Rosa Somerville has kindly contributed this item about her mother.

“Cécile Wykes,
who died in Aldeburgh on September 22nd 2010, was the wife of James C. Wykes, Headmaster of St. Bees from 1951-1963. Cécile was born and brought up in Edinburgh and spent some years at Calder Girls School at Seascale. When they were first married, James Wykes was a classics master at Loretto. After the war Cécile became a housemaster’s wife; they both found time to perform in staff plays.

In 1951 they moved to St Bees with their two children, Rosamund and Christopher. As the Headmaster’s house was a wing of School House, it was always a busy place. As well as managing the domestic staff, standing in for matron on her days off, entertaining governors, old boys, visiting preachers and lecturers, arranging the chapel flowers etc., Cécile had a supportive and varied role to play, which she did in some style. She also found time to help in the box office at the Rosehill Theatre for Miki Sekers. Although not a cricketer or a walker, she was a regular swimmer in the sea. 

They lived in Oxfordshire during the years in which James worked in educational television, and eventually retired to Edinburgh and life in the Scotland they both loved. James died in October 1992, and in 2000 Cécile moved to Aldeburgh in Suffolk to be nearer her immediate family. Even there the long arm of coincidence continued to operate, as among her neighbours were Sir John and Lady Anderson, whose son, Michael, had been at St. Bees during James’ headmastership.

Some years ago Cécile returned to St. Bees to attend Speech Day at the invitation of John Mawson, who was then Chairman of the Governors. She was present when James’ portrait was presented to the school. John Mawson’s sister, Penny Gant, has kept in touch over the years, and was present at Cécile’s Thanksgiving Service in October.”

The St. Beghian Society,    St. Bees School,    St. Bees,    Cumbria,    CA27 0DS.
Tel: 01946 828093     Email: