Stevens 1886-07-21


Showery. Bell, Lottie, Frank and I visited John Barnes and his daughter at New Barn.

Visited Mrs. Rimell. Her husband is laid up with Erysipelas in the face and so we did not see him. A storm came on whilst we were there – so we waited till it was over, and Mrs. Rimell and her daughter Bessie got us some tea.

I wrote to Marcus Ward & Co of London offering them my poems for publication. I heard from them a day or two afterwards declining to publish on their own responsibility, but offering, if I would send  up the manuscript to give me an estimate for publishing at my own risk.

The cutting pasted into the diary here is incomplete and it is not clear where it has been taken from. However, the original Guardian article, written by “E. T. S.” (ie Stevens) was reprinted in the Banbury Guardian of 29 July 1886, the full text of which is available in The British Newspaper Archive and is copied below.


(Reprinted from “The Guardian” of July 21, 1886.)

On the 3rd inst. was laid to rest, in the quiet churchyard of Swalcliffe, Oxon, of which parish he had been vicar for nearly 50 years, the body of the Rev Edward Payne, Hon. Canon of Christ Church, and formally Fellow of New College, Oxford, and rural Dean of Deddington. As one of the pioneers of the great church building and restoration movement, for which this 19th century will probably be distinguished in history, the work of Canon Edward Payne deserves to be recorded. He was a grandson of one of the founders of Smith, Payne, and Smith’s bank, and was born in 1809. He was educated at Winchester, whence he proceeded at an early age as a junior fellow to New College, Oxford, where, at the age of twenty he took his B.A. degree, and was appointed to a senior fellowship. In 1832 he was ordained to the curacy of Old Alresford, Hants, and became successively curate at Pagham, Sussex, and of St. Michael, Winchester. He took great interest in his work, especially at Alresford, and would often speak of it with pleasure after a lapse of fifty years. In 1837 the college living of Swalcliffe having fallen vacant he was induced to accept it, though the income of the benefice was extremely small, his own means were at that time very limited, and the work to be done was very considerable, the former vicar having been totally blind for many years before his death. With Swalcliffe at that time were included the parishes of Epwell and Shutford, at the distance of about a mile and a half in different directions, each having an ancient church and a population of four or five hundred, and Sibford Gower and Sibford Ferris, nearly two miles distant, over an exposed and hilly road, with no church, and a population of eight or nine hundred. The new vicar had therefore plenty to do, and as it was necessary that he should reside on the spot, he at once wisely set about building the present Vicarage at Swalcliffe, the old one being uninhabitable and in a dangerous condition. Having provided a home for himself and his young wife, he commenced the erection of the present substantial and commodious church, at the prettily situated village of Sibford Gower, the most populous, and therefore the most important part of his parish. In this work he was greatly assisted and encouraged by his friend and neighbour, the late Rev. C. F. Wyatt, Rector of Broughton, and his sister, the late Miss Wyatt, of Banbury. The Warden and Fellows of New College and personal friends as well as parishioners aided readily, so that the church was completed in the early summer of 1840, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and consecrated by Dr. Bagot, then Bishop of Oxford. Sibford Gower and Sibford Ferris were soon afterwards formed into a separate ecclesiastical parish with a moderate endowment, to which the vicar of Swalcliffe liberally contributed. Having completed this work and placed the new parish in charge of the Rev. T. B. Morell, afterwards Coadjutor-Bishop Edinburgh, the energetic Vicar set about the restoration of the ancient churches of Epworth and Shutford, and then undertook the restoration of his own fine Church of Swalcliffe, supposed to have been built by William of Wykeham, the founder of Winchester College and of New College, Oxford. This work of restoration was in each case well done, and in a good conservative spirit. Thus, the four churches remain, in excellent order, as monuments of his great zeal and untiring energy. In the earlier years of his residence at Swalcliffe he was one of the promoters and trustees of the turnpike road between Banbury and Shipston-on-Stour, also one of the founders of the Banbury Savings Bank. He took care to supply the labourers and small tradesmen of the parishes under his care and influence with suitable allotments of land 40 years before the historical “three acres and a cow” were thought of. And these would probably never have been thought of at all if the agricultural labourers of the country generally had been as well supplied with allotments as those of Swalcliffe and the neighbouring villages have been for nearly fifty years. Edward Payne took a deep and active personal interest in the religious education of the poor, and built a school in each of the parishes of Epwell, Shutford, and Swalcliffe, and, as one of the trustees and the treasurer of the charities of Sibford Gower, erected, with the assistance of the Rev. Walter Bourchier, then Vicar, the handsome and commodious schoolroom and teachers’ residence in that parish. During his tenure of office as treasurer of the local charities, he placed them on a better footing, and successfully resisted all attempts made to alienate them from the poor of the parish, for whose benefit they were bequeathed so long ago that no record of the bequest is known to exist, and no one knows who gave the 200 acres from which the income is derived. He was for many years Rural Dean of Deddington, an office for which he was extremely well fitted by character, learning, and position, and he only resigned it in 1874, soon after the death of his wife, a bereavement which, as a childless man, he felt most acutely, and which seemed for a year or two to have stunned him and taken all brightness and joy out of his life. Canon Edward Payne was a sturdy conservative and a High Churchman of the old school, a man of great common sense, with a sound judgement, which he was always ready to use for the highest purposes. As a man he was brave, and had the courage of his convictions, but was by no means disputatious. He was brave, too, as a boy, and almost to the day of his death wore a gold watch which had been presented to him more than sixty years before by the father of one of his school fellows, the Rev. W. Bigg-Wither, Rector of Hardwicke, whose life he saved from drowning at the risk of his own when they were “boys together” at Winchester. The late Bishop Wilberforce appreciated the character and work of Edward Payne, making him the Hon. Canon of Christ Church. When he came to the neighbourhood on his confirmation tours the Bishop always put up at Swalcliffe Vicarage, and enjoyed a quiet, restful talk with the Vicar in the evening.

For many years Edward Payne was in the habit of taking his annual holiday from the middle of June to the end of August, spending most of his time in coasting along the western shores of Ireland and Scotland in his own yacht. He was an excellent sailor. When enjoying this annual and well-merited holiday, he always made arrangements, which never once failed, to be in port on Sundays, that he might attend divine service on shore, and would say that God had been very good to him in always sending such winds as allowed him to carry out his wishes in this respect. He had made arrangements to commence his annual holiday, as usual, during the week after Trinity Sunday, although he had been a great sufferer for two years, and was occasionally entirely unable to perform the services of his church. But on the day on which he had arranged to leave him, he was seized with a severe illness, arising from his old complaint, from which, after some ten days of intense pain, borne with Christian fortitude, he was released by death on the 30th June, 1886, aged seventy-seven.

E. T. S.