Peter Pilkington, Baron Pilkington of Oxenford

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Pilkington in 2010

Peter Pilkington, Baron Pilkington of Oxenford (5 September 1933 – 14 February 2011[1][2]) was a British public school headmaster and a Conservative member of the House of Lords.


Pilkington was educated at Dame Allan's School, Newcastle where he came to faith and developed both his love of scholarship and his combative personality. In 1952 he went up to Jesus College, Cambridge and read history, being influenced by Conservative-minded figures such as Maurice Cowling, Herbert Butterfield and Michael Oakeshott. He graduated in 1955, and took his MA in 1959.[3]

Ecclesiastical career[edit]

Pilkington trained for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge, and was ordained as a deacon in the Diocese of Derby in 1959, and as a priest the following year. He served for three years as curate at the historic parish church of All Saints', Bakewell[3] during the incumbency of George Sinker.

He left parochial work to take up his first school chaplaincy position. In 1975 he was appointed an honorary canon of Canterbury Cathedral.

Educational career[edit]

In 1962 Pilkington became a schoolmaster at Eton College, teaching history, and a college chaplain. Later he became Conduct (senior chaplain), and for 10 years also served as Master in College, the housemaster of the scholars' house, until his resignation in 1975.

He was Headmaster of The King's School, Canterbury from 1975 to 1986.[4]

His final appointment in education was the post of High Master of St Paul's School, London, from 1986 to 1992.[4]


Following his retirement from education Pilkington was appointed Chairman of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission, serving from 1992 to 1996.[2]

In 1995, he was made a life peer as Baron Pilkington of Oxenford, of West Dowlish in the County of Somerset.[5]

He also assisted in retirement as an honorary curate of St Mary's, Bourne Street, a prominent Anglo-catholic church in Pimlico, where he served from 1992 to 2005.[3]

Although his entire teaching career was spent in the private sector, Pilkington was a vociferous supporter of selective state education. During his retirement he served for several years as Chairman of the National Grammar Schools Association.[2]

Personal life[edit]

In 1966 Pilkington married Helen Wilson, who predeceased him in 1997. He was survived by two daughters.[2]


  1. ^ "House of Lords, Official Website - Deceased Lords". Archived from the original on 16 January 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d Obituary The Daily Telegraph, 15 February 2011
  3. ^ a b c "Peter Pilkington". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Commission with a wide range of talents". The Independent. 1994-09-13. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2010-08-15. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  5. ^ the
Preceded by
James Warwick Hele
High Master of St Paul's School
Succeeded by
Richard Stephen Baldock