Fonthill Gifford Church, from Delineations of Fonthill, by John Rutter, 1823

Signature of P.M.Cornwall, grandson of Peter Monamy. Letter to the Duke of Portland, 1769

Cornwall Miscellanea

Sermons, by the Rev.P.M.Cornwall.
Publications of his sermons are dated 1782 and '83, 1794, 1808

Introduction to the first volume of the two volume 1794 publication

Late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge;

Chaplain to the Marquis Townshend; and

Master of the Free Grammar-School, Wotton-Underedge

Vol I

Printed by R.Cruttwell;
and sold by
Poultry, London.




Among the numerous friends whom Providence seemed to have raised up, as it were, on purpose for the encouragement and support of an unbeneficed clergyman, when he was forsaken by his nearest relations, because he forfeited (in the opinion of recluses) a most valuable fellowship at Trinity college, Cambridge, through marrying an amiable woman with a small fortune, your most learned and worthy father (to whom, as well as to the rest of his excellent patrons, he was a perfect stranger, unless by the character which he had obtained as a diligent parish priest) voluntarily stood forth in his behalf, and served him in so handsome a manner, in this public address, that by the liberality of Dr.SCROPE, for many years, he scarcely felt the weight of any disappointments.

When he was treated ill by some, (who were professed enemies to our most admirable form of government, nay, even to their own species; declaring, that they believed all mankind to be rogues) because he rebuked them (as a conscientious minister is solemnly bound to check such troublesome people) for evil-speaking, lying and slandering, for blaspheming God and the King, for pinching and oppressing the poor, for sabbath-breaking especially, the source perhaps of all their other shameful scandalous practices, your father's instructive conversation and ready protection (as a fully qualified patriotic magistrate) infused courage and fortitude into him: by which means he was enabled, in a good degree, to distinguish how he might become uni ĉquus virtuti atque ejus amicis; and frequently found an opportunity of repelling the attacks of his adversaries --- the dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad: for he flatters himself, that he may assert with confidence, none else of the different sects and parties, wherever it was his lot to officiate, attempted to cast any aspersion upon his character. And he promises the most inveterate of his detractors and maligners, if they have a mind to alledge any thing against him openly, in a manner becoming scholars and gentlemen, that they shall have an answer as soon as the almost constant duties of his several busy stations will allow him leisure to return one. Is there a necessity to remind two or three of this description, who appear to make it their study to revile this laborious clergyman, that he seldom left a parish without hearing the bells ring muffled at his departure?

By you, sir, who disdain not to follow the advice which Isocrates gave to Demonicus, and therefore think you have a right to your father's friendships as well as to his estates, your client is persuaded a digression in his own vindication will easily be pardoned.

If, besides the income (Forty Pounds a year) of the freehold that he possesses in this town, he could be allowed a farther addition to what he has for teaching the Day-Boys who are not on the foundation, he would have much less reason to grudge his pains --- eight hours, one half --- and six hours, the other half of the week, for SIX-PENCE a quarter! But, he understands, that the statutes, formed in the reign of Richard IId, like the laws of the Medes and Persians, cannot be changed. O pericle, lucernĉ infundunt oleum ii, quibus lucernâ est opus

However, with the view of rendering his situation as commodious and eligible as it is in their power, and that he may, without any cringing or fawning, common to not a few of our exotic divines, have a tolerable prospect of being countenanced and supported as a member of an English University, the Trustees have so freely and politely acquiesced in fitting up his large mansion for the purpose of receiving Boarders; and his old contemporary at St.Peter's College, Westminster, who behaves to him with a brotherly affection, has so indulgently endeavoured to remove the difficulties that usually arise from such over-parsimonious restrictions, by an unsolicited appointment to the curacy, and a recommendation to another lectureship in this parish; that he consoles himself with the hopes of not suffering by the want of an equal recompence for a part of his instructions.

He cannot help declaring it has exceedingly grieved and afflicted him to have had occasion formerly to remark, that, now-a-days, curates, who at a vast expence have finished their studies, and taken their degrees at Oxford and Cambridge, were compelled, in distant and obscure situations, to be contented with little more than Evangelical diet: such as the Master and Saviour of the world was feeding upon, when it was asked, Has any man given him aught to eat? And he has still reason to apprehend, that the preacher and the teacher, who is appointed to comfort the afflicted souls, and admonish men upon their everlasting concerns, is esteemed more unworthy of his hire than lawyers and physicians, in places where men have a more refined education than the wealthy rustics in country villages.

He has indeed heard (though he sincerely hopes, for the credit and reputation of the christian ministry, the report may prove to have a mixture of falsehood) that there is a haughty imperious rector, even a dignitary, who has the assurance to expect his fellow-labourer in the gospel to mow his lawn before breakfast, and threatens the degraded drudge with dismission for neglect! O tempora! O mores!

Certainly the ignorance and pusillanimity of such a curate is very astonishing; why does he not apply to his Diocesan? But what, ah! what shall we say of such a principal? Can this monster, in human shape, ever have known the benefit of a liberal education? Can he have read his Bible, the offices for the ordination of deacon and priest, the rubrics and canons of the church? In fine, can he be acquainted in the least with the rules of propriety and decorum? Blush thou, Doctor of Divinity, or Doctor of Laws, who art clothed in scarlet and fine linen, and farest sumptuously every day, with thy claret and burgundy, thy turbot, venison, and turtle, and be persuaded to amend and repent speedily, or thy name may be handed down to the latest posterity for their admiration!

Circumstanced as most of the dependent clergy are, (from whence can they look for promotion?) what is to be done? To dig, to weed, to mow, to run of errands, (yea, in a literal sense) was not part of their University education, neither is it any part of their venerable calling and profession. Of such things therefore as they have, provided the humanity and benevolence of the public will not permit and encourage them to dispose, notwithstanding (for want of more time and better spirits) our hypercritics may be pleased to rank them inter mediocria; how, good Sir, can they subsist? How are they to settle their children comfortably and reputably in the world? The Poet's observation,

"Haud facilè emergunt, quorum virtutibus obstat
"Res angusta domi,"

is daily seen to be verified in various instances among our Ecclesiastics, who often descend, with unpitied sorrow, to their graves.

With the most unfeigned prayers for the happiness and welfare of your amiable and hospitable family, concludes,

Dear Sir,

The still-remembered object of
your patronage and regard,


Aug 9th, 1794.


"Fully qualified patriotic Magistrate"

Some disaffected Magistrates in Wiltshire could formerly scarcely spell, read, or write. Two of them used the Author extremely ill, on which occasion he wrote a song entitled 'the Pig with one ear', which the public shall see in print, if they wish to have their curiosity gratified. The Detractors and Maligners, had represented, or rather misrepresented the Author to the late Bishop of Winchester, as a Methodist and inimical to our Government, by which means he was disappointed of the living of Fonthill Bishop.

"For Sixpence a Quarter!" --- The Author may naturally wish such statutes were alterable, for (as Dr.D*** expresses it) the benefit of himself, his wife, and his little ones.

"Wealthy rustics in Country Villages" --- It is well known how often they insult poorly beneficed Clergymen. Dr.South censures their rudeness in his days.

--- "Haughty imperious Rector," --- By the burgundy, claret, turbot, and venison, with which he supplied the electors of ***** to vote for one of his drudges, (these rarities came from the Earl's Cellar and Kitchen perhaps) Mr Mayor, who had the barbarity to put the Author twice to the Expence of coming near 60 miles to preach before the corporation, was tempted to break his repeated promises; hence the unsuccessful Candidate for the Lectureship and the School, returned home to his Family, having emptied his Purse of almost a whole year's income.

It is not only untrue, but most improbably that such a trifling, ignorant, insignificant Coxcomb, as J.A****d should prejudice men of such rank and fortune against the Author. --- J.Lambert Esq. in the C***, Dr.Sambre, Dr.Kent, Dr.John Eyre's and Dr.Scrope's Family, may recollect that his Disappointment was occasioned by base and false Suggestions.

Peter Monamy [Durell] Cornwall: 1747-1828
In 1794 he was 47.
217 subscribers

Philip Durell Monamy Cornwall
Son of the Rev George Cornwall
Grandson of the Rev Peter Monamy [Durell] Cornwall

Philip's lack of partiality to his studies meant that his predestined entry into the Church was rather delayed. Soon after the ambrotype was taken it appears that he "obtained a Government appointment and went to Spain, and from thence to America, where he laboured for three years and suffered many hardships. On his return he married Emma Laing, the grand-daughter of Mr John Palmer of Halnaker, Goodwood ..... and settled at Sheerness." This would have been in about 1865. His occupation in Sheerness, where he must have lived for about 10 years, can at present only be guessed at. Three months after his father's death in 1874, however, his younger brother George Frederick married a wealthy wife, and "induced him to throw up his appointment and study for the Church". The brothers started their studies together, at the Theological College in Wells, but it seems that Fred never finished, and it was "deemed expedient that Philip should finish at St Bees, Cumberland". It looks as though Philip and Emma were sharing a house with Fred and Alice in Gloucester for some 4 or 5 years. See below.

Philip must have left for Jamaica, with Bishop Enos Nuttall, in about 1881 at the latest, for one of the tributes to him at the time of his preferment from Woburn Lawn and Holy Trinity Churches to Bath and Goldengrove states that "to him we owe the rebuilding of Holy Trinity Church, destroyed by the hurricane in 1880 ..... in which he has been enabled to number us to the overflowing". The various tributes to Philip Cornwall, as recorded by Lena, are rather too long to repeat here. He died at Kingston, Jamaica, on Good Friday, April 10th, 1903; and a tablet to his memory was erected in the church at Bath, Jamaica. "The unveiling of the Tablet was done by Mrs Custos Harrison, widow of Custos Harrison Esq., after which the Rev.J.Bowen paid an eloquent tribute to the character and work of the Rev.P.Cornwall." The "Custos" Harrison was James Harrison, the father of Violet Muriel Monamy Buckell's husband, Charlton.

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fonthill abbey: the fall of the house of beckford


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