’Yet it would be delusive to pretend to claim Bishop Patteson as a Liberal in the political sense of the word. He was no such thing. If anything, his instincts, especially in Church matters, drew him the other way. But those who knew the man, like those who have seen the Ammergau Play, would as soon think of fastening upon that a sectarian character, as of fixing him with party names. His was a catholic mind. What distinguished him was his open-mindedness, his essential goodness, his singleness and simplicity of aim. He was a just man, and singularly free from perturbations of self, of temper, or of nerves. You did not care to ask what he would call himself. You felt what he was, that you were in the presence of a man too pure for party, of one in whose presence ordinary party distinctions almost ceased to have a meaning. Such a man could scarcely be on the wrong side. Both the purity of his nature and the rectitude of his judgment would have kept him straight.’
Coley remained at Merton until the Long Vacation of 1853; when his Oxford life terminated, though not his connection with the University, for he retained his Fellowship until his death, and the friendships he had formed both at Balliol and Merton remained unbroken.
The curacy at Alfington. 1853-1855.
Preparation for ordination had become Patteson’s immediate object. As has been already said, his work was marked out. There was a hamlet of the parish of Ottery St. Mary, at a considerable distance from the church and town, and named Alfington.
Some time previously, the family of Sir John Kennaway had provided the place with a school, which afterwards passed into the hands of Mr. Justice Coleridge, who, in 1849, there built the small church of St. James, with parsonage, school, and house, on a rising ground overlooking the valley of Honiton, almost immediately opposite to Feniton; and, at the same time, took on himself the expenses of the curacy and school, for the vicar of the parish, the Rev. Dr. Cornish, formerly master of Ottery School.