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News > Archives & History > Bishop Gray and Sophia Gray, Our Founder.

Bishop Gray and Sophia Gray, Our Founder.

Today the ODA placed proteas on the graves of Robert and Sophia Gray to commemorate the death of Robert who died on 01 September 1872.

We know Bishop Gray as the Founder of Bishops on 15 March 1849. This took place in Maynier's Cottage, on the premises of the official residence of the Archbishop of Cape Town, Bishopscourt. 

Placing these beautfitul Proteas on the graves was very fitting.  Bishopscourt was before named Protea, when the Grays resided there. Bishops moved to its current site, the farm Woodlands in 1850.  Ironically, on the day of the school's official opening, Bishop Gray was not present, as he was on an official visitation to the island of St Helena, part of his episcopal see. 

The task of starting the day on that Thursday, 15 March, 1849 befell Sophia and the staff, with their six students.  One imagines the lovely day at the foot of the mountain, the fynbos and protea shrubs in abundance.  

Sadly, the Bishop had come off his horse in August of 1872, and it is speculated that this accelerated his death, which was 01 September 1872, 151 years ago to this day.  Up till then, although a widower from the sad death of his beloved spouse Sophia, he had still been engaged in work in all parts of his large diocese; in fact, he had added five new bishoprics to the Church. 

In the Dictionary of National Biography, we are told that:

"his remarkable characteristic was his tenacity of purpose in carrying to the end what he judged to be his duty".

Placing flowers on the graves of Robert and Sophia Gray was an idea that came from Warwick Jones (1961S) which the School Archivist and ODA, Dr Paul Murray, now undertakes as one of the annual duties and traditions from the ODU and the school. 

The Headmaster of the Prep School Greg Brown and the College Chaplain Father Monwabisi Peter take an interest in it as well.  Alan Ramsay (1960F) recently wrote in about Bishops Gray; these are moments of great inspiration, to commemorate the rich history of our school.  Buried in the graveyard is Richard Brooke, Principal from 1887 - 1900.  Other Bishops families have their relatives buried there. 

The site St Saviour's is the place where Bishop Gray and Sophia Gray lie entombed.  The proteas were placed on their graves today.  It is both relevant and appropriate to remember them in this way, as the site is also the place where Archdeacon Richard Brook started St Saviour's school which amalgamated with Bishops in 1886.   

In the photograph above:

The  graves at St Saviour's Church, of Bishop Robert and Sophia Gray.  

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