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Cyril Alington

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The Very Reverend

Cyril Alington
Dean of Durham
Alington in 1908 at the time of his appointment to Shrewsbury School
ChurchChurch of England
DioceseDiocese of Durham
In office1933 to 1951
Other post(s)Headmaster of Shrewsbury School (1908–1916)
Head Master of Eton College (1916–1933)
Personal details
Cyril Argentine Alington

(1872-10-22)22 October 1872
Died16 May 1955(1955-05-16) (aged 82)
St Weonards, Herefordshire, England
BuriedDurham Cathedral
ParentsHenry Giles Alington (1837–1928)
Jane Margaret Booth (d. 1910)
SpouseHester Margaret Lyttelton (d. 1958)
Children6, including Elizabeth and Giles

Cyril Argentine Alington (22 October 1872 – 16 May 1955) was an English educationalist, scholar, cleric, and author. He was successively the headmaster of Shrewsbury School and Eton College. He also served as chaplain to King George V and as Dean of Durham.

Early life


Dr Alington was the second son of the Rev. Henry Giles Alington, an inspector of schools, and his wife Jane Margaret Booth (d. 1910), daughter of Rev. Thomas Willingham Booth. His father came from a long line of clerics, a branch of the landed gentry Alington family of Little Barford Manor House, St Neots, Huntingdonshire, and was descended from the Alingtons of Horseheath, an ancient Cambridgeshire family, from which also descended the Barons Alington.[1] He was educated at Marlborough College and Trinity College, Oxford. He gained a First in Classical Moderations (Latin and Greek) in 1893 and a First in Literae Humaniores (Philosophy and Ancient History) in 1895.[2] He was elected a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford in 1896. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1901.



Alington's educational career began as a sixth-form master at Marlborough College in 1896. He moved to Eton College in 1899, but left to become headmaster of Shrewsbury School in 1908. In 1917 he returned to Eton to succeed his brother-in-law, Edward Lyttelton, as headmaster; he remained there until his retirement from teaching in 1933. He served as chairman of the Headmasters' Conference, 1924–25. At Eton, a building which houses much of the English department is now named after him, as is Shrewsbury's school hall.

From 1933 to 1951 Alington served as Dean of Durham. He had become a Doctor of Divinity at Oxford in 1917 and received other honours: he was chaplain to the King from 1921 until 1933; he was made an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford in 1926, and an honorary DCL at Durham University in 1937. He received the freedom of the City of Durham in 1949.

He appeared on the cover of Time magazine on 29 June 1931. "An accomplished classicist, a witty writer especially of light verse, and a priest of orthodox convictions ..."[3]

Marriage and family


In 1904, Alington married Hester Margaret Lyttelton (CBE; died 1958), the youngest daughter of George Lyttelton, 4th Baron Lyttelton. The couple had four daughters and two sons:

Alington died at the age of 82 and was buried at Durham Cathedral, where there is a memorial in the north transept.

Literary works


Alington wrote more than 50 books, including works on religion, biography, history, poetry, and a series of detective novels. He also wrote several popular hymns, including Good Christian Men, Rejoice and Sing (recently altered to Good Christians All, Rejoice and Sing), Ye that know The Lord is gracious and The Lord of Hosts Our King Shall Be which is used as the epigraph to Nevil Shute's novel In the Wet. (Shute was a pupil at Shrewsbury.)

As C A Alington




Non-fiction works


Non-fiction articles

  • Apostle of Germany. Daily Telegraph, 1937
  • Is It Wrong to Pray - for Success, for Wealth, for Victory?. Answers, 1938


  • To C. A. L.. (c. 1916); anthologized in The Muse in Arms
  • The King: A Psalm of Thanksgiving. (1929). Written for the thanksgiving service for the recovery of King George V for which it was set to music by Henry Walford Davies
  • To the School at War. (London) Times, 19 December 1914
  • Qui Laborat Orat. (London) Sunday Times, 11 January 1942
  • The Trust. The Methodist, 16 June 1945


  1. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry, 18th edition, ed. Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, 1972, Alington of Little Barford pedigree
  2. ^ Oxford University Calendar 1905, Oxford: Clarendon Press: 108, 171,
  3. ^ R.W. Pfaff, Montague Rhodes James, Scolar Press 1980, p;260

The New Standard Encyclopedia and World Atlas 1932


Academic offices
Preceded by Headmaster of Shrewsbury School
Succeeded by
Preceded by Head Master of Eton College
Succeeded by
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Chaplain-in-Ordinary to the Monarch of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Preceded by Dean of Durham Cathedral
Succeeded by