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are some great orchards close to the house which must be a sight to see in the spring time; and I was told that two years ago they made two thousand gallons of cider from the fruit; but last autumn there was only a tree here and there with anything upon it.
Life in the village was, as you may suppose, a very tranquil and unexciting affair, with few opportunities for dissipation of any kind, as may be judged from the fact that there is neither church, nor public house, nor shop of any description, nor even a postoffice. If you had a fortune you could not buy an ounce of tobacco or a box of matches. We sent by the carrier's cart (which went only on Fridays) to Stratford for such luxuries, and in fact for all "shop" things. Our letters were sent to a neighbour's, who lived on the line of route of the walking postman, and stuck in her window for him to see and call for. Of course newspapers were out of the question, and I congratulated myself that for once I had got clean away, "far from the madding crowd," and to a place where we did not care two straws for Turk or Russian. This I happened to mention in a letter to a friend, and straightway received on an average about three newspapers a day from him, and was worse off than ever. Yet upon the whole I began to come to the conclusion that human nature in this and other such abodes of rural innocence and felicity was much the same as in the towns. Queer stories were afloat, and drunkenness and the wasting away of property and houses and lands were things not unheard of even there. It should, however, be a very Paradise for the agricultural labourer. I was told there was not a man but could have from one to two or three acres of cheap "allotment" land.
Several little villages lie close around Armscott, the chief of which is Tredington, a place containing so many elements of the picturesque that I certainly shall not be able to rest in peace without paying it another visit. Geologists, too, would be considerably delighted, for the road was being literally paved with fossils, and I could have brought any quantity from the stone heaps at the road side. Shipston-on-Stour is a little market town within easy distance. I went over one day, but nothing struck me as being particularly noticeable except a fine, new, handsome stone building, which some of our friends here will be glad to know had Schools" very conspicuously on the front.
The manners of the natives were kindly and courteous, and the cheery "Fine morning" or "Good night" of a passing labourer offered a not disagreeable contrast to the brusque roughness and contempt of one's finer feelings commonly shown by, say, the average Manchester tradesman.
In conclusion, I may just say that the Friends in the midland counties still hold Armscott in considerable honour. Once a year they assemble there in a little barn-like building (used at ordinary times, I believe, by the Wesleyans), and after holding a solemn meeting, adjourn in a body to see the room from which their founder was haled away to prison by his persecutors. I have, however, heard an amusing story to the effect that upon one occasion, when they got there, no one in the house could tell them which was the room.
The local traditions concerning the arrest are more remarkable for ingenuity and romance than for strict accuracy, and involve various romantic accounts of dodgings through back doors and byeways, utterly at variance with the uncompromising directness and simplicity of character of the great founder of the Society of Friends.
THE FOUNDER OF THE COLLEGE.
BY JOSEPH C. LOCKHART.
[Read April 1, 1878.]
HERE is little doubt that the able contributors to Notes and Queries in our City News, who have lately enlightened us on the subject of Joseph and his Brethren, would be able to explain to us the particular hardship the children of Israel suffered in being compelled to make bricks without straw. One, at least, would have been able to tell with mathematical precision the exact quantity that would have sufficed. But in our present dilemma, although we have patiently gleaned in every likely and unlikely field, we fear we have failed to gather as much straw as would make a brick of John Owens.* The only biographical notice we have of the founder of Owens College was written by Mr. J. P. Aston. It is given as a preface to a volume of introductory lectures on the opening of Owens College, Manchester, published in 1852.
* This remark reminds us of a story told of the rector of a Lancashire parish: He was passing one day through his parish, and noticed some of his little flock playing in a gutter. They were evidently intent upon some work of construction. He was interested, and enquired, "What are you making, my little dears ?"
This he was shown, and the reading desk, the steeple, and the tombs in the graveyard.
"But where is the rector? I don't see the rector." "Oh! we hanno getten muck enough for a parson,
John Owens, the founder of this College, was born in Manchester in the year 1790. His father, Owen Owens, left his native place, Holywell, whilst very young, and soon afterwards settled in Manchester, where he obtained employment, and by unremitting diligence and economy saved from his earnings the means of commencing business on a small scale. The same habits enabled him to overcome the difficulties which impeded his progress and to attain the position of a wealthy and respectable merchant. His son John received a good education and became his father's assistant, and ultimately his partner. His life was spent in the neighbourhood of his birth, and continued to be devoted to mercantile pursuits, in which he acquired a large fortune; and this was largely augmented on the death of his father, whose property he inherited. He was never married. He died on the 28th July, 1846, at the age of fifty-six, and was buried in the churchyard of St. John's, in Manchester, on the west side of the church. Mr. Owens led a private and almost secluded life, and took no ostensible part in public questions. He had, however, from his youth upwards taken much interest in the subject of education, a feeling which was strikingly manifested by his ultimate disposition of his large property.
It is to add somewhat to these bald details that we undertook the labour of collecting what few facts are still floating about in the memories of the few persons that are living that knew John Owens in the flesh. We have no desire to extol our office, but it is a fact that, although John Owens has only been dead for thirtytwo years, we had great difficulty in finding anybody who had even seen him. We appealed to dainty old codgers, still in their prime, but who had been blooming in this ancient city for fifty or sixty years, but they never remembered to have seen him. We applied to humbler and thirstier specimens of the same age-men whose powers of memory are intensified by looking into a pewter pot-but even they were of no avail. They all said they must have seen him, and they thought they remembered his firm, and if we would only call upon them again they would try to "think on," or they would make enquiries from someone who would be sure to know him. At last we were rewarded, and we now beg to offer to your kindly notice the information we have gathered. In the first place we will trace the commercial history of the house.
Owen Owens, the father of John, was born, at Holywell in the year 1764, and at an early age, without any pecuniary means, came to Manchester and obtained employment. In the year 1788 he married Sarah Humphreys, a woman some six or seven years his senior. John Owens, the eldest son, was born in 1790. After