The Ryburgh Scandal









In May 1884 the Revd. George Edmund Tatham who had done so much for St.Andrew's

over the previous 25 years, decided it was time to move on. He swapped the Ryburgh

living with the then incumbent of East Molesey, the Revd. Morris Joseph Fuller who had

been the Vicar there since 1897. and as we have already seen, had encountered a few

problems and so was in need of fresh pastures.

Whilst in Ryburgh, he spent much of his time in writing and publishing sermons,tracts,

pamphlets and books and it is suprising therefore that he used the public medium of print

to such disadvantage in the following episode for one sufficiently  experienced to have

known better. In the past he seemed to manage to weather adverse press publicity but in 

Ryburgh he rather met his match as his own words came back to bite him with real Norfolk




By 1888 relations between the  Revd. Morris Fuller and his flock had become so strained

that local press reports were collated by an unknown editor and printed verbatim as a small

book. A copy of this volume is held at the Millenium Library in Norwich and makes a

fascinating illustration of the decline of the influence of the Established Church in rural Norfolk.

The use of the title would strongly suggest an understanding of the earliest usage of the word

"scandal" as being  "discredit brought upon religion by unseemly conduct in a religious person".

and something that Morris Fuller in his own words would have been fully cogniscent :

"I have been accounted a specialist and as an ecclesiastical historian I believe I have built up

a solid reputation."


It is not known who the "INHABITANT" was, but I strongly suspect that Farmers' Foundry

manager, Thomas Cooper may not have been entirely unaware of its creation.














Good name in man or woman, dear, my Lord,

Is the immediate jewel of their soul.

Who steals my purse steals trash, ‘tis something, nothing.

‘Twas mine, ‘tis his, and has been slave to thousands;

But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which not enriches him

And makes me poor indeed.


  Shakespeare’s Othello, lll.,3.



For several years children belonging to the Shoreditch Union have been boarded out with

two respectable families at Ryburgh. The children were well cared for, and no complaints

whatever were made by the Boarding Committee as to their education or surroundings

until last month, when Mrs. Fuller, wife of the Rector, and President of the Committee,

wrote tothe Shoreditch Board of Guardians, asking that they should be removed,

“owing to the immorality prevalent in the village.” Upon this letter being received, one of

theGuardians observed that it was evident that a mistake had been made in the selection

of Ryburgh, and it was decided to remove the children immediately. The matter might

have ended here, but Mrs. Fuller’s letter with the resolution of the Guardians appeared in

“Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper” on the 18th March, (1888) and the inhabitants were much

incensed at seeing their parish so ruthlessly slandered.



It is probably the best place in the narrative to include a copy of what is the only first hand

evidence in what is otherwise a story entirely found in newsprint. I came across this letter

recently in some miscellaneous receipts found in PD621/55 that are a part of the Ryburgh

Parish Documents held at the Norfolk Record Office. It was written just before the "scandal"

story broke in Ryburgh and is the reply to Mrs Fuller's two previous letters to the

Shoreditch Board:






The matter was brought forward by Mr. T. Cooper at the Annual Parish Meeting with a view

of removing, if possible, the stigma thus cast on the parish. After a discussion it was

unanimously resolved- “That this meeting, consisting of the Churchwardens, Overseers,

and Guardians, and a large majority of the adult population of the parish, declares that Mrs.

Fuller’s statement to the Shoreditch Board of Guardians, that immorality is so prevalent in

the parish that it is imperatively necessary that two pauper children should be removed, is

without any real foundation in fact.” That this resolution should have as much publicity

given to it as the original charge, must be the desire of every well-wisher of the village, and

it is in the hope that it will be the means of refuting so serious an imputation on the morality

of Ryburgh that this pamphlet is published by an inhabitant. Scandal flies on eagle wings,

and rumour with her thousand tongues has been busy with the tale of Ryburgh’s immorality

during the past month.


And all who told it added something new,

And all who heard it made enlargements too;

In every ear it spread, on every tongue it grew,

Thus flying East and West, and North and South,

The news travelled with increase from mouth to mouth.


I know not how to tell thee;

Shame rises in my face

And interrupts the story of my tongue.


All scandal must be strangled in its birth,

Or time will soon conspire

To make it strong enough

To overcome the truth.






At the Shoreditch Board of Guardians, on Wednesday, a letter was read by the clerk from

Mrs. Fuller of Ryburgh, the President of the Ryburgh Boarding-out Committee, proposing

to transfer two girls placed in that village by the Shoreditch Board of Guardians to the

Servants’ Training Home at Fakenham. She stated that whether the girls were sent to that

institution or not, it was imperatively needful that they should be removed from Ryburgh,

on account of the immorality prevalent in that village. Mr. Alabaster said it was clear that a

mistake had been made in the selection of Ryburgh, and moved that the children be

brought away forthwith and placed in the institution belonging to the Board of Guardians

at Shoreditch. The motion was agreed to.


“Eastern Daily Press “ March 21st, 1888.




IS GREAT RYBURGH AN IMMORAL PLACE?-  At the Shoreditch Board of Guardians on

Wednesday a letter was read by the clerk from Mrs. Fuller, the rectory, Ryburgh, the

President of the Ryburgh Boarding–out Committee, proposing to transfer two girls placed

in that village by the Shoreditch Board of Guardians to the Servants’ Training Home at

Fakenham. She stated that whether the girls were sent to that institution or not, it was

imperatively needful that they should be removed from Ryburgh on account of the

immorality prevalent in that village. Mr. Alabaster said it was clear that a mistake had been

made in the selection of Ryburgh, and moved that the children be brought away forthwith

and placed in the institution belonging to the Board of Guardians at Shoreditch.The motion

was agreed to. The above has caused great indignation amongst the inhabitants, and it is

felt on all sides that the report is entirely without substantial foundation. Mr. Cooper,

overseer, has written to the Shoreditch Board of  Guardians stating that he will bear any

expense to the amount of £5 if the Guardians will send an Inspector down to view the

homes the children are in and to hold an inquiry as to the manner in which they have

been treated. The following notice has been signed by Mr. Cooper, and posted in the

parish:- “At the conclusion of the ordinary business at the parish meeting, to be held on

Thursday evening next, in the School-room, I shall call attention to Mrs. Fuller’s report on

the state of the parish to the Shoreditch Board of Guardians, and move a resolution

condemning such report as a gross misrepresentation of facts. Expression of opinion will

also be asked as to what further steps should be taken to clear the parish of the unworthy

and damaging statements the report contains, I ask the support of the parish in this matter.”

A largely attended meeting is anticipated on Thursday and a full report of the proceedings

will be published accordingly.


Daily Press March 23rd, 1888.




A most enthusiastic meeting was held in the schoolroom on Thursday evening, which was

attended by the Churchwardens, Overseers, Guardians, and the greater portion of the

adult population of the parish, and the proceedings throughout were very orderly.

Mr. Cooper was voted to the chair, who on rising said - In accordance with the notice I

issued on Tuesday, I now rise to call attention to the conduct of Mrs. Fuller in reporting to

the Shoreditch Board of Guardians that immorality is so prevalent in this parish that it is

imperatively necessary that two pauper children, who have been boarded out at a cottage

here for the past four years, should be forthwith removed. I ask your indulgence while I

make a few remarks on the matter, and I shall conclude by moving a resolution. I wish at

the outset to say that I [am] anxious not to stir up any more personal feeling than I can

help; but I feel, and from the numbers I see here to-night I take it you feel with me, that the

parish has been most wantonly and undeservedly libeled by one who, to say the least

should have known better, and I think that if we do not counteract this mischievous report

by unanimously expressing our opinion that it is without any real foundation, we should

deserve the ridicule we should be pretty sure to get in the absence of any contradiction.

Before going any further, I will explain the action I have so far taken in this matter. As soon

as I saw the report on Tuesday morning, I at once wrote to the Rev. M. Fuller as follows:


Rev Sir,-

I have this morning received from a friend a newspaper report of a meeting of the

Shoreditch Board of Guardians  on Wednesday, a copy of which I enclose. I shall esteem it

a favour if you will let me know today whether Mrs. Fuller disputes the accuracy of the

report, and, if so, what action you propose to take to remove what anyone acquainted with

the parish must know to be a misrepresentation of the true state of affairs. I ask your reply

today before post time, so that if you decline to do anything I can write to the Board of

Guardians, for as a parishioner I do not intend to quietly to sit down by such a report.—

Yours faithfully, 

T Cooper.


{Applause} I sent this letter to Mr. Fuller , with instructions to (the) bearer to wait for an

answer. The reply I received was my own letter returned with a verbal message that Mrs.

Fuller had nothing to say in reply; but if I would go down to the Rectory Mr. Fuller could

tell me a great deal I did not know as to the immorality of the parish. Well, gentlemen,

considering that I have resided in this parish three times as long as Mr. Fuller, and that I

have during that time become intimately acquainted with the character of the great majority

of the parishioners, I did not feel inclined to go to the Rectory to hear second, third, or even

fourth-hand scandal, for we are perfectly well aware that it is impossible for Mr. and Mrs.

Fuller to know what goes on in the parish except from hearsay, for I believe (you will correct

me if I am wrong), that they seldom go into any of the houses, and for several months they

have been away enjoying themselves and leaving the charge of the parish to strangers.

Surely, if the parish was so bad and they had the spiritual welfare of the parishioners at

heart, they should have stayed with us and endeavoured to reclaim us from our evil ways,

instead of going away and then on their return proclaiming to the world what a bad lot we

are. So instead of going to the Rectory I issued the notice which has brought us together

this evening. The rector visited me on Tuesday afternoon, and I had more than an hour’s 

conversation with him; the details of which would be too tedious for you to listen to, but I

may refer to some parts of this conversation later on. The next morning I received a letter

from the rev. gentleman as follows:-



Ryburgh Rectory , March 21st 1888.



I was very much pained on going to church last evening to find posted up on the doors of

my church a public indictment as to the veracity of the rector’s wife. Such a notice is illegal,

as no one has any right to put up on the doors of a parish church what he chooses.  It is

the place for official notices signed by official persons, As your signature doesn’t carry

your official status, I presume the action is a personal one; if so, then any other parishioner

might ventilate their grievances, which would be intolerable. My own private opinion is that

it is “libellous”, for if the contents of a post card are libelous, if of a damaging character to

a man’s reputation, how much more a public notice on the door of a church affecting the

character of the clergyman’s wife (to say nothing of placarding the parish and the dissenting

chapels, as I am informed with the same document), would be considered in the eyes of

the law libelous. Whether it is so or not, I write to say I have taken upon myself as rector of

the parish to take down the insulting notice from the notice board, and with regard to its

character, Mrs. Fuller is communicating with her solicitors, from whom you may possibly

hear further in the matter.-

I remain, your obedient servant,

Morris Fuller.



I could not resist replying, and I wrote:-


Rev. Sir,-

I have just received your letter and note the contents, from which it appears that you

consider the clergyman’s wife may say what she pleases of everyone in the parish, and

that no one must venture to contradict her. You acknowledged yesterday that Mrs. Fuller

charged the parish with immorality simply to enable her to get rid of the children, a feat

she has been desirous of accomplishing ever since she came into the parish; and if that is

not an action  deserving censure I do not know what is. I beg leave to say that while I am in

the parish I shall not allow either Mrs. Fuller or anyone else to make what I consider

unfounded statements without contradicting them. And your threat of legal proceedings will

not deter me from taking what action I consider best to clear the parish of the charges

made by Mrs. Fuller.-

Yours truly,

Thomas Cooper

P.S.- Unless I hear that you object I shall read your letter to the meeting.



[Applause] I also wrote to the Guardians of Shoreditch Union and offered to bear the expense

of an inspector coming down and making inquiries on the spot as to how the children had

been brought up and the manner in which they had been treated, and I am pleased to say

that I received a letter this morning from Mr. Clay, who is coming down within the next two

or three days. Well, gentlemen, that’s as far as matters have gone at present, and I trust

you all approve of what I have done. We now come to the main point. Is this parish generally

immoral or not? I say it is not, and I challenge anyone to stand up in this room and prove

that it is so. We are not met here as a sort of mutual admiration society to whisper into each

others’ ears how good we all are. I take it that we all recognize with regret there are cases

where young people have stepped aside from a strictly virtuous path’ but, I ask you, does

that constitute such general immorality that the whole parish should be condemned as an

unfit residence for a few orphans?  I say that it does not, but that it is simply a state of affairs

that unfortunately have existed, and does exist all over the world. If the parish was given to

general prostitution such as is witnessed in some towns, or if the inhabitants were given to

riotous living and adulterous intercourse, then I should be the last to stand up in defence of

the parish; but again I challenge anyone to get up and point to any such case in the parish,

I have been a close observer of the general conduct of the place, and it is my firm conviction

that for general respectability, sobriety, and morality in its broadest sense, this parish will

compare most favourably with any other parish. That being so, what could be Mrs. Fuller’s

object in writing as she did?  I will not even give my own opinion. I will simply tell you what

the rector acknowledged to me. He said it was a very bad job, and if Mrs. Fuller had known

that her letter was going to be made public she would not have written it in the way she did.

But, I say, why did she not write her real reason, viz., that she wanted the children removed

because it was too much of a task for her to look after them? But instead of saying right out,

“I don’t want the trouble of them,” she goes and in a roundabout to induce the Guardians to

take them away. And I asked the rev. gentleman why he did not come forward as a man

and defend himself; but he said if he took the chair at the meeting he should not allow this

matter to be discussed. I said “Well if you did not, we would soon vote you out of the chair

and appoint another chairman.” I now beg to move the following resolution:- “That this

meeting, consisting of the Churchwardens, Overseers, and Guardians, and a large majority

of the adult population of the parish, declares that Mrs. Fuller’s statement to the Shoreditch

Board of Guardians, that immorality is so prevalent in the parish that it is imperatively

necessary that two pauper children should be removed, is without any real foundation in fact.”

[Loud applause.] 


Mr. Herbert Smith (parish churchwarden) seconded the motion.


Mr Bradley (schoolmaster) then came forward and said he had received a letter from Mrs.

Fuller, which she requested him to read at the meeting:-


Dear Mr. Bradley,-

As I presume you will be present at the meeting tonight, I feel obliged if you will kindly read

the letter I address to you. I was very sorry to see that a remark I had made in a privileged

communication to the Clerk of the Shoreditch Guardians for the benefit of the orphan

children committed to my care had been quoted in a public paper. Had I any idea this could

have been done, I should not have written as I did; for I had no wish whatever to injure the

parish, or expose its faults to the public. But as Mr Cooper in a placard has accused me of

“gross misrepresentation” I feel it due to myself to state some FACTS which led to the

opinion respecting the parish to which I had arrived. I conclude I am addressing the most

moral and respectable of our people, or they would hardly presume to be present at an

indignation meeting of this kind, and as such shall have their sympathy in what I am about

to say.


1  We are a parish of 900 people, How very few honour the Sabbath, or attend any place of

worship on the Lord’s Day?  Is this morality?


2.  It is reported that one of the magistrates of the Fakenham Bench has stated that Ryburgh

was one of the worst parishes brought before their notice for poaching and other

misdemeanours. Is that morality?


3.  Look at the overcrowding of our cottages. I know one house where eleven of both sexes

occupy two bedrooms, and another where seven occupy one, and many others where only

a curtain divides men from women. Is this morality?


4.  With regard to breaches of the 7th commandment . You have only to refer to our baptismal

register or make a house to house visitation of the parish to see how little that is regarded.


For all these reasons I thought it desirable that the orphan children under my care, and who

have arrived at the age of 14, (the age they should have to leave school) should be removed

from this parish. Owing to their antecedents, they are more susceptible to bad influences

than others, and therefore require more anxious care.


I have been advised that Mr. Cooper’s conduct in placarding my name all over the village

with such damaging remarks is actionable; but as I cannot conceive that any gentleman

could so insult a lady, and I do not care to do battle with anyone but a gentleman, and as

I wish to prove to our parishioners that I love peace and unity and their welfare more than

personal redress, I shall pardon my slanderer, and trust that whatever other resolution may

be passed to-night, this at least may be one - That we all strive to live more in the spirit of

our Lord’s Sermon on the mount: and so prove to the world that we are not only a moral

but a God-fearing people.-

Yours truly,




Mr D. Mesney then said- I as Guardian of the parish would like to know Mrs. Fuller’s author

as to the alleged immorality. She has been absent four months, and I living in the parish for

many years, and knowing the parish well, know of nothing whatever in the parish that has

been immoral, and I contend that our parish will compare favourably with any other in the

neighbourhood, and I consider the letter which was written to the Guardians a great error,

as wherever we go now we are checked about coming from an immoral place.


The Rev-Paston of Wells, said – I am not a parishioner, but I must beg the favour to be

allowed to say a few words. On Monday last I was visiting some of my congregation when

they showed me a paper with a report of Mrs. Fuller’s letter to the Shoreditch Board of

Guardians; and I could not believe it was the Ryburgh near Fakenham, as I have visited

many of the cottages and can safely say that I find the people respectable, civil, and

their morals for the poorer classes quite as good as their richer brethren. As to Ryburgh

being the worst place as regards crime, if one will only read the reports of the sessions &c.

they will see that there is seldom a casefrom this parish, and that when Mrs. Fuller wrote

to the Shoreditch Guardians she could not have thought seriously of what she was writing,

or the trouble it might cause.


Mr. S. Utting then briefly addressed the meeting.  He said he was sure the morality of the

parish would compare favourably with many parishes around. After some further

observations, the resolution was put to the meetingand carried unanimously.


Mr Mesney moved and Mr Green seconded, that Mrs. Fuller be asked to publicly state who

her informant is as to the immoral acts, so that the parties thus accused may defend

themselves, and unless she gave her informant, she should publicly apologise to the parish

through the press.

This was carried with great applause.


Mr. Cooper[said]- Mr. Clay the Clerk to the Guardians is coming down to inquire into the

matter, and I shall strongly object to any inquiry being made to which all the parishioners

are not invited, so that all can be made public, and all who are charged could come and

refute the statements made, and I shall take particular notice that due notice be given of

such enquiry.


Mr. Paston then proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman which was unanimously carried

amid loud applause.    



“Eastern Daily Press,” March 24th, 1888


What a row at Ryburgh! The wife of a clergyman has written an injudicious letter about the

morals of the parish and, contrary to her expectations, it got into print. Naturally, the people

do not like to have their ways and manners questioned, and denounce the letter as a libel.

The probability is that Ryburgh is no better and no worse than other villages of 900 

inhabitants. Among so many there is sure to be some black sheep, but that is no reason

for fixing the mark of disgrace on the whole flock. One point must be mentioned in the lady’s

favour. She did not publish the letter. It was intended as a private communication. What

blame can be assessed for writing it lies at her door; but the blame of publication lies

elsewhere. If the parish is so bad, I advise the rector and his wife to keep quiet over it and

set themselves earnestly to remedy it.



“Eastern Daily Press,” March 26th, 1888








Dear Sir-

Concerning the meeting held at Ryburgh on Thursday night, and which was  reported in

to-day’s issue of the “Daily Press,” your reporter overlooks the fact that the  meeting was

called to elect overseers of the parish and the road surveyor. Had it been  simply an

indignation meeting to censure Mrs. Fuller, probably there would not have been  so large

an attendance. -

Yours faithfully, 







I had no intention of replying to the indignant strictures of Mr. Thomas Cooper, who to the

astonishment and amused bewilderment of the parishioners (for he is a recent importation

from the shires, comparatively speaking) has suddenly emerged from his obscurity and

assumed the role of “patriot, purist and moralist.” If the report of your paper be a correct one,

he has taken the opportunity of his outrageous and unmanly attack on a lady at the annual

vestry meeting convened for the purpose of electing parish officers (overseers, waywarden,

parish constable and guardian) to make a side-thrust at me in my official capacity as rector

by accusing me of absence from my parish and neglect of visiting my people. In self-defence,

please allow me to say that I was only absent two months at Christmas, preferring to take

my annual holiday in the winter, rather than in the summer, and I returned in time for my

Lenten duties; and as to enjoying myself, I took duty the whole time in a Brighton parish

to see some town work. During my absence I left an efficient “locum tenens” resident in the

rectory. With regard to visiting, I have had a most excellent staff of visitors, besides my own

personal contribution to it, and such a system has been adopted that every house was

carefully visited weekly, and the visitors’ reports and statistics were tabulated at the monthly

meeting at the rectory, so the wants of the parish have been fully attended to. But what can

Mr. Thomas Cooper of the Farmers’ Foundry be supposed to know of our parochial


As to the immaculate gentleman himself, who has struck the indignant attitude and thrust

himself forward as the champion of the morals of the Ryburgh, although I have been in the

parish nearly four years (and I have fifteen services every week in my parish church) I don’t

think I have ever seen him at church more than twice all this time. Nor indeed, if report be,

does he ever attend any place of worship. In the conversation which Mr. Cooper alluded to

he averred that the morality of the place used to be very low, and he gave me a description

of the village street at night informer days in language which I cannot repeat here; but he

went on to say that there had been a marked improvement during the last two years, which

may lead one to the hope that one’s ministrations have not been all in vain. At all events,

after the trouble and care which Mrs. Fuller has taken in these orphans for the last four years-

a responsibility which was none of her own seeking, and of which Mr. Cooper is not in a

position to know anything- it does seem a poor return as well as a mean and cowardly act,

when it has come to a natural termination to offer a lady such a wanton and outrageous

insult as this person has thought fit thus publicly to make.

Yours obediently,



Ryburgh Rectory, March 24th 1888.

P.S.- The following is the official letter which Mrs. Fuller has just received from the Clerk of

the Board of Guardians, Shoreditch, who has been down here to investigate the matter;-







  Clerk’s Office, 213 Kingsland Road London, E.



Referring to the children boarded out at Ryburgh from this parish, and our recent

correspondence on the matter, I have been instructed by the Guardians to personally visit

Ryburgh, and take such steps as to the children as may appear advisable. This visit I have paid,

and I must first of all express my regret that your letter intended for me in the interest of the

children should have been published in the manner it has. As the hon. Secretary of the

Boarding–out Committee, you were bound to advise as to the welfare of the children, and in

carrying out this duty your letter to me appears to have been very much misunderstood. I

am very pleased to express my satisfaction with the evident care that has been taken of the

children since they have been in your parish, and my visit in that respect confirms the

report from time to time received from you; but having regard to all circumstances, I think 

the time has arrived when the arrangement for their boarding out at Ryburgh must cease,

except as to Louisa Holstock with Mrs. Edge. It appears to this girl’s interest that she should

continue for a few months longer.-

I am, yours very truly,

Mrs. Fuller.                                                                     R. Clay, Clerk to the Board.



“Eastern Daily Press,” March 27th, 1888








The Rev. M. Fuller’s remarks concerning myself, in his letter which appears in your issue of

this morning, bear traces of such kindly(?) feeling that I will not mar their effect by further

notice, and if he had been content with personally abusing me I should not have troubled

you with any reply. But he makes sundry assertions which appear so greatly at variance

with facts that I cannot allow them to pass unnoticed. I will not encroach upon your valuable

space by mentioning all the points, but will just give one example. In his letter he asserts

that “he returned in time for his Lenten duties.”  Now, I most emphatically declare that he

was not here to conduct service on Ash Wednesday, nor did he provide a substitute.

Several people went to the Church, and there was no service on that day. If Ash Wednesday

is not in Lent, I have no more to say on the subject. But if it is in Lent, then no amount of

explanation will prevent the public estimating the value of rev. gentleman’s assertions in the

rather strong light of this example.

  Yours obediently,



“Eastern Daily Press,” March  29th,  1888







As churchwarden of the parish of Great Ryburgh, I beg to state the reason there was no

service on Ash Wednesday was our locum tenens was requested to stay over that day, but

he was obliged to leave suddenly the day before, to go into Devonshire to his new living to

be instituted. I tried to get a substitute, but was unsuccessful. I am not aware that anyone

went to the church or was disappointed. In fact the weather was so bad that it was not fit to

attempt it. Our rector returned on Friday, and took up his service the first Sunday in Lent.

  Yours obediently,

JOHN BLOMFIELD, Chuchwarden Manor House, Great Ryburgh,

March 27th 1888.

P.S.-I feel I ought to add my entire satisfaction, as churchwarden, as to the efficient manner

and frequency with which our church services are rendered.




SIR- Having endeavoured to whitewash the morals of the Ryburghs by a public resolution,

in vestry assembled, our parish mentor, Mr. Thomas Cooper, with his usual effrontery and

customary success, has again stepped out of the ranks to complain of the clerical

irregularities of his rector by alleging that we had no service on Ash Wednesday, Will you

allow me once more to trespass on your valuable space by saying that provision was made

for the Ash Wednesday service, but, owing to unforeseen circumstances at the eleventh

hour, over which I had no control, it could not take place. But I returned into residence on

Friday following, and was therefore in time for“my Lenten duties” on the first Sunday in Lent,

during which season, besides our double daily service, we have had special services with

special preachers every Wednesday or Thursday; but I have never seen Mr. Thomas Cooper

or his satellites at any one of them. Indeed, while the last of the services was taking place,

he was presiding at the very same time over his so-called indignation meeting and trying to

set the parishioners against the rector and his wife. But I am glad to find that Mr. Thomas

Cooper has not yet forgotten that the day of “the Benediction of Ashes” is the caput jejunii,

or first day of the Lenten fast. As to several or any people going to church and being

disappointed on that day, this I emphatically deny. Certainly Mr. Cooper would not have

been of the number, so he has no cause of complaint.

One last word and I have done with Mr. Cooper. If the speculation called the Farmers’

Foundry Company, Limited, chooses to start in our parish, the least we can ask of those

persons connected with it is, even in these democratic days, if they cannot respect duly-

constituted authority, at all events let them mind their own business. To conclude, in the

words of a very old Book, ”This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he must needs be a judge.”

  Yours obediently,

                                         MORRIS FULLER


Ryburgh Rectory, March 27th, 1888.   




“Eastern Daily Press,”  April 2nd. 1888






SIR,- On looking at your issue of the 29th inst. I read two letters under the above heading,

as to which I should like to say a few words. First as to Mr Bloomfield’s, I will ask him to

name a single minister whom he asked to come and officiate here on Ash Wednesday. As to

the LOCUM TENENS being called away suddenly, I can only say that he said on the

previous Sunday it would be his  last service here, and I can personally speak as to more t

han one person walking over a mile to find no service. Next as to Mr. Fuller’s letter. I regard

it as a gross, personal attack on Mr. Cooper. I  am not aware of anyone in the village having

complained as to scarcity of services. As to Mr. Cooper’s reference to Ash Wednesday, it

was to prove that the Rev. M. Fuller was not accurate when  he stated that he returned in

time for his Lenten duties.

  Yours obediently,



 “Eastern Daily Press,”  April 5th. 1888






SIR,- The Rev. Morris Fuller concludes his effusion in your issue of the 29th inst. With the

following:- ”This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he must  needs be a judge.” To gather

the full force of  the insinuation contained in the quotation the subject which has been under

notice must be considered, and the context of the passage read, but which regard for public

decency prevents me  quoting. It is so far beneath all possible contempt that, great as is the

temptation to expose the misstatements contained in the Rev. Fuller’s letters, I shall refrain

from further noticing them or any other communication from the same tainted source.

   Yours obediently,


Ryburgh, Norfolk, March 31st.1888.


[We have had the above by us for some days, but through its being mislaid insertion has

been deferred.-Ed.”E.D.P.”


The “Star” March 24th 1888


The Village and the Vicarage


Rural “ Immorality”


As reported in “The Star” on Thursday, Mrs Fuller, wife of the Rector of Ryburgh, Norfolk,

where the Shoreditch Guardians have two children boarded out, wrote a letter to the Board

stating that the immorality of the parish was so great that it was imperatively necessary that

two pauper children sent there from the Shoreditch Union should be immediately removed.

An indignation meeting of the parishioners has been held at Ryburgh, at which Mr. Cooper,

who has taken the lead in refuting Mrs. Fuller’s accusation, presided. Mr. Cooper said he

had written to Mr Fuller, who answered that if he would visit the rectory he would receive

enlightenment. But he did not go, neither the clergyman nor his wife visited the poor, and

to all appearances cared little about them. If they had the spiritual welfare of the inhabitants

at heart, why did they not stop amongst them? In his opinion the parish had been wantonly

and undeservedly insulted and libeled. (Cheers) 


But he must be careful as to what he said,  for in a letter sent him by Mr Fuller, that gentleman

expressed his sorrow to find that he had posted an indictment against Mrs. Fuller on the

church door, and added that the lady had consulted her solicitors on the matter. He (Mr.

Cooper) wrote to the Shoreditch Board and offered to pay the expenses of an inspector

to make enquiries. The Clerk had now stated that he would come down and inquire into the

whole matter. The rector had been asked to attend that meeting, but he excused himself on

the ground that he had to attend a service, and upon his being informed that the meeting

would be adjourned to suit his convenience, he said if he presided he would not allow the

matter to be discussed. (Laughter.) But the truth was, as the rector had admitted to him, it

was a bad job; and if Mrs. Fuller had known the letter would be published she would never

have written it. (Hear, hear.) There was no doubt that she wanted to get rid of the children,

there being a certain responsibility attaching to their charge, and she went a roundabout

way to get rid of the trouble.- A resolution was moved declaring that Mrs. Fuller’s  statement

was without foundation, and the Rev. Mr. Paston, Wells, protested to such sweeping

statements as to the immorality of the village being made. Mr. Bradley read a letter he had

received from Mrs. Fuller, in which she gave various grounds, chiefly the overcrowding of

the cottages, the consequent mixing together of the sexes, the abstention from services of

the Church, and poaching-(laughter)- upon which she founded her statement, but stating

she considered it a privileged communication. (Laughter.) The resolution was carried

unanimously, as was also one more hostile in tone, viz., “That in the opinion of this meeting,

Mrs. Fuller should publicly state who was her informant, and in the event of her failing to do

so, she should apologise.”



“Daylight,” March 24th, 1888.





The parishioners of Great Ryburgh, Norfolk, are all up in arms. They say that the whole parish

have been shamefully libeled by a clergyman’s wife. In “ Lloyd’s Newspaper” of the 18th ult.

Appeared a paragraph headed: “ THE CARE OF PAUPER GIRLS,” setting forth that at a

recent meeting of the Shoreditch Board of Guardians a letter was read from Mrs. Fuller of

Ryburgh, President of the Ryburgh Boarding-out Committee, proposing to transfer two girls

placed in that village, on ground of the immorality prevalent in the place. As our Country

Correspondent deals  fully with the subject in his “Village Chronicles,” it will suffice for us to

give very briefly the case of the villagers. It is said that the daughter of the persons with

whom the two orphan children have been living for more than four years, has been married,

but not by the rector- Mrs. Fuller’s husband- nor at the parish church, and the wedding was

kept a secret for some time. When it reachedthe ears of the rector and his wife they were

very much annoyed, and a correspondent contends that this is the sole ground for the

sweeping charge of the prevalence of immorality in Ryburgh which Mrs. Fuller forwarded to

the Shoreditch Board of Guardians and thereby secured the removal of the two children

from the care of those who had offended her by not taking her into their confidence in

reference to their marriage. A rather singular feature of the affair is that there are three other

children  boarded out in the village, but Mrs. Fuller notwithstanding her serious charge, has

not moved for them to be removed from the hotbed of immorality she has led the public to

infer that Ryburgh must be. This looks as if although she made a general charge of

immorality, she was, in reality, only aiming at one family. The action of Mrs. Fuller appears

in a still more extraordinary light seeing that the other members of the Committee are Mrs.

Mesney and Miss Lee Warner who have never we believe made such a charge against their

fellow parishioners. Another singular fact noticed by our correspondent is that although

according to Mrs. Fuller’s statement the village of Ryburgh must be literally teeming with

immorality, yet, it is said, that its rector, the Rev Morris Fuller, who draws £600 from the

parish in the shape of stipend, has only just returned with his family from a six months’

sojurn at Brighton. Anyhow we feel that the libeled parishioners are fully justified in

demanding a thorough ventilation of the grave charges made against them by Mrs. Fuller. 





Hooray for the English Press say I, Hooray and thousand times Hooray! And heers the reason

for it, bor. If it hadn’t bin fur the glorious cheap press ov Owd England, the inhabitants ov this

heer parish of Norfolk would never hev knowed that we had bin libeled by a lady callin’ herself

Mrs. Fuller. Lukin’ at “Lloyd’s Newspaper” on Sunday last I read the follerin’:-

THE CASE OF THE PAUPER GIRLS.—At the Shoreditch Board of Guardians, on Wednesday,

a letter was read by a clerk from Mrs. Fuller, of Ryburgh, the president of the Ryburgh

Boarding-out Committee, proposing to transfer two girls placed in that village by the  Shoreditch

Board of Guardians to the Servants’ Training Home at Fakenham. She stated that whether

the girls were sent to  that instition or not, it was  imperatively needful that they should be

removed from Ryburgh, on account of the immorality prevalent in that village. Mr. Alabaster

said it was clear that a mistake had been made in the selection of Ryburgh, and moved

that the children be brought away forthwith and placed in the institution belonging to the 

Board of Guardians at Shoreditch. The motion was agreed to.


Now, bor, heer’s the explanayshun. Sent tew me by sumboddy hew fare tew know of this

ere werry serious charge agin the inhabitants of a hoal willage made by Mrs. Fuller, hew

is supposed tew be the wife of the parson of the willage hew is drawin’ £600 a year owt of

the place. My korryspondent say “Dewrin’ the parst year the darter of the people wi’ hoom

the two orphan children referred tew in the paragrarph hev bin livin ‘ fur the parst four years

wos married, but not by our rekter, the Rev. Morris Fuller, nor at the parish charch at all.

The weddin’ wos not knowed abowt heer fur sum time arterwards. When the rekter an’ his

wife fownd owt that they wos really married, they seem tew hev bin werry much annoyed that

they warnt made acquainted wi’ it before. Fooks abowt heer seem tew think as how it wos

owin’ tew the annoyance felt by parson an’ his wife over the affare that Missus Fuller

determined tew try an’ git the children removed in which as yow see by the extract from

“ Lloyd’s” paper they wos only tew sucksessful. But whether the men an’ wimmen of Ryburgh

will tamely submit tew be libeled hoolsale an’ held up tew the warld at large as immoral fooks,

even by a parson’s wife is quite anuther matter. Ef they’ve got enny real owd Norfolk grit in

‘em , bor, they’ll compel the Missus Fuller hew rit tew the Shoreditch Board of Guardians

tew make gude har wurds or apologise fur perpetratin’ sich a whopper lie abowt innersent

fooks. My korryspondent say he spose as how the Missus Fuller hew rit the blaggard letter

defamin’ the inhabitants of the willage of Ryburgh never thowt as how it wood ever bekum

knowed heer how the chilren kum tew be removed, but thanks tew the Press everyone know

how the little muve wos wurked. When these children wos fust placed in the parish by the

Shoreditch Guardians, the present rector wasn’t heer, but the Rev. Tatham hew wos then

our parson (bless his dear owd honest heart) highly recommended the people as bein’

proper persons tew hev the charge on ‘em. Mrs. Tatham, Mrs Mesney, and Miss Lee Warner

wos appointed a Committee tew attend tew thare welfare, and I ax ennybody hew know

these ladies whether they wood fur wun moment wink at immorality ov enny sort or allow

poor children tew remain ware thare morals would be talnted?  Abowt tree yeers ago 

Mrs. Tatham left. the narbourhood_and wos suckseeded in har dewty of lukln' arter the 

chilren by Mrs. Fuller. But, bor, I karnt help thinkin’ as how before the Shoreditch Board ov

Guardians took enny noatis ov Mrs.Fuller’s letter they ort tew hev inquired ov the rest ov the

Committee as tew whuther the facts wos as Mrs. Fuller had rit, namely that the hoal willage

wos immoral. At least they ought tew hev bin adwised by the committee, as at present thare

action and that ov Mrs. Fuller luke uncommonly like a refleckshun on Mrs. Mesney and

Miss Lee Warner. Ef Mrs. Fuller is rite in wot she say then Mrs. Mesney and Miss Lee Warner

ort tew hev found owt the immoral state of the hoal willage long ago and hev took ackshun

in the matter tew git the children remoaved.


But perhaps the Guardians thowt Mrs. Fuller wos a parson’s wife an therefore coodn’t

possibly speak nowt but the strickt trewth. The inhabitants as I sed afore hev a werry strong

feelin’ on this question an heer’s a werry funny bit which luke as ef Mrs. Fuller’s letter wos

really meant tew aim at one family. We hev tree other children bownd out by the Shoreditch

Guardians, but although Mrs. Fuller say the willage is immoral an’ unfit for pauper children,

yet the Guardians hev not removed these tree children which are under the werry same skule

an’ wood I presoom be liable tew the same corruption what Mrs. Fuller complane on unless

the immorality is only in the house whare the tew children lived, but which Mrs. Fuller havn’t

dared tew allege.But, bor, heer’s anuther werry strong pint. Ef the willage of Ryburgh is so

wery immoral as Mrs. Fuller say it is how is  that the Rev. Fuller an’ all his family hev only

just concluded a six month stay at Brighton instead of bein’ at hoam among the parishioners

dewin their Marsters work fur which they are uncommonly well paid, an tryin’ to conwart the

wicked an’ put ‘em on the rood tew heven. Either parson an’ family hev sadly neglected the

souls health of their parishioners or the willage carnt hev bin in such a werry bad immoral

state as Mrs. Fuller say. Besides ef parson would only spend the munny he hev owt of the

willage in the willage instead of spending it at Brighton he wood dew no end of gude tew

our tradesfook an’ cause an excellent feelin’ in the parish. Ennyhow, bor, ef the fooks of

Ryburgh hev got the pluck of a werry small insect, they’ll never rest till they hev shown the

slanderers of the willage up in their trew colours.



DAYLIGHT, MARCH 31st, 1888,




Bor I've heerd owd fashun'd fooks make use of an owd sayin' as how the more ennybody

star, the moar they'll raise a parfume, an' struse me, I beleeve the owd-fashuned fooks wos

rIte. .It wos parson's wife hew rit the werry onbecomln'  letter chargin' a hoal parish wi'

immorality, cos she'd got har knIfe Into wun family. Bor, a more disgraceful thing I never

heerd on. Wood  parson's hevenly Marster hev tritted the meanest among the multitude so?

Sartinly not, even sposin' enny on 'em wos guilty. He wood hev sed go an' sin no moar, an' 

wood hev set 'em a glorious exampleof how not tew sin. Our parson an' his wife act jest

contrary tew this, an' hevin' got intew a scrape, insted of confessin'  thare error, they go, an

figgeratively speekin' scrape up moar mud tew heeve at the werry pussons they hev jnjured.

This arnt the way tew make the charch respected amung the wurkin' -classes, is it? When

Marster Cooper. the overseer, seed "Lloyd's Newspaper" containin' pious Mrs. Fuller's werry

pious letters, he sent her a letter axin' whether she disputed the accuracy of the report, an' ef

so what steps she intended tew take. Wood you believe It, bor, this heer preshus wife' of a

successor ov the Apostles, drorin' £600 .a year owt ov the parish, an' spendin ' munths at

Brlghton, the London by the Sea, hant got the common perliteness ov a wosherwoman,. an'

werry insultingly retarned Mr. Cooper's own letter tew him, sayin' she had nowt tew add. ThIs

showed har broughtens up dint it?  But the fun wos when she rIt a letter tew  Marster Bradley,

in which she.admItted as how ef she'd known har letter wood hev been made public she

woont hev rit it. But wot bisness had she tew rIte It at orl, hay, bor? Accordin' tew har own

showin' she went an' made a charge.of immorality agin a hoal parish on no evidence, She say,

"We are a parish of 9OO people. How very few honour the Sabbath, or attend any place of

worship on the Lord’s  day?  Is that morality?” But, bor, I suppose bein’ a parson’s wife, she

go to charch on Sunday, but what benefit is there in that, ef it doant keep har tongue from

slanderin’ people.


Marster Cooper wos invited up tew the Rectory an’ parson sed he cood tell him a great deal

more’n he knew respectin’ the state ov the parish. But Marster Cooper dint go, he dint want

tew fear second hand scandal, specially as he hev lived in the parish longer’n parson and

knew more abowt it than he did. Howsomever, he did a lot bettern go tew the Rectory

School for he rit tew the Shoreditch Guardians offerin’ tew bare enny expense up tew £5 ef

they wood send an Inspector down tew wiew  the hoam an’ inquire intew the manner the

children had bin tritted. A chap wos sent down from the Guardians an’ accordin’ to his letter

in the paper, it fare as ef he coont hev fownd the willage so immoral as Missus Fuller rit it

wos, as he hev agreed  tew let wun of the gals remain on the parish. Marster Cooper orlso

poasted up noatises in the parish statin’ as how arter the parish business wos over at the

meetin’ on the Tharsday, he should call attention to Missus Fuller’s report to the Shoreditch

Guardians and move a resolution. This heer muve fared tew hev drored the badger, fur

parson honnered Marster Cooper wi’ a visit ov full hour an’ a harf, tryin tew perswade him

not tew bring the matter forrard. I’m towd as how parson even admitted that Missus Fuller

rit the letter solely tew get the responsibility of the children orf har showders but Marster

Cooper hev in’ put his hand tew the plough of duty woont allow hisself tew be tarned back

by soft sawder and he attended the meetin’. Parson’s soft sawder failin’ he sent Mr. Cooper

a letter threatening’ legal proceedins but it warnt no go. At the meetin’ nearly orl the grown

up fooks in the parish wos present includin’ the overseers, Surveyor and Guardians, an’ the

followin’ tasty reserlewshon was unanimously passed, namely:-  “That this meetin’, consistin’

of the Charchwardens, Overseers, and Guardians, and a large majority of the adult

population of the parish, declares that Mrs. Fuller’s statement to the Shoreditch Board of

Guardians, that immorality is so prevalent in the parish that it is imperatively necessary that

tew pauper chilren shood be removed, is without any real fowndayshun in fact.” Another

reserlewshun wos orlso unanimously passed, namely:- That Mrs. Fuller be asked publicly to 

state hew is  her informant  as tew the immoral acts, so that the parties  accused may defend

themselves, and unless she give up har informant, she shood publicly apologise tew the parish

threw the press.”


In har letter tew the skulemarster  Mrs. Fuller try tew trim har sails an’ tew tarn orf har

charges ov immorality tew other things orltewgether from what every wun know she really

meant. In ther fust place she tarn it on tew so few fooks attendin’ charch, blarm it , bor, ef

parson an’ his wife doant interest thareselves in the parish is it likely the parish’ll interest

thareselves in goin’ to charch? Parson and his wife, I’m towd, scarcely ever visit the poor.

Secondly, Mrs Fuller bring up poachin’ an’ other misdemeanors as immorality an’ call on the

game preservin’ justice Shallows of the Fakenham Bench tew back har up. Jest as ef

ennyboddy wi’ commonsense pay any attenshun tew the remarks ov game preservin’ justice

on poachin’!  On referrin’, however, tew a file ov a local paper I find as how there hev bin

oanly eight cases ov any description from this ere parish dewrin the parst twelve months

so Mrs. Fuller is floored agin, hay, bor? Thirdly, Mrs. Fuller tarns tew a few solotary cases ov

over-crowdin’ in cottages, but, bor, the fooks as is over-crowded is more to be pitied than

blamed. Why doant parson an‘ other big guns instead of spendin’ thare munny at Brighton,

spend it in buildin’ proper cottages fur the poor an’ thus prewent over-crowdin’, hay, bor?



Fourthly, Missus Fuller point tew breaches ov the Seventh Commandment in the willage. Will

she kindly point out enny willage withowt sin in that respect? Why I know a willage where a

titled lady an’ a parson’s wife hev got names like mad dawgs fur thare flighty conduct wi’

sowjers. But, bor, the cheekiest part ov Missus Fuller’s letter is ware she, arter slanderin’ a

hoal willage withowt cause, say:-“ I have been advised that Mr. Cooper’s conduct in

placarding my name all over the village with such damaging remarks is actionable; but as

I cannot conceive that any gentleman could so insult a lady, and I do not care to do battle

with anyone but a gentleman, and as I wish to prove to my porishioners that I love peace and

unity and their welfare more than personal redress, I shall pardon my slanderer, and trust that

whatever other resolusion may be passed to-night, this at least may be one- That we all strive

to live more in the spirit of our Lord’s Sermon on the mount: and so prove to the world that we

are not only a moral but a God-fearing people.” This is , indeed hevingly!  Excuse fudder

remarks, bor, my feelin’s overkum me. But howd hard, just wun parting wurd. I shood strongly

adwise the fetch-an’-carry poodle , tew be werry cautious fur the fewcher, as she is “ spotted,”

and fooks hev made up thare minds that they will not submit tew be so shamefully slandered

agin. Hew hev hears tew heer let har hear.


“DAYLIGHT”, April 7th, 1888,




Parson Fuller’s letters in the press, bor, hev caused a lot ov comment. Marster Cooper hant

no intenshun of complainin’ as tew the sarvisses at the charch not bein’ moar frequent, when

he korled attenshun tew the fackt that there was no sarvis heer on Ash Wednesday. I think

he oanly wished tew point owt as how parson’s statement that he returned in time for Lenten

duties, an that he expected his “loakum teemens” wood hev stayed over Ash Wednesday

wos sumwot lacking in precishun. You see, bor, unfortunately fur Parson’s theory the

Rev. Smith towd the congregayshun at the charch in the arternune ov Sunday, February 12th

that that wood be his larst sarvis heer. Parson say that every howse in the parish hev bin

carefully wisited weekly. A korryspondent says as how that dewrin’ the years he hev bin heer

he haint wisited his howse more’n harf a dussen times, and nuther hev the district visitors.

Fudder, parson in his letter tew Marster Cooper, dated 21st. March, he began by sayin’,

“ I wos werry much pained on goin’ tew charch larst evenin’ tew find posted up on the doors

of the charch a public indictment as tew the veracity of the rector’s wife,“ meanin’ the noatis

poasted by Mr. Cooper stating that he should call attenshun tew Mrs. Fuller’s letter arter the

parish bisness wos over on the 23rd. ult. Fooks fare tew think that parson must hev bin

mistook in sayin’ he seed the noatis on the charch doors, as it wos pulled down by sumwun

afore four o’clock, and he dint go tew charch till the six o’clock sarvis. The Guardians ov

Shoreditch, as I sed afore, sent thare Clark, Marster Clay, down, but he dint hewd a public

inquiry at orl, orlthow Marster Cooper had proposed tew pay £5 ov the expense ov sich an

inquiry. He wos made werry welcome, I’m towd, at the Rectory. Ennyhow, the willage feel

that he coodn’t hev fownd immorality so werry prevalent in the willage, as the children hev

not yet bin removed, an’ wun is tew stay orltewgether, an’ anuther wun is tew stay ef a

sittywayshun cood be fownd fur har.


Larst Sunday parson tuk the fooks tew dew fur not givin’ moar freely at the offertory, an’ a

korryspondent say on lukin’ on the Charch door, he find as how there’s an expenditure ov

£40 above the inkum. On examining the account cloaser, he say he fownd there wos an item

of £11 16s. 81/2d fur candles, ov which sum £10 10s. 6d. wos spent at Fakenham, leaving

oanly 17s. 21/2d. tew be spent in our own willage, wich hev disgusted fooks werry much

indeed. They say as how parson coont hev examined this account werry cloasly, or he

woont hev had the face tew hev tarned rownd an’ find fault wi’ the people fur not givin moar

largely tew the offertory. Fooks think he ort tew go tew the Fakenham tradesmen fur the

balance, seein’ as how that is whare moast of the munny wos spent. Anuther point made by

my korryspondent is that the candles are barnt jest tew please parson as the charch is lited

with paraffin lamps an ‘ anuther thing is there wos no sarvis at nite fur over tew months this

winter. Fooks fare tew think that ef parson must hev candles barnt tew please his High Charch

principels he ought tew pay fur them hisself. There is orlso anuther item of £1 1s. fur flowers

fur charch decorations, now ef parson wos a little moar friendly wi’ his parishioners he wood

never hev enny need tew buy flowers fur that purpose as he wood find plenty ov willin’ hands

tew decorate the charch.


Anuther error in won ov parson’s letters tew the “E.D.Press” is when he stated that he took

his annnewal holiday ov two months in the winter in preference tew the summer, an’ he wos

oanly away tew months. My korryspondent say as how parson fare tew hev forgot tew add

that he had ten weeks holiday previous tew that an’ had let the rectory as a shutin’ box tew

a gent named Harvey an  oanly hed a clergyman kum down on the Satterday nite an’ goin’

away agin on the Munday mornin’. This heer deputy parson used tew lodge at Stibbard, an

adjoinin’ willage. This doant fare like takin’ werry grate care ov the flock confided tew his

charge, hay, bor? But howd hard, I forgot, he werry kindly left his cook tew luke arter us

an’ forrard he buulyteens I spose ov the spiritooral an’ temporal helth of his sheep.


Heer’s a comment or tew, bor on the letter in the “Easter Daily Press,” signed “A Parishioner.” 

In that letter, “A Parishioner” says: “The reporter overlooked the fact that the meetin’ wos korled

tew elect parish officers.” He orlso point owt that “A Parishioner.” Says: “Had it it been merely

an indignashun meetin’ korled to senshur Mrs. Fuller, thare wood probably not hev ben so

menny thare.” Now, bor, “A Parishioner.” must hev knowed that that is rong, cos fur years

parst thare hev niver been more’n a dussen persons at a parish meetin’. There wos a westry

meetin’ heer tother mornin’ tew appoint Churchwardens, &c., an it wos rumoured that the

parson intended tew try an’ git a new parish churchwarden appointed in the place of Marster

Habert Smith, hew seconded the reserlewshun at the meetin’ on 23rd. of March. Thare wos

ten pussons present, an I wenshur tew say that had ennywun suggested that Marster Habert

Smith shood be suckseeded by his bruther or ennywun else, they wood have bin at wuns

defeeted; but I spose they thowt discreshun the best thing, an’ werry wisely let matters rest

as usual. Hant sich a rumour got abroad, bor, thare woont hev been mor’n four pussons

present. So much fur “A Parishioner.” Letter. I’m towd as how the “Bobby” wos engaged by

sumboddy tew act as bobby-guard tew sumboddy hewse konshens towd he deserved

summat.  I wunder hew it wos, hay, bor.


I forgot,bor, tew say as how wun ov the standin’ goaks in our immoral parish jest now is

Charchwarden Paradox’s whitewash. At the same time, bor, the tone ov parson’s letter and

his makin’ use ov a text from the Gude Owd Book tew insult Marster Cooper wi’, hev caused

no end ov disgust.



Humpty Dumpty set on the wall,

Humpty Dumpty hev hed a grate fall;

Orl the Queen’s horses, nor whitewash, nor pen,

Can ever put Humpty Dumpty tewgether agin.



When parson go intew his secret closet tew pray, I’m sure he’ll feel wexed fur the spiteful

letter wot appear over his name in the “E.D.Press” ov the 29th March. I carnt bring myself

tew bleeve, bor tha a Successor ov the Apostles of Him hew admonished His followers tew

luv their enemies and pray fur them hew despitefully use them, ever penned such an epistle 

consarnin wun ov the sheep of his flock for which he draw £600 a year owt ov the parish

tew feed wi’ spirityal food. I hev been wotchin’ the papers day arter day expectin’ tew see

a disclaimer from parson.



“DAYLIGHT”, April 7th, 1888,




I’m towd as how my poetical extract larst week hev set the hoal willage a tryin’ tew beg borer,

an steel poetry tew send tew me. Here’s a bit dedicated tew a lady hew took tew deep a

interest in the private affares ov a sartin willage-


How little we know ov each other,

The woman of fashun hew sneers

At the poor gal betray’d an’ abandon’d,

An’ left tew har sighs an’ har teers.

May ere the sun rises tewmorrer,

Have the marsk rudely torn from har face,

An’ sink from the lite ov har glory

To the dark shade ov shame an’ disgrace.


This ere willage seem tew be reglar under a bad planet. The tother week it wos slandered

hoalsale an’ now sumboddy rit tew say as how a short time ago a blarmed County Court

bum wos seen hangin’ rownd a sartin howse wi a large bundle ov official lukin’ papers in his

breast pocket, which a little berd hew luked over his showder artewards whissled wos

County Court summonses,  Alars poor willage this is even wuss’n tother thing.




Post Script.

There appears in the The Hackney Express and Shoreditch Observer for Saturday 31st

March1888, the following conclusion to the whole affair as far as the Shoreditch Board of

Guardians was concerned. Under the heading 'The Boarding-Out System' was written:


The CLERK (Mr Alabaster) asked for a cheque for £17 10s. for the Ryburgh Boarding-out

Committee, and reported that he went down to Ryurgh as requested by the Board. His

mission of course was not to inquire into the morals of Ryburgh, but as to what was best to

be done for the children. He saw the Rector and his wife and Mr Cooper, and the

schoolmaster, and there seemed a general agreement it would be better for the children to

leave there under the circumstances. In his own opinion there were special reasons for

bringing away four of the children, and the nature of the locality itself was not adapted for a

successful carrying out of the Boarding-out principle, but in the fifth case the child was

residing with a widow and her bachelor son, a labourer about 40 years of age, and a strong

attachment had grown around the child. he thought in that case the child should be kept

there until she was 14. Had he known the place before the Guardians had agreed to send

the children there he should have advised them not to let them go.


Mr. COX moved that a cheque be drawn, and that some report on the lines indicated by the

Clerk should be made to those responsible for the boarding -out system.


Mr. LITTLE seconded the motion


The CLERK intimated that so long as the children had been there they had been thoroughly

well cared for.


The motion was after some conversation carried.



Copyright Transcribed by Peter Trent September 2010.

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