2017 honouree

Margaret A. Coombs, MPhil

Margaret A. Coombs, MPhil

In her book, Charlotte Mason: Hidden Heritage and Educational Influence (The Lutterworth Press, 2015), Margaret Coombs rediscovers for a new generation the previously unknown biography and influences of Charlotte Mason. Coombs’ years of meticulous research and lively style illuminate hitherto unknown details of Mason’s story and origins of her ideas, and undoubtedly will benefit researchers and practitioners for decades to come.


Margaret and her husband, Martin, a retired Anglican Vicar, live in multi-cultural, multi-faith, East Oxford and attend St Mary & St John Church. Her son, Daniel, is an artist and art lecturer and her daughter, Anna, is artistic director and founder of an innovatory African and African Caribbean theatre company, serving south west England.

Margaret studied classics at school and sociology at London University. Joining the London Samaritans instilled in her the importance of respecting the humanity of all people, regardless of their problems. This guided her subsequent mental health work. Qualifying as a psychiatric social worker at the LSE brought a wonderfully varied mental health career in England and overseas. She has also lectured, engaged in research projects and chaired proactive committees. Highlights include action-research as a community care rights adviser, learning from Oxford Survivors and sharing patients’ concerns, as a mental health act commissioner. Retirement in 2008 and meeting with transatlantic Charlotte Mason enthusiasts inspired her to develop her 1984 post-graduate thesis on Education for Parenthood by the PNEU into her new biography, Charlotte Mason Hidden Heritage and Educational Influence, Lutterworth, 2015.

© 2017 by Margaret Coombs