Notable Old Blundellians

Century: 17th | 18th | 19th | 20th

17th Century

Cholmeley, Hugh
c. 1574–1641, Religious controversialist

Supposedly the first Master of Blundell’s School, having been recommended by Joseph Hall, later Bishop of Exeter. Whether he was in charge of the School elsewhere until it opened beside the Lowman is unknown, but he resigned in 1604 when he became Rector of Clare Portion in Tiverton, a post he held until his death. Cholmeley became a Canon and Subdean of Exeter Cathedral in 1632, and when he died nine years later he was buried there.

Bury, John
1580–1667, Anglican clergyman

Although he did not attend Blundell's School, Lord Chief Justice Popham appointed him the first Blundell Fellow of Balliol College in 1602. After graduation, Bury entered the ministry; becoming Vicar of Sidbury in 1609, then of Heavitree from 1626 to 1646, and Rector of Widworthy, and finally of St. Mary Major, Exeter, where he remained until his death in 1667. He left money to the workhouse, a school, and almshouses in Exeter, and for the poor in Tiverton.

Newte, Richard
c 1613–1678, Anglican clergyman

After his education at Blundell's School he entered Exeter College, Oxford, where he obtained his M.A. in 1636. Newte became Rector of Tidcombe and Clare Portions in Tiverton in 1641. In the turmoil of the Civil War he was subjected to attacks and was eventually ejected from his benefice. He returned to Tiverton at the Restoration, even being appointed Chaplain to Charles II, though excused attendance at court because of the distance. He died in 1678, and was buried in St. Peter’s Church, Tiverton.

Manton, Thomas
1620–1677, nonconformist minister

The son of a Devon clergyman, Manton studied at Oxford University following his days at Blundell's. A fervent Presbyterian, he fled to London during the Royalist advances in the Southwest in the 1640s. There, his Calvinist sermons led to him being invited to preach in the House of Commons in 1647-8. Manton, like other puritan clergy, was ejected from the Church of England in 1662, but continued preaching to his nonconformist followers until his death in 1677.

Bull, George
1634–1710, Bishop of St. David's

Bull studied at Wells and then Blundell's, before attending Exeter College, Oxford, which he left in 1650. He entered the ministry, and became incumbent of St. George’s, Bristol, and in 1658 was made Rector of Siddington, near Cirencester., where he remained for 27 years and produced most of his writings which established him as a leading theologian. He was made Archdeacon of Llandaff in 1686, and in 1705 Bishop of St. David’s at the age of 71. Bull was buried at Brecon in 1710.

Newte, John
1656–1716, Anglican clergyman

John Newte was born at Ottery St Mary in 1656, the son of Richard Newte (above). He was educated at Blundell's and later obtained a fellowship to Balliol College, Oxford. He became Rector of Tidcombe and Pitt Portions, Tiverton, by 1679, as well as  chaplain to Charles II. Newte championed many charitable causes: giving money for the building of Cove Chapel, founding Charity Schools in Tiverton and elsewhere, and leaving land to Balliol College to found an exhibition for a Blundell’s scholar.

Wesley, Samuel
1691–1739, Anglican clergyman and poet

Samuel Wesley, elder brother of the more famous John and Charles, became head usher at Westminster School in about 1713. Failing to secure the under-mastership there in 1733, he took the post of Master at Blundell’s, where he managed to increase the number of pupils throughout his mastership. As well as teaching, he also produced satirical, political and religious poetry. Samuel died at Blundell's School in 1739, and was buried in St. George’s Churchyard, Tiverton.

Carew, Bampfylde Moor
1693-1759, imposter and swindler

Son of the Rector of Bickleigh, he was sent to Blundell's School at the age of 12. He got into trouble with some school friends, and they all ran away and joined a group of gypsies. On the death of a Gypsy king, Carew was elected his successor. He was convicted as an idle vagrant, and transported to America, but escaped and made his way back to England. Carew refused to give up his life of wandering, but reconsidered after winning prizes in a lottery. He died at Tiverton in 1759.

Venn, Richard
1691–1739, Anglican clergyman and religious controversialist

After attending school at Modbury, Venn came to Blundell's, and in 1709 he went to Cambridge, where he took up a closed scholarship at Sidney Sussex. In 1717 he became Curate at St Giles Cripplegate, and in 1725 Rector of St Antholin's, Watling Street. Although Venn did not achieve great ecclesiastical appointments, he was a very influential figure. He was a prominent member of a circle of high-church clergy who vehemently opposed dissenters. Venn died from smallpox in 1739.

Burton, John
1696–1771, Anglican clergyman and tutor

He was educated at Okehampton and Blundell's School, and later obtained an M.A. from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1721. He had been a college tutor from 1717, and was well known for his teaching of Greek. He was Vicar of Mapledurham (1733-66) and Rector of Worplesdon (1766-71), and the distinguished author of many tracts and sermons. At the time of his death, Burton was living at Eton College, and was buried at the entrance to its inner chapel.

Gay, John
1699–1745, writer on philosophy

A cousin of the poet John Gay, he went to Torrington School and Blundell's, and was elected Blundell’s Scholar at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1718. As a Fellow of the College he lectured in Hebrew, Greek, and ecclesiastical history, and was held in high esteem. His philosophical works argued that virtue was conforming to a rule of life which promotes the happiness of others. In 1730 he resigned his fellowship and became Vicar of Wilshampstead, later adding the living of Haynes.

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18th Century

Hayter, Thomas
c. 1702–1762, Anglican Bishop

After leaving Blundell's School, Hayter went to Balliol College, Oxford, where he obtained his B.A. in 1724. He became chaplain to the Archbishop of York, and was himself made Archdeacon in 1730. He was chosen to direct the education of George, Prince of Wales (later George III), in 1751, following the death of his father. Hayter was consecrated Bishop of Norwich in 1761, and was translated to London but died of dropsy shortly afterwards in 1762.

Bampfylde, Coplestone Warre
1720–1791, landscape painter and garden designer

He attended Blundell's School until 1731, when he left for Winchester College. His earliest recorded painting dates from 1746, and made several painting tours to various parts of England. Bampfylde exhibited at the Royal Academy on four occasions in the 1770s and 1780s. His most important achievement, however, was to create a maginificent landscape garden at Hestercombe, near Taunton, a property which he inherited in 1750. He also designed the Market House in Taunton in 1772.

Incledon, Benjamin
1730–1796, antiquary and genealogist

Incledon was born at Pilton, near Barnstaple, and educated at Blundell’s School. He inherited his father’s estate in 1758, the same year as he was elected Recorder of Barnstaple. Incledon was chosen as a Governor of Blundell’s in 1765, and in 1770 gave the School an Admissions Register, which still survives. At his own expense he printed Donations of Peter Blundell and other Benefactors to the Free Grammar School at Tiverton in 1792. He died in 1796 and was buried in Pilton Church.

Blackall, Samuel
1737–1792, Anglican clergyman

The son of the Chancellor of the Diocese of Exeter, Blackall was admitted to Blundell’s School, from where in 1755 he went to Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. in 1760, M.A. in 1763, and became a Bachelor of Divinity in 1770. He signed the Feathers Tavern petition in 1772, seeking to end the requirement regarding subscription to the Thirty-Nine Articles. Although the petition he failed, he remained in the Church of England, and ended his life as Rector of Loughborough in 1792.

Beadon, Richard
1737–1824, Anglican bishop

Beadon went to school at Bampton, before attending Blundell’s. He entered St. John’s College, Cambridge, in 1754. He was elected a College Fellow in 1760, and later made public orator there in 1768. He had acted as chaplain to the bishop of London in 1763, and was chosen as Archdeacon of that Diocese in 1775. In 1781 Beadon was appointed Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, a post he held until 1789 when he was chosen to be Bishop of Gloucester, from where he translated to the see of Bath and Wells in 1802.

Dunsford, Martin
1744–1807, serge maker and historian

Dunsford was sent to Blundell's School in 1752, but entered his father's business just aged 13. He later held the offices of churchwarden (despite being a Dissenter), portreeve and overseer of the poor of Tiverton, by which he gained considerable influence in the town, and was centre of a reforming group. In 1790 he wrote Historical Memoirs of the Town and Parish of Tiverton (1790), dedicated to ‘all the virtuous and industrious poor’. Serious financial losses led him to bankruptcy in 1802, and he died just five years later.

Weston, Stephen
1747–1830, antiquary and classical scholar

Weston attended Blundell's School until 1759 when he left for Eton College. From there he entered Exeter College, Oxford, in 1764, and subsequently became incumbent of Littlehempston in 1784. Weston undertook a long tour of the Continent as a tutor, a journey that imbued him with a passion for architecture and history. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1792 and of the Society of Antiquaries two years later, and wrote prolifically on a wide variety of classical and antiquarian subjects.

Rendle, John
1758–1815, classical scholar

Born the son of a Tiverton hop merchant, Rendle was educated at Blundell's School, where he showed an aptitude for classics. He entered Sidney Sussex in 1777 with a scholarship, and progressed to M.A. in 1784, and was made a Fellow of the College. He accepted a curacy at Ashbrittle, and then the living of Widecombe, but devoted most of his time to studying early Christian history. In 1814 he published The History of Tiberius, a work highly regarded by fellow scholars.

Northmore, Thomas
1766–1851, geologist and writer

Northmore was educated at Blundell's School, Tiverton, and Barnstaple School, before entering Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1785. He took up permanent residence at Cleve House, and divided his time between politics, literature and geology. In 1818 he stood for Exeter and Barnstaple as a Liberal, but was unsuccessful in both. He began exploring Kent’s Cavern near Torquay in 1824, and appears to have been the first to discover fossil animal bones there.

Richards, George
1767–1837, poet and Anglican clergyman

He studied at Blundell's School, and then transferred to Christ's Hospital, London, in 1776, before entering Trinity College, Oxford. He graduated B.A. in 1788, and took holy orders in 1790. He became Rector of Lillingstone Lovel in 1795, and later Vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London. He published many poetical works, including Miscellaneous Poems (1804, 2 vols.). He became a Governor of Christ’s Hospital in 1822, and founded the Richards gold medal for the best copy of Latin hexameters.

Wood, Sir Matthew, first baronet
1768–1843, druggist and politician

Wood received a brief education at Blundell's School, before being obliged to help his ailing father. He was apprenticed to an Exeter chemist and druggist, but moved to London in 1790 to set himself up in business. In 1807 Wood was elected Alderman of Cripplegate, Lord Mayor of London (1815-7), and MP for the City of London in 1817. He became a close friend and counselor of Queen Caroline, the estranged wife of George IV, and when Victoria came to the throne the first baronetcy she awarded was to Wood.

Penrose, John
1778–1859, Anglican clergyman and theological writer

Penrose was educated at home, and at Blundell’s (1794-5), before being admitted to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he obtained his B.A. in 1799, and M.A. three years later.  He was ordained at Exeter in 1801, and was appointed Vicar of Langton by Wragby in Lincolnshire in the following year and held the post until his death. Penrose published a large quantity of religious works, notably Of Christian Sincerity (1829), as well as biographies of some of his family.

Buckland, William
1784–1856, geologist

William and his brother, John, both came to Blundell’s in 1797, but William stayed just a year before continuing to Winchester College, where he gained a scholarship to Corpus Christi, Oxford. In 1813 Buckland was appointed Reader in Mineralogy at Oxford, and, five years later, the first Reader in Geology. He became one of the leading figures in geology, and was largely responsible for making the concept of ‘deep time’ acceptable to the Church of England, so paving the way for the Darwinian revolution.

Wallis, John
1789–1866, topographer and cartographer

John and his twin brother, Henry, were admitted to Blundell’s in 1798, aged 9, and when John left in 1804, he was articled to his father, a solicitor. He practiced as an attorney in Cornwall until 1813, when he entered Exeter College, Oxford. He was appointed Vicar of Bodmin in 1817, and served as mayor of the town in 1822. He published many geographical and historical works on his native county, most notably The Bodmin Register (1827-38), as well as large-scale maps of the county.

Harding, William
1792–1886, antiquary and army officer

Harding was educated at Blundell’s from 1801 to 1807, and, on leaving, joined the North Devon Militia. He served in the Peninsula War from 1812 until its end two years later. He was promoted to Major in 1826, and, on his retirement in 1841, he had risen to Lieutenant-Colonel, having also sent two sons to Blundell’s. He was a magistrate, a fellow of the Geological Society, and author of the History of Tiverton, which was published in 1847. He died at his home, Upcott near Barnstaple, in 1886.

Farewell, Francis George
1793–1829, naval officer and settler in Natal

Following his father’s death, the Farewell family moved to Tiverton, and Francis attended Blundell’s (1802-7). On leaving school he went to sea, and rose to lieutenant in 1815, before being placed on half-pay at the end of the war with France. He bought a ship and decided to trade with the newly-established British Cape Colony, and later, in 1824, he sought an ivory trade at Port Natal (now Durban). Having secured a land grant from Shaka, Chief of the Zulus, Farewell established the first European settlement there.

Jeremie, Sir John
1795–1841, colonial judge and governor

After attending Blundell’s from 1808 to 1811, he left to study law in France before returning to his native Guernsey. Jeremie’s training in French law suited him for office in the new British territories, and in 1824 he was made Chief Justice of St. Lucia, where he spoke out against the cruelties of slavery. In 1832 he was chosen as public prosecutor in Mauritius, where he censured the judges for not upholding laws against slave trading. He became Governor of Sierra Leone in 1840, but died of malaria in the following year.

Russell, John (the Sporting Parson)
1795–1883, Anglican clergyman and sportsman

The son of a clergyman, John was first educated at his father’s small school and later at Blundell’s (1809-14), where he kept a pack of hounds. He went on to Exeter College, Oxford, and while there he first obtained what was later to become known as a Jack Russell terrier. While curate of his father’s parish of Iddesleigh, he started a pack of fox hounds. In 1833 he was appointed perpetual curate of Swimbridge and Landkey, where he was to spend almost the rest of his life, hunting and supporting all things rural.

Hook, Walter Farquhar
1798–1875, Dean of Chichester

Walter spent just over a year at Blundell’s (1810-1), before proceeding to Winchester College. After graduating fom Christ Church, Oxford, in 1821, he became his father’s curate at Whippingham until 1825. He subsequently became incumbent of large urban parishes – Moseley in Birmingham, Holy Trinity, Coventry, and in 1837 Leeds – where he displayed great social concern. In 1859 he was made Dean of Chichester, where he wrote the first ten volumes of the Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury.

Boase, Henry Samuel
1799–1883, geologist and chemist

Henry attended Blundell’s from 1809 until 1814 when his father decided that Henry should study chemistry at Cork. He left Cork and in 1817 studied medicine at Edinburgh University until 1821, but later joined his father as a partner in the Penzance Union Bank. He took an interest in geology, and was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Geological Society in 1837. On moving to Dundee in the following year, he returned once more to chemistry and joined a textile bleaching firm, becoming managing director in 1846.

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19th Century

Hayward, Abraham
1801–1884, essayist and translator

Hayward attended Blundell’s from 1811 to 1817, and was later taught at home, where he obtained a mastery in German and French. After being articled to a solicitor for 5 years, in 1824 he enrolled as a student of the Inner Temple and, mainly through patronage, eventually became a barrister. His interest in literature led him to translate Goethe’s Faust, a work which was very favourably received. He became an acquaintance of Gladstone, who attended Hayward’s funeral in 1884.

Jeremie, James Amiraux
1802–1872, professor of divinity and Dean of Lincoln

He was educated at Elizabeth College, Guernsey, and then at Blundell’s (1816-20), before going to Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1830 Jeremie was appointed Professor of Classical and General Literature at Haileybury College, a post he resigned in 1850 when he was chosen Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. Palmerston raised him to the Deanery of Lincoln in 1864, but he retained his Regius chair for six more years. Jeremie died unmarried at Lincoln in 1872, and was buried in his native Guernsey.

Hoblyn, Richard Dennis
1803–1886, scientific writer

Following in his father’s footsteps, Richard Hoblyn jr attended Blundell’s (1815-20), before being admitted to Balliol College, Oxford. Although he took holy orders, he devoted himself to teaching and educational writing. His chief work was A Dictionary of Terms used in Medicine and the Collateral Sciences (1832), but he also produced a number of elementary science textbooks such as A manual of Chemistry (1841) and First Book of Natural Philosophy (1846).

Fulford, Francis
1803–1868, Bishop of Montreal

Francis Fulford came to Blundell’s in 1810, aged 7, with his older brother, and left in 1820 to go to Exeter College, Oxford. He was ordained deacon in 1826, and his first appointment was as curate of Holne. Fulford later became the first editor of the Colonial Church Chronicle in 1848, and two years after was appointed Bishop of the new diocese of Montreal, Canada. Queen Victoria promoted him to the office of Metropolitan of Canada in 1860.

Boner, Charles
1815–1870, poet and journalist

Boner was a pupil at Blundell’s from 1827-8, and was employed as tutor to the sons of John Constable the artist from 1831-7. His reputation was such that he was invited to become a tutor to the children in the family of the Prince of Thurn and Taxis in Germany; he spent 20 years with them. He wrote many books on his experiences there, such as Chamois Hunting in the Mountains of Bavaria (1853), as well as books of poetry. In 1865 Boner became special correspondent of the London Daily News in Vienna.

Knox, Alexander Andrew
1818–1891, journalist and magistrate

The son of a landowner in Jamaica, Knox attended Blundell’s from 1833 to 1836, when he won an exhibition to Trinity College, Cambridge. Although he had been called to the Bar in 1844, he embarked on a career in journalism, writing on the staff of The Times until 1860 when he accepted an offer to be police magistrate. In 1862 he was transferred to the Marlborough Street Court, where he remained until 1878, forced to retire on account of a stroke.

Temple, Frederick
1821–1902, Archbishop of Canterbury

Born on one of the Ionian Islands, Frederick and his family moved to Devon in 1830. He entered Blundell’s in 1834, and won a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, five years later. After Oxford, Temple took many teaching posts, culminating in the Headmastership of Rugby School in 1857. He accepted the see of Exeter in 1869, transferring to London in 1885, and ultimately became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1896. Four years later he visited Blundell’s, when he was made a Freeman of the Borough of Tiverton.

Blackmore, Richard Doddridge
1825–1900, novelist

As his father before him, Richard was admitted to Blundell’s in 1837, where he became Head Boy and gained a scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford, in 1843. He took up law, then teaching, and with the help of a legacy in 1857, he set up as a market gardener, which was to be his main occupation for the rest of his life.  However, he is now best-known for his novels, especially Lorna Doone, in which the hero, Jan Ridd, was a pupil at Blundell's School.

Chesney, Charles Cornwallis
1826–1876, army officer and military historian

The son of a soldier, Charles was educated at Blundell’s (1835-41), and at a private school in Exeter, before entering the royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He served in Ireland, the West Indies and New Zealand, but in 1856, due to his delicate health, he was forced to return to England. He was appointed Professor of Military history at Sandhurst, then at the Staff College, Camberley. In 1871 he was sent by the Government to report on the Franco-Prussian War, and was later involved with army re-organisation.

Chesney, Sir George Tomkyns
1830–1895, soldier

George was the third brother to attend Blundell’s, but stayed for just one year (1841-2). He began medical studies, only to be lured away by a place at the East India Company’s Addiscombe College, Croydon, from where, in 1848, he passed out 3rd in his year. He served in India, being promoted to Brevet Major in 1858, and later returned to England to set up the Royal Indian Civil Engineering College at Staines. He was knighted in 1890, and two years later was promoted to General.

Reynolds, Samuel Harvey
1831–1897, Anglican clergyman and journalist

Reynolds attended Blundell’s for a little over a year (1846-7), before becoming one of the first pupils of Radley College, from where he gained a scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford. Reynolds became a student of Lincoln’s Inn in 1858, but following an injury to his eyesight, gave up law and took Holy Orders. While incumbent of the parish of East Ham, he joined the staff of The Times, to which he contributed more than 2,000 articles on a variety of subjects, inlcuding literature, politics, and finance.

Body, George
1840–1911, clergyman

Born locally at Cheriton Fitzpaine, Body was educated at Blundell’s (1849-57), before entering St. Augustine’s Missionary College, Canterbury. Ill health forced him to abandon his hopes of becoming a overseas missionary, and he was ordained a priest in 1864. He served many urban parishes, and was appointed canon-missioner of Durham in 1883, going on to carry on successful work among the mining community for 28 years. He was appointed lecturer in Pastoral Theology at King’s College, London, in 1909.

Hillier, Edward Guy
1857–1924, banker

The posthumous son of the British Consul in Bangkok, Hillier went to Blundell’s from 1867 to 1870, leaving for Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in Chinese studies. After a brief time working for the Governor of North Borneo, he joined the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and in 1885 was employed as the chief representative at Beijing. After a brief time away, he returned in 1891 and remained in Beijing until his death, overseeing the Bank’s interests during a very troubled period.

Travers, Morris William
1872–1961, chemist

Travers was sent to the new Blundell's School in 1884, where he developed a great enthusiasm for science. He left in 1889 to study chemistry at University College, London under William Ramsay. After a brief spell in France, Travers returned to work with Ramsay, and together they discovered the gases krypton, neon and xenon. He was appointed Professor of Chemistry at Bristol, in 1904, and helped set up glass furnaces during WWI, after which he returned to his research until his retirement in 1937.

Hooke, Samuel Henry
1874–1968, biblical scholar and orientalist

He won a scholarship to Jesus College, Oxford, at the age of 33, and obtained a first in Theology (1910) and a second in Oriental Languages (1912). He taught at Victoria College, Toronto, until 1925, and in 1930 was chosen as Professor of Old Testament Studies at London. On retirement in 1942 Hooke became a master at Blundell’s, where he stayed for just one year, when he was appointed examining chaplain to the Bishop of Coventry. He wrote widely on the theme of ancient myth and ritual in religion.

Hutton, Edward
1875–1969, Italophile and travel writer

After the death of his father in 1890, the family moved to Devon, and Edward, with his three brothers, attended Blundell’s as Day Boys. When he left school he joined the publishers Bodley Head. He wrote several articles and reviews on the subject of Italian art history, as well as a series of successful travel books. Hutton helped set up the British Institute in Florence in 1917, and helped the political department of the Foreign Office safeguard works of art and monuments during the Second World War.

Bellew, Edward Donald
1882–1961, winner of the Victoria Cross

Bellew was at North Close from 1894 to 1896, when he left for Sandhurst. He served in the Army until 1903, when he emigrated to Canada and began work as a construction engineer. He enlisted in the British Columbia Regiment in 1914, and the next year found himself on the Ypres Salient. Despite being seriously wounded he attempted to fight off the Germans single-handedly – an action for which he was awarded the V.C. When the war finished, Bellew returned to Canada and became a dredging inspector.

Squire, Sir John Collings
1884–1958, poet and literary editor

After attending Plymouth Grammar School, Squire was at Blundell’s from 1901 to 1903, boarding in School House. He went on to St. John’s College, Cambridge where he obtained a history degree in 1905. He was a founder of the Fabian Society, and co-founder of the Howard Latimer Publishing Company – set up to help young or unknown poets. He was appointed literary editor of the New Statesman in 1913, and in 1919 began the London Mercury. Squire was knighted in 1933.

Wilkinson, Cyril Theodore Anstruther
1884–1970, Olympic Hockey gold medallist

Wilkinson was in the Blundell’s 1st XI in 1902 and 1903, and went on to play for Surrey from 1909 to 1920, including the County Championship winning side in 1914. He was captain of the England hockey team, and was a member of the Great Britain team that won the gold medal at the Antwerp Olympics in 1920. Wilkinson was a registrar of the Probate and Divorce Registry from 1936 to 1959, and was appointed Commander of the British Empire in the 1954 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Hill, Archibald Vivian
1886–1977, physiologist, Nobel laureate

Educated at Blundell’s as a Day Boy from 1900 to 1905, Hill won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge. After first studying Mathematics he turned to Physiology, and began his life’s work researching mainly on nerves and muscles. During WWI he directed an anti-aircraft experimental section, but afterwards returned to his research. He was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923, and became Professor of Physiology at University College, London, a post which he held until retirement.

Joad, Cyril Edwin Mitchinson
1891–1953, philosopher and broadcaster

Joad attended the Dragon School, Oxford, and Blundell’s (School House 1906-10), before entering Balliol College, Oxford. There he developed the opinions that he expounded for most of his life – largely based on socialist views. He wrote Common Sense Ethics (1921) and Common Sense Theology (1922), declaring Christianity moribund. He became Head of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, in 1930, and later became a regular panellist on the BBC radio’s The Brains Trust.

Clark, Frederic le Gros
1892–1977, social and industrial reformer

The son of the rector of nearby Washfield, Clark was a boarder at North Close, Blundell’s (1906-11), from where he went to Balliol College, Oxford. Despite serious injury to his eyesight in the First World War, he wrote extensively, mainly concerning problems with welfare and nutrition, including such works as Feeding the Human Family (1947). Clark also worked on the problems of fixing the age of retirement from work, publishing Ageing in Industry (1955) and Women, Work and Age (1962).

Bartlett, (Charles) Vernon Oldfield
1894–1983, journalist and broadcaster

His education at Blundell’s (Junior house and Petergate 1906-10) was cut short by illness, and he was sent to live abroad, where he acquired a fluency in the main European languages. In 1917 Bartlett joined Reuters, and became a foreign correspondent for The Times. He was director of the London office of the League of Nations for ten years from 1922, which post introduced him to radio. During the Second World War he regularly broadcasted to America, doing much to sustain morale.

Clark, Sir Wilfrid le Gros
1895–1971, anatomist

Younger brother of Frederick (see above), Wilfrid also attended Blundell’s (North Close 1910-2), before entering the medical school of St. Thomas’s Hospital. Following service in the War, he was appointed principal medical officer in Sarawak in 1920. He was made Professor of Anatomy at St. Thomas’s in 1930, and in 1934 at Oxford University, occupying the latter post until his retirement in 1962. His scientific work concentrated on human evolution, and he was one of those who exposed the Piltdown forgery.

Niven, Sir (Cecil) Rex
1898–1993, colonial official and author

Niven was a Day Boy at Blundell’s (1909-16), before going to Balliol College, where his studies were disrupted by the War. He finished his University career in 1920, and, joining the colonial service, was posted to Nigeria in the following year. He steadily moved up the ladder, and was on two occasions Lieutenant-Governor. Although he retired from the colonial service in 1954, he continued to work in Nigeria for another 10 years, and was brought in to advise the federal government on the issue of Biafran secession.

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20th Century

Harris, John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon
1903–1969, author

Harris was at Blundell's School (Westlake) from January to Easter 1918, before moving on to Bedales. As John Beynon Harris he published science fiction stories in American magazines in the early 1930s, and later books for the English market. The war halted his writing, and he worked in the Army as a censor. In 1951 he published The Day of The Triffids in his more recognisable guise as John Wyndham, and The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoos and Village of the Damned followed.

Newton, Sir (Leslie) Gordon
1907–1998, journalist and newspaper editor

Gordon was educated at Blundell's School (Cowley Lodge and Petergate 1920-6), where he was leader of the school orchestra, as well as member of the 1st XI and XV. He went to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and then into the family glass business in 1929. Following financial collapse, he was offered a job as a cuttings clerk for the Financial News, but soon became an excellent journalist, news editor, and, in 1949, editor of the Financial Times, a post he held until his retirement in 1972.

Parkinson, Cyril Northcote
1909–1993, writer and historian

Born the son of a school art master, Parkinson went to St. Peter’s School, York, and then Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he gained a research fellowship in 1935. Three years later he was appointed senior history master at Blundell's School, but stayed just one year. In 1950 he was appointed Raffles professor of history at the University of Malaya.  He is most famous for Parkinson’s Law (1958), based on the premise that ‘work expands to fill the time available for its completion’ – a work that made him a celebrity.

Spender, Sir Stephen Harold
1909–1995, poet

Spender studied at University College, Oxford, where he published his first collection of poems, Nine Experiments. He spent the winter of 1940 teaching at Blundell’s before beginning his basic training in the Forces, where he continued to write poetry. In 1945 he was appointed literary counsellor to UNESCO, but left within two years to concentrate on his writing as well as taking various lecturing posts in America. Spender received a C.B.E. in 1962, and was knighted in 1983.

Willans, (Herbert) Geoffrey
1911–1958, humorist and creator of Nigel Molesworth

He attended Glyngarth Preparatory School, Cheltenham, and, from 1924 to 1929, Blundell’s (boarding in Petergate). He was a prep school master in Surrey, before becoming able to support himself through journalism and writing novels. He served on naval convoy escorts during the War, and found time to contribute to Punch. In 1953 Willans published Down with Skool! – narrated by his creation, Nigel Molesworth – which was closely followed by other tales of the fictitious St. Custard’s School.

Lampe, Geoffrey William Hugo
1912–1980, theologian

Lampe was a Day Boy at Blundell’s from 1926 to 1931, from where he won a scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford. He obtained first-class honours in Literae Humaniores in 1935 and in theology a year later. He was a chaplain to the forces during the second half of WWII, and won the M.C. for bravery under fire. Lampe dedicated his life to theological teaching and research at the universities of Oxford, Birmingham and Cambridge, and was also a member of the general synod of the Church of England.

Squire, Raglan Hugh Armstrong
1912–2004, architect

Like his father, John Collings Squire, Raglan was educated at Blundell’s (School House 1926-30). He studied architecture at St John’s College, Cambridge, and qualified in 1937. Squire was one of the team that designed the prefabricated Arcon house, part of the post-War temporary housing programme. Between 1945 and 1956 he was responsible for the conversion of the houses around Eaton Square into flats for the Grosvenor estate. Later commissions included work in the Far East, the Middle East and the West Indies.

Gilbert, Michael
1912–2006, lawyer and crime writer

Born the son of a poet and novelist, Gilbert was a boarder at Blundell’s (School House 1926-31), before going on to study law at London University. Following the War, during which he spent some time as a P.O.W., he joined a Lincoln’s Inn law firm, of which he was made a partner in 1952. By this time he had already published five crime novels, featuring Inspector Hazelrigg. He was a founder member of the Crime Writers’ Association, and continued to produce crime novels well into the 1990s.

Walker, Gen. Sir Walter Colyear
1912–2001, army officer

Following an education at Blundell’s (Day Boy 1926-31), Walker entered the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was commissioned into the Indian Army, joining the 8th Gurkhas. In 1944 he commanded the 4th Battalion that successfully defeated the Japanese who were withdrawing towards Thailand. Walker founded the Jungle Warfare School in Malaya in 1950 to fight the Communist insurgents. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Northern Europe under NATO in 1969.

Bullard, Sir Giles Lionel
1926–1992, diplomat

He was educated at the Dragon School, Oxford, and then Blundell’s (School House 1940-44), where he became Head of School. He won a scholarship to Balliol, where he captained the University side in 1950 and 1951. Bullard joined the Foreign Service in 1955, and from 1977-80 was Consul-General in Boston, a post followed a term in cold-war Bulgaria. He was appointed High Commissioner to the West Indies, shortly before the American invasion of Grenada.

Hobman, David Burton
1927–2003, social reformer and charity director

Hobman went to University College School, London, before attending Blundell’s (1941-43). After a brief spell as a repertory theatre actor, he began community work in the Forest of Dean. He worked for the National Council of Social Service between 1958 and 1967, finally as head of the information department. In 1970 Hobman became director of the National Old People’s Welfare Council, soon to be re-named Age Concern. He was the public face of this body, often making television and radio broadcasts.

Shanks, Michael James
1927–1984, journalist and economist

He studied at Balliol College, Oxford, following his time at Blundell’s (1940-45). After university he lectured in economics at Williams College, Massachusetts for 2 years, before becoming a journalist on the Financial Times, and later economic correspondent for the Sunday Times (1964-65). His second career, that of a public servant, included being director of marketing services and planning at British Leyland, director of group strategy at British Oxygen, and chairman of the National Consumer Council (1977).

Thomas, Richard Clement Charles [Clem]
1929–1996, rugby player and journalist

Clem Thomas was at Francis House, Blundell’s from 1942 to 1947, and then St. John’s College, Cambridge. While at Blundell’s he won 4 schoolboy rugby caps for Wales, and gained his first international cap at University. He was instrumental in Wales victory over the All Blacks in 1953, and captained Wales in 1958 and 1959. Unusual at that time, he became a rugby correspondent following his retirement; for almost 35 years he was chief rugby writer of The Observer, and was co-author in 1980 of Welsh Rugby.

Hurford, Peter
1930–present, organist and composer

Peter attended Blundell’s School (School House, 1944-48) before reading music and law at Jesus College, Cambridge. He studied in Paris under the blind French organist, André Marchal, exploring music of the Baroque period. He was appointed music master at St. Albans Abbey in 1958, where he rebuilt the organ after his own style. Hurford began what is now known as the St. Albans International Organ Festival, and completed a 12-year project putting the complete organ works of Bach on disc.

Ondaatje, Sir Philip Christopher
1933–present, author

Born in Ceylon of Dutch burgher stock, Christopher Ondaatje was sent to Blundell’s for his education (Petergate, 1947-51). He began work as a banker’s clerk, but in 1956 with just $13 in his pocket he arrived in Canada. Within 10 years he had founded the successful Pargurian Press, later the Pargurian Corporation. However, disillusioned with the world of finance, he returned to Britain in 1988 to concentrate on adventure and writing, and a strategic philanthropy that has benefited countless organisations.

Hollands, Douglas John
1934–present, soldier and novelist

John was educated at Blundell’s (Old House, 1946-51), before carrying out his National Service. during which he was posted to Korea as a platoon commander. He became the youngest winner of the Military Cross in Korea, as well as Britain’s most decorated National Serviceman in the conflict. He began his literary success with The Dead, the Dying and the Damned – which sold over 3 million copies. Other novels have followed, including What a Fag! (2006), with its thinly-disguised depiction of life at Blundell’s.

Mates, Michael John
1934–present, politician

Michael received his education at Salisbury Cathedral School, Blundell’s (Old House, 1947-51), and King’s College, Cambridge. He was in the army from 1954 to 1974, rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Queen’s Dragoon Guards. On his retirement he stood as Conservative candidate for Petersfield, which he won and where he remained until 1983. From that time to the present he has been M.P. for East Hampshire, and has been a Privy Councillor since 2003.

Midgley, John Robin
1934–2007, television and theatre director

Robin was born in Torquay, and attended Blundell’s (Old House, 1948-53) before going on to King’s College, Cambridge, where he directed plays with casts that included Jonathan Miller, Sylvia Plath and Daniel Massey. He was responsible for some of the early episodes of Z Cars on BBC-TV as well as a whole string of plays in the West End.  In 1973 he became the first artistic director of the Leicester Haymarket, and in his later years gave acting lessons to singers at the Royal Opera House and directed at RADA.

Sharp, Richard Adrian William
1938–present, rugby union player

Richard was at Westlake, Blundell’s from 1952-57, where he was captain of cricket and of fives, and in his final year, when Head of School, set a new pole vault record. However, rugby was the sport in which he was to excel. He went to Balliol College, Oxford, and while there was called up to play for England. He went on to win 14 caps, and led England to victory in the Five Nations Champonship in 1963 – in the game against Scotland he scored what is considered to be the most elegant try of all time.

Moss, Malcolm
1943–present, politician

A graduate of St. John’s College, Cambridge, Malcolm came to Blundell’s in 1966 to teach Geography. He stayed four years and left to pursue other walks of life. In 1983 he was personal assistant to the Conservative Sir Brian Mawhinney who was standing for Peterborough in the General Election. In 1987 Malcolm himself stood for Clement Freud’s seat of North-East Cambridgeshire and won the seat. He has retained this constituency in every General Election since, steadily increasing his majority.

Kent, Charles Philip
1953–2005, rugby union player

Charles was educated at Blundell’s (North Close, 1966-71), where he excelled as an organist, and at Worcester College, Oxford, where he studied medicine. While at University he won four rugby blues, and was captain on one occasion. On his debut for England in 1977 he scored a fine try, and he was invited to play for the Barbarians eight times. However, he played just four more times for his country before his heavy workload as a doctor forced him to drop out of representative rugby.

Marks, Victor James
1955–present, cricketer, journalist and broadcaster

Vic was educated at St. Dunstan’s School, Burnham, and Blundell’s (Francis House 1968-73). He began playing for Somerset in 1975, was captain of the Oxford University team in 1976-77. and made his England one-day debut in 1980. Although he made only six Test appearances, he appeared 34 times as a member of the England one-day squad. After retiring as a professional cricketer Vic turned to journalism and broadcasting; he has become a regular figure on Test Match Special and writes for The Observer.

Pitcher, George Martell
1955–present, author and Anglican priest

George boarded in Westlake, Blundell’s, from 1969 to 1973, but decided not go to university. Instead he took up journalism, working for the Daily Telegraph and The Observer, where he was industrial editor (1988-91). He was co-founder in 1992 of the communications consultancy Luther Pendragon which was eventually sold at a great profit in 2005, and wrote The Death of Spin (2002).  He was also ordained, and is now curate of St. Bride’s Church, Fleet Street – ‘the journalists’ church’.

Morris, Hugh
1963–present, cricketer

Hugh came from Cowbridge Grammar School to Blundell’s (Westlake) in 1976. While still at school he made his debut for Glamorgan in 1981, and became their youngest ever captain in 1986, but stood down in 1989 to concentrate on his batting. He won three Test caps in 1991, and returned to the Glamorgan captaincy in 1993. In his final season of 1997 Glamorgan won the County Championship. Hugh went on to become Technical Coaching Director with the E.C.B., and is now Managing Director of the England team.

Rice, Benjamin [Ben]
1972–present, author

The son of Douglas Rice, a Blundell’s master, Ben attended the School (Thornton House) from 1986 to 1991. He went on to read English at the universities of Newcastle and Oxford, and undertook a course in creative writing at the University of East Anglia. His first book, Pobby and Dingan, was published in 2000, and won the Somerset Maugham Award. Ben now lives in London, and in 2003 was named by Granta magazine as one of 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists.’

Marshall, Claire Victoria
1975–present, journalist

Claire was at Blundell’s (Gorton House, 1991-3), before studying law at Balliol College, Oxford. She went on to Cardiff University where she gained a post-graduate diploma in broadcast journalism. She joined ITN as a trainee junior producer, and then became text producer on Sky News. She has worked for the BBC all over the world as a reporter and, from 2007, as a News Correspondent, appearing on BBC News 24 and BBC1. She also appeared in the BBC2 drama series Party Animals as herself.

Stockel, Siona
1977–present, singer and harpist

Siona came from St. Margaret’s School to Blundell’s in 1993 (Gorton House), where she remained until 1995. She studied Harp and Voice at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where she gained a Distinction in her Master’s Degree. Siona obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance at the Royal College of Music, London. She interprets a wide range of musical styles, incorporating classical works with Irish and Welsh melodies in her performances.