Letters from Christopher Chavasse to his Parents 1904-1913

Letters from Christopher Chavasse to his parents, 1904-1913

Introduction

Christopher Chavasse wrote frequently to his parents while an undergraduate at Trinity College, Oxford, from 1904-08. He was a successful sportsman, but his confidence in his academic ability wavered and he did poorly in his final examinations.

He eventually moved back to Liverpool to study for ordination with his father, at which point the correspondence decreases. From 1910 he began a curacy at St Helen's, subsequently returning to Liverpool in 1913 to work as a curate under his father.

The letters are presented in the order assigned to them by Bodleian Special Collections - some may be out of chronological order. Questions, corrections and enquiries about the use of images should be directed to archives@spc.ox.ac.uk.

Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                           24 Jan 1904

Christopher Chavasse wishes his mother a happy birthday and jokes about her age. Canon Alfred Christopher visited him and Noel at Trinity College. He and Noel played lacrosse recently and feel that they have a good chance of beating Cambridge this year and getting their half-blues. Sent from The Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse            17 Sep 1904

Christopher Chavasse didn’t know that Rev. Herbert Rivington was coming to Liverpool. He is concerned about his brother Aidan’s welfare. He has done some boating with Louis. He has not got much work done, unlike Noel, who has been reading his Chemistry book. He asks his father to thank Dorothy for her letter. Sent from Pen Dyffryn, Overton, Ellesmere.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse            17 Oct 1904

Christopher Chavasse describes the courses of lectures that he is attending this term. He only knows one other fresher and will try to make friends. He and Noel are being trained at the running track by Cornwallis, the President of the Athletics Club. He will play lacrosse but will try to avoid away fixtures if he can. He and Arthur heard John Diggle (1849-1917) preach the Freshers' Sermon. He hopes that Aidan’s eye is better and that he has recovered from the shock. Sent from The Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse            24 Oct 1904

Christopher Chavasse says that he has been working hard this week. He has been playing lacrosse, and would have played rugby for the College had the match not been cancelled. He will practice his running as he thinks he is going stale. He and Noel visited a Corpus Christi contemporary of their father, Creeper Green [?], and have been invited to tea by Mrs. Helen and Ms. Gibson. Mr. Dyson has asked them to take a Bible class. He went to a meeting at Cowley on Sunday and was somewhat overwhelmed by the range of discussion. He and Noel went to the Varsity Sermon preached by Francis Paget (1851-1911). Their Aunt Francis and Gwen will be visiting on Thursday. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse            29 Oct 1904

Christopher Chavasse informs his father that he has been receiving generally positive feedback for his work. He describes his feelings about William Griffith Thomas (1861-1924). He and Noel have started their Bible reading again. Sent from The Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                           1 Nov 1904

Christopher reports that he and Noel now have a piano in their rooms. Their Uncle Tom, Aunt Francis and Gwen visited them on Sunday. He jokes that his father should have visited him on his way to London, and that they are finding it hard to find time to work. He and Noel have joined the Oxford Union as life members. He hopes that his sister May is feeling better. He asks if the Liverpool Cathedral pictures have been sent to his grandmother. Sent from The Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse            11 Nov 1904

Christopher Chavasse discusses the Freshers’ Drink and Dance, stating that only one fresher got drunk. He says that after the event, approximately 30 of them raided a room belonging to an unpopular student named Gurney. He has been asked to run for the University second string. Canon Alfred Christopher visited them again and gave him and Noel a tract each. He has been visiting Mr Dyson and Mr Gibbon. Noel was banned by his tutor from taking part in sports, though he is training for next term. He has not got much work done this week. He says that his father’s name is well known around Oxford. Sent from the Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse             2 Dec 1904

Christopher Chavasse reports that he and Noel played against Dean Close school, and that he also played for team of Trinity freshmen against Magdalen College School. He will soon be playing lacrosse for Oxford against West London and Manchester University. He has been refused leave to play on the Bristol tour as it clashes with his collections, but he thinks he will find a way to play anyway. He and Noel are considering buying a phonograph. He and Noel attended a church meeting about confession. He describes an Oxford Union debate that he attended. He is starting to get stressed about exams. He and Noel are still attending Bible readings with Mr. Dyson, and he reports that the Greek testament class is filling Hannington Hall. Sent from the Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse             17 Jun 1905

Christopher Chavasse asks his father if he will be able to cover his College debts. He and Noel attended a debate at the Oxford Union about the abolition of the House of Lords. He and Noel were ordered to visit the Pro-Proctor [Claude Blagden (1874-1952)] for not wearing their caps and gowns, but were let off when they explained that they had been returning from the Union. He, Noel and Arthur went for a walk last Sunday. He and Noel are regulars for the University lacrosse team and feel that they will get a half-blue. He thinks his History collections went well. He has been asked to run a Bible reading class at Trinity. Sent from The Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                            6 Feb 1904

Christopher Chavasse describes a lacrosse match that he played in. He says that Noel is feeling better. He, Noel and Arthur went to St. Barnabas, which was too Anglo-Catholic for his tastes. They went to Cumnor and visited the church. He will go and hear Bishop Henry Montgomery (1847-1932). He will write to his sister Dorothy to give her some advice. He jokes that his mother should not expect him to write a letter whenever he arrives somewhere safely, and she should assume that he is fine. Sent from the Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                            11 Feb 1905

Christopher Chavasse describes a lacrosse match that he and Noel took played in. They are receiving running training from a Hertford Fellow named Jackson. He has given up rugby and football this term. He fears he will not a get a blue for running this year. He explains why he disagrees with prayers for the dead. Sent from The Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse             14 Feb 1904

Christopher Chavasse reports that Noel has recovered from his head injury. He has heard from his Aunt, who will be visiting Oxford next week. He played three rugby matches last week, some lacrosse and also did some running. He still manages to work six hours a day. On Sunday, he, Noel and Arthur went for a walk around Oxfordshire villages. He was concerned to find that there was no church service at Binsey, and only a rushed one at Wytham. The Archbishop of Canterbury [Randall Davidson (1848-1930)] will be preaching at Trinity next Sunday. He asks for his cigarette holder and jokes that Noel and Arthur have been encouraging him to stop smoking. Sent from the Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse              19 Feb 1904

Christopher Chavasse says that he has not felt well over the past week. He took part in a 300 yard race but only came fourth. He felt ill afterwards. He will focus on lacrosse rather than running. He notes that the Torpids will be on when his Aunt visits them. Unfortunately Trinity are not doing very well.  He and Noel have been training with the rowers and are getting to know them. He asks to be sent some books about faith. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                              6 Mar 1904

Christopher Chavasse has a cold, which he think he picked up while playing lacrosse for the Combined Varsities vs. London. Francis James Chavasse’s talk in Oxford had a good audience of ‘Townees’ but few University students. Dorothy Chavasse is coming to visit on Wednesday, though he is not sure what they will be able to do to entertain her. He and Noel enjoyed the visit from their Aunt. He has had some collections today and will have a logic exam tomorrow. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse               7 May 1904

Christopher Chavasse discusses his general feelings of unhappiness and doubts about his faith. He had hoped to talk to his father about this when he visited Liverpool. He wishes that he were able to work as Noel does, but finds he is often distracted from his reading. He encloses a copy of the college Mission Magazine, which includes an article by Joe Legg that he does not approve of. He is also sending some cuff studs, and jokes that they are better than the ones that his father normally wears. He talked to Mr Dyson, who says that William Griffith Thomas (1861-1924) is a ‘bounder’ and ‘his wife worse’. Sent from The Oxford Union, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse               24 May 1905

Christopher Chavasse is told by Mr. Gibbon that he knows some men who would go to the Hostel [for ordinands, at the Bishop’s Palace in Liverpool] if they had met Francis James Chavasse personally. Mr Gibbon therefore proposes to introduce them to him. Christopher considers his future academic studies, and wonders if he has a good enough grounding in Theology to get a first or second class degree in the subject. He is considering playing golf when the family meet at Ramsey, Isle of Man. He hopes that they will be able to have some Bible lessons, as there are some theological questions that he would like to ask. Sent from the Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                               1 Jun 1904

Christopher Chavasse says that his Aunt Francis and Gwen visited them during Eights week. He did not do much work during that time and is worried about his Law Prelim exam. He asks his mother to make sure that his father advises him on what history school he should take up. He asks about his waistcoat. He was sorry to hear that his Aunt is feeling ill. He hopes that Arthur and Gwen will be invited to the Isle of Man. His cousins Molly and John visited to watch some rowing. He is taking a night off work to listen to Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1836-1908) speak at the Oxford Union. He describes helping some drunk rowers get to bed. Sent from The Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                              12 Jun 1905

Christopher Chavasse assumes that his mother has heard about his father’s visit to Oxford. He saw Mr. Gibbon yesterday, who thinks that some men will go to the Hostel [for ordinands, at the Bishop’s Palace in Liverpool]. He describes a visit of East End parishioners to Oxford, which he enjoyed. His aunt Francis has asked him and Noel to stay in Barnt Green. He is not sure if he should go and asks for advice. Sent from the Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                             22 Oct 1905

Christopher Chavasse asks if his mother will be coming to Oxford for his and Noel’s 21st birthday. He would like his aunt Mary to come – his aunts Francis and Gwen are already coming. He hopes that his brother Aidan’s eye is better. He is sorry to say that he has not done much work this week. He thinks that Noel has a lighter workload that him this term, and will be able to play lacrosse in London. He played in a particularly violent game of lacrosse yesterday. He is receiving running training from the Oxford University Athletics Club President, Kenneth Cornwallis. Sent from the Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                              11 Dec 1905

Christopher Chavasse lets his mother know when he shall be returning home. He thinks that his collections went well. His 21st birthday went well. He asks if his brother Bernard can ensure that he plays at ¾ in a game on Wednesday. Sent from the Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse               4 Feb 1906

Christopher Chavasse sends his father a copy of his speech on temperance, which he admits used much of his father’s material. The meeting at which he delivered the speech was well attended. A fellow student named Crittenden sent some empty port bottles to their rooms as a joke. Mr Gibbon wishes to know if Francis James Chavasse will be visiting Oxford this term, as he has some men for him to meet. He and Noel had lunch with their cousin Albert, cousin Florence and Sidney and Claud, which he found trying. He discusses electioneering at the Oxford Union. He asks for some advice about the topic of life after death, which he will have to speak about at the next meeting. His Bible Reading group now has 10 members, and he asks his father to visit them. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                             13 Mar 1906

Christopher Chavasse says that he will be running in the second string in the ¼ mile against Cambridge, and perhaps also in the 100 yards. Unfortunately Noel did not make the team. Christopher had allowed Noel to beat him in a race so that he could qualify, but their trick was noticed. He will not go to Brighton, but will go to London to visit his aunt Ada. He will take part in the Sandhurst Sports while he is in the area. Blackler is coming to stay for a while. Noel is having an exam soon and does not seem well. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                          15 May 1906

Christopher Chavasse is unsure about the arrangements for his family visiting during Eights Week. He is sorry that his sisters Marjorie and May can’t come down for the week. He can’t visit Liverpool as he would miss too many lectures. He has misgivings about two men due to speak at the Missionary Meeting in Liverpool – he dislikes both Bishop John Taylor Smith (1860-1938) and a man named Richardson. He notes that his father was mentioned by Arthur Balfour during a parliamentary debate on the Education Bill. He asks for his sister May to send him his tennis shoes. He says that Lloyd’s [Dean of Trinity College] sister, Mrs. Mariabella Howard Kershaw, committed suicide on her honeymoon. He asks that his brother Bernard not be allowed to do too much training for the old boys race at Liverpool College [?]. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse               20 May 1906

Christopher Chavasse reports that Trinity are having a successful Eights Week. His father’s old college, Corpus Christi, are also doing well. They saw Bertie when he came to Oxford to take his M.A. He is entertaining his cousin Molly and Gwen, which is affecting his work. He describes how he and Noel swam over to the Trinity College barge after a successful race. He discusses the Education Reform Bill. They are trying to go easy on the College Dean, Lloyd, after the suicide of his sister Mrs. Mariabella Howard Kershaw. Gwen is upset as she knew her well. He reminds his father to send him reading material about the Oxford Movement. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse                 3 Jun 1906

Christopher Chavasse is glad that it is nearly the end of term, as he feels he has been in a constant rush. He has been spending a lot of time training and playing sport. He would like to go to Holy Island for their summer holiday. He played in an Old Boys cricket game at Magdalen College School, and found that many people remembered him and Noel. He is sad to hear that Mr. Linton Smith is leaving, which he think may mark the end of his connection to St. Saviour’s Sunday school. He hears that George Nickson (1864-1949) has been made a Bishop [of Jarrow]. His friend Cuttenden will be staying with them over the Long Vacation. Sent from the Oxford Union.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse               21 Oct 1906

Christopher Chavasse has been busy with collections, which he thinks went well. He has had a bad cold. Canon William Sanday (1843-1920) is coming to talk on Sunday, which Christopher is preparing for. The Trinity Bible reading has not being going well, so they are going to reorganise it. They have organised some guest speakers for it (Coles, Wingfield, Digby and Foster Carter) and he suggests that his father could speak too. He wants to apply for a Theological scholarship, as he wishes to read Theology but does not want to incur additional expenses upon his parents. He is encouraging a man named Preston to come to his Bible reading. He wonders why other pious students are ‘frightful fools apart from their religion’ and discusses the difficulty that Christian students have in being accepted socially in college. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                             28 Oct 1906

Christopher Chavasse jokes that every other student seems to have gone to the Union to write a letter to their parents. He and Noel have been playing well for the lacrosse team. Noel went to play for Oxford against a team from Coventry, which Oxford won despite fielding a weak side. He and Noel have been training for the 100 yards and 1/4 mile. He asks his mother to send him a history notebook and a map. Canon William Sanday (1843-1920) got confused about the day he had been asked to speak at the Trinity College Church Society and had to be reminded by Noel. He asks if his father could give him help for a paper about the Reformation. Coles of Pusey House will be coming to represent the High Church point of view. He asks when his father will next be coming to Oxford, though he feels he ought to be in London debating the Education Bill. He has heard that Dorothy is engaged and asks why he has not been told. Sent from the Union Society, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                            18 Nov 1906

Christopher Chavasse says that both he and Noel are running against the London Athletics Club next Saturday. He recommends that his mother buy the ‘Sporting and Dramatic’ which contains photos of him and Noel running in the Freshman Sports. He jokes that they are helping to promote their father's name. He received a massage from George Beazley to help a muscle injury. He and Noel met the President of Trinity, which Christopher always finds an ordeal. He thinks he will meet Mr. [Talbot?] Rice at the William Griffith Thomas (1861-1924) talk. He and Noel attended an Old Boys meeting at Magdalen College School, which he enjoyed. Noel has won another prize for the 800 yards. The Bishop of Madras, Henry Whitehead, is coming to speak at the Trinity College Church Society. 3 fellow students will be staying with them when they return to Liverpool - Lorimer, Blackler and Cuttenden. He will be staying with the Montgomery family to watch the Varsity Rugby. Sent from the Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse               25 Nov 1906

Christopher Chavasse lost his 100 yard race against the London Athletics Club, though his time was considered good. Noel won his 1/4 mile race and has been advised to go for the Amateur Championship. Christopher has given up smoking so that he might gain ground on Noel, who used to be considered a weaker 1/4 mile runner than him. They are competing in different events so that they can both get Blues. They are both playing for the Magdalen College School Old Boys tomorrow. He has been invited to the Old Boys Dinner at Liverpool College. Bishop Whitehead gave his speech at the Trinity College Church Society. His work is going well. He is particularly enjoying Political Science and has been reading Hobbes and Rousseau for pleasure. He asks if his father can persuade his mother to make arrangements for Lorimer, Blackler and Cuttenden to stay with them in Liverpool over Christmas. An illness has been going around Oxford, but so far he and Noel have avoided it. Sent from Trinity College Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse               10 Feb 1907

Christopher Chavasse attended Canon Alfred Christopher’s Missionary breakfast. Bishop Jugwell spoke and the Vice Chancellor chaired. The President of the Union, Talbot, also attended. Joe Legge is giving a paper at the next Trinity College Church Society meeting. Christopher has read the paper in advance and is concerned by its criticism of the Church of England, especially as the next meeting is likely to have a large attendance. His lacrosse team have been playing well and he is positive about their chances against Cambridge. He is worried that Noel will lose his place in the team. He and Noel went to Cambridge to play against Leys School [?] and met Donald Montgomery. There was a vacancy for Running President, which Christopher feels ought to have gone to him. Instead, in his view, it went to a less qualified man with better connections. He is off to attend the class run by William Griffith Thomas (1861-1924), which has been popular. He met William Temple (1881-84) of Queens College and liked him. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse                 3 Mar 1907

Christopher Chavasse says that he and Noel were successful in their races yesterday. He is confident that they will both get Blues. The last Trinity College Church Society meeting went badly as the paper contained some controversial views, and Coles got the better of him in the subsequent debate. He is glad that the next ‘Churcher’ will be the last under his Presidency. He met the Gilleats [?] for lunch. He is playing lacrosse against Cambridge next Tuesday. Noel has been dropped from the team - Christopher is protesting the decision by refusing to entertain any Cambridge men or by going to the associated dinner. They have both been stressed this term and will be glad to get home. Sent from Trinity College Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                           12 Mar 1907

Christopher thinks that he and Noel will have a good time in Brighton. The trip is being paid for by the club. They have 4 complimentary tickets for the sports, which they will give to Mrs Montgomery if their mother doesn’t want them. He asks his mother to send him his running bags[?] and for May to send his Harris tweed. Sent from the Metropole, Brighton.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse    12 May 1907          

Christopher Chavasse has sent a box of his old clothes. He makes a joke about sending the key to the box. He asks his mother to send him some clothes. He suggests that some of his old clothes could be given to Bernard. He has had a cold and therefore has not been able to do as much work as he should. However he has been able to write a couple of good essays. Molly and John are visiting for an afternoon, and he will take them out in Arthur’s punt. He asks for the proofs of the photo of him and Noel. He asks when his father will be visiting Oxford. He asks where they are going this summer. He might be asked to go to America to race against Yale and Harvard, but he hopes it won’t come to pass. He has been working hard now that his cold has gone. He saw Lord Curzon being made Chancellor. He was amused to see William Griffith Thomas (1861-1924) at the event, sat next to Dr. Kidd, a High Churchman.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse               4 Nov 1907

Christopher Chavasse says that William Temple has asked if they could put him up during the Conference in January. Christopher asks that C.J.C. Browne of Trinity College be put up at the same time. Last Friday he and Noel went to Magdalen College chapel for their All Saints anthem. Last Saturday he and Noel played rugby against Malborough School. On Sunday they went to hear the Bishop of Stepney, Cosmo Lang (1864-1945), speak. Patterson has recommended some books for him to buy. He believes that Patterson, although kind to him and knowledgeable about the Church, is lazy and drinks too much. Sent from 9 Museum Road, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse      Friday night [c. Nov 1907?]

Christopher Chavasse says that his mother’s present will not arrive in time for her birthday. He hopes she will hang their College photographs in her bedroom. He jokes about her age. He has given up smoking for now. He has been studying John’s Epistles. He feels that he is ‘at last turning religious’. He has decided to play rugby for Oxford against Richmond. He thinks that playing Rugby for Oxford is a greater achievement than receiving a half-blue for anything else. He will still be able to run at the Amateur Championship and Olympic Games. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse               9 Feb 1908

Christopher Chavasse says that his aunt Mary will be coming to visit him and Noel on Saturday night. He think that he is finally getting a grip on his history studies. Patterson told him that one of his essays was good enough to get a first, though Christopher feels he wasted too much time to obtain a first class degree. Lord Cecil and Lord Fraser [?] spoke at the missionary meeting at Balliol Hall, which was very well attended. Fraser conducts a Missionary Study Circle which attracts about 25 men. Dyson’s son Christopher has heart trouble resulting from his rheumatic fever - Christopher thinks it lucky that Noel did not have the same problem. They will be going to Brighton to take part in the sports this year, which he would like his parents to attend. He describes the walks that he and Noel have taken around Oxfordshire. Sent from 9 Museum Road, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Edith Chavasse  Not dated [c.1908]         

Christopher Chavasse provides his mother with an account of his race. He came second to an American in the 100 yards heats and injured himself in the process. Dr. Whitelock has advised him not to train for a week. Noel won his heat and is likely to beat the American on Monday. Noel also won his heat in the 1/4 mile. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse                 Not dated

Christopher encloses a letter from his Magdalen College School friend Alfred Robertson. Robertson wants to come to Oxford to be a parson, but Christopher doesn’t think that he has the intellectual ability. He asks his father to give some advice to Robertson. Christopher is currently attending Canon [?] Ottley’s Pastoral Lectures on Christian Ethics, which he has enjoyed so far. He is also doing some essays on church history for Patterson. He played lacrosse against the Canadians for a Combined Universities team, losing 7-3. However he was happy with his performance and had a part in their three goals. Sent from the Oxford Union Society.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse               24 Mar 1908

Christopher encloses a letter [non extant] from Alfred Robertson about visiting him in Liverpool. He met Mrs. Anderson yesterday, who knew his Uncle Charlie well. Her mother was a Chavasse, though Christopher is not sure of her exact relationship to them. He has seen Mr. Lancelot’s letter, which amused him. He doesn’t mind which school [Liverpool College of Magdalen College School] he and Noel are associated with. He and Noel went to a service at St. Paul’s. They disapproved greatly of the way that the service was conducted. They are staying in town with Jack Woodhouse, and will also meet Howard and Uncle Robert. He is unsure how well he will do at the sports, as he is injured. He thinks Noel will do well. Sent from The Metropole, Brighton.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse               17 May 1908

Christopher has been working approximately 60 hours per week in anticipation of his exams. He is coming to realise that his work in previous terms has been unfruitful, though still believes he ‘has the instincts of a first class’. He is afraid he will fail to get a second class degree, even though he has never fallen below that standard in his collections. He knows that there are some exam questions that he would struggle with, and few questions to which he could give a first class answer. He is keeping regular working hours and enjoying his history studies, though finds the long days unpleasant. He thinks he is learning an important life lesson. He hears that his brother Bernard is doing well, and asks that his letter be passed on to him. He is sorry that Bernard is not coming to Trinity [he went to Balliol] as they are a good group of men, with about 80 attending a missionary talk each sunday. Christopher worries that College life has spoilt him, and feels that his spiritual life has weakened since he was a boy. He describes himself as a ‘miserable failure’ and a ‘careless man’. He and Noel will run at the Olympic trials on 30 May, though they will not be able to prepare much for it. He asks his father about the arrangements for July. He would like to go to a schoolboy camp this year. He hears that Dorothy is coming to visit for Eights week, and asks that she be told that they will only be able to look after her on Sunday. He met Dr. Roberts of Magdalen, who asked after his parents. Dr. Roberts has been suffering from Brights disease. He has heard that the Hon Lister of Balliol got drunk at a dinner at Trinity and insulted the Dean, Lloyd. Lister was sent down, and a mock memorial service was held for him at Balliol. Christopher think that Trinity have a better class of man than Balliol. He hears that Lister will be going to the Trinity Mission, and will see if he can prevent this. He doesn’t understand why his father prefers Balliol to Trinity. He asks about the Licensing Bill, which both the Oxford and Cambridge Unions support. They have also passed votes of censure on Winston Churchill. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse 

Not dated [c. Jun 1908]

Christopher Chavasse  feels that he has not been working to a first-class standard. He sometimes thinks he may get a second but will probably get a third. He thinks he has been unlucky with his papers, as none of the work he did for his collections has proven useful. Bertie has been to stay with him. He rejuvenated himself by going to listen to the music in Magdalen College Chapel, and now feels ready for the next two days. He does not feel that he can pray for a good class, as he has not done enough work to justify doing so. Sent from Trinity College, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse            28 Jun 1908

Christopher Chavasse sometimes thinks he may have got a second, but then remembers mistakes that he made. He thinks that the exam questions were harder than normal this year. Noel was not pleased with his exams, though remains cheerful. He doesn’t believe that his father doesn’t mind what class he gets. He thinks he will be hard done by if he doesn’t get a second, but has not worked hard enough for a first. He thinks that his sporting record and Presidency of the Church Society mean that his Oxford achievements are respectable. He fears, however, that he will never be anything more than respectable. He asks his father to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Uncle Tom is against the Licencing Bill and Christopher wants to discuss the subject with his father. Sent from Trinity College Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse      Sunday [c.1908]

Christopher Chavasse thinks that his exams went fine, though is less sure that the paper on Aristotle went well. He won the Magdalen College School Old Boy’s race. His sister Dorothy and her husband have made him very comfortable. He and Noel are about to have tea at the Union with Bernard and Arthur. The four of them are going to Birmingham on Tuesday with Gladys. Sent from The Union, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse             2 Aug 1908

Christopher Chavasse was badly shaken by the news of his poor exam results. He thinks that Patterson should have emphasised the importance of learning French. He has asked for a University Calendar in order to find out which groups he must now take, which he will work on during August. He doesn’t think that his failure will harm his prospects too much, except that he is unlikely to ever become a bishop. He wonders if his bad results are a way of God preventing him from becoming too full of himself after his other successes at Oxford. He thinks his father will be disappointed, but points out that he is only one of fours sons, and that the others are doing well. He think that the camp is doing him good, though he is having some unhappy thoughts as he writes the letter. Sent from University Camp, Porthdafarch.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse              5 Dec 1908

Christopher has just finished his last pass moderations paper, which he thinks he has passed. He is fairly sure that he has done well in all of his papers, though he could have done better in his Latin Prose. Argenti [?] has helped see him through. His viva is not until next Saturday. He will stay with Dorothy in the meantime. He has found it difficult to explain to people that he has stayed on to take pass moderations. Sent from 2 St. Michael’s Street, Oxford.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse              8 Aug 1909

Christopher Chavasse has been very busy with his responsibilities at the camp and has spent a lot of time trying to get to know the boys. He misses being a tent officer, which allowed him to get to know people better. They have fewer boys at the camp this year, which he thinks is due to competition from the Territorials. He likes the other officers at the camp, though does not think much of the Chaplain, Mr. Knight. He will speak tomorrow, and thanks his father for the sermons that he sent him for guidance. His friend Ashcroft will speak after him. He thinks Bernard is enjoying his time at the camp too, and feels they have grown closer. He and Bernard will find a boat to take them to the Isle of Wight. Bishop John Taylor-Smith (1860-1938) and Canon James Denton Thompson (1856-1924) are visiting the camp next week. Sent from Universities Camp, Holyhead.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse              8 Mar 1910

Christopher Chavasse has a busy Sunday. His sermon went well, though he feels he may have been too melodramatic. He sends it to his father for comment, and asks if he can send his future sermons for comment too. He admits that the best elements are taken from a sermon his father gave. He has made 26 visits around the parish this week and intends to do many more. He is struggling with his own sense of spirituality and envies those who are converted from a sinful life. He suspects that the vicar may think he is a slacker, but he believes he is doing as much as he can. Sent from Auckland House, St. Helens.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse              16 Jul 1911

Christopher Chavasse provides his father with some information about the wellbeing of a Mr. Dowling and his family. Courtenay says that they shouldn’t be given money. He looks forward to the holidays as he has been very busy with his work around the parish. He asks if Bernard and Aidan would like to stay with him. He asks his father to congratulate Bernard for getting a first class degree. He feels like the black sheep of the family and sometimes feels that he will never rise above his present level. Sent from 48 Hardshaw Street, St. Helens.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse            16 Feb 1913

Christopher Chavasse cannot visit next week but may see his father on Sunday. Noel is coming to see him for the weekend. He did not realise that the car was so badly damaged. He accepts the proposal that he work under the guidance of his father. He is concerned about giving up active work, but thinks he will be more useful after learning more from his father. Sent from 48 Hardshaw Street, St. Helens.

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Letter from Christopher Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse   Not dated [c.1913]

Christopher Chavasse thinks that his brother-in-law Foster-Carter’s offer is tempting, but that he should not go. He is not ready for change and is unsure if he can take on a role of such responsibility. He has been losing his temper recently and some of his words have caused him trouble. Sent from The Clergy House, 48 Hardshaw Street, St. Helens.

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