Sherborne School

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Sherborne School
Dorset sherbone school.jpg
Motto Dieu et mon droit
(God and my right)[1]
Established 1550
Type Public school
Independent day and boarding
Religion Church of England
Headmaster [2] Ralph Barlow
Chairman of the Governors Rev Gordon M W Parry
Founder St Aldhelm
Location Sherborne
DfE number 835/6006
DfE URN 113918 Tables
Students 598
Gender Boys
Ages 13–18
Houses 8
Colours Royal Blue & Gold          
Former pupils Old Shirburnians

Sherborne School is a British independent boys' school, located in the town of Sherborne in north-west Dorset, England. It is one of the original member schools of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. It has close partnerships with the nearby girls' school Sherborne Girls and shares some activities and Sixth Form courses.


Illustrated London News, 6 July 1861

The school's origins date back to the eighth century, when a tradition of education in Sherborne was begun by St Aldhelm. According to legend, Alfred the Great was one of the school's early pupils. The school was then linked with Sherborne Abbey, formerly a Benedictine house. The earliest known Master was Thomas Copeland in 1437. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Edward VI re-founded the school in 1550 as King Edward's School, a free grammar school for local boys. The present-day school stands on land which once belonged to the abbey's monastery. The Library, Chapel, and Headmaster's rooms, which adjoin the Abbey Church, are modifications of its original monastic buildings.

The present school's earlier lives take us back four hundred, perhaps a thousand years. In the Beckett Room below the library there survives Anglo-Saxon masonry, a reminder that the school occupies all that remains of the site of Sherborne Abbey (AD 705, remodelled as a Benedictine abbey in 998). The Headmaster and the senior staff now have their offices, appropriately enough, in the Abbot's house, rather grandly refashioned, like the Abbey itself, in the 15th century; the library was, perhaps, the Abbot's "Guest Hall" (13th–15th century); the Chapel occupies another monastic refectory (12th–15th century, but much rebuilt and extended in the 19th century). Go just beyond the Headmaster’s block and face the Abbey and you can see quite clearly on the walls to your right the outlines of the monastic cloister with its curious first floor Abbot’s Chapel; the conduit, where the monks wash, was removed by the Victorians and rebuilt outside Bow House.

In 2005, Sherborne School was one of 50 of the country's leading independent schools that were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents.[3] 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.[4] 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."[5]

Qatar branch

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the current emir of Qatar received his primary education at the school obtaining his A Levels in 1997.[6][7] In March 2009, it was announced that a replica of the school would be built in Doha, Qatar, with the first academic year starting in September 2009 and the development being completed by 2012.[8]


As Sherborne is predominantly a boarding school, the house system is based on the boarding programme. Each house has around 70 boys with a mix of both boarders and day pupils. Day boys are fully integrated into after-school and weekend programmes.[9] There are eight houses:

  • School House
  • Abbey House
  • The Green
  • Harper House
  • Wallace House
  • Abbeylands
  • Lyon House
  • The Digby



Sherborne School cricket ground

The school's cricket ground – the Upper – is usually used by the 1st XI cricket team. The ground was first used in 1870, when Sherborne School played Clifton College.[10] The ground is also one of the venues used by Dorset for their home fixtures. Dorset played their first match on the ground in the 1902 Minor Counties Championship against Devon. From 1902 to 1997, the ground played host to 69 Minor Counties Championship matches, with the final Championship match involving Dorset coming in 1997 when they played Herefordshire.[11] In addition, the ground has hosted 13 MCCA Knockout Trophy matches, the last of which was in 2008, when Dorset played Buckinghamshire.[12]

The ground has also played host to a single List A match, when Dorset played Bedfordshire in the 1968 Gillette Cup.[13]

On 30 May 2010, Dorset played Somerset, which included international players such as Marcus Trescothick and Craig Kieswetter in a friendly Twenty20 fixture on the ground. On 27 May 2011, the Upper hosted Dorset against Gloucestershire.[14]


  • 1437– Thomas Copeland
  • 1449– Gibson
  • 1553– Thomas Coke
  • 1560–1561 Francis Myddelton
  • 1561–1561 Thomas Parvys
  • 1563–1565 William Wolverton
  • 1565–1565 John Delabere
  • 1565–1573 John Hancock
  • 1575–1581 Rev Thomas Seward
  • 1581–1601 William Wood
  • 1601–1603 Rev John Geare
  • 1603–1639 George Grove
  • 1639–1641 Richard Newman
  • 1641–1653 Ralph Balch
  • 1653–1663 Rev William Birstall
  • 1663–1670 Rev Joseph Allen
  • 1670–1683 Joseph Goodenough
  • 1683–1694 Rev Thomas Curgenven
  • 1695–1720 Rev George Gerard
  • 1720–1733 Rev Benjamin Wilding
  • 1733–1743 Rev John Gaylard
  • 1743–1751 Rev Thomas Paget
  • 1751–1766 Rev Joseph Hill
  • 1766–1790 Rev Nathaniel Bristed
  • 1790–1823 Rev John Cutler
  • 1823–1845 Rev Ralph Lyon
  • 1845–1850 Charles Penrose
  • 1850–1877 Daniel Harper
  • 1877–1892 Rev Edward Mallet Young
  • 1892–1909 Rev Frederick Brooke Westcott
  • 1909–1927 Charles Nowell Smith
  • 1928–1933 Charles Lovell Fletcher Boughey
  • 1934–1950 Alexander Wallace
  • 1950–1970 Robert William Powell
  • 1970–1974 David Emms
  • 1974–1988 Robert Donnelly Macnaghten
  • 1988–2000 Peter Herbert Lapping
  • 2000–2010 Simon Flowerdew Eliot
  • 2010–2014 Christopher J Davis
  • 2014– Ralph Barlow [15]


The Usher, or Lower Master, was an official appointed by the Governors, independent of the Head Master; he must have been least be a B.A. of Oxford or Cambridge, and might have been in Holy Orders. From the fragment of an account Roll, still extant, of 1549, is mention that there was also an Usher before the Refounding in 1550, but unfortunately the name of the then Usher is not given.[16]

[O.S.] = Old Shirburnians

  • 1560 Henry Bagwell, B.A.
  • 1561 John Martin, B.A.
  • 1563 Thomas Penye, B.A.
  • 1565 Rev George Holman, B A.
  • 1569 Nicholas Buckler, B.A.
  • 1570 Rev Hammet Hyde, B.A.
  • 1572 Rev Walter Bloboll, B.A.
  • 1573 John Elford, B.A.
  • 1574–1581 No name given
  • 1581 [first name not given] Wornell
  • 1581 Philip Morris, B.A.
  • 1584 Rev Lawrence Fuller, B.A.
  • 1589 John Rooke, M.A.
  • 1595 William More, M.A.
  • 1605 George Gardiner, B.A.
  • 1611 Rev George Harrison, B.A.
  • 1625 Rev Randell Calcott, B.A.
  • 1629 Rev Richard Camplin, [degree not given]
  • 1629 John Jacob, B.A.
  • 1635 John Mitchell, B.A.
  • 1638 Rev [first name not given] Proctor
  • 1638 Rev John Fyler, B.A.
  • 1647 Thomas Martin B.A.
  • 1664 Jonathan Grey, B.A.
  • 1667 John Walker, M.A.
  • 1667 Rev William Plowman, M.A. [O.S.]
  • 1675 Rev Peter Blanchard, B.A.
  • 1682 Abraham Forrester, B.A.
  • 1695 Robert Forrester, B.A. [O.S]
  • 1695 Rev John Butt M.A. [O.S]
  • 1718 Rev Edward Cosins, B.A.
  • 1723 Rev John Gaylard, M.A.
  • 1728 James Martin, B.A.
  • 1737 James Thomas, M.A.
  • 1760 Rev William Sharpe, M.A.
  • 1766 Rev John Bristed, M.A.
  • 1779 Robert Pargiter, B.A.
  • 1780 William Glasspoole, M.A.
  • 1800 James Knight Moore, M.A.
  • 1801 Rev William Hoblyn Lake, M.A.
  • 1804 Henry Cutler, B.A.
  • 1805 Rev David Williams, B.A.
  • 1813 Rev Thomas James, M.A.
  • 1860 Arthur Mapletoft Curteis, M.A.; ceased to be Usher when the office was abolished under the new scheme, 1871

Old Shirburnians

For further details of notable old boys see Old Shirburnians.

See also


  1. Max Davidson, State vs independent schools: Sherborne, Dorset, Telegraph (30 June 2009).
  3. Halpin, Tony (10 November 2005). "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees". The Times. London. Retrieved 23 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement - The Office of Fair Trading". Retrieved 17 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Private schools send papers to fee-fixing inquiry". The Daily Telegraph. London: 3 January 2004. Retrieved 17 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Sheikh Tamim's biography". Qatar News Agency. Retrieved 25 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Profile: Qatar Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Khalifa Al Thani". BBC. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "BBC Online: Public school replica for Qatar". BBC. 6 March 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Boarding
  10. Sherborne School v Clifton College, 1870
  11. Minor Counties Championship Matches played on Sherborne School
  12. Minor Counties Trophy Matches played on Sherborne School
  13. List A Matches played on Sherborne School
  14. "Dorset County Cricket Club". Dorset Cricket Board. Retrieved 17 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. A short history of Sherborne from 705 A.D.

External links