Mr Boudier Uncovered

November 8, 2008 at 10:33 am (people) (, , , , )


The Oxford Quarterly (1825), under preferments: “The Bishop of Gloucester has instituted the Rev. John Boudier, M.A. to the Rectory of Farmington, Gloucestershire, a dispensation having passed the Great Seal to enable him to hold that Living with the Vicarage of St Mary’s, Warwick.” Ah-ha! Sir Charles Joshua Smith studied with a Mr Boudier of Warwick; his brother Drummond studied with a Mr Boudier of Farmington. So, not only does Mr Boudier now gain a first name – he gains a vocation and a couple livings, including that of St Mary’s, Warwick.

I visited St. Mary’s in July 2007; what a beautiful church. And to have the organist practising that afternoon was a true boon. If only I had known then what I know now from A Pictorial & Descriptive Guide to Leamington Spa & Warwick (1900): “The six-light east window [of St Mary’s, Warwick] is modern, and was erected principally in memory of the Rev. John Boudier, vicar, 1815-72.” Having just been reading Emma’s diaries, I would never have put St. Mary’s Rev John Boudier and Charles’ Mr Boudier together: yet it all makes such plain good sense! Especially when Emma comments that they saw St Mary’s– with Mr Boudier. I initially took that comment to mean that Charles’ tutor was in tow, but the sentence takes on a whole new meaning: Mr Boudier was showing the Smiths his own church!

st-marys-seen-from-the_castleSt Mary’s dominates the city of Warwick, especially in this photograph (from their website), taken from Warwick Castle. The tomb of Fulke Greville and the Beauchamp Chapel are well worth seeing. The history of the area is well brought out in even the quickest tour around St Mary’s – from the tombs to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment’s chapel. I was fascinated, and even returned later in the day (I was only in Warwick, for my talk on Fanny Seymour and a peek at Richard Seymour’s diaries at the Warwickshire Record Office, for the weekend).

The Rev. John Boudier resigned from St. Mary’s – aged 90! The Antiquary (1871), published the year before Mr Boudier’s death had this announcement: “The ancient church of St. Michael, Warwick which is now used as a blacksmith’s shop [!!], is to be restored as a testimonial for the Rev. John Boudier, now resigning St Mary’s, at the age of 90, after sixty years’ service as vicar.”

Going through my newest set of letters, I find that Emma’s youngest brother Drummond is welcoming Tom Gosling, Mary’s youngest brother, to Mr Boudier’s Farmington establishment in February 1829. Tom has left Eton and he will enter Christ Church, Oxford in April 1831. So Mr Boudier had at least four Smith-Gosling sons as resident students (Spencer Smith studied with him as well).

One of the toughest tasks of deciphering the letters and diaries and untangling the lives of the Smiths and Goslings is identifying people whom they knew so well – too well, in fact, to really need to write much about them! So when someone is suddenly identified, it is a real thrill – and also means that some incident lightly passed over now takes on new significance. For instance, Richard Seymour also mentions Mr Boudier:

January 24, 1845.– Rode to Warwick to settle accounts of S.P.C.K. Then sat with Boudier who told me much of his sorrows … also his desire for many reasons to leave Warwick, and his wish that I would exchange with him. I do not think this can be. I shrink from it for many reasons, the vast responsibility, the difficulty, the labour of such a post. On the other hand, the field for good is large, and there would be good means of educating my boys. If the will of God plainly took me there, I do not think I should dislike it. But as I do not see this, I don’t think it will be. [eds: he declined both] [from The Nineteenth Century Country Parson, eds. Hart & Carpenter, p. 98-99]

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