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The Eton College Register, 1753-1790

The Eton College Register, 1753-1790

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Excerpt from The Eton College Register, 1753-1790: Alphabetically Arranged and Edited With Biographical Notes

Nearly sixty years have passed since the late Mr. H. E. Chetwynd-Stapylton published the first instalment of his well-known Eton School Lists which covered, when completed, the period from 1791 to 1892. Though the number of books dealing with Eton which have been produced in the intervening years has not been small, no attempt has been made to issue an earlier biographical register of Etonians. Nor need this fact call for any great surprise. Mr. Stapylton had taken the date 1791 as his starting-point for the very sound reason that this was the first year in which it had occurred to anyone at Eton - and we owe the idea to William Hexter, the ingenious writing-master of the day - to put into print the School-list which was annually compiled at Election time. By a curious coincidence, too, the earliest entrance-books known in Mr. Stapylton's time to exist were those of Dr. Heath, who became headmaster at the end of that same year. Thus, in the absence of printed school lists and entrance-books, the task of editing a register was none too easy.

Yet an earlier register was certainly to be desired, if Eton were not to fall behind other schools in this respect. Before, however, such a work could be undertaken, it was necessary to see if sufficient foundations existed upon which to build it. From direct sources in print little help could be gained.

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