[James Tait Plowden Wardlaw, barrister and Church of England cleric.] Autograph diary, including descriptions of visits to Camden Town Murder trial at the Old Bailey. With large bundle of family correspondence, original poems, photographs, cuttings.

James Tait Plowden Wardlaw [James Tait Plowden-Wardlaw] (1873-1963), rector of Beckenham, vicar of St Clement's, Cambridge, barrister-at-law [The Camden Town Murder trial, 1907; Wilfred Philip Ward]
Publication details: 
The diary dating from the period October to December 1907. The letters from 1925 to 1927, except for one from 1905; and mostly from Hove, Sussex.
SKU: 14966

The diary is 66pp., 4to. In red buckram binding with 'Diary Oct-Dec 1907 Plowden Wardlaw' in gilt on spine. In very good condition, on lightly-aged paper, in good tight binding. Plowden Wardlaw's devoutness is apparent throughout. For example, on 17 October, he appears to be consecrating his own private chapel: 'At home to-day. Most of the day was spent in cleaning and preparing the Chapel for the dedication tomorrow. Father Maturin the former

father, who received Edith into the Church in 1898 came down by the 5.40. I met him in the motor. He is a gentleman, & a man of the world. Edith & I intended to go to confession to Father Maturin but he had no facilities, & so I wired for them. Dolly left.' At the dedication, on the following day, he and 'Count Cubitt' [Thomas Riccardi-Cubbitt, Count Riccardi-Cubitt (1870-1950)] serve, and he writes a long entry on the day, including: 'I am very glad that he was here, as he answered the responses in the Litany well. I am such a duffer in reading a foreign language like Latin since my illness in 1895. The dedication was to St Margaret of Scotland. I chose this saint as the Bishop asked for a British saint. I believe that both Edith & myself are her actually [sic] descendants [...] Father Maturin had many interesting things to say. To illustrate to the outer circles from which the lower clergy are recruited he tells a story told to him by the lady concerned. She, I believe, is an Irish peeress. A priest has been asked to stay for breakfast after mass. He was sitting near her. On the side table were all the breakfast dishes. Her Ladyship said to him "please, Father, help yourself" He looked at her for some seconds, & then replied, point blank, "no I can't". He thought he had been insulted, & that if his position had been higher, the servant would have helped him. [...]' Other topics include his business ('Newington Sessions', writing notes 'on working-men's participation in university education at Cambridge'), engagements (lectures, social meetings, excursions by car and train, visit to the Hippodrome, 'Raleigh's play at the Drury Lane theatre "The Sins of Society"'), his affection for his young son Wilfred. Of '"When Knights were Bold" at Wyndham's' he writes on 23 October: 'James Welsh was the "Knight". It was very amusing and funny. 710 years rolled back and the cigarette in 1196 and the sensation it caused was very funny.' On 16 December he travels 'By the 7.47 to London with Count Cubitt: drove to New Bailey. Although we were the first there I had some difficulty in getting him a seat in the City Lands as all the tickets for these seats have been issued. So Cubitt had to sit in the well of the court for the first 20 minutes. Then I saw that although the tickets had been issued the City Lands were not full, & so going up to one of the aldermen on the bench, I asked him to give permission for Cubitt to be shifted. Accordingly until 5 o'clock he had a good seat in the "City Lands". The trial was that of the Camden Town murder. The poisoner Robert Wood is a very ordinary looking young man of the City clerk type. There was one apparently respectable-looking man as witness called Crabtree. He has lately served two sentences as a keeper of houses of ill-fame: before that 3 years for horse stealing. He seemed a clever man, without any moral sense at all. The only thing he seemed ashamed of was the horse stealing. Marshall Hall KC the prisoner's leading counsel treated him with withering scorn. The double life led by the apparently admirable young man (the prisioner) is a puzzle. Cubitt thoroughly enjoyed the experience.' On 17 December he returns to London 'to hear Wood's trial. The defence witnesses including the prisoner were called. The two brothers of the prisoner and the old jeweller who belonged to the angling society were first-class witnesses, but the prisoner was a sorry fellow, inordinately conceited, and a man who evidently was not telling all the truth. The "City Lands" benches were very full indeed. I saw George Alexander Pinero and Lady Wolseley. At the solicitors table was Hall Caine, looking like a veritable scarecrow.' The next day he complains that he has 'missed the cross-examination of the prisoner by Sir Chas Matthews', but in the afternoon he does hear 'Marshall Hall's fine speech for the defence. I had to leave about 4.30 and so did not hear Matthews or the Judge (Grantham) nor the unprecedented scene of cheers in open court when a verdict of not-guilty was pronounced.' At the end of the volume are three holograph poems: 'Darby and Joan' (24 lines in three stanzas), dated 'Dec 29.07 J P.W.'; 'For the New Year | The Secret of Happiness' (34 lines), dated 'Dec 1907 | J P W.'; and 'The Kingdom Within Us' (23 lines), dated 'Dec 1907 | J P W.' A number of items are laid down in the volume. These include an Autograph Letters Signed and a Typed Letter Signed from the biographer and ecclesiastical historian Wilfred Philip Ward (1856-1916), both from Lotus, Dorking: the first (1p., landscape 12mo), dated 5 November 1907, regarding 'the Encyclical' ('I have no practical doubt that the final outcome of things will be something very different intellectually from this document, which is an assertion of the rigidity of Rome at a moment of panic.'); the second (1p., 12mo) dated 16 November 1907, thanking him for his 'letter in the Tablet'. The diary includes transcripts by Wardlaw of two letters to Ward. In the first (2pp.), dated 3 November 1907, he sets out his 'own attitude to the encyclical Pascendi'; in the second (3pp.), dated 17 November, he discusses his Tablet and the piece by Ward it responds to ('You will think it ridiculous of me also to say that at the beginning of your article your metaphor of "stripping the saints of their aureaoles" gave me the impression of a non-catholic writer; which shows how dangerous it is to jump to conclusions on such slender evidence.') and 'Tyrrell's case'. At the beginning of the volume are photographs of a village scene with a bridge, and of Pope Pius X. The diary also contains two other photographic portraits of the same pope on postcards, and a number of newspaper cuttings (obituary of John Fonthill Rubie; correspondence in The Times relating to 'Father Tyrrell and the Vatican'; articles on the Druce-Portland murder case, and Camden Town Murder trial at the Central Criminal Court). Also present are more than a hundred items of family correspondence, almost all in manuscript (a handful typed), dating from 1925 to 1927. The collection in fair condition, aged and worn at extremities. Each letter punch-holed, and the lot bundled together and attached with a shoelace. Most of the letters are addressed to Wardlaw by his affectionate aunt 'E. V. C. Plowden' (addressing him as 'My darling Boy'), other letters from his brother Hugh Chichele Plowden (of 44 Osmond Rd, Hove), his niece Joan Margaret and nephew Peter, and some signed 'Mother', but addressed to 'Uncle Jim'. Also present are a few letters from Dolly Bramwell, and a couple of receipts (doctor, chemist), a press cutting and three school reports (J. C. Plowden-Wardlaw, Radley College, April and December 1926; and Margaret Plowden-Wardlaw, St Mary's School, Wantage, Autumn 1926). A somewhat conventional family correspondence, with the liveliest letterwriter the brother Hugh, who would also appear to have been in Holy Orders. (On Good Friday 1927 he writes: 'Good Friday, 1927. 'Dear Jim. | Only a line to wish you a happy Easter. I have much enjoyed my time at S. Martin's which ends with Low Sunday. It is a wonderful Church, and is the only Church except S. Faith's Stoke Newington, which is the Church of the people. The congregations are so devout and have all the naturalness and childlike love for Our Lord which you find among working class Romans. Two and three hundred people for the Stations of the Cross. Palm Sunday the whole Church full of men women, children who came up for thier [sic] palm and kissed the Celebrants hand! The same to day [sic] at the Mass of the Pre-sanctified. A continual stream of people adoring Our Lord before the Chapel of Repose. And it is just this that our Bishop wants to stop!') The aunt appears to be living with the recipient's brother at 44 Osmond Road, Hove, and the state of her health is a recurring theme. Present is a Typed Letter Signed from Dr Downer of 40 Wilbury Road, Hove, 9 August 1927, discussing whether 'surgical operation' is advisable for 'a patient of Miss Plowden's age'.