Gabriel Newton is best known as the founder of the Leicester Greencoat School. He was born in 1683, the son of the landlord of the Horse and Trumpet Inn. When he grew up, he took over the running of the pub.

In 1732, at the age of 47, he became Mayor of Leicester. He became very rich, and with his fortune, he founded the Leicester Greencoat School for boys. It was originally on the site occupied by the Leicester Grammar School. There were 35 boys, and they wore green uniforms with red collars and green caps.

Newton was a very religious man. He attended divine service regularly and was not only very fussy about punctuality, but he was also very precise. On one occasion he actually attacked the son of the Parish Clerk. Apparently the boy had rung the bells in an irregular rhythm. Alderman Newton broke his cane over the boy’s head, and he retaliated by pushing the unsuspecting alderman down the steps in the bell tower. 

The original Leicester Greencoat School was on the site now occupied by Leicester Grammar School. His school is still in existence, but changed its name to Alderman Newtons’ school, moving site to Glenfield Road. It is now part of New College Leicester.

There is a statue of Newton on the clock tower, and a memorial to him in the cathedral.