John Crowe (1934 – 40)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of John (CJ) Crowe.  John died on 10th May 2019, aged 95.  He was a loving husband to Connie, father to Geoffrey and Brian, father-in-law to Jane and Hilary, and grandfather to Jared and Joel. The funeral service at will be held at Tunbridge Wells Crematorium at 2.30 p.m. on Monday 3rd June. Refreshments at Wildernesse Golf Club, Sevenoaks. All enquiries to Francis Chappell & Sons. Tel: 01732 450203.

John was a high achiever in his career with ICI which built on his graduation from the London School of Economics.

John was very generous to the Crypt School in his lifetime.  He was a very loyal, long term and popular member of the Old Cryptians Club and this was recognised by Life Membership.  He attended events in Gloucester, Oxford and London until quite recently.  Old Cryptians will be welcomed on the 10th May but please contact the family via the ‘phone number above.

Memorial Stone Unveiling Ceremony and Memorial Day Games – 18/05/2019

On Saturday 18th May 2019, a granite stone will be unveiled on the Memorial Ground where it will be dedicated to the memory of all the local rugby players who left their families and clubs to serve their country and gave their lives in doing so. The ceremony of dedication and blessing will be carried out by the Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt Revd Robert Springett and will take place at 12.00 noon to be followed by two games. The first will be started at 1.00 p.m. between The Cherrypickers  and a combination side. At 3.00 p.m. it will be followed by Widden Old Boys versus Old Cryptians.


Founders’ Day Service and OCC Dinner

Founders’ Day – Wednesday 19 June 2019
The President and the Committee of the Old Cryptians’ Club have great pleasure in inviting you to Founders’ Day on 19 June.

Dear Old Cryptians and friends,

I am very pleased to inform you of the programme for this special day in the School’s calendar.

7.15pm The Founders’ Day Service in Gloucester Cathedral

Old Cryptians, partners and friends will be most welcome to attend the Service (in place by 7.00pm please). For seats in the Cathedral, it would be helpful if you would contact Sue Wales (Headmaster’s PA) on 01452 530291 or swales@crypt.gloucs.sch.ukI shall look forward to meeting you during the day and later at the Parliament Suite.

8.30pm The Founders’ Day Supper – The Parliament Suite of Gloucester Cathedral

This occasion is open to all Old Cryptians, their guests and friends of the Crypt School. This is an evening not to be missed, with excellent food on offer.

The Parliament Suite is a short walk from the Cathedral and, on arrival, a drinks reception will be held.

The meal will consist of a cold buffet followed by a choice of desserts and coffee. Crypt students will be on hand to assist guests as required.

The evening will include addresses from myself and from the incoming President. The Headmaster will report on progress at the Crypt School. In line with tradition, we will hold a raffle to the benefit of the Benevolent Fund and will conclude with the School Song.

The cost of the meal will be £30. Wine will be available at a nominal price and can be ordered from your table. Please complete the Reservation Form below:

Reservation Form.doc                      Reservation Form.pdf 

I shall look forward to meeting you during the day and later at the Parliament Suite.

Yours sincerely,

Jason Smith (1980 – 1983)



Old Cryptian’s Annual Golf Day for the Tony Beard Cup

Old Cryptians’ Annual Golf Day for the Tony Beard Cup
Wednesday 19 June
at Rodway Hill Golf Club Highnam

First Tee 10.30am


Please make every effort to join us for a memorable day – meeting old school pals and enjoying a game of golf. Guests are welcome to attend the day, with a prize for the best score off handicap.


Total cost for the day £25

Please contact Bob Timms by Wednesday 12 June if you are able to attend:
01452 722151 or 



Your chance to take on the Symphony of a Thousand

Fancy taking on one of the largest-scale choral works in classical music history?

The South Cotswold Big Sing Group (SCBSG) are running a workshop this month on Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no.8.

Due to the huge instrumental and vocal forces needed to perform it, the piece is nicknamed Symphony of a Thousand.

The group is holding the workshop from 10am-4pm at the Crypt School, Gloucester, on April 27.

Adrian Partington, director of music at Gloucester Cathedral, is running the workshop.

Tea and coffee will be provided and scores are available either to hire or purchase.

Booking is required if you would like to take part, with places £25 per singer.

Forms are available from Jos Gregson ( 01454 411652 or or they can be downloaded from

The SCBSG will be performing the work as part of the Cheltenham Music Festival in July 2020. Taking part in the workshop means you will be first on the list for an invitation to participate in the performance.



Discover deCrypt – OPEN

The refurbished St Mary DeCrypt Church and Old School Classroom in Southgate Street, Gloucester is now open to the public on Tuesdays to Sundays and well worth a visit.

Please see the Discover deCrypt website for all the details.

The Guardian reported on the opening last week – read the article here.



Application for a Primary School

The School are delighted to announce that Wave 14 for Free School Applications has now opened and are in the process of writing an application for a Primary School which will be submitted in September 2019.

Please register your interest using this survey

If you would like more information The School will be holding an information morning in the very near future and a date will be published shortly.

The School will be engaging with our local community in the coming months, but in the meantime if you have any enquiries then please contact Mrs Paulina Kirkpatrick or Mrs Sharon Bailey


J B Griffiths 1932 – 2018

John Griffiths of Pound Hill, Great Brickhill, Buckinghamshire was a pupil at The Crypt Grammar School from 1943-48 and studied for his qualifications in Chemistry before taking up National Service in 1957.

His entire working career was spent at Unilever where he spent time in Nairobi before ending his carrer as a director of a large Unilever subsidiary.

Peter Hobbs remembers him thus:


Discover DeCrypt eNews March 2019

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eNews March 2019

Everybody welcome!

The long-awaited moment is finally there! We have been counting down on our website for a long time and are getting very close to single digits now! After a formal Opening Service on Friday 22nd March for funders and other invited guests, we will really test the buildings the next day. It has been quite a journey to get to this stage, so we hope you are as excited as we are to finally come and see the results of the work, or maybe see how much it has changed since your last hard hat tour!

We hope you can join us to celebrate our launch on Saturday 23rd March 2019. We have an Open Day all day, from 10am to 4pm, where there will be lots of family events, tasters of arts & crafts courses, music and poetry performances and much more! We will be there to give tours and tell about the history of the buildings, and our new interpretation material includes a wealth of information on the stories related to the church, school and city of Gloucester. Please let your family, friends, neighbours and colleagues know and come and have a look in our new buildings. We hope to see you there!

Caretaker Vacancy (part-time)

We are looking for a part-time caretaker for Discover Decrypt. This role would be for 10 hours a week till December 2021.

Salary £4,628 pa (£8.90 per hour). Days of work will be generally Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday, but flexibility is required. 

Have a look at the job description on the website!

Clean, cleaner … !

A huge thank you to all the volunteers who responded to our “Building site to heritage site” challenge and joined us for the Big Clean.  When we started on Monday morning, the builders were still working in the schoolrooms, there was dust an inch thick coating EVERYTHING in the chancel and Raikes Chapel.  It seemed impossible that we could ever be ready to open for our ‘trial run’ on Saturday. 

Those of us who felt daunted (including myself) didn’t let on though.  We got going with hoovers, brooms, dustpan and brush, mops and cloths.  By the end of Monday – a very long and exhausting Monday – it was already possible to see the floor again and rediscover the real colour of the flagstones. Gradually as the week went on the church was transformed – wood panelling and pews were polished, brass candlesticks and crosses cleaned and cleaned again, floors mopped, and mopped again, and again….  Lemon juice, one enterprising volunteer discovered, was the key to removing the lime dust, when water alone only spread a light coat of lime wash across everything. Furnishings stored in the Priest’s Room were brought down and cleaned and returned to their proper places.  By Thursday it felt right to wipe your feet when you entered the building, rather than wiping them (and everything else) when you left.  None of it was much fun – though there is some satisfaction in getting a shine on brass that hasn’t been polished up for years – it was hard work, long hours and, without access to kitchen facilities, the nearest coffee was down the road. Despite all this, the volunteers were unfailingly cheerful, willing and incredibly hard working, persevering with even the most unattractive tasks. The good will and enthusiasm shown by everyone who came to help was uplifting and really helped us all to get through a difficult and stressful week.

Project Manager’s Update

Goodbye – and good luck!

The role of Project Manager is extraordinarily satisfying, with plenty of ups and downs en route to a successful conclusion  – but there does come a bittersweet moment when it’s time for the team that has come together for such an intense period to once again move apart and off to pastures new.

Photo credit: Terry Hughes

It’s been a real pleasure to work alongside a truly talented bunch of professionals, and at the same time as wishing the Trustees, Jess, Hellen and the magnificent Discover DeCrypt volunteers all the best as they embark on the next chapter in the life of this ancient place, I’d like to make some special mention of the team that will disappear quietly into the history books very soon:

Jonah Jay, Architect (Purcell): responding to the challenges of an historic site – where not only are there so many unknowns, there are also a multitude of stakeholders who love it and want to see it restored in a particular way – is not an easy task. Jonah’s great love for the history of St Mary de Crypt shows in the way he has considered the different layers – Tudor, mediaeval, Victorian – and incorporated them into something that is both modern and timeless.

Steve Swinbank, Structural Engineer (Mann Williams): Steve’s skill was invaluable in particular as we tackled the huge challenge that the vault presented us with last summer. When faced with the conundrum that was how best to create long-term stability whilst respecting the need to reflect the impressive barrel-shaped roof structure, we called upon Steve to design at breakneck speed temporary propping to ensure we could at least partially re-open Marylone Passage, then a permanent solution which means that below the paving stones there is a safe, solid concrete vault protecting the vault beneath which we can be confident of for years to come.

Alec Painter, Quantity Surveyor (Mildred Howells): crunching the numbers may not be the most glamorous of tasks, but without a Quantity Surveyor a project can find itself all at sea. The cost of work can often be the deciding factor in whether or not it is undertaken, and Alec’s speedy responses to the hundreds of small variations along the way were invaluable in keeping everything heading in the right direction.

Tim Bartlett and Graham Cooke, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers (Martin Thomas Associates): one of the main requirements of the Trustees when the project began was to take a bitterly cold building and make it into a warm, welcoming and well-lit space. Tim and Graham between then have delivered just that – enabling St Mary de Crypt and the Old Crypt Schoolroom to extend both a literally and metaphorically warm welcome to all its visitors, worshippers and users! In particular, the challenge of incorporating an underfloor heating system into the restricted space available between the floor level and the brick vaults of the crypt beneath was an early hurdle to be overcome – but with Graham’s advice, the system was successfully installed.

Kevin Potter, Archaeologist (Avon Archaeology): finding ancient and unexpected artefacts beneath ground is a mixed blessing – on the one hand they can be very exciting and teach us a good deal about the past – on the other hand they can lead to long delays and extra costs! Right at the end of this project, as we were digging across Southgate Street to connect our foul water, there was rather a surprising and important discovery. But it’s one we’re going to keep under wraps for a little while longer!

Jon Wilkins, Principal Designer (Wilkins Safety Group): we all know that construction sites can be dangerous places, and we all want completed buildings that are safe to operate. This is where Jon came into the project. Right from the start he checked all of our contractor’s paperwork to make sure everything was in place to ensure the safety of everyone on site, and throughout the works he has inspected not only the site itself, but all the designs as they progressed. The safe, welcoming place we will be sharing from 23rd March is in part down to Jon’s diligence.

Geoff Buckley, Approved Inspector (Buckley Lewis): a building not only has to look good and work well – it has to be legal and compliant in terms of building regulations. Geoff has commented on and inspected the site over the last 14 months, ensuring that what we have in place meets all of the relevant laws.

Bruce Kirk, Lighting Designer (Lighting Perceptions): a beautiful scheme could easily be spoiled by poor lighting. Bruce has brought to the project his expertise in this area and with it has ensured that the stunning interior of the renovated church is as light, dignified and flexible as possible – shining in all the right places whether it be for a service, concert or private hire event.

I’ve focused here on the design team whose work here will come to an end so soon – but to say there are others who have given their project their all is an understatement and cannot ever really do justice to their efforts. To Jess, Jenine, the Reverend Canon Nikki Arthy, Peter Gould as Church Warden, and all the extraordinary volunteers whether trustees or otherwise – thank you and congratulations on the fruit of your labours. You have created something really wonderful which in Nikki’s own words is your ‘gift to the City’ not only for the years ahead but the centuries to come!

Nicola Dyer, Project Manager

Time to say goodbye

Photo credit: Rowan Martin

These weeks are bittersweet, as with working towards our big Opening Weekend, I’m also working towards my very last weeks in this job. Although it is difficult to go, I know that this exciting new phase of this project and these lovely buildings are in amazing hands with Jess and Hellen. The position of Project Assistant has been very rewarding to hold for the last year and a half as I have been involved in so many aspects of this project, working not only within our team, but with so many interesting and lovely people: volunteers, partner organisations in Gloucester and external experts. I really enjoyed a job in which I could be dressed formally to welcome funders one day and be in steel-nosed boots and a hard hat getting my hands dirty on site the next day! I hope to see many of you over the Opening Weekend and I know I will be back in the months and years to come to see the transformation of these beautiful buildings into a community space continue! 

Jenine de Vries, Project Assistant

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Derek Rowles

Derek Rowles ’47-50 , whose father was managing director of Barons Engineering in Gloucester.

ROWLES Derek Died suddenly and peacefully at home on Saturday 2nd February 2019, aged 83 years. Rosemary his wife and Susannah his daughter will miss him keenly. His funeral will be held at Gloucester Crematorium on Monday 25th February 2019, at 1:30pm. No need for flowers, donations if desired to

An article by Derek about Brixton Windmill – the last working windmill in London – which was painted by his mother and featured in an exhibition at Gloucester City Museum in 2004.

A GloucestershireLive article about a Blue Plaque unveiled to commemorate Dame Sidney Browne, founder and first President of the Royal College of Nursing installed on Derek’s house in Cheltenham.