William Golding
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William Gerald Golding (1911 - 1993)

Sir William Gerald Golding
Born in Newquay, Cornwall, England, United Kingdommap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 30 Sep 1939 [location unknown]
Father of [private son (1940s - unknown)] and [private daughter (1940s - unknown)]
Died in Perranarworthal, Cornwall, England, United Kingdommap
Profile last modified | Created 25 Nov 2014
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William Golding is Notable.
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William Golding was born in Cornwall, England.

Birth, Childhood, and Education

William Golding was a son of Alec Golding and Mildred Curnoe. He was born on 19 September 1911 at his grandmother's house in Newquay, Cornwall. [1] His birth was registered in St Columb registration district in the last quarter of the year. [2] [3]

In 1902 Golding's father, Alec, had become a science master at Marlborough Grammar School in Wiltshire, and the family lived in Marlborough at 29, The Green.[1] The 1911 Census records the family (consisting of father Alec, mother Mildred and older brother Joseph Thomas, along with a maid, Phoebe Sollis) living there, but at that point in 1911 William had not yet been born. [4]

Golding was educated at Marlborough Grammar School, where his father taught, and in 1930 went up to Brasenose College Oxford. For the first two years he studied Natural Sciences, but in 1932 he transferred to English Literature. He gained a good second class degree in 1935 and went on to study for a Diploma in Education.[1]

Marriage, Children, Early Career

In 1939, having lived in London for a few years after graduation, Golding moved to Maidstone, Kent, where he took up a post teaching English and Music at the Boys' Grammar School. [5] It was in Maidstone that he met (Mabel) Ann Brookfield. The couple married on 30 September 1939.[6] They went on to have two children.

Shortly after his marriage, Golding took up a post at Bishop Wordsworth's School, Salisbury, teaching English and Philosophy. [7] [8] When the 1939 Register was taken, Golding and Ann (who was an analytical chemist) were living at 3 Rocky Hill Terrace, Maidstone, in what appears to be a small hotel or lodging house. Other residents included a prison chaplain, two arts and crafts teachers, an aircraft draftsman, a comptometer operator, and a solicitor's clerk. [9]

War Service

In 1940, after the outbreak of the Second World War, Golding joined the Royal Navy. He participated in secret research into explosives, but was injured in an accident and hospitalised. When he had recovered, he asked the admiralty 'to send me back to sea, for God's sake, where there's peace' [10]

He was later to serve in a destroyer which was involved in the pursuit and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck; and he also took part in the D-Day landings, commanding a landing ship that fired rockets onto the beaches. [1] [11]

Post-War Career

After the war Golding returned to Bishop Wordsworth's School where he taught English and Religious Knowledge.[8] He wrote several novels during this time, all of which were rejected by publishers. His first published novel, the one for which he was to become so famous, was rejected by twenty-one publishers before it was accepted by Faber in 1954. Charles Monteith, a young editor, recognised the potential that others had missed. However, as editor, he suggested several substantial edits and toned down the novel's overtly religious aspects. He also didn't like the title - which was Strangers from Within. It was another Faber editor, Alan Pringle, who suggested Lord of the Flies. [1]

Lord of the Flies, which was well received by reviewers, made Golding famous and financially secure, going on to be used as a set text in schools and universities in the US and Europe, and translated into over 30 languages. Worldwide sales have been estimated at over 10,000,000. Over the next thirty years he was to continue as a successful writer, and his output included not only novels, but non-fiction and a play (see Published Works). He also wrote articles and reviews for magazines such as The Spectator, the Times Literary Supplement, and The Listener.[1]

Golding continued teaching at Bishop Wordsworth's School until 1962, [8] after which he made his living as a full-time writer.

In 1985 Golding and his wife Ann moved to Tullimaar House, in Perranarworthal, Cornwall, and lived there until his death in 1993. [1]


Golding died of a heart attack on 19 June 1993, at home at Tullimaar House. He was 81. [1][11][12][13]

He was buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Bowerchalke, Wiltshire. When his wife, Ann, died two years later, she was interred in the same plot, under a huge yew tree. The memorial, quoting Shakespeare's Sonnet 116, reads: [14]

Remember with Love
William Golding
1911 - 1993
Ann Golding
1912 - 1995
It is the star to every
wandering barque

Awards and Honours

Published Works

  • Poetry
    • Poems (1934)
  • Drama
    • The Brass Butterfly (1958)
  • Novels
    • Lord of the Flies (1954)
    • The Inheritors (1955)
    • Pincher Martin (1956)
    • Free Fall (1959)
    • The Spire (1964)
    • The Pyramid (1967)
    • The Scorpion God (1971)
    • Darkness Visible (1979)
    • The Paper Men (1984)
    • To the Ends of the Earth (trilogy)
      • Rites of Passage (1980)
      • Close Quarters (1987)
      • Fire Down Below (1989)
    • The Double Tongue (posthumous publication 1995)
  • Non-fiction
    • The Hot Gates (1965)
    • A Moving Target (1982)
    • An Egyptian Journal (1985)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 McCarron, Kevin, Entry for Golding, Sir William Gerald (1911–1993) in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ([2004] 2011) Accessed online 13 Feb 2020.
  2. General Record Office for England and Wales, Index of Births. Record for: GOLDING, WILLIAM GERALD Mother's maiden name CURNOE GRO Reference: 1911 D Quarter in ST COLUMB Volume 05C Page 129
  3. "England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2FG7-P4G : 1 October 2014), William G Golding, 1911; from "England & Wales Births, 1837-2006," database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing Birth Registration, St. Columb, Cornwall, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.
  4. "England and Wales Census, 1911," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X72G-SM1 : 21 July 2019), Alec Albert Golding, Marlborough St Peter and St Paul, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom; from "1911 England and Wales census," database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO RG 14, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Maidstone Grammar School," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Maidstone_Grammar_School&oldid=929355522 (accessed February 13, 2020).
  6. "England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV8V-KN8X : 8 October 2014), William G Golding and null, 1939; from "England & Wales Marriages, 1837-2005," database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing 1939, quarter 3, vol. 2A, p. 5280, Maidstone, Kent, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Bishop Wordsworth's School," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bishop_Wordsworth%27s_School&oldid=939574428 (accessed February 13, 2020).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Famous Wordsworthians, Bishop Wordsworth's School Website, (accessed February 13, 2020).
  9. The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/1748A Ancestry Record 1939UKRegister #16514313
  10. Biles, J. Talk: conversations with William Golding (1970), p 26, cited in McCarron, Kevin, (2011)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Wikipedia contributors, "William Golding," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=William_Golding&oldid=939434951 (accessed February 13, 2020).
  12. "England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVZZ-H34Q : 4 September 2014), William Gerald Golding, Jun 1993; from "England & Wales Deaths, 1837-2006," database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing Death Registration, Truro, Cornwall, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.
  13. General Record Office for England and Wales, Index of Deaths. Record for: GOLDING, WILLIAM GERALD Year of birth 1911 GRO Reference: DOR Q2/1993 in Truro (3701B) Reg B26D Entry Number 233
  14. Find A Grave: Memorial #8469
  15. Times Online, January 5 2008, The 50 greatest British writers since 1945 Accessed online, 14 February 2020

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Comments: 1

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It seems to me that this profile belongs in the Notables category.
posted by Jill (Turkington) Lee