Felsted School

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Felsted School
Motto Garde Ta Foy
(French: Keep your Faith)
Established 1564
Type Independent day and boarding
Religion Church of England
Headmaster Chris Townsend
Founder Richard, Lord Riche
Location Stebbing Road
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DfE number 881/6009
DfE URN 115395 Tables
Students 1000
Gender Coeducational
Ages 4–18
Colours Red and Blue
Former pupils Old Felstedians
Website Felsted School

Felsted School is an English co-educational day and boarding independent school, situated in Felsted, England. It is in the British Public School tradition, and was founded in 1564 by Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich (also known as Riche) who, as Lord Chancellor and Chancellor of the Court of Augmentations, acquired considerable wealth from the spoils of the Dissolution of the Monasteries including the nearby Leez Priory, which he enlarged and made his own home. Felsted is one of the 12 founder members of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, and is also a full member of the Round Square Conference of world schools. Felsted School has been awarded the Good Schools Guide award twice and is regularly featured in Tatler's Schools Guide.[1]


File:Felsted - geograph.org.uk - 100211.jpg
The 16th century school room of Felsted School.

The school became a notable educational centre for Puritan families in the 17th century, numbering a hundred or more pupils, under Martin Holbeach, Headmaster from 1627–1649, and his successors (see below). John Wallis and Isaac Barrow were educated at Felsted in this period, as were four of Oliver Cromwell's sons.

Another era of prosperity set in under the headmastership of William Trivett between 1778 and 1794; but under his successors numbers dwindled. As the result of the discovery by Thomas Surridge (headmaster 1835–1850), from research among the records, that a larger income was really due to the foundation, a reorganization took place by Act of Parliament, and in 1851,under the headmastership of the Rev. Albert Henry Wratislaw, the school was put under a new governing body (a revised scheme coming into operation in 1876). As a result, Felsted developed rapidly into one of the regular public schools of the modern English type, under the Rev. W. S. Grignon, who may almost be considered the second founder. New buildings were built on an elaborate scale, numbers increased to more than 200, and a complete transformation took place, which was continued under Grignon's successors, including Frank Stephenson, under whom large extensions to the buildings and playing-fields were made. These additions allowed admittances up to 475 pupils, nearly all of whom are boarders.

The school was evacuated to near Ross-on-Wye during the Second World War. It moved to Mrs Trafford's three Herefordshire houses at her invitation to be out of the way of German bombing. Most of the school was in Goodrich Court and Windsor's and Ingle's Houses occupied Hill Court Manor.

On 25 July 1953 the school's Combined Cadet Force armoury was raided by the IRA, making off with 8 Bren guns, 12 Sten guns, an anti-tank gun, a mortar and 109 rifles. Their van was stopped by a police patrol and Cathal Goulding, Sean Stephenson (later known as Seán Mac Stíofáin) and Manus Canning each received 8 years in prison.[2]

Major building works took place for the 400th anniversary celebrations in 1964, when the Queen Mother laid the foundation stone for the then new Music School, subsequently opened by Felsted governor Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, (formerly Rab Butler). In 2008 this building was replaced by a larger new building which was opened in 2009 by Dame Evelyn Glennie. The Princess Royal opened the new Lord Riche Hall in 1989. Girls were taken into the Sixth Form in 1970, and into the whole school in 1993.

Part of the school was devastated by fire[3] on Sunday, 15 July 2012 after a blaze broke out in the roof and first floor of Follyfield House, one of the girls' boarding houses. The school term had ended but about 25 students and staff from a summer school were on site and were evacuated. Nobody was injured and an investigation is under way. The school reopened as normal in September, with a new, temporary house situated next to the Lord Riche Hall. Soon after, planning permission was accepted for the construction an all new state-of-the-art boarding house. Located in a different location to its predecessor, the house opened as planned in September 2014.


Girls' boarding houses:

  • Stocks's [4]
  • Follyfield[5] (fondly referred to as 'Follies')
  • Garnetts[6]
  • Thorne[7]

Boys' boarding houses:

Day houses:

  • Manor[12]
  • Montgomery's[13] (fondly referred to as 'Monts')


  • 1564–1566 – Rev. John Daubeney
  • 1566–1576 – Rev. John Berryman, MA (1534-1617)
  • 1576–1596 – Rev. Henry Greenwood, MA (1544-1634)
  • 1597–1627 – Rev. George Manning, BA (1560-1629)
  • 1627–1649 – Rev. Martin Holbeach, MA (1600–1670)
  • 1650–1690 – Rev. Christopher Glascock, MA, OF (d. 1697)
  • 1690–1712 – Rev. Simon Lydiatt, MA (1659–1712)
  • 1712−1712 − Rev. George Timmis MA (1712-1712)
  • 1713–1725 – Rev. Hugh Hutchin, MA (1678–1725)
  • 1725–1750 – Rev. John Wyatt, MA (1698–1750)
  • 1750–1778 – Rev. William Drake, MA & FSA (1723-1801)
  • 1778–1794 – Rev. William Trivett, MA (1745–1830)
  • 1794–1813 – Rev. William John Carless, BA (1770–1813)
  • 1813–1835 – Rev. Edmund Squire, MA (1781–1853)
  • 1835–1850 – Rev. Thomas Surridge, BA (1835-1850)
  • 1850–1855 – Rev. Albert Henry Wratislaw, MA (1822–1892)
  • 1856–1875 – Rev. William Stanford Grignon, MA (1824–1907)
  • 1875–1890 – Rev. Delaval Shafto Ingram, MA (1840–1920)
  • 1890–1906 – Rev. Herbert Andrew Dalton, MA (1853-1928)
  • 1906–1933 – Rev. Frank Stephenson, MA (1871–1936)
  • 1933–1943 – Rev. Kenneth Julian Faithfull Bickersteth, MA (1885–1962)
  • 1943–1947 – Alistair Hugh Andrew MA (1908–1947)
  • 1947–1951 – Cecil Marriott Harrison, MA (1911-1986)
  • 1951–1968 – Henry Enfield Reekie, MA (1907-2000)
  • 1968–1982 – Anthony Francis Eggleston, MA, OBE (b. 1928 )
  • 1983–1993 – Edward John Humphrey Gould MA, FRGS, FRSA (b. 1943)
  • 1993–2008 – Stephen Chevely Roberts, MA (b. 1956)
  • 2008–2015 - Dr Michael John Walker, MA, PhD (b. 1956)[14]
  • 2015-20?? - Christopher Townsend




  1. "Felsted School | Great Dunmow | LEA:Essex | Essex". The Good Schools Guide. Retrieved 2012-09-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Bishop, P, and Mallie, E. (1987). The Provisional IRA
  3. "BBC News - Felsted School damaged by fire". BBC Online. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012. A public school in Essex has been badly damaged by a fire tackled by more than 40 firefighters. The fire started in the roof and first floor of a girls' boarding house at Felsted School, near Great Dunmow, on Sunday evening and rapidly spread.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Stocks's
  5. Follyfield
  6. Garnetts
  7. Thorne
  8. Elywn's
  9. Gepp's
  10. Deacon's
  11. Windsor's
  12. Manor
  13. Montgomery's
  14. [1][dead link]


  • Michael Craze, Felsted School: A Short History, Felsted School, 1965.
  • Michael Craze, A History of Felsted School, 1564–1947, Cowell, 1955.
  • John Sargeaunt, History of Felsted School, 1889.
  • R.J. Beevor, E.T. Roberts, Alumni Felstedienses, 1903.
  • Anon, Felsted in Herefordshire, May, 1940 - March, 1945. (private printing, undated).

External links

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>