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Chapter 4

The dire reign of Thomas Shield and Son 1807–48



Chapter 4

The dire reign of Thomas Shield and Son 1807–48



The Middle Years

Chapter 4

The dire reign of Thomas Shield and Son 1807–48


few years into the 18th century the School was now in solid schoolrooms and at last on a sound financial footing; but unfortunately this coincided with a time of wholesale decline for grammar schools. Pocklington still had Dowman’s foundation statutes, was still a traditional grammar school in a town that hung on to established, traditional beliefs, and so the school appears to have stuck with a classical curriculum, still suited, above all else, to a career in the church. The school came under major pressure from competition, both within Pocklington, where new private schools were established, and a little further up the road, where Beverley changed more with the times and enjoyed its golden age, attracting gentlemen’s and merchants’ sons from across the East Riding. An analysis of the Masters amply demonstrates the school’s importance and fortunes, and perhaps the fragility of medical care and life expectancy of the 18th century. It shows that for several Masters Pocklington was just a stepping stone for a longer clerical career. The years 1704–1754 saw seven Masters, all graduates of St John’s. Their average age on arriving at Pocklington was 28. The average stay as Master was seven years. Four then left Pocklington for a more lucrative or comfortable church appointment, while three died while still Master at the school, aged 27, 50 and 43.



John Foulkes, a Welshman, Master from 1704–1709, succeeded Dwyer in the safe St John’s parish of Medbourne with Holt, where he remained the minister for 31 years. John Drake, also curate of Seaton Ross while Master of Pocklington (1709–14), was the grandson of notable OP, Samuel Drake, who left Pocklington to become Vicar of Pontefract for 30 years. Joseph Trebell, a Londoner educated at Merchant Taylors School and St John’s, became curate of Bishop Wilton and Master of Pocklington on the same day in 1714, but died after just two years in post, aged only 27. Christopher Lantrew, a farmer’s

St John’s College, Cambridge.

Chapter 4 · The dire reign of Thomas Shield and Son 1807–48

A page from the vellum book, 1650.

son from Barnstable, spent just one year at Pocklington, then resigned in 1717 and returned to Devon as a curate. John Baker is the one Master from this period who lasted longer, spending 23 years at the school. The son of the college butler at St John’s, he combined schoolmastering with the job of a local parish priest, being Vicar of Hayton and Bielby, but his memorial stone on the floor of the Lady Chapel in All Saints’ indicates a tragic time at Pocklington. He died, aged 50, in January 1740. His wife’s demise, also at 50, is recorded nine months later, and they were buried alongside their three children, who all perished in infancy in the 1730s. Though Baker’s Pocklington career ended in sorrow, it must have begun with some optimism. He recorded the admissions to school in the vellum book, unfortunately for only his first year

in office. But that single year’s list reveals 16 boys joining the school, mostly local and ranging between the ages of eight and 17. We know a few biographical details about most of the 16 – a couple were gentleman’s sons, three were the offspring of local farmers and six clergymen’s sons, with at least five going on to be clergymen themselves. Robert Robinson is both a rarity and typifies the Master of this time. The rarity comes from the fact that we know what he looked like thanks to an impressive portrait of him that was donated to the school by his descendants. But his career amply portrays where Pocklington fitted in the career ladder. Robinson was the son of a Yorkshire merchant, born in Richmond in 1714 and educated at Sedbergh. He came to Pocklington as ‘junior master’ (possibly due to Baker being ill) in 1739 at the age of


Pocklington School: A Celebration of 500 Years

25. Made Master a year later he added the assistant curate’s post at Full Sutton to his duties in 1743, and in the same year was appointed rector of Lea, Lincolnshire, an appointment controlled by Sir Edmund Anderson of Kilnwick Percy. Also in 1743 the Archbishop of York’s visitation gives us information about Pocklington and the local competition the grammar school now faced, the Vicar of Pocklington reporting: “There’s a ffree School in this Towne well-endowed for a Master and Usher: there’s also two or three more Schools within this Town...,in each School about ffifty in Number are taught And I believe very good care are taken for to Instruct them in ye Principalls of the Christian Religion and


Left: A list of the School’s possessions, 1738. Above: Robert Robinson.

Chapter 4 · The dire reign of Thomas Shield and Son 1807–48

are brought duly to Church as the Canon requires.” At the time of the visitation Pocklington had a total of 235 families and a population of 943, with the Vicar’s report indicating that the Grammar School was just one of a handful of similarsized schools in the town and that around a quarter of the population was in education. Robinson remained as Master until 1749, with reasonable numbers of boys going up to St John’s in his term, including William Byass. Byass again typifies local tradesmen’s sons going from Pocklington to Cambridge as a Dowman scholar then on to the church. The Byass family were Pocklington ropemakers for over 150 years, but William’s subsequent career was as a

Sussex clergyman, and from his southern branch of the family came the Gonzalez-Byass wine conglomerate. What happened with Pocklington’s Masters was clearly mirrored elsewhere, as shown by Richard Hewett OP. The son of the vicar of Thornton, Hewett was educated under Robinson at Pocklington, went up to St John’s, and was appointed Headmaster of the old Grammar School at Hawkshead, in the Lake District, in 1759. The next master was Edward Birkbeck who was born and educated at Sedbergh before going to St John’s. He had already been the rector of Elvington for seven years when he took over as Master at Pocklington in September 1749 and he also

Pocklington School’s first mention in literature In what is probably the earliest known novel about New Zealand,

me to consider maturely, what way of life would be most agreeable

Pocklington School appears at the beginning. What must also be one

to my inclinations; as he was resolved to indulge his children in every

of the longest titles for a novel, it is called The Travels of Hildebrand

thing which would not tend to their own detriment.”

Bowman, Esquire, into Carnovirria, Taupiniera, Olfactaria, and

The ‘considerable reputation’ of the school, to which Bowman

Auditante, in New-Zealand; in the Island of Bonhommica, and in the

refers, reflects the atmosphere of the early years of the long

Powerful Kingdom of Loxu-Volupto, on the Great Southern Continent.

headmastership of the Reverend Kingsman Baskett (headmaster,

Hildebrand Bowman is almost certainly a pseudonym for John Elliott who was born in Helmsley in 1759. Elliott was just thirteen when he sailed as a midshipman with Captain Cook on the second voyage of the Resolution. Elliott was not a Pocklingtonian, but it is interesting that the reputation of the school in the late eighteenth century was such that he should have chosen it as the alma mater of his fictional hero, Bowman. Bowman was the third of four sons: “When I was eight years old, my Father sent my brother James (who was a year older) and me, to Pocklington grammar-school, which was then in considerable reputation in that country. I soon Above: Title page from The Travels of Hildebrand Bowman….

became a kind of a favourite, both of the Master and the Usher’,

Far right: from the book.

were generally overlooked, as they never found me deviating from the

from my good behaviour; not that I wanted sprightliness, or was not sometimes caught in unlucky tricks, like others of my age, but they truth. But what greatly contributed to it also was, that I had great facility in learning languages, and consequently was, what is called, a good scholar. This talent has been of great advantage to me in my travels. “I was taken from school at fifteen years old, having gone through that part of my education with some applause; and my Father desired

1754–1807), whose steady Anglican piety had also recommended Pocklington to the family of William Wilberforce.

Pocklington School: A Celebration of 500 Years

became curate of Full Sutton at the same time. His appointment at Elvington is said to have been both political and a surprise, his rival for the post being Laurence Sterne, later to become famous as the author of ‘Tristram Shandy’ and from a family of distinguished churchmen that included an archbishop and an archdeacon and who were lords of the manor of Elvington. But Birkbeck has been described as a “favourite of the Country Party” (or Whigs), the dominant and governing political party of the time that was both parliamentarian and puritan in sympathies, as opposed to the catholic and court-leaning Tories. He moved into the Master’s house at Pocklington, continued with his Elvington and Full Sutton duties at weekends, and during his time sent a handful of boys to Cambridge before in 1754 he became the third master in five to die in office. After seven masters in 50 years, the second half of the 18th century saw just one as the Reverend Kingsman Baskett commenced a reign that was to last 53 years. Baskett, son of a Devon clergyman, was perhaps a surprise choice for the Pocklington mastership. He was well connected, had followed up his BA at St John’s in 1744 with being made MA and a Fellow of the college in 1747, was already a parish priest and had enjoyed a year in 1752 as a Cambridge lecturer in logic. Baskett was about to get married when he accepted the Pocklington position in 1754, and he and his first wife, Jane, had three sons who all went to the school. Their subsequent lives map out the common career path of so many OPs. The eldest, Kingsman, became a distinguished clergyman and Cambridge tutor, who held livings in Yorkshire and the Midlands and also became Master to the Charterhouse in Hull. Richard was also a Cambridge scholar and clergyman, who was one of the early church ministers to go out to Australia, but who had to return to England through ill health, becoming curate of Seaton Ross. Youngest son, Roger, joined the East India Company’s navy and rose through the ranks to become captain of the company ship ‘The Prince William Henry’ before retiring to an estate in the West Riding. While most of his immediate predecessors saw Pocklington as just a conduit to more lucrative ecclesiastical posts, Rev. Baskett senior found that pluralism of church office was an effective way of supplementing his income, and perhaps this is why he remained so long at Pocklington. In addition to being the Master of the Grammar School, he remained Vicar of


Fenstanton (1750–1770), then added further church stipends as curate of Great Givendale with Grimthorpe (1764), curate of Everingham (1767), Rector of Routh (1769) and Vicar of East Wykeham (1781). The life of Pocklington’s greatest pupil, William Wiberforce, is detailed below, but Wilberforce’s education opens a window onto a considerable amount of information about the school and the Master. Wilberforce’s biographers are keen to emphasise the serene nature of his Pocklington period. However, by the time Wilberforce arrived at Pocklington in 1771, Baskett’s first wife had died and he quickly remarried Ann Waddington, 23 years his junior and from a wealthy Midlands family. They soon had two daughters, born in 1772 and 1774, so Wilberforce’s time with the Baskett’s must have seen quite a lively household with three young boys and two baby daughters. Amongst the treasures we have from Wilberforce’s education are reminiscences of his schooldays by his contemporary, Tindal Walmsley, and copies of some of his school essays, which are predominately English compositions, not Latin. In one essay of May 1774 in which he promoted the benefits of completing an education with world travel, Wilberforce stated how he was “shocked by viewing one part of the world, seeming made only to furnish slaves for the other.” It has been claimed that the school produced no-one of note during this period apart from Wilberforce. However, several contemporary OPs went on to significant achievement in later life, and while Wilberforce was clearly the shining star, he was one of a triumvirate of notable social reformers who were schoolmates in the 1770s. While Wilberforce led the anti-slavery campaign from the front of the House, his OP colleague, Daniel Sykes, who went on from Pocklington to become M.P. for Hull, was a driving force from the back benches. And another alumnus, Walmsley, made his mark in

Headmaster Rev. Kingsman Baskett, M.A. 1754–1807.

Chapter 4 · The dire reign of Thomas Shield and Son 1807–48

and Ann’s relatives in particular prospered with two of her nieces both marrying baronets. One, Baroness Bunsen, wrote of her memories of staying with the Basketts, recalling a visit to West Green in 1797: “From York we proceeded to Pocklington where Mr Baskett, the husband of my father’s youngest sister, was the clergyman. I liked the time spent in that curious old house, and remember the party as very lively and sociable...” She mentions that one of her young cousins, William Waddington, was “staying there for a beginning of classical education, bestowed upon him by Mr Baskett.” Waddington was considered “extremely clever” and progressed to Trinity College, Cambridge. Though the next Master, Thomas Shield, was soon to be denigrated for running the school to a standstill himself, he was still able to announce that there had been no pupils for some years prior to his appointment; nevertheless Baskett hung on into his 87th year. Old and infirm, he moved to Hull, where his eldest son was now chaplain of the Charterhouse hospital. He died a short while after in April 1807, his remains being brought back to Pocklington to be buried in the Lady Chapel of All Saints, and his successor finally appointed by St John’s in July of that year.

Above: Daniel Sykes. Right: The final resting place of Thomas Shield.

a different field as the first General Secretary of the ‘National Society’ – the Anglican movement that revolutionised education by founding thousands of National Schools across England and Wales. Committee and meeting minutes from the various organizations that the three were involved in show that their school friendships became life long. Numerous Pocklington boys went up to Cambridge in the first four decades of Baskett’s headship, but though he continued to be a popular individual (Old Boys, including Wilberforce, spoke warmly of him and went out of their way to visit him after leaving), nevertheless the school declined significantly in his later years. Both Baskett and his second wife came from noted families,


Pocklington School: A Celebration of 500 Years

William Wilberforce, OP 1759–1833

William Wilberforce was born on 24th August 1759, the third child of Robert Wilberforce, a wealthy Hull Merchant, and his wife Elizabeth. He was not expected to survive. Short of stature, he had a weak constitution and very poor eyesight and in later life coped with persistent ill health by the palliative daily use of opium. So bad was his eyesight that it was said that he very nearly shot his friend, the Younger Pitt, during a partridge shoot in Dorset in 1783. Had he done so, the course of English history might have been very different. On his father’s death in 1768 he was sent to live with his uncle in Wimbledon. There the Methodist influences of his aunt so alarmed his mother that in 1771 she placed him at the free grammar school of Pocklington under the care of the Rev. Kingsman Baskett, M.A., “a man of easy and polished manners and an elegant though not profound scholar”. In later years Wilberforce recorded that his removal from Wimbledon had probably been the means of my being connected with political men and becoming useful in life. If I had staid with my uncle I should probably have been a bigoted despised methodist. At Pocklington Wilberforce lived in the Master’s house having a good room to himself and dining with Baskett, paying the enormous

On leaving Cambridge in 1780 he entered Parliament at just

sum of £400 a year for his privileges. Leading “a life of idleness and

21 as the independent Member for Hull. He was followed there in

pleasure” he spent much time visiting neighbouring gentry to whom

January 1781 by William Pitt the Younger with whom he ever after

his social graces and fine singing voice (which later charmed the Prince

remained the closest of friends, supporting him as Prime Minister

of Wales) made him an agreeable guest.

whenever he could. He also maintained his friendship with Baskett,

At School he cultivated a taste for literature, greatly surpassing

calling on him at Pocklington when visiting Hull. In 1784 he became

the other boys in his compositions which he seldom began before

Member for Yorkshire – a seat which he held for 28 years until in

the eleventh hour, and he amused himself by memorising English

1812 he was offered the ‘pocket borough’ of Bramber. He also

poetry. In 1776 he went up to St John’s College, Cambridge a very

became an Evangelical Christian, founding two successive societies

fair scholar. Whilst at Pocklington he had evinced an abomination of

against vice and immorality through which he “persecuted ‘infidels and

the slave trade. One of his schoolfellows later recalled how, at the age

deists’ with the zeal of an inquisitor” (to quote G. M. Trevelyan). This

of 14, Wilberforce had given him a letter to post to the editor of “the

included the prosecution in 1797 for blasphemy of the bookseller

York paper” which, he said, was in condemnation of “the odious traffic

who distributed Tom Paine’s ‘Age of Reason’.

in human flesh”. Some of his letters and essays from schooldays still survive and

In 1787 Wilberforce embarked on his long parliamentary campaign for the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade from Africa with

his latest biographer, William Hague, has written that it is striking how

the associated horrors of “the Middle Passage” in which slaves were

many of Wilberforce’s opinions in later life seem to have already been

carried in inhuman conditions. Some have argued that not even these

formed before the age of fifteen.

exceeded in brutality and callousness the treatment of women and


William Wilberforce holding the Absolution Bill.

Chapter 4 · The dire reign of Thomas Shield and Son 1807–48

young children employed in the mills, factories and mines of northern

forward and finally achieved by others in 1833, the year of his death

England during the Industrial Revolution. Slavery had been declared

and eight years after his retirement from Parliament.

illegal in England by the Courts in 1772 but it was the bedrock of the economy with vast profits coming from the sugar plantations of

as well as missionary projects but, like many of his contemporaries,

the West Indian Colonies. In October 1787 Wilberforce recorded

he had no sympathy with radical agitation over the grievances of

in his Journal “God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the

the unenfranchised English working class, perceiving the Radicals as

suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.” He

“irreligious” and therefore as dangerous revolutionaries. He supported

did not at first consider that freeing the slaves in the Colonies was a

Pitt’s Combination Act of 1799 outlawing trade unionism and also the

practicable or a politically attainable objective in the short term but

suspension of Habeas Corpus in the climate of fear and anti-Jacobinism

saw that stopping the supply of slaves would be a first step.

which followed the French Revolution. Wilberforce’s lack of sympathy

With his independence, his talent as a fluent and engaging

Below right: William’s signature.

with radical politics and freethinkers, manifesting itself most clearly in his

speaker with a melodious voice served him well. Nevertheless the

reaction to the ‘Peterloo Massacre’ of 1819, has been much criticised.

Slave Trade Abolition Act of 1807 was obtained only after countless,

Nevertheless, he removed a great stain from British history.

wearisome parliamentary battles over twenty years, but it could only Below: The statue of a seated slave with chains lying broken at his side.

Wilberforce espoused many other humane and charitable causes

He was a devoted family man, of a “sweet” and kind disposition

apply to British subjects and persons resident in the United Kingdom

and manner, with a loving wife, Barbara, and six children. In July 1820

or Colonies and their ships. Attempts to persuade foreign states to

he found himself playing with the infant Princess Victoria (whom he

take and enforce similar measures met with only limited success.

described as a “fine animated child”) on the floor of Kensington Palace

Therefore from 1823 Wilberforce turned his attention to the cause of

during a visit there. The deaths of his own two daughters during his

abolition of slavery itself throughout the British Empire – to be carried

lifetime he bore stoically. A failed business venture of his eldest son, William, practically ruined the family fortune which had sustained so many calls on his bounty over the years. So in 1830 Wilberforce and his wife were obliged to give up their home and spend his last years living successively with two of his sons, Samuel and Robert. When he died, Wilberforce was the most honoured Englishman of his time. At his burial in Westminster Abbey near his friend Pitt the pall bearers included a royal duke, the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker of the House of Commons. In an age of great orators, which included Chatham, Burke, the Younger Pitt, Fox and Erskine, the eloquence and achievement of William Wilberforce had passed into history. On the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in 2007 a statue in bronze representing Wilberforce as a schoolboy was unveiled at Pocklington School by the Archbishop of York – himself, fittingly, a man of African descent.


Chapter 14


Academic and Creative Arts

DRAMA Drama became stronger at all levels in the early eighties. School plays, often inspired by professional productions, were thoroughly prepared by Terry Hardaker and imaginatively staged by Design Centre staff. Martin Allison’s production of Romeo and Juliet was outstanding in 1984. Malcolm Woodruff resuscitated the Junior Play which now became an annual event and stage presence was more gradually and confidently acquired. A revolution was to occur at the end of the decade with the arrival of more and more girls which coincided with the appointment to the staff of Alan Heaven who eventually became Head of Drama. His productions of the mediaeval street plays known as The Mysteries in 1990, Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex in 1991 and Shakespeare’s Macbeth in 1993 explored the pagan roots of drama with folksong and dance giving the productions power and atmosphere which brought actors and audience

Eille Norwood (1861–1948) Anthony Brett, the School’s first film star, adopted the stage name of Eille Norwood whilst still a teenager. After university he became an actor and playwright. At York’s Theatre Royal in 1892 he played the leading part in The Noble Art, a play he had written himself. Two years later he produced and took the leading rôle in Charley’s Aunt on Broadway. In 1897 the School itself was producing one of his plays, starring Percy Simner and Arthur Duncan-Jones, both of whom distinguished themselves in later life. The Pocklingtonian reported: “The author has shown great kindness and interest in his old school not only by exempting us from the annoyingly heavy item of Acting Rights but also by coming over from York and coaching members of the cast with his

Above: Eille Norwood as Sherlock Holmes.

usual care and skill.” Eille Norwood’s talent was spotted by Sir Charles Wyndham and he began to take important parts on the London stage. In 1903 he performed at Windsor before Edward VII and Alexandra and the King and Queen of Italy. However, it was as a film actor that he became known to a much wider audience. From 1920 he took the title rôle in nearly fifty films based on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle thought very highly of him, declaring that, “his wonderful impersonation of Holmes has amazed me.” Later in his long life Eille Norwood turned to compiling crosswords, completing a staggering 2,000 for the Daily Express.

Left: The cast of The Farmer’s Wife, 1926.


Chapter 14 · Academic and Creative Arts

Tom Stoppard Tom Stoppard was born Tomas Straussler on July 3 1937. In 1939, Stoppard left Czechoslovakia as a child refugee,

Left: Tom Stoppard. Bottom left: The portait of Tom Stoppard that now hangs in the Library at the School.

Below: The School takes part in York’s 2012 production of the Mystery Plays.

fleeing immigrant nazi occupation. He settled with his family in Britain after the war, in 1946. After being educated at schools in Nottingham and Pocklington, Stoppard became a journalist, a drama critic and then, in 1960, a playwright. While making a living as a journalist, Stoppard caught the playwriting fever and wrote A Walk on the Water (1960). In 1964 Stoppard succeeded at getting two fifteen minute radio plays produced The Dissolution of Dominic Boot and ‘M’ is for Moon among Other Things (April). During this same year Stoppard won a Ford foundation grant and went to Berlin to pursue his playwriting career. The year 1967 was Stoppard’s break out year. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was staged at the National Theatre and won numerous best play awards in Britain and later the New York production won a Tony Award and the Drama Critics’ Circle Award. In 1974 Stoppard had major professional breakthroughs with Jumpers and Travesties both winning major critical awards. Taking a turn toward activism in the mid-1970s, Stoppard became a supporter of Easter Bloc dissidents and actively denounced Soviet totalitarianism. During the period from 1978 to 1998 Stoppard added screenwriting to his list of accomplishments and Stoppard was awarded an Oscar in 1998 for co-writing the screenplay for Shakespeare in Love. Over the last decades he has continued to write prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, finding prominence with such plays as Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Rock’n’Roll and received his knighthood in 1997 and in 2000 the Order of Merit. Tom Stoppard is widely considered to be one of the most important dramatists of contemporary theatre and in 2008 was awarded the Critic’s Circle Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts. Pocklington School is honoured to have a theatre in Tom Stoppard’s name and strive to continue to inspire future generations of budding actors, playwrights and artists!

together. Hobby-horses, corn dollies and puppets, Death with his scythe, Herod in leather jacket and armed with a chainsaw, the use of mask and mime, the shrieking of witches and the whispers of the Greek chorus all contributed to the spectacle, but despite these effects the acting was moving in the contrast of tender scenes with violent episodes. Familiar stories of pride and retribution, however ancient, made an impact which was a measure of the vitality of the productions. These were shaped in rehearsals by the actors themselves. Each performance revealed a furtherance of understanding and on its final night The Mysteries erupted in a spirit of joyful, spontaneous celebration. The spectators sat so close to the action that they became part of it. At times they were covered in leaves from a sylvan stageset or even caught falling actors in their laps.


Pocklington School: A Celebration of 500 Years

Alan Heaven was crucially supported by Mark Rowe and John Peel whose imaginative musical compositions and performances, sometimes hidden with their players behind an arras, were integral parts of the plays. For Oedipus Mark Rowe created an ensemble of percussionists who played tin trays, dustbin lids, iron bars and a bath. The new order also required a different approach to setbuilding. John Williamson was on hand in the Design Centre to realise the potential of a traverse stage along the middle of the Hall with his particular brand of imagination and skill. The Solstice longsword and morris side arose naturally from this combination of talents and dispositions, guided by Messrs Heaven, Peel, Williamson and Tom Taylor. Its programme of song, longsword dance, Renaissance dance with trowels and swords, performed by pupils and staff dressed in the flat caps, braces and heavy boots of northern working men as well as ragged clip coats was in demand throughout the East Riding and further afield. The exuberance of internal productions stretched the Assembly Hall resources to bursting point even when auditorium and balcony became acting space and the audience was cramped in side-aisles and corners. This led directly to the raising of funds for the building of the Tom Stoppard Theatre which opened in 2001. Sir Tom Stoppard’s renown was followed by the success of Martin Crimp who, after leaving School in 1974, became


writer-in-residence at the Royal Court Theatre in the West End and had several plays translated for performances in Vienna, Paris and Berlin. His successes have included a highly acclaimed adaptation of Moliere’s The Misanthrope playing at the Comedy Theatre in London. With the opening of the Tom Stoppard Theatre, Drama finally moved from its ancient seat in the Assembly Hall, swapping a small cellar used for all storage, rehearsals and lessons for purpose-built accommodation.

Above: Taking a bow after the 2012 production of Oliver!. Above left: Martin Crimp.

Chapter 14 · Academic and Creative Arts


Below: House Music. Below right: The swing band in action.

Before the 20th century was over, Jeremy Bird created a comprehensive framework of musical activity which his successor Martin Kettlewell would enhance in the following years. The first decade of the new millennium saw a rapid expansion in the numbers of pupils involved in musical activities along with some innovation. An enlarged chamber choir continued to perform in services and concerts at school as well as taking their music to audiences further afield. York Minster beckoned for the service to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the Order of St John in 1999, with the choir returning in 2007 for the Wilberforce celebrations, and in 2010 for the York-based charity Homestart

‘The biennial tour is an established feature of the school calendar and the quality of the band has allowed prestigious venues to be accessed, including outside Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris (2007) and Piazza Navonna, Rome (2009).’

concert. Additionally, a regular invitation to perform at Beverley Minster for the Macmillan Cancer Care Carol Concert takes their music east of Pocklington. Music Society was established as an annual event in this period. Whilst early performances focused on 18th-century works, Martin Kettlewell brought his love of the dramatic and romantic to the concerts in memorable performances of Fauré’s Requiem and Parry’s ‘Blest Pair of Sirens’ (2009), Britten’s ‘Rejoice in the Lamb’ (2004) and most notably Verdi’s Requiem (2005). These works required expanded choral and orchestral forces, and the key feature in the success of this has been the engagement of OPs, parents and friends of the school. Swing Band The Swing Band has continued to flourish. Much in demand in school and in the wider community it has become the school’s flagship ensemble. A place in the band is much prized, and includes participation in the biennial tour, as well as many concert opportunities. The band has been keen to take their music


Pocklington School: A Celebration of 500 Years  

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