Hoots from the Archive - The Annual Service at Exeter

Posted by Rachel Kneale on 22 Jun 2023

Modified by Rachel Kneale on 22 Jun 2023

Hugh's Tomb

This coming Sunday, a group of Old Mancunians will gather at Exeter Cathedral to remember MGS founder Hugh Oldham. A wreath will be laid at Oldham's tomb which is housed in the chantry chapel. This is a long tradition, with a wreath laid every year for over a hundred years (except during the pandemic).

In May 1907, Ulula recorded that "As a tribute to the memory of our pious founder, on Founder's Day a wreath will be placed on Hugh Oldham's tomb in Exeter Cathedral bearing the following inscription: -

Memoriae Perenni

Fundatoris Nostri

Pro Pietate

Alumni Scholae Mancunienses

Neque Ingrati Neque Inmemores



The custom, as decided at the second annual meeting, will be observed annually"

This was instigated by the newly-formed Old Mancunians Association which had been created just a few years before in 1904. The wreath continued to be laid at Hugh's tomb every year on Founders' Day until 1967. In that year, the South West Section of the OMA decided to instigate a short ceremony in addition to the laying of the wreath. The first ceremony attracted thirteen OMs, rising to forty in subsequent early years. The event was initially popular amongst OMs living in the West Country, but over the years OMs from all over the country have attended the service. For a number of years in the 1980s, the ceremony took place during Evensong, with MGS supplying the choir. Normally, however, the short service is held at Mattins. In 2015, as part of the School's quincentenary celebrations, over a hundred Old Mancunians attended a service to remember 500 years since Hugh Oldham's foundation.

In more recent years, successive School Captains have travelled to Exeter and had their photograph taken with the High Master in front of the tomb, giving a continuous link between current boys and a founder from so many years before.

                                                                                     2003 - Martin Stephen's last year as High Master

                                                            2004 - Christopher Ray's first visit as High Master

                                                          Current High Master, Martin Boulton, in 2018 


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