Frederick E Weatherly (b. 1848 d. 1929)
19/09/2012
Fred Weatherly KC was one of the most distinguished of all the Cathedral School students who had gained Somerset ( ** ) scholarships to Oxford and Cambridge over the 300 years of their existence between c.1680 - 1980. Known as Fred to his friends, he lived until the age of 80.

The eldest son of a country doctor from Portishead, Fred gained a Philpottine exhibition and Somerset scholarship to Brasenose College in 1867 after leaving HCS. He stayed at Oxford as a university coach for some years as a post graduate before eventually qualifying as a barrister and moving to London and then Bath.

At school and university, Fred had started writing poems – winning poetry prizes in the sixth form and reciting his own congratulatory ode on the installation of the Marquis of Salisbury as Chancellor of Oxford. Subsequently, he wrote several thousand popular songs, at least 1500 of which were published, including ‘Danny Boy’ (1912), ‘Roses of Picardy’ (1916) and, of course, ‘Floreat’ (the school song). He is described in the new Dictionary of National Biography as having written ‘the words of many of the most popular songs in the English-speaking world for over half a century’.

Fred Weatherly was a loyal OH who looked back upon his school days with considerable fondness. F W even edited the Herefordian for a couple of issues. ‘My love of music’, he wrote, ‘found a genial soil at Hereford’. Some things never change!

( ** ) The Somerset Society was named after Sarah, 4th Duchess of Somerset ( 1631 - 1692 ) and her name became closely linked to the Cathedral School, when scholarships were awarded to pupils for literary studies. One of the four Houses at HCS has since been named after her.
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