John Frederick Boyes

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John Frederick Boyes (10 February 1811 – 26 May 1879) was an English scholar of classics.

Boyes grew up in Charterhouse Square and entered Merchant Taylors' School in the Northwood area of London in the month of October 1819. After a very creditable school career extending over nearly ten years, he went began studying law at St John's College, Oxford in 1829 (only a year after giving up a scholarship he had been offered at Lincoln College, Oxford). He graduated BA in 1833, taking a second class in classics, his papers on history and poetry being of marked excellence.

After graduation he was appointed second master of a school in Walthamstow and eventually succeeded to the head-mastership, which he filled for many years. He proceeded M.A. in due course. At school, at Oxford (whither he was summoned to act as examiner at responsions in 1842), and among a large circle of discriminating friends, he enjoyed a high reputation for culture and scholarship. 'There was not an English or Latin or Greek poet with whom he was not familiar, and from whom he could not make the most apposite quotations. With the best prose authors in our own and in French, and indeed other continental literature, he was thoroughly acquainted' (Archdeacon Hessey). The closing years of his life were largely devoted to practical benevolence, in the exercise of which he was as humble as he was liberal. He died at Maida Hill, London.

His writings comprise:

  • Illustrations of the Tragedies of Æschylus and Sophocles, from the Greek, Latin, and English Poets, 1844.
  • English Repetitions, in Prose and Verse, with introductory remarks on the cultivation of taste in the young 1849.
  • Life and Books, a Record of Thought and Reading, 1859.
  • Lacon in Council, 1865. The two latter works remind one very much in their style and texture of 'Guesses at Truth,' by the brothers Hare.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Boyes, John Frederick". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.