Richard Robert Castell Gregory was the subject of a biography by Ms Margaret Taylor, in the 1977 Eltham Society publication, "Some Eltham Local History Records".
The notes below draw heavily on Ms Taylor's work, which is available in full on this website, by kind permission of the author and of Mr Gregory's descendents. Click here to read the article.
- 1855: Born in Brightwell, near Wallingford, Berkshire, son of a shepherd, Richard Gregory and his wife.
- 1879: Married Nancy Ford Reely, a relative of the headmaster of the school where he himself trained.
- Nancy and Richard Gregory had three sons, Richard, Jack and Frederick - who sadly died of smallpox at the age of 4.
- 1883-89: Headmaster of the school at North Cadbury, Somerset.
- 1890-1901: Headmaster of the larger school at Castle Cary, Somerset.
- 1898: Elected to the executive of the National Union of Teachers.
- 1901 to 1920: Headmaster of Eltham National School (now Roper Street) until his retirement.
- 1904 to 1910: Churchwarden of Eltham Parish Church.
- 1921: Sadly, his wife Nancy died only a year after Mr Gregory retired.
- 1927: Died on 27 July in Hexham, Northumberland and is buried in his wife's grave in Eltham churchyard.
In her article, Margaret Taylor describes the genesis of "The Story of Royal Eltham":
"on 8th October 1901 he found, in the depths of a cupboard, the Admission Register for the school in 1814. This formed the inspiration of his teaching of Local history, now frequently found in school curricula but then an innovation".
She also quotes a school inspector's report from 1914:
"... There is a very good tone in the school. A wise and kindly administration has secured the co-operation of the staff and the regard of the children."
"The Story of Royal Eltham" was first drawn up as a series of lessons for his older pupils, was then serialised in the local paper over two years and finally published for 5/- per 348-page, profusely illustrated copy, in 1909.