BLOXAM, Matthew Holbeche

1805 - 1888.

Born 12th May 1805. His father was an Assistant Master at Rugby School. He was educated at Elborow School and then Rugby School. He was articled to a solicitor in Rugby in 1821 and was admitted to the Courts of Common Law as an attorney in 1827. He then set up his own practice which he ran from his home until his death in April 1888. In 1831 he became Clerk to the Justices and held the post for 40 years.

His claim to fame is as an antiquarian. During his lifetime Matthew was probably best known beyond Rugby for his book “The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture”. This book, first produced in 1829 as “The Principles of Gothic Architecture” ran to eleven editions and its popularity was such that some 17,000 copies had been sold prior to the publication of the eleventh and final edition in 1882. In addition to his archaeological interests he had a life long interest in Rugby, its neighbourhood and in particular, Rugby School. He wrote many articles for the various School magazines and Societies. One of these was a story that William Webb Ellis whilst a boy at Rugby School introduced running with the ball in his arms to the game of Rugby Football. Arguably, it is for this claim that Matthew is best known in modern times.

He lived in St Matthew's Street in what is now the Percival Guildhouse, while his older brother, Thomas Lawrence Bloxam, ran a boarding school next door in what became Rugby's first public library.