The man

Bagehot – (pronounced ‘Bajot’) – was born in Bank House, Cheapside (part of Langport’s main street) on 3 February 1826; an event commemorated with a plaque. Bank House was the premises of Stuckey’s Bank, run by the Bagehots and their business partners, his mother’s family, the Stuckeys.  Bagehot’s father was the Langport bank manager.  

Stuckey’s was founded in Langport in 1772, and became a highly successful West Country enterprise, printing its own currency, which had, at one time, a circulation second only to the Bank of England itself. 

 

Walter was educated at Langport Grammar School, Bristol College, and at University College London.  He read law, and was called to the Bar, but he preferred banking and writing, and abandoned a legal career to join the family business.  He worked in various senior roles for the bank in Langport, Bristol and London for many years.  

 

In1861 he took over the editorship of The Economist from his father-in-law, James Wilson MP, a post he retained until his death.  His articles on finance were influential at the time, both in the City and the Treasury, and are still read today.  He was consulted by leading figures of the age, such as Gladstone, and was much admired by the future US President, Woodrow Wilson, who made a pilgrimage to Langport and Bagehot’s grave in 1896. 

 

Bagehot’s family moved to a new house beyond the western boundary of Langport at Hurds Hill (at that time it was spelled Herd's Hill). This large, fine mansion was the Bagehot family home until well into the last century.  Walter Bagehot divided his time between London and Langport, and it was to Hurds Hill that he returned in March 1877 when he was dying.  

 

He and his wife (who died in 1921) are buried next to his parents in the south-eastern corner of the churchyard of All Saints, on The Hill. The west window of the church was installed by his widow in his memory.

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