John Francis Bazlinton

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John Francis Bazlinton
John Francis Bazlinton
John Francis Bazlinton
Nicknames Old Bazzy
Born 1819 (1819)
Died 18 February 1898 (aged 78–79)
6 Grove Street, Boston
Cause of death He was seriously injured in a fall at his Grove Street home, and he died two days later without regaining consciousness.
Residence 6 Grove Street, Boston
Years at BGS 1838, 1843-1898
Departments Classics
Subjects Latin
Spouse Mary Barnett Westland (married 17 January 1861, St. Martin, Lincoln)
Children Cecil Wilby Bazlinton
Parents John Russell Bazlinton

John Francis Bazlinton was a teacher of Latin at Boston Grammar School.

(From "Floreat Bostona" by George S Bagley)

In the article he (Thomas William Dunn) wrote for the 1902 issue of the Gazette of the Old Bostonian Club (the forerunner of the Old Bostonian Association) he noted that games were played during his time "in a field lent to us by Mr. William Garfit", and later in a field adjoining the school. He also provided a non-too-flattering sketch of Firman and a kindlier one of Bazlinton, with whom he cultivated a close friendship.

Bazlinton he recalled as...

an inobtrusive and unambitious man, who for fifty years made no effort, and seemed to have no desire to better his position. He was with boys and men everywhere a grata persona. He was the handsomest of men, his hair and ample beard was prematurely grey, or rather white, he had a Grecian regularity of face, the index of his own most regular, if somewhat negatively beautiful life... Every old Bostonian, at least of those who came close to him, must count this good man among the dearest memories, and chief among the more silent influences of the place.

He added that Bazlinton "taught little of literature - but perhaps knew - less of science, and nothing of arts beyond writing and arithmetic". But he was blameless in his life. He...

read little beyond Dr. Cumming's Prophesies of the End of the World and books on medicine, of which his little knowledge was certainly, dangerous and, I think, mainly answerable for his unsettled health. He was a chess player, and we often spent the evening together over a game and a supper of oysters which we had ordered on our way home together from school. He was conservative and orthodox and fond of religious and political discussion.

"Old Bazzy" (Bazlinton) soldiered on, of course: he had first taught at BGS twelve years before Pattenden arrived, and remained on the staff eleven years after "the Doctor" retired. As it happened, Pattenden and Bazlinton died within three months of one another.

(At the 1895 speech day) a leading prizewinner was "Old Bazzy's" second son, Cecil Wilby Bazlinton, who went into banking.

Before the next speech day (1898) both Pattenden, who had retired over a decade before, and Bazlinton, who taught at BGS to the end of his life, were dead. Of them, (headmaster, William) White told that gathering:

No men ever worked harder for the good of our town... the one with his varied gifts of ripe scholarship and wide range of learning, the other in his painstaking, old-fashioned way, laying carefully a sound basis of instruction and formation of character. Both were loyal and true to their office and unsparing of themselves for the good of our school; and they were in return beloved by their boys, with an affectionate regard that in after life deepened almost into veneration.

Then in his 79th year, Bazlinton - later to be described by Arthur Hill as "the dearest old man it was possible to know" - attended school for the last time on Tuesday 15 February 1898: he had been "in indifferent health for some time but stoically stuck to the work he so dearly loved", reported the Boston Independent. The following day he was seriously injured in a fall at his Grove Street home, and he died two days later without regaining consciousness. The obituary notice added:

He was always an uniting worker, and full of kindly sympathy with his boys, whose love and respect he gained... his old boys themselves speak in the warmest terms of the influence of his kindly and blameless character. When Mr. Bayard, the United States Ambassador, visited our school some years since, he said that one of the most touching and wonderful sights he had seen in England was the figure of that venerable teacher cheerfully and affectionately doing his duty after more than half a century of work... The trustees had determined to grant him a retiring pension, as a mark of their esteem, and the proposal would have been considered at the annual meeting... but for the accident which befell Mr. Bazlinton on the previous day.

White told the assembled boys on the Monday after Bazlinton's death:

One of his old pupils, Professor Grant, once said that "Mr. Bazlinton was one whose character his pupils could regard with their whole heart's respect and love, and that it was the greatest privilege of his life to have been taught by him"... his heart was always in the school. "I cannot bear to be away from it", he often said to me.

"The Old Jackdaw", the Guardian columnist, paid him this tribute:

He lived to a patriarchal age, despite the cares and anxieties of his calling. His life's responsibilities were many and great; and that he discharged them faithfully and well is evidenced by what is said about him now that he is gone... A boy who suffered much but learned a great deal from him "Good Old Bazzy" sends me the following note: "He often thrashed me, but he never gave me more than I deserved, and I don't think he ever meant to hurt me... He always set us a good example of courtesy and gentle bearing; and I believe I learned more that was really useful from him than anyone else".

At speech day on 31 July 1902, brasses erected by the Old Bostonian Club to the memories of Pattenden and Bazlinton (with Latin inscriptions by Thomas William Dunn) were unveiled by Professor Grant, who said "Bazzy"

was not one to whom the prizes of the world came. His long services there might have made a lesser man - a poorer-natured man - discontented... He lived his life, content with the work he had to do, respecting himself, respected and beloved by others, an example of the truth that one might make his career what he liked - not in the way of income, but as great or small as he liked; and Mr. Bazlinton made a small career great.

The plaque presented by the Old Bostonian Club in memory of Bazlinton reads:


Before being admitted to BGS, Frank Thompson spent four years at the private school Bazlinton's wife ran at their home at 6 Grove Street, and had started to learn Latin at the age of eight in preparation for going to the grammar school. Late in life he recalled:

Mr. White used to impress on us boys that a grammar school was a place where the Latin grammar could be thrashed into you... we had Latin every day, at least once. Mr. Bazlinton took the second form. He was then snow white with long hair and always carried a cane, which he very frequently used. Many boys had had bruises on their hands, back and front, from this cane... I believed he was paid £100 a year.

Boston people were very annoyed when the school fee was raised from one guinea to two. It was said this was to give Dr. Pattenden a pension. Boston people thought it should have been used to increase Mr. Bazlinton's salary...