Rev. Shaw’s Experience, Souldern Rectory (1706)

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Rev. Shaw’s Experience, Souldern Rectory (1706)
    John Nichols also published an account of the experience in his ‘Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century’(1822), which is related below.

    ‘Part of a Letter from Mr Edward Walter, Fellow of St John’s College Cambridge to his Friend in the Country dated Dec 6 1706.

    I should scarce have mentioned anything of the matter you write about of my own accord, but since you have given yourself the trouble of an enquiry I am, I think, obliged in friendship to relate all that I know of the matter and that I do the more willingly, because I can so soon produce my authority. Mr Shaw to whom the apparition appeared was Rector of Soldern or Souldern in Oxfordshire, late of St John’s College aforesaid, on whom Mr Grove his old Fellow Collegiate called last in his journey to the West, where he staid a day or two promised to see him again in his return which he did and staid three days with him in that time one night after supper Mr Shaw told him that there happened a passage which he could not conceal from him as being an intimate friend and one to whom this transaction might have something more relation to than another man. He proceeded therefore and told him that about a week before that time viz July the 2Sth 1706 as he was smoking and reading in his study about 11 or 12 at night there came to him the apparition of Mr Naylor formerly Fellow of the said College and dead some years ago a friend of Mr Shaw’s in the same garb he used to be in with his hands clasped before him Mr Shaw not being much surprised asked him how he did and desired him to sit down which Mr Naylor did. They both sat there a considerable time and entertained one another with various discourses. Mr Shaw then asked him after what manner they lived in the separate state, he answered far different from what they do here, but that he was very well. He enquired farther whether there was any of their old acquaintance in that place where he was he answered No not one and then proceeded and told him that one of their old friends naming Mr Orchard should die quickly and he himself should not be long after There was mention of several people’s names but who they were or upon what occasion Mr Grove cannot or will not tell Mr Shaw then asked him whether he would not visit him again before that time he answered no he could not he had but three days allowed him and farther he could not go. Mr Shaw said Fiat voluntas Domini and the Apparition left him. This is word for word as Mr Shaw told Mr Grove and Mr Grove told me. Note What surprized Mr Grove was that as he had in his journey homewards occasion to ride through Clopton or Claxton, he called upon one Mr Clark, Fellow of our College aforesaid and Curate there, when enquiring after College news, Mr Clark told him Arthur Orchard died that week, very much shocked Mr Grove and brought to his mind the story of Mr Shaw afresh. About three weeks ago Mr Shaw died of an apoplexy in the desk of the same distemper as poor Arthur Orchard died of Note Since this strange completion of matters Mr Grove has told this relation and stands to the truth of it and that which confirms the Narrative is that he told the same to Dr Baldiston the present Vice Chancellor and Master of Emanuel College above a week before Mr Shaw’s death and when he came to the College he was no way surprized as others were. What farthers my belief of its being a true vision and not a dream is Mr Grove’s incredulity of stories of this nature Considering them both as men of learning and integrity the one would not first have declared nor the other have spread the same were not the matter itself serious and real.

    Yours &c Edward Walter

    *Aug 6 1706 which Arthur Orchard of St John’s College Cambridge B A 1665 MA 1666 BD 1673