The Revd Henry WALL (1810–1873)
St Michael section: Row 14, Grave C44

Henry Wall











Henry Wall was born in Barbados in 1810, the second son of Richard Wall of that island. He was matriculated at the University of Oxford from St Alban Hall on 15 October 1828 at the age of 18. He obtained his B.A. in 1833 and his M.A. in 1836, and was Vice-Principal of St Alban Hall from 1837 to 1851.

He was a Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford from 1839 to 1871, but he did not live in the college: he had a house in New Inn Hall Street. (Until 1872 that road did not reach northwards as far as George Street, but made a sharp swing to the right to include what is now called St Michael’s Street.) At the time of the 1841 census he was living in New Inn Hall Street with his sister Sarah Boyce Wall and his niece Elizabeth McAlpin, and one male and two female servants.

Wall was elected junior bursar of Balliol in 1842 and senior bursar in 1844, and his college notes from the latter year survive: see W. Pugh and R. G. Chapman, “Henry Wall’s notes”, Oxoniensia, 1959.

In 1849 Wall was elected to the Praelectorship of Logic, later renamed the Wykeham Professorship of Logic, a position he held until his death. He was a supporter of Dr Robert Scott, who defeated Benjamin Jowett for the Mastership of Balliol in 1854.

At the time of the 1851 census Henry Wall (39) was unmarried and still living at New Inn Hall Street with his sister Miss Sarah Boyce Wall and his two nieces Elizabeth and Olivia McAlpin. He had three servants: a butler & footman, a housemaid, and a cook. The house number is specified as 24 New Inn Hall Street (near the Oxford Union Society in St Michael's Street) in the 1861 census: his nieces had left, and now his nephew Arthur Piggott Wall and his widowed cousin Mrs Olive Ann Farley were living with Henry and his sister, who now had five house servants.

As a Professor, Wall was allowed to have a wife, and on 10 July 1862 at the Church of St Stephen the Martyr in Marylebone he married Mary Elizabeth Tysler Stevenson, with the Revd Robert Scott, Master of Balliol, performing the ceremony. Henry was aged 52 and Mary (born in County Durham near the end of 1841) was more than thirty years his junior. They continued to live in their house in New Inn Hall Street, and Wall’s sister Sarah moved out: at the time of the 1871 census she was living in Walton Crescent with one servant.

Henry and Mary Wall had six children in the first nine years of their marriage:

  • Marie Lily Wall (born at New Inn Hall Street Oxford on 17 November 1863 and baptised as Mary Lily Wall at St Michael’s Church on 13 December)
  • Henry Lionel Ricardo Wall, known as Lionel (born at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford on 20 April 1865 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 17 May)
  • Evelyn Herbert McFarlane Wall (born at New Inn Hall Street at the end of 1866 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 3 January 1867); died aged two months on 8 February 1867 and buried at that church after an inquest on 12 February 1867
  • Reginald Stapleton Cotton Wall (born at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford on 29 June 1868 and baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 4 December)
  • Alice Evelyn Beatrice Wall (born at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford on 22 July 1870 and baptised by her own father at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 18 August)
  • Violet Henrietta Louise [Heyver] Wall (born in her father’s parish of Huntspill in Somerset in 1871, registered Bridgewater fourth quarter).

In 1870 Wall was appointed Rector of Huntspill in Somerset. Around that time this portrait of him was painted.

At the time of the 1871 census Henry Wall (59) and his wife Mary (28) were still living at 24 New Inn Hall Street (St Michael Street) in Oxford with their first four surviving children Mary (7), Lionel (5), Reginald (2), and Alice (8 months), plus six servants (a butler, cook, three nurses, and a housemaid). They were evidently down in Wall’s parish at Huntspill later that year when their youngest daughter Violet was born in 1871.

Just over a year after Violet’s birth, Henry Wall died in Somerset:

† Henry Wall died at Weston-super-Mare on 15 March 1873 at the age of 64, and his body was brought back to Oxford for burial at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 20 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

His obituary in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 22 March 1873 read:


The Rev. H. Wall, Professor of Logic in this University, and Rector of Huntspill, Somersetshire, died at Weston-super-Mare on Saturday, after a short illness, aged 6[4]. Prof. Wall took his degree and a first class in the year 1832, and in the following year he obtained the English Essay Prize. He became Vice-Principal of St. Alban Hall, of which he had been an Undergraduate Member. During his tenure of that office the number of students at the Hall increased considerably. He was Classical Examiner in 1838 and the two following years, as well as subsequently in 1860–1. It was in 1839 that he examined for his degree the present Master of Balliol, who in the same year assisted as Fellow at the election of his Examiner to a Fellowship at Balliol. In 1849 Mr. Wall was elected, after a sharp contest, to the Praelectorship (as it was then called) of Logic. This office he continued to hold to the time of his death, and his lectures will be remembered by past generations of Graduates as well for their extreme lucidity as for the many anecdotes and analogies with which he was in the habit of diversifying and pointing them. Besides being at one time an extremely eminent Private Tutor, Mr. Wall discharged for a number of years the duties of Bursar of his College. It was in 1870 that, upon the appointment of Dr. Lake to the Deanery of Durham, Mr. Wall succeeded him in the living of Huntspill. Mr. Wall was a member of College for a number of years, and was also well known to members of the University for his activity in political matters. He was a staunch Conservative.

The mortal remains of the late Professor were consigned to their last resting-place, in St. Sepulchre’s Cemetery, Jericho, on Thursday, in the presence of a large number of persons. The body was removed from Weston-super-Mare to Oxford on Tuesday last, and taken to the house of Mrs. Combe, at the Clarendon Press, which had been kindly placed at the disposal of the relatives of the deceased by that lady. The funeral procession left the house at eleven a.m., the chief mourners being Mrs. Wall and Mrs. Combe. The following members of the University also attended:—The Dean of Rochester (late Master of Balliol), the Master of Balliol, the Warden of Wadham, the Master of Pembroke, the Principal of New Inn Hall, the Senior Proctor; the Revs. T. B. Bayne and R. G. Faussett, Christ Church; E. T. Turner, Brasenose (Registrar of the University); O. Ogle, Lincoln; Professor Balmer, Corpus; T. Sheppard, Exeter; the Fellows of Balliol; Dr. Freeborn, Herbert Parsons, Esq., and others. The Burial Service was impressively read by the Rev. J. W. Burgon, Vicar of St. Mary’s, assisted by the Curate of Huntspill. The coffin was of polished oak, with a red cross on the lid, and bore the following inscription:—

“Henry Wall,
Rector of Huntspill,
Fell asleep March 15, 1873.”

The arrangements connected with the removal of the body and the funeral were carried out under the superintendence of Mr. Waldie, of the firm of Thorp and Waldie, of Broad-street.

His will was proved on 31 December 1873, and his effects came to nearly £14,000.

William Tuckwell in his Reminiscences of Oxford (1901) gives a good description of Wall:

Scott’s firmest supporter in College had been Henry Wall, Lecturer and Bursar: he figures in the “Grand Logic Sweepstakes” as Barbadoes, having been born in that island. It was he who led the opposition to Max Müller for the “half-a-brick” reason that he was a foreigner. His intellect was clear, logical, penetrating; his temper bigoted and arrogant. His lectures, which as Praelector of Logic he delivered publicly in Balliol Hall to all who chose to bring the statutory guinea, were cosmic in their reduction and formularisation of the Aldrich–Aristotle chaos. Keen-eyed, sharp-nosed, vehement in manner and gesture, he fired off questions as he went along at this or that student who caught his eye, with joyous acceptance of a neat response, scornful pounce on a dull or inattentive answerer. He was an undesirable dinner guest, starting questions which he seemed to have prepared beforehand for the pleasure of showing off his dexterity in word fence, rousing temper, and spoiling conversational amenities. He was a great dancer: the waltz of those days was a serious department of life, “to be wooed with incessant thought and patient renunciation of small desires. Readers of “Pelham”—does anyone read “Pelham” now?—will remember how Lady Charlotte impressed upon her fashionable son the moral duty of daily practice, with a chair if no partner could be obtained; and to see Wall’s think legs twinkle in the mazy was a memorable experience. He was exceedingly hospitable; giving dances, sometimes on a large scale in Wyatt’s Rooms, oftener at his snug little house in New Inn Hall Lane, to the music of old Grimmett’s harp and fiddle. With him lived a stout florid sister, dressed in many-coloured garments, a niece whom pupils knew as “Bet,” and a Pomeranian “Fop” who suffered many things when his master’s back was turned. He was great in charades, personating now a Radical mob orator, now an ancient crone, now a shy, clumsy, gaping freshman. When well on in years he made a January and May marriage; the bachelor home was recast; poor Bet had died, Fop had borne her company to that equal sky, the jovial sister subsided into small lodgings over a baker’s shop in Holywell: miscentur Moenia luctu.

His sister Miss Sarah Boyce Wall died at 6 Warnborough Road at the age of 70 on 21 February 1876.

Henry Wall’s widow

At the time of the 1881 census Henry’s widow Mary Elizabeth Tysler Wall was living in Cirencester with all five of their children: Mary (17), Henry (15), described as a sailor, Reginald (12), Alice (10), and Violet (9), plus two servants (a cook and a groom).

Mary gradually went down in the world: in 1891 she was in Toddington near Woburn with her daughter Mary (27) and her son Reginald (22) and just one servant (a cook); in 1901 she was living at 15 Hockcliffe Road, Leighton Buzzard with her son Reginald, both living on their own means, with no servants; and in 1911 she was living in St Leonard’s, Hastings with her widowed daughter Mrs Violet Henrietta Louisa Hill, who was working for her living.

Some of Henry Wall’s children
  • Henry Lionel Ricardo Wall (born 1865) became an apprentice in the Royal Navy on 16 April 1879 at the age of sixteen. He became a Second Mate on 9 May 1883, a First Mate on 26 April 1888, and a Master on 7 April 1893. In the Woburn district of Bedfordshire in the second quarter of 1891 he married either Mabel Agatha L. Symonds or Esther Stockford. In 1898 at West Ham he married his second wife Maggie Robson. He died at the the Marlborough Hotel at Southend-on-Sea at the age of 45 on 1 May 1910. His effects came to £67 6s. 3d., and his executor was the widow Mrs Margaret Hall.
  • Reginald Stapleton Cotton Wall (born 1868) was still living with his mother in Leighton Buzzard in 1901. In 1911 he was aged 42 and boarding with a widow at 34 Dudley Street in Leighton Buzzard, describing himself as a Traveller (disengaged) of private means. He died at 1 Grovebury Road, Leighton Buzzard at the age of 67 on 21 January 1936. His effects came to just £49 12s. 8d., and his executor was his sister Mrs Violet Henrietta Louise Heyver Hill.
  • Violet Henrietta Louise Heyver Wall (born 1871) was employed as an organist in 1891 and boarding in Worthing. She married John Hill in Sussex (East Preston district) in the first quarter of 1893. She was widowed by the time of the 1911 census: aged 39, she was then the manageress of an ecclesiastical art depot, and her mother was living with her. Violet Hill died at Severn End Lodge, Hanley Castle, Worcestershire on 4 November 1938. Her effects came to just £88 2s. 6d., and her executor was Miss Annie Louisa Young.



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