John Brown, Headmaster

In the 1880 edition of Kelly’s directory, John Brown is listed as organist to the parish church, bookseller, stationer, dealer in musical instruments and agent for R.R. Williams, bankers. Unless you look hard you may never notice that his main job was that of headmaster of the National School.

John Brown had been appointed the first master of the Maiden Newton National School in 1852 when only 18 years of age, a position he was to hold for the next 47 years, until his retirement in 1899.

John Brown was born at in the Herefordshire village of Lucton, the son of John and Sarah Brown where is father was a blacksmith. Little is known of his childhood, but immediately before his arrival in Maiden Newton he attended St. Marks College, Chelsea, London.

About 1860 John Brown provided the school with a printing press, and produced a monthly Maiden Newton Herald, alsmost 150 years later the magazine is still produced monthy as the parish newsletter. Two of the early copies exist in the church scrapbook.

He also started a Fife and Drum Band, which later became the Village Brass Band, sadly this no longer exists. He must have been something of an enterpreneur as we have previously seen, he was the villages dealer in musical instruments.

John  was an astonishingly vigorous and capable young man, and remained vigorous and capable to the end. For 51 years he was organist at Maiden Newton, and district choirmaster. He was a Sunday School teacher and sometimes taught from 5.30 a.m. and also had evening classes! As if this was not enough he also looked after 40 hives of bees and still found time to raise a family.


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