‘A very able man, of somewhat explosive ... opinions’: the Reverend Henry Stuart Fagan (1827-1890), Church of England parson, Headmaster of Bath Grammar School, literary man, and Irish Home Ruler
Taylor, Michael A
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The Reverend Henry Stuart Fagan (1827-1890), after a fine career at the City of London School and Oxford University, became headmaster of several grammar schools in succession, lastly at Bath Grammar School from 1858 to 1870 where he also held the linked parish of Charlcombe. His tenure was complicated by the intractable problems of the unreformed School’s governance. He resigned in 1870 to become a country parson at St Just-in-Penwith in Cornwall and then at Great Cressingham with Bodney in Norfolk. He was a prolific writer for periodicals and newspapers, and his output included several interesting travel pieces, besides much on Ireland and Irish Home Rule in which he was a prominent controversialist, somewhat to his detriment in conservative Norfolk. His ecclesiastical politics appear to have been Christian socialist sensu Charles Kingsley, and firmly Anglican, and this gave his involvement in the Irish controversies its special character, for it meant that his Unionist opponents found it far more difficult to try and equate Home Rule with ‘Rome Rule’. He was indeed vigorously pro-Irish in all things, but it is not at all clear why, partly because little is known about his parents and his disrupted childhood.