Rev R B Shurey and the Nicholas Family
Richard Badcock Shurey was Rector from 1783 until 1789. He had a brilliant career at Oxford, and gained the nickname of ‘The Cardinal' because of his academic prowess. In 1768 he married a daughter of Mr Pierce, Master of Great Ealing School, whereupon the latter retired and instituted Rev Shurey in his place. In 1791, the Rector's daughter Elizabeth in turn married Rev Dr George Nicholas of Wadham College Oxford, who then took over as master, and remained there from 1791 until his death in 1829, at the age of 66. He was buried in the churchyard, and it was rumoured that his grave was violated, and his head carried off by a former pupil as a mark of considerable respect ! The school had flourished under his guidance, with over 300 pupils. Famous alumni included Cardinal JH Newman, the Lawrence brothers of India, Thomas Huxley, the novelist W M Thackeray and the sculptor Sir Richard Westmacott. Newman was a pupil under Rev Dr Nicholas from the age of 7 to 15. Dr Nicholas used to take services at Perivale, so it is highly probable that Newman knew the church well in his youth. Subsequently the headship passed to two sons of Dr Nicholas, namely Rev George Nicholas (from 1829 to 1837), and Dr Francis Nicholas (from 1837 to 1861). Their sister, Ellen Frances Nicholas, died on 22 nd October 1816, aged 21 years, and is commemorated in the superb memorial by Westmacott on the north wall of the nave. The moving inscription reads ‘lovely accomplish'd most affectionate and most affectionately beloved, after a severe struggle of twelve weeks with a painful illness she was releas'd from suffering on the 22nd of October 1816 in the 21st year of her age, leaving her sorrowing relatives no consolation but the hope of meeting with her in a better world, never to part again.'