An extensive unpublished poem titled ?The Legend of Dorothie Wadham (The Founder of Wadham Coll. Oxford)?


Folio, 90 four-line stanzas, written throughout in a slopping hand, (2) 17 (1) pp, some light staining and usage, stitched.


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Product Description

This ?Legend? is a scurrilous narrative verse account, in three parts, of a visitation from the ghost of Dorothy Wadham, founder of Wadham College at Oxford, upon one Benjamin Symons: Warden of Wadham for 40 years (1831-71). The poem is prefaced by two pages of explanatory notes. The subject is the stipulation of Dorothy Wadham that the college Wardens remain single men, unmarried and celibate. In the preliminary notes it is alleged that Wadham appointed the fist Warden, Robert Wright D.D. (1560-1643), in April 1613 with intentions of marrying him but when he declined she insisted on including the Warden?s celibacy as a statute- a move that resulted in Wright?s resignation after just three months in the post. It proved to be an astute decision by Wright, who went on to hold the Bishoprics of both Bristol and Lichfield. The action of the poem occurs during the Wardenship (1831-71) of Benjamin Symons at a time when Congreve (who is named in the text) was a Fellow. Symons was the very first Warden of Wadham to marry (his bride was one Lydia Masterman), thus invoking the wrath of the founder?s ?sprite? in a shameful climactic bed-wetting scene. Although the author of the Notes speaks of the writer of the poem in the third person, his description of the Warden?s wife as ?in figure like two Deal Boards nailed together? indicates that they may well have been one and the same person!