LOOKING BACK - March 22, 2018 edition

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Lawrence Sheriff

Thanks to the late Harry Gregory and another one of his 1975 Advertiser cuttings for our column this week, which poses more questions than it answers I’m afraid!

It says the reputed birthplace of Lawrence Sheriff, the founder of Rugby School, was this house in Brownsover - pictured 70+ years apart.

Although the house has a plaque above door declaring it as the ‘traditional’ birthplace of Sheriff, he was in fact born in a cottage opposite Rugby’s parish church of St Andrew.

In 1899 MH Bloxham wrote: “Early in the reign of Henry VIII Lawrence Sheriff, founder of the Rugby School Charity, was born in a house opposite the parish church, a little retired from the street. The founder’s house and premises at Rugby inherited by him from his father, opposite the church, and wheron the easternmost almshouses now stand, comprised in the whole an area of one rood and 30perches, or less than half an acre.”

In a history of Rugby School it is said: “Tradition has long spoken of Sheriff as a native of Brownsover and as of low origin; but there are two circumstances that seem to prove that he was born at Rugby and that his people were respectable people there.

The question as to the place of his birth could not be ascertained by the registers because he was born before they came into use in 1538. But anold document has been at length found, which proves he was certainly born at Rugby.