An extract from

The Bible Christian Magazine,

for the year 1883,
being a continuation of the

Arminian Magazine.


DEAR MR. EDITOR, knowing that your readers take a deep interest in the College at Shebbear and all connected with it, I send you a few notes of a recent gathering.

Mr. Ruddle, the head master, has of late years felt the necessity of creating some bond of union between the many pupils who from time to time leave Shebbear for London. To more than one he has said he should feel a double zest in preparing boys for Government, commercial and other examinations, if he knew that when they came to London there would be friendly hands to keep them in the path of purity and honour. To give effect to his views a dinner was held in the Council Room, Exeter Hall, Strand, on Thursday, January 11th. Forty-six friends assembled. The chair was taken by my father, supported on the right by Mr. Ruddle, and on the left by the Rev. F. W. Bourne. The position of vice-chairman was occupied by Mr. S. Heywood, the Rev. J. Martin being seated on his right hand, and Mr. Hillier on his left. Letters of sympathy were read from Messrs. J. Barnden A. Thomas, C. M. Brumfit, and R. Bridges. The following telegram had been received from Mr. A. Bickle, St. Leonards: –

“The oldest Shebbear boy sends greetings to the younger Shebbear boys and wishes them all a very happy new year.”

The secretary reported that there were 60 gentlemen in London, who had spent a portion of their time at Shebbear; of this number 30 were present, a result which he thought all would agree with him in saying was most encouraging. After the royal toasts, Mr. S. Heywood proposed that of “the Christian Churches of our land.” After speaking of the pleasure he felt in giving his sympathy and support to the movement which it was proposed to inaugurate he referred to the great advantages enjoyed by the youth of to-day, and their consequent greater responsibility. The Rev. F. W. Bourne responded in a catholic and liberal speech. The Rev. I. B. Vanstone proposed the toast of “prosperity to the College and its governor;” he briefly traced its history up to the present time. The names of past head-masters served as links in the chain of events. The list of governors was not such a tax upon the speaker’s memory, being much shorter – Messers. J. Thorne R. Blackmore, and J. Gammon. Three short phrases, continued Mr. Vanstone, sum up my opinion of the present governor of the College, strict integrity clear perception, and exhaustless energy. In the absence of his father Mr. F. T. Gammon ably responded. The chairman then called upon Dr. Baker to propose the toast of the head-master, T. Ruddle, Esq., B.A. With a few remarks that evidently expressed the deepest conviction of his heart, Dr. Baker spoke of the good that had resulted to all who had passed happy months or years in the society of their former tutor and present friend. Mr. Ruddle then rose amid deafening cheers. When quietness had been regained he spoke of his gratitude to all present for their kind words and, reception. Clearly and briefly he sketched out the sequence of his thoughts in relation to the proposed “union,” referring to the vast amount of evil prevalent in all great cities, and especially in this the greatest city of the world, and to the danger consequent thereupon to all young men coming to London almost friendless and unknown. This danger had been more than ever brought under his notice lately. Can anything, asked the speaker, be done to save our Shebbear boys from so great a danger? If the temptation cannot entirely be taken out of their path, may it not be minimised? The desirability of the formation of a brotherhood was then dwelt upon, the speaker concluding his earnest remarks by saying that he hoped the motto of the new society would be;-

” A clean hand and a pure heart! ”

At the invitation of Mr. Ruddle, all present heartily joined in wishing every success to the ex-pupils of Shebbear School. Owing to the applause, some moments elapsed before Mr. W. B. Luke could rise to respond to the toast so kindly and ably proposed by Mr. Ruddle. I much regret, Mr. Editor, that it is not within my power to furnish you with a verbatim report of the speech which it was then our privilege hear; but since I cannot do this it would be vain for me to give anything like a correct representation of it from memory, for it would require a penman as able as the speaker himself to give a fair outline of such an appropriate and eloquent address. Mr. Tonkin followed with a speech full of practical suggestions. After Messrs. 0. K. Hobbs, S. Moore, and R. Ashton had spoken, Mr. Ruddle rose and proposed that the new society should be christened;-

“The James Thorne Club.”

It was proposed by the Rev. J. Martin, and seconded by Mr. N. Braund, that the present head-master should be the first president. The chairman asked the meeting to form a committee. Fifteen names were proposed and approved. After thanks to the chairman we disperse, about eleven, after having spent a pleasant evening.

With every good wish Mr. Editor, – I am, yours sincerely,

Hon. Sec. of the Old Boys’ Re-union Committee