Prior Fellows

Singleton does not mention this fundamental aspect of the governance of the College before his diary entry of 26th May, 1848. The statutes made provision for five, non-resident Prior Fellows, ‘persons of eminence and weight in the country,’ who were to act in an advisory capacity. The first five (Lord Powis, the Hon. Richard Cavendish, the Venerable Arcdeacon Grant, Dr J H Markland and the Rev Charles Marriott) were elected at a College Meeting ‘with the consent of the Founders’. At least two of them were admitted to office with the same ceremony as the resident Fellows.

The majority of the Prior Fellows had close links with the founders of Radley or their immediate circles. Three, William Sewell, Anthony Grant and William Heathcote, were nearly contemporary fellow Wykehamists, whilst Charles Marriott had attended Exeter College, and Grant New College as contemporaries of Sewell or his brother, James Edwards Sewell. Other links were through the high-church movement; two were parents.

The Prior Fellows, particularly Charles Marriott and Sir Arthur Hamilton-Gordon, were actively involved in negotiations between Singleton and Sewell in 1851, and in the restructuring of the constitution in 1862. After 1862 their role was fulfilled by a number of Trustees, who were themselves replaced by the College Council in 1890.

Admitted 1850:

Dr James Heywood Markland, noted antiquary and book collector, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and founder member of the Roxburghe Club. He was resident in Bath and wrote extensively on Somerset, and it is possible that he was approached by Radley College via Edwin Monk’s connections in Frome. In recognition of his services to the Church of England, particularly his writings on church monuments, he was awarded the degree of DCL at Oxford University, in 1849. He was strong supporter of all church societies and administered a large charitable fund on behalf of the Misses Mitford of Bath.

The Rev Charles Marriott, Fellow of Oriel College, Vicar of St Mary’s, Oxford from 1850-1858. He entered Exeter College as an undergraduate in 1829. He was a close associate of Newman and Pusey, joint-editor with them of the series Library of the Fathers. He was deeply committed to education, particularly to the foundation and early development of Bradfield College, where his brother, John, was the curate of the parish. Marriott’s brother had approached Singleton about sending his younger brothers to Radley but decided eventually on Bradfield.

Admitted 1851:

The (3rd) Earl of Powis, High Steward of Cambridge University from 1863-91

The Hon. John Chetwynd Talbot, QC. Director-General of the Military Store Department, India. His sons, Charles and Gerald, attended Radley from 1854, the elder becoming Senior Prefect under William Sewell. The boys were placed under the guardianship of Sewell whilst their parents were in India. Transcripts of the Talbot family letters from the boys survive in Radley College Archives.

The Ven. Anthony Grant, Vicar of Romford, 1838-62, Archdeacon of St Albans, 1846-83. Anthony Grant was the son of the Vicar of Portsea, near Portsmouth, with close connections with the Isle of Wight, Sewell’s family home. He was a pupil at Winchester College from 1815, and entered New College, Oxford in 1827. His son, Cyril Fletcher Grant, attended Radley from 1854 to 1858. Cyril then went on to school at Marlborough College. Anthony Grant gave the Bampton Lectures in Oxford in 1843, which were important in the history of Christian mission. His sermons were edited by his son in 1884.

Admitted 1852:

The Rt. Hon. Sir William Heathcote. Politician. A close relative of William Beadon Heathcote, who became Warden of Radley from 1851-52 and was an early advisor and confidante of Singleton and Sewell. Sir William Heathcote was the patron of John Keble. He was supporter of Gladstone and in 1854 elected MP for Oxford.

Admitted 1856:

Sir Arthur Hamilton-Gordon. He was born in 1829, so was 27 when he was appointed to Radley. Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick 1861-66; Governor of Trinidad 1866, of Mauritius 1871, of Fiji 1875, of New Zealand, 1880, of Ceylon 1883-90. Created Baron Stanmore 1893. During the 1850s he served as a Liberal MP for Beverley and as occasional secretary for Gladstone, until he was forced to distance himself from the latter because of the heated disagreement between his father, Lord Aberdeen, and Gladstone over the issue of a unified Greece. He was considered one of the most able of the colonial governors, establishing systems of government which favoured native peoples over white settlers. His work in Fiji, in particular, laid lasting foundations for the contemporary state. He was an acknowledged high-churchman.