Miss Margaret BYGATE (1787–1869)
St Paul’s section: Row 8, Grave A10 [St Paul ref E5]

Margaret Bygate












Margaret Bygate was born at Wolviston in Durham on 13 February 1787 and baptised there the same day. She was the only child of Thomas Bygate and his wife Alice.

By the 1820s Margaret Bygate was running a girls’ school in Oxford, and the following advertisement appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 7 July 1821:

Miss BYGATE’S ESTABLISHMENT, Johnson’s Row, St Aldate’s, Oxford.

MISS BYGATE, grateful for the patronage with which she has been distinguished, as the honour to return her best acknowledgments to her friends, and to announce to them and the public, that her Pupils will resume their studies on Monday the 16th of July.

The situation will be found peculiarly appropriate, combining the advantages of a town residence with the calm retirement and salubrious air of the country. Only twelve Boarders are received, who participate every [sic] domestic comfort, and are treated with uniform kindness.

In January 1822 Miss Bygate added the line “Parlour Boarders comfortably accommodated” to her standard termly advertisement. Pigot’s Directory for 1823/4 duly lists Miss Bygate’s ladies’ academy in St Aldate’s.

By 1828 Margaret Bygate had moved her school to Beaumont Street in St Mary Magdalen parish, and it is listed there in the Schools section of Pigot’s Directory for 1830. By 1834 she had moved with her school to St John Street, where it is listed in Vincent’s Directory for 1835.

At the time of the 1841 census Margaret Bygate (aged about 54 and described as a schoolmistress) can be seen living at the school in St John Street, with Susan Bygate, an independent lady aged about 40 (possibly her younger sister); an assistant schoolmistress called Ann Howe; three female pupils aged 12 and 13; and Hannah Kittermaster, an independent young woman of about 20.

The school is listed as being back in Beaumont Street in the Post Office Directory for 1842, but shortly after that Miss Bygate retired, as the Diocesan Board of Education report published in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 11 March 1843 stated: “The school lately kept by Miss Bygate is now conducted by Mrs. and Miss Beaufoy. It still continues in union with the Board, and may be confidently recommended as inhaling a very superior education.” By 1852 it appears that this had moved to the south end of the Woodstock or Banbury Road, as Gardner’s Directory that year lists the following boarding school: “Howe & Beaufoy the Misses, 60 St. Giles’-road”. Miss Howe is likely to be the assistant schoolmistress Ann Howe who taught in Miss Bygate’s school back in 1841.

In 1851 Miss Bygate is quite likely to be the annuitant called Miss Margaret Bygate (born in Wolviston) who was paying a visit to the wine merchant Charles Brown and his wife Elizabeth at 10 Beaumont Street: her age is quite wrong, but this may be an error in the original census, especially as the entry immediately below hers has exactly the same age.

At the time of the 1861 Margaret Bygate (74), described as formerly a governess, was boarding at Mrs and Miss Deacon’s school at Drayton, Berkshire.

By the time of her death in 1869 she was living at 34 Observatory Street:

† Miss Margaret Bygate died at 34 Observatory Street just before her 82nd birthday on 12 February 1869 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 17 February (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

Her death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal stated she was two years older, and read simply: “Feb. 12, Margaret Bygate, of this city, aged 84.” Her effects came to nearly £600, and her executor was the Revd Frederick Wilson Kittermaster of Meriden, Warwickshire.



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