The following item is taken from a 1920s edition of The Carthusian in which E.T.LLOYD recalls being one of the first (of what he calls ‘aboriginals’) to attend the new house called Hodgsonites, when the school moved to Godalming from London in 1872.

‘ The birth of Hodgsonites took place in September, 1872, in a house on the South side of the High Street Godalming, and (at that time) to its extreme East. It has a small front garden adjacent to the pavement and had the general appearance of a deserted vicarage. Its name, if ever it had one, I have forgotten, but when I saw the house in 1928 it looked from outside just the same as it did in 1873.

The aboriginal boys of Hodgsonites who came to Charterhouse in September, 1872, were Randall, Napier and Antrobus, to which names may be added that of Mayow, who had been in Gownboys at Old Charterhouse. Next term, January, 1873, Davies, Lucy, Sharp, Whately, Sutton and I came as new boys, making a total of ten. I was only 12 years of age and we were all very small.

During Long Quarter, 1873, we had a very ‘thin time’. We were about 1 1/2 miles from Charterhouse and had to tramp there up a very steep path from the valley between town and School. This path has entirely disappeared. It debouched in our time at the S.E. corner of ‘Green’, from brushwood which contained many rabbits.

We were supposed to have a cup of milk and a biscuit before we started for ‘Chapel’, which I think was at 7.45 am but the actual Chapel building was not completed till some months later. We were apportioned to Verites for our breakfast, and sat – as outcasts that we were – at a separate table in the main hall next the door, between the door and the fireplace. Verites very strongly disapproved of our presence among them and manifested their displeasure in many ways, sometimes by missiles of crusts. This would probably have been checked by the Monitors had they been aware of it, but they breakfasted in a separate room on the other side of the passage running through the house towards ‘Green’.

As we were furthermore made to toast-fag, and the breakfast, unless we paid out of our own pockets for extras, consisted of only one big mug of tea, one lump of bread and one lump of butter for each, many, if not most, of us avoided this meal altogether, and I heartily hated Verites. I remember that they had another real or pretended grievance against us because we had started a blue ribbon for our House rather like theirs but several shades lighter.

We were glad when Cricket Quarter (1873) came and we migrated from the town to ‘The Hermitage’ on Frith Hill, about half a mile from Charterhouse, and we now had breakfast in our own House in peace. As we walked to and fro the School we watched the red walls of our Promised Land getting higher and higher. I have the impression that the House was intended to be ready for us by September 1873, but we did not get into it till January, 1874. As none of us were over 14 a posse of Monitors was imported from other Houses, and a number of new boys came. Among the Monitors I remember the names of Haytor, Green, Brown and Boyle.

The foolish custom of ‘jumping the cupboards’, that existed at Old Charterhouse, had not quite died out, and I remember ‘jumping’ my cupboard this first term in the new House. My cupboard exactly faced the big fireplace, and is still in site.

Next term, Cricket Quarter 1874, I have a distinct recollection of a meeting in the Hall to start a House Cricket Club. Lucy proposed it should be called ‘The Harpies’, and this was carried unanimously, though personally I did not at the time know what ‘Harpies’ were, nor do I know to this day why that name was selected. We fixed on grey and blue rings as our cap colours. Many years afterwards I recognised our cap on the head of an O.C. at Naini Tal! and perhaps it is still in existence.

Let me conclude by saying a few words about our first House Master, who died about fifty years ago in the prime of life. He was rather dark with black hair and very bright eyes. He had rather a hasty temper but a very kind heart, and we all liked him. He was not above hurling his mortar-board while in class with no small skill at the head of a sleepy or stupid boy. There was a tradition amongst us that he had been an expert at ‘throwing the hammer’ (perhaps he was an ‘Old Blue’), and that he had broken a blood-vessel while doing so and had been delicate ever since.

He had married a Miss Verelst just before he started as House Master at Godalming. She had two brothers at Charterhouse. All old Hodgsonites grieved at his untimely fate, and we got up a Memorial to him in the form of Exhibitions for the benefit of his two sons, if I remember right.

In spite of the shortness of my stay at Charterhouse, I have always been very proud of Charterhouse and Hodgsonites.

One thought on “History of Hodgsonites

  1. I will forward you a very old letter I have from someone called Rachel Wyott, concerning Charterhouse, I found it in my late fathers documents. Ann Walmsley

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