Books and articles about Radley College

History of the College

2016 - Glass to digital: photographs of Radley by Henry Taunt, Sam Shepherd & Sebastian Aldous

2016 – Glass to digital: photographs of Radley by Henry Taunt, Sam Shepherd & Sebastian Aldous

Invasion 1940. About the GHQ line at Radley

Invasion 1940. About the GHQ line at Radley

The Radley Altarpiece. Study of the Brabant reredos

The Radley Altarpiece. Study of the Brabant reredos

A study of the influence of English Public Schools on world sport

A study of the influence of English Public Schools on world sport

The most recent history of the College

The most recent history of the College

The history of Radley Football, soccer and rugby at the school

The history of Radley Football, soccer and rugby at the school

All the above are available from The Archivist at Radley College

There have been three official histories of the College, commissioned to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation, the centenary and the sesquicentenary respectively.

Sicut Columbae: fifty years of St Peter’s College, Radley. By TD Raikes and other Old Radleians. James Parker & Co., Oxford and London, 1897.  Available in full online

Raikes; history of the first fifty years of the College is primarily based on reminiscences and first-hand accounts of the earliest years, informed by an author who had been schoolboy, prefect, teacher and close family member of several other Old Radleians. The sections on school sports are particularly valuable.

A second edition was produced by Ernest Bryans in 1925 under an amended title Sicut Columbae: a history of St Peter’s College, Radley, 1847-1924. Basil Blackwell, for the Radleian Society, Oxford [1925]. Bryans made a few corrections to the earlier text and added chapters which cover the intervening twenty-five years.

The history of Radley College, 1847-1947. By AK Boyd. Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1948. Available in full online

Boyd’s history of Radley was written to celebrate the school’s centenary. Like TD Raikes, he had an unrivalled personal knowledge of the school, but he also sought to build on the earlier history with much more documentary material. To this end, he virtually created the school Archives by sourcing all of the extant material from anyone who had any past connection with the school, occasionally commissioning transcripts where the original was retained by the families who owned it. The strength of Raikes’ history was the depth of first-hand memoirs; Boyd’s in his use of, and extensive quotations from, the source material.

No ordinary place: Radley College and the public school system. By Christopher Hibbert. John Murray, London, 1997. ISBN 0719551765

Christopher Hibbert’s history of the College was commissioned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of its foundation in 1997. Hibbert was described as “the leading popular historian now living in England”. His approach was to place the school’s history within the context of public school education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This allows a thematic approach within each chronological section.

The buildings and grounds

Recollections: the life and travels of a Victorian architect. Sir Thomas Graham Jackson, 1835-1924. Ed. by Nicholas Jackson. With an introduction and gazetteer by James Bettley. Unicorn Press, London, 2003. ISBN 0906290724

Thomas Graham Jackson was the architect who designed the infirmary and cloisters, chapel, dining hall, H Social, the South African War memorial, and the War Memorial gateway (Mem Arch). Updated version of the 1950 edition edited by Basil Jackson

Looking at Radley: an architectural and historical survey of the earlier buildings. By MT Cherniavsky & AE Money. Radley College, [1981]

Based on three articles and a course on the history of the buildings taught by Michael Cherniavsky whilst on a sabbatical at Radley College in1979. He describes the exterior views of Radley that would still be recognized by a visitor from the time of Warden Sewell in the 1850s. Tony Money, Archivist at Radley, then wrote about the various interior uses to which the buildings have been put over the years. The book is illustrated from photos in the College Archives.

Radley Hall: the rediscovery of a country house. By Alison Maguire in Architectural History, Vol. 44, Essays in Architectural History Presented to John Newman (2001) [JSTOR]

Detailed study of the Mansion by a member of the architectural team responsible for its renovation after the fire in 1997.

The architect of Radley Hall. By Vyvyan Hope. In Country Life, 27 January, 1950.

Early history of the estate

Capability Brown and the eighteenth-century English landscape. 2nd edn. By Roger Turner. Chichester, Phillimore, 1999. ISBN 1860771149

A brief note in the gazetteer about Brown’s work for Sir William Stonhouse at Radley Hall in 1770-1.

Turner and the picturesque. I. John Gage in The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 107, No. 742 (Jan., 1965), pp. 16-25. [JSTOR]

Discusses JMW Turner’s early watercolours of Radley Hall.

Account of the Earthquake that Happened at Oxford and the Parts Adjacent Sept. 17. 1683. By a Fellow of a College in that University, and of the Royal Society. in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (1683-1775), Vol. 13, (1683), pp. 311-321. [JSTOR]

Specific items within the College

* The Radley altarpiece. By Tony Money. [Radley College, 2007]

A study of the history of Brabant altarpieces, focussing on the Radley retable made in Antwerp in 1515.

Some sixteenth-century Antwerp carved wooden altar-pieces in England. Kim Woods in The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 141, No. 1152 (Mar., 1999), pp. 144-155. [JSTOR]

Natural history & Geology

The fauna and flora of Radley and the neighbourhood. By the Radley College Natural History Society. James Parker, Oxford, 1906

Pioneering survey compiled from the field notes of the College Natural History Society, organised by classes and genera with locations.

The Radley district: its history, botany, entomology and geology. Ed. by T Field. Parker & Son, Oxford, 1912

Individual chapters on history, botany and entomology by the Warden and staff of Radley College, and on geology by M Odling, F.G.S., formerly a boy at the school, who became one of the first Demonstrators in Geology at the University of Leeds. Material was drawn from the College Natural History Society records and excursions.

Quaternary Processes and Environments in the upper Thames Valley. D. J. Briggs and D. D. Gilbertson. in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 5, No. 1 (1980), pp. 53-65. [JSTOR]

Oxford stone. WJ Arkell. London, Faber & Faber, 1947.

Includes brief discussion on the stone used for Radley Hall.

A regional description of Southern Oxfordshire. RL Howard. 1960. Typescript held in Radley College Archives.

The geology of Oxfordshire. Philip Powell. Wimborne, The Dovecote Press, 2005.


* Manly and muscular diversions: public schools and the nineteenth-century sporting revival. Tony Money. Duckworth, London, 1997

Argues that the political and economic stability of the British upper class and, more importantly, the enthusiasm of boys at English boarding schools, was a crucial factor in the spread of contemporary team sports around the world. Draws extensively on material from Radley College Archives. Highly acclaimed.

* Football at Radley, 1847-2000. Tony Money. [Radley College, 2000]

Study of the development of football in the nineteenth century as individual schools created their own game, including Radley Football, and the subsequent adoption of Rugby Football as a nationally recognized sport.


The Archives contain a collection of unpublished memorabilia by Old Radleians. The most significant biographies about specific Wardens and staff are:

A forgotten genius: Sewell of St. Columba’s and Radley. By Lionel James. Faber and Faber, London, 1945.

Biography of William Sewell, founder of Radley College, by a former member of staff. Makes extensive use of Sewell’s diaries, letters and sermons.

A memoir of the Reverend George Wharton, Precentor of Saint Peter’s College Radley. By Roscoe Beddoes. Oxford University Press, 1931

‘Kitty’ Wharton was the most eccentric and long-serving of the nineteenth century schoolmasters of Radley

Thomas Field, D.D.: a memoir. By Harold S. Goodrich. SPCK, London, 1937

Thomas Field was Warden of Radley, 1897-1913

In addition, biographies and autobiographies by Old Radleians often contain brief accounts of time at the school, particularly Harold Monro, Gerald Brenan, Peter Cook, Lord Kilbracken, and Andrew Motion

Radley in fiction

Notable early novels sets in Radley:

Jaspar Tristram. By AW Clarke. William Heinemann, London, 1899

“A sad evocation of the torments of adolescent homosexual love.”

The puppets dallying. Greening & Co., London, 1905 and Swan’s milk. Faber and Faber, London, 1924. By Louis Marlow.

Young England. By Douglas Strong. Methuen, London, 1919

Acclaimed when it was published because the novel was written within a year of leaving the school, whilst convalescing from wounds received o the Western Front: “he was no blind lover of a system under which he had risen to the top; he longed for its reform, and this book describes his own constructive policy of change.”

Caper sauce. By SPB Mais. Hutchinson, London, c1950.

SPB Mais was a part-time teacher at Radley during the Second World War, whilst Eastbourne College was evacuated to Radley. The novel describes the wartime adventures of a family forced to keep moving to find work, with Radley and Eastbourne thinly disguised as ‘Lumbury’ and ‘Sherstin’.

Radley village

Radley village supports a flourishing local history society who have produced a number of publications and maintain an archive of local material. [Website]

Radley vicarage by Radley History Club, 2005

A report of a ‘buildings record’ survey and archive research undertaken to determine the history, construction, and later development of this 14th-century building

The history of Radley by Patrick Drysdale … [and others] Radley History Club, 2002

History of the village from prehistory to the present

About the authors

Timothy Digby Raikes was born in 1849, the son of Major-General T. Raikes. He entered Radley in the Summer of 1862, the first member of a family which has had have a very long association with the school. TD Raikes became a Prefect, won the school’s most prestigious academic prize, the Richards Gold Medal, and was awarded the James and Gibbs scholarships. He left in 1868 to attend Oriel College, Oxford, and was ordained from Cuddesdon College in 1875. TD Raikes then returned to Radley and served as an Assistant Master and Social Tutor (D) from 1879-1895. He died in Oxford in 1934.

Ernest Bryans came to Radley as an Assistant Master in 1882. He was Social Tutor (G) 1884-1919, Bursar 1897-1913, Sub-Warden, 1914-1919, retired in 1919, and then served on the College Council from 1920 until the late 1940s. He died in 1951.

Kenneth Boyd was born in 1889, the son of ABP Boyd. He entered Radley in Michaelmas Term 1905, as a member of Evans Social (C). He was awarded an entrance Exhibition, the James, Heathcote and Gibbs Scholarships, and became the Senior Prefect in 1910. He played cricket for the First XI in 1910-11, and football for the First team in 1910. In 1911 he left Radley to attend Hertford College, Oxford. He was an Assistant Master at Radley from 1919, becoming Tutor of G Social between 1930-36. He was actively involved in amateur dramatics at Radley and in local groups, including early productions at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall. He wrote scripts, particularly the Spitshead Story and Radley Dons’ plays, and the book The technique of play production. Boyd’s papers, diaries and drama memorabilia have been given to Radley College Archives by his family.

Christopher Hibbert (born Arthur Raymond Hibbert) was born in 1924. He entered Radley as a member of Morgan’s Social (G) in 1927. He retained a life-long connection with the school. He wrote extensively on British history, winning the Heinemann Award for Literature for The destruction of Lord Raglan. He died in December 2008.

Michael Cherniavsky was formerly head of History at Christ’s Hospital, where Denis Silk was one of his pupils. He spent the Summer Term, 1979, at Radley while on leave of absence from his post as Associate Professor of History at the University of Waterloo, Ontario.

Tony Money was the Archivist of Radley College.

AW Clarke: pseudonym of Edward Ashley Walrond Clarke. He entered Radley in 1876. Left in 1879, and followed a career in the Foreign Office, ending as Consul-General to Zanzibar, 1909-1913. He married Angelena Milman in 1908. Died at Zanzibar, 14th February, 1913.

Louis Marlow: pseudonym of Louis Umfreville Wilkinson. Entered C Social, 1895, left 1899. Novelist and biographer who wrote under both names.

Douglas Strong: pseudonym of Desmond Bertram Cancellor. Entered C Social in 1912, left 1916. He was the Senior Prefect. The novel was published posthumously after he was killed in action at Presau, 1st November, 1918, an action in which he was awarded the Military Cross.

Copies of books marked with an asterisk (*) are available from the Library.