The Staff and Pupils of Riber School, Summer
Meynell, Blackwell, Charlesworth, Seager, Berry, Loveday*, Wigram,
Mrs Summerson, Luce, Rev. W.Chippett, Gauld, Summerson (with cat),
Spencer, Dog, Paul, Baker, Gallimore, Beaumont, Hargreaves, Durbridge,
Photographer: (in the R H Corner of the mount)
was W. N. Statham, The Studio, Matlock.
*changed from Honeywell Feb 2011
Richard Beaumont attended the school at Riber
Castle from September 1917 until the end of the Lent Term in 1919
when he transferred to Hillside
School, Godalming. His estate's papers include a report to
his parents of how he had settled in at Riber and periodic reports
on his progress from Rev. Chippett. There's a photograph (above,
and enlarged below) and postcards he was sent whilst he was at
the school, too, as well as his own autobiography. Selected extracts
are published here, with kind permission. Copyright the Estate
of Richard Melville Beaumont.
Richard Melville Beaumont
(1909-98) of Southwell in his own words
pp.6-7 SCHOOLDAYS (1916 -1927)
"Soon after the War started Nurse
Southwell left us and completed her training, to become a qualified
Nurse at Guy's Hospital, after which she became one of the Army
Nurses and we heard and saw little of her. She was succeeded by
Miss Marriott, who became our Nursery Governess, and who with my
Mother, taught me some elementary things. When I was seven I was
sent to a small boarding school at Riber Castle, which stood at
the top of the steep hill to the south of Matlock. There were several
other boys whom we knew at the school, and we went there by train
from Nottingham. It was an alarming experience for a timid boy,
and I must admit that I was pretty terrified and miserable for
the first term. But I do not think it did me any harm. The boys
whom I knew included Pete Gauld, whose father was a Nottingham
doctor and had been Captain of Nottinghamshire County Cricket,
Brian Bradley, the friend whom I mentioned earlier in connection
with the "bows
and arrows incident" [not included here],
Christopher Paul, another doctor's son,
and, I think, a Windley.
who owned the School, was The Reverend J.W. Chippett, who had been
a Master at Giggleswick, and who was well known to my Grandfather.
One, if not both, of my Hacking uncles had been at Riber.
Mr Chippett was a marvellous teacher of boys because he had the
knack of making things interesting to them. The Matron, Mrs Summerson
(Ma Summy) was a war widow,
and her son John was the second senior boy.
He was a gifted pianist and one of the nicest people I have ever
known. The Head Boy, Luce, was not very effective in controlling
misbehaviour or bullying. There were less than twenty boarders,
and one or two day boys came up from Matlock. All the boys are
named on the photograph, which I still have.
||There were really only two classes. The younger
boys were in a form room on the ground floor under the charge
of a Mistress.
Close to it was a large Conservatory in which was a good Black
Hamburgh vine which produced a good crop of grapes. Nearby was
a small bathroom with one bath in it, in which we took turns to
wash. One day I witnessed an extraordinary incident which I still
cannot understand. Brian Bradley was in the bath and I stood by,
being next in the queue. Ma Summy appeared,
brandishing the steel poker which we used in the fireplace in our
form room which had an open fire-grate and coal fire - badly needed
in winter, being the only kind of heating. The poker had been badly
bent and had clearly been left in the bottom of the fire until red-hot
and then bent in the fire bars of the grate. "Who did this?" asked
Ma Summy, very crossly. We did not know, and had never seen the
poker like that before. Brian held out his hand for it. Ma Summy
handed it to him, no doubt thinking that he just wanted to look
at it. Brian held it between his two hands, which he moved about
on it, and straightened it with apparent ease, grinning at Ma Summy
as he did so. She was completely stunned, and turned pale with shock,
because it was a physical impossibility for this to have been done,
even by a strong man, with his hands alone. But Brian could only
have been about ten. Ma Summy left without a word. Nor did we talk
about it either, and I do not think Brian understood what he had
done. Brian and I remained friends on and off, and I visited him
at his parents' house in Pelham Crescent, Nottingham. Much later
in life we were both in the 8th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters.
But alas! Brian tried to knock out a German Tank with an anti tank
rifle fired from the shoulder, and was killed. That was in Norway.
It was at Riber that I learned to love Derbyshire, as we boys
walked, or ran, miles with Mr. Chippett. I developed strong legs
and a wiry strength that has not yet quite left me. I also learned
to swim, in an elementary fashion, in the old and really quite
dangerous swimming baths at Matlock Bath, to which we ran down
and up the footpath once a week. My mother had learned to swim
there as well.
Riber was tough. At first I hated it, and dreaded going back to
school. But when I left, I remember carrying my little bag down
the steep path to catch the train at Matlock station, and being
I suppose that the reason I was taken away from Riber
was because my father thought it too small a school, and also that
it lacked a certain amount of refinement."
Richard went on to write: "The hills near Matlock, and the
walks among them, have always entranced me since I was a schoolboy
at Riber ..."
Enlargement of left hand side of main image.
Names are at the top of the page.
Enlargement of right hand side of main image.
Names are at the top of the page.
You may like to view:
Map of Riber
Lesson in Matlock's History", a magazine article
about the school by Michael Fay is elsewhere on this site.
Enduring Folly of Riber Castle,
is another magazine article by Michael Fay.
Elsewhere on the internet (the link will open in a new tab or
Leas Farm was owned by Richard Beaumont. Read about the history
and some local characters. Sorry, website currently unavailable
Additional notes on
 Richard remained friends with Peter
Gauld, who became a doctor in Staffordshire, and acted as a Trustee
for the estate of his first wife.
 Lieutenant Roger Brian Bradley, Service
No:38610, 8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)
was killed in action on 26 April 1940, aged 31. He is buried at
Lillehammer Northern Civil Cemetery. He was the son of Ernest and
Kate Bradley of Nottingham and the husband of Betty Anne Bradley.
Brian Bradley and Richard Beaumont both attended a Territorial
Army Camp on the Duke of Portland's estate at Cuckney (no date
given) before the Second World War.
 Gerard J C[hristopher] Paul's father
was a surgeon in Nottingham.
 The Reverend John William
Chippett, M.A. (6 July 1851 - 9 Aug 1941) was born in Clapton (Hackney),
London, one of the sons of John and Charlotte Chippett. His father
was a harness maker/saddler. J.W.C. was a Scholar of Christ's College,
Cambridge and became a Wrangler  in 1878.
He was subsequently appointed as a mathematics master at Giggleswick
School, and was known as "Chippy" by his pupils; he was
at Giggleswick from 1878 to 1888 and then moved to Devonshire House,
Harrogate, where he also had a school.
Riber Castle was advertised for sale in February 1895.
J.W.C. bought it and was in residence by mid-April.
His wife Clara Lizzie, whom he married in 1888, died at Matlock
in 1916, aged 57. He continued as the school's headmaster until
1922 when Captain Lionel Gathorne Wilson took over. Rev. Chippett
remained at the school as a master for a time.
He retired in 1924.
He lived in Matlock until war broke out in 1939 when he had to leave
Rockside Hydro as it was requisitioned (see Rockside
Hydro, 1925-45). J.W.C. moved back to live
near his old school and died at the Ashfield Hotel in Settle at
the age of 90.
Amongst the beneficiaries of his Will were Dorothea
Summerson (see  below) and Edith Featherstone,
who had been employed at Riber Castle. He also left £100
to the building fund of All Saints' Church. The residue of his estate
was left to Giggleswick School (Derbyshire Times, 19 December
References to Rev. Chippett and the school can be found in: Kelly's
1895 Directory | Kelly's
1899 Directory | Kelly's
1908 Private Residents | Kelly's
1908 Commercial Premises | Kelly's
1916 Private Residents | Kelly's
1916 Commercial Premises. Also see Riber
School in the 1901 census
 One of his Hacking uncles sent Richard
postcards whilst he attended Riber school. He clearly had a wonderful
sense of humour. For example:
"There is enough stone in this pyramid to build a wall four feet high
right around France. Remember me to Mr Chippett."
 The school's matron in 1918, "Ma
was Mrs Dorothea Worth Summerson, nee Newenham (1874 - 10 Jan 1963).
She was born in Knotty Ash. She married Samuel John Summerson,
an Iron Trade Railway Plate Manufacturer of Haughton le Skerne,
Durham, in 1895. She was not a war widow, though with so many
men being killed in the first world war and leaving widows and
children behind it is not an unreasonable assumption for a young
boy to have made. In fact, Samuel Summerson died on 7 Nov 1907
and was buried a few day's later at St. Andrew's, Haughton le Skerne.
According to a newspaper report about Rev. Chippett's Will Dorothea
had also been his housekeeper as well as matron (Derbyshire
Times, 19 December 1941). In 1939 she was living in London
with her son and his wife. Dorothea died at Whittington Hospital,
 John Summerson (25 Nov 1904 - 10 Nov
1992) became "one of the most distinguished historians of British
architecture of all periods. ... He was curator of Sir John Soane's
Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields from 1945 to 1984" (The
Times, November 12, 1992). He was knighted in 1958 for services
to the history of architecture.
His opinion of Riber Castle is noted in "A
Lesson in Matlock's History" elsewhere on this site.