Born in Maidstone, Kent, on 10th April 1939, John Catt was the son of a professional gardener who worked at the local Parish Church and Vicarage, so it was not surprising that he grew up with a life-long interest in nature, gardening and soils, and as a quiet but devoted member of the Anglican Church. He was educated in the county at the Ashford Grammar School, at the time one of the few in the country teaching Geology at A-level.

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