George Edwin Pattenden

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George Edwin Pattenden

George Edwin Pattenden
Born 1823 (1823)
Died 9 November 1897 (aged 73–74)
Freckenham Rectory, Suffolk
Education Christ's Hospital, London; Peterhouse College, Cambridge
Roles Headmaster
Years at BGS 1850-1887
Predecessor Thomas Homer
Successor William White
Spouse Matilda Elizabeth Ann Walbran
Children George Herbert, Florence Matilda, Gertrude Emily, Clara Louisa, Ada Mary, Rosalie Ellen, Charles Robert Edwin, Edith Alice, Frederick William Waldebrand, Beatrice Maud
Parents Robert Pattenden, Sarah Pattenden (As well as being his wife, Sarah was Robert's fourth cousin once removed)
Relatives Harriett Ellen Pattenden (sister)

George Edwin Pattenden (1823 - 9 November 1897) was appointed as headmaster of Boston Grammar School on 12 August 1850. While at the school he wrote the words to the school song, Floreat Bostona.

Before Boston Grammar School

Pattenden was educated at Christ's Hospital, London, and Peterhouse College, Cambridge.

After Boston Grammar School

Pattenden was Vicar of Chertsey, Surrey 1887-1892. He was then Vicar of Freckenham, Suffolk from 1892 until his death in 1897.


Boston Society, January 1900

Familiar Faces - No 5
The Late Canon Pattenden, B.D., LL.D.

The present generation may not recognise our portrait as a familiar face, but a few years ago the Rev. Canon Pattenden, B.D., LL.D., was one of the best known men of Boston. Many of our leading citizens to-day, and many holding high places the world over, will recall with pleasureable pride their connection with the kindly Doctor. He was a man to be remembered and admired, one whose name should never vanish from the scroll of local history. His death, which occurred at Freckenham Rectory, Suffolk, on Sunday, Nov. 9, 1897, was universally regretted, for he had raised the standard of the School considerably, and endeared himself not only to so great a number of "old boys" but to the inhabitants of Boston generally.

Canon Pattenden was born in 1823, and was educated at Christ's Hospital, London, and Peterhouse College, Cambridge. Amongst his school companions were Dr. Harper, the late Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, and Dr. Haigh-Brown, the present Master of Charterhouse. In 1850, Canon Pattenden was elected to the Head Mastership of Boston Grammar School, under its new scheme, and office he held with marked success for thirty-seven years. It was due to his untiring energy that the school rose to its present position of prosperity. Not a few of our fellow townsmen owe to his training their success at the University, and other honourable careers. All his old boys can recollect with affection his singular ability as a teacher, his ripe scholarship, his many social gifts, and his warm-hearted kindness as a friend.

Canon Pattenden held the Incumbancy of the Chapel-of-Ease, as well as the Head Mastership of our Grammar School. When he resigned the latter position at the Grammar School in 1887, he accepted the living of Chertsey, Surrey, where he soon won the honour and affection of his parishoners. It was during his stay there that a heavy blow fell on Dr. Pattenden, and a father's long-cherished hopes were extinguished with the death of his son, Mr. F. Pattenden - a man in the prime of life, and of great promise.

In 1892, Dr. Pattenden was offered and accepted the College living of Freckenham, a smaller parish than Chertsey, with less arduous duties, and the fuller measure of retirement to a busy life of hard work claimed and deserved. Canon Pattenden's interest in Boston was always keen - "Floreat Bostona" was his wish for the prosperity of the town and school, where he spent so many years of loyal and faithful service.

The present head master of the school is Mr. W. White, M.A., who succeeded Dr. Pattenden, having been second master for a number of years. Mr. White was formerly at Marlborough. He has shown a remarkable talent for coaching pupils for the higher examinations, and past scholars will apreciate the fact that their old school has acquired a very high reputation at the Universities, the number of scholarships won in open competition during the last ten or twelve years being a British record for a school of the size. In the Oxford Local examinations, also, the institution has for a long period won continuous honours, and in the last five years, has three times headed the whole list of candidates.

Many of Dr. Pattenden's old pupils have distinguished themselves in Her Majesty's Indian Civil Service; we may mention the names of Roe, Snaith, Fisher, Pilcher, and Johnston, the last of whom passed direct from the school.

No biography of Dr. Pattenden would be complete without some mention of a man who was ever his faithful friend and assistant. We refer to the venerable and well-beloved Mr. Bazlinton, who taught three generations of scholars, serving as a master froim 1843 to within three days of his death in 1898. There is scarcely a successful tradesman of this town who does not owe much of his commercial aptitude to this scholastic patriarch. No enterprising Mayor has done more good work for his Borough than Dr. Pattenden and Mr. Bazlinton, and wherever "old boys" are gathered, their names will be linked together in honoured remembrance.

Hugh Stephens, Great Great Grandson of George Edwin Pattenden

My great-grandfather, Frederick George Johnson (1850-1909), was Second Master at BGS in 1874, when he married Canon Pattenden's daughter, Rosalie Ellen. His brother-in-law, Richard Hamer, was Fourth Master when he married Rosalie's elder sister, Clara Louisa. I know that a number of Canon Pattenden's nephews were educated at BGS.

Canon Pattenden endured a very public divorce in the late 1860's, reported in great detail in The Times, which wrote that Mrs Pattenden was supposed to have "disgraced herself" with the French Master (possibly Louis Hotsch) and one or more of the Senior boys!

There is also the story, reported to me by a grandson of Canon Pattenden, who was quite certain of his facts, that Canon Pattenden's third daughter, Ada Mary, became pregnant in 1877 by the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire, Thomas Orde Hastings Lees, a charming Irishman of noble descent. She was apparently bundled off to Bavaria, where Mr Lees' brother lived, to have the baby, which was then brought up as the legitimate offspring of Mr Lees. The Pattenden family was exceedingly grateful to Mrs Lees for her compliance in this cover-up, (she was made godmother to my grandfather, who was born in 1880). The illegitimate son went on, incidentally, to join Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole, where he was so unpopular with his fellows that they agreed that, if they ran out of food and had no choice but to resort to cannibalism, they would eat him, because he was so grumpy and pessimistic! His daughter married the philosophers, A.J. Ayer and S.N. Hampshire.

Mark Lemon, founder of Punch Magazine was born in 1809. After the death of his father in 1817 and the remarriage of his mother, he went to live with his uncle, Thomas Collis, hop and timber merchant of Spilsby and Boston who moved from Spilsby to Boston at some point between 1820 and 1827. He remained with him, learning the hop and timber trade, for some years.

Thomas' son, Thomas Collis (1827-1875), was another of my great-great-grandfathers. He married Harriett Ellen Pattenden (1833-1886), sister to Canon George Edwin Pattenden, in 1856. I manage to be descended from both George Edwin Pattenden and his sister by dint of the fact that my grandparents were second cousins!

See Also