The First Quarter Century (1916-1941)

For most of the Fund’s first quarter century the Trustees were chaired by the Revd Dr Darwell Stone (Principal of Pusey House, Oxford).

The first meeting of the Cleaver Trustees was held on 18 July 1916. At the second meeting, held on 28 November at 31 Russell Square, the headquarters of the English Church Union (ECU), Fr Mackay took the chair. At the third meeting, on 2 May 1917, in the same place, it was agreed that the Trustees would meet quarterly, normally at 31 Russell Square, and would elect a chairman each January.

The Duke of Newcastle moved, and Fr Mackay seconded, the election of Donaldson Rawlins as the first chairman. He was re-elected in 1918, but by January 1919 he had fallen ill. The Revd Dr Darwell Stone was elected to succeed him, and was re-elected every year until 1938. After the Fund’s first Clerk, Edward Bregazzi, died of influenza in November 1918, Miss Beatrix Carew, a member of the ECU staff who had acted as clerk while Bregazzi was on military service, was employed as Clerk.

In 1920 Rawlins died and Ian Malcolm resigned because he was living in Paris. In a pattern that was to be followed in respect of each vacancy during Lord Halifax’s lifetime, the Trustees identified candidates, approached them and established their willingness to serve, then asked Lord Halifax to appoint them, which he did. Ian Malcolm was succeeded by the Cambridge lay academic Will Spens.

The Will required that those assisted should ‘primarily be graduates of the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge or some other University or College in England or Wales having power to confer degrees’ (though this requirement could be waived in special cases). The Trustees consistently interpreted this as requiring them to give preference to Oxford and Cambridge graduates. In October 1939 they cited the reference to Oxford and Cambridge graduates in declining ‘except in very special circumstances’ to assist candidates training at Mirfield.

The Will also required that any theological college at which candidates were studying or proposed to study should be one ‘approved by the Trustees’. They therefore had to make judgements about theological colleges. The great majority of the successful applications were for study at Anglo-Catholic colleges – most frequently, St Stephen’s House in Oxford. Conversely, the Trustees regularly refused applications from candidates intending to study at Wycliffe Hall (Oxford) and Ridley Hall (Cambridge), both Evangelical, and at Ripon Hall, a liberal college that had moved to Oxford in 1919 and was eventually to merge in 1975 with the Anglo-Catholic Cuddesdon College.

But what attitude should the Trustees take to Westcott House in Cambridge? It eschewed party affiliation and under B. K Cunningham, its principal from 1919 to 1943, though not necessarily hostile to the Anglo-Catholic tradition, it could not be said to belong to it. In the 1924 the Trustees were divided over an application for a grant to study at Westcott House and told the candidate that in making a grant they had ‘rather stretched a point’. In 1928 a grant was made on condition that the applicant studied at St Stephen’s House rather than Westcott. From 1929 roughly one grant a year was made for study at Westcott House, but the great majority of grants continued to be for study at Anglo-Catholic colleges.

Candidates also had to be ‘approved by the Trustees as suitable persons having regard to their character and education’. Judgments were largely made on the basis of references, but increasingly consideration of candidates was deferred to allow Will Spens (Fellow and then Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge) or later Eric Milner-White (Dean of King’s College, Cambridge) or Frederic Hood (Principal of Pusey House, Oxford) to make enquiries or even to interview the candidate.’ Reasons for rejection were rarely recorded in the minutes, but again churchmanship was clearly a significant issue. In July 1935 Hood was to ask the Warden of Keble College, Oxford, ‘as to the churchmanship’ of one applicant from Keble, and in January 1939 he reported that he had interviewed another ‘and was satisfied as to his views’.

In January 1927 leading Anglo-Catholics launched an appeal for a new Anglo-Catholic Ordination Candidates Fund (ACOCF). This was led initially by the Warden of Liddon House, Francis Underhill, and the secretary was the Revd Cecil Russell, newly appointed as Organizing Secretary of the Anglo-Catholic Congress Movement (ACC). The ACOCF combined an existing fund of Underhill’s and that of the ‘Fiery Cross’ Association of the Anglo-Catholic Congress movement (ACC), which between them were responsible for 110 candidates. The correspondence address was initially the ECU headquarters, but the ACC soon offered an office in its headquarters at Abbey House in Victoria Street. The stated aim of the ACOCF was to make ‘a definite Catholic contribution towards raising the whole standard of priestcraft in the true sense of the word’.

The ACOCF differed from Cleaver in a number of respects:

  1. Cleaver could spend only its income, not its endowment, but all of the ACOCF’s funds were expendable.
  2. Unlike Cleaver, ACOCF could support non-graduates generally, not just in ‘special cases’
  3. ACOCF could give block grants to colleges as well as grants to individuals.

The two funds agreed to co-operate, with Cleaver concentrating largely on Oxford and Cambridge graduates training at a theological college and ACOCF on other candidates, including men doing post-graduate study other than in residence at a theological college. Each body would include a member of the other.

In 1933, shortly before his death, Lord Halifax managed to achieve the amalgamation of the English Church Union and the Anglo-Catholic Congress under the name ‘The Church Union’ with its office in the ACC’s former rooms at Abbey House. From April 1934 the Cleaver Trustees met in the Board Room there, and in 1935, when Miss Carew resigned in view of her forthcoming marriage, Miss Phyllis McMurtrie, a member of the Church Union’s staff who was also Assistant Secretary of the ACOCF, was appointed as Clerk, in order to increase co-ordination between the two bodies.

In 1938 ill health precluded Darwell Stone (now aged 79) from standing again as Chairman. Canon G. A. Weekes, the Master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, was elected to succeed him. In October 1939 Miss McMurtrie resigned as Clerk ‘in view of her work at the Admiralty at Bath’ and was succeeded another Church Union staff member, Miss Joan Tayler.

Darwell Stone’s death on 10 February 1941 brings this account of the Fund’s first quarter-century to an end since, the Fund’s pre-1976 files being lost, it has been possible to write it only because his own Cleaver papers are preserved at Pusey House.

A list of the Trustees up to 1941 is published here.

Dr Darwell Stone
(Chairman 1919-1938)