Revd. T Faulkner Lee

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An early member of the St Albans Architectural Society

By Martin Biddle

Revd. Thomas Faulkner Lee MA, DD (1826-75)

T. F. Lee was born in 1826. He went to Queen’s College, Cambridge 1844-8, was ordained deacon in 1848, and priested in 1849. He was Second Master at St Albans Grammar School 1848-50 and headmaster of the [Royal] Lancaster Grammar School 1850-72. He died in 1875.

Teaching for two years in the Lady Chapel, where the grammar school then was, Lee knew the abbey on a daily basis and wrote A Short Account of the Abbey of St Albans, no copy of which has so far been found. He also took an active part in the Architectural Society: at the Annual Meeting held on 20 June 1849 he read the Annual Report (possibly in the capacity of Honorary Secretary). He also drew for M.H. Bloxham’s paper on ‘Roman Sepulchral Remains’, delivered on the same occasion, the Roman glass and pottery vessels discovered at St Stephens the previous year. (There is a link to M H Bloxham's paper here.)

His drawing of the Romanesque door of the abbey slype, reproduced in the forthcoming Monograph No. 1 of the Fraternity of Friends, The Chapter House of St Albans Abbey, is labelled in Gothic letters,‘St Albans Abbey (in the South Transept)’ and below the left-hand corner in the same but smaller letters is his by-line: ‘Revd. T.F. Lee Del. 1849.’ This copy of his drawing (now St Albans City Library, Local History Section, Y 2350 (V10)) appears to be a lithograph, and was therefore presumably published, but where is not known.

Another version, possibly the original pen-and-ink drawing, without the title but apparently labelled below the left-hand corner ‘Revd. T.F. Lee 1849’, is known only from a less than absolutely sharp photocopy, a copy of which is in the Project Archive.

Any further information about Lee, his Short Account of the Abbey, and his drawing of the original door of Abbot Robert de Gorron’s slype would be most welcome.

Martin Biddle                                                                David Kelsall
16 July 2012

This page was added by David Kelsall on 17/07/2012.
Comments about this page

The following information was extracted from the Society's minutes for the period in question. Lee was elected as an Associate Member of the Society on 12 April 1848. At a committee meeting on 1 September 1849 he was appointed secretary in place of Revd. Charles Boutell who had resigned. His own resignation was accepted on 27 July 1850. During little more than two years Lee was responsible for not only producing the sketches Prof. Biddle refers to in Bloxham's paper but also for its publication. He also gave at least three talks on topics such as the Abbey's Lady Chapel, Gothic architecture and the Bayeaux Tapestry.

There's a copy of the Slype door drawing in Charles Henry Ashdown's 'St Albans Historical & Picturesque'. Note: St Albans Central Library has two versions of this book. The Slype door drawing was only included in the volume marked on the spine as "Added Illustrations".

By Jonathan Mein
On 06/01/2013

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