The Bednall Archive

Last updated: 30/04/2012

The Venerable Hopkins Badnall, D. D.


The Late Venerable Archdeacon Badnall, D. D.

Among the several really good men who held responsible positions at the Cape more than 40 years ago, Archdeacon  Badnall could bear comparison with any, for talent, zeal social standing and important work. He was worthy of the intimate friendship which existed between himself and the first Bishop of the Cape, commencing in the North of England and continuing into the separation of death. As a Fellow of Durham he was a ripe scholar. As a leading member of our University his learning was of great use in the higher education of the Colony. As Vice-Principal of the Diocesan College, acting with his beloved friend the late Archdeacon White, he did much towards the bringing of the College  to the high standard which it held under his successor at Rondebosch, the Rev. Canon Ogilvie, and now maintains under the charge of Canon Brooke. In his capacity as Archdeacon he was the true friend and valued advisor of the clergy, and as a parish priest and pulpit orator he was greatly respected and admired.  In social life he maintained a high tone of excellence. 

There could be no greater proof of his wisdom in counsel and general ability, as well as exalted character, than the opinion entertained of him by Bishop Gray, who desired that he might be elected his own successor in the See. Nothing was done by the late Metropolitan without consultation with the Archdeacon. He and the learned Archdeacon White, formerly Principal of the Diocesan College, were chiefly instrumental in the framing of the Cape Church’s Constitution, and in the conducting of its Synods. As a debater he was of the foremost rank. On one occasion he called forth the enthusiastic eulogy of the late and honourable Saul Soloman, another friend of the Cape now called to his rest. He was of fine bearing and most generous character, as manifested in his unselfish support of the present Metropolitan, whose election to the See must have been a great disappointment to himself and to his numerous friends. The former, at his first presiding over the Synod, would have been in great difficulty but for the experience and ability of Archdeacon Badnall, both most loyally offered and thankfully acknowledged.  

Many new and young men have lately joined the ranks of the clergy: and many of course are ignorant of the past work and severe trials of the pioneers of the South African Church; but the older clergy know well the worth of the late Archdeacon. It was a great trait in his character that he could change sides in his advocacy when circumstances placed questions of importance in a new light. For instance, he strongly favoured the independence of the S. A. Church, and held to the notorious proviso, until the Master of the Rolls decided, as subsequently confirmed by the Graham’s Town case, that it effected a complete separation from the Church of England, as by Law established, and would cut-off from the benefits of English Case-law, leaving the S. A. Church to the dangers of the unrestrained action of any predominant party without the right of appeal by the coerced minority. The the Archdeacon went over to the minority with his old friend, the Honourable J. C. Davidson, who was Bishop Gray’s churchwarden in England, and was Registrar of the Diocese for some years before he was appointed Treasurer-General of the Colony, and Canon Ogilvie and Canon Baker, who preferred the connection of the Church and that of the Mother Country and the State, and regarded the Committee of the Privy Council as a valuable defence between Ecclesiastical parties religiously seeking each other’s overthrow. 

Archdeacon Badnall loved the Cape and was devoted to the interests of our Church. His numerous functions as Archdeacon, Rector, University Examiner etc, overtaxed his brilliant and busy brain. Symptoms of general paralysis manifested themselves in the last year of his life at the Cape, and increased rapidly  in England. For three years he was a confirmed invalid, and during the last few months he suffered greatly, but with remarkable patience and faithful resignation.  When he expected the end was rapidly approaching, he dictated a message of love to his old friends of the clergy, which will be sent to them by Mrs Badnall, in whose grief we deeply sympathise.

Several of the leading layman, who knew the Archdeacon throughout his life at the Cape, have resolved raising some kind of memorial, by which means his name and work may be kept in mind for the benefit of the rising generation especially. And as he was so intimately associated with the late Archdeacon of Graham’s Town, it is thought that the memorial should be to the honour of the memory of both Archdeacons. The suggestion which meets with the greatest approval at present, is that a scholarship, however small the amount, should be endowed by the Diocesan College, as the field of their joint labours; and as both were Clergymen, the scholarship, or bursary, should be for sons of the Clergy – say “the Badnall and White Scholarship”. As is well said of the late Mr Saul Soloman’s memory, those who do honour to such men honour themselves; besides which they benefit the country in which the great call is, for the raising up of men of the same honourable characters and useful lives. – Communicated.

Extract from page 7 of an unknown source with a page heading "For South Africa 1892" .

©A.W.Bednall, Macclesfield 2010-2012