Richard Valpy

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Richard Valpy (7 December 1754 - 28 March 1836) was a schoolmaster in Great Britain.

Biography[edit]

He was born the eldest son of Richard and Catherine Valpy in Jersey. He was sent to schools in Normandy and Southampton, and completed his education at Pembroke College, Oxford. In 1777 he took orders. After holding a mastership at Bury, in 1781 he became head master of Reading grammar school, a post which he held for fifty years. From 1787 he held also the rectory of Stradishall, Suffolk. During the early part of Valpy's long head-mastership the school flourished greatly. At least 120 boys attended it.

He was the author of Greek and Latin grammars which enjoyed a large circulation. His Greek Delectus and Latin Delectus were long familiar to public school boys. He is said to have been a mighty flogger, and to have refused two bishoprics. In 1800 he was requested by his old pupils to sit for a full-length portrait and thirty years later, on the occasion of his jubilee, he was presented with a service of plate. Mary Mitford has spoken of him as vainer than a peacock.

The school was declining before Valpy's long reign closed. His successor was his son, Francis Valpy, appointed in 1830. Richard Valpy died in London. A statue was erected in St. Lawrence's Church to commemorate him.

He was the father of printer and publisher Abraham John Valpy and of New Zealand pioneer William Henry Valpy.

Bowdlerisation[edit]

"The Second part of King Henry the Fourth, altered from William Shakespeare as it was acted at Reading School in October 1801. Published as it was performed for the benefit of the Humane Society" By Richard Valpy.

"WHEN the First Part of King Henry the Fourth was played at Reading School, it was sufficient to curtail some tedious pages, and to omit some exceptionable expressions. In the Second Part it was absolutely necessary to do more. This Play in the original is disfigured not only with indelicate speeches, but with characters that cannot now be tolerated on a public theatre."

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