Webb School (Bell Buckle, Tennessee)

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The Webb School
Bell Buckle, Tennessee
Type Private, college preparatory, boarding school
Motto Noli Res Subdole Facere ("Do nothing on the sly.")
Established 1870
Principal Headmaster Raymond S. Broadhead
Grades 6-12
Number of students 320
Color(s) Navy Blue and Athletic Gold (Formerly Purple and Gold)
Mascot The Webb Feet (formerly, "The Webb Scholars")

The Webb School is a private coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, founded in 1870. It has been called the oldest continuously operating boarding school in the South. Under founder Sawney Webb's leadership, the school produced more Rhodes Scholars than any other secondary school in the United States.[1]


As worded by William R. Webb, Webb School's mission is "To turn out young people who are tireless workers and who know how to work effectively; who are accurate scholars, who know the finer points of morals and practice them in their daily living; who are always courteous [without the slightest trace of snobbery]." (Bracketed text was removed from the official mission of the school in the late 20th century)


William R. "Sawney" Webb started the Webb School as a school for boys in Culleoka, Tennessee, in 1870. He was joined by his brother, John M. Webb, in 1873.[1]

After Vanderbilt University was founded in 1873, Webb School's "oldest and best boys" were able to enroll.[1]

Webb moved the school from Culleoka to its present-day location, a 145-acre campus in the small town of Bell Buckle, in 1886 after Culleoka incorporated and legalized the sale of alcohol in the new city.[1][2]

Sawney Webb's son W. R. Webb Jr., known as "Son Will," joined the school as a teacher in 1897 and became co-principal of the school with his father and uncle in 1908, unable to establish his own career. After their deaths (John Webb died in 1916 and Sawney Webb in 1926), he became headmaster and remained in that position until his retirement in 1952.[3]

Webb began admitting girls as boarding students in 1973,[3] but earlier in its history Webb had allowed local girls to attend as day students, as noted in The Schoolmaker by Laurance McMillin, pg 120.

Notable alumni

Related schools

Sawney Webb's son and grandson later established The Webb Schools in Claremont, California and the Webb School of Knoxville in Knoxville, Tennessee, respectively.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 William R. "Sawney" Webb in the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
  2. Maury County (TN) Public Schools, The History of Education in the Culleoka Area
  3. 3.0 3.1 Webb School in the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
  4. "About Judge Scott Crichton". judgescottcrichton.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links