A Notable Blencowe: Richard Blencowe:
1884-1967

Uncle Dick

Many of the descendants of the Marston Branch of the Blencowe Family appear to have been involved in education, the Law, the Army or the ordained clergy (C of E of course). My Uncle Richard, always known as Dick, was one involved in the first.

'UNCLE DICK', as he was known in the family, was, like most of his brothers, an accomplished sportsman. He was educated at Radley College and Oriel College, Oxford, where he nearly achieved a soccer 'blue', but went on to play half-back for Bath City. He was also a 'scratch' golfer, and no mean cricketer; a game he much enjoyed.

However, he is best remembered as the founder in 1911, and first Headmaster of Oriel House School, at St Asaph in Wales. This became one of the leading Preparatory Schools in North Wales. During the war years, 1939-1945, it was much sought after by parents from the Liverpool and Manchester districts, seeking a fairly safe area away from air raids for their sons.

By chance one of my sons recently met an Oriel House Old Boy. (It is easier to find links if you have a rare surname like Blencowe than if you are a Smith!). He writes "I was at Oriel House from 1944 to 1949, under Head master Mr Blencowe. I remember him as someone who was always there and someone who would always sort things out if any real problems arose. I had the impression that running the school in war time must have been extremely difficult. Some of the masters were unsuitable and food rationing severely limited the choice of meals choice of meals and scraps of meat were seen as something of a luxury. All this changed reasonably quickly after 1945.

My recollection of my head master was that he seldom became directly involved in teaching, except perhaps when there was a crisis. I seem to remember that he taught scripture from time to time. What I do remember, and what he did particularly well, was to give a talk to the whole school, I think on each Saturday morning, on the progress of the war. Most of us used to mark the movement of the allied forces on maps".

He was Headmaster for forty years, after which he retired to Nefyn on the North Wales coast, keeping a house at St Asaph. He married Maud Phillips, who supported him as Headmaster’s wife, particularly during the difficult years of the war. They have two children, Jim and Evelyn, my first cousins, who in turn have children and grandchildren.

Peter Blencowe,
Walderton, U.K.