The First World War and Lambeth Palace

Among the papers of Archbishop Davidson survives a typescript list of relatives and friends of members of the Lambeth Palace household serving in the War (ref: LPL Davidson 22). It includes the name Craufurd Ellison, a reminder of the connections between three episcopal families whose relationships are documented by the Library’s holdings. Craufurd Tait Ellison was the son of Agnes Sitwell Ellison (née Tait), she in turn the youngest daughter of Archibald Campbell Tait (Archbishop of Canterbury 1868-82) and Catharine Spooner Tait.

Agnes Tait and her sisters

Agnes Tait and her sisters (ref: MS 4502/41)

Agnes (b. 1860) died in 1888 after giving birth to her son Craufurd, soon after her marriage in January that year. She was buried at Addington, where the Archbishops had a Palace at that period. The 1891 census shows her young son living with his widowed father, his father’s brother and sister, his grandfather, and four female servants (including his nannie, Susannah Soan), in Warwick Square (Pimlico). By 1901 he was at school in Rottingdean, Sussex.

The name Craufurd was resonant in the Tait family, as it was earlier the name both of the Archbishop’s father (d. 1832), and of the Taits’ only son, also a clergyman: Craufurd Tait (b. 1849) had died in 1878, followed soon after by his grieving mother, both memorialized in an account published after their deaths by the Archbishop. The family’s history is well-known for the earlier loss in 1856 of five of their seven children to scarlet fever, leaving only Craufurd and one sister surviving. Further daughters were born to the Taits after the tragedy. The Library holds records of the Tait family, including this photograph picturing Agnes (standing), Lucy (left) and Edith (ref: LPL MS 4502 item 41), and also including letters and papers on the engagement and marriage of Agnes Tait to John Henry Joshua Ellison (another clergyman) and her death (ref: LPL MS 4499 ff. 215-233, MS 4500 item 2).

Craufurd Ellison was thereby the nephew of Archbishop Davidson, though his wife Edith (née Tait), who was Agnes’s sister. Randall Davidson was a friend of their brother Craufurd Tait (the Library holds records of a tour of Egypt and Palestine they made together in 1872-3, ref: LPL MSS 1602-1603), who was instrumental in Davidson’s ordination to the ministry by his father Archbishop Tait; Davidson subsequently became the Archbishop’s chaplain.

In the 1911 census Ellison, then in his early twenties, was already serving in the military, a 2nd Lieutenant, and his marriage certificate records that he was married to Marjorie Wynyard (daughter of a retired Colonel) in the chapel at Lambeth Palace on 2 August 1914, with Archbishop Davidson officiating and Edith Davidson among the witnesses (also recorded in the Chapel register, ref: LPL MS 2886 p. 33).

Marriage record of Craufurd Ellison

Marriage of Craufurd Ellison (ref: MS 2886 page 33)

The marriage was by special licence issued on behalf of the Archbishop – the number of licences for August 1914 is noticeably increased over the same period the preceding year, presumably owing to the circumstances of the War (ref: LPL FM III/23). The Library holds letters to Randall and Edith Davidson from and concerning their nephew, including letters of 1890-1 written on behalf of the infant Craufurd enumerating his activities such as spinning his top and feeding the ducks, and early letters in his own hand (including one to Uncle “Wrangle”). A letter from his nannie written soon after his wedding in 1914 describes the sun suddenly shining on the bridal couple as Craufurd put on the ring, recalling the moment when the same thing occurred as his mother first held her child in 1888. There are also letters of farewell following the outbreak of War in 1914 and reporting Craufurd’s injury in the early months of War (ref: LPL MS 4499 ff. 234-289). Following his war service with the King’s Royal Rifles, he is listed (in Kelly’s Directory 1920) as a Captain living in Wiltshire. He died as a Major in 1942, his name appearing on the war memorial in Wilton, Wiltshire alongside that of John Damer Craufurd Ellison (b. 1915), his only son, who died on war service in North Africa the following year. He also had a daughter (b. 1919) – another Agnes, like his mother.

The Library also holds records of the Ellison family among the papers of Gerald Ellison (Bishop of London 1973-81). He was the son of John Henry Joshua Ellison (1855-1944), who had married Agnes. Craufurd Ellison was thereby the (much older) half-brother of Gerald (b. 1910), who was the son of John’s second wife. Among the family material which survives in the Ellison papers are visitors’ books from the family homes dating from 1901 onwards – including the signature of Craufurd Tait Ellison (ref: LPL Ellison P/2/2).

Additional information from genealogical sources on the Ancestry website.

The First World War and Queen Anne’s Bounty

Queen Anne's Bounty World War One memorial

Queen Anne’s Bounty World War One memorial

This is the first blog post in a series to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. The Library and Record Centre together hold substantial material relating to the War, which is summarised in the research guide available on our website.

The records include files among the archive of Queen Anne’s Bounty on the impact of the War. Queen Anne’s Bounty was founded in 1704 to augment the incomes of the poorer clergy of the Church of England, and remained a central body in church administration into the 20th century (it was succeeded in 1948 by the Church Commissioners). The files record how the Bounty Office adapted to wartime conditions and the consequences for its activities and staff (ref: QAB/7/12).

When War was declared on 4 August 1914 there were 38 permanent and 10 ‘supernumerary’ (temporary) members of staff employed by the Bounty Office, based at Deans Yard, Westminster, and many of these were members of the Territorial Army. By 9 December 1914 nine members of staff had joined the armed services. In common with the Civil Service, the Bounty Office continue to pay staff their peacetime salaries minus their military pay, while the remaining staff worked increased overtime and took fewer holidays to cover the work. The Bounty Office attempted to keep its remaining staff of military age and in a letter dated 29 February 1916 the Treasury agreed that, for recruiting purposes, the Queen Anne’s Bounty should be treated as a Government Department, which enabled them to secure exemption for three key members of staff. However, by May 1918 the remorseless pressure for recruits left the Bounty Office with no male staff under the age of 31, three exempted members of staff aged 31-41, 17 male members of staff over the military age of 41 and 12 female members of staff, a significant reduction from peacetime staffing levels.

Being a small organisation there was considerable contact with staff serving in the armed forces and the files contain correspondence received from locations including France, Italy and the Middle East, giving detailed accounts of their experiences, health and morale. For example Lieutenant Alexander Symons, a clerk before the War, was severely wounded on 28 August 1916 and awarded the Military Cross. On 19 December 1917 he wrote to Mr Le Fanu, Secretary and Treasurer of the Bounty, thanking him for sending ‘pipe and tobacco’. Some of the letters bear evidence of censorship.

Other material expressive of wartime conditions includes a copy of a War Office memorandum of 21 December 1916 concerning the inadvertent disclosure of military information to enemy intelligence through parish magazines, stating: ‘The clergy are to a great extent naturally ignorant of the various means the enemy employ to collect their information about our troops and dispositions’. In 1918-19 the Bounty Office produced a series of ‘Bounty Gazettes’ to those staff serving in the armed forces (ref: QAB/9/7). The first Gazette of 18 April 1918 referred to the impact of food rationing: ‘We grow somewhat thinner, physically, but that is because the Army must be fed and so we civilians are limited in the intake. Of course we grouse and say hard things of the Food Controller but that’s just the British way of letting off steam’. There is also correspondence concerning a Memorial Service for Civil Servants killed in the War held on 11 July 1918 in Westminster Abbey and attended by George V, which included an allocation of 10 seats to the Bounty Office with preference being given ‘to those who have served in the War, or who have lost relatives’ (ref: QAB/7/12/2). The final section of the files relates to the demobilisation and return of members of staff back to their posts following the Armistice.

Two members of the Bounty Staff died during the War, Captain Gaze killed on the Somme in 1916 and Rifleman Perry killed near Ypres in 1915, and a third, Private Goad, died in 1919 of illness contracted on active service. The memorial to those who died survives in Church House, Westminster.

Detailed descriptions of these files are available in the archives catalogue.


With a little help from our Friends II: Geometria Speculative

The Library holds significant numbers of works that were written by Archbishops of Canterbury, many of whom have been distinguished scholars. Earlier Archbishops tend to be under-represented: one such is Thomas Bradwardine, c.1290-1349, who was Archbishop for only 38 days. Bradwardine, nicknamed the Doctor profundus, was one of the prominent thinkers of the fourteenth century, and his influence remained strong after his death, as witness Chaucer’s mention of him alongside Augustine and Boethius.

Line 422 of Chaucer, Nun's Priest's Tale

Chaucer, line 422 of Nun’s Priest’s Tale, from a copy of his works which belonged to Archbishop Whitgift

Bradwardine’s work, following a tradition established by his predecessors at Oxford, combined theology with mathematics and science. He was almost as well-known for his work on mathematics as for his theology, and was concerned to relate the two fields, emphasising the philosophical relevance of mathematical concepts. While at Oxford, Bradwardine wrote Geometria Speculative: this was published in 1495 in Paris by Guy Marchant. It was the first mathematical work by any Englishman to appear in print.

A page from Geometria Spectulative

A page from Geometria Speculative

A copy of the work became available in 2006 and was purchased for Lambeth Palace Library using generous grants from various bodies including the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library, Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library, Friends of the National Libraries, and the Lambeth Diploma Association.

Football and the War

The World Cup is over for another four years but in the last month we have seen the power that football has to arouse strong passions in people. How much stronger such passions can be in times of war and conflict is shown by a pamphlet entitled Football and the War, which we came across when reviewing our collections for the World War I commemorations. The author of the pamphlet, Frederick N. Charrington (1850-1936), a member of the wealthy brewing family who gave up his fortune after converting to Christianity, is best known as a temperance reformer and for his philanthropic work. However, in late 1914 he was prominent in a campaign to halt professional football so that players could join the war effort.

Football and the War

First page of Charrington’s Football and the War which was published late in 1914

Charrington believed that the 7,000 professional footballers should set an example by enlisting and he wanted to see the Football Association free them from their contracts. Furthermore, he thought that the football stadiums should be turned into drill grounds and recruitment centres. He wrote letters to the press, the football association and even the King in support of his idea. For Charrington it was “a National shame and disgrace to our country if we have our best athletes charging one another on the football field instead of charging the Germans on the battlefield.” Charrington was a fiery campaigner. During his campaign against music halls in the 1870s and 1880s he had been arrested several times for harassing patrons and in 1915 he stormed into the House of Commons, took up the Mace and began to protest against the members’ bar. This passion was also evident in his crusade against professional football when he tried to make an unauthorised speech at a game at Fulham’s ground, Craven Cottage, in September1914, and had to be forcibly ejected by two members of club staff, an incident captured by the press photographers in attendance.

Your country needs you

“Your country needs you” – a contemporary press cartoon reproduced in Football and the War

The Football Association decided to continue with the 1914/15 programme and responded to their critics by pointing out that they were making their facilities available for recruiting and that they had made a financial contribution to the war effort. It is clear from Football and the War that Charrington thought that the FA’s response was inadequate. The language and tone of Football and the War are uncompromising. He accuses the players of the national teams of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland of lacking patriotism, writing that:

Men who won’t fight for their country are unfit to represent their country in any capacity. They have not a shred of patriotism in their souls. They are the mountebanks of a great game.

He thinks that after the hostilities cease, the decision to continue playing football will meet with opprobrium:

What will the Belgian and French hosts at whose banquets they will be guests think of the men and the employers of the men who on the other side of the English Channel kicked footballs about when the towns of Belgium and the fields of France were ravaged by the Huns?”

He goes even further and accuses both players and their employers of cowardice, calling them the “white feather brigade” and says that:

On their caps and on their jerseys, in addition to the national emblem the players sport, let each player have a neat white feather worked by loving hands. This will be a perpetual memorial to master and man-to the Football Association and its hirelings-of their selfish cowardice in the hour of Imperial danger.


“Patriotism” – a cartoon by Joseph Morewood Staniforth reproduced in Football and the War

The campaign against professional sport, and football in particular, was not Charrington’s alone and was taken up by the press. Indeed, he included several press photographs and cartoons in the pamphlet. Much of the criticism levelled against the FA and its players was unfair as many players, particularly the unmarried ones, had joined up and the clubs were active in recruitment. Eventually, with dwindling crowds and difficulty in paying players, the FA decided to suspend professional football for the duration of the War. The FA Cup Final of 24 April 1915, the so-called “Khaki-final” because of the numbers of spectators in uniform, was the last major professional game of the war. It was played between Sheffield Wednesday and Chelsea. When presenting the Cup to the victors, Sheffield, Lord Derby said:

You have played with one another and against one another for the Cup; play with one another for England now.

Further Reading

Frederick N. Charrington. Football and the War. London: Book Saloon, [1914]

Cyril A.E. R. Gull. The great acceptance: the life story of F.N. Charrington. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1913.

Derek Birley. “Sportstmen and the deadly game” in J. A. Mangan (ed.) A Sport-loving Society: Victorian and Edwardian Middle-class England at Play. Routledge, 2005

The Young Lions: Archbishop Ramsey and football

As much of the world’s attention turns to the World Cup, we can reveal an unlikely link between football and a former Archbishop of Canterbury.

In 1971, Archbishop Michael Ramsey agreed to a donation of £100 to help set up a team for black South African refugees in Kenya. Ramsey had visited Kenya earlier in the year for the Anglican Consultative Council at Limuru and had granted a group of the refugees an audience. On 14th May he wrote “I look forward to hearing that the cheque has reached you safely and also to receiving any news about the group and its fortunes”. The letter shown here was sent in acknowledgement of the donation.

Letter from the Young Lions  Football Club

Letter from the Young Lions Football Club. Archbishops’ Papers, Ramsey 213, f.260

Ramsey was not noted for an interest in sport, although his period as Archbishop of Canterbury (1961-1974) coincided closely with the tenure of his England manager namesake Sir Alf.

There are many links between the Church and the national winter game. Several prominent English clubs were founded as church sides. Fulham were St. Andrew’s Church Sunday School FC of West Kensington, and Bolton Wanderers began life in 1874 as the Christ Church Sunday School. Everton were originally St.Domingo’s FC, a Sunday School team from St. Domingo’s Methodist Church in the district of Everton in Liverpool.

Arsenal’s former stadium, Highbury, was originally leased in 1913 from St. John’s College of Divinity, which occupied the southern end of the stadium until the end of the Second World War when it burnt down. The original terms of the lease prevented the club from playing on Christmas Day or Good Friday.

St John’s Church, Smith Square at 300

The file, deed and map rooms are full and provision of further storage space… urgently necessary.’

 Words from the minutes of the Estates and Finance Committee of the Church Commissioners in May 1955 that may be all too familiar to archives and records professionals.

Space, it would seem, is always an issue. How to get more of it, and how to better use that available is a recurring discussion for people from all walks of life. In London, space is of a premium. Cramped into the city, space becomes a currency and a commodity to be traded. ‘Head space,’ ‘breathing space,’ ‘living space,’ ‘working space;’ the right kind of space is always the question.

In the mid Twentieth Century the Church Commissioners were becoming increasingly concerned about their space. Needing room to house their expanding collection of records, the Commissioners were for a time keen to pursue a plan under discussion by the Diocese of London to convert a damaged church into an Ecclesiastical Records Office for London.

St John’s Church, Smith Square, is today a renowned concert hall and in May 2014 will celebrate 300 years since its first corner stone was laid on 14th May 1714. The church was built as one of the ‘fifty new churches’ or ‘Queen Anne’ churches built for London. Designed and built by Thomas Archer, the church was seriously damaged during the Second World War and a scheme was proposed to convert the church into a records office and archive for the Diocese of London, in which the Commissioners would rent space. Plans were drawn up by Robert Atkinson for what would have been an impressive space. The plans make provision for an exhibition area, several private study rooms, staff offices and plenty of natural light.

The plans to turn St. John's, Smith Square,  into a record office.

The plans to turn St. John’s, Smith Square, into a record office.


Cross section looking east.

Cross section looking east.

In the end, it was the classic coupling of time and money that ended the Commissioners involvement in the scheme, and they formally extracted themselves from any agreements in 1955. As St John’s get ready to celebrate their 300th birthday, it’s interesting to contemplate the twists and turns and the paths not taken on the road to becoming an acclaimed classical music venue.




Related material:

CC/SEC/T/4 Proposed Ecclesiastical Record Office at St John’s Smith Square: correspondence and papers. Church of England Record Centre

MSS 2690-2750 Commission for the Building of Fifty New Churches (The Queen Anne Churches). Lambeth Palace Library

Completion of the cataloguing of the Stott papers

The fourteen month project to catalogue the personal papers of John Stott (1921-2011) and the complementary collection of research papers from his biographer Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith is now complete, with the descriptions full searchable via , using the references STOTT* and TDS* for the respective collections.

John Stott’s personal papers primarily document his activities after his time at All Souls Langham Place, focusing as they do on his work as a writer and as a key protagonist in events on the national and international evangelical stage. As previous blog posts (9 July and 11 September 2013) mention, the papers provide rich evidence of Stott’s wide range of professional activities such as his involvement as a founder, supporter and member of a significant number of organisations, including the Church of England Evangelical Council and the Langham Partnership International. However, the papers also crucially provide evidence of the man himself,  his personal faith and his convictions. Within papers lent to Bishop Dudley-Smith for the biography, you can find a fascinating file of correspondence referred to by Stott as ‘Pre-Ordination’ (ref. STOTT/11/3/1). The majority of letters concern the efforts of Stott, his teachers and Cambridge tutors to confirm that Stott had formally declared his wish to be ordained prior to September 1939, and therefore that he might be exempt from military service. It was not, however, just a battle for recognition from the War Office – it also involved a concerted effort to justify his decision to his father Sir Arnold Stott, a physician who served in both World Wars and had high hopes for his son’s career. Sir Arnold  was concerned that John was both rushing into a career in the Church and neglecting his obligation to serve his country. There is a series of letters from John in which he determinedly sets out how strongly he perceived his calling. In one, featured here, he states that- ‘nothing short of complete conviction would bring me to the decision I have made in view of the sorrow I am causing you…I have had a definite and irresistible call from God to serve him…I would not be writing this unless I were convinced in my own mind’. Furthermore, Stott contrasts his father’s involvement in the physical war, with his own involvement in the spiritual war and suggests to his father – ‘I have been called to the one war, you no doubt the other. Both are service to our country’.

Stott's letter of justification to his father STOTT/11/3/1 f. 67 r. and f. 70 r.

Stott’s letter of justification to his father STOTT/11/3/1 f. 67 r. and f. 70 r.

Furthermore, at the time John Stott concluded that he could not, as a Christian, justify fighting in a war. Indeed he made notes, including biblical passages, to support his belief.

Stott's thoughts on justifications for war STOTT/11/3/1 f. 41 r.

Stott’s thoughts on justifications for war STOTT/11/3/1 f. 41 r.

Notably though, as time passed and events on the world stage progressed, Stott came increasingly to believe that under certain circumstances the concept of a ‘just war’ could warrant involvement by Christians. However, his alertness to the pitfalls of war were maintained through his involvement in the debate on nuclear weapons. Indeed, this last point directs us to one of the guiding forces of Stott’s ministry, a keen sense of the importance of maintaining the relevance of Christian faith to the modern world, with both the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity, established by Stott in 1982, and the four editions of his book ‘Issues Facing Christians Today’, bearing testament to that effort.