Lancaster Royal
Grammar School

A great tradition - an eventful journey!

We held a brilliant reunion of former pupils and staff last week at St John’s College, Cambridge. There was a good mixture of recent and not-so-recent leavers, and plenty of cheerful conversation!

The current undergraduates stand in a very long tradition of those who have gone out from LRGS and the other great northern schools.

The letter below was written by another former pupil about his own eventful journey to St John’s College over two hundred years ago. Robert Housman went on to become a well-known clergyman. His letter shows him as a resourceful traveller and wonderfully respectful son!

Cambridge, St John’s, October 12th 1780

Honoured Parents,

On Tuesday afternoon I arrived here, after a variety of means of conveyance. 

I was attended out of Lancaster by Messrs. Clarkson and Bell. We proceeded to Garstang, where we had a comfortable dish of coffee. I parted with them and went on to Preston. I there baited my horse and steered my course for West Houghton.

On Saturday morning I set forward again. I did not stop at Manchester but proceeded for Stockport, and then went on to Buxton.

As Sunday morning was very fine, I mounted the top of the coach to Derby. We dined, and I took an inside seat. We got to Leicester at ten o’clock, where we supped.

It would have been much better had we never gone to bed, for we were roused before three. Being called up at that early hour, I was rather squeamish when I entered the coach, which continued to Harborough, where we arrived at six in the morning. I there went to bed and slept soundly for four hours, which quite recruited me.

I inquired if I could get a horse to Cambridge. I was informed I could not. I therefore set forward on foot. I had not gone three miles before I overtook a boy on horseback. I offered him sixpence to let me ride his horse to Kettering, which was eight miles further. He readily accepted my proposal. I set forward from Kettering about two o’clock, and walked thirteen miles in about four hours.

I got a snug bed in a country inn, from whence I proceeded to Huntingdon.  As I was, contrary to my expectations, hardly fatigued, and only sixteen miles from Cambridge, I thought I could perform it with ease. 

I had walked about five miles when I was overtaken by a man in a single-chair horse. He very politely asked me to get into his chair, which I did, and rode as far as his road lay towards Cambridge. I was overtaken by a return post-chaise; I bargained with the post-boy for a passage, and I entered this town in state.

My expenses in coming from Skerton to Cambridge are two pounds one. I will send you the bills for your inspection. In the meanwhile I shall by my conduct endeavour to deserve that affection, which I have always largely experienced, and which will ever fill with love and duty towards his parents the mind of - 

- Robert Housman