More Ryburgh Scandal




More Ryburgh Scandal

Prior to the event s of the "Scandal" Morris Fuller had already upset the locality as seen in this press clipping concerning Ryburgh in the Norwich Mercury 21 November 1885:

This together with other correspondence on the matter produced the following reply again from the Norwich Mercury on December 12th.1885 from Morris Fuller, in his habitual succinct way:


1888 was not a good year for Morris Fuller as the "Scandal" book clearly tells.The book however didn't tell it all. In researching the newspaper columns for verification of the book's contents I came across further reports of the "goings on" in our village. The pages of national papers as well as the Dereham and Fakenham Times have additionally the following tales to tell:


March 24th. 1888. Peoples Weekly Journal.(DFT)


March 31st. 1888. Peoples Weekly Journal.(DFT)


March 31st. 1888. Peoples Weekly Journal.(DFT)


November 24th  1888. Peoples Weekly Journal.(DFT)



November 24th  1888. Peoples Weekly Journal.(DFT)



Ryburgh December 1888


A Norfolk Rector Charged with Assault.


On Monday at Fakenham Petty Sessions, the Rev. Morris Joseph Fuller, rector of Great Ryburgh, was charged with unlawfully assaulting Gladwin Lewell Bradfield, assistant overseer of Ryburgh, on December 24th. The case attracted a good deal of attention. There were solicitors on both sides. The complainant was called. He said that on Christmas Eve, in consequence of a notice he saw on the church door, he attended a meeting in the vestry. The notice was in the Rector’s handwriting, and the meeting was to receive tenders for supplying coal. The Rector saw him in the porch, and said, “What do you want” Complainant replied that he had come to the meeting. Defendant retorted, “You have no business here,” and seizing witness by the collar, pushed him violently, so that the witness fell upon a form.-Henry Ely corroborated.- The Rector’s churchwarden and the parish clerk were called for the defense.- After their evidence the Bench retired, and in a short time found that an assault had been committed, but of too trivial a nature to warrant conviction. They also thought that the complaint was not bona fide, and that the case.


January 1889

At Fakenham Petty Sessions on Monday week a case  was heard in which the Rev Morris Joseph Fuller, rector of Great Ryburgh was summoned for unlawfully assaulting Gladwin Lewell Bradfield, assistant-overseer of Great Ryburgh, on December 24th. The bench considered the case was of so trivial a nature that they refused to convict, expressing the opinion that the case would never have been brought forward but for the ill-feeling existing in the parish.


January 5th. 1889 Peoples Weekly Journal.(DFT)




Morris Fuller and the School Managers Committee

(Taken from Managers’ Minute Book in NRO.- PD621/64)


December 18th 1889


Pursuant to a notice calling a meeting of ex-officio members, & after receiving instructions from the Lord Bishop of the Diocese to do so, to fill up vacancies on the school committee. The meeting took place at the Rectory on Wednesday Dec 18th.

There were present the Rector, Chairman, the two churchwardens, (ex officio managers) Mr Blomfield one of the Managers, and two subscribers (Messrs Cooper and Mesney)

The Chairman, in opening the proceedings explained the nature of the trust deed, and also gave a short account of the interview which he had had with the Bishop at the Palace the previous Friday – when his Lordship instructed him to convene a meeting of the ex-officio members – to fill up the vacancies on the Committee.

The Chairman said that there had been two vacancies by the deaths of the late Messrs M. Mesney and John Bell, and now there was a third by the resignation he was grieved to say, of their valued and long time friend (and who belonged to the Committee before he came to the Parish) Mr Francis from whom he had heard that very morning.

The Chairman then proceeded to read Mr Francis’ letter to the meeting, in which he regretted that owing to the spirit shown to the personalities indulged in, he could no longer remain on the Committee, therefore begged leave to retire.


That made three vacancies to be filled up. The Chairman further pointed out the stringent qualifications in the trust-deed for becoming a manager on the Committee of a National School- worked on Church of England principles

“ I   ?  do solemnly  himself  declare that I am a communicant of the Church of England” this was the present tense- not the past or future.

They would now proceed to the election. The Chairman added that the Bishop had suggested if properly qualified male persons could not be found, that ladies should serve on the Committee.


Mr Mesney was proposed by Mr Cooper (a subscriber) and seconded by Mr E Smith (ex officio member)


Mr Cooper was proposed by Mr Mesney ( a subscriber) and seconded by Mr E Smith (ex officio member)


Mrs. Fuller was proposed by the Chairman ( Rector of Parish) and seconded by Mr Blomfield ( a manager)


The Chairman was putting voting papers round the table to take the members [votes] when Mr Cooper rose and said there was no use in taking that trouble as he held 44 proxies for himself and Mr Mesney which would place them at the head. The Chairman challenged their right to become members of the Committee, as never having seen them inside the church, he didn’t understand how they could be communicants. Messrs Cooper and Mesney refused to answer questions put to them as to when and where they last communicated.

They threatened to communicate presently at Ryburgh Church and Mr Cooper reminded the Chairman of the Hoo case. The Chairman refused to accept their declaration and said he reserved to himself the right of testing the validity of their election in the proper quarter. This led up to an unseemly wrangle and personal recriminations and the meeting ended in confusion. The Bishop’s letter was produced instructing Mr Smith to give the Chairman all the votes or counts which had come into his hand, but Mr Smith refused, saying “he didn’t care for the Bishop”


May 3rd. 1890 Peoples Weekly Journal.(DFT)


PRESENTATION TO THE RECTOR.- On Sunday the Rev. Morris Fuller preached farewell sermons at the morning and evening services. He said he was sorry he was leaving the parish; but owing to the great amount of ill-feeling existing against him, he was obliged though reluctantly, to go, and place a curate to take charge of his flock, who, he hoped would be more appreciated than he had been. On Wednesday Mr. J.P.Symonds, his late Churchwarden, waited upon the Rector and Mrs Fuller, and presented them with a beautiful silver egg stand and toast rack, subscribed for by several friends in the parish and Stibbard admirers, wishing them every happiness in their new field of labour. The kindness of Mrs. Fuller to the poor and needy will be greatly missed, as she was ever ready to help them.


Even after he had left the Parish he still managed to get into the  local papers:

Nov 28th. 1891. Fakenham and Dereham Times

And still he caused controversy in his new parish in London when the following is reported :



His obituary was printed on Pg. 4 of The Times on Monday July 29th. 1901:



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