only true up to a certain point; as numbers grow beyond about 100,000 the importance of numerical superiority again increases, for the men can only be massed comparatively slowly.

The enemy began the campaign in the West with a proportion of eight to five, and on the East held the Russians with an equal number of men. In the West the Germans crossed the Rhine, but failed to achieve their purpose, but were ultimately forced back practically to the line that they now hold. They attempted to break through, but failed, and in these attempts, owing to the close formation they adopt, they lost heavily.

In the East the attempt was made to pin the Russians behind the Vistula, and to do this it was necessary to take Warsaw. The Russian trenches held out crescent-wise before Warsaw, and by February 2nd the Germans found they could not break through. They still would not give up the hope of taking Warsaw, and tried to outflank the Russians. The Russian numbers were growing, and pressure on the Carpathians was increasing. The Germans attempted to relieve this pressure, but were beaten, and on March 22nd Przemysl surrendered. The whole German scheme had failed, and now the Germans no longer had a numerical superiority.

So far then the war has gone in favour of the Allies, but there is still the possibility of the Germans breaking out. What danger is there of this? The answer to this question depends on a comparison of the German rule of recruiting and ours. German recruitment is recurrent; that of the Allies is very slow at first, but then rises steeply.

Germany at the beginning of the war had some 2,400,000 men to be trained; the training capacity of the German Empire is about 800,000. There would thus be three lots of reinforcements, each coming forward at an interval of about three months, and the last would appear about the end of April. The present offensive is, therefore, due to this last reinforcement; when that is exhausted the Germans have no more.

The Allies’ reinforcements must come in very slowly till the spring, and then with increasing rapidity; a large number will be supplied by the end of June. The Germans must, therefore, use great hammer blows, seeking to break through, before we can bring our reinforcements to bear.

The present offensive in the West north of Ypres has failed; in the East the Germans have achieved considerable success. They have made a number of dents in the Russian line, but the line is still unbroken.

It is probable that the Russians will have to fall back on Ratoka, and abandon the Carpathian passes, but unless the Germans break through nothing conclusive has been done. The German Empire remains in a state of siege.

Now to turn to the Dardanelles. If we succeed in gaining control of the Straits of Russia will be able to equip quickly; Roumania’s decision will be made in our favour, and Turkey’s action will be stopped. The results will be so great that though the odds against us are tremendous, if we succeed we shall think the attempt has been worth the risk. Control of the Dardanelles practically means control of the Narrows, and as the Gallipoli Peninsula dominates the Asia Minor coast, it is the Gallipoli Peninsular that must be secured. Before this is done three things must be accomplished.

(1) A force must be landed. That task has been achieved, in face of odds so tremendous that all Europe held its breath while it was being attempted.

(2) The first defensive ridge, that of Achi Baba, stretching from sea to sea, must be forced.

(3) If that is gained there is yet another valley, and beyond a natural escarpment, rising abruptly, as do the Chilterns, and in horse-shoe form. On top of that is the Plateau that dominates the Narrows. When that is gained the Allies’ purpose will be accomplished. But as yet the Allies are still attempting to gain the Achi Baba heights.

To sum up, numerical superiority show on our side, the Russians are getting their equipment, the enemy are using their last recruitment, and if they are to break out it must be before the end of June.

(b) The difficulties in the way of attaining a satisfactory peace.

Now to turn to the question of peace. There are two main dangers against which we shall have to contend. The first is the misunderstanding of the military situation by civilians or neutrals; the second, the influence of Courts and International finance.

The influence of the Courts is largely German; Greece did not come in two months ago because the Court is Prussian; the Russian Court itself is half German, and has the traditions of the German type of monarch and German methods of government behind it. We are fighting to get rid of this Hohenzollern influence.

Then finance is cosmopolitan: the financiers have tremendous power, and when they see their opportunity they will exert this power to the utmost; they will come in with all their weight to press for an inconclusive peace.

But the danger of an inconclusive peace is still greater on account of the influence of misled opinion. There is the feeling that after months of war the enemy is still in the country of the Allies; the heavy casualties when the offensive begins may lead people to feel that the war must be stopped; much of the noblest opinion in the country, too, must be in favour of peace. Yet if peace is made while Prussia remains unbroken, Great Britain will go under. Prussia will not tackle France again, nor Russia, but England is dependent on her sea empire and on commerce; she is vulnerable, and Prussia desires her destruction. Unless Prussia is crushed or broken in this war she will gather her strength for another attack in which Great Britain will stand against her alone.

Markham Lee’s Lecture on “Hymns and Hymn Singing”

The singing of hymns, chants, responses and amens in church, chapel or school constitutes what is called “congregational” singing, that is to say, it is that part of the service in which the general mass of the congregation is supposed to uplift its voice, as opposed to such parts as are said or sun, by the priest alone, or such parts as anthems and special settings, which should be, left to the trained choir.

It is but a few of us who ever take part as members of trained choirs in public worship, but we should all of us make some attempt to participate in congregational singing. And what is more, this attempt should be an intelligent one. How very often in a congregation one hears most gruesome noises, proceeding from such persons as the lady who makes amateur attempts at a second treble, the man who growls throughout on one sepulchral note, or worse still, he who “fancies” himself at inserting a tenor or a bass part, which is usually of his own invention and not at all in accord with what is sung by the choir.

Congregational singing should not be like this, it should be singing in unison, i.e., a singing of the melody only, at the same pitch, or in the case of the male voice, at a pitch one octave below. Unfortunately, hymns and chants are often pitched so high that the ordinary member of the congregation cannot, reach this melodic singing, and resorts to the distressing attempts I have mentioned. This is a matter the remedy for which lies with those who edit our hymn books and chant books; it is not in the power of the ordinary layman. But on the other hand it is not one which very often affects the female voice, and can usually with little trouble reach all the notes of most hymns and chants; when they cannot be reached let us remember the maxim, “Silence is golden.”

Let it be assumed, therefore, that so far as your own singing, is concerned, what you are given to sing lies well within your powers the problem, then, is to sing intelligently. First of all let us remember, however, that a hymn is a part of the service well worth taking trouble over; it is of very ancient origin. The Psalms of David, who lived about 1055 B.C., were hymns; the Odes of Confucius (500 B.C.) where Chinese hymns; the Carmen Sacculare of Horace were hymns; and you will remember that touching sentence, “And when they had sung an hymn they went unto the Mount of Olives.” That was in the very early days of Christianity, and all down through the ages the practice of hymn-singing has gone on since then, the Latin hymns of the Western Church, the Lutheran Chorales (noble and dignified, a relic of a great Germany of past days), our own psalters and hymn book, for English and Scotch use-it is impossible to enumerate them all. It is not so long ago that the only form of hymns in use in this country was a metrical version of the Psalms. Perhaps the words, even in the garbled version of English poetry, were better on the whole than are those of some of our modern hymns, but it was only about the year 1860 that the hymn as we understand it, introduced in 1708 by Watts, became general. Now we sing our Psalms in the glorious prose translation of the Hebrew, our hymns in verse, which varies in merit, as does also the music to which it is set.

It is not my purpose, however, to talk to you about the merits or demerits of words and music, but to say a little about the difficulties and dangers which beset the singing of psalms and hymns.

The greatest, because the most ever-present danger, is the dulling effect which rises from oft repetition. You know how a rowing man may be “over trained,” you know how an athlete or a horse may be exercised beyond a desirable degree. To come more nearly to musical matters, you know how you may practise and practise at a pianoforte piece, or a violin piece, or a part song until on each occasion it seems to get, and actually does get, worse instead of better. This is because we have gone over its parts so often that the mental impression becomes more dulled on each repetition, until it becomes practically nil, we lose the habit of attention, and our performance deteriorates. In our practising we have a remedy for this: to put the piece aside until the impression which has been so dulled becomes keen and sharp once more. In our hymn-singing, in common worship generally, we have no remedy; an increased effort is necessitated from us, and this effort is at times difficult to make. If you go to service twice or three times on a Sunday you may say the Lord’s Prayer seven or eight times, and with each repetition it becomes more and more difficult to fix the attention, to prevent the mind from wandering, to concentrate upon the words we are singing. Our psalms and hymns are not repeated as often as this, but the danger still exists, for oft-repetition of the same words to the same tune has undoubtedly a torpifying effect. Inattention to words and music result in bad hymn singing; let us try hard to overcome, by constant mental application, the persistent danger.

Now for more purely musical difficulties. In hymns there are many verses to one repeated tune. If every verse had a different musical setting its proper rendering would be much easier; but then it would be an anthem and net a hymn. Since the tune is however, the same, the differences in the words must be brought out by differences in phrasing and expression. This kind of musical setting is not confined to hymns, many of the songs of Schubert and other of the older masters have the same music for every verse. Most of you have sung folk-songs and will know that the most varied sentiments in the words may be allied to the same tune; but I have heard you sing folk-songs admirably. An attempt is made in some books of hymns to insert expression marks. If these are placed in the tune some verse or other is sure to be wrong, for hymn writers are often at fault in this and other respects. If they are placed against the words they are certainly different for each verse, but are often exaggerated and overdone. In your own public school hymn book I am glad to see there are none at all, it is left to your intelligence, and will therefore be better done.

Now we come to difficulties of tempo, that is, the pace at which hymns should be sung. This varies much with the sentiment of the hymn, and also with its date. Most triple tune hymns are sung much too slowly (Rockingham, 84); there seems something in the feminine rhythm which causes a drag. This must be carefully guarded against. Most of the older hymns should be sung at a slow pace, more especially the German chorales. Here, however, the notation is not always quite adequate. The chorale, the Protestant hymn tune of the Reformation period, was often sung with long breaks between each line of words, filled in by an extemporisation on the organ (the Choral Prelude of Bach and others). Although no extension of the time is indicated, in such a tune as 318 (Ein Feste Burg) there should certainly be a pause at the end of each of the first four lines. A suggestion would be to make each note a dotted minim, as in the succeeding lines of the tune, otherwise a breathless effect would be produced.

This leads to another consideration-how and where to breathe. The music of all hymn tunes looks as if they were to be sung without taking breath, for the time values of each are complete. The double bars indicate the ends of a line in the words, and usually (though not always) breath can be taken here. This must be done by cutting short the last note of the line that is just finished, and certainly not by delaying the first note of the next line. Even if this procedure be adopted, however, Ein Feste Burg would sound hurried if we turned the last note of each of its first four  into a crotchet. Better to make it, as with the other (later) lines, a semibreve tied to it crotchet.

Most modern tunes can, however, be sung in strict time by shortening the last note of each line (Hymn 190, “Eternal Father”, where the rhythm is quite destroyed if strict time be not kept).


The Endings of Verses. Although the last note of each as a rule be shortened in order to obtain the breath, the final note of each verse should be held its complete value. This is often difficult, as the breath is apt to be exhausted, but nothing is so slovenly as for the voices to leave off one after the other and unless the full time is given to the note there will always be indecision as to the ending. In some hymns where the last note is a short one (one must remember that the unit of measurement is a minim and not a crotchet) it may with advantage be doubled to make a satisfactory conclusion. But in such a hymn as 24 (“Saviour, again to Thy dear Name”) the full four beats should be allotted.

Beginnings. Although it is difficult to end a verse well, it is still more difficult to begin the next. There is always a great lack of unanimity about this, and singers always appear to await the lead of either organ or the choir, or of one strong voice. The only satisfactory solution of this is to count a certain number of beats between the end of one verse and the beginning of the next, then all can be together. This may be illustrated by such a hymn as 63 (“Jesu, lover of my soul”), where four, three, or two beats can be interpolated (according to the size of church and of congregation) between the verses.


Where the time changes during the course of a tune (as in 341 “We saw Thee not”), it is not easy when the new verse begins to pick up the original tempo; the tendency is to go on at a slower pace at which the last two lines finished. This must be very carefully guarded against, and a good idea of the original tempo must be retained. Such hymns are always difficult to sing well.

In most hymns the tendency to get a rallentando in the last line of each verse should be strenuously resisted; its effect is enervating, unmusical, and poor.


It would seem almost unnecessary to speak of the observance of commas and stops in the words were it not that one often hears such absurdities as “Jesus lives no longer now,” or “Our blest Redeemer ere He breathed.” Intelligent singing demands, for the management of the breath, similar devices to intelligent reading; and there are many who would be ashamed in reading to make a stop at the end of every line of words who think it no solecism to make one at the end of every line of the music. The sense of the words must be just as carefully considered in singing as in reading, and breath, or half breath, only taken where nonsense will not result.


Every hymn has its appropriate mood or atmosphere, this being, of course, more widely perceptible in some cases than in others. The mood of worship, if such a term can be used, should of course permeate all, but in some cases the words take on more of the expression of praise, in others the utterance of penitence; others, again, that of supplication or prayer. What may be called the “pictorial” hymn, when the musical setting is able to reinforce the sentiment of the words, presents the earnest realisation of atmosphere. Hence the popularity and the singableness of such tunes as “Fierce raged the tempest”, or “Lead, kindly Light”, really a part song and of “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” Where the mood is less evident the greater care is needed on the part of the exponents for the proper rendering of the singing, and for a full realisation of the hymn.

Miss Fanny Davies’ Concert

On July 1st, 1915, Miss Fanny Davies came down to the School and gave us a most enjoyable recital. She brought in with her a beautiful bouquet of roses, gathered from the various School House gardens and presented by Miss Awdry. The first item on the programme was Bach’s English suite in A minor, which showed Miss Davies’ marvelous technique and great delicacy of touch to great advantage. This followed by the immortal “Waldstein” Sonata, with its popular and well-known Rondo. Miss Davies’ interpretation of the “Faschingsswank aus Wein” by Schumman, had a special interest since the she was a pupil of the great composer’s wife, Clara Schumman. In the “Romanze” there was a cunningly disguised version of the “Marseillaise.” Next came four pieces by Brahms, two “Klavierstücke,” and two “Fantasien.” The first if the “Klavierstücke” was especially beautiful, and much appreciated by the audience. A very lovely Prelude by Chopin followed, forming a remarkable contrast to the last item on the programme, Paderewski’s “Humoresque dans le style ancient de Scarlatti.” It was a lively and attractive piece, and could not fail to appeal to the most unmusical members of the audience-especially the exciting finish on the top note of the piano! We expressed our delight and gratitude as heartily as we knew how, and Miss Davies very kindly gave us an encore, Mendelssohn’s “The Bee’s Wedding.”


Empire Day – May 1915

Miss Bagnall gave a short address, showing how the coincidence of Empire Day with Whitsuntide might remind us of the great yearly gathering of King Arthur’s Knighthood in Camelot at the same Feast Pentecost – when the achievement of the Knights in the past year were recounted, and fresh inspiration was gathered for renewed effort and adventure. In the same way our Empire in this time of warfare and stress brings its achievements and its failures before our Ascended King, and seeks afresh the Light and Strength that Whitsuntide bestows. We must remember that the well-being; of the Empire depends on the right-doing and faithfulness of all and each of its members. We as a School are helping to make or mar it; and the School is what its individual girls are. So Empire Day means much for every one of us.