John Thorn (headmaster)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from John Leonard Thorn)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Leonard Thorn (born 28 April 1925) is a writer and educational consultant. He was headmaster of Repton School from 1961 to 1968 and then of Winchester College until 1985. He was Chairman of the Headmasters' Conference for 1981.

Early life[edit]

The son of Stanley and Winifred Thorn, Thorn was educated at St Paul's School, London, and at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.[1]


Chapel of Winchester College

Leaving school during the Second World War, Thorn joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, in which he served as a Sub-Lieutenant from 1943 to 1946. On returning to civilian life, he took up a place at Corpus Christi, graduating in 1949, and was then an assistant schoolmaster at Clifton from 1949 until being appointed headmaster of Repton in 1961. From 1968 until 1985 he was headmaster of Winchester. In 1981, he was Chairman of the Headmasters' Conference.[1]

After his retirement from Winchester, where he has continued to live, Thorn was an educational consultant and also a writer, as well as serving on a number of public and charitable bodies. He was a director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, from 1971 to 1976; a Trustee of the British Museum from 1980 to 1985, and of the Winchester Cathedral Trust, from 1986 to 1989; Vice-Chairman of the Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust from 1989 to 1992, then its Chairman until 1996; for some years he served on the Executive Committee of the Cancer Research Campaign. He was Chairman of Governors of Abingdon School from 1991 to 1994 and was also a Governor of Oakham School and of Stowe School during the 1980s.[1] Thorn continued to teach including A-level Philosophy classes at King Edward VI School in Southampton in the late 1990s.

Private life[edit]

In 1955, Thorn married Veronica Laura, daughter of the barrister Sir Robert Maconochie OBE QC, and they had one son and one daughter. His wife died in 1999.[1]

In 1989 he published an autobiography, The Road to Winchester. Now in his nineties, he is a member of the Garrick Club[1] and resides in Winchester.


  • A History of England (1961, contributor)[1]
  • The Road to Winchester (1989, autobiography)[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g 'Thorn, John Leonard (born 28 April 1925)' in Who's Who 2011 (London, A. & C. Black)
Academic offices
Preceded by
Theodore Lynam Thomas
Headmaster of Repton School
Succeeded by
John Gammell
Preceded by
Sir Desmond Lee
Headmaster of Winchester College
Succeeded by
James Paley Sabben-Clare