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Below are transcriptions from R.F. Ovenell's own notes, contained in a lined paper notebook, handwritten. [RFO/A/3/11] Please note that the originals of these transcribed letters have not yet been located and checked against Ovenell's transcriptions. Ovenell will have prepared these notes during his preparation for his book, The Ashmolean Museum 1683-1894. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986). It seems likely that most of the letters transcribed here are not held in the Ashmolean Museum manuscript (which was why Ovenell transcribed them). 

We are very grateful to the Ashmolean Museum for allowing us to place these transcriptions on this website and wish to thank Alison Roberts in particular for her help in this matter.  The transcriptions were done after the Scoping Museum Anthropology project had concluded. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you wish to see any of the material. 

These transcribed letters tell us a great deal about the way the Ashmolean Museum was organised in the nineteenth century, and a good deal about the catalogue of the collections that never was. They also tell us a lot about the Ashmolean's care of ethnographic and prehistoric objects, how they were seen to relate to each other and also the interest in them at the University. They also tell us a great deal about museology at the University up to 1880. This in turn sets the context for the foundation of the Pitt Rivers Museum as it was into this febrile mix that Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers decided to donate his large collection. His own discussions with the University of Oxford about this eventual donation began shortly after the episodes discussed in these letters. You should also check the other letters from this correspondence which were privately printed in 3 pamphlets from 1880-1881, transcribed here.

RFO/A/3/11: 1880 Abortive Catalogue “Out-house Discovery” Rowell: Evans: Parker &c.

[AMS 35 on spine][Note AMS 35 is the catalogue number of the original manuscript volume “Letters and papers relating to the publishing of the Ashmolean Catalogue, 1879-1881”. Ovenell catalogued the Ashmolean’s historic archives in to an AMS (Ashmolean manuscript) and AP (Ashmlean printed) series:]


[inside front cover]

AMS 35

Box marked misc letters and papers relating to the printing of the Ashmolean Catalogue 1879-81. Rowell correspondence &c.

[page 1]

13 March 1878

Rowell letter to Pres’t Trin Coll. [1]

Rev’d Sir

As, from your manner in speaking to me on Tuesday, I fear I may have done wrong in proceeding with the printing of a catalogue of a part of the Ashmolean Museum collection, I beg you will kindly submit the following to the Museum delegates at the meeting on Friday, and I trust it may be accepted as an excuse for any impropriety there may have been in the course I have taken.

As the museum has been so long under my care, and as the rearrangement of the whole, consequent on the building of the New Museum, was done by myself, under Professor Phillipp’s [2] [sic] general direction, I have long been desirous that catalogues of the collections should be printed, not only as a record of the contents of the Museum after that great change, but, also, from an opinion that longer description would make the Museum more interesting and instructive; but finding from Professor Phillipps that there was no chance, at that time of any being printed I devoted a considerable time, working, both early and late, in getting up written description [insert] ve [ie descriptive] [end insert] catalogues of of [sic] different collections.

These, however, did not answer my expectation, although approved of by many, as although catalogues are often asked for, and would freely be bought, very few visitors will spare time to look over one in the Museum. Still, knowing there were no no Ashmolean Museum funds which could be applied for the purpose, I did not ask to have them printed, till, nine or ten months since, when speaking to Professor Smith [3] about a catalogue for some portion of the

[page 2]

University Museum, I asked him, as a member of the Hebdomadal Board, if he could ascertain whether the University authorities would pay the cost of printing the Ashmolean catalogues. A few [insert] after (sic) [end insert] days [sic] the Professor told me that there was a general expression of a desire that the catalogues should be printed, but that the question could not be settled till after the long vacation, and also that some estimate would be required as to the probable cost of them.

To wait till after the long vacation, would have been, to me on this matter, the loss of a year, a period which, from my state of health, at that time, I could hardly hope to survive, and, -- as estimates of the cost could hardly be made till the catalogues were prepared for printing, and as these had only been made for use with the articles under inspection at the same time, they required much alteration in words, and also in classification, -- having first obtained the Keepers consent, I at once began to prepare the catalogue of one collection. When, having finished this one, it occurred to me that, from some cause for the delay, no catalogue had been made of the most important collection, i.e. the British, Romano-British, and Anglo-Saxon.

I call this the most important, not only from the value of the collections included in it, but also from its being that in which I feel a personal interest on several grounds. The Douglas collection is altered in the arrangement from that of the old catalogue and on this ground a new one is required. The Fairford collection was received by me from Mr Wylie, [4] when in a very different state from what it is now in; but there are a few articles named, and some of them figured in his work “Fairford Graves” [5] which are not in his collection, and two or three in the collection which are not named in the work, and on these grounds it is desirable that a catalogue should be printed

[page 3]

during the life time of Mr. Wylie and myself. The Brighthampton collection [6] certainly deserves a more distinct and descriptive catalogue than that in “Archaeologia” or rather as an addition to it: and of the British village on Standlake Common [7] there is no published description in accordance with the value of that interesting discovery. Of the articles from Yelford [8] no one has a knowledge but myself, and these, although comparatively of little value, are interesting from their apparent connection with those from the Brighthampton graves. The Hutchings collection contains several valuable articles, and the account of the discovery of some of them is particularly interesting. [9] The very valuable collection of flint implements, given by Rawlinson Esq C.B. [10] and also the numerous articles from the collection of the late Albert Way, [11] and presented by the Hon’e [Honourable] Mrs Way, are almost useless to the uninitiated without a descriptive account. On all these points I hold that it is desirable that a catalogue should be printed, and on some of them that the account should be drawn up by myself, however much that account may need correcting.

When I began to prepare the catalogues for printing I had no idea of doing more with them, but considering that, with the exception of the Douglas collection, all those I have alluded to have come first under my care, and been arranged by myself, I felt it to be a duty on my part, that a full description should be left of them by myself, and that this, for reasons already alluded to, should be made out with no delay.

Mr. Parker [12] being ill I could not [insert] couldn’t [end insert] trouble him on the subject, and, as it was vacation, I could not have had a meeting with the Museum delegates, therefore, not altogether without advice, I

[page 4]

determined to print this one catalogue on my own responsibility, hoping to be able to present it complete by the end of last long vacation (in slip copy) for the acceptance of the authorities or to obtain permission to publish it myself. The task I had undertaken was heavier than I expected, and having got through those parts on which my own knowledge can be of any importance, and, in a way, the whole of the catalogue, I was glad to let the subject rest for a while. I now respectfully beg that I may be permitted to carry out my original intentions, and then, when completed on my part, the slip copies may undergo such corrections as may be deemed necessary. On this head the Professor of Anglo-Saxon, Mr. Vaux, and others have promised their assistance.

The slip copies I leave herewith are uncorrected, and in this stage any alterations or additions can be easily made in them, and, if necessary, a change in the arrangement of the articles, in the description, would not be difficult. They comprise nearly the whole of the catalogue, but a careful revision will be required, as, from my anxiety to get the facts together, I fear the necessary corrections will be numerous.

I beg you will excuse my troubling you with this long letter, and with grateful remembrance of past favours

I am Rev’d Sir

Your respectful

& Obedient Servant

G.A. Rowell [13]

P.S. On the grounds I have stated to you, I would gladly be excused from attendance when the meeting his held

To the Reverend

the President of Trinity College [14]

Notes by transcriber

[1] Rev. S.W. Wayte, or his successor, Rev. John Percival (see final note 14)?

[2] John Philipps (1800-1874) Reader in Geology at the University from 1856, Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum from 1854-1870.

[3] Henry John Stephen Smith (1826-1883), Savilian Professor of Geometry from 1861. Keeper of the University Museum from 1874.

[4] William Michael Wylie, Fairford, Gloucestershire

[5] Published 1852

[6] See here

[7] See here

[8] See here

[9] See here

[10] Richard Rawlinson, see here

[11] Albert Way (1805-1874)

[12] John Henry Parker (1806-1884) Keeper of Ashmolean from 1869 ?to 1884.

[13] George Augustus Rowell (1804-1892) Assistant Keeper at the Ashmolean Museum from X [the 1850s], in 1860 he also held a similar position at the Oxford University Museum. The following letter to Westwood [9.7.1879] makes it clear that he shared duties between the museums, spending ‘the Winter season’ at the University Museum, and his summers at the Ashmolean Museum. It is not clear whether this was a formal arrangement or how he chose to spend his time. As this longer biography shows, in census returns for much of his life he described himself as a ‘paper hanger’.

[14] 1878 was the year of a change in President of Trinity Hall. This is likely to be the Reverend Samuel W. Wayte who was president from 1866-1878, and retired at the age of 60, being succeeded by John Percival (1834-1918) who was President from January 1879.


[page 5]

47 Woodstock Road

July 9, 1879 [1]


Although you intimated on Saturday last, that you had no desire to have any letter from me on the subject of yours sent in the morning, I submit the following for your consideration, not only as it will enable you to correct some errors in your letter, but also as, in self defence, I intend sending copies of this and yours to the Delegates and Visitors of the Museum.

You certainly are much mistaken in your statement that “in the summer of last year I told you repeatedly that if I was interfered with I would throw up the Ashmolean and its catalogue.” I hardly remember speaking to you on any subject during that time, and there was nothing in my occupation which could have led to anything of the sort.

In the summer of 1877, when I first began to rearrange my manuscript catalogues with the hope that they might be printed; I first took that of the African collection. You then came to the Ashmolean Museum to see how I was going on with it, but nothing seemed to accord with your wishes. My first entry was – “A Caffir Chief in war costume; with shield, assigais, [sic] knob-kerrie, war feathers &c. And of a Caffir woman in winter dress. [indent] Capt. H.F. de Lisle 1827” [2]

This you objected to and said that every article should be entered separately, thus taking up more space, whereas my object was to make the catalogue as concise as possible consistent with a fair description of the articles referred to.

My next entry was – “Six Assagais. These weapons are about 5 feet 6 inches in length; the heads of iron, very various in form, and the shafts of wood tapering to the end. They are thrown

[page 6]

with great dexterity, and were used by the Caffirs as their principal weapons till guns were introduced amongst them. [justified right] Capt. H.F. de Lisle”

Eleven similar specimens are arranged on the wall” [3]

This entry you also objected to and insisted on every article being separately entered.

You then would insist on the old numbers being followed in the catalogue; but I could not do this, as the the [insert] sic [end insert] articles were arranged in the cases as space would permit and had been numbered as they were placed without strict regard to geographical order otherwise than that they were all African. I then told you that I would do my best with the catalogue if permitted, but that if I was to be so interfered with I would give it (i.e. the catalogue) up altogether, and I may have added the Museum also as I was much vexed by your abrupt interference with a work which had been exclusively my own, and especially with your manner in doing so.

I am much surprised by your statement that “you cannot learn that I have done any work at the Ashmolean Museum for at least nine months”, and to make this and other matters clear I will commence with the early part of 1878, when as all that had been done with the Catalogue had been by myself and on my own responsibility, I was anxious for some sanction from the authorities for what I had done, and for permission to go on with it. I was therefore well pleased when the Vice-Chancellor (Dr Sewell) [4] informed me that I might do so, not only as this was my wish, but also as it was some relief to find that my doings on this subject had not been disapproved of. Still there were various courses which prevented my going on at once with the Catalogue, the principal one being the difficulty of having the cases open, and

[page 7]

articles about at the time when the Museum is most frequented by visitors, but I had arranged to begin in earnest as soon as the commemoration was over. [insert in pencil] June 1878 [end insert] [5] This however was effectually put a stop to by Mr Chester taking up so much of the Museum in cataloguing and rearranging the Egyptian and Roman articles; [6] and how fully this was the case is shown by the fact, that Mr Parker throughout the whole of the Long Vacation, did not once ask me to go on with my catalogue, although he several times expressed his regret that I could not do so. [7]

Still although I was prevented from going on direct with the catalogue, I had other work to do in connection with it, the principal being in cleaning and arrangeing [sic] the Polynesian portion of the Ramsden collection, [8] which necessitated the removal and rearrangement of a large number of the articles on the Museum staircase; and in this I could have no help from my assistant, whose time was fully taken up by Mr Chesters work. [9] I could go further into particulars if necessary, but will merely state that the latter part of my time in the Ashmolean Museum was taken up in mounting and arranging the Greek articles catalogued by Mr Vaux, [10] at which I was employed till the middle of November, when I was obliged to leave the Museum from the breaking out of a wound in my leg consequent on the bite of a dog about 56 years ago.

Now I can assert that, from the time of my resuming my duties in the spring till about the 16th of November, I was not about a single day from the Ashmolean Museum, or work in connection with it, except a week spent in London, and this may be said to have been on the Museum account, as my chief object was to ascertain localities and particulars of articles such as the remainder of the Ramsden Collection; the only places I visited being the British, South Kensington, and Bethnal Green Museums, and the Christy Ethnological Collections especially for

[page 8]

that purpose.

The wound in my leg kept me a prisoner for three or four weeks, and then I went, as usual in the Winter season, to my duties in the University Museum where I once more resumed my task of arranging the Barlee collection of British shells; [11] which was the only work I could then do as I was obliged to keep [insert] rest [end insert] my leg and keep it bathed in cold water.

While I was thus employed you came to my room to know what I was then doing, and within a few days (on Feby the 12th) I received a letter from Mr. Parker, who in addition to very unfounded charges of neglect, stated that you had informed him “that the work I had undertaken in the Museum, and said I could finish in a week or two, was more likely to take me a year or two.”

I do not know on what grounds you asserted that opinion, but I gladly inform you that I finished my work with these shells before my usual time for returning to the Ashmolean Museum, and this quite to my own satisfaction as I believe it would be to any who may inspect them. – The Collection as [insert] sic [end insert] British shells is nearly complete, and, as I understand from I believe the highest authority, contains on the whole finer specimens than any other collection. It is now about 17 years since it was bequeathed to the University, since which time it has been under my care, and I may now say that I am glad that even a bad leg has enabled me to complete, at last, a duty I have long felt to be due to the Museum and to the memory of the donor of the collection.

I make this statement to show that I had other duties to perform besides those of the Ashmolean Museum; and, leaving out all consideration of the state of my leg, which would have prevented my

[page 9]

going on with the work in that Museum, I was only acting in accordance with ordinary rules; it was not for me to make any change on these points; no rearrangement had been made as regards my doing so, and I am not aware of Mr. Parker having proposed that there should; yet, with these facts I have been charged with neglect of duty, procrastination, and the catalogue (solely my own work) has been withdrawn from my hands, and the alterations made and being made in it altogether kept from my knowledge.

Under these circumstances I declined resuming my duties in the Ashmolean Museum, and from the first of May, about my usual time for doing so, you may fairly deduct my salary from that still due to me.

I am Sir

Your obedient servant

G.A. Rowell

To Professor Westwood [12]

Notes by transcriber

[1] Note that in Rowell’s printed pamphlet containing transcripts of his correspondence with Parker, Westwood etc, this letter is dated July 8th. It is not clear at this juncture which date is correct. Note also that the house from which Rowell wrote (and often wrote letters) is a house owned by St Johns College, it is not clear why he would be living in this accommodation.

[2] H.F. de Lisle cannot be identified further, though it is clear from the records that have survived and are retained by the PRM that he lived on Guernsey. His sister was Louisa de Lisle and also donated material to the Ashmolean in 1827 from southern Africa. These objects are now in the PRM, the first (the Chief figure) is 1886.1.426, the second 1886.1.427.

[3] It is difficult to identify exactly which spears Rowell is referring to here, in the de Lisle / Ashmolean collection now at the PRM there are a total of 21 spears (assuming both the six and the eleven were from de Lisle that only makes a total of 17), the 21 are numbered 1886.1.239, 431-50.

[4] James Edward Sewell (1810-1903) Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1874 to 1878

[5] Presumably Commemoration week, which takes place in 9th week of Trinity Term. Obviously following this week there would be fewer students in residence.

[6] Greville John Chester see G. Seidmann, 2006. The Rev. Greville John Chester and ‘The Ashmolean Museum as a Home for Archaeology in Oxford’. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology 16(1):27-33, DOI: see especially page 31 with reference to the catalogue Chester prepared in 1878.

[7] John Henry Parker (1806-1884) Keeper of Ashmolean from 1869 ?to 1884.

[8] The collection was purchased in 1878, some sources suggest that the items actually went to the Oxford University Museum rather than the Ashmolean (see biographies file PRM), it is not certain which Ramsden is referred to but it has been suggested Robert Henry Ramsden (?-1865?), of Carlton Hall, Worksop. There are 73 Polynesian items from Ramsden listed in the Pitt Rivers Museum documentation.

[9] This is probably a reference to Edward Evans who compiled the 2 volume catalogue of the items transferred from the Ashmolean to the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1886.

[10] William Sandys Wright Vaux (1818-1885) antiquary, who worked in the Dept. of Antiquities at the British Museum until 1870, from 1871 to 1876 he catalogued coins at the Bodleian Library and prepared the catalogue of Greek and Etruscan objects for the Ashmolean Museum

[11] George Barlee (1794-1861), conchologist and solicitor.

[12] John Obidiah Westwood (1805-1893) Hope Professor of Zoology from 1861.


47 Woodstock Road

Sept. 1 1879


I received the proof sheet of the catalogue for which I thank you, and would call your attention to the following errors.

No. 220-221 Mr. Hagley was no D.D. and I do not give him so in my catalogue. He was for years either house surgeon or apothecary in the Radcliffe Infirmary.  [1]

205, 206 were not given by Mr. Stone, they are part of the Standlake and Brighthampton Collection.

204 he did give, but the implement is of a rare (perhaps unique) form, made of conglomerate gravel which is common in the neighbourhood and especially in the gravel in which the pit dwellings are sunk. [2]

[page 10]

The following is a matter of opinion only, but how anyone can think that this implement was used for grinding purposes I cannot imagine.

It has evidently been worked into its present form by great labour, but neither the form or material can have been suitable for grinding with, and there is not the slightest appearance on the surface of its having been used for such a purpose.

But it is well formed for grasping with both hands, and used for digging with, especially in confined spaces as these pits were, and from the occasional layers of conglomerate in the gravel, some of which are shown in the model of the village, it is evident that a heavy implement of some kind must have been used, and this one seems well adapted for the purpose, besides which, both edges of the front, near to the broken end, have evidently been worn by its use in some such manner as now supposed.

The rarity of its form seems to support the opinion here advanced, had it been for grinding purposes doubtless such implements would have been frequently met with, but if for digging, it would be in sinking pits in such gravel as that where this article was found, that such an implement would be especially needed.

I remain Sir

Your Obedient servant

G.A. Rowell.

To J.H. Parker Esq C.B.

Notes by transcriber 

[1] Thanks to Alison Roberts: Edward Hagley, Esq. He donated an axe fragment 220, AN1836 p.124.84 [non-preferred term ANNC (Prehist).220] fragment of a polished flint axehead from Frome, Somerset. ANNC (Prehist).221 was not listed in the Duncan catalogue so it goes by this catalogue number. It is a polished greenstone axehead from Britain, Neolithic in age. 

[2] Thanks to Alison Roberts: 204 is a quern fragment found at the base of a pit at Standlake – Iron Age settlement. 205 is a serrated flint blade from Brighthampton and 206 a barbed and tanged flint arrowhead from Standlake. Both donated by S. Stone’s executors. 


5 Nov. 1879

Sir. The proposal which I made to the Delegates of the new Museum that they should pay you £100 a year from the 1st of Jan’y 1879 & which was rejected by them has subsequently been adopted by the

[page 11]

Hebdomadal Board & was yesterday agreed to by Convocation.

Mr. Parker will therefore now pay you the four months Salary [insert] at £80 per ann. [end insert] from the 1st Sept. 1878 to the 1st Jan’y last -- & will repay you such other payments as you made last year on acc’t of the Ashmolean Museum.

I must now as a Visitor of the Ashmolean Museum request you to return, either to me or Mr. Parker, the following manuscripts which are not to be found at the Museum.

1. MS. Book with outlines of objects in Ramsden Collection, made by Mr Rowell [insert] you [end insert] in Museum time, with notes –

2. Another ms. book in which the description of the several objects of the [insert] Ramsden [end insert] collection had been [insert] were [end insert] given with their measurements copied by E. Evans, who stuck corresponding numbers on the Articles.

3. Catalogue of the African Collection referred to in Mr Rowell’s letter [insert] your pamphlet [end insert] p. 18.

4. Any other manuscript catalogues or descriptions of Articles in the Ashmolean Museum which you may have removed from the Museum.

[line across page]

The above are stated by E. Evans in his ms. reply to Mr Rowell’s Pamphlet to have been taken away from the [insert] Ashmolean [end insert] Museum by Rowell Nov’r. 4. 1879.

I am &c

J.O.W. [1]

[Following note by Ovenell?] [This is probably a draft of a letter from Westwood to Rowell, written on two pieces of scrap paper, possibly sent to Parker for checking?]

Notes by transcriber

[1] John Obidiah Westwood


[page 12]

Turl, Nov. 9/ 79

My dear Mr Westwood,

I have received two letters from Mr. Bartholomew Price, [1] which he wishes to be read at the next meeting of the Visitors, I think it is better that you should see them beforehand, & perhaps you can call here tomorrow I have rather a sharp billious [sic] attack today, & expect to have to stay at home two or three days. I dictate this from my bed, but there is not much the matter, I rather expect to be all right tomorrow.

Yours sincerely

pro John Henry Parker C.B.

JSC [in pencil] [?]

Notes by transcriber

[1] Bartholomew 'Bat' Price (1818-1898) he was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford from 1837 to 1840, gaining an MA in 1843. In 1842 he gained the senior university mathematical scholarship, and two years later was elected a fellow of Pembroke, taking holy orders. In 1845 he became tutor and mathematical lecturer, and in 1847–8 and 1853–5 was a public examiner. He continued to take a large number of private pupils, including C.L. Dodgson, who became a lifelong friend. In 1858 he was a university proctor. In 1853 he was appointed Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at Oxford, a post he retained until 1898. In 1868 he became secretary to the delegates of the Oxford University Press. See his ODNB entry


Ashmolean Museum

Jan. 28th 1880

Dear Sir, [J.H. Parker?][note by Ovenell]

Mr Vaux has returned the Catalogue of the Prehistoric Collection, and wishes me to compare the numbers and return it to the Press.

If I remember right, you had my M.S. corrections of Mr. Rowell’s slips about the British Pottery, if you have them, please send them back so that I may number the entries and the articles at the same time.

Trusting you are quite well

I am yours obediently

Edward Evans


Athenaum Club, London [insert] Ashmolean Museum, Oxford [end insert] Feb 17/ 80

My dear Westwood,

Professor Monier Williams [1] has stowed away in the Ashmolean Museum with my consent as many things as he could for the new Indian Museum that is to be, [2] it is rather inconvenient to us for no one can tell how long they will have to remain there, there were many more than we had room for, we therefore told him of the room at the top of the Clarendon building were [sic] we have permission to stow such things as we have not room for in our own building. Evans [3] has given him all the help he could as I told him to do, the Professor had called upon me in the first instance to ask my permission, which I had given him because I thought it was right to do so. We all wish to make ourselves as useful to the University as we can even at some inconvenience; Evans will take good care to keep them distinct from the things that belong to us, or rather I believe has already done so. I am sorry to hear that both you and Mrs Westwood are invalids, the weather has a better appearance this afternoon than I have seen for some time, but I fear we shall have more days of wet & stormy weather, before we have any genial spring time.

With much regards not only to yourself, but to Mrs Westwood & Miss Swann

Yours sincerely

John Henry Parker

[note by Ovenell?] [Sign. only in P’s handwriting]

Notes by transcriber

[1] Sir Monier Monier-Williams (1819-1899) Orientalist, Boden Professor of Sanskrit from 1860.

[2] The museum of the Indian Institute.

[2] Edward Evans


[page 14]

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

March 12/ 80

My dear Westwood,

Will you be kind enough to undertake the editorship of the Catalogue yourself? it is evident to me that Mr. Vaux wants to get rid of it, & he is right in saying that the editor ought to be on the spot. I do not know who could do it so well as yourself, even if I were able to go the [sic] Ashmolean in the winter months, which I am not, I know nothing about pre-historic objects. The only branch of archaeology with which I am really acquainted is Architectural History, which the French call Archeologie, & as I was an active member of De Caumont’s Society [1] from the time it began in Normandy, 40 years ago, till it had spread over nearly the whole of France, & I used to make a point of attending their annual meeting in Paris in the spring of the year when each branch made its report, generally either the president or the secretary attended, & I was amused with the different patois of the gentlemen from the north, and the gentlemen from the south; my object in being appointed Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum really was to make it the head quarters of the Oxford Architectural Society.

Rowell seems determined to worry me as much as he can, & to throw the blame of his own blunders upon Evans’s shoulders, it is evident to me that Evans is a much more accurate man than Rowell was

yours sincerely

John Henry Parker C.B.

[sign only in P’s hand][note by Ovenell]

Notes by transcriber

[1] Arcisse de Caumont (1801-1873) French historian and archaeologist, founder of the Société des Antiquaires de Normandie which is perhaps the group Parker means?, it was established in 1823. In 1833, he founded the Société Française d'archéologie.


[page 15]

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford March 15/80

My dear Westwood,

I am quite horrified to hear that the University has already been put to the expense of £40 wasted upon this Catalogue, [1] owing to Rowell’s folly & conceit in giving it out to be printed before it was ready for printing. As this was done in my absence & without my knowledge I cannot consider myself responsible for it, when I first heard of it & complained of it, Rowell intimated plainly that it was no business of mine, as he was going to pay for it himself, but at the next meeting of the Visitors to my surprise, Dr Sewell intimated that the Delegates of the Press would take the cost upon themselves, which I do not think they would have done if they had understood the real state of the case.

I had already written to Vaux on Saturday to say that I ought to have that your quarto volume of Rowells to have the questions he has raised examined in the Museum itself by competent persons, I do not know anyone in Oxford more competent than Professor Westwood [insert] yourself [end insert]. Excuse my blundering, I thought at the moment I was writing to Vaux. I have a sharp attack of rheumatism in my shoulders this afternoon and I am put out of joint altogether, Rowell seems determined to give me all the worry he can.

Yours sincerely

John Henry Parker C.B. [sign. only in P’s hand][note by Ovenell]

Notes by transcriber

[1] £40 in 1880 was worth at least £3267.00 in 2011 according to


[Page 16]

Royal Asiatic Society

23 Albemarle Street W.

London March 16, 1880

Dear Mr. Parker,

I am much obliged to you for your kind letter the more so, as I was a little afraid that my last letter to you, would have seemed, in some degree, discourteous, if not unkind. I fancied you might have thought I had thrown you over in the matter of the Ashmolean Catalogue, but I feel sure that you will not think that this could be so. As, I think I stated, [sic] in one of my last notes to you – I supposed, on undertaking to be its Editor, that the several sections of it, were in, nearly, the same stage of completion as the portions done by Mr. Chester and myself.

It would have been quite wrong for me to undertake, personally, the Catalogue of the Prehistoric and Anglo-Saxon remains – of which I have no special knowledge. I daresay I ought to have ascertained all these matters previously, but it is none the less a fact – that in offering to assist you, as general Editor – I took it for granted that the M.S. catalogues of all the sections were ready – and that my business was simply to correct the proofs as sent to me, and to add such queries as might occur to me in reading them through. I think it very likely that some of the corrections I made, on a natural faith in Mr. Rowell’s suggestions, were erroneous, at the same time, I supposed, I think reasonably, that he had a knowledge of materials, of the names of doners, [insert] sic [end insertand of the places where the objects were found, which I could not, possibly, have myself – With respect to the M.S. 4o books of notes by him sent to me by Mr. Price, I think that this ought to be required from him by either yourself or Mr. Westwood – the more so that,

[page 17]

as he complains of having been misinterpreted – he is clearly bound to place in the hands of the selected Editor of the Catalogue any and all papers & notes he may have, which throw any light on the history of the collections.

I am glad to hear that Prof’r Westwood is willing to do, on the spot, what I could not possibly do, being away from Oxford and, in his hands, I feel no doubt that the Catalogue of the Ashmolean Museum will be quite worthy of the University which has entrusted it to him – In conclusion, I will only say, as I have said before, that, if he or you would like me to read through the proof sheets, when ready, I shall be most happy to do so

Ever sincerely yours

W.S.W. Vaux

P.S. Of course you can show or send this note to Prof’r Westwood if y [sic, you?] think fit.

I perfectly understand the trouble Rowell has given and is giving – at the same time, the wisest course is to let him have his say. Your Editor can decide where he is wrong & where Evans is, as I believe he will often prove to be, the more accurate of the two – [note in pencil alongside, by Ovenell, in smaller writing but still by V.]


[page 18]

The Turl, March 17 [1880]

My dear Westwood,

With this I send you a letter just received from Mr. Vaux, which is very satisfactory so far as he is concerned, but the bother that Rowell gives to everybody connected with the Ashmolean by his carelessness in the first instance, & his self-conceit afterwards, seems to be endless; perhaps you will send Vaux’s note on to Mr. Price, & ask him to return it to me, as I make a point of keeping all documents relating to the Ashmolean, & there are persons who always think Rowell is right in everything.     Yours sincerely 

[signed] John Henry Parker CB

Dr Sir, In consequence of Mr. Vaux’s general absence from Oxford he finds it impossible to compare the various objects in the Ashmolean Museum with the different catalogues, & has therefore [been] obliged to give up the Editorship of the latter – which I have undertake [sic].

I shall therefore be obliged to you to send me the ms. notes on the proofs which you sent to Prof. Price.

yours truly


22’d March 80

To Rowell

[A draft ? [insert] copy [end insert] on the back of part of an envelope addressed to Westwood][note by Ovenell?]


[page 19]

Ashmolean Museum


March 23, 1880

Dear Sir,

I did not send the Catalogues up to-day as I have been hunting some more of Mr. Rowell’s Catalogue. I have found what I wanted most to find Mr Rowell’s slips cut up by me and pasted opposite my own additions, but you remember Mr. Parker would not have the thing entirely reset though I said to him then that I thought it would be best to have the type distributed and I think I was about right it would have been much less trouble and I should say expense. And the thing would have looked better if it had been all ones work.

For instance the eight rude urns ought not to come under the Model of the British Village, but ought to have been classed under Pottery, and reference made from the village to them instead of the other way about as they stand now. I should like some impartial judge just to look through the thing and compare Mr. Rowell’s slips with my additions etc to them and say if I am much to blame.

You will see Mr Rowell has only given references to a few books in which the actual specimens described are figured.

You shall have all the things to the Museum tomorrow. I hope you will find them sufficient for your purpose.

I am dear Sir,

Yours obediently

Ed Evans


[page 20]

Clarendon Press


April 1 1880

My dear Westwood,

The Delegates of the Press have come to the resolution to discontinue the printing of the Ashmolean Catalogue, and to have no more to do with the work, at least at present. They are willing however that copies should be pulled of all that is in type, before it is broken up, for yourself, Mr. Parker & Mr. Rowell. Will you kindly inform me whether you desire any copies; and if so, how many.

I am sorry for this result, but cannot see that any other is possible under existing circumstances.

Yours very truly

Bartholomew Price

Prof. Westwood

[Ovenell note][Attached to the following is a much emended draft of Westwood’s reply.]

April 3’d 1880

My dear Sir,

It is very much to be regretted that after all the exertions of the different gentlemen through whose hands the Cat. of Prehistoric objects in the Ashmolean Museum had passed) (bringing it in my opinion to a satisfactory condition) the Delegates of the Press should throw up the work – I presume they have been influenced by Mr. Rowell’s Comments to which so long as the work was going forward it was not thought advisable to reply, & it is still unnecessary to waste time upon the many personalities contained in it – One or two trivial errors were pointed out by Mr. Rowell – (which ought to have been corrected by him [insert] self [end insert] years ago --) & to others of his comments I have replied in

[page 21]

a postscript hereto –

The impropriety must be admitted of the Delegates without enquiry commencing the printing of a fragment of a catalogue sent to [?insert] 1st [end insert] press [insert] by the Underkeeper [end insert] without the sanction of the Visitors or Keeper. 2nd the ms of which had not been revised by some competent person & 3rdly before a definite general plan of the classification of the entire Museum had been determined upon. This too was done as it was so much easier to make the necessary alterations after the M.S. had been set up in type.

From his non residence in Oxford Mr. Vaux has found himself unable to make the constant reference to the objects described in the Catalogue & I have at Mr. Parker’s request undertaken the revision of the catalogue & have gone carefully over every object in the prehistoric portion & ticketed it in such a manner as will ensure its future identification in accordance with the catalogue now in type. This was absolutely necessary not only as no regular system of labelling the specimens throughout the Museum had been employed but no register of donations or purchases had been kept for many years past (& in one case at least a ms. descriptive catalogue of objects given to the museum had been destroyed by Mr. Rowell) – rendering identification in some cases hopeless. [NB this section with line beside in margin from this point until word ‘valuable’] This individual examination of the entire collection has led to the discovery of various prehistoric objects omitted by Mr. Rowell as well as of a number of valuable silver enamel amber & other articles (some belonging to the Tradescent Collection) in an outhouse stored away among packing cases & shavings. & which have been neither exhibited nor catalogued. It has more over been found that several

[page 22]

objects have been stolen.

As one of the Visitors of the Museum I shall consider it a duty to continue the investigation which I have undertaken as well as the completion of the Catalogue.

The prehistoric Catalogue now in type requires some typographical & other slight corrections & the Egyptian Greek & Roman Series are finished each of which it is proposed to publish separately.

I am Sir

I.O.W. [sic]

Revd B. Price

St Giles


Incomplete undated letter: [p. 1 missing] [note by Ovenell]

[p. 2] ... Cross, there is something in it that I want to have copied out. Tell the Professor that as Mr. Bartholomew Price has sent to Evans for the address of Mr Vaux I suppose the Catalogue is to move again; Evans is not quite ready with the Egyptian, but very nearly. Mr. Chester did his work too hastily, & left a good deal to do before it is really ready for the printers.

[signed] With much regard

Yours sincerely

John Henry Parker C.B.


[page 23]

[Two foolscap foldings  [?insert] MS. [end insert]] [Outside] (Dec’r 1879. State of collections and Catalogue of them.)

Ashmolean Museum. Dec’r 1879

with the MSS catalogues Jno. O. W. [estwood]

[Note by Ovenell] [sign. in pencil]

Prehistoric Objects

[NB from this point until the word ‘Egyptian’ are indented and bracketed together Catalogue printed]

Flint objects in glass case with domed top

opposite stairs & in drawers under

ditto –

Ditto & Bronze ditto in long [insert] middle [end insert] table

case near fire.

Swiss Lake Collection – in small square case opposite 2nd window.

ditto in case with model of British Village

Models of Stonehenge & Avebury.

Casts of Bronze objects under British Coll

British Pottery under middle long table case


[NB from this point until the word ‘Assyrian’ are indented and bracketed together Catalogue by Mr. Chester]

In cross table next fire.

In case on wall right of fireplace

In long table case opposite photograph case

In wall case left [insert] side [end insert] of ditto upper half

In the table case under 1st west window

Assyrian A few in ditto Party catalogued by Mr. Sayce

[page 24]

Etruscan & Italo Graeco

[NB from this point until the words ‘Roman lapidary’ are bracketed together Catal’d. by Mr. Vaux]

In case under 2nd west window

& in case on Window sill.

Henderson Vases in [insert] new [end insert] case to left of fire place

& In the two adjoining cases on South wall

Votive offerings to Greek in lower part

of case left of photograph Case.

Roman Objects in basement & in 1st west window


Roman lapidary & other objects in basement

half of the Arundell Coll’n (the other half in the schools) Catal’d. by Mr Vaux.

Romano British Collection in middle case

next fireplace Cat’l. in type

[insert] Romano British urns under Douglas Coll’n. [end insert]

Anglo Saxon Collections

[NB from this point until the word ‘Historical’ are indented and bracketed together Partly in type]

Sir C. Colt Hoare [insert] Douglas [end insert] Coll.  Wylie Coll. Yelford do.

Brighthampton collection in middle central

oblong table case.

Miscellaneous ditto in oblong [insert] top of middle [end insert] case next fire.

Historical & Medieval Collections

in 2 cases under middle window Partly catal’d. by Mr. Rowell

[page 25]

Oxford Collection.

In cross table case near Entrance

& in wall case on right of stair case door Not yet Catalogued.

Ethnographical Collections

Europe – 0?


In glass case [insert] in corner [end insert] & table case under North

East window & on wall adjoining Partly catal’d. by Mr. Rowell.


In Glass case on East Wall (right of doorway)

& in [insert] half of [end insert] long table case opposite

& on wall adjoining Catal’d. by Mr. Rowell

North America & Esquimaux

In two wall cases on left side

of Door leading to stairs Partly catal’d. by Mr. Rowell

South American

In Wall case between the African

Wall case & the Esquimaux Case

& in half of table case

opposite -- & in Glass case

on stairs & on wall adjoining Partly catal’d by Mr. Rowell

Polynesian, New Zealand & Australian .

In two Glass Cases on lower Staircase

& in the adjacent walls of the

stairs Catal’d by Mr. Rowell

Ramsden partly on these walls

& in bottom [insert] ? [end insert] of Glass table case

under American & African Coll Not Catal’d.

[page 26]

Photographs of Egypt Syria Palestine

Greece Malta ms. Catal.

Photographs of Rome –

Photographs of Italy. Ravenna

Roman & Greek marbles in Basement

see above.

Runic & Saxon do.


Collection of Casts belonging to the

Architectural Society

Collection of Pictures

Three fourths of the Collection

in Room at top of the Clarendon


[page 27]

[3 loose sheets of notes, ?by I.O.W.] [note by Ovenell] [sic J.O.W.]

[sh. I] Contents.

Prehistoric Collections

Introductory Remarks

Sect. I Flint & Stone implements.

A Drift period

B Flint implements of a later period

a Specimens from the French Caves.

b [ditto] from Jutland & Zealand

c [ditto] from the Lake Dwellings Switzerland

d. British Collection of flint, burnt clay, stone, &c.

e. Flint, stone & other implements from various parts of the world placed together for comparison with European types

f. Models of British village (Pit dwellings) Stonehenge Abury [sic] &c.

Sect. II. Metallic implements & weapons chiefly of Bronze

A Foreign examples

B. British Collection

a. Bronze celts

b. Casts of Bronze Celts & Moulds

c. Casts of Stone & Bronze [insert] Celt [end insert] Moulds

d. Bronze implements of various kinds

e. Bronze spearheads

f. Metal casts of Bronze spear heads

g. Casts of moulds for ditto.

h. Bronze [illegible, crossed out] Dagger blades Sword blades with Casts & Moulds

[page 28]

i. Articles of other kinds chiefly metallic

Section III British Pottery.

A. Cinerary Urns

B. So called drinking Cups.

C. So called Food Vessels.

D. Vessels popularly called Incense Cups.

[Sh. 2][Much amended] Sent to Prof. Price [insert] [linking line][By Prof. Westwood][end insert] 13 Apl 80

The great majority of Mr. Rowell’s objections to the Prehistoric Catalogue have reference to the arrangement of the different objects. The insertion of the Stone & Metal objects from savage natives in modern times was the result of consideration with reference to the present state of anthropological studies [insert] as shown in Sir John Lubbock’s book. [end insert] and was considered necessary as affording mean of comparison between the prehistoric objects of Europe with those still in use elsewhere. The insertion in different sections of the catalogue of special objects either belonging to the Local [mark] Oxford [sic – mark possibly means invert words ie Oxford Local[e]?] or which had been found together in certain situations such as in the British village at Standlake or in special excavations was the necessary result of a classified catalogue in which one object necessarily finds its place in more than in one section [sic] of the Catalogue. Thus the Alfred Jewel must be placed not only in the Anglo Saxon collection but also in the Catalogue of Personal historical relics. Of course, one description of an object will suffice with a fixed number for the object, to be again used in other sections of the Catalogue, where it again occurs. [Another sentence wh. says the same thing, has been deleted][?note by Ovenell]

[page 29]

[Sh 3; much amended]

A large number of the Comments in which Mr. Rowell has indulged in his letter of Feby 1880 to Prof. Price do not require any answer. Those which relate to matters of fact & actual Errors require attention [last word heavily crossed out] notice. [by margin p. 1] The bringing together under one head of stone & other implements not European, by way of comparison with the Celts flints &c described in the Commencement of the Catalogue was determined upon after much consideration. The exceptional interest attached to the Standlake British village led to the introduction under one head of all the objects no. 328 [ringed and lined] found there with cross reference to their several positions in the general arrangement. [by margin p. 3] Mr Evans had no authority to send proof sheets of the Catalogue to Mr. Rowell. [by margin p. 6 & 7] The setting up of the Copy in order that alterations might more easily be made in it than whilst it was in ms. was most improper. The Ms. ought not to have been sent to press till it was in a perfect condition.

[by margin p. 9] The initials DD appended to the name Ed. Hagley are found added by the Donor himself, on the celt itself (No. 220)

[by margin p. 9.10] Mr. Rowell’s description of the Standlake implements [sic] no. 204 was not satisfactory. The description to which he objects on p. 19 agrees with his own proofs.

[by margin p. 11] The name “Capt. Reinhold Forster” is so given in Mr. Duncan’s Catalogue.

[by margin p. 4,12,13] The account of the Discovery of the objects Mr Hutchins donations given by Mr. Rowell has been ascertained quite recently to have been incorrect. The objects found here and elsewhere are throughout described under the several divisions to which they

[page 30]

severally belong & reference is made to each set of objects under the principal object with which they were found.

[by margin p. 16,17] The suggested use of the articles no. 461 & 462 are entirely conjectural & would be best omitted.

[by margin p. 18] The Coin BODVOC has been misprinted BODVO.

[by margin p. 19] The supposed British stirrup is purposely omitted being much more probably mediaeval.


[page 31]

[A list in ?Vaux’s writing, on a folded sheet of notepaper]. [note by Ovenell?]


Two small bronze vessels. Tombs at Geezeh.

Figure of Osiris Do.

Arrow Heads. San: Zoan.

Lid of coffin of small mummy. Snake

Dish & Horus

Do. with crown [bracketed with previous entry] Geezeh

Head of Bronze Figure } Geezeh

Portion of a Head-dress with serpent. Geezeh.

Sacred Hawk. Benha. Athribis


Greek pin? Found near Athens

Small lamp.

Spoon. Roman? Found at Elephantine

Fragment of wall.

Collection of 18 moulds for making porcelain Eyes of Providence & other sacred symbols. Found at San. Zoan. 1857

Small Graeco-Egyptian Bust of Jupiter Serapis found at Alexandria

Fragment of Lamp. Rome. Child wearing Bulla.

Large white stone Scarabaeus

Circular Disk. ?From Onion near Heliopolis, Egypt.

Blue Porcelain Egyptian Vase

Stone primaeval Celt from Abbeville.

Bronze celt found near Sligo


Stone celt

Yellow Porcelain. Head of Bes.

[page 32]


Black & white granite – Sacred Eye of Providence


Earthenware Roman Vase – Found at Rome

Italo-Greek Vase, found at Cumae

Handle of Greek Vase inscribed ΘΕΟΔΟΤΟν found at Tel Basta = Bubastis

Two small greek [sic] vases Alexandria

Double Lamp, Alexandria

Terra cotta Roundel with date. Medinet in the Fyoom

Earthenware Pot. Mounds of Crocodilopolis. (Arsinoe) Fyoom.

Roman Lamp. Alexandria. Head of Diana

Etruscan Patera, found near Rome.

Arabic Amulet. Stone

Marble fragment of Lion’s Head. Found at Ephesus.

Stone Head with Lotus Head-dress. Found at Sakkara

Mummy wrapping. Found at Thebes.

Portion of painted do. do.

Lamp found at Alexandria

Oyster shells from the columns of the Temple of Jupiter Serapis at Poggnoli. See Lyell’s Geology. [Note: Poggnoli is what it says but it should be Pozzuoli – which is illustrated in Lyell’s 'Principles of Geology'. Either an Ovenall or Vaux’s spelling error).

Mummy Crocodile.

Pavement – Palace of the Caesars – Rome – 5 specimens

Sacred Hawk in wood, from Thebes.

Portion of Sistrum Handle with Head of Athor – Tel Basta (Bubastis).

Small porcelain figure (broken) of Isis & Horus.

Two Cufic [?] glass Coins, & elaborate Arabic Amulet.

Portion of Alabaster Vase with inscription.

[page 33]

Head of Sacred Hawk in Porcelain. Sakkara

Lamp found at Elephantine

Porcelain Scarabaeus & bugles from a mummy casing. Thebes.

Blue Porcelain figure (man & horse?) Tel Basta.

Ivory Dial &c. German work. 1614

Papyrus frond. Ain et Tin. Plain of Genneseret [NoteShould be Gennesaret – Ovenell or Vaux spelling error.]


[page 34]

In Answer to Mr. Rowell’s Ph Pamphlet

by Edward Evans. Nov. 1879.

[Foolscaps sheets,

in E.E.’s hand].

1. The catalogue in type of the Prehistoric Collection was partly made out of a portion of the Catalogue got up by Mr Rowell during Professor Phillips’s Keepership. It contained the description of Standlake British Village, British Flint implements, Bronze Implements, and the Pottery, but did not include the Danish collection of flint implements or the Swiss Lake Collection. This catalogue was written before I came to the Museum and the objects in the case (the numbers are still on them) were numbered in accordance with it. It was cut up to make the printed catalogue, the one printed at the Clarendon Press.

2 This appears to have been an afterthought of Mr. Rowell’s he said nothing to me about publishing it himself until after he had found out that he had done wrong in having it printed without consulting the Authorities of the Museum.

3 Mr. Franks [1] of the British Museum, and also Professor Westwood (to whom slip copies had been sent) marked several very important alterations to be made in the arrangement. This necessitated the cutting up, and rearrangement by Mr. Evans, of a great portion of this slip copy; but it was done by Mr. Parkers and Professor Westwood’s orders, for the reason that Mr. Rowell though repeatedly requested by the Authorities neglected to go on with it himself.

4 It was not taken out of Mr Rowell’s hands until after he had been repeatedly asked by Mr. Parker to finish it. Afterwards Mr. Parker asked Mr. Evans as his Assistant in

[page 35]

the Museum if he thought he could do it, and he could not have employed a better person under the circumstances as Mr. Evans besides other help towards it had copied nearly the whole for Press. [insert from page 34v [in pencil] Parker J.H. Books for cataloguing &c 1-17-4 {Cash Book 1870 // Evans Edw. Copying Catalogues 14.12.6 [end insert] And I may also state that if he had not finished it is [insert] sic [end insert] probable that it may have been left in the middle, like other jobs, and a new one begun.

5 I think it very improbable that Mr. Parker should have had these documents by him for eleven months and not have shown them to Mr. Rowell some time during that period. I should much rather suppose that Mr. Rowell had forgotten that he had seen them, possibly they may have got mislaid but I think it very improbable.

6 It may be awkward to catalogue when people are about in the Museum, but the same thing has been done before and after that time in Term. This catalogue of the Marble Rome [Room?] was chiefly done by me in copying Mr. Vaux’s labels which I had printed by hand and stuck in the Marbles, etc. some years before. The fragments of sculpture in the same room there is nothing known about but that they are figured in the “Marmora Oxoniensia” It is my opinion that the Marbles may have very well been left alone as most of them have good labels and that Mr. Rowell with a little exertion might have finished the Catalogue in type so long

7 I cannot remember that Mr. Rowell had much to do with Mr. Chester’s work in the Summer of 1878, I remember that I was handed over by him to Mr. Chester as knowing most about the Egyptian Collection, and I may say I was almost entirely at Mr. Chester’s service during the time he was at the Museum

[page 36]

but there were intervals between Mr Chester’s visits when we, that is Mr. Rowell and myself were about other work. Mr. Chester was here about three weeks of [sic] and on and I supplied him with information to make the Egyptian and Roman Catalogues. We [insert] [were] [end insert] almost entirely confined to the top room of the Museum excepting two or three days in getting the antiquities in a body up there and after they had been remounted and catalogued, into the cases again. A young man was employed at this line for carrying things up and down stairs and helping me to remount the specimens, etc. Mr. Rowell took charge of the Museum room, and his help seems to have been very little required by Mr. Chester. I believe that if he had tried he might have made some progress with the Catalogue in type. As I said before he had the room very much to himself and the visitors.

8 I arranged the Etruscan pottery as asked by Mr Vaux, but Mr. Rowell thought the shelves not quite to his mind and he altered one or two, but he did not alter the arrangement I supplied Mr. Vaux with the information he wanted with regard to the Etruscan & Italo-Greek pottery, and also the bronzes in making out his catalogue. Towards the close of Mr. Vaux’s stay Mr. Rowell asked Mr. Vaux if he might re-arrange the Italo-Greek bronzes in table case, which he had been cataloguing this was not at all necessary at that time as the objects were nearly all of them mounted and properly labelled, this job was begun and thus another three weeks or month thrown away which certainly could have been given to the catalogue in type. And another thing from Mr. Rowell falling ill before he had completed the bronzes, and having when at home ill

[page 37]

altered some of Mr Vaux’s numbers on the Catalogue of these bronzes consequently threw out all the numbers on the vases which I had done and which I shall consequently have to re-number.

9 Mr. Rowell was at home more than a few weeks and when well enough should have finished the Ashmolean Cataloguing then in hand instead of going to the Museum in the Parks. As for the Barlee Collection of British shells it might as well have been finished long since if it had not been repeatedly left to go on with a new job of not so much consequence. The collection came years ago into the hands of the University, at least one half of the specimens were mounted as they now are before they came, and the remainder ought to have been finished long ago.

10 These catalogues as they were left by Mr. Rowell (excepting perhaps that of the Esquimaux and Polynesian Collections) are practically of no value for reference, they will take some considerable time in rearranging and revising numbering of the articles to which they refer, etc. It is quite proper that some of the Authorities of the Museum should look over them, so as to know the state in which the so-much-talked-about Catalogue, made when Professor Phillips was Keeper of the Ashmolean ten years ago has been left by Mr. Rowell as Under Keeper of the Ashmolean June 1st 1879 though it had been published 10 years ago that this same catalogue was finished. [sic, this sentence does not appear to make sense though it has checked that it is transcribed accurately!]

11 Mr. Rowell made such a journey last year with regard to the Ethnological Collection known as the Ramsden Collection (now in the Ashmolean Museum, and which

[page 38]

was purchased by the University in 1878, but the one half or more of which did not come to the Ashmolean until the summer of 1879) he was also occupied some time before, in Museum time, with making outlines of some of these objects (for comparison with those in London) so as to obtain their localities. The M.S. book in which these things had been drawn, and any notes which he may have made concerning the objects he took away from the Museum. He has also in in [insert] [sic] [end insert] his possession another M.S. book in which the description of the several objects of this Collection had been given with their measurements: this was copied by myself at the time, and I stuck corresponding numbers on the articles. This last M.S. book I have applied for more than once, and have been told it cannot be found. Mr. Rowell has also the catalogue of the African Collection in his possession. These and any other things which he holds belonging to the Ashmolean Museum now that he has entirely done with the Museum I think it his duty to have sent in before now.

For Mr. Rowell to say that these catalogues were got up chiefly in his own time, is not much to his praise where is their [insert] [sic] [end insert] any other Catalogue of the Donations and additions to this Museum which as Under Keeper for many years past it was his duty to keep, in a straightforward understandable way.

12 Mr. Rowell states on page 1 that it was his intention to publish it himself if not taken up by the Authorities.

13 Mrs Evans heard Mr. Rowell say at the time that Dr. Sewell had ordered him to go on with his Catalogue.

[page 39]

I remember Mr. Parker saying that he was sick of Mr. Rowell’s behaviour after having written to him so many times on the subject of finishing his catalogue, and that if he did not do something by some fixed date, I believe he said the 1st of March, he would try what I could do towards finishing it. Of course I consented as it was my duty to do. I said afterwards to Mr. Parker when Mr. Rowell had returned the proofs, that I should be obliged to alter the slip sheets according to corrections by Mr. Franks and Professor Westwood, (Some of these corrections had not been made on the second proof sheet by Mr. Rowell, who had each had a copy of the 1st proof sent to him by Mr. Rowell.

Some recent additions had to be inserted, some important alterations found absolutely necessary, together with corrections of mistakes not a few (as can be seen by the copy which I hold) as for example Five British Urns, one of them being supposed the finest known, were entered in his Catalogue as Localities Unknown. When they are well known to have been found in Barrows near Winterslow Hutt Inclosures, [sic] about seven miles East of Sarum, Wiltshire, and were given by Mr. Hutchins in 1847 instead of in 1845. But they are not all Cinerary Urns, as entered in List of Donations 1836-1868. One is a ‘drinking Cup’ so termed and is the only vessel of its kind in the Museum. these and other very important corrections of Mr. Rowell’s Second Proof sheet, as example describing separately something in a scientific way twelve objects which had been entered as twelve bronze celts, various in form and size. This entry included

[page 40]

many of the types of which we have examples in the Museum. I scarcely need to mention any other examples of Mr. Rowell’s Cataloguing, and only find it it [insert] sic [end insert] necessary to say that with regard to his Catalogue it has been found necessary in many instances to alter, but in most cases re-write the description of the articles. In the Danish Collection of Flint and Stone Implements numbering only about one hundred and twenty objects, ten of the best articles had been left out of his Catalogue altogether. There are many other mistakes which can only be known but by comparing his Catalogue and mine.

15 These catalogues have been referred to before under No. 1 on first page. The ancient British (i.e. part of the Prehistoric Collection) formed one of these M.S. Books, the Anglo-Saxon two, and the Anglo-Roman or Romano-British one such book. These four books formed a portion of that Catalogue got up by Mr. Rowell during Professor Phillip’s Keepership of the Ashmolean, and to which reference has been so repeatedly made in Mr. Rowell’s Pamphlet, Mr Rowell says decidedly on page 1 that there had been no catalogues mad [sic] before by him of the prehistoric and Anglo-Saxon Collections. Certainly the Danish Prehistoric Collection and that of the Swiss Lakes had not been include [insert] sic [end insert] by him in the prehistoric. Leaving these out the four M.S. Books were used to form the printed catalogue in question but of course altered for the Press. Mr. Parker says more than once that he thought the catalogue made under Professor Phillips and the printed one of 1878 were the same. Anyhow one was destroyed to form the other.

16 It is my opinion that it was not by Mr. Parker’s arrangement

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that Mr. Rowell could not go on with the catalogue. Other things certainly were done without Mr. Parker’s order, and were not of so much consequence as finishing of the catalogue, and could have been (and in one instance anyhow) and [sic] would have been better done at a latter [insert] [sic] [end insert] period.

As I remarked before it would have been better for Mr. Rowell to have kept a good Log book of the Museum, then after he had begun his Catalogue to leave it in such a muddle.

17 I should have thought that Mr. Rowell might at least have supposed that Mr Parker would likely have put the catalogue in to my hands to finish, as no person could know better what had been the late additions, and donations to the Collections: and also how the numbering of the articles stood, which bye the bye had to be entirely altered. The suggestions as to the arrangement of the Catalogue were given chiefly by Mr. Franks and Professor Westwood, as before stated, and to follow out these suggestions in the first place required the transpositions of many of the descriptions and consequently the cutting up of the slips. Afterwards it was found necessary to have most of the descriptions re-written by myself, and therefore the distribution and re-setting of the type which was a great nuisance.

18 It is ridiculous for Mr. Rowell to talk in this way, he must and that to a very great extent be held responsible if for instance the history of any of the articles or the articles themselves have been destroyed, or stolen from the Museum for want of proper care during the time he was Under-Keeper, and above all for not keeping

[page 42]

a proper register and numbering the articles to correspond with it. Mr Evans cannot be expected to know what was in the Museum before he had anything to do with it, if no proper register was formerly kept. That some things have been stolen from want of care he knows very well, though he had often said the case was not safe without locks.

19 This is true enough, and if the arrangement here spoken of when first Mr. Parker became Keeper of the Museum, it would have been a great deal more satisfactory for both parties, and also better for the Museum perhaps.

20. Mr. Rowell seems to have known this as he more than once suggested to Mr. Chester, and Mr. Vaux too, that I had more acquaintance, and knew more about the Egyptian, and the Greek Collection than he did, though I did not know more of these than any other collections in the Museum, not so much as of that called prehistoric.

21 Very true, the Catalogue will take sometime to arrange as can be seen as it was left by Mr Rowell, excluding the portion in type.

22 Mr. Rowell may have said and a great deal besides the numbering would require corrections.

23 I have cause to believe that Mr. Rowell did not give sufficient attention to some things owing I suppose to having too much to attend to in both museums, and consequently not being able to give his fixed attention to either. As before stated it was app Mr. Rowell’s duty to make a catalogue of the Museum or else to have kept

[page 43]

up the interleaved printed one of 1838. I cannot think that the Ashmolean Catalogue, as it is, does him much credit.

24 These suggestions by Professor Westwood with regard to the Foreign examples for comparison, were put in the Catalogue according to his wish: formerly Mr. Rowell had decidedly objected to the Professor to insert them in his own catalogue.

25 This is not bad, I should have thought and I believe [a] reasonable person would have done so, that Mr. J.H. Parker as Curator of the Ashmolean Museum and especially when he was supported by the principal working visitor, had a right to demand Mr. Rowell, or myself, to follow out his instructions as concerning anything relating to the museum under is [insert] sic [end insert] charge. But it’s very well known to Mr. Evans that Mr. Rowell has often times before (owing I suppose to having had for so many years past the chief responsibility of the museum on himself, objected to Mr. Parker’s wishes in small things.

As for the catalogues, in the form they are in now, are of little use for reference, for excepting the Esquimaux, and perhaps the Polynesian, none of the remainder are numbered for reference and therefore very little use in the Museum: and some of the parts of the catalogue have not been made out at all.

26 Professor Westwood marked some of the alterations as did Mr [word heavily crossed out] [insert] Franks [end insert] and others were suggested by those gentlemen; and some others which were suggested by myself were sanctioned by those two gentlemen and also by Mr. Vaux who had been appointed as general Editor: afterwards the whole was looked over and sanctioned by Mr. Parker the Keeper what more did Mr. Rowell require.

[page 44]

I think rather than be upset about the affair, Mr. Rowell ought to feel obliged to Mr. Evans, for making the corrections which he did, as can be seen by the slips as returned from the Clarendon Press.

27 In cataloguing a quantity of objects of the same general glass, but different in detail there is no help for repeating the word ‘Bronze Celt’, ‘Flint Celt’, etc., without you substitute ‘Ditto’ or ‘the same’ or ‘similar to No. so and so’. The last two I think are the least objectionable.

28 Mr. Franks marked several alterations, as for instance, where some Danish Implements of Bronze had been catalogued by Mr. Rowell alog with the Danish Flint and Stone Implements, Mr. Franks had marked them of different sections

as ‘section A., Flints etc’, ‘section B. Bronze Implements’, these alterations had not been made in Mr. Rowell’s second proofs which came into my hands, though they had been marked in the first proof sheets by Mr. Franks, as before stated. I do not know what Sir John Lubbock knows about the Ashmolean Museum or that he has anything to do with regard to making the Catalogue of it. Professor Westwood, and A.W. Franks of the British Museum (as those were the persons requested by the Curator to do so) were the persons to have consulted, and afterwards have acted on their suggestions.

29 About letting Mr. Rowell know of the changes that were being made in his catalogue (I am glad he calls it his). I should have thought as (I said before) for him to know that the changes, or alterations, etc., were sanctioned by Mr. Parker, by Professor Westwood, by Mr. Franks, and by Mr. Vaux: and that therefore they would probably be all for the best. But leaving this out

[page 45]

of the question altogether. The catalogue was to be finished, and Mr. Rowell, though repeatedly requested to do so, did not take much notice of these requests. Afterwards Mr. Parker gave it into my hands as he thought [sic – missing word ‘me’? AP] the most competent to finish it, and this I think I have done quite as well as Mr. Rowell could have been expected to have done it; but to me it is not quite satisfactory, as I said before, there are some doubts as to some of the things given by Mr. Henderson in 1847.

In reply to Mr. Rowell, I may state that I was so fully engaged with my duties at the Ashmolean Museum, that I could not run backward and forwards to him, to shew him any alterions [sic] that had been determined on, if such a thing had been found necessary it is probable that Mr. Rowell would have caused more delay by his objection. And after all Mr. Evans did not consider it as his duty after having received instructions from a higher quarter.

30 Mr. Evans is quite sure that Mr. Rowell said, more than once, to Professor Westwood that he would throw up the Catalogue of the Museum, if he was not allowed to have is [insert] sic [end insert] own way, and this happened once when the discussion ensued about putting in the Foreign Examples for comparison with the Prehistoric Flint and Stone Implements of Europe. Mr. Rowell refused to do so. Mr. Rowell himself on page 19 allows that he may have said this, and that he may have added the Museum also

31 The catalogue Mr. Rowell still retains. I do not know that he has any right to retain any Catalogue of the Museum after resigning his office as Underkeeper of the Museum

32 Professor Westwood said that each article should have

[page 46]

a separate number not a separate label, thus, Nos 1-6, ‘Six Assagis, [sic] etc.’, or that if the six should be under one number they ought be entered thus. No. 1. a-f, Six Assagis [sic], etc. He did not say that the smallest objects should be entered separately. This plain [insert] sic [end insert] could not be followed out for instance with the smaller Egyptian and other objects without an endless repetition.

33. This is not quite correct, for as stated before Mr. Chester was almost entirely confined to the top large room as a work-room excepting a few days in getting the objects up there, and afterwards into these places again.

34 This is a false statement as Mr. Rowell had all the assistance which he required of me during that week when fixing those things on the staircase. Mr. Chester was away that week, and I remember the time so well, for I thought to have gone to the Oxford Races one of the days but we were too busy fixing those things every morning and we finished so far that I could be spared to attend to Mr. Chester on the following [day?] Mr. Rowell fixed some of the things himself, but for him to say that he could have no help from me, it is a mistatement. [sic]

35 This as I said before was not at all pressing as most of the things were already arranged and mounted in the case. This job of remounting and rearranging these things might very well [sic missing word ‘have’? AP] given place to finishing the Catalogue.

36 I should be glad if Mr. Rowell will return any notes which he may have taken then respecting the Ramsden Collection and also the outlines of some of the objects. I am confident

[page 47]

that he took them away from the Museum. I shall also be glad if he will find the Catalogue of this Catalogue [E. means Collection] now somewhere amongst his other Catalogues in the University Museum. I have applied twice already for this book as before stated.

37 Mr. Rowell must I think make a mistake, it must have been considerably more than two or three weeks, as he left the Ashmolean early in November 1879 I believe.

38 This was not the only job which should not have been left in the middle. For instance the Harvey Collection of Shells, the Barrow collection of Arctic Birds and even the General Collection of Foreign Birds has not been finished as there are the cases to letter and the Birds and the Catalogue to number in accordance.

39 I cannot understand how Mr. Rowell could even call the first catalogue entirely his own, as I was engaged upon it whith [insert] sic [end insert] him and amongst other things copied nearly the whole of it for Press.

40 The errors here spoken of were only two slight mistakes, one was I believe putting Mr. Stephen Stones’ name to a flint arrow-head, which appears was given by his Executo [insert] sic [end insert] Exequetors: the other mistake was putting a D.D. to a Gentleman’s name where it was not wanting. These errors are hardly to be named in the same breath with many of Mr. Rowell’s. Especially that about the British Urns given by Mr. Hutchins as before mentioned.

41 I do not think that Mr. Rowell understands much about Cataloguing Antiquities if he can object to inserting in a

[page 48]

Catalogue of Prehistoric Antiquities, Foreign Examples for comparison it is done in the catalogues of all the Chief Museums in Great Britain. It does necessitate the removable [insert] sic [end insert] of these things from their proper cases, unless there are duplicates a double number answers every purpose. And if this had not been thought good it would not have been recommended by Professor and myself and sanctioned by the Curators.

42 I should say that it would be just those persons who have some knowledge on the subject who would require measurements for comparison with similar objects in other Collections, even to the 1/10 of an inch. And in the descriptions of objects it is quite necessary to give references to similar or like objects figured in some well known work on the subject. As for instance with the our Danish Collection of Prehistoric Implements which is very good, I have made reference to Worsaaes’ ‘Prehistoric Antiquities of Denmark’ [2] A copy of which we have in the Museum, and Mr. Parker has the woodcuts. And again, with our Bronze implements I have referred to Kemble’s ‘Horae Ferales’ the plates of which are by Mr. Franks. [3] Mr. Rowell had not made any references to either of these books, and had not given one reference with regard to the Danish Collection

43 I should say that the length and width of almost any object if taken accurately and to the 1/20 in would be sufficient to identify it amongst a great many others.

44 Doubtless of that time (?) I am of the opinion that the history of a great many things and in some

[page 49]

cases the objects [insert] sic [end insert] themselves have been lost since the Museum was opened in Oxford in 1684. Where is the Tradescant Collection now according to their Catalogue of 1656. Doubtless the history of many objects have [insert] sic [end insert] been lost by not keeping a proper Log Book and that of a much more recent date than that of the Tradescants or that of the opening of the Museum in Oxford in 1684

Edward Evans

Notes by transcriber

[1] Augustus Wollaston Franks (1826-1897) British Museum keeper of British and medieval antiquities and ethnography

[2] Jens Jacob Asmussen Worsaae (1821-1885), the book is wrongly named it actually is The Primaeval Antiquities of Denmark, first published in 1847 in Danish and in 1849 in a (poor?) translation by William John Thoms [printed by J.H. Parker of London]: The primeval antiquities of Denmark, tr. [from Danmarks Oldtid oplyst ved Oldsager og Gravhøie] and applied to the illustration of similar remains in England, by W.J. Thoms.

[3] John Mitchell Kemble Horæ ferales; or, Studies in the archæology of the northern nations, ed. by R.G. Latham and A.W. Franks. London 1863 Lovell, Reeve and Co.


[page 50]

To the Rev’d Professor Price     [from G.A. Rowell][Exercise book]

Rev’d. Sir,                    February

1. Mr Vaux was here on Saturday (Feb 21st [1880]) but only for a very short time as he had to hurry off to catch the train.

He agreed with me that the entries in the Catalogue from 245 to 327 should be struck out, to prevent confusion from double numbering, and the following substituted:-- For implements of stone, flint, or bone not European, or of obsidian or shell, see catalogues of the other collections.

2. Since Mr. Vaux was here, circumstances have occured [insert] sic [end insert] which lead me to doubt whether he can go on with the corrections of the Catalogue, without some different arrangement from that under which (as I understand them) I am instructed to do so. And as I should be very sorry for it to be thought that I declined to go on with the Catalogues except on good grounds I submit the following in explanation.

3 The task would not be a trifling one, but I would gladly undertake it, especially as regards that part of the catalogue now in type, as a large portion of the collection to which it relates, has come into the Museum under my care and arrangement; but considering my age, it is necessary that I should be enabled to carry them on free from any unnecessary annoyance.

4 When, in May last, I resigned my office in the Ashmolean Museum, I informed Mr. Parker that I would still gladly give any information in my power on points connected with the Catalogue I then had in hand, but although I was aware that alterations were being made in it, I received no communication on the subject till the 20th of August, when Mr. Parker sent “a final proof (to me the only one) of the first sheet,” with the intimation that I should find it “practically my

[page 51] [NB from this point the pages are not numbered by Ovenell]

own catalogue with some amendments”. However on looking it over I found errors had been introduced into it, which I at once brought under Mr. Parker’s notice and thus prevented the sheet being printed off, as but for this, it would have been next morning.

5. To that letter I had no answer, and heard no more of the printing of the Catalogue till early in the present month, when Mr. Evans sent three proof sheets to me. But, as I had no desire to interfere again in the matter, I did not look over the proofs till after two or three days, when I sent the following to Mr. Parker, and received the reply.


47 Woodstock Rd

Feb. 12 1880


Mr. Evans sent to me a few days back, proof sheets (3) of the Catalogue. I think many corrections are necessary, which I will make for your consideration, if you wish me to do so, but I have no wish to appear officious, and Mr. Evans tells me that the proof sheets were sent by himself and not [insert] sic [end insert] [insert] not [end insert] by your directions

I am Sir

Your obedient servant

G.A. Rowell

To J.H. Parker Esq., C.B.

7 Ashmolean Museum

Oxford Feb. 12 / 80

Dear Mr. Rowell,

According to the wish of Mr. Price the Manager of the University Press, the Visitors of the Ashmolean Museum here appointed Mr. Vaux the general editor of the Catalogue, & no sheet will be sent to press without his signature; we all wish that it should be made as accurate as possible, & your long experience ought to enable you to assist materially in this. You certainly

[page 52]

sent your M.S. to the printers before it was in a fit state for printing & that has caused a great deal of worry & annoyance to everybody concerned, but if you can assist in correcting any errors we shall all be glad for you to do so. I shall be glad if you will make the corrections you propose on the proof sheet & send them to Mr. Vaux as soon as you can; it is no longer my business, it is certainly entirely taken out of my hands.

yours truly

for John Henry Parker C.B.


P.S. If you propose to do this please to send word immediately to Mr. Price to that effect.

8. On receiving this answer I looked over the proofs with some care, when finding the errors were more numerous than I anticipated, I brought them under your notice [mark] in accordance with Mr. Parkers directions. [insert on page 51v] [mark] I overlooked the name of Mr Vaux in Mr. Parkers letter. [end insert] What the errors are I will presently show, but in the first place would call attention to Mr. Parkers remarks on the defects of the Catalogue as left by me in his hands, and the great worry and annoyance it had caused to everybody concerned. I think his remarks altogether uncalled for at this time, and should not now notice them, but from having heard similar remarks elsewhere, with an endeavour, as I understand it, to throw the blame of errors in the catalogue now in type, on defects in my own: and of which I, fortunately, have kept a copy.

9.  As regards my own Catalogue, it may be borne in mind, that for convenience in alterations it was still in sheet copy when given up to Mr. Parker. It had not then been decided that [insert] how [end insert] the names of donors should be given, i.e. whether the Esqs. [sic] should be altogether excluded

[page 53]

and merely the initial letters of honours be given as M.A. F.R.S. &c. Whether there should be any separate and distinctive list of donors or not, or whether there should be any other arrangement made on such points. And from changes which had been made, there were some irregularities in the numbering, of which I informed Mr. Parker at the time. These points I had left for correction when the matter should be set in pages, but otherwise the whole had been generally well corrected, and I would here ask Mr. Parker to note one important error in it.

10. In all cases I had asked for the greatest freedom in pointing out its faults. It had been gone over, at least, in part by Sir John Lubbock, the Professor of Anglo-Saxon, [1] and many others, in fact by all I could induce to take that trouble and from whom I could hope for information, to several I was thankful for suggestions made and adopted – for many years Mr. Franks had kindly afforded me all information I was desirous of on Museum matters, and as regards the Catalogue he had gone over the principal part, article by article, in the Museum, when he merely shifted some from the collections in which they had been placed, which I had seldom ventured to do on my own responsibility. Furthermore Mr. Franks had a copy of the Catalogue in Mr Mosley’s room, with whom he was stoping [insert] sic [end insert] when in Oxford, and, I understand expressed his approbation of it, besides which Mr. Parker had stated that Mr. Franks kindly gave up an afternoon to him in going through the Catalogue. With these facts it seems strange indeed that Mr. Parker never directed me to correct some, at least, of the faults in my Catalogue of which he now complains.

[page 54]

11. The portion of Mr. Parkers Catalogue now in type may be considered as in print, with all its errors, as it certainly would have been but for my interference, and I do not hesitate in stating that such a catalogue, short as it is, would, if published, have been a source for ridicule on all concerned in it, and a disgrace on the University at large. This may seem strange language, but I will further say, that its errors are all from alteration or deviation from my own catalogue, which is the ground work of the whole.

In this I am, doubtless, laying myself open to the charge of egotism; but I do not mean that my own Catalogue is faultless, and I beg the perusal of the following to the end, before an opinion on this point is decidedly made up

It would be useless to attempt to describe all the corrections necessary in the catalogue now in type, the notice of a few must suffice:--

12 In the first final proof D.D. was appended to the name of Mr. Hagley, a well remembered and highly respected house apothecary in the Radcliffe Infirmary. And an implement of conglomerate gravel, was described as made out of a rare (perhaps unique) kind of conglomerate of small stones.

13. In the later proofs this implement, both in page 9. No. 204, and in page 19. No. 329 is described as “of hard conglomerate of sandstone”, which I also believe to be a mistake, and that it is of the common conglomerate gravel which abounds in the gravel beds in the neighbourhood of, and especially that in which the pits were such, [sic, illegible] in one of which this implement was found, several lumps of it being represented in the model of the British Village now in the Museum. In the first paragraph of the description of this

[page 55]

implement (page 19) it is described as “flat on one side”, and five lines lower as “rather convex across the front, and slightly concave from end to end, so as to throw the pointed end forward when used.” In the same page the implement is alluded to as the “implement of conglomerate gravel; [insert] [“] [end insert] and in another part of the same page the gravel is mentioned as naturally concreted into a hard and solid mass. Surely there should be no such discrepancies in a Catalogue of the Ashmolean Museum.

14. In page 16 Capt. Reinhold Forster R.N. is given as the donor of articles in Capt. Cook’s Collection. This certainly should not be. Forster was a D.C.L. but not a Captain. And there certainly [insert] sic [end insert] is no proof (to my knowledge) that he was donor of Cooks Collection. That the articles under the latter name were Capt. Cooks there can be no doubt, but that is all that is known of them.

[On page 54v ‘Capt. Cook’]

15. A large bequest chiefly of British remains was made to the Ashmolean Museum by the Rev’d. A.B. Hutchins who died in 1847 but the articles were not obtained till about 1854 when they were found in a back building of the Bank at Andover where they had been stowed away for some years and forgotten. I could obtain no information as to their discovery or locality when I fetched them from Andover, or elsewhere, at that time, but after much research, during four or five years, I found a very full and interesting document, now well known, in Hoare’s Modern South Wiltshire, [2] a work I had passed over as having no connection with antiquities although I had examined Hoare’s Ancient Wiltshire several times and almost read through the whole. [3]

[page 56]

16. After very careful examination of the articles and the account of their discovery, I made out my description of the whole as far as I could, but, assuming nothing, except on good grounds, of some of the urns, I gave the localities as unknown. This however is not the case now, as I believe a locality or probable locality is now assigned to all, although Mr. Evans told me a few days back, that he had never read the account from which above information can be obtained about them. He may be right in what he has done, but I have never been spoken to about these alterations and I do not see how I can correct the proofs without knowing what the changes have been, and the cause of their having been made.

17. One of the Urns in this Collection (No. 504) is remarkable in many respects. It is about the largest, and certainly is the finest and best preserved in the Kingdom and thus far unique. The manner in which it was deposited in the tumulus, of which the account is very interesting, was I believe, as far as is known unique (under an arching of flints) and some articles found within it, are not only unique but also beautiful specimens of work of the age. Now as much interest attaches to articles of this kind found together, I gave the descriptions of these in sequence, with a reference amongst the bronze articles to them. In Mr. Parkers Catalogue the descriptions are given apart and under different heads, as the Urn No. 504, Bronze spatula No. 446, small Bronze implement No. 447, Twenty six Pulley Beads (i.e. cone shaped amber ornaments) No. 462, A small quantity of brittle Human hair 463, and two Human teeth 465, each entry being connected with the other entries by cross references.

[page 57]

18. The reason assigned, as I understand, for this mode of arrangements in the Catalogue is that the Pottery, Bronze, and other articles, should be kept distinct in classes. Now if this system is to be carried out the Brighthampton Collection of Anglo-Saxon remains must be broken up in a like manner whereas its chief interest is in the remains from each grave, be they what they may, being kept distinct and separate from all others, with an account of their position relative to the human remains with which they were found. How far such a change would be approved of I leave to others to imagine.

19. A novel feature in Mr. Parker’s catalogue is the assignment of uses and localities to articles on the grounds of probability. The Bronze spatula No. 446 is thus suggested to have been a razor (rather a stretch of imagination) and the cone shaped amber ornaments 462, as perhaps a necklace, although there are no visible means for their suspension for such a purpose.

20. 247 [Printed out of proof [arrow]]

A smoothly-worked oblong Article of slate or hone stone. Length 4 3/4 in.; width, 2 in.; thickness, 1/4 in.; both sides rather convex, and the edges rounded. It has three holes at each end for attachment, and probably was worn as an ornament or badge of honour. It was found with a skeleton in a barrow near Winterslow Hut Inn, Wilts. ‘A lance-head was near the left arm, and a very handsome, though rude, supposed drinking cup between the knees and feet;’ but these cannot be identified. See ‘Hoare’s Modern South Wiltshire’ vol. v Hundred of Alderbury, pp. 209-212

Rev. A.B. Hutchings, 1847

A similar article is represented in Hoare’s ‘Ancient South Wilts’, plate 12.

The foregoing in print is an entry from my Catalogue in which I describe the article (No. 461) as probably having been worn as an ornament or badge of honour. The words in the original account, already referred to, are ‘This last relic may probably have been

[page 58]

some badge of honour, or gorget affixed to the dress of the deserved. In Hoare’s Ancient Wiltshire Pl. 12 (according to the reference) a similar article is described as an ornament “probably suspended from the neck, it was found immediately under the right hand and close to the breast of the skeleton”. Dr. Thurnam [4] was especially interested in the Hutchins Collection. He went over the whole with minute care more than once, and had photographs taken of several articles, yet he not only made no objection to my description of this article but in his work “Crania Britannica” (afterwards published) a similar article is represented which was found in front of the breast and between the bone of the forearm, from which he refers to a notice in page 80 of gold plates and ornaments found on the breast of skeletons in British graves and he says “with gold plates of this description, should be compared the polished flat stones of chlorite slate, perforated and evidently intended to be worn in the same way, three at least of which have been found in Wiltshire.” He also refers to the Archaeological [pencil] [Journal?] [end pencil] Vol. 18 p. 160 in which a similar stone article is stated to have been found “in front of the breast of a skeleton”.

To this I may add that the late Dr. Akerman [5] was much interested in the Hutchins Collection and made no objection to my description and as already stated this was the case with Mr. Franks, and yet, on the vague assertion that “It is thought that these articles were used as wrist guards to prevent injury from the recoil of the bow string” the allusion to the probability of their having been used as ornaments or badges of honour is altogether suppressed, and reference is made to a representation of a wrist guard in Greenwell’s British Barrows. [6]

[page 59]

21. By whom and where is the opinion advanced that these were wrist guards? The reference to Greenwell’s plate is simply absurd, and enough to upset all confidence in every similar reference given in the Catalogue. This article is flat, slightly convex on both sides, and quite unfit for fastening to the wrist for the purpose assigned for it: that represented in the plate in British Barrows is concavo-convex as if worked for the very purpose, and was found on the wrist of a skeleton

22. [Printed off cut from proofs]

A British gold coin. Loose with wheel-reverse convex with the letters ‘ODVOC’. Found in Standlake Common, Oxon, Oct. 1849, in making a watercourse for the inclosure. Weight, 3 dwts. 12 grains.       Rev. Dr. Plumplie

A similar coin is represented in Camden’s Brittannia [sic] [NB the writing looks a bit odd here, is the word correct?—the reference must be to this I would have thought AP] [7] with the letters ‘BODVO’, from which it appears that, in both cases, the stamp was too wide for the metal, one letter being wanted on each coin.

The foregoing cutting is from my Catalogue and a comparison of it with No. 465 in Mr. Parkers will show the error in the latter in which the words are shown as alike in both coins. This is doubtless a printers error, but it is especially strange that it should have passed unnoticed even in the final proof.

23. The following relates to one of the most interesting articles added to the collection for some time past and although given in my catalogue is altogether omitted in Mr. Parkers.

[cut-out of printed entry in Rowell’s proofs]

204. A supposed British stirrup, found about 10 ft. from the surface in a gravel composed of rounded pebbles of Septaria, etc., under a stiff blue marl, in the Old Ford at Islip, Oxon, when excavating for the foundations of the New Bridge over the river Ray, 1875              William Burns, 1876

[page 58v]

[in pencil at bottom of page presumably relating to Rowell’s notes in point 22, presumably Ovenell’s notes] (Do the proofs of Rowell’s catalogue, as distinct from the revised ‘Parker’ catalogue exist?

Check whether this entry and errors occurs any where in the archives) [end pencil note]

[page 60]

This article is of iron, similar in appearance to that of 421 as it is of hammer-work, with no mark of a file or apparent attempt at polishing. The under side has been carefully beaten up, seemingly to make the upper part round and easy for an unprotected foot, and the side bars are gilt with a narrow ribbon of gold spirally wound round them. From the variety of iron articles of the British period, and its being uncertain that the early British used stirrups, many doubts have been expressed as to this article being of that time. But the fact that the Britons did not bury the dead with their ornaments and implements, as they were in Pagan Anglo-Saxon times, will account for the variety of British implements of war; as all such articles on or near the surface would have been decayed long since. The articles buried in Saxon graves, were, in a great degree, at once excluded from the air, still those of iron are generally almost destroyed by oxidation; but this article and the horn-shoes (No. 200) were at a considerable depth, and under conditions where they must have been excluded from atmospheric influence in a much greater degree than articles at three or four feet below the surface on dry land. As regards the date of this stirrup, the lavish use of gold  upon it, shows that it belonged to someone of wealth at the time, and the unskilful manner of the use of the gold, and the workmanship of the article altogether, shows that it must have been of an early time. It cannot be attributed to Roman or Saxon workmen.

24 The foregoing is far from showing all the corrections needed in the Catalogue. There are mistakes in some of the donors names, change of arrangement and other corrections to be made, but I believe I have

[page 61]

stated enough to show that it is not only a correction of errors that is required so much as a thorough revision of the whole. I consider and have considered, that in working up such a Catalogue as that of the Ashmolean Museum it is necessary to see as it were the whole in advance but in this case there seems to have been an utter want of forethought on all points, there has been no arrangement as to how the names of donors should be given, and thus in page 2 we have the name John Evans without any indication of his rank as D.C.L. F.R.S. etc.

The Introduction to this part of the Catalogue although set up and corrected was omitted and no arrangement appears to have been made as to the Catalogue of the Local Collection, and on this subject the following letter I had written with the intention to send it to Mr. Vaux


University Museum

Feb. 1880

Dear Sir,

I beg your consideration as to how the Catalogue of the Oxford collections is to be made out, as it will be well to look ahead on this subject.

If the whole of the articles are fully described in the General Catalogue, with [insert] will [end insert] the words “Oxford Collection” with each articles belonging to it, with a list of the numbers, be sufficient. It does not seem so, and yet the whole can hardly be reprinted for the Local collection for its separate publication.

Would it be well to give a short notice of each article in the General Catalogue, enough to direct attention to a longer description in the Catalogue of the Oxford Collection, which probably will be published with the General Catalogue, and

[page 62]

perhaps separately also. In these cases there would be but little difficulty as a reference to the Local Catalogue could be readily made.

I think it will be quite necessary to go on with both catalogues at once if there are to be two. I do not mean in printing both, but in preparing the Local Catalogue as we go on with the printing of the other, and doubtless both must go on in the same order i.e. stone implements first.

I am Dear Sir,

Your obedient Servant

G.A. Rowell

To W.S. Vaux Esq’r.

26. Thus far I had written, intending to submit the foregoing for your consideration, and had in part marked the Catalogue with the corrections which I think necessary, when I received the following letter from Mr. Vaux with the return of my catalogue which he had taken with him for perusal.

27. London

Feb. 27. 1880

Dear Mr. Rowell,

I return your Cat’l registered with many thanks. I have altered manifold blunders but I dont think that as Editor I am at liberty to make the alterations you suggest. I have written to Prof. Westwood who I hear has decided to leave the Catalogue as it came into my hands.

Ever sincerely yours

W.S.W. Vaux.

28. One of the points Mr. Vaux refers to relates to the exclusion

[page 63]

of numbers 245 to 327 as at present in Mr. Parkers Catalogue an alteration which I understood you approved of, and to which Mr. Vaux at once agreed when in Oxford but which he now states that he does not consider himself at liberty to make. It therefore appears that there is no responsible Editor, and, as I can foresee nothing but confusion and unpleasantness with such an arrangement, I must respectfully decline any further connection with the Catalogue. My interference with it, since it has been in Mr. Parkers hands, has not been from my own desire, but from Mr. Parkers having sent final-proofs to me with errors such as I could not overlook or pass over.

29. I have shewn there has been much want of forethought on several points connected with the getting up of the Catalogue, and such I believe is the case on this question. The entrance of these articles may not be inconvenient at the present time, but the confusion from the double numbering will be when the Catalogue of the various collections – i.e. Egyptian, Indian, African, American, Esquimaux, and Polynesian,-- with which these articles are connected, have to be made out. In fact there is at present a case in point. No. 245 in Mr. Parkers Catalogue is No. 9 in Mr. Chesters Catalogue of the Egyptian Collection.

If the articles are to remain in the various Collections as at present, there ought to be a reference with No. 245 to No. 9 in the Egyptian Collection; or if the articles 245 to 327 are to form a separate collection, then there should be a distinct reference with No. 9 in the Egyptian Catalogue to No. 245 under this new arrangement; and so on with the whole of the articles referred to. Can such an arrangement lead to anything but confusion?

[page 64]

Can it be necessary? Or can it be shown that such a system has been adopted in any other Museum in the Kingdom

30. In conclusion I can only express my regret on being compelled to adopt the course I now take. During many years I indulged in the hope that I might be enabled to make up a catalogue of certain portions of the Ashmolean Museum, which, with such aids as I might obtain, would have been worthy of adoption by the University and not unworthy of the Institution to which it would relate; or at least that I might have been able to assist in such a work. I believe I have given sufficient proof of my earnest exertions for that purpose, and still hope that my manuscript catalogue, to the getting up of which I devoted so many years, may be preserved and yet prove useful for the object for which they were written.

I am Rev. Sir,

Your Respectful

and Obedient Serv’t.

G.A. Rowell



[in pencil, note by Ovenell?]

[in large folio ms]

[arrow pointing to note on page 63v, given below] It will be useful to check the facts above by comparing Evans’ ms catalogue, in which he also pasted up the proof cut-outs, to see whether they are Rowell’s first proofs, or ‘final-proofs’ (which Rowell calls ‘Parker’s Catalogue’ as distinct from his, Rowell’s catalogue)

[page 63v, in middle of page towards end of the transcription of Rowell’s letter]

[in pencil, note by Ovenell] Evans’ ms. catalogue of the Prehistoric section is pasted up with [insert] most of [end insert] Rowell’s 1st proof (what Rowell calls his catalogue as distinct from ‘Parkers’ catalogue, ‘Parkers’ catalogue was in fact Evans’ corrected version, which was printed later, but seems to lack the Prefactory matter which exists in the copy marked Rowells 2nd proof. Rowell’s ‘2nd proof’ is in fact the Evans’ version, corrected by Rowell but whose corrections were not excepted. [sic, presumably Ovenell means ‘accepted’?]

Notes by transcriber

[1] According to this site, the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo Saxon in 1880 was John Earle (1824-1903) who was that professor until his death (NB he was George Rolleston’s brother-in-law, having married Rolleston’s sister Jane).

[2] Richard Colt Hoare’s The modern history of south Wiltshire 1822-1844. London: Printed by and for John Bowyer Nichols and John Gough Nichols

[3] Richard Colt Hoare’s The ancient history of Wiltshire 1821 London. : Published by Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, and Lepard, Rowell might have meant The Ancient History of North Wiltshire [1819] or The Ancient History of South Wiltshire [1812]

[4] John Thurnam (1810-1873) Psychiatrist and ethnologist.

[5] John Yonge Akerman (1806-1873) Numismatist and antiquary

[6] William Greenwell British barrows : a record of the examination of sepulchral mounds in various parts of England 1877 Oxford: Clarendon Press

[7] William Camden Camden’s Britannia London 1695

[page 65]

Proofs of catalogue in this box [sic]

Sheet proof of ‘Mr Rowells last corrected Catalogue & notes’. [Xeroxed] Rowell’s corrections & notes were not accepted, & this proof represents the final printing. It as a preface which appears to have been omitted [insert] in the final printing [end insert], probably because Rowell wrote it.


Galley [insert] Sheet [end insert] (3 sheets) of pages 1-6 of “Anglo-Saxon Collection” running from No. 401-456. A subheading after the general introduction (which mentions Douglas, Wylie, & the Fairford & Brighthampton collections) is as follows: “The Collection of remains from an Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Brighthampton.” [cf. Archaeologia XXX VII-VIII]

[Page 64v] [Note in pencil by Ovenell] (The Anglo-Saxon proofs came from an envelope marked (in XBH’s [sic] hand) Abortive Anglo-Saxon Cat. c. 1877) [end note on page 64v]

A second subheading (p. 5) reads: “Collection of remains from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Yelford, less than two miles distant from that at Brighthampton.”

A third subheading: “The following articles (441-456) were presented to the Museum by Mr Stone’s executors”.

[There are two proofs of the Anglo-Saxon collection. The last sheet of one of them is very badly mutilated.]

[Page 64v] [Note in pencil by Ovenell, circled] Check which of the catalogues had a title page & which appears in the Bodley Catalogue.

The Prehistoric never reached the light of day. But the Egypt. & Castellani [?] did [end note on page 64v]


A mutilated double-column sheet proof containing Nos. 258-315 (imperf) of the Romano-British Collection.

Also a single column sheet proof of No. (39. partially) – 399. Page ‘15’.


‘Evans’s proof’ of “Catalogue of the Egyptian Antiquities in the Ashmolean Museum”. The proof is stamped “Clar. Press 1 Feb, 80”. It has no title page, and the introductory matter is slightly different from the published copy (Oxf., Parker, 1881). Evans’s proof finishes at No. 1041: The published catalogue [insert] finishes [end insert] at 1472, to wh. are added “Additions to Egyptian

[page 66]

Collection since the completion of this catalogue” (1473-1504) All given by Chester.

Also added to publ. catalogue is ‘Appendix’ containing list of Egyptian objects bequeathed by John Henderson (H.1-H.106)

Also “Ancient Babylonian, Assyrian, and other Oriental antiquities” (No. A-2, AA-LL) (Listed by Sayce).


[page 67]

Printed pamphlets dealing with the catalogue controversy and the ‘discovery’ of lost articles (put together in envelope).

1. “The Assistant Keepership and the new catalogue of the Ashmolean Museum.” [Correspondence between Rowell & Parker, published by Rowell. 1879 or 1880] ‘Printed for private distribution.’

2. “Ashmolean Museum. (Jan. 11. 1881)”

[Correspondence of Rowell & Evans with comments by Parker concerning the ‘discovery’]. Begins: As Mr Rowell considers himself aggrieved ...

3. “Ashmolean Museum. The Keeper’s correction of some misstatements in London Newspapers in November, 1880” [concerning the ‘discovery’]. 4 copies

4. Notes on the present and future of the Archaeological Collections of the University of Oxford, by G.J. Chester. Oxf. & Lond. (1881)

5. Remarks on Mr Greville Chester’s Notes [4c] by G.A. Rowell. Oxf., 1881.

[in pencil] End of box marked

Misc. [illegible] & Papers

(Catal 1879-81)

[page 68]

Recent Discoveries in the Ashmolean Museum

To the Editor of ‘The Oxford Times’.

Supplement to ‘The Oxford Times’. Sat. Jan. 8. 1881. [Ovenell note in pencil] (Envelope put with book of catalogue) [end of note]

Sir, Although I am the person who accidentally made the discoveries respecting which you inserted a communication from Mr. Rowell in your issue of the 24th ult., I should not think it necessary, or even permissible for me in my position, to intermeddle [sic] in a newspaper controversy on the matter, only that Mr. Rowell has made personal allusion to my conduct in connection with it, and that it has been authoritatively suggested to me that I should reply to his letter.

I really did find in an outhouse attached to the museum (but not as has been stated “accessible to passers-by in the street”) a number of articles, of which I append a list below.*

During ten years that I had been employed at the museum, including the whole period of Mr. Parker’s keepership, I had never seen the articles in question. The cupboard or box containing them might have been in the museum before the outhouse was built, but it was not under my control, or accessible to me, until Mr. Rowell resigned the charge of the museum eighteen years ago. [insert] [mark] [end insert][Page 67v in different ink] “months” surely [end note]. Desiring to ascertain the contents of the cupboard, and having no key for it, I forced it open, and [found] a number of articles which I thought of sufficient importance to bring before the Curator’s notice when I found, as I had every reason to suppose, that he had been as ignorant of their existence as I had.

He and other authorities thought them valuable, interesting, and important enough (especially as some of them were included in the Tradescant catalogue of 1656) to be replaced on exhibition in the Museum.

The decision which Mr. Rowell states former Curators of the Museum to have deliberately come to with respect to these articles, would, of course, during their tenure of office, justify their disposal of the things as described, but the fact nevertheless remains that during the ten years of Mr. Parker’s Curatorship, he had been afforded no opportunity of expressing his judgment with regard to them [insert] until I discovered them [end insert] and brought them before his notice.

As to my having furnished, in conversation with [illegible word crossed out] [insert] visitors [end insert] the information upon which

[page 69]

public statements have been made in the newspapers, I have accepted it as part of my [sic, missing word?] to describe exhibits in the Museum, and to call attention to new acquisitions, especially for the information of authorities and members of the University: it is only natural, therefore, that the discovery in the outhouse should have been alluded to as a matter of some importance. As such it was mentioned to Professor Sayce, who thought it of sufficient interest for publication, but who certainly misapprehended some details connected with the matter, which was further misrepresented in some of the newspaper articles.

I am Sir yours respectfully E.C. Evans

Assistant Keeper Ashmolean Museum.

List of articles found [NB accession numbers, or possible accession numbers added by transcriber in square brackets after the entry]

a A necklace of 49 large milk-white cornelian beads, restrung (only specimen).

a Two ditto of 79 & 88 smaller semi-transparent cornelian beads restrung (only specimen).

a One ditto of 57 large mixed cornelian & jasper (?) restrung (only specimen)

a One ditto of 49 crystal & glass (?) and a large crystal pendant set in silver (only specimen).

a Twenty one beads of amber, some of them very large (only specimen)

a Necklace of 44 oval-shaped amber beads (only specimen)

a Five rosaries, or necklaces, of bone and wooden beads.

a. String, or necklace, of 96 beads of a wax-like substance (only specimen)

Necklace of shells (Indian?) (only specimen)

Two strings of dark brown wooden beads (only specimens)

Six strings of long, square-shaped beads of coloured glass. Probably modern Egyptian or Arabic (only specimens)

a Thirty beads and pendant ornaments made of jasper, agate, & ancient glass (only specimens)

a A string of minute wooden beads (only specimen)

a Two small strings of jet & black glass beads (only specimens)

a Three Burmese bracelets of ornamental gilt & gilt and black beads (only specimens)

a One ditto of a grass-like material (only specimen)

a Burmese rosary of 62 sacred seeds used as beads (only specimen, cleaned and restrung) [1886.1.62]

[page 70]

a Ditto of similar, but much smaller seeds (only specimen)

Four carved wooden spoons, probably oriental (only specimens) [there are 14 spoons which might match this entry]

Bracelet of shells, Indian (only specimen)

a Portion of a silver hookah, or pipe, set with green & blue turquoises, portion of which was already also found in a drawer, in a dirty state, in the museum; old Persian (the only work of its kind in the museum). Unfortunately this article is not perfect; most of the small turquoises have been removed, but still enough are left to show the richness of the work [1886.1.168]

b A small silver box, enamelled; in which is contained eleven out of twelve little silver medallions, representing the heads of the apostles (only specimen)

b A silver gilt perfume box with six sides (only specimen)

b “Hand of jet, given to children in Turkey to preserve them from witchcraft” (broken, perhaps, when put away; (only specimen). [sic punctuation]

b “Several curious paintings in little forms, very ancient” (one only of the circular miniatures is in good preservation, the others seem to have been injured by the damp; only specimens)

b “Divers figures cut on shells”. We have three only of these, very pretty. (only specimens)

b “Variety of figure cut in crystals”. Five of these little intaglio have been found, and with them five others of cornelian & lapus-lazuli (the crystal & cornelian are the only specimens).

Bracelet made of lion’s teeth, duplicate. Given by Mrs Birkbeck, 1869. [1886.1.527]

Model of Caffir man & woman; native made. Burchell Collection, 1865. (this pair is rather different to the one in the museum, & has been injured by moth since put away). [1886.1.428 & 1886.1.429]

A pair of North American Indian garters (these have been almost destroyed by moth. Part of the same collection is in the museum room). [1886.1.831 & 1886.1.832]

Nubian woman’s apron of leather, ornamented with shells & beads (there

[page 71]

is another in the museum, but not exactly like this one). [1886.1.577 or 1886.1.578]

Model of New Haven, 1838, and some miscellaneous coins, tokens of the neighbourhood, & a few other things.

N.B. The articles marked ‘a’ are probably of the Tradescant Collection, but those marked ‘b’ belong to that collection, and are entered in their catalogue of 1656.

------------ [in pencil note] Envelop ditto [end pencil note]

Oxford Times Weekly Supplement. Sat. Aug. 13. 1881.

Sir, As no answer has appeared, or been sent to me respecting my letter in your issue of July 16th, and as I understand that the articles so wonderfully discovered in the Ashmolean Museum are still exhibited as having been found in an outhouse it seems as if Mr. Parker is desirous of keeping this ridiculous subject under public consideration, and, if so, I wish him all the gratification he can desire with the honour he has acquired from it. For my part I hope to have done with it, but as I have been represented as careless, forgetful, untruthful, and even worse, in my connection with this affair, I would gladly offer a brief statement of my long connection with the Museum, as it would add another page to my autobiography, in which some of your readers may be interested, and it will afford to all the means for considering whether, in this case, I have had the treatment I had the fair right to expect.

As stated in former letters I was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker at an early age, became a journeyman at a little over seventeen, and after about two years in two different shops, with an intervening year of compulsory idleness from a wound in my leg caused by the bite of a dog, to avoid the drinking habits then so prevalent in large shops I began work on my own account, before I was 21 years of age – but I did not commence business as a cabinet-maker and upholsterer till about four years later.

One of my first employments was by Mr. John Shute Duncan in the Museum in

[page 72]

1825, and with him I soon became (I believe) a special favourite, and this, probably, from a fellow feeling. One great object with Mr. Duncan was to arrange the Natural History collections in illustration of Paley’s Natural Theology, which seemed to accord with my own ideas on the Beneficent Distribution of the Sense of Pain, (see Quarterly Review, Jan. 1855). My first employment was in accordance with my trade, but I soon outran that; as, finding I was willing to do anything, I was soon expected to do everything, including the preparation of sculls, [sic] &c, from the collections, down to mending [insert] broken [end insert] pottery of Anglo-Saxon or earlier times; and this went on until I became as fond and as proud of the Museum as if it had been my own, so that while, afterwards, carrying on business as a Cabinet-maker, &c, I kept to the Museum work generally as an amusement for myself. And these matters went on till the resignation of the keepership in 1854, by Mr. Philip Burz [insert] [sic] [end insert] Duncan, who had succeeded his brother, and from him I received a very pleasing proof of his satisfaction with my doings in the Museum, although I really held no office under him.

During those years I occasionally acted for my predecessor, Mr. Kirkland, and it was always a pleasure for me to do so, except on one point. According to the regulations, from Ashmole’s times, the Museum was free to members of the University, and persons introduced by them, but the admission fee to all others was 6d each, a plate being placed near the door on which visitors generally deposited the fee, but I would not otherwise collect it.

Soon after the appointment of the late Professor Phillips to the keepership, Mr. Kirkland, from a stroke of paralysis, became incapable of attendance, and I thus became deputy for him although, from having my business to attend to, it was at times with much inconvenience. I then considered the admission fees as my own concern, as

[page 73]

it was arranged that they should go as part of my stipend, at the estimated sum at which Mr. Kirkland had previously put them. I at once put away the plate at the door which I did not (like the look of) and made it known to the masters of several public schools in Oxford, and to some others, that they might bring a moderate number of their pupils (making it a sort of reward to them) at any time to the museum, and I would give them all the information I could on its contents. My desire was to see the Museum used, and useful as a place of instruction; and so much was I led by this spirit feeling that I gave such free admission that the money I received for fees did not amount to one-half the sum I had taken them at. Up to that time it had been the custom to close the Museum during the holiday times of Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christmas; but on my representing to the keeper that this excluded many people who could not attend at other times, I was permitted to give up my own holidays and open the Museum at those times.

As the time came on for opening the new Museum I could well see that the re-arrangements consequent on that change would be enough or more than enough to take up one’s whole time. [Note on facing page 72v in pencil] Vernon p. 59 Univ Museum structurally complete in 1860. Internally moving Depts. working order beginning 1861 [end note] I knew it was the wish of Prof. Phillips that I should continue in my occupation, and it certainly was my wish to do so: but I also knew that it would be quite impossible to carry on any business with the increased duties of the Museum. I, therefore, pressed for information as to what the stipend and other terms were to be if I continued my connection with the Museum, and finding it would be insufficient I at once stated my intention to decline it, and consequently left; but after being away nearly twelve months the late Rev. R. Greswell [1] called on me to know whether I would retake my place in the Museum, or rather the place of assistant in both museums on terms I had previously stated, and to this I agreed.

[page 74]

On being thus appointed assistant to Professor Phillips in the Zoological Department of the new Museum, and generally in the Ashmolean, I at once arranged for withdrawing from my business, although my name was continued in it till very recently, so as to give myself earnestly to my Museum duties. My hours as stated in my letter of appointment were to be from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m., but these hours I sometimes more than doubled; as, being an early riser, and the work of arrangement a pleasure, I often made them from 4 or 5 am. till dark in the Summer, and in the winter season continuing my task till 8 or 9 o’clock. It would be impossible to show what the work (if I had considered it work) has been both mentally & physically in the arrangement of the new Museum, but it must not be considered as a mere transfer of objects from the Ashmolean, as, for instance, the greater number of the birds were in separate cases from which they were taken & mounted on stands & blocks, labelled & arranged in accordance with one standard work, Grey’s [insert] [Gray GR [end insert] Genera of Birds, the making out of the names being at times a work of some difficulty, besides which many of the specimens required cleaning & other preparations before they could be set up in the collections; and the arrangement of all, including mammals, reptiles, fishes, eggs, shells, corals, &c., was not effected without more labour & thought than may now be apparent.

In the Ashmolean my first duty was to remove, and carefully stow away, in preparation for the alteration in the building, every article in the which was to be retained in it, and afterwards to re-arrange them under the general direction of Professor Phillips, a main point of which was the separation of the articles into European, Asiatic, African, American, Esquimaux, and Polynesian; and the separation for this purpose was no slight task, as, under previous conditions, from the want of space, a large portion of them, especially the Polynesian, were parked together so closely that they could hardly be seen, and many were put away in the lumber room; some

[page 75]

with numbers which referred to nothing I could make out, and almost all without any description – it seemed as if all which were described had been selected for the catalogue of 1836, and the others partly put away for the time. I consequently had to read up in all works I could find which were likely to throw light on such subjects, and thus I was led to the discovery that the Ashmolean Museum contains the greater part, perhaps the whole, of the Polynesian implements which were brought home by Capt. Cook from his second voyage, the principle [sic] of them being represented in the folio edition of his voyage (London, 1777) I was also enabled to make out many interesting points respecting other articles, as regards the locality & use of them, by the very kind assistance of A.W. Franks, Esq., F.R.S. &c., trustee & keeper of the Christy Collection, and of his assistant, my friend the late Mr. Gay.

Apart from the general arrangement, in arranging the articles of each collection, as the space was limited, in glass cases & on the wall, it was necessary to see them, as it were, all arranged before fixing any, & this on the whole was no slight task, besides cleaning of most of most [sic] of the articles required. yet all these works and [insert] the [end insert] arrangements alluded to in the new Museum were carried out by myself alone, except in the occasional aid of a carpenter, and, at times, of the man who did the dusting & cleaning in the Ashmolean Museum, as I had no assistant till long after that time.

Some time after the Ashmolean had been re-opened, a large number of the Arundel marbles were transferred [insert] sic [end insert] from a ground room of the Bodleian Library to the basement of the Museum to which a very considerable addition was [insert] afterwards [end insert] made of inscribed and sculptured marbles, discovered at Ephesus & Syracuse, presented to the University by Mr. Hyde Clarke. They were sent as found, several of the sculptured ones being thickly incrusted in parts in a coating of a natural concrete harder

[insert written alongside the above text in pencil] Cash Book / 1865/66 [illegible] marbles [illegible] of 9-19-9

[page 76]

than the marble itself, and as Professor Phillips hesitated who should be employed to clear it off I undertook to do it. It was something fresh for me & needed some patience, & for several months I was chip, chip, chipping away in the front area of the Museum from early till late, except in the hours when the Museum was open.

There are many other subjects to which I could allude, but I believe I have stated enough to show what my conduct has been, & how earnestly I devoted myself to the interest of the Museum. I will merely say that from the time of the Ashmolean Museum being re-opened, being free to the public, for the honour of it, I determined it should be so in reality, & made it my rule to decline gratuities from all visitors, & this rule I broke but once, & then for special reasons, and as I thought for the interest of the Museum.

I can now, say in my seventy-seventh year, look back on the past of my connection with the Museum – at least up to Mr. Parker’s keepership – with satisfaction, with some feeling of pride, & with the remembrance of many happy hours that I have passed in it. I know that I have done my duty, and this has been kindly acknowledged by more than one act on the part of the University at large, and by many of its members. I have alluded to an act [?, illegible] of Mr. Philip Duncan as expressive of approbation of my conduct in museum matters, although, up to that time, I really held no appointment in it. Some time after my appointment in the museum, unsolicited & unexpected on my part, an addition was made to my stipend. On the resignation by Professor Philips of the Keepership of the Ashmolean a resolution was passed by the delegates of the museum, in which allusion was made in high commendation of my services, and special reference to the [insert] manuscript [end insert] catalogues I had made. The unanimous vote in Convocation on May 10, 1875, with the grant of an annuity of £50, I considered the highest honour the University could confer on one of my station, although, for special

[page 77]

reasons, I declined the latter. Since my resignation of office under Mr. Parker, by a vote in Convocation my stipend has been continued to me for life. I may add that generally throughout the University I have been treated with kindness & courtesy, & more especially by those who have known me most.

By Mr. Parker, in connection with our ridiculous squabble, I have been shown up as unworthy of belief, & my explanation as unworthy of consideration. By Mr. Chester I have been set down as telling a lie to shelter myself from blame, by throwing it on late Keepers of the museum, who are dead, & cannot defend themselves. And another of the clique has informed me that a manuscript catalogue of a recent addition to the museum is lost, & insinuates that I had wilfully burnt it. That the catalogue has been so destroyed is possible, and any one to whom such an idea could occur might have carried it out, as it would seem to afford ‘another proof of my carelessness.’ However, be this as it may, I can treat him & his insinuation with contempt, & I now hope that I have done with the subject.

I remain, Sir,

Your obedient servant

G.A. Rowell

Notes by transcriber

[1] Richard Greswell (1800-1881) Fellow of Worcester and later, after his marriage, college tutor. His DNB entry describes him as ‘one of the earliest members of the Ashmolean Society’ and ‘in the late 1820s supported the idea of a museum for natural history in Oxford’

--------------  [pencil note] Envelope ditto [end note]

The Oxford Times. Saturday July 2 1881.

Sir, Mr. Greville Chester’s “Notes on the present & future of the Archaeological Collections of the University of Oxford” & Mr. Rowell’s “Remarks” upon them, will probably both do good, by calling attention to the subject; although it appears to me that this had sufficiently been done by Professor Sayce last year, especially as the unfortunate mistake that he made about some valuable objects of ancient art having been found in an outhouse in the area, accessible to the street, was taken up by several of the London newspapers, which have a very large circulation, and amused themselves with the false idea of how much this valuable collection was neglected by the proper authorities. To my amazement

[page 78]

Mr. Chester has repeated this blunder, & made it worse by appearing to explain it, saying it is accessible to the street by a ladder. It is evident that neither Mr. Chester nor Mr. Sayce took the trouble of going to look at the [insert] out- [end insert] house where they were found, or they must have seen that it is at the southeast corner of the building, next the Convocation House, but about 15 feet below the level of the ground. There happen to be two areas to this building, one on the north side next Broad-Street, and one on the south side, with no communication from one to the other. The only access to the southern area, where the things were found, is through the museum itself. It can hardly be said that these objects were ever absolutely lost. They were placed there by Mr. Rowell many years ago, & he had evidently forgotten that they were there, though he does not like to acknowledge this. He had certainly never mentioned it to me, who was for several years his assistant, nor to Mr. Parker, the keeper. Mr. Chester finds fault with me for cleaning some of these things. In this, I think, few persons will agree with him. They are all now exhibited in a glass table-case, so that anyone can go & see them, & let any impartial person say whether it is probable that any keeper order Mr. Rowell to put them in an out-house, & leave them there in such a neglected state that a portion of a beautiful silver hookah (part of which was found in another place) of Persian manufacture, was so black that no-one knew it was silver until I cleaned it.

I hold the office of assistant keeper of this Museum, according to the original statutes drawn up by Ashmole himself, with the consent of the authorities of the University, which anyone may see in this Museum, & which have never been repealed. By these it is evident that the assistant keeper was intended to be the person really interested with the care of the objects. The keeper himself was often non-resident, or when resident, was a professor of some other subject, having very little to do with history or archaeology, the purpose to which this museum is now devoted. Within the last 40 years one was a Professor of Chemistry, & another of Geology, the latter Professor Phillips resigned in favour of Mr. Parker, because archaeology was not his

[page 79]

subject, & his geological collection was transferred to the new museum. When this was done, it appears to me that Mr. Rowell ought to have been transferred along with it. It was impossible for one person to do the work of assistant keeper, both of [insert] the [end insert] Natural History Museum in the Park, & the Archaeological Museum in Broad Street. I find the latter quite enough to require my whole attention. Mr. Parker was advanced in years, and an invalid, when he was appointed, & always expected the assistant keeper to do the work, as Ashmole himself intended. I have been found fault with by Mr. Chester, for giving so much attention to strangers, which I am told is not done in any other museum; but I am ordered to do so by Ashmole’s statute. Most of the objects that were found in the out-house are, or should be, entered in the catalogues, many are described in the original catalogue of Tradescant himself, printed at Lambeth, 1656, & others in Mr. Kirtland’s catalogue, prepared in 1836; particularly some belonging to the Douglas English-Saxon collection; & as it is evident that they were take up very little room, I cannot understand why they should be ordered to be packed up in a box, & put in an out-house among empty packing-boxes, faggots, paint pots, etc.

In justice to Mr. Parker I should say that, although he is not able to look after the museum personally, the key is kept in his own room, & he is always accessible to me at any time if I have occasion to ask him for any instructions.

Yours truly

Edward Evans

Ashmolean Museum, June 28th, 1881.


Other Ovenell papers RFO/A/3/11

These two letters, one a handwritten copy ?by Ovenell, the other a printed copy of a letter to the Oxford Times by Rowell are included in RFO/A/3/11, tucked into the notebook from which the above extracts were taken.


The Ashmolean Museum

Re-printed from the Oxford Times of July 16, 1881.

Sir,--I especially thank you for the insertion of my letter in your issue of the 2nd inst., and for the short notice of it in the previous one, and I did hope the subject would drop; but, as within the last fortnight, I have been as grossly insulted as I was by Mr. Chester (the manner of which I will not at present relate); and—as, in Edward Evans’ letter in this week’s Oxford Times, I am again charged with a direct lie—I hold that it is time for me to speak out and bring this unseemly squabble to an end, although there are other subjects to which I would gladly give my attention at this time.

With respect to Mr. Evans’s letter, I hold it in fact to have been written under Mr. Parker’s dictation, or, at least, under his sanction, as there are passages in it which I believe Mr. Evans would not otherwise have presumed to write; but, be this as it may, Mr. Parker is solely responsible for the whole of this squabble arising from this wonderful discovery. On the articles being found, Mr. Parker, in common fairness, ought to have made it known to me, especially as there was my written description with them; and, as a gentleman, he ought to have accepted my explanation, which, if not satisfactory, might have led to further inquiry; but my letter of April, 1880, to Mr. Parker, has never even been acknowledged, and he and his assistant seem to have made a mare’s nest of the discovery; not a word having been asked for in explanation, and all I have heard about the things has been from visitors to the Ashmolean Museum, who have been tired out by Mr. Evans’ persistent discourse on his great discovery, and the value of the articles. If the articles discovered were of great value, as asserted, it certainly was Mr. Parker’s duty to have brought the subject under the notice of the delegates of the Ashmolean Museum; or if it was a case of gross neglect on my part, then, as I suggested some months back, an official inquiry should have been made on it. This, however, does not seem to have been in accordance with his views, and this great discovery has now for many months been the subject of such continual bickerings, that the public must begin to look upon us as two old—well, I suppose, I must say—men, verging on dotage or second childhood.

In the first paragraph of the letter it is stated that “It can hardly be said that these objects were absolutely lost. They were placed there by Mr. Rowell many years ago, and he had evidently forgotten that they were there, though he does not like to acknowledge this.”—I am thus charged with a weak-minded lie, which I shall pass over for the present, but the passage shows the utter ignorance of the writer on the subject on which he presumes to write, as up to seventeen years back from this time, the authorities of the Ashmolean Museum had no control over, or connection whatever with, the area in which Mr. Parker has since built the outhouse in which these valuable articles were found. Whoever may have been the writer of this passage, Mr. Parker himself, during this discussion, does not appear to be acquainted with the antecedents of the Ashmolean as a building, of the changes which have taken place in it as a Museum, or the habits and suitability of the recent keepers of the Museum for that office. a few remarks on these points may be interesting.

The building known as the Ashmolean Museum was erected in 1683, perhaps chiefly for the reception of the Ashmolean, or rather the Tradescant’, collections, which had previously been shown as a Museum in Lambeth, and were of considerable note. These, however, only occupied the upper room, and the staircase, on the east side of which were three small rooms, which contained the Ashmolean and other manuscripts, and books. The middle, now the principal room of the Museum, was divided by a passage from the street entrance. The one side being the class-room for the readers of experimental philosophy, and the other for Dr. Buckland as reader in geology. Such at least were the conditions in the early part of the present century, and the oak partitions were in character similar to the panelling with which the walls of the rooms and the staircase were covered, and apparently a part of the original building. The basement, including the back and front areas, was taken up as the Laboratory, lecture room, and residence of the Professor of Chemistry, and in no way connected with the upper part of the building except by the street entrance.

At that time—from the natural decay of some specimens, the effect of dust upon others, from constant exposure, as there were but few glass-cases, and from the generally neglected state of the rooms and its contents—the Museum had lost nearly all hold on public attention. Such then was the state of the Museum, when in 1823, Mr. John Duncan, a resident Fellow of New College, because [sic, became] keeper of it. He had previously, by his writings and appeals, excited a desire for an improvement in the condition of the Museum, and generally for the formation of museums throughout the country.

A grant was made from the University Chest for he cleaning and necessary alterations: and as Mr. Duncan added very considerably to the natural history and other departments, the middle room was added for museum purposes; the partitions being removed, and columns put up to support the floor of the upper room which was found to be sinking. The oak panelling was also removed from the walls of the rooms and staircase, the libraries being the only parts left in their original condition, and the basement remaining as before.

Of the furniture of the Museum only two glass cases could be retained under use in the new arrangement, all the other glass cases and fittings being provided at Mr. Duncan’s own cost. The cases now containing the British birds in the University Museum were part of them.

A first object with Mr. Duncan was to form collection in illustrations of “Paley’s Natural Theology” a standard and popular work at that time; and he expended large sums in the purchase of specimens; but, besides these, antiquities were freely purchased when opportunity offered for that purpose, and the catalogue published in 1836, shows how much it was benefited by donations of all kinds, after its renovation by this generous and worthy man, whose great object seemed to be the improvement and instruction of all classes. Mr. Duncan resigned the keepership in 1826, in which he was succeeded by his brother, Mr. Philip Bury Duncan, and in 1830 the honorary degree of D.C.L. was conferred upon him by the University.

Mr. Philip Bury Duncan, also a Fellow of New College, who had greatly assisted his brother in the re-arrangement of the Museum, continued to work on with the same object in view, and added very liberally to the collections. In 1836 he published a catalogue of the Museum at his own cost, and greatly aided my predecessor (Mr. Kirtland) in getting it up. In this every article exhibited in the Museum, is named and numbered, and, fortunately for me, copies of this catalogue still exist.

Mr Duncan, being a resident in New College, spent much of his time in the Museum, and, I believe, seldom left Oxford for a week without taking a general survey of its contents on his return, and frequently a look over the valuable collection of coins which were not exhibited but kept in one of the small libraries for safety; but when it became evident that a new museum would be built, and probably from seeing that the great work of himself and his brother would be superseded, he seemed to lose much of his interest in the Ashmolean Museum, gave up his residence in New College, and in 1855, five years before the new Museum was opened, after holding the keepership for 21 years, he resigned it, and was succeeded by Professor Phillips. In the same year the degree of D.C.L. was conferred upon him by the University.

From the time of Professor Phillips’s appointment, there as no change in the Ashmolean till after the opening of the New Museum, when considerable alterations were made; all the out-buildings in both back and front areas, with the stairs leading from the street to the front entrance (now the centre window) together with the interior fittings for lecture rooms and residence, were swept away.

The upper room was taken for University examinations, with the staircase, to which a separate entrance from the Theatre yard was made. The staircase from that level was continued downward to the basement, and, with it, taken for museum purposes, the whole of the articles connected with the natural sciences having been previously removed to the University Museum, and the coins, and the Ashmolean and other books, and manuscripts, to the Bodleian Library. These alterations were not complete till September, 1864, and then, and not till then, did the Museum Authorities have access to, and control over, the empty area which became the site of the now-celebrated out-house (afterwards built by Mr. Parker) and of the great discovery.

It was a year or two after the above date before he Museum was re-opened, as these alterations necessitated and led to a general examination and re-arrangement of every article in it; and those of the great discovery were especially examined by Professor Phillips. They were in the box, as left by my predecessor, and, after I had been permitted to take several from them for exhibition (which I could now point out) they were put away as before, but with the additions of two or three duplicate articles from the Burchell collections, which, as they had just about that time been given to he Oxford Museum, proves the recent date at which they were put into the box, which was in the store-room; but after Mr. Parker’s appointment as keeper, this room was taken for the architectural casts, and the out-house built as a substitute, in which the box was placed, and, probably, was as safe as if placed within the building, as there was no lock-up room, and where it must have been seen by Mr. Evans hundreds of times while acting as my assistant, or, in fact, every time he entered the place.

This, then, is the real history of this discovery, which has now gone the round of the world as one of great importance, the articles being described as of enormous value, which laid rotting away for two hundred years in an out-house or shed of the Ashmolean Museum; and all this foolery would have been prevented if Mr. Parker had acted with common courtesy and fairness, by attending to my explanation, and putting a stop to the babbling on the subject, to visitors to the museum, by his assistant.

It appears from Mr. Evans’ letter that the articles have been cleaned, and made a display of, and probably look very pretty; still, I doubt whether they are of such importance, either as historical relics or works of art, as to make them worthy of a place in a crowded museum. With that, however, I have nothing to do;--all I assert is that they were put aside by order of the keepers, locked up in a strong box, with a written description of the various articles, and I now ask, can any one with common sense, or even uncommon sense, assign any reasonable motive for my putting them away, otherwise than in accordance with the instructions I have stated? Why should I have been at the trouble of putting them away as they were, unless on these grounds? And I may ask Mr. Parker if there is anything in my past life which should lay me open to the insult of inviting visitors to the museum to form an opinion, which could only be doubtful, against my positive assertion? I feel assured that my character for truthfulness will bear comparison, by all who knows us, with his own. Mr. Evans states that there were many of the articles which are described in Mr. Kirtland’s catalogue, and some which belonged to the Douglas collection. This I believe to be false, and they certainly were not named in his own letter on the subject in the Oxford Times of January 8th, and that gave very minute particulars.

It may be said that I certainly ought to have brought these articles under Mr. Parker’s notice, and this, doubtless, is true; and all I can say is that I did not think to do so (not that I had forgotten them), and my only ground for excuse is, that I had much else to occupy my mind. On this I could give many particulars, but think it hardly necessary, as I have lately done so in my pamphlet. [1]

I may as well state that when I resigned my appointment in the Ashmolean Museum, I offered to give any information I could, either with regard to the catalogue or on museum matters, but my offer was neither accepted nor noticed; or I would gladly have gone over the whole of the collection to see that all was right, but I was not permitted to see even my own catalogue, which was in type, till after it was completely botched and spoiled.

It will hardly be necessary to state that I have written this letter under considerable excitement, but I think that few would be otherwise, under the circumstances. Mr. Greville Chester charged me with telling a base and cowardly lie, to shift the blame from myself on to the three late keepers, under whom it has been my happy lot to serve. On Saturday last another, probably presuming on his position, charges me, by broad insinuation, with an act which would have been both mean and criminal as connected with the Ashmolean Museum. He, however, declined any correspondence on the subject, but I do not think he will get off quite so easily, and in Mr. Evans’, or Mr. Parker’s letter, I am charged with telling a mean and paltry lie, rather than acknowledging a fault which, under the circumstances, would have been fairly excusable. And this is my reward, after upwards of fifty years’ connection with the Ashmolean Museum, in which I had striven to do, and thought I had done, my duty. I do not, however, fear that any charge in connection with this paltry case will lower me in the esteem of those by whom I am known—I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,

G.A. Rowell.

2, Alfred-street, July 5th, 1881.

[Handwritten in bottom in pencil?] P.S. Some remarks on Mr. Parker’s allusions to previous keepers of the Museum, I must leave for a further time. [copied from the Oxf. Times original][2]

Notes by transcriber

]1] Printed pamphlet 1, see here.

[2] Note possibly by Ovenell?


[In pencil at top] In envelop with other cuttings

[handwritten in ink, possibly by Ovenell?]

The Oxford Times Weekly Supplement. Sat. July 2, 1881

Mr Greville [sic] v. G.A. Rowell

To the Editor of the ‘Oxford Times’

Sir. I am well aware that it is against the rules to insert letters from correspondents of the character of advertisements, but I trust they may be overlooked in this case. Mr. Greville Chester in his recent pamphlet on the Archaeological Collections of Oxford, [1] has charged me, in connection with my late duties in the Ashmolean Museum, with one of the most disgraceful lies any one could be guilty of, after my long connection with that museum—over 50 years—the expression of the delegates, at the time of Mr. Parker’s appointment to the keepership, of their “great satisfaction” with my services, & also the favours conferred on me by the vote of convocation of May 22nd, 1875,--I might have passed over Mr. Chester’s remarks with contempt; but the University, to which this subject more especially relates has a changing population, & I have met his charge in a small pamphlet which Messrs. Slatter & Rose have kindly undertaken to sell.

I enclose a copy of the pamphlet, which at some less busy time you may not think unworthy of some notice.

I am Sir your obedient servant

G.A. Rowell

Alfred-street, June 21, 1881.

Notes by transcriber

[1] See here.

Transcribed by AP December 2013 and January 2014.

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