The Tathams of County Durham
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Highgate School & the Tatham Family

Highgate School and the Tatham Family

Highgate School, in north London, was established in 1565 by Royal Charter, permitting Sir Roger Cholmeley to found a 'grammar school for good education and instruction'. Its pupils have been known as 'Cholmelians' ever since. The school's fortunes fluctuated during the first 250 years of its existence. By the 1820s they had sunk to their lowest point, and Cholmely's charity was the subject of a bitter court case in Chancery.

The headmaster who put the school back on its feet from 1838 onwards was John Bradley Dyne. When he arrived there were just 18 pupils; when he left, Highgate was a thriving public school of several hundreds. It has remained one of the leading schools in England ever since.

Two of those 18 pupils that Dr Dyne found on his arrival were Tathams, and another had left shortly before. During the following century the Tatham family provided Highgate with no less than 14 more pupils, including a Head of School, as well as one assistant master and three governors.

The best remembered of the family was Thomas Clarke Tatham. He was a pupil for eight years from 1849, a governor from 1886, and treasurer and chairman from 1909 until his death in 1914. Thomas was a barrister and a successful businessman - director of several public companies and chairman of the Grand Union Canal. He became Master of the Cholmely Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons (claimed to be the oldest school freemasons lodge in the world), and Master of the Curriers' livery company. In 1920 the "T C Tatham Exhibition" was endowed by the family in his memory, with the object of supporting Cholmelians during their university studies.

The Tatham family is still commemorated at Highgate School in the 21st century, by "Tatham House" at the junior school, and the "Tatham Oval" in the sports fields.

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Linked toThomas Clarke Tatham (Post/Rank/Title)

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