Public School hymnody

British Public School hymnody. ‘What is a college without a chapel?’ Bishop Christopher Wordsworth* asked a canon of Winchester Cathedral. ‘An angel without wings’ was the reply. This incident neatly expresses the central importance of daily worship in the life of a Victorian educational institution in Britain. Wordsworth was referring to a teacher training college, but his remark applied equally to a public school. It was these leading boys’ schools that educated many of the professional men and imperial administrators of the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, and formed their attitudes. There is no clear-cut definition of a British ‘public school’, a confusing term now chiefly used in an...

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