February 28, 2013
Michael St John Parker, Headmaster 1975 – 2001, gave a very interesting talk this evening about the exhibition at Abingdon Museum – Abingdon to Zanzibar – an A to Z of Abingdon School over 450 years. The talk was in the Roysse Room – the one time school room.
In the talk there was high praise for some ex headmasters such as Thomas Woods 1716-1753 during whose time a lot of the nobility sent their sons to Abingdon, when it became a top school in the country. There was less praise for another headmaster who started off with a good complement of pupils but ended up with just three, then did a similar act of decimation at his next school.
One ex pupil, Colonel Bringfield, became a national hero when he stopped a canon ball with his head – was decapitated, but saved Lord Marlborough whose horse he was holding on the battlefield. As a result Colonel Bringfield has a monument in Westminster Abbey. Another Old Abingdonian, called Ridley, helped stop the Slave Trade in Zanzibar.
The talk also gave a new angle on local historical figures like John Roysse and the Tesdales. I expect it will be printed in time so well worth reading.