Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Manning and Harrow

It's been a rather mad day - stayed Monday night with a recently married University friend who lives in Guildford and has just qualified as a British Airways pilot. Then I met friends for lunch in Leatherhead.

My final destination was Harrow School, where a new exhibition was opened outlining the life and work of the school's two most eminent nineteenth century churchmen: Charles Gore (sometime Anglican bishop of Worcester, Birmingham and Oxford) and our very own Cardinal Manning. I was invited to the launch since there were items from our archive on display and I was welcomed by the School's excellent Catholic chaplain, Fr Andrew Wadsworth:

Harrow is one of our finest public schools - founded in 1572 and boasting Churchill, Peel, Palmerston, Byron, Trollope and nineteen winners of the Victoria Cross as old boys. It has an impressive exhibition area, the Old Speech Room Gallery, and part of the Manning display can be seen in the picture above, including the mitre the Archbishop wore at Vatican I.

Dinner followed in the Senior Common Room, where our table had an ecumenical flavour - I had a very pleasant conversation with the Anglican chaplain and a representative of the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield (founded by Bishop Gore).

We toasted Cardinal Manning, despite his celebrated teetotalism. His years at Harrow formed in him a regular prayer life, but there was little indication of Manning's future career. His greatest distinction at school was playing in the criclet eleven. During one inter-house match around 1823 two future archbishops (Manning and Trenchard of Dublin) and three bishops (Wordsworth, Oxenden and Terry) all played. Manning, we are told, also liked wearing tasselled Hessian top-boots!

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