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Nicolas Common

1946 - 2019

Attended Monoux 1957 - 1964

Messages from former school colleagues, friends and members of the choir.

I would like to put together an obituary for Nic to be placed in the Old Monovian's site. I have some contact outside MOnoux but if anyone has memories/information about Nic then I would be happy to include it, As Nic had left Monoux before I joined I would like info about Nic performances in school. I got to know Nic quite well in later years after he returned to London from the Welsh National Opera.

Big character, warm heart - lost contact with him in recent years but missed his company.

Best wishes

Rick Law


Nic and I appeared together with WNO in Billy Budd on tour and a week in Lisbon.He was on stage, I was in the pit. I remember Forbes Robinson, who was a mate of Nic’s sang Claggart. They used to celebrate with lots of ‘Fundador’ after the show. Re Schicchi, there was a recording, I used to have it but the old reel  to reel machine got lost in one of my house moves. Did anyone else get a copy of the recording?

Best Wishes,

David Chatterton


This is sad news about Nic - a wonderful voice and a proper character! I saw Gianni Schicci as part of an introduction to Monoux. The performance will have been at the end of the Summer Term before I joined the school the following September. I remember being very impressed that that sort of thing went on!

Later in life, probably in 1973, my first wife Sherine and I bought our first flat, near Lloyd Park, from Nic and his about to be ex-wife Jane. They were selling because they were splitting up. Subsequently, Jane introduced Sherine to the vacant job of Wig Mistress at The National theatre when it was still at the Old Vic, under Laurence Olivier. That's my Nic Common anecdote. Not really obituary material, but I thought you would be interested.

All the best.

Gareth Winters

Sorry to hear the sad news. I was a year later than Simon so definitely didn't encounter Nic.....until 1990 when I moved next door to his mother Joan in Walthamstow. He was living there some of the time. His mother recognising my surname was pleased to recount a story of Nic being nursed by my mother (wife of Peter S. Couch ) on a Monoux trip abroad when he fell sick. I don't recall which trip that was. Perhaps one of you can answer and save me digging further through this box of papers. When I met him, Nic was having some temporary health issues but when these were resolved I believe moved to the south coast working in some sort of support/caring role. I last saw him at his mother's funeral which could have been around the turn of the century, perhaps. I certainly remember him as a character and have the same school recording of him to enjoy. The HMS Pinafore performance you mention was two years before I went to Monoux but I clearly remember being taken to see it and enjoying the spectacle and some of the tunes. I can now see from the cast list a few names I recognise. 

Martin Couch


What Terribly sad news. Nick was certainly one of the choir's great characters and singers. I will always remember him in HMS Pinafore particularly He was also a great companion to have on the European trips. Rest in peace Nick, our loss is heaven's gain.

Best wishes to everyone

Geoff Hotten.


That is very sad news. Thank you for passing it on.

John Ferguson


Nic had already left the school when I arrived, but I do remember him from when Roger invited him back to sing on our first EP! Amazingly, he did the solo on “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” which I’m listening to now!

Ironically, the English RFU are currently discussing whether to ban the song from rugby matches because of its racist connections!!!! I have already voiced my objections and defended the song (via Radio 5) because it actually came from black slaves singing about Elijah being taken up to Heaven in a fiery chariot, as they believed that one day God would set them free from slavery and oppression. It ought to be the theme song for “Black Lives Matter”!

I still play a reggae version of ‘Swing Low’ when my band gets together, because it’s a great freedom song of faith!

I shall carry on listening to Nic singing it as well, and I pray that Nic will Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory!

God bless you all,

Rev. Simon Law


Such a sad loss. And I do remember Dick Deadeye!

Les Smith


Very sad news

Chris Miller


So sorry to hear about Nick’s passing. I was watching Gianni Schicchi from Covent Garden the other day and all the memories came flooding back.

Colin Symes


Very sad to hear. Nic always seems a larger than life character and he has gone too soon.

Neil Beckingham


Really sorry to hear that. One of my earliest Monoux memories is of Nic playing Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore, with Mr Chatterton as Ralf Rackstraw.

I was a sister/cousin/aunt as, I suspect, were a number of others

Alan Gwynn


That’s sad. I remember the same characters as Alan did.

John Fyson


He Dave and I did Threes Company at the end of Summer term 1963, as I mentioned at our last meeting. His Dick Deadeye was most memorable but he was always nervous and rumour has it that he was getting through 40 Embassy a day running into it. His Schicchi was a wonderful finale to his school musical career.

Roy Phillips