Arthur Bernard Atkins

Author: FNRC
Date published: 12/03/2017
© Newbury Weekly News

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Death Certificate
Death Certificate







The greatest sympathy has been expressed with the Rev. J. and Mrs Atkins, at the death of their son, Arthur Bernard, at the age of 19, which occurred on Wednesday, at the Grammar School. The death is the more sad, as the deceased gave great promise of distinguishing him educationally. As a scholar under his father at the Grammar School he gained many successes, and at the age of 14 he was placed in the first Division at the First Class in Honours, with a distinction in classics, in the Cambridge Local Examinations. He followed this up by having awarded a scholarship at Marlborough College, which it was hoped would have been the stepping stone to higher honours. But although he was made a prefect, a delicate constitution handicapped him from the first and finally compelled him to leave college entirely. The weakness gradually increased, and the young life ebbed out peacefully on Wednesday.


The funeral took place on Monday, the first part of the service being chorally rendered at the Parish Church.



The mourners were the Rev. J. and Mrs Atkins, and family, Mr. J.W.H. Atkins, St John’s College, Cambridge, Rev. Dr. Wilson, Headmaster of Solihull Grammar School, and others.

……………...Numerous expressions of sympathy have been received from residents in Newbury and this neighbourhood; also the Masters and boys of Marlborough College.




The following “In Memoriam” has been written by one to whom the deceased was intimately known: Last Wednesday (October 11th 1899), Arthur Bernard Atkins entered calmly into his final rest, after a long period of waiting and suffering. He had only seen nineteen years, but during this short span he had given abundant promise of a brilliant intellectual future; and had given evidence of a very beautiful character. The calm of his last hour was merely the peace in which souls as his live on earth, and the close of his life was a fitting end to a noble career.

At the age of fourteen he was placed in the 1st Division of 1st Class Honours at the Cambridge Locals, with distinction in Latin and Greek, an achievement which the authorities at Marlborough recognised by their granting him a scholarship. At Marlborough he continued his classical work, and though harassed by the ill health, which was to prove too strong in the end, his ability was of such quality as to warrant his election to a prefect ship, an office for which he was admirably fitted, not more though by his scholarship attainments than by the nobility of character which ultimately overshadowed the former brilliant as they had been. His character favourably impressed even the most casual acquaintance, but was fully appreciated only by a few intimates. Few knew the depth and warmth of the nature, often hidden beneath a cloak of reserve, that not only loved all around but even felt a sting of pain where the character of any object made it impossible for spontaneous love to be given. Not all observed his noble patience which was to grow with the demands made upon it by a cruel disease, nor his unselfishness which, when the aggravations of pain were the greatest, led him then to think least of his personal comfort. At school a quaint drollness combined with an ardent love for athletics, endeared him to more than one, while his quiet influence for good, which has since been abundantly evidenced, was then silently pursuing his work. His sense of duty was high; his mind liberal and delicate; he appreciated art in all its branches, and he was beginning to grasp the beauties that lie in the highest reaches of the art-realm and which seem to suggest something of that which lies beyond the veil. So full of blossom was his character; he was young but his nature had early ripened, and when death claimed him he was like a tinted autumn leaf falling in the appointed season and now he has gone where

“Falls not hail or rain or any snow,

Nor even wind blows loudly,”

One cannot wish him back again to prolong the unequal strife which it fell to his lot to maintain, for “God fulfils himself in many ways,” and this loved one could with propriety have said with Arthur,

“I have lived my life, and that which I have done

May He within himself make pure.”


Newbury Weekly News 19 October 1899

Mrs P p 63 ch (20)B

Missing years



John Reginald Atkins jnr was born in 1876 in Stratford upon Avon where his father was a school master in Old Stratford.  By 1891 the family had relocated to Newbury – J R Atkins snr is Headmaster at the Grammar School where they lived at The Litten.  In 1891 J R A jnr, aged 16 years, is a scholar at the school which is now at Enborne Road, its present location.


1901 finds him living as a boarder in Whitechapel and is listed as a Veterinary Surgeon – sadly the following year he passed away aged 27, the cause of death given as acute pneumonia and cardiac failure.


Harvey (or Harry) Cecil Atkins, the next son, was born in Newbury in 1877 and went on to have a most promising school career – see biography linked to this report – at the time of his death was a student at University College, London.  He passed way at the School House, Newbury on 10 February1895 after a protracted illness.  The death certificate records cause of death as Phthisis (8 months)


Alfred Ernest Atkins, the youngest son at the time of his death, was born in Newbury in 1878 and died aged 2 years in 1880 – cause of death convulsions (1 day).


ARTHUR BERNARD ATKINS was born 1880 in Newbury where the family were still living at The Litten and in 1891 he is still living at home.  Like his older Harvey, Arthur gained many successes educationally and was finally awarded a scholarship to Marlborough College – see biography linked to this report – where he became prefect.  Unfortunately his health was of a delicate nature and he was forced to leave college – he died in October 1899 at Newbury – cause of death given as Pulmonary Phthisis (two and a half years) and exhaustion.


Ivor Maurice Atkins was born 1884 in Newbury at the Grammar School and is living there with the family in 1901.  When John Atkins snr retired the family moved to Whitchurch where Ivor Maurice (now 27 years in 1911) is recorded as “Clerk in Holy Orders”.  Again sadly Ivor died in 1918 at Whitchurch – cause of death pulmonary tuberculosis – and is buried in the Cemetery with his brothers.


The remaining brother, Hugh Leslie Atkins, was born in 1883 in Newbury and moved to Whitchurch with the family where he lived until 1956.


One daughter married and moved away, one went to Canada and although returning for a short visit appears to have remained in Canada, another became a teacher and moved away, a fourth daughter became an Assistant Mistress at a Public Secondary School in Poole, three more were unmarried and lived at home. These members of the family, including John Reginald snr and his wife Annie, appear to have lived and died in Whitchurch and as far as I can ascertain are not buried in the Cemetery.



Sources:Newbury Weekly News 19 October 1899 and Mrs Pattison

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