A Tribute to Henry Fowler

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1915 - 2007

This page was originally started in 2005 to commemorate Henry Fowler's 90th birthday on 12th May that year. The suggestion came from Gordon Brown. As his birthday passed, people still wanted to add tributes so this page now represents a permanent and growing tribute to the man.

However Mr. Fowler passed away on 14th February 2007 and this page is now dedicated permanently to his memory. It is open for tributes at any time, just submit by e-mail.

Many visitors to the Priory website knew Mr Fowler as their headmaster. Younger ex-Prioryites won't have known him, but the very fact that they studied at his school that he founded won't have escaped their notice. The Priory School was Henry Fowler since it represented his life's work.

I wonder how many students of how many nationalities passed through his care. Yet one thing we can all be sure of is that Mr Fowler is a Jamaican through and through and his commitment to education in his country is unchallengeable.

As a student, a prefect and regrettably once or twice as a miscreant, I had regular contact with him during nearly six years and I can say that he was a huge influence during my formative years.

Stephen Smith     

Click here to read tributes on the occasion of Henry Fowler's 90th birthday



The chapel in St. Hugh's College in Oxford seems just the fitting setting for Henry's memorial service.  It was solid, dignified with much history attached to it and yet with a progressive liberal sense of worldliness.  These qualities indeed are those which remind me of Henry.  Ushered into a room which was full of newly arrived guests and cups of tea, the atmosphere and feeling in the room was the very same that I had experienced many times at one of Henry's social gatherings during his lifetime.  The room was filled with excitement and love, friends and strangers coming together delighted in meeting each other and discovering their new connections.  The tone of the reception room was set his wife Beryl and her gracious nephew Martin Flash.  Beryl's warmth, charm, light heartedness, sense of humour and loving interest in all whom she encountered, made for an instant feeling of being part of her family.  Indeed, I feel that Beryl and Henry were truly 'soul mates,' leaves from the same branch, destined to create extreme comfort and happiness for each other in their later years.   

    Once we were all assembled in a quaint historic chapel of St.Hugh's, the chatter of well seasoned friends hushed as the attentive Chaplin Jerry Gilpin commenced his soft spoken tribute to Henry, beginning with prayer and song.  Martin's remembrances of Henry and his appreciation of him was most heartfelt as he reminded us how Henry was equally comfortable with all levels of society, rich and poor.  His appreciation of Henry's sense of boyish humour was illustrated by a favourite joke of Henry's.  Those gathered were graced by the Jamacian High Commissioner's speech of Henry's life long accomplishments to Jamaica's education and culture.  In his praises he aptly stated that Henry was 'Blessed by God' and that he would be remembered as such, by anyone who had ever met him.  

    At the reception guests were anxious to share their most special and memorable moments of him with each other.  Many of Henry and Beryl's long time friends were there to mix in with ex-Priory students, teachers and family.  A highlight for me was being driven to Oxford by Ian Slater, a student at Priory from 1963 and a representative of the Priory Student Body.  Since he was an ex Head Boy, President of the Arts and Science Society, McGill House Captain and 'S' form history teacher, he had many touching stories to share. Representing Henry's family were his granddaughters Kathy Shaw from Los Angeles, California and Tammy Bourke from Brighton, England, with her two lovely daughters.  I, coming from Los Angeles, California was honoured to represent the Priory School Teachers and proudly related stories of my precious time spent with Henry, especially as a teacher and his Administrative Assistant during the sixties and later in the mid nineteen nineties.  Perhaps my most fond memory of Henry was, at the age of eighty one, listening to stories of his childhood and those of old Jamaica while taking his morning walk around the grounds of the Liguanea Club, invariably, at his insistence, at six thirty in the morning.  

    Messages of condolences and love continue to pour into the Priory Website from around the globe.  This most fitting event will be followed by his ashes being taken to Jamaica where a service of remembrance to our charismatic Jamaican Headmaster will be arranged at a future date.  Although he is affectionately remembered and will be sadly missed by all, his spirit lives on in each one of us. 


Julie Webster

(Priory 1968-1973)



When I started at Priory in September 1973 Mr Fowler was no longer the Headmaster, Mr Trevor Williams was the Principal. 

Mr Fowler was never my teacher, but like everyone who ever studied in Priory I knew him.

        I think I got to know him a lot better through this website, reading what his students, colleagues and friends have written.

        People that contribute to improve the society that they live in,  live as long as their work is remembered.

        Mr Fowler will be remembered by many across the world for years to come.

        On this Student page today,  I would like to express my condolences to his family and friends on behalf of the of students lucky enough to have been to Priory.


        May God Bless him.




I am very sorry to hear about Mr. Fowler's passing.

 I bumped into him in Ocho Rios in early 90's and was surprised that he was able to remember my name albeit 20 years after  last seeing him at Priory. 


Michael Clarke


I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Fowler, He was an extremely nice man. He used to visit school sometimes when I attended and just be around the students. He was warm and approachable and will be missed.

Nicole Cooke


So sorry to hear Henry passed away . He lived a full and productive life and brought so much knowledge and life experiences to so many people.  He will be missed and long remembered by all whose life was fortunate enough to have been touched by him. 

Peggy Tate


The teaching Fraternity has lost one of the Greatest Headmaster/Teacher in the world. He was very firm with his discipline, never shouted and always had a kind word for you.

He will truly be missed, and we all will never forget him as long as we live..

Condolences to his family and friends.

God Bless you Sir.


Ann Guilfoyle


So sad to hear about the inevitable and grateful to get the news. He was a true pioneer and ' spirited gentleman' we shall miss him. My only encounters with him was to try to dodge him when I was prowling the corridors in search of foreign girls :-) although our only face to face he remained calm cooled and collected pretending (I suppose) to make me feel that I was a student.

PC Harris


Very sorry to hear the news about Henry. Its the end of an era that's for sure.

Anne Marie Mendes



Thank you for keeping Henry's memory vividly alive.  There is something perfect about his having died on Valentine's Day.

       Best wishes,  Val Browne


I also want to extend my sincere condolences regarding Mr. Fowler's passing.......I will always have fond memories of him!

Susie Sasso


I am shocked to hear the news of Henry's passing away.

Of course we all know that this is the inevitable end of all of us. I was just looking at pictures of the Masai Maara taken at dusk remembering the feeling of how small we are, how we are all just little thinking mammals here on borrowed time. Humility, humble we should all be and in this case even more grateful to have had the chance in our lives to meet and festive next to people like Henry and Greta. I feel like a part of my own has gone because of the special relation I was privileged to. No other student that I know had such privy. A great humanist has passed away but in doing so a bright star has been born. Let us look for it out there in times of sorrow, in times of spiritual need as well as in times of reflection.

Please send my very deepest condolences to his family.


Dominique Boyriven


I was so sorry to learn of Mr Fowler's death. He meant such a lot to all of his pupils and was an inspiration to us all. His very presence earned respect - although at times fear of his not used cane. I look back with fondness at some of his remarks. One was 'Garsia, don't stand sidewise on, we can't see you'. I felt this amusing but he was referring to my thinness and start of anorexica and his notice of it.

I have only now noticed that he was only 72 but he seemed to have been around for so long. I went to Priory in 1962 and he was headmaster then and not yet 30 years old.

A very sad day. Is anyone organising a wreath or token for his funeral? If so I would llike to contribute.

Regards Marlene Garsia


I am very saddened to read of the passing of Henry. I can't help but think that he must have felt very rewarded to have received so many laudatory greetings on the occasion of his 90th. birthday. Henry will remain in my memory as a truly selfless and dedicated gentleman. Only later in life does one fully appreciate the values and lessons learned in school.

Best regards,


Michael Brien



You know I never met Mr Fowler personally. When I came to Priory in 1973, he had already left that summer. However to say that I felt his presence during my PRiory  until 1980 would be an understatement. To this day I felt that he could have been there as headmaster all along as such was the strength of the legacy that he left behind for all of us. I am happy for him that he led such a fulfilled life and that he will continue to touch the lives of so many others, even those who have never met him.

God bless you, Mr Fowler

John Downie


My condolences to Mr. Fowler's family and to the Priory alumni.. Mr. Fowler was a friendly man and a good man, I remember him visiting priory in the early 80's, he will be missed. I'm proud to say I attended his school. 

Lennox Logan


I wish Mr. Fowlers Family all the Very Best in the World.  I know that I am a much better person for having known him.  I know that the world is sad at his passing but we who knew him rejoice in the knowledge and guidance that he gave so willingly.. May God Bless Henry Fowler and his Family, and May we all meet again in a far better place.


David DeSousa

Ocala, Fl.



Henry Fowler.  What a gift to have known him.  What a privilege to have learned from him.  What a fine life he lived.  What a great legacy he left.  He is still challenging us to go and do likewise. -- Deborah Heyn Workman


When I started at Priory in 1957, Mr. Fowler was not only the Headmaster but he was also the Form Master of B-4 which was the form I was in.  I always will remember Mr. Fowler for his sense of humour and his love of teaching. At the age of ten going on eleven, coming from Chicago, Mr.

Fowler was unlike any teacher I had ever run across and he fascinated me.

The picture that stays with me is Mr. Fowler standing on the steps of Priory House, with his robe flying in the wind  directing the cars and students as the arrived in the morning.  Priory School remains one of my strongest and best memories and although all the teachers were part of my life, it is Mr. Fowler that I will remember the most.


God speed him on his journey home!

Elena Cyrus


I would like to express my condolences for the Mr Fowler passed away.  Mr Fowler was not my teacher, when I was in Priory, but I knew him as a former prinipal. One day during a free hour, He came to the class, and He talked to us about his experiences as a diplomat in the educational field, as well, a few heads of states that He met. And the time when He started Priory. I think He was a great man, He deserves a great contribution from the Priory former students and teachers, as well, Jamaica, should give him the Order of Jamaica even posthumously.


Receive my best regards,


Stéphane Bélizaire


Thank you for letting me know about the sad death of Henry Fowler. He came to our house once, in 1974, to visit my parents, and I remember him being slightly daunting at first to a shy 9-year-old boy, but then, after a short time, entirely approachable and human.

Even though his name was well known to everyone at Priory, he never loomed large in a negative way - not like my later headteachers in England!  He remains a model of insprirational educational leadership around the world, even now, as the fond messages on your pages show.

With all best wishes,

Richard Hamblyn


Thank you much for letting us know.  
As expected as it was,  like a lot of us, I was hoping it was not so.
In selfish thought I suppose, a link with our past is gone as well, and a 'hole' is left.
I have no suitable words, none that would really say how I remember him and will miss him.
I think Christine Shobrook's recent reminder on the site of Mr. Fowler's end of term prayer is appropriate and sums up how we see him best, for I believe these were his words... and if they weren't, well... they should be for they speak of the soul of this man:

"O God, we thank Thee for this universe, our great home; for its vastness and its riches, and for the manifoldness of the life which teems upon it and of which we are part.

We praise Thee for the arching sky and the blessed winds, for the driving clouds and the constellations on high.We praise Thee for the salt sea and the running water, for the everlasting hills, for the trees, and for the grass under our feet.

We thank Thee for our senses by which we can see the splendor of the morning, and hear the jubilant songs of love, and smell the breath of the springtime.

Grant us, we pray Thee, a heart wide open to all this joy and beauty, and save our souls from being so steeped in care or so darkened by passion that we pass heedless and unseeing when even the thorn-bush by the wayside is aflame with the glory of God."

Henry Fowler:  Quo Vadis address for the graduating classes -

I am so very sorry.

Gordon Brown.


Although I haven't seen Henry Fowler for 40 years, the affect he undoubtedly had on my life is immeasurable.  His passing has had a greater affect on me than I thought it would.  I will always remember his ability to remain calm and collected  when the issue at hand would cause a lesser person to vent much emotion.  I refer in particular to a (now) fond memory of a near disaster by fire of the main building in 1966,67.  His calm but stern manner in which he 'sorted' the matter will always amaze me and was a great lesson in self control and humanity.  A great man, much admired, gone to his rest.  Stu Houchen.


It was with a great sense of sadness that I received the news of Mr. Fowler’s passing.  He was by far one of the greatest Headmasters of all time.  He not only helped to mould the lives of so many of his students, but instilled in all of us the love and respect of our fellow human beings.  He was a man of great vision, integrity, and compassion, and those of us who were fortunate enough to be taught by him, will forever be indebted to him as well.  May his soul rest in peace.



Sarah Wates



I knew Mr. Fowler since I started kindergarten at Priory, he was a gentleman and a wonderful educator,  I always looked up to Mr. Fowler he had a very positive  gentile personae I know he will be greatly missed and my sympathy to his family.


Cornelia Radzioch


Let me submit my condolences to the passing of a great educator, a kind, yet soft spoken, and gentle person I have known.

I met Mr. Fowler while teaching at Priory. I taught in the Junior School, Grade 6 for over 10 years, 1986 -1996. I can remember Mr. Fowler when he visited the Priory, although we were a Junior School, he usually visit our Assembly area with the Junior School whenever he was at Priory. His laughter I will always remember.

Audery Leahong


It is with sadness that I add my name to the long list of people who remember Headmaster Henry Fowler so fondly.  The memories of Priory flood back.

 My brother Garth and I attended Priory School from 1954-58 when there was the large wooden mansion and a collection of bamboo huts for classrooms.  I remember teachers Mr. and Greta Burke, Mrs. Street who taught us "Latin with Laughter," and of course, Lou, who sold those fabulous Jamaica patties in the canteen. 

My classmates included, Ronnie Waring, Richard Fairclough, David Whiting, the Claire Boys (twins whose father was killed during the war at the Battle of Arnhem, I believe), Ricky Vise, Sally (my girlfriend) and Charles Cornwall (whose father was General Cornwall, US consul general), Veronica (also my girlfriend) and David Lake (whose father owned the Courtleigh Manor Hotel), April (also my girlfriend) and Dawn Bitter, and somebody with small-rimmed glasses called Jakes.  

Oliver and Benjamin (Benji) Foot were also my close friends; their father was Sir Hugh Foot, Governor of Jamaica.  We used to hop the fence during recess to the grounds of King's House, where they lived--right next door to Priory--to get stinking toe, mangoes and Ethiopia apples...I don't think we were really allowed to do that, but were in good company.

 But most of all, I remember Henry Fowler, Headmaster and Founder of Priory School, Kingston. He stood tall to all of us.  I remember him at his best, hovering ominously at the top of the steps at the Monday morning assembly on the porch of the old mansion.  He held forth with the bible in one hand, reading with a powerful voice while his Oxford robes stirred in the morning breeze.  He wore his hair long, parted high, rolling over his ears, a huge wave on top that danced like the surf to bold gestures as he read the scriptures with such passion.  A sight and sound to behold.  It was serious business. He made it so.

He only caned me once.  I deserved it.  For some inexplicable reason, I mocked him aloud-too loud it seems-at a Monday assembly and got caught doing it.

It was a thin, straight, flat bamboo cane-a special purpose tool designed and crafted with perfect balance and flex. It was smoothly varnished, tan in colour and about two and a half feet long.  I got a short sermon, then three well delivered strokes--called 'three of the best' for some odd reason--which stung more than hurt.  I never resented the caning.  In fact, I was very grateful that he never told my father about it.  And, it made me a bit of a hero around the school for a day or two.  I never felt moved to mock him again, in public anyway.

Many, many years later, I was happy to see Henry Fowler again and to introduce him to my 19-year-old daughter, Sarah, at Priory's 50th anniversary party in Kingston.  I reminded him of the caning.  He had forgotten about it completely.  I never will.  I will never forget him.

Rest in Peace, Henry Fowler.  You did good work.

Darcy Rezac,

Managing Director

The Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver Canada


Henry Fowler saved my life.



    Well, that's a little dramatic. I guess a more accurate way to say that is that the school that Henry Fowler started saved my life. My life was on the wrong track; I was associating with the wrong people and I didn't care about school.  My parents recognized this and pulled me out of Jamaican public school and enrolled me at Priory.  I know that my life would have been very different if they had not made that choice, difficult as it was, for they could not afford the tuition without sacrifice.  I'm not sure what it was about Priory that changed me, whether it was the different attitude of the faculty and more personal attention that I received from them, or the general attitude of the student body that school was an important part of life, that made me see things differently and changed my attitude.  But I definitely consider my days at Priory as the beginning of the path that brought me to where I am today.  And I cannot thank Henry Fowler enough for that.


    I did not know Henry Fowler very well, as I only talked with him a couple times (at least I can say that I never got sent to the Headmaster's office!) in the 3 years I was at Priory (he was Headmaster only the first 2).  But his legacy for me is that his school did indeed save my life, and I will never forget it.


Thank you Mr Fowler for saving my life,

   Bari Tinker


May the lord be with Mr Fowler and Mr Fowler be with the lord.

Mike Clarke


I remember Mr. Fowler well. He visited the school a few times and he was warm and welcoming. He would visit the Admin building first but afterwards he would stroll around stopping by students just to see how they were doing. I will never forget him

Nicola Cooke


I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Fowler’s passing. I will always remember him as a person with great pedagogical skills and a lively sense of humour when the situation called for it. My thoughts are with his family at this time as he is called to higher offices.

Judith Pennant


I am saddened by Mr. Fowler's passing. Below is my tribute to him.


   Henry Fowler fearlessly went where no man had gone before and created Priory.  A unique and bold educational institution that profoundly and positively affected the lives of thousands of students, teachers and staff.  We the "Priory people" are so much better for having been a part of his vision.  On a small island, that he loved dearly, he created a special school that made education a rewarding experience for teacher and student alike.


   He was fair, had a good sense of humour, had a gift for dealing with all of us, loved each and every student, no matter the worries we caused and had a passion for education that was unparalleled.  My life is better, richer and far more rewarding for having been one of Mr. Fowler's students and attended Priory.  I did not know it then, but now I know it, I am blessed for having gone to Priory.  Good Bye Mr. Fowler, may God Bless you,



Oliver J. Langstadt,


I always think of him with great affection and credit him with pointing me in the right direction in terms of my career in education. He greatly influenced me in terms of my approach to the whole process of teaching, nurturing and above all leadership by example.

I think that indeed he will be remembered as a tremendous influence on the growth of Jamaica, and when I read someone's words the other day and saw the word' iconic' I thought that entirely appropriate.

My condolences to his family and my thanks to Henry for his guidance and mentorship in the 60's.

John Tansey


I was saddened to hear of Mr. Fowler's passing.  He will be forever remembered by all the students and staff of Priory for his ability to find the best in a person and to impart his knowledge and life lessons to an impressionable generation.  We were all blessed to have been touched by this "gentle" man; for as in his daily prayer, he had a heart wide open to all the joys and beauty of the universe, especially his beloved Jamaica.   God bless you and rest in peace with the knowledge that you did indeed " make a difference."


Peggy Tate


Thanks for the news about Mr. Fowler. It made me feel very sad. I was lucky enough to have been at Priory when he was headmaster, and he was a huge part of what made Priory such a remarkable place. I remember his appearances at the Book Fair when there would be big suspense about what costume he would appear in. The one I remember best was when he appeared as Tinkerbell. And I also remember that at Priory in all the years that I was there, thanks to his influence, there was always ample opportunity to participate in drama and theater. I acted in school plays almost every year that I was at Priory, and looking back, I realize now what a luxury I was taking for granted. But I would say that that sort of generosity characterized his whole educational philosophy, and he realized that philosophy at Priory with great success.


His second wife and my mother have been close friends since the days when I was at Priory, so I stayed in touch indirectly. The last time I saw him he took me and my mother on a day of touring Oxford. This was in about 1983, I think. He reminded me of a funny encounter we had at Priory when I was in first form in 1972.


What happened was that one morning I walked up to the front of the classroom (it was Mrs. Worthy's social studies class), opened my mouth to ask for permission to go to the bathroom, and threw up practically on top of Mrs. Worthy's shoes, to the infinite delight of the rest of the class. Well, so I was sent home. I was feeling unwell and of course embarrassed, and I was sitting in the hallway of the main building, faintly reeking and looking utterly wretched. Mr. Fowler came in and seeing this poor sad soul immediately set to work to cheer me up, chattering away a mile a minute. At last he asked me what my name was. "Kia," I said. "Oh, what a coincidence! We have a very nice little girl here and her name is Kia too!" he said. "It's me!" I said. He didn't understand me at first, so I had to insist a couple more times, "It's me! It's me!" When he finally got it he was effusively apologetic, laughing, and when he got the story out of me of what happened he was kind, and not a bit afraid to laugh at himself in front of a student. Which was part of the reason why I, at least, respected him so much. Warmth, humor, and kindness are what I remember of this good, brilliant man. And yes, Priory, the product of his approach to education, made a huge difference in my life. I'll always be grateful for that.


Kia Penso


Henry Fowler's infectious enthusiasm for learning has stayed with me all these years along with still vivid recollections of his teaching methods.  I recall his Priory School rules not as authoritarian edicts but as behaviours to be reasoned out that considered the safety and respect for all.

    This was truly a great teacher.  The Colonial Officer in Nigeria who recommended my father get a job transfer to Jamaica for the best schooling for his boys was so right.

    Dr. Fowler has passed on but his legacy will live forever.  Though I feel a great sadness there is also joy In the honour of having known him.  May he rest in peace.

    - Peter Vaculik (1948-56)


I am very sorry to hear about Mr. Fowler’s passing.  I have fond memories of him from my time at Priory. I enjoyed his interaction with the younger students at Assembly.  He will be missed but remembered always.


Harley (Butch) Henry


All over the planet we shall  remember Mr. Fowler with respect. He was an incredible

headmaster and teacher with no vices, except a real commitment to his students and staff.

It was his life. Though I haven't seen him for 43 years my encounters with him are indelible.

I remember in 1962 deservedly I got a caneing by him,upstairs in his office,he talked to me calmly

and showed me where I went wrong,then in degrees he talked more sternly and louder till I got

scared,he saw that,and as a result he knew that a soft caneing was in order,and I gratefully

received it, yes,he was a kind and sensitive man I shall always remember.


Thank you Stephen for this site. It is a main conduit for millions of memories .We all owe you a debt of gratitude.


michael williams


I wrote this sonnet for Henry on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the school in 1984.

It was beautifully illuminated and framed so that it could be presented to Henry at the ceremony.

I think it is just as appropriate now as a tribute so send it to you. It had my signature at the bottom and

that of the then Governor General, Sir Florizel Glasspole.

Regards, Marie Marie Fregory

                     Henry Fowler.


Of all the glorious dreams of eager youth

The visions born of inspiration fine

Fulfilment comes to few, a sober truth,

The others fade, an all too frequent sign

Of man's unwillingness to sacrifice

That those who follow reap what he has sown.

We honour one this day who paid this price;

His qualities by all of us are known

And by the many scattered far and wide

Who but for him would never have achieved

Their life's ambition.  All in him take pride

And thank him from the heart.  Be not deceived,

When his allotted time on earth is spent

The lives he touched will be his monument.


A Remembrance of Henry Fowler



I will forever remember Mr. Henry Fowler as a man of intelligence, vision and passion.  As a young boy at the Priory School, I was completely taken by this man, who most mornings appeared at out school assembly, resplendent in his Headmaster’s robes, intoning the day’s call to study.  His cultured manner, his readings of scripture or poetry, and his interest in each student were reminders that one had a duty above self interest, and that the pursuit of excellence mattered.


Much time has passed, and children grow into adults, becoming consumed with matters of career and family. Yet after thirty some odd years, I remember Henry Fowler well.   Such memories, and the moral compass he lived by and helped instill into so many, are part of his legacy.  His spirit will long live on.




Dr. William (Billy) Jones

Priory school, 1968-‘71


I was greatly chagrined learning of Henry Fowler's passing. Henry and  I met in 1944 when I assisted Noel Vaz with the production of the musical "Vagabond King" performed at the Ward Theatre. Shortly thereafter Henry informed me that his French teacher was drafted and inquired if I would consider teaching French at Priory. I spent 2 years there as a teacher. During that time I learned to appreciate Henry's endless knowledge and his genuine concern for the children in his care. I have met a number of educators around the world but never one who so patiently, and consistently,  assured the success of those entrusted to him. In retrospect, I can only say that Jamaica must be proud to have had a man of Henry Fowler's caliber as a native son. 

Fred Mann


Blessings and love to all Priory students on a very sad day...those of us who knew Mr Fowler were blessed to be in his presence as students...there were so many great moments to start would be to never end...lots of love to the family and to all the Priory crew.




I'm so sorry to hear of Mr. Fowler's death.

I will always remember Mr. Fowler as a man who dedicated his life to educating and enlightening young people.

My sympathies to his family. I'm so lucky to have had known Mr. Fowler.


Simon Hernould.


Having been away have only just read the sad news of Henry Fowler’s death so in haste am putting down some thoughts about one of the people who had a great effect upon my life


As you go through life you collect and, hopefully, note those things which helped to form you into what you have become.  These forming ‘things’ are not just events and incidents but include people.  In some instances all three may be combined and revolve around one person.  In my case it was Henry Fowler. 


One of the biggest events in my, then young life, was going to Priory School.  In the case of incidents it was attending morning assembly and listening to Henry read phrases from the bible which set the tone of how one should live.   In the case of people the event and incidents were all tied to Henry Fowler.  His agreement to accept me as a pupil was very much a turning point in my life.  The regular occurrences of the messages he delivered at morning assembly instilled guidelines which I like to think have lasted me a long time.  His ability to develop young people and the way he did it gave me a path to follow.  Like all of us we may, from time to time, stray from that path but the signposts were always there.  One of the great events in my time at Priory was being made Senior Monitor and feeling the level of responsibility which Henry had very much assisted to foster.


Sadly, since leaving Jamaica in 1953 I have only been back once and by then Henry had moved to the UK.  Although I make reasonably regular visits to that part of the world it was never been possible to make contact with him. 


Henry Fowler will always remain one of the caring people of my life, a man who had an ability to teach and impart knowledge, who created conditions which rounded out ones experiences.  Examples are the musical evenings spent listening to ‘good’ music on records and arranging a number of animals which we learned to care for.  He was also a great supporter of endeavours in sports and out door activities.  An example of support here was his visit to greet a group of us on a return trip to Blue Mountain Peak.


I am glad that I was lucky enough to have known Henry Fowler and am sad that he is no longer with us.  However, the things he taught and standards he set are still with us and they still provide reliable and true signs posts on how we should live.


As the master said, you have served me well and earned a place of honour.  Come, sit with me at my table.


Gill Ross


I was so very sorry to hear that Henry Fowler had passed away. I attended Priory School between 1959 and 1961 and while to my sorrow I do not have any specific memories of him, I was always aware of his kind, fatherly presence taking an interest in every boy, girl and teacher at Priory. I cannot remember anyone having a harsh word to say about him, and I can recall my parents talking of him in respectful tones. He was a great educator who has, I am sure, influenced the lives of generations of young people. He will be missed by everyone who came into contact with him.



Max Overton


In memory of an excellent headmaster who inspired his pupils to work hard, to give their best and in turn he earned the pupils respect and admiration. I will always remember him talking about his beloved Oxford University.

Marlene Garsia


Thankyou for the message regarding the passing of  our Mr Fowler.

I do remember him, especially when he retired in ca.1973. I too would like to offer my condolences.


Rob Silvera


I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Fowler's passing. So many owe him a great deal, myself included.

All the best

Ian Chambers. 


Dear Mr. Fowler;

To have been fortunate enough to attend Priory and to have known you was a great privilege.  Thank you for all that you did for my brother and I, in shaping our lives; you will never be forgotten.  May you forever rest in peace.

On behalf of the Cobbold family, I would like to extend our condolences to the Fowler Family.


Stefan Cobbold



It was with real sadness that I learned that Henry Fowler had passed away last week on Valentine’s Day.   There is no doubt that Mr. Fowler created something very special when he founded the Priory School.  Clearly his dedication to providing young people with an enlightened educational experience shines through the many tributes and comments that have appeared on this website.  His efforts impacted many of us that attended Priory and I will not forget how welcome he made me feel when I first arrived at the school from Canada in 1970.  The standard of excellence that Mr. Fowler set is undoubtedly a high benchmark for all of us to strive for, and I consider myself fortunate to have known him.


My deepest condolences to his wife Beryl and his family.




Scott Tapson

Priory School Student



It was with great sadness that I learned that Henry Fowler had died.  He left a huge legacy.    So many of us remember him with great affection and admiration.     It was my good fortune to have attended the Priory School in the late 1950’s, and how lucky we were to have had Henry Fowler as our Head Master.  He was a master of his trade.  He commanded respect and had a great sense of humour.


In my day, David Stiven was Head Boy and Judy Lang was Head Girl.   I was a member of Musgrave House.   Mr. Fowler had a good team around him.  Patrick Bourke, Eleanor Bourke, Mrs. Greta Bourke, Mrs. Earle, Mr. & Mrs. Long, Mr. Needham and Mrs. Hernould to name a few.    All of us remember Ann Costa holding the fort.  


At peace at last, and we shall always remember him.  


Georgette Motycka


It was with a great deal of sadness that I learned of Mr Fowler‘s passing. He was a truly great Jamaican who’s work with young people, first by starting  Priory School and his years as a teacher and a mentor will live in the memory and hearts of many. I started at Priory when I was only six and spent 12 years there, all four of the Trench family attended Priory at some time and have a lot to thank him for.  My memory of Mr Fowler is of a very strong man who was always, no matter what he did, fair and honest.

Would you kind pass along my deepest sympathies to Mrs Fowler and his family. He may be gone but he will never be forgotten.


Yours truly


Philip Trench


I will always remember his entrance to Monday morning assemblies, robes flowing,. He was such a presence! I am sure we all hold our special memories of him and hope his family will get some comfort in the knowledge he was held in high esteem by so many and touched so many lives. Priory was much more than a school, we were a family and we owe that to the dedication of our Headmaster.

                               My deepest sympathy to all his family. He will not be forgotten.

                                                  Elizabeth Trench( or Elizabeth' Ditch' as he so often referred to me.)


An era has ended with the death  of Mr Fowler, I was fortunate to have been able to remind and thank him on the many occasions we met in later years.

I will always be indebted to him for all he had done for me. I enjoyed attending Priory,  and working for him after I had left Priory.

James Lapsley


It's sad to say goodbye to such a good educator.  Henry Fowler provided a solid base for my own Priory years in the late 1960's, and it is a judgment of his dedication that so many former students have mentioned him.

Polly Gamble


I like to believe that Mr. Fowler continues to live on in all of us. He was a truly remarkable man who inspired several generations of Priory students and teachers. The fact that we have all come together after so many years is a testament to his legacy. Thank you Mr. Fowler.

Donald Bennett


Henry Fowler's influence on each of us who attended Priory is lifelong and permanent.  I'll always remember his commitment to our education, his sense of fun and humor, and his dedication to Priory.

My love and sympathies to his family.


Robin Samms


Henry Fowler was the first “Headmaster” I ever spoke to and I will always remember him with a certain amount of awe. He ran a wonderful school and I am grateful I was able to be there during his tenure. My sincere condolences to his family.

Best Regards,

Ruth Freeman (1967-70)


Henry Fowler had an enormous impact on my life. As both my teacher and headmaster, he taught me that a mixture of fairness, laughter, discipline and hard work made for a successful life. My memories of him in the 1960's are of a decent human being who lead by inspiration and example. His contribution to the nation of Jamaica and mentor to thousands of men and women around the World, form a unique legacy not to be equaled.

George Benson

Old Boy 1962-1968


Henry Fowler  r.i.p. 

From Stuart Shalom    Priory School 1965 to 1968                                                                  



                                                                                             March 2007

I was much saddened to learn of the passing of our esteemed headmaster , a man full of good humour and much charm. How  well I remember the kind glint in his eye as he was admonishing me, from time to time, for some silliness or other. 

He was not often without that wry smile and the quizzical look through the top corner of his eyes, head slightly bent as he sat and listened to some wayward answer to his question or some stupid excuse delivered by one of we pupils.  

He was a fine teacher ,very caring and rightfully proud of his flock of students. 

I remember him also as a wise owl and the contribution of John Tansey reminds me of an occasion when after disturbing his lesson, one day, with an entirely innocuous click of my tongue, following which what I am sure was entirely unrelated laughter broke forth, he gave me yet another opportunity to visit MR FOWLER the following Saturday morning. On that morning Henry had me in his study and I was expecting the worst. 

Instead he told me to think, before I make a quip, whether it was worth a Saturday morning clearly indicating that if it was then it would not be so bad. Wise words to teach me that my contributions should be worthy of the consequences………..something I am still striving to achieve but a long remembered lesson. 

We were privileged to know him and be under his care, he will be long remembered with great respect and affection. 

I am delighted to contribute to the celebration of his life


I was greatly saddened to read that Henry Fowler had died in the Sunday Gleaner of February 18th during a recent visit to Jamaica.  I kept the cutting which appeared as an editorial in the newspaper and have attached it.



The writer's 'opinion' detailed some of Henry Fowler's many achievements on behalf of Jamaica, the country he cared about passionately.  Most of those who attended the Priory, including myself, have never forgot what both he and the Priory taught us.  I think this is well illustrated in the many glowing tributes the Priory School website has received from former pupils all over the world.


I would however take exception to one comment in the 'Opinion' which refers to the school Henry Fowler founded as being ' widely regarded as an institution for the elite'.  The Priory was never that.  Its pupils came from many different countries and from all walks of life.  Most subscribed to the words in Jamaica's National Pledge, which I believe was written by Henry Fowler, that states all of us 'should play a part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race'.


It has been suggested by you that an appeal should be made to raise funds for The Priory School to act as a permanent memorial to Henry Fowler.  An excellent idea, I’m sure many people would willingly contribute and provide a fitting tribute to a great man.


Yours sincerely,


Allison Hopkin




Everyone is going to die that is for sure, but it is what you do with your life that makes you what you are and Mr. Fowler has too many great things for us that knew him not to remember this great man and his contribution to the  education of thousands

Long live this great man's memories 

Neil Harvey


Mr. Henry Fowler had a vision of Jamaica and achieved it at Priory school. “Out of Many One People” 

When I attended school in the 60’s the students came from many nationalities.

As students we were a part of our own education (Racial tolerance) 

We learned to think, not memorize.

I remember getting an A+ from Mrs. Fowler (English Teacher) for memorizing a poem and substituting a word with another word that had a similar meaning.

She praise me for “obviously understanding the poem” or “you would not have substituted that word with another appropriate one”.

So I did not remember the poem verbatim but I understood it.

Very unusual! Even today.

 Mr. Henry Fowler  was a kind an gentle man I loved him but I was terrified of Mrs. Fowler (Big Smile)

He has done what he asked us all to do.

Left his mark on the future.

I am a celebration of his life.

May he continue to inspire others through US, his students?

Michael Hector Bernard


I wasn't lucky enough to know Mr Fowler well as he had already left Priory when I was there, but when I was up at Oxford in the 1980s (having been in Oxford House at Priory, must have been destiny!), I contacted him and he took me out to lunch. What a lovely and fascinating man! The fact that so many people are proud to have been at Priory is largely down to him. His legacy has enriched a lot of people's lives and will continue to do so.

Helen Burford



(pictures from Peter Vaculik)

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It was my privilege and pleasure to have been at the Little Theatre last evening for the celebration in honour of Henry Fowler.  I never met him , I did not attend Priory School , but  my life has been blessed by the thousands of occasions I have sat  for some function or other in the Little Theatre.  I am a  passionate follower of the artistic , cultural life of Jamaica  and I also lecture at the Edna Manley  College Of  Visual And Performing Art  in Kingston .  I know  of the profound contribution of Henry and Greta Fowler to theatre in Jamaica. 


What I learned last night is that this was truly a  ‘Renaissance Man ‘  !   The speakers last night were only able to hint at the scope and depth of his work , involvement in and commitment to the development of the Jamaican nation.


I do hope that someone is about to  , document in book format , a history of the life, times and achievement of Henry Fowler.  I look forward to buying and reading this book.

Jeanette Campbell

 Click here to e-mail Jeanette



M.C. Barbara Gloudon

LTM Pantomime Company

Penny Shaw (Sylvester)

Robert Fowler



Jamaica Observer - Lifestyle

Theatre founder Henry Fowler remembered 

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

 The Little Theatre Movement hosted a programme at the theatre on Monday afternoon to honour the memory of co-founder, Henry Fowler CD, who died in Oxford, England, on February 15 at the age of 92.

 It was a 'mixed bag' of performances and speeches by persons who bore testimony to Fowler's involvement with ,and contribution to education, arts and culture and his personal achievement as a teacher, cultural administrator and diplomatic envoy.

 The programme, chaired by Barbara Gloudon, featured renditions of poetry by actress Leonie Forbes, who recited the moving For What It Is To Die by Khalil Gibran and students of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts who dramatised an excerpt from HD Carberry's I Shall Remember.

 An ensemble from the Pantomime Company did two songs, Higher Ground and Look Wha' Mi Live Fi See, both from past Pantomimes. The noted tenor Cecil Cooper rendered Andrew Lloyd Webber's Gethsemane, while soprano Pat Gooden sang the Noel Coward composition I'll See You Again.

 Individual performances also came from the National Dance Theatre Company's Mark Phinn in a solo from the work Sympathy And Love, choreographed by Clive Thompson and Warren McPherson, a student of the School of Music performed Two-part Intervention In F by JS Bach on keyboard. Musical contributions were also made by the Recorder Consort of the Jamaica Recorder Society led by Rosina Christina Moder.

 The performance pieces were interspersed with voices of family, friends and associates of Henry Fowler. They included nephew Mr Robert Fowler and Mrs Penny Sylvester, granddaughter of Mr Fowler's first wife, Greta, who came with a small family delegation from Los Angeles for the event. A message was read from widow, Beryl Fowler.

 Simon Clarke spoke of Henry Fowler's contribution to education and diplomacy, while Peter Goldson of the Rhodes Trust reminded that Mr Fowler, at the time of his death, had been Jamaica's oldest Rhodes Scholar, having won the award in 1935. George Carter and Wycliffe Bennett closed the speeches by highlighting the near 70-years of Henry Fowler's contribution to Jamaican theatre.

 His accomplishments included the establishment of the Jamaica Theatre School, which was later handed over to the Government in the 1970's to become the National School of Drama. He also worked extensively with the Little Theatre and the Ward Theatre. He was founder and principal of the Priory School, a consultant to the Ministry of Education and diplomatic representative of Jamaica at UNESCO, Paris.

 The performances ended with the audience, led by musicians Peter Ashbourne (keyboard), Grub Cooper (piano), Calvin "Bubbles" Cameron (trombone), Simone Fletcher (keyboard) and Calvin Mitchell (drum), in a rousing sing-along of the classic Pantomime song Evening Time, lyrics by Louise Bennett, music by Barbara Ferland.


Click here to visit the Jamaican Observer Website




Henry was good enough to allow me to enrol at his school-at-home, 124 Old Hope Road, Matilda's Corner.  Three of us - Owen Butler, John Rudder and I - lived at some distance and he gave us lunch, to the strains of his favourite composer, Mozart, played on a wind-up Motorola at 78rpm! I believe that, even then, Miss Lou was looking after his kitchen!


Mrs MacKinnon and Mrs Earle comprised the rest of the faculty.  Mrs Mac, after asserting that the Latin she taught was a "dead" language, was somewhat surprised to hear it in frequent conversational use at the luncheon table.


No.124 did not boast a Chemistry Laboratory, but Mr Fowler encouraged all fields of knowledge and put together a number of makeshift chemicals.  I remember his horror when the introduction of Francis Kirkwood to the combination of Potassium Permanganate and Hydrochloric Acid nearly triggered disaster . . .


The move from 124 to Mrs Bourne's lovely property at 32 Hope Road was quite a dimensional shift for all of us:  tennis courts, sports field, cricket and football pitches and the additional of such exceptional educators as John Laidlaw.


And education, in all positive aspects, was always Henry's prime objective.  He had an unshakable confidence in the ability of his pupils to achieve their goals and he dedicated his life to helping them realize their potential.


I think he will be forever remembered by the passage from Corinthian's he always read at the beginning of each Term:  " . . . and now there remain faith, hope and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity."

Alan Dawson

Henry Fowler, Alan Dawson, Beryl Fowler and Eva Dawson in the Fowler's garden, Oxford, UK in 2002

I was in Mrs. Fowler's class BCA in 1967 I believe but missed the class photo. Anyway, I did an English paper for her class and spelled the word Colour the American way Color. She marked it wrong as a spelling error which made a failing mark on the paper. Had she marked it right I would have scraped passed with a 6. So I made the mistake of arguing with her about it.  

 She yelled at me from the top of her lungs to which I'm sure they heard 2 class rooms away. She sent me upstairs to Mr. Fowlers office. As I was leaving the class room She yelled. " GOOD RIDDANCE" I'll never forget that day however

Now I laugh. Needless to say. Mr. Fowler did not cane me. He talked to me in a way that I can still hear in my ears. As He quoted in the Bible readings. He who have ears to hear,  let them hear.

Ken Cargill           


I would like to add my name and George's (Garsia) name to tributes to Henry Fowler on his 90th birthday. He was an excellent Headmaster - and teacher. The system over here (in the UK) could well do with more like him.

Do give him my best wishes.

Kind regards

Marlene Garsia Hills       


Recollections of Henry Fowler, the Teacher, for that is how I came to know him and knew him, are at once both easy and difficult.  Easy because without hesitation,  I can say that in my experience, he is by far and away the most accomplished Teacher I have ever met.  At the same time, recollections are difficult, not because of the passage of time, and it has been a long time, 43 years since I attended my last class, but because there are so many.

In thinking this through, one attribute of the man still stands out for me today, and I hope my words are up to the level he would have expected from us.  I think this attribute is an 'unrehearsed simplicity and accuracy' in the use of the language that allowed Mr. Fowler to deliver a level of clarity in teaching that inspired us. He turned on lights in our minds. I still marvel today at his gift for teaching and the ease with which he accomplished this.  He was able to teach any subject in our high school curriculum comfortably, and this confidence I believe carried over to us.

My earliest recollection of Henry Fowler, the man, came from my father who know him as a boy as he knew his family and knew of his progress from early days through to founder and Head of Priory.  It was my Dad saying to me that he intended to send us boys to Priory for he knew this Headmaster to be extraordinarily bright, Jamaica or Rhodes scholar winner, I do not recall which, or was it both, and with an academic record unmatched in Jamaica.  like any father, he wanted the best for us, and Henry Fowler was the best.

Many recollections of Henry Fowler, the Teacher, still have place of recall with me today. I remember that he would substitute for the math teacher on many occasions.  This is a subject that still haunts me today as I am sure it does a great many others.  I remember one incident in class that stands out for me because he made me feel that "I" was onto something grand, a breakthrough as it were, into the realms of great discoveries, and it inspired me to greater efforts of study and diligence in homework assignments afterwards, not a word one would have used with any conviction in my case.  Mr. Fowler had somehow successfully proved to me mathematically that any number to the power zero is equal to one. One must understand that this was and sadly, once more is, an elusive concept for me to grasp with any certainty short of precarious, or even a meagre pretence of understanding, but he did it. And I understood it... then.  In a blaze of enthusiasm, I burst out in class that if this was the case, then our 'numbers' as we know them were.. are inherently inaccurate, and therefore we could safely dismiss mathematics as a useful subject on which to expend such amounts of our youthful energies.  Mr. Fowler agreed on the first point but alas, could find no common ground with me on the second.  I continued to labour with mathematics.

Gordon Brown   


IT all started because he was giving me hell for not going to sports ... I made a bet that I would attend if he would, that we would have a race, if I won, I wouldn't have to attend again, if he won then I would attend regularly. He accepted the bet. That afternoon I arrived on a horse....  He laughed and laughed ... said  didn't we agree on a foot race? I assured him that we had, but that he didn't say how many legs....  We had a so called race for about 25 yards he was pretty good  he claims he won..... I am sure I did.... He claims I didn't win by more than twice the distance 4 legs vs. 2 ....... it was a great time,  we sure did laugh...... I never again attended sports...  I can remember Pat Bourke being there and several others, not sure who though.... 

David de Sousa 


I was delighted to learn that Henry Fowler, is turning ninety. What a wonderful man he is. With his efforts, along with the assistance of another great man, Mr. Patrick Bourke, I managed to survive being educated.

I remember Mr. Fowler as being firm, direct and always the figure of authority. At the same time kind, fair and always a gentleman. The fact that he has achieved this milestone after dealing with the likes of me and many of my contemporaries is a miracle (you know who you are). His tolerance and understanding is legendary. Once, an exasperated teacher remarked that I would be the death of her. But not Mr. Fowler! He possesses a wonderful leadership quality, and that is to see the best in people, especially his students. I will share two examples in honor of his ninetieth birthday.

I was never much for school work. But I was a great student of other things, one of which was the sea. Even though I was doing poorly in some of my classes, Mr. Fowler agreed that the school would finance a fifty gallon saltwater aquarium that I would build in the main library. It contained live coral, colourful fish, sea anemones, baby lobsters and even a small octopus named Leonard and a puffer fish named Charlie. They were the delight of the school. Mr. Fowler would proudly show the aquarium to dignitaries who occasionally visited. But I think it was enjoyed most by the prep school children. Mrs. Bertram would bring them over to the library and I would give short talks on ocean life and they would watch in amazement as I fed brine shrimp to all of the creatures. Mr. Fowler saw to it that I was given a special award for my project at the end of the year even though I had failed some of my classes. He had taken a risk and given me the opportunity to be successful and contribute to the school even though it wasn’t part of the curriculum. These days we would call that ‘teaching out of the box’.


Another happened one morning about the time that the GCE O Level results were to be announced. One of the Prefects informed me that I was to report to the Head Master’s office immediately (gulp). I nervously climbed those creaky mahogany stairs to the second floor. Mr. Fowler’s secretary was waiting for me. Without haste, she ushered me into his office and shut the door as she retreated. Mr. Fowler sat behind his large wooden desk glaring at me over his spectacles.
“Sit down Cargill” he ordered, picking up what looked like a letter . He sat there studying it silently for what seemed like an eternity.
“Cargill”, he said, finally putting the paper down. “I have received a letter from Cambridge University regarding your O Level literature exam. You misspelled the examination subject at the top of the paper and they have refused to look at it further. The examiners sent it back marked; UNREAD, FAILED. How do you spell literature Cargill?”
“L I T U R A T U R E,” I spelled out.
“No! L I T Eeeee Cargill! Eeee!”
He then leaned back in his chair, folded his fingers and gave a look that reduced me to dirt. Then came the bucket of water that turned me into mud.
“Cargill,” he said leaning forward and shaking his head, “this is unacceptable. This reflects badly on the entire school . I am sorely disappointed in you. I know that you are capable of better. You will write-out literature correctly two thousand times and have it on my desk before the end of school tomorrow. And, there will be no repeat of this sort of inexcusable error. Do we have an understanding Cargill?”
“ Yes sir,” I choked.
“That will be all”. And the meeting ended, or so I thought. As I was about to open his office door to leave, he called my name once again but this time in a bright and cheery voice. I turned. He was now standing. He had that signature wry grin on his face. “By the way,” he said heartily, “I wanted to congratulate you on starting the school’s first swim team this year. You did a fine job, well done.” He stepped from behind his desk and shook my hand warmly. His smile told me that he still approved and believed in me. I was determined to do better next time. I have never forgotten the feeling.

Such is the talent of this man and the simple wisdom and love that he applied to teaching. My life has been immeasurably enriched because of his tutelage and the fine school and staff that he lead. I was very fortunate and remain grateful. It is largely to his credit that I can even write this. Thank heavens for spell check. Happy Birthday Mr. Fowler and thank you for all you did for me.

Randy Cargill,
Palm Springs, California


Mr.Fowler was one of the most influential people in my life. His example moulded my view on morality, democracy, sportsmanship, prejudice and so many other things.

Being the Head Boy in his school was such an honour I am forever grateful for the trust he put in me and his willingness to overlook my obvious faults.

I will never forget Monday morning assembly and his addresses to the School.

Sayings like "Men cheer and fools jeer", his occasional reading of the poem "Desiderata"

His teachings from the Bible, his reading of the Parable "The Good Samaritan"

His insistence that we all learn and recite a poem of our choice, with expression and meaning. 

I know how much of a positive influence he was on all of us that had the good fortune to attend Priory while he was there.

On a personal note one of the regrets of my life is missing His 80th Birthday celebration.

 Mr. Fowler if you are reading this, I want you to know that, I will never forget you and your example.

 On behalf of all of us that were there with you, Students and Faculty alike, a big thank you.   

Simon Blake

Head Boy 1971 1972 

Henry Fowler as my Head Master at Priory School from the time I was 11years old until I was sixteen - formative years with a teacher who had a life long influence on me.

I believe, although I was never clever or good at passing exams, I learned, under his tutelage, all the things that help to make life full and enjoyable.  I never understood Pythagoras' theorem but could, and still can, recite reams of Macbeth and the Merchant of Venice because we ourselves produced and acted in these plays amongst others.  I learned to live and study and play in in a multi cultural society and encouraged to be thoughtful as well as to have original and independent thought.

Without a doubt my Priory School days were the happiest and most carefree of my life and this I know was largely due to that school's leadership.  

Sarah Foot.

Dear Mr. Fowler,

On the occasion of your very special birthday, I am delighted to send to you our most respectful and affectionate greetings. It has long been evident that your principles were the greatest motivator and educator in the lives of my siblings Albert, Ross, Karl, Gayla, Donna, and myself. During our get-togethers, we look back with great pleasure to our Priory years. All of us have been able to conduct our lives confidently and responsibly because of the most important opportunity which you gave to my mother, Linda, at a time of crisis in our lives.

With sincere affection from all my family, Marsha Henriques


I would like to send you my tribute to Henry Fowlers 90th Birthday. I wish to convey my very best wishes to a fabulous headmaster who dedicated himself to his school, Priory. I am very proud to have been a student at Priory and I thank him for making us know we could do or be whatever we wanted .I hope somewhere in his memory of thousands of names he remembers Elizabeth Trench. Happy birthday Mr. Fowler I hope your day is fabulous. I will always have fond memories of my school years at Priory.

Elizabeth Trench


Dear Henry,
Even though my memories of the Priory School are nearly 60 years old, they are still clearly in focus. The school was brand new and the teachers were filled with zeal and enthusiasm which rubbed off on the students. We were wildly proud of our school, and I do not remember a single day I did not want to attend; every day was an adventure.
You were a fair and loving headmaster and we all respected you. You and Greta believed in an ideal, a perfect educational form, to which you adhered. Central to the ideal was that we students should respect each other -- and the English language. I remember plays and speech-making contests out on the brightly-lit lawn. I remember sports days with Molly Huggins and my mother, Petra Browne, racing ahead of the other mothers. I remember Greta writing a poem in my autograph album about the importance of work -- school work. I remember assemblies where I heard you reading the words "I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal," which certainly gave me something to think about. I remember how much my parents, Phiz and Petra, loved spending time with you. I remember darling Patrick, who read me bedtime stories when we were all up in the mountains.
Henry, thank you for being my headmaster. You are still my head master.
Happy birthday, and love always, Valerie Browne Lester
P.S. My book, PHIZ THE MAN WHO DREW DICKENS was published in London by Chatto & Windus last November. I couldn't have done it without the Priory School!!

Valerie Browne


Being American, and thus not used to British attire, Henry Fowler cut an impressive figure when he marched into the weekly assembly in his black, judge-type robes. As Marie Gregory pointed out, he made everyone feel welcome. I needed that warmth as I was still reeling from culture shock. I'll never forget one sad assembly when Mr. Fowler had to announce the death of a fellow student. He flipped his car driving too fast. I believe everyone cried that day, students, staff & even Mr. Fowler,  I remember a really funny time when Mr. Fowler wanted the senior class to participate in a book fair by dressing as a favourite character from a book. He told them they could pick a book for him, and which character. Well, that mean class made Mr. Fowler be Tinkerbell! Not only did he wear a pink tutu, and carried a star wand, but he acted out the part by walking through the school, waving the wand at everyone as if in blessing. What a good sport. I remember that the American boys wanted to add American football to our already full program of sports. Mr. Fowler agreed and, on the first day of play, Charlie Brown was knocked out cold! Mr. Fowler cancelled American football.

I still treasure the comments Mr. Fowler wrote on one of my report cards. He said, "Juanel, at her best, is excellent".

I'd like to send thanks to Mr. Fowler for being such a wonderful Headmaster, with special, Father-like qualities! God bless you.

Juanel Henry   


I would like very much to send all the very best to Mr. Henry Fowler on his 90th., and wish him many many more, and just thank him for all the Extremely memorable years I had under his leadership at Priory in the Forties.


 George Gregory

One of my first one-on-one experience with Henry Fowler has stuck with me. I got into trouble for doing something stupid in class. I was sent upstairs to see Mr. Fowler, I was very nervous and was expecting the worst. After a short wait I was send into the office. He calmly asked me to sit down and formally introducing himself. He then started to talk to me about my future and wanted to know all about me and what I wanted to do when I grew up. After what seemed like a half-hour discussion, he sent me back to class, his closing words to me were that he enjoyed our talk but would prefer that I did not get sent up to see him for doing stupid things in class. Those were the only words that were exchanged in relation to my bad behaviour. Needless to say I never got sent back to see him and we always had a good relationship after that. 

Julian Spence       


Henry, here's wishing you a very happy birthday.

What an innings! 90 not out! Keep well and make it to the century!

You have a host of happy memories and are part of the happy recollections

of the many people you have touched.

We are all so grateful to you for your vision, kindness and unfailing generosity of spirit.

Much love, Marie Gregory. 



Dear Mr. Fowler:


I know over the last several years of our association you’ve insisted I call you by your given name.  However, the occasion of your ninetieth birthday brings to mind the many wonderful years that I called you ‘Mr. Fowler’ and somehow it seems fitting that I do so here again.  Saying this made me realize that we never had a nickname for you, at least none that I can remember in my time.  No doubt this is a mark of the high degree of respect that we, your students, had for you, and it’s something that has grown with the passing years.  I have for some time known how fortunate and even blessed many of us were to have received the benefits of your vision and enlightenment.  And I’m not seeing things through the ‘tone and tint’ of nostalgia, but in clear hindsight informed by some wisdom gained over time.  I have, Mr. Fowler, so many things to be thankful for and the Priory that you founded and furnished for many such as my two brothers and I was one of them. 


Therefore, it is in gratitude that I will spare you a longer tribute, for which I’m sure you will be thankful, and return to the main purpose.  This is to wish you a Happy Birthday, Mr. Fowler, to ask you to continue taking good care of yourself and to extend my greetings to Mrs. Fowler.


With affection and respect,


Douglas Brown

Priory Alumnus, 1957 to 1968       


I am so glad to have the opportunity to convey this greeting to Mr. Fowler.
It was, in retrospect, a real privilege for me to have received an education at Priory School. I don't believe I felt that way at that time....
At that time, it was often something that a boy had to endure in order to get to the end of the school day when the real fun would begin.
Life's experience however, has shown me just how valuable were the lessons learned both in and outside the classroom just how deeply ingrained in my psyche are the methods used by that gentleman among gentlemen, Mr. Henry Fowler.
Who else could accomplish the absorbtion into our brains the solution of the Pythagorean theorem with as much success as our geometry teacher, none other than Mr. Henry Fowler?
As he chalked hatched lines (bamboo) and wavy lines (snake) to fill various squares and triangles on the blackboard, Mr. Fowler would explain; "The sum of the areas of sineeak and bamboo equals the area of the square on the hypotenuse." He would inevitably conclude his proofs with the words; "QED, quite easily done."
I believe Mr. Fowlers' simple, imaginative explanations of complex theorems comprised the kernel of some of the most valuable lessons I have received during my life. They were examples of methodologies by which to solve many other of life's mysteries and left me convinced that there are no problems, only solutions.
Then there were the insightful teaching techniques used outside of the classroom, on sports days for example. Boys were often pitted against girls and weak contestants against strong. This sometimes seemed unfair and often injured our pride, but how much harder we strove to succeed in an environment of friendly competition.
The school environment which Henry Fowler created at Priory was truly inspired when compared to many wherein little or no incentives exist to aspire to greater achievement?
For these reasons and for all the many ways in which Mr.Henry Fowler and Priory School enabled me to learn how to learn, I am truly grateful.
I wish you Henry Fowler, a happy, healthy 90th. birthday and many more celebrations in the future.

Michael Brien.  


I wish to add my good wishes to Mr. Henry Fowler on his birthday today.  I was fortunate to have received the Horace Fowler Memorial Scholarship in memory of his father, in 1970, one year after I started at Priory.  I wish him a wonderful day, full of pleasant memories.  Well done, Mr. Fowler.


Best Regards,

Sonia M. Reid



Dear Mr. Fowler,


Long before Howard Gardner, you recognized the existence of multiple intelligences within individuals. Your courage to follow up that recognition with the vision of a school that would give youngsters an opportunity to be the very best that they could be, indicated a man who was surely a Giant among men. Usually the word hero is reserved for those who react to a circumstance in which they find themselves, and effect an unusually unselfish deed. It seldom requires a clear and deliberate vision.


Acting upon your vision to create The Priory School, and defining that vision with the commitment to, and caring for students required a depth of understanding of the human spirit, and how students learned that was way before its time. Your vision was not the shallow fads that come and go every three or four years, but one that would stand the test of time, as evidenced by the quality of students who are now congratulating you on your long “not-out” inning.


Personally, I am still very proud to have served under your leadership, and overjoyed to have experienced your vision up close and personal. I am still an active educator in the United States, and have not seen nor heard of a school that embodies the climate of Priory. You provided every student with quality teachers, a climate of respect of  and valuing for diversity, an opportunity to display their intelligences in many forms, a sense of  belonging, and most importantly, a caring leader who was a steward of all who were members of his community.


I am still enjoying contact with many of our past students, and they all speak about their Priory days with tremendous respect and joy. As a matter of fact, I am enjoying a weekend with Andrew Lobban and his wife in their beautiful home, (Andrew spent his school days in the Bourkes household) and typing this note from his computer.


Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to serve the students of the Priory School.






Peter Chavannes                           

Sportsmaster/Vice Principal   



Dear Mr. Fowler,


Randy Cargill just got me connected to this site and it is exciting indeed. To discover that you are well and still in touch with past students of Priory is so good to know.


My maiden name was Darlene Ince, and I attended Priory from 1965 to 1969 (approximately). My two brothers Harry and Michael Ince also attended your school.


You have meant a lot in my life, even to this day. As headmaster of Priory you took a personal interest in the life of all those who came into contact with you (or so it seemed to me). I will never forget that at age 14 years old when I was getting ready to leave Priory and attend boarding school, you took me aside and gave me the most sincerest words of encouragement that I had ever received up to that point in my life. During my four years at Priory there were occasions that warranted the attention of the headmaster, and you were there in a way that was both non-judgemental and helpful. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all you have done.


I have been married for nearly 32 years to my husband Owen Plant and have three wonderful children, Owen, Lisa, and Stephen, who range in age from 26 to 30 years old. My husband and myself live in Thousand Oaks, California, U.S.A. I have gone back to university to get a degree in psychology and will be attending graduate school shortly. I can't help but believe that your influence helped bring me to this point.


With much gratitude and appreciation,

Darlene Plant       


'The truly wonderful times I spent with Penny (his grand-daughter ) at their home (flat)

in Kingston, the parties in London with them and of course at Mr Fowler's place in Kgn

with Jennifer and all the children.... bring back great memories. Our  time in London as a students was terrific!

I found in Penny a great friend... and then the many times we all got together with Mr Fowler home while

on vacations....

So I do hope that these memories stay alive - he has made such a wonderful contribution to all Priory School

children .... I wish him good health and hope that he reaches the century mark!'....

Suzanne Bradley

and also same for Carole and Peter Bradley


Vancouver Canada


Suzanne Bradley  Ince


90 and still going strong.  If only I can make it there.  All the best.  Polly Gamble and Family (Lil Gamble ex Librarian is 79 this year)



Happy Birthday, Mr. Fowler! I remember you fondly and well. You'd stride out to weekly assemblies on the back porch, wearing your black robe, and the faculty would gather around you as you addressed the entire student body packed on the hot porch. To this day I can hear you reading the parable of the farmer sowing the seed from the Gospels. I love it and think of you whenever I read it, and can still hear you booming, "He who has ears, let him hear." I attended Priory 67-69, in the years just before high school for me, because then my family was transferred away from Jamaica. My years at Priory were without doubt my best schooling years anywhere, and I will be forever grateful to you for your influence on my life! My brother, Norman Wolff, also attended Priory in those years. He's two years older than me and was a prefect and I'm sure joins me in sending you the very best birthday wishes!

With much love,

Jean Wolff,

California, USA       


Hello Mr Fowler

Neil Harvey here. Bet you can't forget that name - well if it still brings you nightmares I am sorry. Glad to see you're still around. Thanks to Stephen Smith I am able to apologise to you for all the stupid things I did while at Priory.  Looking back I remember a kind and understanding man. 

You chose well when you brought Peter Chavannes into Priory as this man was just like you, fair and understanding.

Thank you for letting me attend your school. I should have paid more attention but I am all right now!

Neil Harvey  

The warmth, leadership and love for all of us was deeply felt and as I chose a career path as an educator your influence continues to be present. Thank you and Happy Birthday.


Janet Palmer    


Dear Mr Fowler

it was with great pleasure that i learned of your 90 birthday, I don't have to tell you or anyone else of the history and love between yourself and Mrs Fowler...Greta.. and the Coore family. Thank you so much for your encouragement your guidance and your love through the years. I'll never forget when you arrived at the backstage of the Olympia in Paris with Mrs Fowler in tow, I'm sorry you had to come to such a smoke filled environment to see your former student in concert but I tried my best to make it worth your while...smile. May the light of JAH be a shining beam of love on you and yours for all your days, and I pray our next meeting will be in person.


Special love from David Michael and Ivan                 




I have told you on several occasions, but I would like to use this wonderful website that Stephen Smith has put together, to tell a wider audience how you have influenced the life of one of your teachers. You, Greta and your family gave me your friendship, a very warm welcome to Jamaica and a job for six years that I enjoyed enormously. You introduced me to so many people, who became life long friends, through Priory and in the Art and Theatre world by inviting me to many parties and asking me to help paint sets for Pantomimes. I learnt much more through you than I taught the students you employed me to teach. Above all, you enabled me to take the plunge into doing what I had always wanted: becoming a full time painter.... by offering a year's sabbatical to teachers who had taught at Priory for six years. This generosity helped considerably in the process of my being able to make my home and paint in the island with which I had fallen in love. A friend asked me, when he first came to my house, which, as you know enjoys a magnificent view, what I had ever done to deserve such a life. I repeat the question to you, who has contributed so much to it! 

With my heart-felt gratitude and very best wishes to you and Beryl


Graham Davis


Dear Mr. Fowler -


I am so glad to find the Priory website, and to learn that you are turning 90 this year.


I attended Priory only one year - 1961-1962 - but my family was stationed in Kingston from 1960 through 1976, so I was often home for summer and other holidays during the many years my parents lived in Stony Hill while I was away at boarding school and college in the States.


My father was Clinton Basler, of Sterling Drug, and in my Jamaica/Priory days I was Kathy (Katherine) Basler - my given name. However, since I'd been nicknamed Tina at birth, and was actually only Kathy for a short time during high school, I finally reverted to, and legalized myself as, Tina... and then I married a many named Mark Terry - so now I'm Tina Terry.


I presently live in Star Valley, Arizona - Arizona's newest incorporated town, with a population of about 2,500 - we're just outside of Payson - population of about 14,000. I love living in a small, rural town in the high desert of Arizona.


My mother and father are 88 and 87 respectively, and presently live in the house my dad was born in in Honolulu. They keep in touch with Graham Davis, and it was he who told them about the Priory website, which they forwarded to me. 


I think back very fondly at the high standards and expectations you created for us at Priory. I feel that I was very fortunate to get a great classical education at both Priory and then my boarding school in Virginia, Chatham Hall, from which I graduated in 1965. 


Because of the Priory website, I recently reconnected with my long-lost friend, Chiffy Martin, and we had a great long phone conversation recalling our days at Priory. 


Please accept, sir, my warmest regards and birthday wishes - God bless you and your family, and thank you for all you did for - and to! - all of us unruly students at Priory!


Much aloha,  

Tina Terry (Kathy Basler)


I can't remember having to go Mr. Fowler's Office, but I do remember him as being very hands-on. Always present, with a very intimidating presence, but always had time for anyone that wanted it.

The saddest day in Priory's history was when he and Mrs Fowler retired.

God Bless you Sir and many happy returns of the day and may you have many more to come...

Ann Guilfoyle


I was at the Priory from 1952 to 1957 when I left to go to boarding school in England as many of my peers did that year. As a measure of the excellent education we received I have to tell you that I arrived at my new school to discover that I had already covered the curriculum for the new school year in England, at the Priory in the previous year. Of course given this excuse, I sailed through my exams, was a clever clogs in Latin and French lessons as I was miles ahead of the other girls in the class and was hailed top of the class....alas true colours came out, I never had much self discipline as the first Mrs. Fowler, Greta Bourke, could tell you and certainly have some interesting memories of standing in the middle of the tennis courts for all the school to see (SENT THERE BY HENRY) for continually causing disruption in class. Suffice to say the very best education I ever received was under Henry's care and his understanding. I too cherish my old reports in which he got to the very essence of what makes me tick and my strengths and I have the happiest of memories of school days in Kingston and my life in Jamaica. Happy belated Birthday Pop, you made it such a happy and constructive time.

Jane Chrystal



I read with deep sorrow today, Christmas Day 2007, of the passing of a very dear friend and leader of a vibrant school and theatre company. 

I worked with Henry and Greta as Manager of the Little Theatre and the LTM Pantomime from 1971 to 1980 before moving back to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  I remember the kindness of both Henry and Greta when they asked me to return to Jamaica and help them with the development of Arts Management since there was now a great need in that area.  Dance, and theatre was on the fast track, more organized development was needed.  I learned so much from this man of vision, dignity and kindness.  He always had a kind word when the going was rough, always gave encouragement and somehow the strength to continue would surge after a smile and that twinkle in his eye. 

Even after I returned to live in the United States, I would receive a call every few months from Henry to see how I was doing and if I ever thought of returning to Jamaica.  He always said in every phone call that he would be moving back to England and wanted the LTM to continue its work.  The LTM continues to thrive, thanks to Henry and his devotion to Jamaica. 

Larry Shadeed, Oklahoma City, OK


My stay at Priory was  short indeed.  It was the school year of 1968/1969. The end of an era of great changes in the world.  The year a man stepped out of the lunar lander onto the surface of the moon,  making history. That year at Priory had a profound influence on me and continues to inform my life to this day.  I would like to share some of my personal memories of that time in honour of Henry Fowler, a true renaissance man.

I met Mr. Fowler one fine day after having had a very discouraging series of interviews with other schools.  He was an imposing figure of a man yet his warmth and sincere interest put me at ease immediately.  I had never seen a school like Priory.  Having come from very modern schools in Toronto I couldn't hide my dismay upon seeing the big old house and the open air classrooms.  It all looked other worldly to me.  We sat and talked about many things.  In  due course,  Mr. Fowler gently ushered me into another room to meet the English teacher. 

There sat a sparrow like woman perched on a seat by a tall window.  The shutters were thrown wide open and the sun was streaming in behind her,  highlighting her silhouette.  She introduced herself as 'Mrs. Hernould' and motioned for me to come and sit beside her.  With an outstretched arm,  she handed me a book of Shakespeare and asked me to read for her.  After five torturous minutes (which seemed like an eternity) she showed me some mercy and bade me to rest while we had a "little chat".  I expressed my concerns to her about the school,  most notably it's apparent state of disrepair and the lack of modern facilities.  A very stern look came over her face and then Mrs. Hernould said something I shall never forget.  She said "Kimberley, please remember this.  'All that glitters is not gold'".  This was a most poignant piece of wisdom which continues to inform my life to this day.  It was an invaluable lesson about the perils of judging a book by it's cover.  Soon enough I would discover that Mr. Fowler's school was indeed golden!  The lesson taught me to see,  not just with my eyes,  but with my heart.  To look deeper and remain open to life's possibilities. 

For those of us who attended Mr. Fowler's Priory,  much was expected yet much was given.  Excellence was encouraged and appropriately rewarded.  I well remember striving to make good grades so that my name would be mentioned aloud at the tri-weekly assemblies.  This school engendered a sense of pride in one's accomplishments and in one's own unique gifts be they academic,  creative,  artistic, athletic or myriad other possibilities.  Henry Fowler created a sanctuary where young men and women from disparate backgrounds and cultures could happily coalesce.  He  nurtured his flock of superb educators who strove to bring out the best in their charges.

I have many fond memories of Priory.  One favourite memory was rushing en masse from class and descending on Miss Lou's kiosk at break time.  We wolfed down the delicious hot patties and tangy, sugar coated tamarind balls.  Heavenly...! The boys played dominos under a lignum vitae tree at the centre of the courtyard.  Each in turn, slamming their tiles down on the picnic table tabletop with  such bravado!  Then there is my memory of sports day with it's flags of many nations presiding over the track.  An unforgettable day for athlete and spectator alike.  Memories of a trip to Port Royal to see the remains of the town built  with the ill gotten riches of Captain Morgan garnered from his pirate adventures.   Once a bustling and wealthy port of call,  later swallowed by the earthquake.  Not the least of my memories are visions of Henry Fowler with his iconic black robe floating behind him as he strode confidently across the courtyard to assembly,  where he would impart his considerable words of wisdom.  

That year at Priory had a profound influence on my young mind. Dear friends and memorable teachers.......I remain deeply touched by the experience.  Though Henry Fowler is no longer with us,  he leaves behind his great legacy,  his beloved Priory.  From an ever grateful student, thank you Henry Fowler.                            

Kim Howchin

December 2008




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This site was last updated Saturday, 20 December 2008 20:12