Richard Valpy

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Richard Valpy

Richard Valpy (7 December 1754 - 28 March 1836) was a schoolmaster, born in Jersey.

He was born the eldest son of Richard Valpy and Catherine Chevalier. After attending St Mannelier he was sent to schools in Valognes, Normandy, and Southampton and Winchester Grammar Schools, and completed his education at Pembroke College, Oxford.

He had intended to join the Royal Navy, but was dissuaded by his mother. In 1777 he took orders. After holding a mastership at Bury, in 1781 he became head master of Reading Grammar School, a post which he held for 50 years. From 1787 he held also the rectory of Stradishall, Suffolk. During the early part of Valpy's long headmastership the school flourished greatly. At least 120 boys attended it.

He was the author of Greek and Latin grammars which enjoyed a large circulation. His Greek Delectus and Latin Delectus were long familiar to public school boys. He is said to have been a mighty flogger, and to have refused two bishoprics. In 1800 he was requested by his old pupils to sit for a full-length portrait and thirty years later, on the occasion of his jubilee, he was presented with a service of plate. Mary Mitford has spoke of him as vainer than a peacock.

The school was declining before Valpy's long reign closed. His successor was his son, Francis Valpy, appointed in 1830. Richard Valpy died in London. A statue was erected in St Lawrence Parish Church to commemorate him.

He was the father of printer and publisher Abraham John Valpy and of New Zealand pioneer William Henry Valpy.


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