The School has now come to the end of its first year under new management. One wonders whether anyone has found this period to be disturbing or traumatic. Readers no longer intimately connected with the School will want to know what changes have come about. In reality, there have been very few, at least to the outward eye; there have been changes of emphasis here, of direction there. But, all in all, it is the Hardye's that we have known for many years.

But there have been changes in the general life of the School. We now have Fire Drill at least once every term, and the vertical House system has been abolished in favour of the old horizontal administration, with Forms now designated "Groups"; and Groups now start at 1, instead of the old IIA etc.

There have been considerable structural alterations, which burst upon us in the Summer Term. The new building to house the Lower School rose, during the splendid summer months, phoenix-like, out of the debris of the old Hut. The hammering and the transistor-radio accompaniment of these operations put the Gym out of commission for G.C.E. examinations, many of which had to be held in All Saints' Church House in Durngate Street. We believe that we shall be ready to welcome the Lower School in January. The new building will be connected to the old by means of an extension of the main corridor which has sliced away nearly half of the old Staff Room. This loss of space is being borne with much fortitude by the Staff, as being in a very good cause.

Staff continue to come and go. The following permutations are recorded in strict chronological order. January brought the long-awaited full-time appointments to fill the vacancies in the Music and Maths/Physics Departments. Mr R. W. A. PONTIN, B.A. (Southampton University) has already made a considerable impact on the musical life of the School, and Mr N. L. BAKER, who had already had one career as an Army Officer, has come in to fill the gap in the Science Staff. We were extremely fortunate in April to engage the services of Mr A. WALDEN, B.Sc., (Leeds University) as our Second Deputy Head. This appointment was made possible by the up-grading of the School from Group 9 to Group 10, as a result of its steady growth during the past three years. Mr Walden, who is a Mathematician with a very keen interest in Astronomy, came to us from Frome Comprehensive College; this experience fits him admirably for his present post, that of Head of the Sixth Form, with full responsibility for all curriculum planning.

The end of the Summer Term saw the departure, through retirement, of Mr Rex TOMPSETT, after 19 years at Hardye's, and of Mr Alan BURTON, Head of Chemistry for the last 13 years. These two dedicated servants of the School can never be adequately replaced. Mr WATSON also left for Sweden to get himself a wife and a further degree. Mr ADAMS, on completion of his one year temporary appointment, is now entering the University of Los Angeles, to study for an M.A. degree in P.E., by thesis on the subject "The ethnic sub-culture of the long-distance skier."

Newcomers in September 1975 are Mr W. D. PYKE, B.A. (Corpus Christi College, Oxford) for History: Mr D. A. STRONG, B.Sc. (Keele University) for Chemistry. Both are fresh from their Universities. Mr Pyke played Hockey for his College, and is House Tutor at South Walks House. Mr Strong was a University Organ Scholar and has considerable experience of organ and choral music.

Dr R. G. F. TAYLOR, who took a Ph.D. degree in Physics at London University in 1968, has spent the last 11 years in important posts in the Ministry of Defence. He relinquished his post as Principal Scientific Officer at M.O.D., H.Q. London Management of Electronics Research Programme to join our Physics Department. We are indeed fortunate to have him with us. And, finally, Mrs B. J. D. BRYANT, B.A. (London), wife of an Old Hardyean, has come in to teach French part-time.

M. VERDET and Herr BEER have gone, to be replaced by M. G. M. VISTE and Herr Hans-Peter HOFGAERTNER as our foreign language assistants.

To all who have left us we say a very grateful "Thank you"; to all the newcomers we extend a cordial welcome.

There has also been one major internal change. In July, on completing 16 years as a most successful and efficient House Master at South Walks House, Mr LEWENDON retired from this commitment to the School. He has now been promoted to the position of Senior Master, and has been succeeded as House Master by Mr LORD. We wish these two every good fortune in their new responsibilities, and we offer Mrs Lewendon our warm gratitude for her long and devoted service to South Walks House. We trust that the Lewendons will enjoy their new freedom to the full at their new home in Marnhull.

We record another success in the Sanderson Wells Essay competition, this time in the Junior Section. Ashley WARNE was awarded a travelling prize which he spent in the Camargue. We hope that our Weymouth members will continue this pattern of success which was started by John Charlton last year.

The School roll now stands at 617.


We record, with much sadness, the recent losses of former staff and friends of the School, and that, of a pupil last year:

Lieutenant Colonel Charles RING died very suddenly on October 3rd. He felt himself fully recovered from two operations that he had undergone during the summer, and on that very day he had informed Milton Abbey School that he proposed resuming his part-time teaching there on the following Monday. Death can hardly be more unpredictable than that.

It is rather unusual to find a man making a great success of two separate careers, especially if he takes up the second in his mid-forties in as exacting a profession as schoolmastering. But this is precisely what Charles Ring did. After 25 years of distinguished service as an Officer in the Royal Tank Regiment, he came to Hardye's. He was a product of Exeter College, Oxford and an Honours Graduate in History; during his last six years he had been a most successful Head of the Department of Economics. He retired in 1974 after 16 years of dedicated service, but the retirement which he had so richly deserved was to be all too short-lived.

Colleagues and Old Boys alike will remember Charles Ring for his loyalty to the School, for his sense of responsibility, for his dedication to the work which he had undertaken. It might be thought that his military service had inculcated in him these traits of character; it is, however, much more likely that they were his by nature, and that he would have displayed them if he had never put on uniform. High standards of integrity, conscientiousness, meticulousness were close-woven into the very fabric of his make-up. Never were these more in demand than during the G.C.E. examinations which he organised and supervised for nearly the whole of his time at the School; in spite of hay-fever, to which he was very prone, he soldiered on, with everything that was in him, to ensure that the whole organisation ran smoothly and that no candidate should in any way be at a disadvantage.

Men like Charles Ring do not come very often; we are proud indeed to have known him.

Mr Arthur KNIGHT was taken ill on a car journey on October 12th, and died on the way to hospital. He was aged 76, though his youthfulness of mind and body belied his age.

Arthur Knight retired as Superintendent of Police at Weymouth in 1946. Between then and his coming to Hardye's in 1961 he held various posts in Dorchester and Weymouth. In his earlier years at the School he was responsible for C.C.F. administration and stores; he became a member of the School's secretarial staff in 1967, and continued in that post until 1973, when the L.E.A. persuaded him to retire, in spite of his unimpaired efficiency, at the age of 74.

There are few men of whom one can instinctively say, on first acquaintance: "This man is straight". Such a man was Arthur Knight, a man of unquestioned integrity and honesty, a man who had seen much of the seamy side of life as a Police Officer, and yet who very seldom spoke an unkind word about a fellow-man. One might say that he was a person who was completely free from envy, hatred, malice and all uncharitableness. He came into contact with.nearly all the senior boys at the School; they quickly came to respect and admire him for his sterling qualities of character and for the example which he set them. Staff will remember him for his warmth, his loyalty and his robust sense of humour. The School has lost a devoted friend, the Church a dedicated Lay Reader, and the community at large a shrewd and kindly counsellor.

Mrs Ann HILL, the widow of the late R. W. Hill, Head Master (1927-1955) will be remembered with affection by a very large number of Old Boys, particularly members of South Walks House. During her husband's regime she was his constant companion at School functions; after his retirement and subsequent death she maintained her keen interest in its welfare and progress. The last official function in which she participated was the opening of the Swimming Pool in July 1969 when, with her usual charm, she unveiled the stone which commemorates R. W. Hill's term as Head Master.

Mr Cecil MATTHEWS had no official connection with the School, but, as husband of Mrs Hilda Matthews, formerly School Secretary and now the Bursar's Secretary, he always had our interests very much at heart. He spent many hours during school holidays, voluntarily and unobtrusively, helping his wife with her work, especially in filing reports and G.C.E. results. We are grateful for their memories and we extend our condolences to their families.

David FISHER (Heathcote). We were all much shocked and saddened by the untimely death of David Fisher on November 30th 1974 in Frenchay Hospital, Bristol. David had been with us for just over a year, and during that time had impressed everyone by his industry, kindness and courage. He will be greatly missed by us all and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to his parents and to his brother, Paul, who is still with us.


When Rex TOMPSETT arrived in September 1956 as Head of the History Department it was immediately evident that something unusual had occurred for he lost no time in bringing to bear upon the School the full impact of his unique personality. Within a year he had introduced Hockey and the Royal Naval Section C.C.F. to School, which he commanded with a semi-piratical sang froid which at once insured its popularity, and added a new dimension to life at the School. For most of us this would have perhaps been enough, but R.T.'s boundless energy and enthusiasm soon found further fields of endeavour.

In his second year he formed the Choral Society which he conducted in a series of increasingly exacting works culminating in the performance of Bach's "St. Luke's Passion". At the same time he also revived the Dramatic Society with inter alia a particularly memorable production of "Journey's End" and then as if all this was not enough he set undertook the coaching of the Colts Rugger XVs, thereby laying the foundations for some of the most successful school teams of recent years. Whatever R.T. touched he stamped with the hall mark of his own highly idiosyncratic personality. Although he never spared himself or those whom he taught or trained, his vitality and unfailing good humour proved so infectious that boys found themselves achieving the seemingly impossible and doing so with remarkable rapidity.

Of course there were those who did not realise that R.T. was not to be taken literally, and so misunderstandings arose; when however, one discovered that words assumed with him unusual annotations: that "Repellant" was almost but not quite as complimentary as "Revolting" and that "Pest" was a term of endearment. When this elementary readjustment was achieved boys began to realise he was not as eccentric as he at first appeared. Indeed although he treated everyone and everything as a source of unfailing merriment his influence went far deeper than he would even allow to appear on the surface. Anyone who found himself seriously down on his luck whether through his own fault or not, soon discovered that in R.T. he had a staunch and generous ally who would spare no pains to help if such was at all possible.

In fact the successive generations of boys who passed through the school since R.T. joined in those distant days experienced something unique in education: the influence of a dedicated Schoolmaster of the old School who knew by instinct what makes a boy bubble over with enthusiasm, and by personally demonstrating how this should be done, forged a band of confidence and friendship which immeasurably enriched their school days and set the seal upon the pattern of the future. For such, words like gratitude are totally inadequate.


Mr R. TOMPSETT                       Mr A. BURTON

The retirement of Mr Alan BURTON in July deprived the School of one of its most versatile members of Staff. Though most of his pupils would know him mainly as a dedicated teacher of Chemistry, he is a man of a very wide variety of talents and interests which he will be able to develop to the full during his retirement.

Mr Burton was appointed Head of Chemistry in 1962, after service in the R.A.F. Education Branch, at Keighley G. S. in his native Yorkshire and Magherafelt in N. Ireland. He became Head of Science in 1968. In the course of his 13 years at the School he designed the present Chemistry laboratories and built up a very successful Department; G.C.E. results in Chemistry have always been exceptionally good, and not a single candidate in A level Chemistry has failed in the past five years. A traditional teacher, who taught in great depth, he was most untraditional in one respect: he knew and addressed every boy that he taught by his first name. In this way he identified closely with his pupils; it may well be that this accounts, in part, for his great proficiency as a teacher.

In addition to being a very able chemist, Mr Burton is an excellent mathematician as well. He also qualified as a pharmacist while in N. Ireland in order to act as locum for a local chemist. He has very considerable artistic talents: he has painted many local scenes and is expert at copying originals. In addition he is a superb craftsman in wood-turning: an example of his skill is to be seen in the beautiful chess set which he presented to the School Chess Club for competition.

In the years to come he will be able to indulge all the more those particular interests which he shares with his wife - local history, ornithology, and a deep love of the countryside. His recent investment in a dormobile is obviously a means to this end.

Catering for his pupils and dispensing pearls of wisdom into their laps is only one half of a schoolmaster's function. The other, which is almost as important, is his duty to co-exist with his colleagues in the Common Room, and take his place in an effective and smooth-running team. In this latter respect, too, Mr Burton set the highest standards. A forthright Yorkshireman, he did not tend to suffer fools gladly, but was always ready with a helping hand, especially for the newcomer. He was the Staff I.A. A.M. representative for a number of years. He had a ready wit and a keen sense of humour; many of his colleagues will long remember the tale of the H.M.I, and "the wall that fell down flat". The crossword fiends will miss his leg-up over the difficult stile; in this respect, as in so many others, it will not be the same without him and Rex Tompsett.

The School is deeply indebted to Mr Burton for his loyal service and for the high standards which he set. On leaving he takes with him our sincere wishes for a long and happy retirement.

Mr John OAKSHATT joined the staff in September 1969 as a member of the Biology Department and as House Tutor at South Walks. Since that date most of his waking hours have been devoted to School activities.

He was, soon after his arrival, to devote his energies to Natural History where his talents in the ornithological field were soon apparent. Here his enthusiasm has left a mark for life on many members of the society which he raised and nurtured with conspicuous success. His flair led to successful expeditions to the Shetlands, the Scilly Isles, the highlands of Scotland and the Camargue in the long vacations whilst at week-ends there were outings on "fungi forays" or bird watching at well known centres. Locally too he leaves his stamp at Radipole Lake where he was instrumental in setting up a Ringing Group to monitor the migration of Warblers and other birds. Here too his familiar bearded figure will be much missed.

It was not long before he took to the games field, firstly with Treves House Junior sides and later, with much enthusiasm and attention to detail, with the Under 14 Hockey and Rugby teams. In both these games he showed himself adept at recognising what was needed and acquired the knowledge to coach successfully.

At South Walks too he left an indelible mark. He gave unstinted service and nothing was ever too much for him. He was always willing to give of his time and became very much a part of the fabric.

Lastly, and not least, in the classroom his insistence on high standards led candidates, at both "O" and "A" levels, to excellent examination achievements.

Our loss then is the gain of Taunton School. Our neighbours will miss his vocal Rugby coaching, the staff room his outspoken criticism and the instant news of the arrival of a new bird in the County, the naughty boys their persecution complex when "Oaky" was on duty; and the birds of Radipole Lake . . . ? surely they will still be within his range ?

We thank Mr Oakshatt for his generous services and wish him good luck and happiness as he leaves us in December.

Other years of "The Durnovarian"