Rev. Dennis Bazely - 1916
(Found among the archives of the OCA):

At the age of eleven and half I became a boarder in the School being proud to wear the School colours round my topee and more especially the Cottonian "blazer". My first dormitory was the Benson "dorm" in the main building, the original building of Bishop Cottons, Bangalore, from its foundation. The Warden at that time was Herbert Pakenham Walsh.

May I here degress to record a few words for present students and others who may not be acquainted with part of the School's history.

In the early years of this century, the School was in dire financial straits, the number of students had fallen alarmingly, and the School governors had advised the closing of Bishop Cottons School, Bangalore.

The then Bishop in Madras at that time, in desperation turned to Rev Herbert Pakanham Walsh, who was then Principal of S.P.G. College in Trichinopoly (now known as Bishop Heber hall incorporated in the Christian College, Tambaram). Herbert Pakenham Walsh had in 1902 or thereabouts, rescued the college in Trichinopoly from closing down. Having spent five years there, he accepted the challenge to save Cottons from a similar fate.

Arriving at Bangalore, he approached certain of his friends, the Rev. J. W. Foley, who was in charge of All Saints Church, Hosur Road, Bangalore, and the Reverend H. G. Lamb, a missionary in Tanjore. These three gentlemen formed themselves into a Brotherhood, later to be known as St. Peter's Teaching Brotherhood. They undertook to work for five years, without receiving any salary, but only to receive their food and a roof over their heads. As a result of this self-sacrifice, Bishop Cotton School, Bangalore, was saved from extinction, and has never looked back.

All this happened in 1907, just five years before I came to Bangalore as a boarder. I grew up here in the atmosphere of self-sacrifice and trusting in the power of God to guide those who had a vision of the future.

The Rev John Drury became the next Warden, and in the year of my leaving, the Warden was the Rev Vincent Dawkins.

The Brotherhood consisted of some men of outstanding character and high principles. These were the men who guided and moulded our lives in our formative years.

Within two years of my being admitted to Cottons, the Great War of 1914-1918 broke out.

Many of the senior boys, who had been prefects, together with others who had left at the end of 1913, joined the Army, Navy and Air force, and fell in action. Several members of the Staff went away in 1914 and 1915, never to return. Studies were greatly disturbed with a depleted staff. What was called “War Fever” had gripped teenagers, who prayed that the war would still be waged when they left School, so that they could “do their bit".

I left School at the end of 1917, having been made a prefect the previous year. I enlisted in the Army in early 1918.

Eight years later, the influence of life in Cottons, the School Chapel, the gentlemen of the staff who were our friends and mentors were calling me to seek another goal in life. Wealth, comfort and ease were not the main attainments. As an Old Cottonian I remembered the foundation of St. Peter's Brotherhood. I thought of Pakenham Walsh, Foley and Lamb who saved Cottons not to gain wealth for themselves, but to bestow on succeeding generations a brighter jewel than wealth and riches could provide.

It was possible for me to call myself an Old Cottonian, solely because of the sacrifice of the St. Peter's Brotherhood.

So, I offered myself to Bishop E. H. Waller, Bishop of Madras, to serve in the Ministry of the Church. I was accepted and sent to the Theological College, which was Bishop's College Calcutta.

God had it all worked out for me, for I came again under the influence and teaching of my former Warden, for the Principal of the Theological College was none other than Bishop Herbert Pakenham Walsh who became my GURU, at whose feet I learnt piety, true wisdom, and in the course of seeking to do the Will of God, found true happiness, and the value of laughter, from the Irishman Pakenham Walsh who lived a simple life.

I was ordained into the ministry of the Christian Church by Bishop Pakenham Walsh in Calcutta in Dec. 1927.


The Rev. John Drury, proved to be a great builder, not only of character but also of brick and mortar.

What is known as the Tower Building in the Boys' School was built in 1915. The Comer Stone which may be seen at the right-hand corner as you face the building, was set with a religious service. I was in the Choir on that occasion. We processed from the Chapel to the site. In the corner stone is a capsule containing an autograph album, with the signatures of all the staff, all the students, and all the servants. There is a copy of the Bangalore "Daily Post" and "Madras Mail" of that day, with coins and postage stamps of that period.

We were told that the clock in the Tower Building was a gift from the Dublin Corporation. It kept Irish time for several months, much to our "mischievous" delight.

The Swimming Pool was another addition to the amenities in School. The Assembly Hall and stage are the additions and improvements to the older hall, which possessed very limited accommodation.

The balcony for watching cricket matches was much appreciated by Old Cottonians who came on St. Peter s Day annually, and as rendezvous for reminiscences of bygone days. The gymnasium was also extended by John Drury in his day. Then as a visiting O Cottonian, one appreciated Canon Elphick’s improvements and extensions to the Chapel, with the adjoining tennis courts.

(it is deemed tactful not to mention actual names in anecdotes)

A mischievous lad, who was a boarder in Benson Dormitory at the time I was there, had spent some weeks in getting pieces of string twine, shoe laces and anything that could be tied together. In due course he had accumulated a ball of various strings and cords about the size of a large melon fruit.

In those days - the year 1913 to be exact - the School bell hung on a tree (in the same locality as it does now). The entire boarding School had retired for the night. All lights were out; all was stillness - not even a mouse stirred!

And then the bell tolled a stroke at a time. Some Cottonians in Benson dorm weary after night study, were annoyed at their slumbers being rudely disturbed. Others, thinking that morning had come all too quickly, put a pillow over their heads so as not to hear what they thought was the rising bell".

The bell continued steadily stroke after stroke. Rev. John Drury, the Warden lived in a room at the bottom of the staircase, which led to Benson dormitory. Those were the days before electric torches. He lit a hurricane lantern and set out in his night attire to inspect the bell. With  his lantern he followed the jumbled cord from the tongue of the bell, to find that it disappeared into an upstairs window of Benson dormitory.

The mischievous collector of all manner of string, shoe laces, twines and fiddle strings had fastened the end of the string to one end of his big toe, with which he pulled the tongue of the bell.

John Drury crept noiselessly into Benson dorm. and suddenly switched on the lights. He asked no questions as he knew that Cottonians would not tell on one another. He marched us all down the stairs into the dining room, produced foolscap paper and pencils, and set us an essay on the "Advantages and disadvantages of bells!"
Excerpts from The Old Cottonian (91 – 92)