St. Michael’s College Llandaff (by Owain W. Jones)
The establishment of St Michael’s College at Aberdare on St David’s day 1892 is well described in one of the College reports.
To Miss Olive Talbot belongs the credit of recognizing that the church in the Principality not only needs to be constantly lengthening her cords by the erection of places of worship, but also strengthening her stakes by the more careful preparation of those who are to be her ministers. From her emanated the suggestion that somewhere in the thickly populated diocese of Llandaff should be founded an institution which might well in course of time assist in doing for the Church in Wales what the various Diocesan colleges in England have effected for the Church in that part of the country. She not only recognized the need but also offered such an annual subscription as made it possible to give effect to the idea. The suggestion and offer met with a sympathetic reception from the bishop of Llandaff, and he requested the Rev. H. R. Johnson, who had been an assistant priest for 12 years in the parish of Aberdare, to undertake the charge of work. Through kindness of James Lewis of Plas Draw, Aberdare, a large house, standing in a beautiful park, was placed at the disposal of the College as a nominal rental, and on St. David’s day, 1892 the Bishop of the Diocese opened the house and formally gave his benediction to the Warden in the presence of a large number of clergy and laity.
The number of clergy and laity however was not as large as was claimed. One of Johnson’s fellow curates, C. A. H. Green later Archbishop of Wales, recalled:
The Benediction of the Clergy School took place at 12 noon when the Bishop of the Diocese, wearing his Convocation Robes and carrying his pastoral staff, entered the temporary chapel, preceded by the Registrar of the Diocese (A.G.P. Lewis Esq.) and the Rev. H. R. Johnson, and followed by the Rev. H. Stephen Nicholl, Rector of Llandough, and the vicar of the parish who acted as his chaplains. A fairly large number of clergy’s had assembled in response to the invitation, which had been issued to all the beneficed clergy in the diocese. They, together with the friends of the future Warden formed the congregation, which filled the chapel.
The Establishment of the College at Aberdare had been undertaken very quickly. It was in 1890 that Miss Talbot suggested the idea and gave her promise of financial help. The Bishop of Llandaff responded with alacrity. He had the ideal person to be Warden in H. R. Johnson, then a curate at Aberdare; and so, when Abernant House was made available at a modest rent a house large enough to accommodate twenty-five residents, the way was clear for the opening in 1892. However, 1898 the warden reported to the College Council that he had received a year’s notice, terminating the agreement on which Abernant House was held, from Mr. James Lewis whose lease of the property from the Marquess of Bute would expire in September 1899. The Warden was instructed to communicate with the agent for the Bute Estate, Sir W. T. Lewis. Three years later the matter had still been unresolved for Sir W.T. Lewis advised that the matter of the lease be left until the new Marquess came of age.
A Theological College at Aberdare, Opening Ceremony 05.03.1892
On Tuesday, the Lord Bishop of Llandaff, accompanied by his registrar, Mr. Arthur Lewis, M.A., and Mr. F. J. Smith, assistant registrar, visited Aberdare for the purpose of opening St. Michael and the Angels’ “Clergy School,” which is located at Abernant House, and for the purpose of admitting the Rev. H. R. Johnson, M.A., senior curate of Aberdare, to be the warden. On the arrival of the Bishop at Abernant House he was met by a distinguished company of clergy and laity, including the Revs William David, St. Fagan’s, Cardiff, G. Arthur Jones, St. Mary’s. Cardiff; D, Lewis, Briton Ferry: Howell Howells, Blaina; A. J. Hodges, Llandeilo, Pertheby; Lewis Jones, Cadoxton; George Grove, Govilon; Evan Bevan, St. Fagan’s: Daniel Leigh, Llanfabon; H. Nichols (the founder s representative), Llandough; Edward Jenkins, Llanvihangel; R. B. Jenkins Aberdare B. Lloyd, Mountain Ash; Canon G. Roberts, Llandaff; Henry Lewis, St. Bride’s Minor; James R. Buckley, Llandaff; D. Evans, Llanmaes; Peter Williams, Troedyrhiw; Thomas Rees, Pontlottyn; H. J. Williams, Pontypridd; D. L. Griffiths, Colwinstone; W. K. Rosendale, Canton; D. Evans, Penydarren; D. Davis, Newcastle; W. Coleman Williams, Aberdare; W. Rhydderch, Hirwain; Richard Jones, Ynyshir; D. A. Jones, Mountain Ash; J. T. Rees, Abertillery Martin Luther Jones, Aberaman; John B. Griffiths, Aberdare; David Phillips, Llangeinor; C. A. H. Green, Aberdare; David Phillips, Radyr; John Williams, Aberdare and Nicholson, Roath.
The laymen present included the Council of the Men’s Guild and the Council of the Boys’ Guild, Lord and Lady Aberdare and the Misses Bruce, Mrs Lewis, the Mardy; Mr and Miss Lewis, Plasdraw; Miss Green, Tymawr; Messrs L. Acomb. W. Thomas, E. Yates, &c.
The Bishop conducted a short benediction service, during which, after the recital of the Apostles’ Creed and a short litany, the Vicar of Aberdare and the Rev. Stephen Nichol M.A. (Rector of Llandough) presented to him the Rev. H. R. Johnson, M.A., to be instituted to the office of warden. This was done, and his lordship delivered a short address, in which he referred to the great desire that bad for many years been felt throughout the Church for a fuller training of its ministers. Much had been done from an intellectual point of view to secure this, but there was also a strong feeling that a similar progress should be made in reference to the spiritual training of the clergy. At the close of the service the company were entertained to a luncheon.
In the afternoon luncheon, provided by Mr. W. Caunt, was served. After the loyal toasts had been disposed of, Lord Aberdare, who was warmly received, proposed “The Bishop and Clergy,”
He remarked that his knowledge of bishops was extensive, having been born in the time of Bishop Watson, who would have done great credit to the legal profession, but as a Welsh prelate could hardly be considered a success. His only visits to the diocese were triennial, and on one occasion his remark to the clergy was “Well, here I am still, you see, the poor Bishop of Llandaff,” upon which a curate guileless of irony, said, “Iis, iis (to to), my lord, and here I am still the poor curate of Llangeinor.” The succeeding bishops were, however, men of a different calibre, and, although not possessing a personal acquaintance, he knew they did much towards raising the position of the Church in Wales. Bishop Ollivant had nearly all the elements of a successful Welsh diocesan, in the present Bishop of Llandaff they had one who by earnestness and hard work was making the way easier for his successors, whilst he himself had reaped to some extent where others had sown.
As to the clergy, they differed much from his early recollection. He could recollect when the incumbents of that and the adjoining parishes were not only unworthy of their noble calling but were disreputable men. After tracing the history Of the Church from the time of Bishop Dwyer, of St. David’s, through the period of the Reformation to the beginning of the present century, his lordship contended that the present activity in the Established Church was not a revival, but a new life.
Bishop Lewis proposed “Success to the Clergy School,” and other toasts followed.
Fire at St. Michaels College
Early on Saturday morning an alarm was received at the Aberdare Police-station of an outbreak of fire at the college. The inspector and sergeant, accompanied by eight constables with the necessary appliances, were speedily on the spot, but a few-buckets of water soon put all out. It appeared a beam had become ignited and had smouldered on until the early hours of the morning being discovered. There was practically no damage done.
St Michael’s College 10.10.1896
Annual Festival at Aberdare
On Monday the annual festival of the St. Michael’s College and the reunion of old students were held. In the morning the visitor (the Bishop of Llandaff) administered Holy Communion in the College chapel, and at noon a “Te Deum” service was sung and a sermon preached by the Rev. Canon Newbolt, of St. Paul’s, at the St. John’s Parish Church. A procession was formed from the vestry into the church, and Canon Newbolt, preached a most eloquent and impressive sermon. At 1 o’clock the company sat down to an excellent luncheon, laid out in the Bowen Jenkins Memorial Hall, Mr. F. W. Caunt being the caterer.
The Warden (the Rev. H. R. Johnson, M.A.) presided, and he was supported by the Right Rev. Lord Bishop of Llandaff; Mr. R. W. and Mrs. Llewelyn, Baglan Hall; Mr. James Lewis, J.P., and Mrs. Lewis; Rev. G. C. Joyce, B.A., sub-warden; Mrs. Roberts, Mr. De Winton, Brecon; Rev. S. F. and Mrs. Nichol, Merthyr Mawr; Canon Newbolt, &c., while among the visitors present were the Misses Lewis, The Mardy; Mrs. W. Thomas, Brynawel; Canon Roberts, Llandaff: Rev. F. W. Edmondes, Bridgend; Rev. F. J. Beck, Roath; Rev. C. A. H. Green, Aberdare; Rev. M. Powell, Vicar of Aberaman, and Mrs. Powell; Rev. Evan Bevan, Vicar of St. Fagan’s, and Mrs. Bevan Rev. B. Lloyd, B.D., Mountain Ash, rural dean Rev. G. A. Jones, Vicar of St. Mary’s, Cardiff; Dr. and Miss Scale; Mr. and Mrs. L. Acomb, Glanynys, &c., &c.
The Rev. H. R. Johnson, M.A. (the warden), whose rising was the signal of an outburst of applause, which was renewed again and again after making a few announcements, referred to the letters on the condition of the Church in Wales which recently appeared in the Church Times. The only institution, he said, that the writer thought fit to praise was their College, and he therefore did not wish to quarrel with him for having referred to the very excellent work” done by the College. He had added, “But what can the warden and sub-warden do with the material they get?” In the name of the warden and himself they wished to deny in the strongest term this insinuation. They had no fault to find with the material sent to them, and their sole cause for regret was that they wished to get it earlier and keep it longer.
Rev. F. J. Beck then proposed “St. Michael’s College.”
The Bishop, in responding, said that St. Michael’s had prospered. It was the most lasting institutions which were the slowest coming to maturity, and it was in that respect a good sign that that College had not grown as rapid as some of them wished. The growth, however, was to come. The College was popular, and deservedly popular.
It was popular with the students. The number of students who from year to year come back to that festival was enough proof of that. It was also popular with the incumbents, and the need of the Church with the rapidly growing population of that diocese for good men to take curacies was very great. In the past-five years the population of Glamorganshire had increased by 130,000, and to minister to these at least 50 curates were required. It was also popular with him.
The candidates whom he had ordained and whose careers he had closely watched had justified the good opinion he had of the College. There was only one point he felt, as it were, a little glimmer of dissatisfaction with, that was the tendency of some of the past students to forget their vocations in Wales. Two or three had been tempted, by the prospects of easier curacies, to leave for England (shame), and he hoped every student would feel it a matter of honour to serve at least five years in the I Principality.
St. Michael’s College 08.10.1897
Annual Festival at Aberdare
The fifth annual festival of this college was held on Tuesday, when a. large number of old members returned to Aberdare to join the present students in the observance of the reunion. Evensong was sung in Welsh in the college chapel on Monday by the Rev. D. J. Jones (Llanelly), the lessons being read by the Rev. J. B. Thomas (Porth) and the Rev. J. Edwards (Pontlottyn).
A meeting of past and present students was afterwards held in the common room, when a statement as to the financial condition of the college was made by the warden (the Rev. H. R. Johnson), who stated that a sum of £1,500 a year was needed for its maintenance. A discussion followed and ultimately it was resolved “that it is the duty of the students of St. Michael’s to do all that lies in their power to support, financially and otherwise, the college.” With a view to giving practical effect to this resolution, the following members of St. Michael’s were asked to act as secretaries for the movement in their respective dioceses: The Rev. D. Ellis Jones (Llandaff), the Rev. J. Edwards (St. Asaph), the Rev. P. Rees (St. David’s), and the Rev. J. J. Davies (Bangor).
The festival proper was commenced on Tuesday morning by a choral celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the college chapel at eight o’clock, the Bishop of Llandaff being the celebrant. The warden and sub-warden (the Rev. G. C. Joyce) were the gospeller and epistler. It had been originally intended to form a procession, which should include the past and present students, incumbents, and officials of the college, to proceed from the Bowen Jenkins Memorial Hall to the parish church, where the festival service was to be held, but, owing to the incessant downpour of rain, the procession through the streets had to be abandoned.
At the church, which was well filled by the past students and a number of the laity, a procession was formed from the vestry to the chancel, the Welsh hymn, (“Pwy welaf o Edom yn d’od” Who do I see of Edom at your place?), being sung as a processional. Prayers were offered by the bishop, and (“Te Deum” You Gods) was sung. A striking and eloquent sermon was delivered by Canon Newbolt, of St. Paul’s Cathedral, based upon the text, “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1. Cor. xv., 10). The service throughout was a, most impressive one Following upon the service a luncheon was held in the Memorial-hall. In addition to the past and present members of St. Michael’s, a large number, of incumbents and the laity generally were present. The only toa.st proposed was that of “The College” by the Rev. F. J. Beck, vicar of Roath, Cardiff, and the Visitor (the Bishop of Llandaff) responded in a speech characterised by great hopefulness of the future welfare of the college.
St Michael’s College, Aberdare 07.10.1899
Annual Festival Celebrated
The annual festival in connection with the St. Michael’s and ‘All Angels’ Theological College, Aberdare, was held on Tuesday. The college, which is housed in the mansion for formerly occupied by Mr. Richard Fothergill, in Abernant Park, and which is situated within a lovely demesne, was founded in March, 1892, by the late Miss Olive Talbot for the purpose of providing a course of training for candidates for Holy Orders chiefly in the four Welsh diocese who have already completed their courses or taken their degrees in other colleges. The warden is the Rev. Canon Johnson, M.A., the sub-warden the Rev. H. J. Riddelsdell, M.A., and the chaplain the Rev. D. Jones, M.A. The college has done, and is doing, excellent work, 103 men having been ordained from the institution. On the evening previous to the festival, to which over 40 old students accepted invitations, there was Welsh evensong at the college, followed by a discussion in the library upon “Clerical Studies,” the subject being introduced by the Rev. G. C. Joyce, warden of St. Deiniol’s Library, Hawarden. The festival service on Tuesday was held in St. Elvan’s Church. There was a choral celebration of the Holy Communion (Marbecke’s in P), the chaplain of the college, being the celebrant. The epistle was read by the warden, and the Gospel by the sub-warden.
The Rev. H. G. Daniel-Bainbridge, M.A., Minor Canon of Westminster Abbey and Priest-in-Ordinary to the Queen, preached a most eloquent sermon, an offertory being afterwards taken in aid of the college funds. At one o’clock luncheon was served in the dining-hall of the college, the warden presiding. The Bishop of Llandaff, who has always taken a very deep interest in the college, had intended to be present, but, to the disappointment of the host and all the guests, he was prevented from attending by a severe cold.
In proposing the health of the Queen, the Warden referred to the Transvaal crisis, saying that the question of war was one which must be left to the Cabinet, which appeared to be perfectly united, and in which the majority of the people of the country had implicit confidence. The Dean of Llandaff proposed “Success to the College.” He said he had great pleasure in submitting the toast because he knew the value of theological colleges generally, and especially of St. Michael’s, in which so much good work had been done.
The advantages to those who intended entering upon the practical work of the ministry of the devotional life and the spiritual training which such institutions provided were immense. There was a time when theological colleges were treated with coldness and disdain by the universities and the bishops. The universities now, however, were ready to acknowledge that they could not carry out theological teaching under the same circumstances as a theological college, and the bishops were among the foremost in appreciating the benefits which they conferred, regarding it as an essential necessity that men who engaged in the work of the ministry should be fully equipped for guiding and directing the souls of men in the best and highest possible way.
The Bishop of Llandaff had over and over again given full testimony as to the great results that he had seen with regard to the younger clergy of the diocese, who had been trained at St. Michael’s, and the parochial clergy who had been lucky enough to have had students had readily and freely borne the same testimony. He hoped that the college would have increased blessing and prosperity- that it would have a larger number of students. and that it would be better supported, because at present the funds by which it was carried on were altogether inadequate. The Warden, in acknowledging the toast, said he hoped that what the dean had said as to the financial position of the college would be taken to heart, and that people would recognise, not only the duty, but the privilege, of alms- giving. He desired to say this emphatically, that the college was not intended to cram persons for the bishop’s examination.
They need not be afraid that the men who went out from there would do adequate justice to the intellectual side of their training, but he did protest against the idea that a man’s character and the value of his testimony to Christ was to be gauged by the question of whether he got 50 marks for Church history or 55. Men had written to the college and had asked to be taken for six months, to be prepared for the bishop’s examination, or the Cambridge preliminary, but he would rather see the college closed than filled with men who came with motives such as these. Nor was it the object of a theological college to whitewash dubious characters.
Having read a letter from a recently departed student, in which the writer said that he regarded his short stay at the college as marking the most beneficial period of his life, and that he looked back with gratitude to Almighty God for having guided him there, the warden went on to say that the college was not one which taught parochial tricks.
He did not under estimate the value of gaining experience in parochial work, but he looked upon the main object of the college as giving men a year between taking their degrees and going forth to their work, during which they might deepen spiritual life and become better prepared for ministering to the people committed to their charge. Eight men had entered the college during this term; otherwise the institution would have had to be closed. This was the age of free education, and he should like it to be made known that any graduate could come to the college for twelve months without being deterred by the fact that he had no money to pay. They offered him a year’s residence which was free, if necessary. Such being the case, he thought it was a scandalous shame that the college should be half empty as it was. In conclusion, the warden made a graceful reference to the bishop, and expressed his thanks to Mr. James Lewis, who was no longer the landlord of the college, for his many deeds of kindness. Mr. W. S. de Winton next proposed the health of the bishop which was heartily drunk, and the luncheon proceedings then terminated with cheers for the warden.
St Michael’s College 19.07.1902
Annual Festival at Aberdare
On Tuesday the tenth annual festival of St. Michael’s College, Aberdare, was held, when, a large number, of the old students and others attended. On Monday evening at 6 o’clock, evensong in Welsh was said at the College Chapel, followed by a discussion in the Common Room on children’s services, in which the Revs. Spencer Jones, D. L. Prosser, the Vicar of Aberdare, and others took part. On Tuesday morning 70 past and present students took part in the festival service at St. Elvan’s Church, when the celebrant was the Rev. H. J. Riddesdell, sub-warden. The preacher was the Rev. E. Tyrrell Green, M.A., Professor of Theology at St, David’s College, Lampeter.
At 1 o’clock luncheon was served at the college, The attendance included the Bishop of Llandaff, the Bishop of Bangor and Mrs Watkin Williams, the Dean of Llandaff, Rev. Spencer Jones, Rev. E. Tyrrell Jones, Mr. C. Gregorie, Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Llywelyn, Mr. W. S. de Winton, Rev. J. S. Longdon and Mrs. Longdon, the Vicar of Aberdare and Mrs. Green, Rev. D. L. Prosser. Mr. F. W. Parry de Winton, Rev. H. A. Coe, General Lee, Rev. T. Sinnett Jones and Mrs. Jones, Mrs and Miss Edwards Rev. and Mrs. and Miss Bevan ‘St. Fagan’s), Mr Trefor Jones, Rev and Mrs Morgan Powell. Mrs Hayhurst, Miss Scale, Mrs Leigh, Miss Ivens, Miss Henshaw, Mrs. and Miss Dan Rees, Canon and Mrs. Roberts, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, Mr. J. Williams, Mr Clayton, Mr. T. Lloyd, etc.
The Warden (Rev, Canon Johnson) who presided referred to the generous gift of £3,000 made during the year to the endowment fund of the college by Mrs. Griffith Llywelyn of Baglan Hall; Mr. Robert Llywelyn proposed the toast of the Visitor (the Bishop of the Diocese).
The Bishop of Llandaff, in responding, said the 10th anniversary of the college must be a very happy day for the Warden. The college was now on its feet, and some 150 of its children were engaged mostly in that and the other three dioceses of Wales, in doing work which was a credit to the college. He was proud to welcome the Bishop of Bangor to that college, and whatever might be the truth as to the allegation of the jealousy between North and South Wales in the past he was sure such jealousy would exist no longer. He hoped that his colleague would see by his visit that that college would be able to deal with a larger number of students and would be able to do far more for the Church in Wales than in the past.
Professor Green, Lampeter, proposed “The Past Students” for whom the Rev. F. R. Williams, B.A., Pontypridd, one of the first students at the college, replied.
The Bishop of Bangor, in proposing “Success to the College,” said he was delighted with what he had seen. It was in-itself a great advantage to the students to spend a year amid such beautiful surroundings as they had at St. Michael’s. He heard a young clergyman say that he had been to Oxford, and subsequently to Aberdare, and that he owed all he knew to Oxford, but that he would rather be without his training at Oxford than without the year he spent at Aberdare.
The influence of that college was growing wider year by year, and he only regretted that in his own diocese they had no more than seven of the past students at the college. He hoped that the fault did not lie with him and if in any degree it did, he would be glad to know what it was so that he might remedy it. The future prosperity of the college largely depended on the past students, and he urged them to so act that it would be enough recommendation to anyone seeking orders that he came from Aberdare.
The Rev. Canon Johnson, in rising to respond, said he found some signs of the success of the work in several directions. The college was appreciated by some of the best incumbents in Wales. In the matter of patronage and preferment they too had done well. The number of students wa3 also increasing. Another encouraging sign was the fact that, they had three students who had passed through Lampeter and had gone thence to Oxford and had come back to St. Michael’s to prepare for their work.
He hoped the bishops would do all they could to encourage graduates at St. David’s and elsewhere to spend a year with them at St. Michael’s. He knew of the difficulty of many, but sad and more pathetic even than to be hampered and harassed by financial difficulties was to go out into the world without adequate preparation for the work to which they had dedicated their lives. The financial difficulty could be removed or nobly and patiently borne, but to inflict on the churches men who were not converted was beyond all a far sadder thing. Above all, they needed more and more men converted to God before they were ordained.
St Michael’s College 18.09.1903
The Annual Festival at Aberdare
The annual festival of St. Michael’s College, Aberdare, was held yesterday. At eleven o’clock a choral celebration of the Holy Communion was solemnised at St. Elvan’s Church, the past and present students of the institution composing the choir. The Bishop of St. John’s, Kaffraria, delivered a powerful sermon from the text, “And He said unto the disciples, The, days will come when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and ye shall not see it.” Mr. W. S. de Winton presided at the organ. Subsequently a luncheon was served at the college, over which the Bishop of Llandaff presided. There was a large gathering, and amongst others present were the Bishop of St. David’s, Archdeacon Edmondes.
The toast of the Bishop of Llandaff was proposed by Mr. C. Gregorie, who said that scarcely a day passed but that affectionate and approving references were made to the bishop. The present was the speaker’s second visit to St. Michael’s College, and he could not help feeling a great deal of sympathy with the sort of education which it conferred on those whose privilege it was to sit under its sacred roof, and he hoped that at least some of them would aim at reaching a position as honoured and lofty as that filled by the bishop of the diocese.
In responding, his Lordship observed that, though he had attended the present function for ten consecutive years, he had not before been as deeply touched as he was then by the kind words spoken of him by Mr. Gregorie, for during the twenty years he had been entrusted with the diocese he had been sensible of his many shortcomings and great failings in the discharge of his duty. At all events, the kind words so constantly addressed to himself, he had thought from time to time, as well as the affectionate assistance so unsparingly extended to him, were in a great measure due to the fact that to those his imperfections were known, though all tried to hide from him that they laboured under a like consciousness of his shortcomings and failings. Referring to the college, his lord- ship said that the report before him represented him to have stated last year that the institution had” emerged from his long clothes,” but that day he would say that it had become “a sturdy boy.”
Marked was the progress effected within its walls latterly, while there were very few institutions which did more for the Church in Wales than St. Michael’s College. At last year’s festival they were honoured with the presence of only one bishop, the Bishop of Bangor, but that day there were present two such dignitaries the one labouring on British soil-the Bishop of St. David’s, the other doing all he could to propagate.
His noble work in a foreign land the Bishop of Kaffraria. Having spoken of the men turned out by St. Michael’s College, his lordship alluded to the financial state of the institution, and earnestly appealed to those former students who had not hitherto done so to do all in their power to contribute a guinea per annum towards the college, upon whose warden (Canon Johnson) the speaker bestowed a warm eulogium adding that the great progress and highly satisfactory results to which he had borne testimony were largely to be ascribed to the canon’s discipline, assiduity, and devotion.
In proposing the toast of “The Old Members of the College,” the Archdeacon of Llandaff paid an eloquent tribute to the work of those who owed their training to St Michael’s.
The Rev. D. J. Jones (as the oldest student present) responded and expressed the belief that no past students cherished more loyal feelings to their old college than did those of St. Michael’s.
The Rector of Neath proposed, and Mr. W. S. de Winton responded to, the toast of “The Council” in appropriate terms, the latter gentleman observing that the success of the institution was mainly due to the unremitting efforts of Canon Johnson, who had so dexterously laboured that he (Mr. de Winton) was sincerely prompted to recommend him to resort to a protracted period of well-earned rest in the shape of a long holiday.
After an address by the Bishop of St. David’s (who expressed his ardent pleasure at being present, and who conferred a glowing tribute on the excellent work of those members of the clergy who were indebted to St. Michael’s College for their training), Canon Johnson, referring to St. David’s College, said he distinctly remembered his first visit to that institution. Being aware of the severe rule of the accomplished principal, he entered the place with fear and trembling, all the more so in that it seemed to him to be audacious on his part to visit it for the purpose of saying that when they terminated their education there they were to come to St. Michael’s. But everything proceeded well, and the principal told him (the speaker) that the “step” was exactly the thing wanted in Wales.
The result of his visits to St. David’s College was the presence at St. Michael’s during Holy Week last year of Professor Charles Harries, who one day approached the canon by way of ascertaining the method which he adopted at the college. There was no reply made, but he (the speaker) subsequently pondered over the success which was credited to be associated with his efforts; and he found that whatever success which might be due to him was the outcome of an institution which he called a “boys’ club.” and to which he belonged many years ago. He (the canon) was keenly gratified to see the Bishop of St. David’s among them, and he felt convinced that his presence would act as a sort of encouragement in future to men to come to St. Michael’s. With, regard to the value set on the work of the college.
Canon Johnson said that Miss Talbot (the founder) seemed to believe that it was not duly appreciated. He replied that it was his opinion that the institution was thoroughly appreciated by those who had been there. It would not be at worthless step towards increasing the appreciation now conferred on the college were the bishops to visit it more frequently, and not only on the occasion of the annual festival as at present, a step which would tend considerably to satisfy the laity of the usefulness of the college.
St Michael’s College 18.06.1904
Clerical Festival at Aberdare
On Tuesday the annual festival of St. Michael’s College, Aberdare, was held. There was a gathering, including a, number of distinguished guests. At 11 o’clock a choral celebration of Holy Communion was held at St. Elvan’s Church the celebrant being the Rev. H. J. Riddelsdell, M.A., sub-warden at the College. The sermon was preached by the Ven. Dean Roberts, of Bangor.
At 1 o’clock the guests par-took of luncheon in the College, the Bishop of Llandaff, the visitor of the College, presiding, supported by the Warden, Rev. H. R. Johnson, the sub-warden, the Chaplain (Rev. T. Rees, B.A.), the Rev. Ll. M. J. Bebb, principal of St. David’s College, Lampeter, the Dean of Bangor, the Archdeacon of Llandaff, Mr. W. S. da Winton, General Lee, and Canon Harding. The Bishop, in proposing the loyal toast, said the King by his visits to foreign countries had done much to secure the peace of Europe.
Mr. M. Morgan, J.P., Mountain Ash, proposed the College Council, and referred to the decision to remove the College to Llandaff. He said the Council had done nobly in subscribing towards the £20,000 required for the erection of the building, and the Bishop himself had set them a noble example, his subscription of £1,000 being a call to wealthy laymen to follow. The Bishop, whose rising was the signal for an outburst of cheering, said that since the last festival three important events had taken place. The first was personally important to himself; being the attainment of his diocesan majority. He had been for 21 years Bishop of that diocese, and he thanked God for the health and strength granted him at his advanced age.
The other event was the promotion of Canon Roberts to the Deanery of Bangor a well-earned promotion, but he was not certain whether the Dean had not a hankering for his old diocese, where he had worked so hard and successfully. The third event was the decision of’ the College Council to remove the College to Llandaff. Two reasons influenced the Council, the first being the uncertain tenure of that ideal home, and the other, the fact that their friend, Mr. W. S. de Winton, one of the members of the Council and a trustee, had offered them a site for the new building. He knew it would be difficult for past students to dissociate the College from that building, but the Council felt that they had made the wisest decision required £20,000 for the new building, and over £9.300 had been promised. Since the report was printed, indeed, the Lord-lieutenant of the county had given £500. (Loud applause) His Lordship bore high testimony to the excellent work done at the College, and especially to the valuable services of the warden, closing his speech, with the words, “Floreat St. Michael.” Rev. T. T. Jones, rector of Gelli-Gaer, propose the health of the “Past Students.
He could speak with authority of their excellence, as he had almost from the time the College opened one or more of them working in his parish. He coupled with the toast the name of the Rev. Edwin Edwards, vicar of Llanbradach who briefly replied. Rev. LI. M. J. Bebb principal of St. David’s College, Lampeter, proposed Success to St. Michael’s. After referring to the cordiality which prevailed between St. David’s and St. Michael’s, he said there was no question of more vital importance than the training of the clergy, and a theological college was therefore of first importance. They wanted clergy who could speak with authority arising from study and life. Rev. H. K. Johnson, M.A., warden of St. Michael’s, in responding, said there was an idea in some quarters that he and the college were one. That was not so. The Council was supreme. He had no fixity of tenure, and no successor of his, under the deed could have it but if he might give a word of counsel to the Council, it would be that to make the weapon of dismissal more effective it would be well if they provided a suitable stipend to the wardenship.
They all knew that seven years ago the bishop has been good enough to make him a canon, but he had found the two duties could not be performed together, and he threw that hint to the members of the Council. The vicar of that parish and himself could well sympathise with the minister at; whose recognition one of the members prayed, “Oh, Lord keep him humble, we will take care to keep him poor.” He referred to his recent visits to Lampeter, Oxford, and Cambridge and the greater desire shown by students at these centres of learning to complete their studies at a theological college. It would not be necessary in future for those who studied at that college to seek ordination in Wales, although he could not understand why anyone who came to Wales ever wished to leave.
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