Charles Oxley

July 11, 2009

Charles Oxley was certainly a man with purpose who accomplished a lot during his life. Have you ever wondered what drove him?

Something many people will know is that Charles Oxley founded Scarisbrick Hall and Tower College on Christian principles. At Scarisbrick Hall School and Tower College particular emphasis was laid upon the spiritual aspects of the education which would “help pupils acquire a reverence for the Bible, a faith in God and a belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour”.

David Raynor, the Headmaster of Scarisbrick Hall actually wrote a biography of Charles Oxley’s life. It would be fascinating to read that biography, if you know where it can purchased, please share in the comments.

Charles Oxley lived life with a purpose (1922-1987)

Although I don’t have access to the biography of Charles Oxley, here is an enlightening message given by John Burn in a series he gave at the Christian Institute entitled ‘Contending for the faith’:

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The Life of Charles Oxley

To sum the message up, Charles Oxley was a man driven by a love for God and a passion to defend Godly principles in Britain. This passion drove Mr Oxley to establish two independent Christian Schools and protest against sex shops, child abuse, pornography and blasphemy.

What are your memories of Charles Oxley?

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Eddie Wong July 12, 2009 at 12:18 am

Mr. Oxley and Mr. Raynor are great.
I have a lot of respect for these two men. They were very strict, but fair. They were very patient with foreign students who spoke little English.

I love them.

Les Clansey August 9, 2009 at 12:06 am

Charles Oxley was a man of rigid principles, but always willing to give his pupils another chance. For which I am personally grateful.
His school helped define my life and beliefs.

Rod Higginson November 14, 2009 at 5:44 am

Les Clansey I do believe we may have been in the same class if so do please get in touch by e-mail

Rod Higginson

Hannah December 8, 2009 at 6:58 am
jonathan armitage February 27, 2010 at 5:41 am

As a pupil from 1969 – 1974 I can honestly say Charles Oxley was a bigoted zealot of the school of Chritianity that owed more to the excesses of Cromwellian Puritanism than any passing acquaintance with the, as it then was, twentieth century. Mr CP Kimber was the person who provided both inspiration and ” pastoral guidance”. Honourable mention should also go to David Raynor. I hope the school , in its new incarnation succeeds and prospers. I certainly appreciate my time there.

Michael LAU from Hong April 1, 2010 at 3:38 am

I am really sad to learn Mr. Oxley passed away in 1987. I was at Scarisbrick Hall from 79-83. He was a gentle and kind man. God bless him.

Richard Hodson 1974-1980 April 14, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Thank goodness the subject of sex was taboo at Charles Oxley’s Scarisbrick Hall. I doubt I would have survived seven years of being told I was a pervert by someone I should have been able to repect.

stephen phillips January 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I dont want to be downright nasty because mr oxley is dead so cant defend himself , but i attended scarisbrick hall between 1966 /67 to 72 and memories recall him to be a religious zealot , with extreme self righteousness, this allied with intolerance and a dash of (dare i say it !!!!!! oh go on ) sadism made my (fortunately infrequent ) encounters with him very unpleasant ! Every time he saw me he singled me out as “scruffy” for which i received the cane or slipper , i soon learned to hide at the sight of him on the far horizon .: (
WELL!!!!!!! any way as i said i dont want to be nasty , (apart from the above he was OK) he he
`I m still in touch with some of my classmates , tony adams, robert etherington, and mark tyndall runs a very nice retaurant in southport (if you like fish)
ps i think jonathan armitage may have been in our form ( the thickos )
1b,2b,3b4b, etc etc , All in all fun times with friends : )

Timothy Chin March 5, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I was a pupil of Tower College from ’76 to ’79 and Scarisbrick Hall from ’79 to ’81. Mr.Oxley was a strict and strong Christian. Whenever he was around, we would do our best to be at our best behaviour. I remember names like Michael Lau and Eddie Wong from above comments, they were my contemporaries in Scarisbrick from ’79 to ’81.

He imparted Christian values into all his pupils with christian messages from the bible either through himself or his staff before lessons would begin every morning. I wasn’t a christian at that time but they built the foundations for me to accept Jesus easier later in life which I am forever grateful.

Jolyon Latham May 12, 2011 at 10:04 am

Pupil 1980 – 1989
Mr. Sutton-Smith was great.

p caley February 6, 2012 at 10:59 am

I found him a bully -not the pleasant person and not a nurturing type – I was pleased to leave tower college all those years ago. I am sure there are many accolodes to him but just wanted to express a balanced viewpoint. Would have been well suited to the Dickens era !

Graham Peters April 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I totally respect Charles Oxley unfortunately not whilst growing up as a boarder from 72-77. Read his biography by D Raynor if you’re not convinced. Good to see some familiar names remembering this great man !

Michael Stephenson June 1, 2012 at 12:42 am

Mr Oxley was fair and devout in his beliefs. He led the school with firmness and compassion with some very interesting ways of dealing with boys like myself who were a little on the wild side. My favourite being when I did not get my hair cut and he produced a pair of clippers and took of only one side of my sideburns and the errant hair.
He was a key part of my education and make of me as a man, along with Mr Rioch.
I find myself thinking about him quite often and what I could have become without his firm but kind instruction.
Scarisbrick Hall 1963 to 1971

Jonathan Bull June 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm

All Said Above.. I remember a couple of names above too!

main Comment worth mentioning.. Mr. Sutton Smith is more than worthy of a mention.

Stephen Perry June 17, 2012 at 3:24 am

There were many fine teachers there such as Mr Wride, Mr Rich, Mr Coggins, Mrs Thomas and Mr Row lands.

Stephen Hadley July 29, 2012 at 6:02 pm


Charles Oxley was certainly a mano of strong principle and Christian belief. He certainly lay some great foundations which were well developed by David Raynor and John Sutton-Smith (both great men ).

Tahir Khurshid August 15, 2012 at 5:31 am

Tahir Khurshid 1964 – 1971

I have had school on my mind for a while hence this e-mail. I have many good memories of school. Made some really good friends and was inspired by some really great teachers. Hazel Ledson the biology teacher for one. The school prepared me for the future. I went onto university to obtain degrees in both chemistry and pharmacy. Mr 0xley was a strict and i hope a fair man. I had very little to do with him and kept out of his way. It would be great to hear from any ex-pupils at the school at the same time. My e-mail address is

Paul Oxley August 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Hello from Hobart, Tasmania
I attended Scarisbrick Hall for about six months in 1969-70 in senior high school (O and A levels). For someone from a state school background, suddenly becoming a boarder at a private school was a big contrast. I remember a schoolmate and fellow boarder called Rolly (can’t recall his surname). We managed to escape to the pub at Heatons Bridge on at least a couple of occasions on a Friday night before we got caught. Another boarder I remember was Ashworth. On the whole, I enjoyed my time at Scarisbrick, but I suppose I wasn’t a diligent student while I was there.

David Raynor November 22, 2012 at 8:28 am

Charles Oxley was a man of vision, determination and courage. He had his faults, of course. In my early days at SH, I once described him as the Visiting Professor of Triviality, as he seemed to be obsessed by boys’ length of hair, their top shirt button being fastened, etc.. It was not long before my view changed, as I saw where these fitted into his educational philosophy. I served as Head under Charles, Muriel and Rachel Oxley and retain huge respect and admiration for them all.
I still have some copies of ‘The Standard Bearer’, if anyone wants to contact me for a special rate!

J G January 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Well Mrs Page must have led from Mr Oxleys example, as she was always obsessed with my socks being pulled up, and my tie being tucked into my skirt!

Hitesh Patel August 22, 2014 at 8:42 am

I boarded at Scarisbrick Hall from 1981-86. I really enjoyed my time there. Mr Oxley was an extremely strict Christian (he banned Top of the Pops, and we weren’t allowed to watch TV on a Sunday… but the boarding teachers were!). But whilst he was extremely strict I also once saw a very warm, funny side to him when he took a mini-bus load of up to his “castle” for afternoon lunch. In that environment he was a very different person. I recognise the names of Michal Lau and Johnathan Bull above… hope you’re both well.

Daniel FitzEdward (formerly Wick) March 3, 2015 at 2:52 am

I was gently wayward in my high-school days, and think that Mr. Raynor was the only teacher who ever got through to me- I was afraid of disappointing either him or Mr. Gray. Working in education now myself (at the EBD/SEN end) I respect them immensely- as this relationship is hard to establish and the most effective way of really getting through to students.
After Scarisbrick was bought out by KC I moved to Merchant Taylor’s, and whilst there were some staff who were excellent and inspiring, I never quite found their like, nor felt that each child mattered as much as they did to either Mr. Raynor or Mr, Gray.
Unfortunately my only feelings towards the Oxley family was the childhood sense of betrayal when we were sold as a school.

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