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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".

The school moved to Horsham in Sussex in 1902 and is highly successful, providing up to 100% bursarial support to boys and girls aged between 11 and 18, investing over £20 million per annum in the education of children who are particularly deserving. 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.

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 850 pupils at Christ's Hospital, therefore, the West's gifts represent a large proportion of places.

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, John Franklin 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 in to 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 just started with entry 12,035 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