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John & Frances West Family Group

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Christ's Hospital was established in 1552, originally in the City of London, to offer education and hospitality to poor children and orphans.

"Edward VI was so moved by a sermon of Bishop Ridley concerning the plight of the great poverty-stricken hordes in parts of London that he wrote to the Lord Mayor, through whom a committee was formed to inquire in to the matter and finally three houses were founded, 'Graie Friars', later Christ's Hospital for poor children".

Christ’s Hospital is committed to providing a first class education to talented boys and girls from a broad social and financial background by offering eligible parents/guardians means-tested financial support with the payment of school fees. The school is a boarding and day school of 900 pupils with an equal mix of boys and girls aged 11-18. The School relocated to Horsham in West Sussex in 1902. It is situated in stunning countryside between London and Brighton, 20 miles south of London Gatwick and 38 miles from London Heathrow. The School is fortunate in having its own mainline railway station with regular trains to London, Gatwick Airport and the South Coast. Christ’s Hospital spends over £18 million every year in supporting the bursary places at the school. The income which makes this possible is derived from endowments made by generous benefactors over the centuries, such as that made by John and Frances West.

John and Frances West had strong family connections with Newbury, Reading, Twickenham and the City of London. Children from these areas especially "founders kin" who are collateral descendants of John or Frances West as registered on a family pedigree kept at the school, could benefit considerably from the West's Gifts.

The pupils enjoy an education of outstanding quality and the school is renowned for its music, drama, art and sport for which the facilities are excellent. The distinctive "bluecoat" uniform is worn by all pupils.

            The Band wearing the bluecoat uniform

Head Master of Christ's Hospital, Simon Reid encourages West families to find out more,

"If you would like to learn more about the unique opportunities that we can offer your son or daughter, please contact our Admissions Team on 01403 246555 for an invitation to attend one of our termly Open Mornings and to discover the unique opportunity we offer West descendants through the West's Gift. We look forward to welcoming you to our remarkable school."

The Registers

The West Registers, (aka "The Standard Pedigrees") held at Christ's Hospital were compiled in 1908 by a father and son team who sorted through all the papers claiming kinship to John or Frances WEST. They assembled the resulting family trees into 4 volumes each with a semi-alphabetical index. The fact that there are 4 separate indexes and that within each initial letter the names are not alphabetical leads to problems of searching. Christ's Hospital has begun the task of computerising the Registers. The four volumes contain over 9,000 names! The four volumes were all photocopied in 1989 by J&FWFG. A fifth volume has since been completed and a sixth now started with entry 12,572 recently logged.

Visit the Christ's Hospital website for a general overview about the school and admission.

Stained glass window depicting the 19th Century School Buildings on the Greyfriars site

This watercolour, by Arthur Ellis, shows the 1836 Grecians Cloister, the central arch of which was brought to Horsham and now forms the outside halves of the archways to the main quadrangle.  In the background are the two Wren spires of Christ Church and St Paul’s.

Income from the assets of the West fund currently supports means-tested bursary places for up to 60 children at Christ's Hospital at any one time. There are currently 860 pupils at Christ's Hospital, therefore, the West's gifts represent a large proportion of places.