William Flavelle Monypenny, Esq., M.A., Oxon.

Source: Tyrone Courier, 31 December 1908 (pg. 5). “A Distinguished Dungannon Man. William Flavelle Monypenny, Esq., M.A., Oxon.” Digital copy online at The British Newspaper Archive, www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk (accessed by subscription, and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2019-04-15).


A Distinguished Dungannon Man.
William Flavelle Monypenny, Esq., M.A., Oxon.

At the close of the year it is a common custom to give a retrospect of the past both in educational as well as commercial affairs; and the custom dates back in learning the Fine Arts, to remote ages. It was the custom in the medieval states and Republic on the Continent as well in England to associate their distinguished men in arts and letters with the places of their birth and education. Longfellow, more than any other poet[,] has thrown a flood of light on that custom in the past. We have it more strikingly shown in the life of Dr. Johnson, where we find that on reflecting over his early life in the town of Lichfield. He went there from London, when he was beyond the middle age of life to stand in the Market Place on Market days at the same spot where his father had sold books on a stall in his school-days, writes the great biographer, the immortal Boswell. In writing of this distinguished man, the subject of our sketch Wmn. F. Monypenny, we may say that he first saw the light in the County of Armagh in the neighbourhood of Portadown, and was the son of a highly respected farmer. Sometime early in the Seventy’s the family removed to Lisnaclin, just a short mile from Dungannon, where they resided on the farm of Mrs. Flavelle, who was the grandmother of W. F. Monypenny. In the year 1874, Willie Monypenny, went to Mr. John Boyd’s School, in William Street, Dungannon. He entered the Royal School under the head-mastership of Dr. Ringwood in 1880. Mr. Monypenny obtained a Sizarship at the entrance to Trinity College, and obtained honours and prizes during his stay there, and finally won an Oxford scholarship in Mathematics worth £7OO, and a three years course at the University. After a distinguished course in Oxford he joined the literary staff of the “Times,” London. Some years prior to the Jameson raid, and the Boer War in South Africa, when that country was in a state of unrest, and the hotbed of sedition against the British Government (as the recent European disclosures plainly show) it was found necessary to have the best Press representative and Diplomatist that could be found to represent the “ Times,” in Johannesburg and Pretoria, to watch Kruger and his Machavelian advisers. The man picked on was W. F. Monypenny, M.A., who was then on the staff. A review of the file of the "Times” from that until the declaration of war in 1899, will show the despatches which came from the Dungannon man’s pen, so strongly worded, so outspoken, so fearless in tone, and so plainly speaking to the Government at home, as to what was going on and what was nccessary for the Home Government to do. So strong was the feeling against the "Times” correspondent Monypenny, that Kruger and his Government put a price on his head, Monypenny, got out of Pretoria, and lived to see all that he had foretold in the “Times” come to pass. After his return from South Africa he was elected by the late Lord Rowton with the approval of his Majesty King Edward to write the life of England's greatest statesman, the Earl of Beaconsfield. This high literary distinction given to ihe “Times” correspondent of South Africa carried with it a distinctive mark of Royal patronage. The Earl of Beaconsfield’s correspondence with the late Queen Victoria and with Foreign Statesmen and Plenipotentiaries involved matters of a very delicate kind for the consideration of the Editor and writer of the Biography. They were to have a far reaching effect upon diplomacy and statesmanship, and imposed upon the writer grave judgment and keen discernment as to what was right and wrong. There is a National importance attached to publications, such as the Grenville Memoirs, the Life of the Prince Consort, the Earl of Beaconsfield, etc., etc. The conferring of this onerous work on W. F. Monypenny showed that the elite of literature, His Majesty King Edward and his coouncillors [sic] had confidence in the man. It was written during the “regime” of the Unionist party, and the then Prime Minister and Cabinet were also confindcnt of the writer's ability. The work is done and has been for some time in the hands of the reading public. It speaks for itself, and volumes for the distinguished historian. When the change was taking place in the “Times,” London and some enterprising Americans had offered £8OO,OOO for the interest of the paper, and an English Syndlcate was also in the field to purchase it, it speaks trumpet tongued for the ability of W. F. Monypenny, that the proprietors of the “Times,” the "Walters Family,” selected him along with Moberly Bell, the manager of the paper, and two others to be the Directors of a new Company to carry on the publication of the "Times” newspaper. This distinguished position has been gained by man hardly over 40 years of age. It reflects honour on himself, his family, his old teacher, the Royal School, and the town of Dungannon. There was a letter received from W. F. Monypenny, Esq. since his appointment to the Directorate of the “Times" in which he expressed his gratification when he heard that he was not forgotten in Dungannon, and wished to be remembered to his old schoolmaster, John Boyd. It must be a pleasant reflectlon to Mr. Boyd, who has now retired well-earned pension from his work of teaching to know that his former pupils still hold his memory green in their recollections of school life. ‘

“The real heroes of the world are men, who constrain the tribute, wich men would fain deny them. Men who walk up to fame as to a friend, or their own house, which from the wrongful heir they have wrestled, from the world[‘]s hard hand and gripe. Men, like death all bone but all unarmed, who have taken the giant world hy the throat, and thrown him, and made him swear to maintain their name and fame at the peril of his life.”

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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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