Sherborne School

Sherborne School
Sherborne school seal edwardVI arms.svg
Sherborne School is located in Dorset
Sherborne School
Sherborne School
Sherborne School is located in England
Sherborne School
Sherborne School
Sherborne School is located in the United Kingdom
Sherborne School
Sherborne School
Abbey Road

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Coordinates50°56′52″N 2°30′52″W / 50°56′52″N 2°30′52″W / 50.9478; -2.5145
TypePublic School, independent, boarding school
MottoDieu et Mon Droit
(God and My Right)[3]
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Established705 by Aldhelm, re-founded by King Edward VI 1550
FounderSt Aldhelm
Chairman of the GovernorsRoger Fidgen[1]
HeadmasterDr Dominic Luckett[2]
ChaplainRev Dr David Campbell
Age13 to 18
Enrolment543 pupils as of January 2018
Colour(s)Royal Blue & Gold          
SongCarmen Shirburniense
PublicationThe Shirburnian
Former pupils
Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, visiting Sherborne School on 19 July 1923.
On 1 June 1950 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Sherborne School and took part in the celebrations marking the four hundredth anniversary of the granting of Sherborne's royal charter in 1550.
Sherborne boys in Blues walking across the Courts to classes

Sherborne School is an English independent boarding school for boys in the parish of the Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin at Sherborne (known as Sherborne Abbey), located in the town of Sherborne in Dorset. The school has remained in the same location for over 1200 years. It was founded in 705 AD by Aldhelm and, following the dissolution of the monasteries, re-founded in 1550 by King Edward VI, making it one of the oldest schools in the United Kingdom. Sherborne was one of the founder member public schools of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference in 1869, and is a member of the Eton Group.

In the public school tradition, Sherborne remains a full boarding school with boys living in one of nine boarding houses, although a few day pupils are admitted to the school from time to time. It educates about 550 pupils, aged 13 to 18. Sherborne's A level results placed it in the top 1% of all schools in England in 2016 and 2017.[4] The school has a close partnership with Sherborne Girls, with whom it shares many academic, co-curricular and social activities.


705 to 1539

Sherborne was founded as a cathedral school when in 705 AD King Ine of Wessex instructed Aldhelm, the foremost churchman and most distinguished scholar of his day, to found a cathedral and college of clergy at Sherborne to relieve pressure from the growing see of Winchester.[5] It is one of the oldest schools in the United Kingdom.[6]

Anglo-Saxon masonry survives in the Beckett Room, below the School Library, a reminder that Sherborne continues to occupy part of the Saxon Cathedral to which it owes its foundation.

Alfred the Great, King of the Anglo Saxons, is held to have been an early pupil of the school, a tradition supported by the seat of West Saxon government having moved to Sherborne in 860 (after Winchester was sacked by the Danes) when Alfred was about 11 years old. That Alfred's son, later Bishop of Sherborne, was also educated at a cathedral school (in Winchester following its recovery by Wessex) is regarded as additional presumptive evidence in support of the claim.

Aldhelm was the first Bishop of Sherborne, and the school remained under the direction of Sherborne's bishops until 1122 when its supervision passed to the abbot of the Benedictine monastery which had been established at Sherborne by Wulfsige III in 998. The School continued under monastic direction until the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII in 1539.

The school continues to occupy the site of the former monastery; the School Chapel (12th century, modified in the 15th and 19th centuries), the School Library (13th century, modified in the 15th century), and the Abbot's House, occupied by the headmaster and the senior staff (13th century, modified in the 15th century), are all former monastic buildings. The outlines of the monastic cloister, and curious first floor Abbot’s Chapel, are visible on the walls beyond the Abbot's House.[7]

1539 to 1550

While the dissolution of the Benedictine Monastery of Sherborne in 1539 had an impact on administration and finances, Sherborne School remained in continuous operation, as evidenced by extant documents including the Abbey churchwardens' accounts for 1542, which record a rent received from the school, and conclusively from a note on the certificate for Dorset under the Chantries Act, dated 14 January 1548, which records the school at Sherborne as continuatur quousque [long continued].[8]

1550 to date

On 29 March 1550 a formal instruction was issued by King Edward VI to re-found Sherborne School together with a good endowment of lands that the school might ever endure. A beautifully engrossed Royal Charter was sealed on 13 May 1550, under which the school was to have a headmaster and usher for the education of boys, and a board of twenty governors under a warden. A further note of continuity was struck when the last headmaster of Sherborne under the old foundation, William Gibson, was appointed as the first headmaster under the new foundation.

When Edward VI re-founded Sherborne, he granted the school an endowment of valuable lands which belonged to abolished Chantries in the churches of Martock, Gillingham, Lytchett Matravers, Ilminster and the Free Chapel of Thornton in the parish of Marnhull.[9] The lands with which the Chantries were endowed are predominantly in Dorset, specifically in the manors of:

It has been said that nowhere else in England is the connection of the present with the past more pleasingly marked than at Sherborne School.[10]

Sherborne International

Established in 1977, Sherborne International is an independent co-educational boarding school, owned and governed by Sherborne School, for those from non-British educational backgrounds who wish to improve their English language skills before moving on to study at boarding schools elsewhere in the United Kingdom. It is located in Sherborne, occupying its own campus, Newell Grange, while sharing some facilities with Sherborne School.[11]

Sherborne Qatar

In 2009 Sherborne founded Sherborne Qatar Prep School in Doha, Qatar, followed by Sherborne Qatar Senior School in 2012.[12]

School fees cartel

In 2005, 50 of the country's leading independent schools, including Sherborne, were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents.[13] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000. All schools involved in the scandal agreed to make ex-gratia payments, totalling £3 million, into a trust. The trust was designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared.[14] However, Jean Scott, the head of the Independent Schools Council, said that independent schools had always been exempt from anti-cartel rules applied to business, were following a long-established procedure in sharing the information with each other, and were unaware of the change to the law (on which they had not been consulted). She wrote to John Vickers, the OFT director-general, saying, "They are not a group of businessmen meeting behind closed doors to fix the price of their products to the disadvantage of the consumer. They are schools that have quite openly continued to follow a long-established practice because they were unaware that the law had changed."[15]

Sherborne School undercroft, 1930s
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