Some Notable Collett Men


Updated September 2014



There have been many well-known Colletts throughout history but, as a young schoolboy, I did not know this.  Imagine my surprise then, when being lectured about King Henry the Seventh and King Henry the Eighth, there was reference to the religious problems of the day involving a Dean Colet (see below).  History was never one of my favourite subjects in those days; I was more interested in the arts and sports.


Over the years there have been many more connections with the church, such as Sir Bartholomew Colet Rector of Danbury in Essex in 1422, and Sir William Collett Vicar of Yalding in Kent during 1451, plus numerous others whose details can be found in the various family lines on this website.


One of these is John Colet who became Dean of St Paul’s, was the founder of the St Paul’s School.  He was the son of Sir Henry Colet twice Lord Mayor of London in 1486 and 1496, who was knighted by King Henry the Seventh in 1485 following his involvement in the Battle of Bosworth Field.  Details of the family of Sir Henry Colet (Ref. 18C5) and his son Dean John Colet (Ref. 18D12) can be found in ‘Part 18 – The Suffolk Line’.


More recently Sir Charles Henry Collett was Lord Mayor of London in the 1930s, as was Sir Christopher Collett in the 1980s, the former being the grandfather of Margaret Chadd genealogist and author of The Collett Saga.  The family line of both of these gentlemen can now be found on the website in ‘Part 51 – Descendents of the Gloucestershire Line’.


The earliest recording of the name appears in the Battle Abbey Role when Jean Colet, Sieur de Bernouville, is the only one of that name to participate in the battle of Hastings in 1066.


During the course of my research many others have been revealed along the way such as, George Richard Collett (Ref. 18R13) 745500 Sergeant Pilot with 54 Squadron of the Royal Air Force.  He joined the squadron on 15th July 1940 and claimed his first hit, an ME109, on 24th July.  On returning to base he crash-landed his Spitfire N3192 on the beach at Dunwich near Sizewell and was slightly injured.  A month later on 22nd August during a dogfight with enemy fighters, his Spitfire R6708 was shot down and he was killed.  He was 24 years old and was buried at the Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery in Holland.


Part 18 – The Suffolk Line (1870 to 2010) contains details of the family of George Richard Collett.


Another pilot, this time from the First World War, was Captain Clive Franklyn Collett (Ref. 62O54).  Born on 28th August 1886 at Blenheim in New Zealand, Clive joined the Royal Flying Corp in 1914 and gained his Royal Aero Club certificate on 29th January 1915 and was commissioned in March of the following year.  In 1916 he was injured when he crashed while flying an aircraft from France to England.  In January 1917 he made an experimental parachute jump from a BE2C before joining 70 Squadron based in France in the summer of that year as a flight commander.  By September he had claimed 12 victories flying Sopwith Camels and was awarded the Military Cross and Bar.  He is credited with the squadron’s first Camel victory on 27th June and is reputed to have fought and wounded the “Red Baron” Von Richthofen on 6th July.  On 9th September he claimed three aircraft shot down but was wounded in the hand in the dogfight.  It was not until the end of that year that he was fit enough to resume flying.  Tragically, on 23rd December 1917, he was killed while carrying out a test flight in a captured German Albatros Scout over the Firth of Forth and was buried at Comely Cemetery in Edinburgh (Grave K903).


Part 62 – The Trowbridge to New Zealand Line’ presents the family line of Clive Franklyn Collett, while the website file entitled ‘Clive Franklyn Collett’ provides a more in depth look into his short military career.



The London Gazette of Monday 26th August 1768 devoted the front page to the departure of Captain James Cook from Plymouth bound for Tahiti. His ship, His Majesty’s Bark Endeavour, set sail with the wind behind her at 2 o’clock.  On board was one Mr Bank, a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Gentleman of Large Fortune, well versed in Natural History and accompanied by a suite of seven, accompanied by many other naturalists, natural history artists, and astronomers.  Captain James Cook was believed to have received one hundred guineas from the Royal Society for his appointment.  Of less importance in the world of science, but important in the workings of the ship was one Mr William Collett (Ref. 54M3), an able seamen who also was the ship’s barber, whose family line is now illustrated within Part 54 – The Buckinghamshire, Russia & Canada Line.


Closer to home, and extracted from The Victorian History of Gloucestershire, are the following, whose family details can be found in ‘Part 2 – The Secondary Line’ and Part 14 – The Bourton-on-the-Water Line’ using the references provided.


John Collett (Ref. 2G1) was Lord of the Manor at Naunton in 1608.  Upon his death in 1641 his half of the manor went to his brother Henry Collett (Ref. 2G3), after which it was passed to Anthony Collett (Ref. 14I1).  Anthony died in 1719 when it passed to his brother Henry Collett (Ref. 14I2) who died in 1731.  Although Henry’s marriage to his cousin Mary Collett (Ref. 14I10) produced three sons, only one survived beyond childhood.  However, upon his death the property was handed over to William Moore, the husband of Henry’s daughter Elizabeth Collett (Ref. 14J4).  In this way it passed out of the hands of the Collett family.


In addition to this, the aforementioned brothers John and Henry Collett jointly bought Harford Manor in 1640. 


The aforementioned Anthony Collett, who died in 1719, built Harrington House in Naunton in 1700 and left a Will dated 1717.  A large marble plaque set in the wall of the church at Bourton on the Water is ‘In Memory of Anthony Collett Gentleman’ and acknowledges his charitable work and yearly donation of ten pounds for the poor boys.


Today, adjacent to Nethercote Manor at Bourton on the Water, a house bears the inscription ‘TC’ on its wall.  This refers to Thomas Collett who built the property in 1689 and who may have been the Thomas (Ref. 2H17) who married Elizabeth Mason at Upper Slaughter on 4th March 1644, except that he died in 1683.  So it may have been his son Thomas Collett (Ref. 2I5) who was born in 1646.


Between 1842 and 1851 the house of William Collett was registered as a place of worship for Baptists in Upper Slaughter.


In 1898 the chemical company J M Collett bought Llanthony Priory near Longtown.  The company, which had been established since 1869, eventually moved to new premises in Bristol in 1904.  He was John Martin Collett (Ref. 1O83) whose family can be found in Part 1 – The Main Gloucestershire Line.


In 2009 rose growers in India, Girija and Viru Viraraghavan of Tamil Nadu, created a rose from a species originally found in the Shan Hills of Burma by General Sir Henry Collett (1836-1901) of the British East India Company.  The name given to the rose “Sir Henry Collett” was registered with the International Rose Registration Authority.  Details of Henry Collett (Ref. 18O40) can be found in ‘Part 18 – The Suffolk Line’.


No list of notables would be complete without a reference to Charles Benjamin Collett (Ref. 4N29) the Great Western Railway designer and engineer.  Therefore a brief history of his life can be found in ‘Part 4 – The Great Western Line’.


And finally, the Rothschild Estate near Wendover in Buckingham was sold to the family by the previous owner Robert Stratfold Collet (Ref. 63N5) in 1880, as featured in Part 63 – Two Collett Families of Buckinghamshire.  This is mentioned only because I had often walked through the estate in the early 1960s with my sister Joyce Collett and her husband who lived on the edge of the forest, all of us unaware of the connection with a namesake.