Morris Fuller The man behind the Scandal Part 12

Journey's End 1893-1901

The  transcription of the letters catalogued at Lambeth Palace Library as FP Creighton 5 ff. 196 - 294 and FP Creighton 12 ff 196-199 chart the history and politics during Morris Fuller's tenure at St Mark's Marylebone Road. With many thanks to Victoria Gray at Lambeth Palace Library for all her interest and help with this project.

Tolerance of the diversity of the “Broadness” of the Church of England shown by Frederick Temple as both Bishop of Exeter and Bishop of London can be seen clearly in the letters found in F P Temple 32 This is also confirmed in the "Life and Letters of Mandell Creighton" (Temple's successor in the London See) by Louise Creighton, his wife, published after his death in 1901. This page draws from that book to illustrate the dilemma's facing the new Bishop called upon to deal with Morris Fuller's impact in "Town", together with the considerable correspondence found in Lambeth Palace Library and catalogued in the collection as: F P Creighton 5 and F P Creighton 12































Mandell Creighton 1843-1901


On page 287 of "Life and Letters" we read something of Bishop Creighton’s thoughts about his new position:


He knew enough about London to be prepared to find there the widest possible divergence in the method of conducting the services of the Church. One who knows London well says: ‘ He found the diocese in chaos. Temple worked like a horse himself and he let everyone else work in the way they liked. Every church had its own type of service;’ and another says, ‘ Dr. Temple knew that there were extreme men in the diocese who would not accept his ruling in matters of ritual, and he probably thought it better not to accentuate ‘their resistance by the promulgation of precise rules. Some of these clergy were doing on lines of their own a great work, and Dr. Temple was unwilling to hamper that work by controversy about non-essentials.’


This attitude certainly goes some way to understanding how and why Morris Fuller finally got to be Vicar of St. Mark’s and we see perhaps that Temple, even when ruling on difficult matters still tried to "pass the buck"

One of Morris Fuller's first Curates was Albert Edmund Briggs and press reports from January 1895 show that Frederick Temple ruled thus:

"Bayswater Chronicle 26th Jan. 1895

The Bishop of London has now withdrawn the license of the Rev. A.E.Briggs, one of the curates of St Mark's Marylebone Road in consequence of Mr Briggs having openly taught the "Hail Mary" and prayers for the dead.  Much indignation has been aroused by this extreme action on the part of the bishop,  for Mr Briggs expressed his readiness to abstain from publicly advocating these practices. He would not, however, consent to change his opinions  at the bidding of the bishop, and for thus daring to think for himself he has been deprived of his licennse. An appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury has been allowed."


Mr Briggs himself tells the story of his encounter with the Bishop in a long letter to the Church Review, from which comes the following extract:—

" I had an interview with the Bishop on Nov. 23rd, when his lordship informed me that he should remove me from my cure. On Christmas Eve I received the notice of revocation  citing me to appear on Dec. 28th, which I did, and the case was adjourned to Jan 18th. I had previously, on December 26th, offered to abstain from teaching the "Hail Mary" in the Sunday  Schooland from taking part in 'Vespers of the dead' which were the two offences on which I was cited. On Jan. 18th his lordship told me that he should revoke my license unless I recanted or proved to him that invocation of saints was permitted by the Church of England, at the same time over ruling a quotation from Bishop Forbes. The formal revocation was served on me on January 25th."

The newspapers however didn’t tell the whole story and in the Archives at Lambeth Palace Library we read in FP Benson 143 that Albert Briggs lost his license to preach because although he agreed not to teach such “heresies” whilst in the Diocese he would not promise to renounce these beliefs in private. Morris Fuller would have possibly handled things rather more diplomatically to diffuse the situation and then just have carried on! Not so Albert Briggs:

His approach was rather different and instead of appealing to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Edward White Benson, as he should have done, he, to quote Frederick Temple, the Bishop of London, “ has been trying Bishop after Bishop to see if any one would license him”. Through the no doubt innocent connections of the Medieval Music Society which dates from 1888, we find that the first Hon. Sec. was no other than Albert’s brother and plainsong expert, H.B.Briggs. The following year the President of the MMS was John Wordsworth, Bishop of Salisbury and it was to “John Sarum” that he applied for a license to the Curacy at Downton 6 miles South of Salisbury. The bishop freely admits to the connection and says in a letter to Benson, “I have seen Mr Briggs & had a long talk with him and find him a man of apparently some character & ability – In fact above the average of Curates” Benson’s task was to deliberate on the overall matter and in the end the case, spelt out in a neat legal hand was put to the 83 year old Vicar General, Sir John Parker Deane, whose decision, in his spidery handwriting though very difficult to read, was that Benson effectively had no jurisdiction in the matter.

The following year, 1896, Albert Briggs was licensed to the Vicarage of East Markham with West Drayton in the Southwell Diocese


The other Curate at St Mark's Father Sharpe (of whom I can find little reliable information) also came in for press coverage in the Marylebone Mercury...... courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive:



A Revd. Father Sharpe docked at Liverpool on the Umbria on July 16th 1894 and is listed as being amongst the Saloon class passengers. The following April 1895 he preached alongside Morris Fuller at the Patronal festival at St Mark's where he is described as being "of St Mary the Virgin New York". These dates coincide with the removal from a former building and the building of a new church of St Mary the Virgin in New York, but their online records make no mention of a Father Sharpe.


Albert Briggs surfaces again in 1902, the year after Morris Fuller died when he married Lilian Agatha Fuller, Morris's youngest daughter. There are also papers in Lambeth Palace Library concerning Briggs and his appeal to Archbishop Edward White Benson which have yet to be investigated.



In continuing the narrative we see why Fuller’s troubles only really came to the surface after Bishop Creighton was enthroned:


Dr. Creighton felt that the let-alone policy had gone on too long, and every day he became more convinced that the difficulties of the situation largely came because extreme practices had been allowed to grow up and take root unchecked. He felt that these excessive divergencies must be restrained, but he had no wish to narrow the Church of England. Speaking in 1897 to his first diocesan conference, he said:


I must tell you frankly that I rejoice in the breadth and width of the Church of England as it is; I recognise the enormous advantages which every different school of thought contributes towards the general spread of those eternal principles of truth in which we are all interested . . . it is quite clear that no one set of opinions, no one form of divine service, no one particular way of presenting religious ideas, will universally prevail. ... I think it my duty, as Bishop of this diocese to show my sympathy with all forms of service and all forms of religious zeal, which are loyally in accordance with the principles of the Church of England.’


Shortly after Creighton’s enthronement reports appeared in the national newspapers…. this from the Western Mail of January 16th 1897:





The confirmation of Dr. Creighton as Bishop of London took, place in Bow Church on Friday morning with the customary formalities. There was a large congregation, and considerable excitement was caused by the action of Mr. John Kensit, of Paternoster-row, who rose and protested against the confirmation on the ground mainly that Dr. Creighton wore "Romish headgear," to wit a mitre, and that he had not kept his ordination vows. Vicar-General said he could not listen to the protest, and went on with the business of the confirmation, whilst Mr. Kensit, who was evidently supported by a good many people, continued to read in a loud voice. This caused some confusion, but no attempt was made to remove the opposer. When the oath of allegiance was about to be administered to Bishop Creighton, Mr. Kensit asked, "Am I to understand that in making my protest I have done it in due form?" The Vicar-General replied that the point had been decided by the Superior Court, and he could not hear the opposer. Mr. Kensit asked the meaning of calling on objectors to come forward and then not hear them. (Applause by stamping feet and "Hear, hear.") This unseemly exhibition was speedily hushed down by cries, "Remember this is a church," and the proceedings were then continued. The new Bishop of London pronounced the Benediction, and the ceremony concluded. Mr. Kensit and his friends remained some time in the vestibule distributing copies of his protest, and on Bishop Creighton leaving handed him one, saying, "I am living in your diocese," to which Bishop Creighton good-humouredly replied, "Very well; we shall get on all right." This seemed to give Mr. Kensit much satisfaction.



John Kensit (1853 – 1902) was an English religious leader and polemicist. He concentrated on a struggle against Anglo Catholic tendencies in the Church of England founding the Protestant Truth Society in 1889. In terms of the published “Life and Letters” he was acknowledged and features far more during Creighton’s tenure than Morris Fuller, who doesn’t appear anywhere by name in that correspondence.

The St. Mark’s situation however is clearly not unique. As described by Creighton and from our acquaintance with Morris Fuller through these webpages a lot of the following would seem to be very apposite:

Page 261

From the first he saw that his path would be beset with difficulties. The conditions of London, which is always the home of free lances, had fostered the growth of every kind of eccentricity and exuberant individualism, whilst the sense of the unity of the Church had been largely lost sight of.


Page 263

The perpetual difficulty of all things in England is that each individual Englishman is profoundly convinced that he alone is right ; and consequently he is determined to have his own way. Having arrived at this conclusion, he picks up any statement which enables him to express himself forcibly, and I believe he calls this an argument. I am never sure that I am intelligent enough to understand a man's intellectual position; but I think it possible to appreciate his temper and the moral qualities which lie beneath his utterances.”


Speaking to a ruri-decanal conference in 1897, he said:


Page 264

The clergy are often to blame, because in practice they fail to set forth the spiritual side of the Christian life. They too often adopt the world’s way of looking at things. Let the clergy give up looking for outward signs of success, and competing one with another. To the laity they often appear to be ‘running a church’ as a man runs a business concern. ... Again there is a popular opinion, not ill founded, that the clergy wish to lord it over their people, and a feeling that the ‘ecclesiastical temper’ is incompatible with modern ideas of liberty. ‘The unworthy clergy’ are not only the immoral and drunken, but also the insolent, arrogant and self-asserting men, who will have their own way in everything.”


Mandell Creighton had his work cut out and it was not without its difficulties:

Page 263

What the Bishop did ask of his clergy as troubles and perplexities increased, was that they should trust him, and be ready to be guided by him, because his position enabled him to see the wisest course to take, in a way impossible to those whose outlook was not so extensive.


His purpose to deal quietly with the irregularities in his diocese was, of course, not understood. He was accused of ‘contemptuous indifference,’ of ‘masterly inactivity tempered by epigram,’ when ‘clear and outspoken guidance’ was expected. But he knew the nature of the task before him, he could see the pitfalls on every side, and had sufficient strength, to use his own words, ‘to screw his head on tight,’ and pursue his object untroubled by hostile criticism. But he much disliked the publicity which attached itself to his smallest act, and the way in which his letters were printed without his permission. He writes, ‘I mark my letters private, because everything which I write seems to be published, in a way which almost destroys confidential communication’; and again, ‘It is worth while noting that the difficulty of a bishop of London in dealing in a friendly way with his clergy is enormous. If he writes a letter, it is at once forwarded to the E[nglish].C[hurch].U[nion]. office, is filed for everyone to see, and he is said to have sanctioned universally something which in a particular case he is prepared to overlook. If he has a friendly talk, it is at once misrepresented in any form from which most capital may be made.’




However the spirit in which the Bishop approached his work is shown by a letter to a former Leicester incumbent:



To the Rev. E. Grose Hodge Fulham Place: February 3, 1897.


My dear Hodge.—You are the only one of my parochial

clergy whom I really know, and you know something at least

of the spirit in which I try to do the difficult work of a Bishop

in the Church of England as it is at this day. Those difficulties

are at their height in London, and you know that I have

no belief in my exclusive possession of wisdom. But you

also know that my sympathies are genuinely with every form

of opinion, and that my object is to bring them all into close

union, without asking them to compromise, but only to be

large-hearted. Differences do not matter, but the way in

which we express them.”



And so it is, that correspondence in FP Creighton 5 illustrates what clearly became the everyday for the Bishop of London:


F P Creighton 5 ff. 196-197


17 John Street, Edgeware Road. W.

March 5th 1897


My Lord Bishop,


As Churchwarden and Parishioners of St Mark’s, Marylebone Road, we are labouring under very deep grievances, and in our trouble, we have been to the Revd. Canon Duckworth, Rural Dean -

After receiving us most courteously, he strongly advised that we should seek an interview with your Lordship, and gave us the liberty to use his name in support of such request.

If your Lordship therefore would kindly grant us this favour, we will endeavour to attend at any day and time that will suit your Lordship’s convenience -

Amongst many serious causes of complaint we have to make against the Rev Morris Fuller, B.D. Vicar, we may enumerate the following Viz:


Removing the fixtures of the Church, such as Communion Rails, gas Standards in Chancel, etc

Erecting a Lady Chapel without any Faculty for same, and in defiance of a distinct warning from the Archdeacon of Middlesex against such being done.

Placing a Crucifix over the Pulpit.

A Screen covering Chancel window blocking all light.

Putting up pictures of Stations of the Cross.

Lighting from 20to 40 candles.

Curtailing Matins Service without Hymns or music of any kind.

Tolling of Bell between Matins & Choral Communion.

Singing Kyrie Eleison in Latin Greek.

Using Office book with Pictures.

Ringing bells

Elevating host.

Shewing wafer.

Making sign of the Cross.

Providing Acolytes in Red dresses, Caps & Slippers.

Services for repose of the departed & Prayers for same.

Applying the offertory to Church expenses.

Maintaining a Mr Ley as curate for over a twelvemonth who has never been licensed by the Bishop.

Practically ignoring the Peoples’s Churchwarden and generally conducting the whole of the services in such a way that the parishioners who are mainly protestant are entirely precluded from availing themselves of their parish Church, which at great cost was specially provided for them..


Current Parish Magazine herewith enclosed giving some idea of what is being taught privately as well as publicly. (This has not survived in the archive)


We have the honour to be

My Lord Bishop

your Lordship’s most obedient servants

Thomas Bishop


and other parishioners,

over leaf.

People’s Churchwarden


To the Right Honble,

and Right Revd.,

The Lord Bishop of London,

32 St James’ Square S.W.






Thomas W. Scarfe

Henry Earle

Edwin Troake 144 Edgeware Road, W.

Joseph F Austin 42 John Street

Charles J. Vickery 57 Crawford St. W




F P Creighton 5 ff. 198-199


17 Lancaster Gate,

Hyde Park W.


March 19th 1897



To the Right Honble. and very Revd. The Lord Bishop of London.


My Lord. I venture to write and to submit for your Lordship’s consideration the enclosed memorandum. I will briefly state that when residing for a few months at the Hyde Park Mansions Marylebone Road, that I attended a morning service at a small church adjacent called St Mark’s. What I then witnessed, such as the use of incense, acolytes, altar lights in quantity etc., was followed by the performance of the Mass and which name was duly notified upon the notice board outside this church. The celebrant dressed in vestments – similar in make and appearance to a R.C.priest – alone partook of the Elements and whilst doing so amidst the waving of incense & continuous singing, a small bell was rung inside & a large one tolled outside the church. After the service I had a conversation with the people’s Churchwarden, Mr Bishop, who stated that in consequence of the Ritual enacted at this church that the parishioners were driven away and would not attend the services & made the request that I should draw the attention of the above to the notice of your Lordship’s predecessor. At the **** a parishioner & I wrote to Him (Frederick Temple) to the same effect as at present. I presume from what is mentioned in the enclosed that the Bishop took action in the matter. The writer, Mr. Scarfe is a superintendent of the N. W. London Shoeblack Brigade & it is chiefly in the interests of these poor lads who are perforce constrained to witness what I take the liberty of designating these scandalous performances of the Mass (thereby contravening the articles) that I plead that your Lordship may see fit to send your Archdeacon to witness what I have herein described. I have been informed that since a curate (from Clewer) * came, these performances which have driven the parishioners from attending their church that these unseemly enactments have been performed with impunity.

I remain

your Lordships

very faithful servt.




J.P. for Counties Hants &Devon


* Henry Ley Gonville & Caius College Cambridge B A 1880




The enclosed memorandum from FP Creighton 5 referred to in the above letter


f. 201













Dear Sir,

I take the liberty of writing to you feeling sure you will pardon the intrusion. Some little time back you kindly interested yourself on our behalf by writing to the Bishop of London respecting the Services at St Mark’s Marylebone Road. I am pleased to say the Bishop a few day’s before leaving had the Vicar and Curate both before him and for a little time things were better but now they are as bad again if not worse. They are about to place a High Altar & Reredos in the Church. We applied to the Bishop’s Chancellor he told us to cite the Vicar. We did so, which caused them to apply for a faculty, and summon a special Vestry. We were not idle, but rallied up a goodly number to the meeting and made a strong opposition, moved a Resolution and carried it without a dissentient. There was not one Parishioner to move an amendment for the Vicar, So their meeting failed but they are determined to fight the matter out by law. Now Sir can you assist us in any way again, We are all poor any advice will be gladly received, Mr Bishop and myself would be pleased to wait upon you at any time you desire. The local papers will no doubt give an account of the affair we shall be pleased if you will kindly accept one & post on Saturday next.


I am Sir

Yours Respectfully

T W Scarfe



F P Creighton 5 f. 202



17, Lancaster Gate,

Hyde Park, W.


29th March 1897.


Dear Bishop of London,----Having recd. the enclosed newspaper, I beg to forward it and also send cut from Saturdays “Morning Post” a list of yesterdays preachers etc and in which it appears that the Revd M Fuller was announced to preach at St Mark’s Marylebone Road. Having had an interview with Mr Scarfe – Superintendent of the Shoe -black brigade, he revealed statements that I believe that your Lordship will be surprised to hear: to the effect that the Revd. Ley -the Curate is actually not licensed for this diocese and that he (the Curate) has disclosed that having been taught up in Roman Catholic tenets, that he is a firm believer in the doctrine of transubstantiation and the real ………………………...



F P Creighton 5 f. 204





At this point Morris Fuller must have been summoned to see the Bishop as his reply comes next in the files:




F P Creighton 5 f. 205




St Mark’s Vicarage,

Marylebone Road W.


March 31.97


My Dear Lord Bishop.

I shall be happy to wait upon your Lordship at 32 S. James’ Square, next Monday morning at 11.15, and hear what are the “many complaints” assent this Parish.

As we are comparative strangers, I am taking the liberty of enclosing a few testimonials from Prelates under whom I have worked for many a long year & notably your predecessor in the See of London.

I am also sending your Lordship by this post a copy of our Parish Mag. That you may see what we are doing.

With best respects,


I remain

Your Lordship’s faithful Servant

Morris Fuller



and is followed by opposing views in support of Morris Fuller:



F P Creighton 5 ff. 216-217



To the Right Hon.and Right Revd,


Lord Bishop of London.


St Mark’s Church

Marylebone Road. N.W.


My Lord,


We the undersigned members of the Church Council of St Mark’s Marylebone Road, and as representing the Congregation worshipping at this Church, desire to approach your Lordship with every feeling of respect and loyalty.

We regret having to trouble your Lordship at this time considering your recent entrance into your Diocese, but in self defense we are compelled to take action to defend ourselves from the aggressive attitude of a few of the Ratepayers of the Parish.

First, with regard to the new Altar and Reredos: These are gifts on the part of a lady and other loving members of the Congregation worshipping in this Church.

We consider them to be a great improvement to the building and a valuable addition to the accessories of Divine Worship and, if we may be allowed to say so in passing, considering that the structure had been ordered and paid for, and that no valid objection or averment of illegality had been put forward, we are of the opinion that the Vicar was perfectly justified in taking the step which he did in the matter of its structural erection, irrespective of the resolution which had been passed in Vestry.

Secondly, with regard to the type of worship which obtains at St Mark’s:

This has been gradually developed within the last three years to suit the wishes of a growing and enthusiastic Congregation and to meet a felt want in this neighbourhood.

The services are in our opinion, not only legal but very reverently conducted and most helpful to the devout members of the Congregation. They are services which we have been accustomed to, and we have learnt to love and appreciate them. It would be a sad deprivation, if they were to receive detriment, or be shorn of any of their ritual accessories to which we have been long habituated and which indeed provoke and sustain our devotions.

We would also beg to call your Lordship’s attention to the fact that in this part of the Metropolis there are any number of Churches of every type of service except our own, within easy reach, where Church people can find a home.

Take away St Mark’s from this neighbourhood , and there is no place of worship where we could find a home within two or three miles.

Put S Mark’s back again, and the void is filled up and what is wanted is supplied.

We also further beg to remind your Lordship that this Congregation has become established within the past three or four years within a Church which up to that time was empty and in which there were no weekday services, or provisions made for Holy Communion more than once a month.

There is now a daily Eucharist, daily Matins and Evensong and over 100 Communicants, who would be driven away if any change were made in the conduct of Divine Service.

The Congregation is self supporting, and therefore there is no demand made on the resources of the Ratepayers.

The agitation on the part of a few malcontents is we believe fictitious, and will, with the display of tact and firmness, pass away.


We have the honour to remain

Your Lordship’s obedient servants,





W. H. Johnston B.A. Church warden 57 Gloucester Place W

S Russell Wells M.D. Bsc. MRCP. MRCS. FCS. 24 Somerset Street Portman Square

Robert W. Carden 32Leinster Sq. Bayswater.

Northwood Rawlins 41 Bedford Terrace W.

F.J.Stone 9 Kylemore Rd W. Hampstead

W ???????? 29 Gloucester Square Hyde Park

Jno. Townsend St Mark’s School Marylebone

General C Colman 78 Gloucester Square Hyde Park W.


The final page of this letter gives the name and address of the following correspondent writing the only letter from working class supporter


Thomas Bray 143 Marylebone Road W.



F P Creighton 5 f. 218


143 Marylebone Road W.


April 6th 1897


Right Reverend & dear Father in God

Will you forgive me for writing to you, I am a working man (& proud of it) & inasmuch as I am a communicant at St Mark’s Marylebone Road I feel sure you will not deem it amiss in my addressing you. My wife self & child have been regular attendants at this church since Jan 1894 & I cannot express in writing……………………...


I am in the choir and would do anything for our dear Church of England – last Sunday morning the number of communicants was eighteen & the Sunday fortnight before, thirty one at eight am in the morning & this in a church here formerly the congregation at eleven only numbered seven when I first went there they only numbered about fourteen at midday. My Lord the men who


if them & they (one excepted) have never attended simply because they are supporters of a certain society in the city. My dear Lord Bishop, I beg of you to look upon us with a little kindliness. Our late Abp. Tait left us the legacy of peace but the people say no peace oh - can we wonder at people joining the Church of Rome? Look at our own Curate Mr Ley working morning, noon and night…………………...



A meeting was arranged for Monday 12 April:


Page 219-20 Life and letters:


He tried to make it easy for his clergy to see him by spending every Monday morning at London House for interviews. Then he was visited by a continual stream of persons of all kinds. Some when their turn came thought his manner almost curt, so quickly did he cut the knot of their difficulty, and so little time did he give to further discussion when once the real question was settled. But if it was a subject that needed deliberation, he was never in a hurry, and in any real trouble his sympathy was never wanting. All alike were impressed with the quickness with which he pierced to the root of the matter and saw the real point at issue, as well as with the courtesy and kindness with which he treated them. He himself once expressed his ideal of such interviews. ' No man should ever leave our presence with the sense that we have not done our best to understand him.' His interviews are thus described by one of his clergy : ' He was never in a hurry, but he never wasted a moment. If a question were submitted to him which really required discussion, he would talk it over as deliberately as though he had nothing else to do that morning. But if a question were asked to which a reply could be given in a word, the word was spoken, and, with a pleasant smile, the interview was immediately ended. If a request could not be granted, he would go out of his way to show why, and, by thus taking the applicant into his confidence, almost as if he were asking his sympathy, he took the sting out of the refusal. Whether the interview lasted one minute or twenty, whether the application were granted or declined, the man went away feeling that he had in the Bishop a friend, a strong friend.'

The tiresome and often trivial questions which were submitted to him were a severe trial to his patience, but his irritation was well disguised, though it was a satisfaction to let it out sometimes. A friend met him once at the door showing out a deputation of discontented parishioners, and as he turned back with him, the Bishop replied to the question how he was : “As well as can be expected when every ass in the diocese thinks that he has a right to come and bray in my study”


Fuller responded immediately following that meeting trying to further influence the yet to be decided ruling of the Bishop.


F P Creighton 5 f. 231


St Mark’s Vicarage,

Marylebone Road. W.


April 12.98

My dear Lord Bishop,

Reverting to our meeting with your Lordship this morning, I would, to meet the wishes of the parishioners, venture to make the following suggestion.

I will give to conduct myself a plain service at 10.15 in the morning, consisting of mattins & litany, short sermon (after 3rd Collect) Hymn & collection (which once a month shall be for the poor) We would chant the canticles, but could not the psalms, as with a small choir of our own school boys, it would be physically impossible considering how much singing there is a the Choral Eucharist.

Our Collection for the poor at this latter service would be once a quarter. I couldn’t offer more – as all our grants being stopped, we are living from hand to mouth & the offertory.

My work on Sunday morning would be celebration of Holy Communion at 8 , this new service, and a sermon after the Nicene Creed.

In consideration of this extra amount of work, done to meet the wishes of the malcontents, I do venture to hope that your Lordship will not perceptibly curtail our ritual accessories at the Eucharist (sung) which would be resented by and lead to a scattering of a liberal & enthusiastic congregation.

I didn’t wish to descend to personalities but I could have mentioned that Mr. Troake is a non parishioner belongs to S Luke’s parish, (church 3 minutes distant) where there are 2 services on Sunday (11 & 3)HC. twice a week late, and once in the evening – no services in the week S Luke’s & S Mark’s parishes are contiguous-one side of the street in St Mark’s the other I S Luke’s and both poor parishes of 10000, people taken out of S Mary’s Bryanston Square.

I hope things will go on smoothly after your Lordship’s award, but I can only repeat what I said last Monday, that if your Lordship would find me another & suitable sphere, a new Vicar coming in would inaugurate a new regime, & the agitation would quickly die down. Nothing was ever done in Mr. Bellewes’ time, but no complaint ever went up to the Bishop, as far as I know.

I remain, my Lord Bishop,

Your Lordship’s faithful servant

Morris Fuller BD



Mandell Creighton took brief notes at the meeting with Fuller & Co and the complainants. This folio, 230 of FP Creighton 5, is reproduced here and followed by some of Creighton’s aims revealed in the “Life and Letters”.

He also tells of his attitude to Incense....the one thing highlighted in the notes below:




























Page 287 "Life and Letters":


In an address to the Ruridecanal Conferences in 1898 he said:

‘It is necessary that there should be a recognised type of the Anglican services, so that worshippers may not be confused by the multiplicity of variations. We must have a clear understanding about the limits of permissible variation.’



Page 288

My duty is to deal with my clergy straightforwardly and frankly, to deal with them in the spirit of kindliness and in the spirit of Christian love, to deal with them by means of arguments, and not by attempting to coerce them or to bring pressure upon them to go in directions which are contrary to their own consciences. It is my duty to try to bring them all together equally into agreement upon the great fundamental points of our Christian practice, because in matters of Christian faith, of course, we are not divided. We are divided simply and solely upon matters whose importance—and I admit they are of importance—is very frequently overstated and over-estimated. It is my duty, a duty which I have constantly before me, and at no time more than at present, to try by personal persuasion and personal influence, by talking and conference with those who seem to be divided, to bring all together into an understanding at least of one another’s position, that we may discover exactly what are the points upon which we differ; for until we have discovered those, any attempt at agreement is obviously quite impossible.’


Page 285

On the subject of Incense he wrote: ‘ Frankly I disliked it, and thought that it would never do in England on esthetic grounds. The Italian waves his censer in a nice slovenly way which is all right; but the pomp and self-consciousness of the English acolyte seemed to me artistically offensive. The Englishman is no good for that purpose. He takes himself too seriously whatever he does.’



On April 17th 1897 Mandell Creighton sent his guidance to St Mark’s:


F P Creighton 5 ff. 237-9.



Dear Sir.
I now put on record for your guidance, the wishes which I expressed about points relating to the conduct of Divine Service in the Church of St. Mark’s Marylebone which were laid before me by some of the parishioners on the 12th inst in your presence.

Morning Prayer at 10.30 on Sundays to receive greater attention, to be sung and not merely said; at least the Canticles to be sung & a hymn.


Fulham Palace SW April 17 1897

The Services of Holy Communion to follow close upon the end of Morning Prayer_ There may be an interval of two or three minutes, but not more.

Greater simplicity to be observed in Communion Office.

No introit or hymn to be sung which is not in the English language.

No bells to be rung during the course of the Communion Service.

All Prayers to be said in a voice audible to all the congregation.

No notice to be given in Church of special intentions attaching to week day Celebrations of Holy Communion.

A portion of the alms collected in Church to be given to the sick & poor at least six collections in the year to be devoted to that purpose.

In making these orders I am sure that you will recognise my desire to promote peace in your parish. But I feel that peace cannot be secured by changes in one or two particulars, unless there is a genuine desire on your part to meet reasonable wishes of your parishioners. It is by the
cultivation of conciliating temper on both sides that an agreement can be reached-My hope for the future lies in the growth of such a temper:- I would earnestly entreat you to pursue it with all your powers. The example in this matter must come from you: & I have no doubt that many who are now at variance with you would welcome an opportunity for concord I commend these things to your most careful consideration, praying that the God of peace may lead you into all peace. Your faithful brother
& servant in Christ Jesus
M London_.


And on April 19th 1897 Morris Fuller gave every indication that Creighton had provided the solution to the troubles at St Mark’s:



F P Creighton 5 f. 241


St Mark’s Vicarage

Marylebone Road W

April 19.97

My dear Lord Bishop.
I have to thank your Lordship very heartily for the “Award”, which came duly to hand this morning, and by which both parties agreed to be bound in the matter under dispute. Both parties sides appear to be well satisfied with the ruling, and personally I desire to thank you for it, on behalf of self and congregation, and I will do all I possibly can to carry out its orders and counsels, both in the spirit and letter. There is however one point about which we are not quite clear- I allude to point 5 “no bells to be rung during the course of the Communion Office’. Does it refer to the “sacring bell”

or does it also include the bell which is rung outside in the Campanile or Tower? I ask this, because sick people tell us they like to know when the Canon of Consecration is being said, that they may make an act of spiritual communion. Indeed it is very much valued by the sick & infirm in the locality on devotional grounds.

Your Lordship’s letter arrived before the Easter Vestry, and I am happy to inform you that it had the desired effect. I approached the meeting in a pacific attitude, and every thing passed off very amicably & pleasantly. It ended in a general desire for peace, and a mutual exchange of courtesies. The “hatchet is now buried” and I trust things will go on smoothly in the parish for the parish future.

Thanking your Lordship for the kind thoughtful exercise of your “paternal jurisdiction”. I remain,
Your Lordship’s faithful servant,
Morris Fuller



But, in spite of the assurances made in the letter above, by the end of May the “complainants” were once again petitioning Mandell Creighton:


F P Creighton 5 ff. 243-244


17 John St, Edgware Road. W.

28th May 1897

My Lord Bishop,

We take the liberty of laying before you a brief outline of what has happened since your decision upon the alteration in the Ritual at the Church of St Mark, Marylebone Road.

We are pleased to state, that the Matins service is much improved, and has been conducted the last two Sundays by the Rev.d Savage, of Falmouth, prayers being used such as we have not heard for over three years, and we need hardly add, that this is much appreciated by the few attending.

As to the Ante Communion service still described on the notice boards in the Church as “Mass” there has not been much alteration, or any attempt to render it with more simplicity as you desired. The Sanctus bells are not used on Sundays, but at all Week-day services, the Kyrie is similarly sung on those latter occasions, although on Sundays replaced by other Introits.

The Wafer is still shewn but the sign of the cross is made in other parts of the service, viz:- at the end of prayer after absolution, and at the close thereof. There have been more candles been used than before; sometimes , on the table of the Lady Chapel there are 21 alight, and altogether 36 are used, also 4 instead of 2 are often brought in at the “Holy, Holy, Holy”. The same number of Acolytes with their dresses in Red are still engaged. Incense as before.

The teaching of Mr Ley still causes unqualified indignation – on the 25th April at the afternoon service, Mr Ley was teaching the 5 Mysteries of the “Hail Mary”, which he contended all ought to say, and one Mystery(the 6th) beyond, but what that is we do not know. At the Evening service, the Vicar gave out that the Missa Cantata would be sung on the Wednesday and Sunday following.

On Wednesday 28th of April, the Missa Cantata was sung in Greek, and the Service was conducted very high with ringing of bells etc the Vicar being present

On Sunday 2nd of May Service still very high. Vicar preached on the “Hail Mary” when partly through the same, cried out -”Stop! Stop! We must not go farther as there are children present who go home and tell their parents what is taught in Church”.

On Sunday 16th May, Service still very high, Sign of the Cross in Absolution prayer, 35 candles alight. Sermon in the evening on “Mary” by a clergyman from St James’ Hampstead Road; the “May Carol” herewith enclosed being sung at the close, as at the other services during the month of May.

On Sunday 23rd. May. sermon at Evening service was preached by a stranger, the whole of which tended to teach the “Mary Gospel” *etc.

We may state that the Vicar has been away 13 Sundays this year, and is now away, leaving Mr Ley to do just as he pleases.

As the Parishioners generally can hardly believe the many grievances which have been placed before you can have been placed before your Lordship, may we, therefore, have your permission to print the correspondence in the local papers.

May we conclude by most respectfully and earnestly entreating your Lordship’s most kind and effectual intervention in causing to be suppressed the conduct of services at St Mark’s which continue to be so distressful and repugnant to the inhabitants of this Parish.

We have the honour to be
My Lord Bishop
Your Lordship’s most obedient servants

Thomas Bishop Churchwarden F. Hawthorn
T. W. Scarfe

Edwin Troake J F Austin Henry Earle

To the Right Honble.
and Right Revd.,
The Lord Bishop of London. Fulham Palace

*Newly discovered in 1896


Naturally, none of this could be laid at Morris Fuller’s feet as he had temporarily swapped livings with the Revd. Francis Forbes Savage, Vicar of Flushing in Cornwall.

Savage was rather thrown in at the deep end of this controversy but felt he had to take Mr Ley to task over some of his actions from the pulpit. Writing on May 13th:


F P Creighton 5 f. 256


Dear Mr Ley,
You may be sure it is very disagreeable to me but I feel obliged to write & remonstrate
about yr.sermon last night. You will I hope excuse my saying so but you were not preaching the doctrine of the English Church & you were preaching the modern Roman teaching as ‘pied de la lettre’-+ a curious little soupcon of Spiritualism. I am perfectly certain that if the Bp cd. Have by any chance heard that sermon yr. fate would have been forthwith sealed in the Diocese. You must I beg forgive my writing thus: I shd. Write in similar terms to any brother Priest if I unhappily heard from his lips what I heard from yours last night. & I am the more bound & do so in this particular instance because Mr Fuller & I have exchanged duties with the consent of our respective Diocesans With kind regards,

Yours very faithfully

F .F. Savage


By the middle of June both clergy were back in their respective parishes.

As result of Henry Ley’s reneging on the bishop’s ruling as well as being unlicensed as Curate, Creighton is clearly strongly suggesting that Morris Fuller should remove him from the “staff”………... Morris replies thus:


F P Creighton 5 ff. 247-8


St Mark’s Vicarage Marylebone Road W

June 14. 97

My dear Lord Bishop’s
I am not surprised at, but I regret your Lordship’s decision.
If I were to send Mr Ley away my congregation would never forgive me, and would resent it in many ways. There must be some mistake about the sermons in May, for Mr Ley never preached once. He only Catechised on Sunday afternoons & gave two instructions on Wednesday evenings. Nor did he any occasion allude to the Blessed Virgin during that time,(at least so he tells me) and he can produce his notes. As I have another proposal to lay before your Lordship, perhaps you will kindly give me few minutes interview before finally deciding on Mr Ley’s case. I will wait upon your Lordship at any time.

I remain
Your Lordship’s faithful servant Morris Fuller’s

The Lord Bishop of London

P.S. The Reredos case is proceeding favourably. The Chancellor has refused the Petition of Bishop & Co. to the Chancellor and I have filed a petition for a Confirmatory Faculty


Morris Fuller was rather less diplomatic and wrote to Francis Savage severally both personally and via his solicitors, some of which was copied and sent to the Bishop.



F P Creighton 5 ff. 251-252



Copy. St Mark’s Vicarage

Marylebone Road W. June 21 ‘07


Dear Sir,


I had to see the Bishop this morning & was surprised to hear from him that you had been to see him & had made formal complaints about Mr. Ley’s teaching & also the work of this parish. I cannot see why you need have gone out of yr. way to interfere in matters connected with my parish. You were my L.T. & there fore received yr. “sailing orders” from me just as I was yr. L.T. & received my instructions from you, which I carried out in a loyal spirit as yr. Churchwarden will testify. I gave you a hint before you came here what to expect, & asked if you objected to wear a “vestment” which you said you did not. Naturally one judges from this that you were a Catholic or High Church man. If when you came here you didn’t approve of our services, you could either have come back to Flushing or been excused any further work in the Church. But I would ask if it is the action of a brother clergyman, or gentleman, to come into another man’s parish, find fault with its services & making common cause with certain lewd fellows of the baser sort. What would you have said if I had so represented you at Flushing? In fact what right had you to interfere at all? You have done us an irreparable mischief, so it appears: you have set us all by the ears: the result being the Bishop sends off Mr Ley in a month & we lose his valuable services. Thus the Curacy gets a bad name, the work of St Mark’s is put back & I expect that the congregation will resent it – some by leaving & others by withdrawing subscriptions. It may end in scattering the organisation to the winds & the congregation are most angry with me for introducing you to them – in fact I am having a hot time of it with one & another - & all through just changing over with a Cornish clergyman for one month! I will suspend my judgement till I hear from you & I hope you will be able to put matters in a better light – otherwise I fear it may lead up to troubles

Yours faithfully


(sd.)Morris Fuller




F P Creighton 5 ff. 257-258

28 June ‘97

Flushing Vicarage


My Lord Bishop,

I am most sincerely grateful to you for yr. very kind note. It has set my mind at rest because I have been wondering whether, quite unintentionally, I had done or said anything wh. had prejudiced yr. Lordship against Mr Ley & it has been worrying me. I am rather sorry I wrote so impulsively to Mr Fuller but I felt - & feel very strongly that he was very meanly trying to make me a scapegoat for his own offenses & to shift the indignation of his congregation (& Mr Ley) from his own shoulders to my own – He has made no reply to my letter.

I am my Lord Bishop

Your faithful & obliged servant

Francis F savage



The Rt. Rev. & Rt. Hon.

The Lord Bishop of London



F P Creighton 5 ff. 259-260

28 June ‘97

Flushing Vicarage



My Lord Bishop,

I am very sorry to be troublesome but since writing to you I have received one or two very unpleasant letters from Mr Fuller who still persists in asserting that I am responsible for the St Mark’s troubles. Do you think I ought to take any further steps in the matter to set myself right with the congregation who he tells me are very angry with him for having introduced me to them? I enclose a copy of the last letter I received from mr Fuller’s Solicitors to whom he refers me when I wrote asking for a withdrawal of his statement that I had made “formal complaints” to yr Lordship about St Mark’s

I am quite content to leave the matter in yr hands if you will allow me but I must say I think it is altogether too bad of Mr Fuller.

I am, my Lord Bishop,

Your Lordship’s faithful & obt. servant

Francis F Savage



Like water off a duck’s back, Morris Fuller continued with business as usual, much of which involved planning for him to be elsewhere! Letters in July and August show him trying to make arrangements for spending the winter months away from London. At the same time he is enticing and manipulating prospective curates, as he ploughs his own path of convenience and for the most part with very unsatisfactory outcomes. Even the Patron, H Russell Wakefield is driven to contribute to the debate. The correspondence tells all that is required for us to know




F P Creighton 5 ff. 261-262

St Mark’s Vicarage,

Marylebone Road. W.


July 26 ‘97


My dear Lord Bishop

As you may be leaving Town shortly for the vacation, it has occurred to me that your Lordship may like to know the arrangements I propose making.

1 Mr Ley is leaving us at Michaelmas & Mr Lombard, whom your Lordship recommended will, I believe, join our staff. I have had an interview with him , and hear a good account of him from Canon Wilberforce. I think he will suit St Mark’s & prove a “judicious” colleague. At the same time his coming here (on a stipend of £150 per annum) must be on the understanding that your Lordship will do your best to get the grant of the Bishop of London fund restored to us. Otherwise I fear that I shall be unable to pay him out of my slender stipend, as (for the present at all events) the Congregation will stop their subscriptions to the Curate’s stipend fund, to mark their displeasure at Mr Ley being sent away, and I don’t wish to be at their mercy. They subscribed £100 per ann. And I paid the remaining £50

2. My arrangements for the winter months are as follows with your Lordship’s permission.

Dr Pye Smith says that my daughter cannot live in Town for the present and next winter at all events, I must be away from London. Dr Atwool, Rector of St Just in Roseland, near Falmouth and myself propose to change duties & houses for the winter months – as he wants to come to London, and I to go to Cornwall- where my daughter will have to reside for the present

3. Dr Atwool is a very capable man, and he has been lately staying with us. He is a sound churchman, a man of experience & large views. Dr Atwool, M.D. was once a medical man, and was for twenty three years (I think) Vicar of All Souls Harlesden – where the Bishop of Marlborough knew him. He therefore knows something of the work of a London Parish, and his common sense together with his knowledge of the world, would prove invaluable at S. Mark’s during this crisis. Your Lordship may depend upon him as a peacemaker, and he comes recommended to me by the Bishop of Truro, and my old friend the Archdeacon(Cornish) of Cornwall. He and Mr Lombard will do well together, and the presence of two strangers in the parish may not be amiss for a short time. On public grounds therefore as well as private, I trust your Lordship will sanction this arrangement which from my acquaintance with all the circumstances I believe to be a safe and good one.

Meantime, as far as I am personally concerned, it will give me a little breathing time, to see “what may turn up”

I remain, my Lord

Your Lordship’s faithful servant

Morris Fuller BD



The Lord Bishop of London.



F P Creighton 5 f. 263

St Mary’s Rectory.

86.Gloucester Place. W.


29th July 1897



My dear Lord Bishop,

I am most reluctant to trouble you with a letter in the midst of all your business, but as I am Patron of St Mark’s Marylebone Road I am very anxious that the present state of affairs should not continue. There are 5000 poor people unvisited, and we from St Mary’s would **** do more than at present for the Parish, but my people consider it is useless. We now give £70 per annum and I dare not ask for a collection in Church for St Marks so strong is the feeling – We hear that the Vicar is applying for six months leave of absence, but we hope it will not be granted.

We are prepared to do what at one time was I believe wished by the authorities viz: take back St Mark’s & work it by two Curates, or appoint in conjunction with yourself some suitable incumbent, but as things are now the condition is chaotic. I have no sympathy whatever with the noisy opponents of the Vicar, but I am sorry for the present state of the Parish.

I am, My Lord

Your very faithful

H Russell Wakefield


H.Russell Wakefield as Bishop of Birmingham 1911


F P Creighton 5 f. 265


St Mark’s Vicarage,

Marylebone Road. W.

July 31. ’97


My dear Lord Bishop,

I am obliged to you for your outspoken letter – and there is no misunderstanding about, or hope for, the grant of the Fund now.

Should it go out to the world that the Fund declines to assist men belonging to a certain school of thought, that is their look out, and their supporters will, at all events, know where they are.

1. With regard to Mr Lombard – I accepted your Lordship’s nominee on the understanding that the grant would probably be given back to a “judicious” colleague. But it is doubtful if I shall now be able to afford it, as I get no grant from the ACS *– the funds grant is hopeless - & my congregation threatens to withdraw their subscription to the Curate’s stipend, to mark their displeasure at Mr Ley’s being sent away, and possibly some may leave. Things are therefore in a critical state, as my net income is barely £150 (out of £200 Eccles. Comm) and that is what I have offered Mr Lombard – so I shall have literally nothing left myself for I don’t take Pew rents. If therefore I cannot afford to keep a Curate – then I should I should have to fall back, as Dr. Temple suggested, in my own personal efforts, assisted as he recommended, by the bureau of the ACS.

It would be impossible for me to do 23 services alone – and if I were driven to give up the week day services, it wd. mean the sacrifice of 18 services of which 6 are daily Eucharists which are very well attended, a Sunday lunch wd. be only a mitigation of the evil.

What I most fear is that three of my Curates being sent away in succession would cause a scandal, and I hear rumours of such being even now “in the air”

2. With regard to my absence from my parish, I don’t know who your Lordship’s informant is, but that I have habitually or even once exceeded my legal absence is the reverse of the truth – and I can prove it. I am willing to own that I have been absent more than I could wish but that was owing not to pleasure or a holiday, but to illness, over which I had no control. How many of your Lordship’s Clergy live from the same cause along the South Coast, in I of Wight or Bournemouth! Besides O always left in charge a reliable colleague & provided a L.T. every Sunday during my absence at my own charges so that not a single service has ever been omitted, and there has been a daily Eucharist & two daily offices nearly 4 years “Quod facit fur allium, facit per se”**

But, (for Dr. Temple never once brought this charge against me)what we i.e.your Lordship & myself have to consider is the year 1897. It is true I was away from Town the early part of the year for a month or two – sent down by by Dr Pye Smith whose medical certificate I showed your Lordship, but you didn’t trouble to look at it [it lay on the table] that certificate would cover my Brighton sojourn. Then there was that unfortunate month, when I went to Flushing to look out a place for a sick daughter and I did all the work at that parish leaving its Vicar to do mine here. Neither of these can be regarded as a holiday. All I ask your Lordship now is to sanction Dr Atwool being my L.T. here – while I take the remainder of my legal 3 months. In taking this at S. Just in Roseland, the Bishop of Truro having on his side sanctioned this arrangement I shall be here till October all through ?????? We want to fix it up for the winter months, will Your Lordship on your side give your permission for this winter.

I am your Lordship’s faithful servant.

Morris Fuller


P.S. How many Sundays is your rule with regard to “strange preachers” without giving notice?



* Additional Curates Society


** He who acts through another does the act himself"



F P Creighton 5 ff. 266-7




St Mark’s Vicarage,

Marylebone Road. W.


My dear Lord Bishop,

I am very disappointed at your Lordship’s letter received this morning, as it means the dislocation of all the plans made after much thought & consideration - mine, the family’s, and Dr Atwool’s (see enclosed).Dr Atwool is, for family reasons, as anxious to come to London as I am to go to Cornwall & for me the same reason - so I am impelled to make one more appeal to your Lordship, for failing this, I really don’t see how to get out of this quandary. Your Lordship is not treating me fairly - you first take away my Curate, then you refuse my L[ocum] T[enen]s and how can I do all the work under present circumstances of health alone?

I claim my legal three months leave of absence, and this I haven’t yet had. How can I possibly get away without leaving a L.T . In my place? I am convinced Dr Atwool and Mr Lombard will get on well together, & give satisfaction. Dr A was for more than 20 years V. Of All Souls, Harlesden & is a man of experience.


Though it is a proverbial saying that those who look on a game see more than the players themselves, yet this is not the case here. It is the very reverse all outside know absolutely nothing of the true bearing of things - nothing of the inner life with us and this is proved by taking the misleading word of one or two untrustworthy people and prejudiced sectarians. They (those “outside”) have never dared to confront me - my colleagues - organization & congregation, & till this is done, the true state of things cannot be known. The action of these parties has been most unjust, & un-English.

Imagine - in the case of my last Curate (Fr Sharp) a Commission sitting in All Saints Vicarage Margaret Street, consisting of Archdeacon of Middlesex - Rural Dean of Marylebone & Mr. A Whitworth, receiving complaints from such men as these - Bishop & Scarfe, not even acquainting me (the vicar) of what was going on. I only learned of it accidentally but not officially some time afterward. This time it all ended in smoke “ Solvuntur tisu tabula “ but the principle of the whole thing was bad.

Yet it affected the personnel of my staff, for Mr Sharpe had to or did go. Surely such crypto action was un-English & a leaf out of the archives of the Camera Stellata. The whole affair is a scandal which will burst sooner or latter(sic) but for the sake of the Church, I have kept it from the public.

P 3

I have known St Mark’s since 1880, & about a dozen years under the late vicar - during which time I was carefully considering the problem of this parish - and if I do not understand it, then nobody “outside“ can. All are agreed as to the scandalous state of things in Mr Bellewes time- who was not even known by sight in his parish these 24 years. Were not the parishioners alienated then? Yes for then they would not attend the “funereal services” as they were called. The Church was filthy & the only 2 services slovenly. But in those days there was no protest, no appeal to the Bishop. The fact is these parishioner never did and never will attend church they were cut off from St Mary’s Bryanston Sq. 28 years ago & haven’t the usual instincts of parishioners their only interest now in the church consists of “parson baiting”

Mr Bellewes told me himself that his ministry was an utter failure, for the time was come for a more ornate service. It alone w[oul]d attract. As he (an Ex-Congregational Minister) didn’t care for such, he thought a change desirable. The late Bishop of London & Bp Marlborough (under both of whom I worked many years in Devon, & knew my Mission work on Dartmoor) sent for me - & with what result? We have brought hearty services - an excellent and united congregation & good offertories. Many many a letter have I had from people thanking me for our helpful and loving ministrations.

Abolish these, & give Messrs Scarfe & Bishop what they want, the congregation will dwindle down to its old proportions. Put them back again, & you will get the present successful services. The fact is that these ”outside” are deceived by these malcontents - whose obstruction is a menu froid the opposition is manufactured by designing persons. It is a dead set made against a successful Catholic Church Centre & alas our national i.e. ecclesiastical protectors are found abetting them.

The parish is not neglected. Every sick case is at once attended to; My daughter daily attends to such relief cases for an hour, she & other ladies are district visitors & take the Mothers’ Meeting. My other daughter takes the Clubs I don’t mean to say this is all we desire. But St Mary’s Bryanston Sq. took away £30 for a mission woman & my engagement for 2 Ditchingham Sisters fell through at the last moment for lack of funds - as all our grant being taken away we are living from hand to mouth.

The parish therefore is not overlooked though we give attention (1) to the Church (2) the school , but all that can be done is being done under the trying circumstances. Things will never be “put right” till ex parte evidence is sifted and our accusers are brought face to face with us. Till this is done, you will never get at the truth. All my staff work with a will & enthusiasm, and “though perplexed”, we are not “in despair” though persecuted we are not forsaken.

As for L[ocum] T[enen]s, my experience for more than 30 years as a beneficed clergyman justifies me in saying that the only mistake I ever made was last clergyman & he was a complete stranger this recommended by an old friend (Archdeacon of Cornwall).

Dr Atwool is a very different sort of man, he & Mr Lombard would carry on the work well together & satisfy all parties (these I would appoint in my absence) and I do therefore earnestly hope your Lordship will give your sanction to the proposed arrangement - so carefully elaborated - at all events for once, give it a trial.

I am Your Lordship’s faithful servant,

Morris Fuller


P.S. How long can a strange preacher remain?


P.P.S. The American and Colonial visitors who have been preaching at St Mark’s are delighted (one & all) with our services they have attended.

Mandell Creighton wrote the following letter to Lady Grey whilst on holiday and after the Pan Anglican Conference had met:






To Lady Grey

August 12.


For the entire month of July we were engaged in entertaining relays of American and other bishops. It was very interesting. It increased one's knowledge of geography and of imperial problems. It was also interesting to see how religion affects nationality—I mean in the case of the American bishops. Anglicanism gave them a way of looking at things which went farther than they thought. They were very good fellows, full of fun, and with a breezy way of looking at the world which was useful to contemplate. Hopefulness is a characteristic of new countries as of young people, and we ought to profit by it.'



F P Creighton 5 f. 268


St Just Rectory

St Mawes



9 Aug 1897


My Lord,

Mr Morris Fuller who wishes for considerations of health to spend next winter with his family in Cornwall, has offered to change houses with me and help my curate if will do the same for him. From what I have heard of St Mark’s I should hardly desire to be placed in charge of the parish, but I would gladly do my best to promote peace and goodwill if your Lordship would approve of the proposed arrangement. The Bishop of Truro is aware of my reason for wishing to spend time in London and I have talked the matter over with the Archdeacon in view of Mr Fuller’s suggestion.

Your Lordship’s faithful servant

in X

H[enry] Courteney Atwool


To the Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of London.



F P Creighton 5 ff. 270-271


17 John Street

Edgeware Road W

11th August 1897


My Lord Bishop,

I beg once more to trespass upon your valuable time by forwarding to your Lordship a brief outline of the manner in which the services have been and are being now conducted at St Mark’s Marylebone Road since my letter to you on the 28th May last.

I am sorry to inform your Lordship that the parochial clergy have reverted to the former state of things so greatly complained of. The Matins Service is again very much curtailed, & when a hymn is sung it is but a single one and that No 1 [Hymns]A[ncient] & M[odern]. Although for the last few Sundays both hymn and music have been dropped altogether.

There are often intervals of from 4 to 11 minutes between Matins and the Communion Service.

Notices are given out by the Vicar and Mr Ley for prayers for the dead Confession and Eucharist for the dead.

Sweet Sacrament has again been sung as a Processional Hymn.

The Vicar has definitely stated in a sermon that the Priest is a sacrificial one.

On Sunday last Kyrie Eleison was sung in Greek and the bells are rung again in the “Holy Holy” and also in the Consecration prayer, and Mr Ley elevates the chalice after finishing the prayers.

The whole of the Chancel is now used by the clergy and 8 Acolytes, the Choir has been removed to the gallery, & Candles, Reflectors and Incense continue as before.

I may say this representation is made at the request of some of the parishioners, for it appears now, that the Vicar, the Rev. M Fuller entirely ignores the whole of your Lordship’s ruling which not only surprises the parishioners, but causes great indignation amongst them.



I have the honour to be,

My Lord Bishop,

Your Lordship’s most obedient servant



Thomas Bishop

People’s Churchwarden



Mandell Creighton had started for his holiday on August 7th in Ulleswater and proceeded to the North of Italy (Faido and Lugano) on August 26 staying through into September 1897. “His chaplain had orders if possible to forward nothing to Italy” On his return he was immediately back in Morris Fuller’s firing line. Page 287 of “Life and Letters” gives an interesting insight into the letters which follow:


A curate in any difficulties with his incumbent might be sure of having his case carefully considered by the Bishop:


He deemed it his own proper province to adjust the difficulty, grudging neither time nor trouble to the work of pacification. He generally insisted upon drastic measures, avoiding the compromises by which a weaker man would be tempted to heal the wound slightly. He made the bishop’s part in a curate’s licence a much greater reality than it had been before. He distinctly discouraged a hasty licence. But when once the curate was licensed, both incumbent and curate were made to feel that the Bishop was party to their engagement, and must be consulted before it could be dissolved. This, of course, has always been the legal position, but the bishops have been very reluctant to exercise their powers, and it needed the courage of Bishop Creighton to refuse permission to an incumbent to give his curate six months’ notice. But while ready to uphold the rights of the curate, the Bishop was equally decided in not allowing him to invade the province in which the incumbent was responsible. He said emphatically to the incumbent, “You are responsible for the manner in which the services are to be conducted. The congregation ought not to be distracted by various uses. It is your duty to give directions and to insist upon their being followed.”



F P Creighton 5 ff. 272-273


St Mark’s Vicarage,

Marylebone Road. W.


Sep. 29. 97


My dear Lord Bishop,

As I hear you have returned to Town, would you kindly make it convenient to see me as early as possible, at all events, for a few minutes.

It is with regard to Mr Lombard and an alternative scheme proposed by Fr. Adderley in reference to Mr Percy Dearmer – on the respective merits of which your Lordship’s decision is earnestly requested & which I may say is imperative. But I can explain better in conversation.

Apologising for troubling you so soon after your return.

I remain

Your Lordship’s faithful servant


Morris Fuller



The Lord Bishop of London





The Revd. Bousfield Swan Lombard (1886-1951)

Reproduced with the permission of Special Collections, Leeds University Library, [Leeds Russian Archive Collection, LRA/MS 1099]



F P Creighton 5 ff. 274-275


11 St Mary’s Sq.

Paddington W.


Sep. 29th -97


My Lord ,

I beg to submit to your Lordship a copy of my reply to the letter I showed you last night. I hope your Lordship will realize that I have done my best to carry out your Lordship’s wishes with regard to the curacy of S Mark’s Marylebone Rd. and that I am still at your disposal.


I am my LordshipYours faithfully obedient,

Bousfield S. Lombard




F P Creighton 5 ff. 276-277


(the copy)


11 St Mary’s Sq.

Paddington W.


Sep. 29th 1897


Dear Mr Fuller,

I have had in Consideration yours of the 29th inst., and have laid the same before the Bishop. I do not think it for the advantage of the Parish that I should undertake the duties of Curate there merely for 3 months, and accordingly think that all that remains for us to do is to fix the amount of that reasonable compensation to which your letter refers. Awaiting your reply


I remain,

Yours faithfully,




F P Creighton 5 ff. 278-279

St John’s Westminster


11 St Mary’s Sq.

Paddington W.


Sep. 30th /97

My Lord,

Acting on your advice I went to see Lady Coningham’s Living today. I am afraid it is quite out of the question from a pecuniary point of view. The nett value being about £300 out of which must be paid £140 towards a Curate, as the trustees refuse the help(£50) which the late Marquis contributed. So that I am still ready to undertake any work your Lordship may find fit to send me to, and of course would gladly go to St Mark’s if your Lordship wishes me to do so. Mr Fuller has intimated to me that he intends leaving the ultimate decision in your hands.


I am my Lord

Yours faithfully & obedient,

Bousfield Lombard


F P Creighton 5 ff. 280-281





St John’s Westminster


11 St Mary’s Sq.

Paddington W.


Oct 2nd./97


My Lord,

I feel it safer to acquaint your Lordship with the fact that this morning I received a postcard from Mr. Fuller asking me to come and see him. He assured me that no definite arrangement had been made with anyone else besides myself with regard to the curacy of St Mark’s. He owned in the presence of his church Warden that the arrangement between us was perfectly clear and that he understood I was waiting to commence work on Oct 3rd having already waited 3 months to convenience him. He asked me if in the event of your Lordship expressing a wish that I should still come to St Mark’s, whether I would do so. I replied that I was quite prepared to act in every way in accordance with your Lordship’s wishes. (I should hardly care to go for 3 months, or work under a Locum Tenens.) I fancy he will try to see your Lordship on Monday.


I am

my Lord

Yours faithfully & obedient,

B. S. Lombard



B.S. Lombard went on to be Curate and then Vicar of  All Hallows N. St. Pancras. 1897-1908. Even though he was not required by Fuller he seems to have trod a similar path as we see in this press report from the Morning Leader in April 26 1905:



In 1908 and for the following 10 years he was Chaplain to the British Embassy in St Petersburg, from where he experienced the upheavals of the Russian Revolution and amalgamated a unique photographic and personal archive. This was donated to Leeds University by the family in 1989. He was awarded the OBE in 1920 and returned to rural parishes thereafter to retirement.



F P Creighton 5 ff. 282-283




(In the handwriting of H Russell Wakefield, Rector of St Mary’s Bryanston Square and Patron of St. Mark’s Marylebone Road.)



St Mary’s Rectory

86 Gloucester Place. W.

2nd Oct: 1897


My Dear Lord Bishop,


St Mark’s Marylebone Road


A short time ago I was very pleased to learn that you had licensed as Curate of the above Church the Rev. B.S. Lombard, and I was looking forward to a peaceful time for the Parish – I now learn that Mr Fuller has thrown Mr Lombard over in order to put another clergyman in the Vicarage being given up to the Curate; Mr Fuller going away for an indefinite time. This seems to me a fatal mistake, and a distinct evasion of the duty of a vicar of a ParishionerI do ask your `lordship not to consent to such an arrangement, and in order to assist you I will, subject to one condition, which I will tell your Lordship by word of mouth, nominate Mr Lombard to the Living if Mr Fuller will resign.

I consider the present time critical for St Mark’s and I am quite sure that St Mary’s will withdraw all financial help should Mr Fuller’s present idea be carried out. I will come to see your Lordship on the subject whenever it is


Missing the remainder of this letter. To be added soon!







F P Creighton 5 f. 284


St Mark’s Vicarage,

Marylebone Road. W.


Nov. 6.97


My dear Lord Bishop,

When your Lordship refused to sanction a temporary transfer with Dr. Atwool of St Just in Roseland I determined to stick to my post as long as I could. Unfortunately the fog-fiend of last week laid his grip on me, & I am hors de combat.

The Dr. says that I must get out of London as soon as possible, but I shall hope to return when able to do so.

Meantime I am leaving my parish in Mr Percy Dearmer’s hands, that improbably he may be able to remove in to the vicarage as my locum tenens.

I have also arranged for another clergyman to help him every Sunday- morning & evening during my enforced absence.

Enclose please find the medical certificate of Dr. Ogilvie which I trust will be satisfactory.

I remain

Your Lordship’s faithful servant

Morris Fuller


The Right Reverend

The Lord Bishop of London


P.S. I regret that I shall not be able to attend the Rurideaconal Conference of S Marylebone on Monday, which I was looking forward to do.




(Enclosure) Nov. 4th 1897 St Mark’s Vicarage

Marylebone Road. W.


The Revd. Morris Fuller has been suffering from an acute bronchial catarrh the result of a chill during the late fogs.

I have advised him to leave town for a time as soon as he is able.


Leslie Ogilvie M.B. M.R.C.P.




F P Creighton 5 ff. 288-9



5 Abbey Road N.W. Nov 10 1897


My Dear Lord Bishop,

As it is impossible to go behind a medical certificate, I don’t know what can be done with such an adept in the arts of evasion, and I suppose the unhappy parish must continue to suffer. Fuller is a perfectly hopeless man, and it is the greatest misfortune to S. Mark’s that he should have been allowed to come there, for the church has never yet had a chance. The first Vicar Bellewes, was incorrigibly idle & useless and its second has set the whole neighbourhood by the ears. In my opinion he ought not to have any pastoral charge, but devote himself, as he can well afford to do, to his antiquarian studies. I do not know of anything that your Lordship can do if an appeal to his sense of duty will not move him. “Crockford” shows what a rolling stone he has been, and I am told that he has been impracticable in every successive sphere. The Rector of St Mary’s has done his best, as your Lordship knows, to get rid of him and the Archdeacon has tried kindly remonstrances.






A rough translation = “However, this criminal escapes from the bonds of Proteus”


It seems cruel to any other parish to suggest another exchange, but if he could be mischievous on a smaller scale, something would be gained, and Marylebone would rejoice.

It is an “impasse” which is very hard upon your Lordship,

I am, my Lordship

very faithfully yrs.

R[obinson] Duckworth


Canon (of Westminster) Robinson Duckworth was Rural Dean of St Marylebone from 1891, and amongst other career highlights, was Chaplain to the Prince of Wales and the Bishop of Peterborough.


Canon Robinson Duckworth by Samuel Alexander Walker, printed by Waterlow & Sons Ltd carbon print, published April 1890
© National Portrait Gallery, London







16 Morrab Road

Penzance Dec 6. 97



My dear Lord Bishop.


The Rev. H Noel Wilkinson late one of Mr Leary’s colleagues at All Saints Notting Hill proposes to join our staff at S Mark’s, Marylebone Road about the beginning of January

He does not wish to be licensed but only for your Lordship’s permission to officiate in my church, as long as the arrangement lasts. He is musical, sings the service well, and will look after choir matters & he is a Catholic & Sarum, and so will suit us all round.

There is no need for me to point out to your Lordship the great assistance a third priest will be – and especially the addition to our musical strength, which owing to change is now our weakest point & requires re-infusing.

With a staff of three we shall be better able to get through our many services _ weekday & Sunday.

I am glad to inform your Lordship that the change to the West has done me much good, and I shall hope to return to my post when the doctor gives his permission.



I remain

Your Lordship’s faithful servant

Morris Fuller



I regretted not being at the very successful Masonic Festival at St Paul’s last week when your Lordship preached, as I am past “Provincial Grand Chaplain of Devon”










7 Dec. 97  9 Devonport Street Hyde Park W.


My Lord,

We started singing the canticles & a hymn at Matins last Sunday, when I also discontinued the sacring bell at the early service.

Mr Fuller has, I believe, already written to your Lordship to apply for leave for Mr Noel Wilkinson to officiate at St Mark’s. Mr Wilkinson will be ready to begin with us on January 1st 1898



I am my Lordship

Your faithful servant

Percy Dearmer

Multipul images of Percy Dearmer from a Google search


The correspondence found in Creighton 5 ends with this letter and gives no indication that anything else was to make any real difference to the ongoing situation at St Mark’s.







On August 6th 1898 the Bayswater Chronicle printed the following in its “Church Notes”





























Given that St Mark’s was by no means whatsoever unique, the problems that are highlighted in the above correspondence were clearly widespread throughout the Diocese and gave rise in 1898 to action on the part of Bishop Creighton:


"Life and Letters"

page. 298

The Bishop’s consideration of the problem led him to decide that the first thing to do was to try to check the deviations from the services prescribed in the Prayer Book. He wrote:


Some of these introduce doctrines not contained in the Prayer Book, e.g. Benediction, Rosary of the Virgin, Litany of the Saints, Services for the Dead, which incorporate the Romish view of Purgatory. This is serious—the most serious thing which is at the bottom of the present discontent. It upsets the type of service altogether; it disregards all the principles of the Church of England; it ostentatiously declares that the Church of England is an imperfect system, to be supplemented at each man’s option from any source he thinks fit……... with this the bishops can and ought to deal directly; it is a matter of doctrine.’


In June he issued the following letter to his clergy: ‘Fulham Palace: June 14, 1898.


Rev. and dear Sir,—There are some points relating to the performance of divine service to which I think it is well to direct the attention of the clergy.


In a diocese such as this, where there is so much work to be done of a missionary character, and where the circumstances of parishes vary so greatly, it is natural that there should be a tendency to make new experiments in various ways. This natural tendency has affected the conduct of public worship, and must, in some degree, always do so. But it is a tendency which must be subject to certain obvious limitations, to which I would call your attention. It is absolutely necessary that nothing should be done which affects the due performance of the services of the Church as laid down in the Book of Common Prayer, and that any additional services which are used should conform entirely to the spirit and intention of the Prayer Book. There must be no confusion in the minds of the people as to the standard of worship in the Church of England, and there must be no opportunity for personal eccentricities to invade the system of the Church. No seeming advantage to the methods of teaching pursued by an individual teacher, as suited to a particular congregation, can compensate for the harm which is done to ecclesiastical order by any infringement of these principles.


Page 299


For the guidance of the clergy I think it well to give a few directions on points which I know to have caused some perplexity and dissatisfaction.


(1) Morning and Evening Prayer should be said, and the Holy Communion be celebrated, on Sundays at such hours as are most convenient to the congregation. There should be no appearance of disregard of any one of these services in favour of another.


(2) The service for Holy Communion should be said as it is appointed in the Book of Common Prayer, without additions or omissions. It should be said in an audible voice throughout.


(3) Additional services, where used, should be separated by a distinct interval from the services appointed in the Prayer Book, and should be announced as additional.


(4) These additional services are, I am aware, for the most part of a very simple kind, consisting of Psalms, Lessons, and Prayers taken from the Prayer Book. They are adapted to special classes, such as services for children, or for men or women, or members of parochial guilds or organisations; or they are intercessions for special purposes, such as missions, or temperance, and the like. I need not say that I have no wish to restrict the use of the church for such purposes of devotion ; but I think it right that in all cases such services should be submitted for my sanction.


In making known to you my wishes in these matters, I would express my deepest sympathy with the arduous work in which you are engaged, and with the difficulties which beset you in dealing with the many problems which it must _ needs raise in your minds. But it is my duty to see that permissible liberty be not unduly extended, so as to impair the distinctive characteristics of the services of our Church.


Commending you and your labours to the blessing of God,


I am, your faithful servant in Christ Jesus, *M. LONDON :’



To this letter eighty nine of the clergy, including amongst them many of the most extreme, answered. “June 30, 1898.”


My Lord,—We desire to assure your Lordship of our dutiful and loyal compliance with the directions contained in your Lordship’s circular, and at the same time, having regard to the nature of those directions, to thank your Lordship for having vindicated the character of your clergy as priests and


page 300


gentlemen from the aspersions cast upon them by some members of Parliament.’


He received besides many letters promising obedience. ‘I shall carry out your wishes in every particular.’ ‘If there is anything in my services not approved of, I will alter it’

During the next months he received and revised the lists of occasional services. It was, as he said, a gigantic labour, but he found practically no opposition to the directions he gave with regard to these services.


There is no record of any response from Morris Fuller, but as we have seen above he was quite capable of replying as some did……... and then continuing on his own driven course regardless!


The likelihood is that this is just what took place when we see in FP Creighton 12 ff 196-199: From H Russell Wakefield, Rector of St Mary’s Bryanston Square 1894 -1910 and Patron of St Mark’s Marylebone Road.


My dear Lord Bishop,

The enclosed [i.e. ff. 198-199?] will shew you that Mr Fuller has been at me again. I hope you approve my note to him…………



and a copy of that enclosed:




23rd Nov. 1899 St Mary’s Rectory

86 Gloucester Place. W.


My dear Mr Fuller,


My proposals are definite -


A. You are to apply to the Bishop for leave not to reside – If the Bishop agrees, and asks me to take over the spiritual charge of the Parish, I will suggest to his Lordship


B. that you receive £100 per annum & that


C. All incomings whether by endowment, offertory, rent of Vicarage House or otherwise be mine for use in working the Parish.


D. The service to be brought within the limits of recent judgements & opinions but to be distinctly “High”, the daily Eucharist being retained etc.etc. In all doubtful matters the Bishop’s wish to be final.


These proposals I make now, but


1.They must be agreed to or rejected within 15 days.


2. If rejected, it must be understood that no further negotiations will be entered into by me at any time on the subject.


I am sending a copy of this letter to the Bishop.


Yours very truly

H. Russell Wakefield.



This ends the correspondence found in Creighton 12 and also the last mention of Morris Fuller in the Lambeth Palace records.The fact that Morris Fuller died in Brighton may mean that he took up the above offer or was just being habitually absent?  Contrary to the reports found in some of the obituaries, Morris never resigned from his post at St Mark's, although he had been considering it. A letter of resignation was found, unsigned on his desk after his death.



copyright P.T.2024





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