Eton had talent!

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Newspaper cutting from 1964 about The College Boys

It seems that Eton in the mid-1960s was a fertile source of creativity in contemporary music – pop music to be exact, boasting around a dozen home-grown pop groups. One of these has come to light in copies of material recently given to the Archives by the widow of a former group member, Jamie Graham. Jamie’s group had the eponymous name “The College Boys” (formerly the rather more edgy “Nick and the Neolithics”). The group made it into several newspapers, including the national “Daily Sketch”, and even released a song – “I Just Don’t Understand” – on the Columbia Record label. In a letter to the donor, one of the group members (Micky Astor) refers to the group’s ‘one fan’ (pictured below).

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A photograph of The College Boys’ “one fan”

Not only do written records of “The College Boys” activities survive, but you can actually listen to “I Just Don’t Understand” here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts4sS6Wj18A

Catchy, isn’t it?!

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Label from The College Boys’ 1964 single, ‘I Just Don’t Understand’, written by Jamie Graham.

By Jane Sellek, College Archivist (cover)

A ‘lost’ Christmas carol

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Christmas carol in COLL EST HL 01

Written within a book of accounts kept by Richard Rowden, receiver of the rents for the college at Hanging Langford, Wiltshire, is this carol. Known now as “A Virgin most Pure”, it is thought to have originated in Gloucestershire during the 16th century, and the earliest written version of this carol appeared in 1661 in a book called New Carolls for this Merry Time of Christmas, printed in London. The carol then disappeared from publications until the late 18th century when the words were published by a ballad printed in Tewkesbury. This time it had a new first verse – the now more familiar:

A virgin most pure [unspotted], as the prophets do tell
Hath brought forth a baby, as it hath befell

The form which appears in this book is the original version, with the first verse being:

In Bethlehem in Jewry a city there was
Where Joseph and Mary together did pass

This carol was particularly common in the west of England, especially in Gloucestershire. The book in the archives was begun 1692, and entries continue until 1756, suggesting that even if there were no printed versions of the carol in circulation at the time, it was still being performed and enjoyed in the West Country during these “lost” years.

By Eleanor Hoare, College Archivist