Project Canterbury

Seeking a See

A Journal of The Right Reverend Henry Lascelles Jenner D.D.
of his visit to Dunedin, New Zealand in 1868-1869

Edited by the Rev. John Pearce M.B.E.

Dunedin: The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Dunedin, 1984.
Formatted by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown, 2006



When Henry Jenner died in 1934, in the eighty-sixth year of his age, Principal John Murray of the University College of the South West, Exeter, hastily wrote his widow

. . . 'He was valued here, a much admired man, wide in knowledge, large-minded and large-hearted. His physique bespoke the character and the intelligence. He had variety: he was gracious and exacting, conscientious about the small things and penetrating and luminous about the big, dignified and friendly, gentle and stern. As age advanced he aspired the more. . . .'

So he appeared to great numbers of men and women in his working life in the Department of Printed Books in the British Museum. So he impressed them in the twenty-five years of his active retirement in Cornwall, the land of his birth and of his adoption. He had already, in 1904, persuaded the Celtic nations to accept and recognise Cornish nationality. He became the father of the Cornish movement, taking a leading interest in many of the scattered studies and making them one in the university of his own person. In the increasing specialisation of our times it is unlikely that any single man will ever again stand in his shoes. Jenner remains unique. Withal he had a great sense of fun and overwhelmed in loving kindness.

Those who knew Henry Jenner best saw that all these attributes stemmed from his deeply mystical spiritual life. He followed the Pauline injunction, his life was hid with Christ in God. This, perhaps from a feeling of delicacy, has never been stated by those who have written of him. But it must not be forgotten. Those who in their earlier years were favoured by his friendship follow him to their reward. Before it is too late we must witness that we thank God upon every remembrance of him.

Henry Jenner, in a word, was a noble monument in a forgetful world to the life and teaching of his Father, the Right Reverend Henry Lascelles Jenner, 1st Bishop of Dunedin. It is from his devoted reminiscences of his Father that I have drawn what relates to the Jenner family in the introduction.

Bishop Jenner, it would seem, kept Journals for most of his life. Their present whereabouts, alas, is not known. It has been felt, nonetheless, that the Dunedin Journal stands on its own as a journal and gives opportunity for putting into print a brief memoir of a man [15/16] universally neglected in biographical studies and books of reference; a man overshadowed, in the public esteem, in his early life by his father, and in his later life by his son.

I am deeply grateful to Lady Rawlings for allowing me to transcribe the Bishop's Journal, for lending me original letters and printed matter relating to the Dunedin Controversy, and for graciously giving her consent for the publication of the book. To her husband the late Admiral Sir Bernard Rawlings, G.B.E., K.C.B., brother-in-law of Henry Jenner and the most distinguished Cornishman of his generation, my debt cannot be adequately acknowledged. Admiral Rawlings had in his retirement intended to work on the papers of Henry Jenner but was prevented by reasons of health. He generously presented me with Bishop Jenner's desk upon which he told me Quam dilecta and many other musical and literary compositions had been penned. He added that he was certain that Henry Jenner would have wanted me to have it. Could there have been a greater incentive to take up cudgels for the Bishop?

John Pearce
Lavhner Court,

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