Rev. J. L. Joynes

Rev. J. L. Joynes

James Leigh Joynes, whose death at the age of 83 was recorded a few days ago, was well known to nearly half a century of Eton men, and wherever he was known was spoken of with affection and respect. He was one of the old K.S. and King's type of masters. He came to Eton as an Oppidan in 1836 at the age of 11, was admitted into College in 1838, was a hard worker, a good football player, especially at the Wall, and a brilliant fives player, holding his own in later years with Lubbocks, Hoares, Normans and Lytteltons. He got the Newcastle in 1843, beating such brilliant scholars as Goldwin Smith, who was next to him in School, C. B. Scott and E. P. Bastard, and passed in the same year to King's, where he gained a Camden Medal, one of the few distinctions at that date open to Kingsmen. For the greater prizes, such as University Scholarships, he was outmatched by Bernard Drake and Camper Wright. He came back to Eton as a Master in 1849, and as Assistant Master and Lower Master remained here till 1885, ruling a full pupil-room and a well-ordered house by kindness and impartiality. Everybody liked being " up to Joynes." He was not perhaps an inspiring teacher, but he made you do your work and "got you on," and was as just as he was genial. But the chief influences of his character were the affectionate relations of his home and the evangelical simplicity of his religious life. Not a few of his pupils came from families of that way of thinking. We remember a time when a knot of revivalists held prayer meetings at his house and did much good in the School. Whether or not Joynes would have approved their methods, he trained their minds in that direction. His sermons, until his later years when mannerisms grew upon him, were very striking, bold in manner, terse in language, and telling in anecdote, and his mellow and penetrating voice gave impressiveness to the words. One who knew him well speaks of sermons preached "in a style of characteristic simplicity, but full of earnestness, insight into boys' nature, and affectionate sympathy with them in their difficulties." To this it may be added that wherever there was illness or sorrow among his neighbours Joynes had a mission of comfort. Though gentle and placable, he was courageous, and could take an independent line, and write a plain letter. He is known to the present generation, we fear, chiefly by a grotesque cartoon in Vanity Fair, drawn when he was Lower Master and thought, without much reason, to be a severe disciplinarian. Though the artist has caught the figure and features cleverly enough, no one would recognise in this caricature the " dear old Joynes " whom all Old Etonians used to greet so warmly. He deserves rather to be known as the kindest of tutors and the most genial and charitable of friends. After resigning the Lower Mastership he lived peacefully at Brighton either with books and chess or among the poor and suffering, always the object of the loving care of his affectionate family.

He sustained a grievous loss some years ago in the death of his eldest son James, a man of much culture and rare devotion of character, who was for several years a master at Eton, and sacrificed his health and life in self-denying work as a doctor among the London poor.

Eton College Chronicle, July 9, 1908, p. 304

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