Wikipedia school entries around Combe Down

Prior Park College

Prior to Now on Combe Down link: Bishop Baines

Prior Park College

Prior Park College
PPC Logo.png
Prior Park College.jpg
MottoDeo Duce Deo Luce
TypeIndependent school
Public school
Day, full boarding & weekly boarding school
HeadmasterJames Murphy-O'Connor
ChairMr A M H King
FounderCongregation of Christian Brothers
LocationRalph Allen Drive
51°21′52″N 2°20′35″W / 51.364444°N 2.343056°W / 51.364444; -2.343056Coordinates: 51°21′52″N 2°20′35″W / 51.364444°N 2.343056°W / 51.364444; -2.343056
DfE URN109347 Tables
Studentscirca 590 students
HousesAllen, Arundell, Burton, Clifford, English, Fielding, Roche, St Mary's, Baines
ColoursNavy and Cyan          
WebsiteCollege homepage

Prior Park College is a mixed Roman Catholic public school for both day and boarding students. Situated on a hill overlooking the city of Bath, Somerset, in southwest England, Prior Park has been designated by Historic England as a Grade I listed building.[1][2]

The adjoining 57-acre (23 ha) Prior Park Landscape Garden is now owned by the National Trust.

The Prior Foundation consists of Prior Park College, Prior Park Prep School (Cricklade), the Paragon Junior School (Bath) and Prior Park School Gibraltar.[3]


Founded in 1830 to be England's first Catholic university, Prior Park College has remained a Roman Catholic school. It was established by the Benedictine, Bishop Baines, as a seminary, and provides co-educational schooling for students aged 11 to 18 in the Catholic tradition and ecumenical spirit.

In 2008, students achieved the best A-level results in the history of the school, with over one-fifth of all students getting three A's and 77% receiving A and B grades.[4]

In July 2009, Giles Mercer retired. He had been head teacher since 1996, and with his previous position as head of Stonyhurst College, he became the "longest serving Catholic senior school headmaster in England".[5] His successor was James Murphy-O'Connor, nephew of former Prior Park pupil Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

The school is part of the Prior Park Foundation which includes the Paragon Junior School in Bath and Prior Park Preparatory School in Cricklade, Wiltshire.


The Palladian hillside mansion housing Prior Park College was designed and built by John Wood, the Elder in 1742. He was commissioned by Ralph Allen: "To see all Bath, and for all Bath to see"[6]

One wing of the mansion includes a chapel of our Lady of the Snows, built in 1863 by Scoles and Son which is Grade I listed; there is also a chapel in the original house.[7][8]The chapel is unfinished, with the pillars at the back remaining unsculpted as they were in 1863.

Landscape Architecture

Prior Park Landscape Garden was laid out between 1734 and 1744 with the Allens benefiting during the first phase from the advice of their friend Alexander Pope. The Palladian bridge and the lake that it spans were added in 1755; the final phase with the green slopes from the house to the lake are thought to have been planned by Capability Brown in the 1760s.[9][10] The garden is now owned by the National Trust.


In 1828 Bishop Baines purchased the mansion for £22,000 and used it as a seminary named the Sacred Heart College.[11] Renovations were made according to designs by H. E. Goodridge in 1834. The seminary was closed in 1856 after a fire in 1836 caused extensive damage and subsequent renovation caused financial insolvency. The estate was later bought by Bishop Clifford who founded a Roman Catholic grammar school.[12]

The Chapel was designed by J. J. Scoles in 1844 but not completed until 1863, following 18th-century French models such as Chalgrin's in Paris. Pevsner describes it as "without any doubt the most impressive Chapel interior of its date in the county".[13]

The grammar school closed in 1904 and the estate was occupied by the army during the First World War and by a series of tenants until 1921; the Christian Brothers founded a boys' boarding school in 1924. Prior Park College continues to occupy the main house. In 1993 11.3 hectares (28 acres) of the park and pleasure grounds were acquired by the National Trust and have been extensively restored.

The mansion has been victim of fire twice. The 1836 event left visible damage to some stonework.[14] The 1991 fire gutted the interior, except for parts of the basement.[15] Rebuilding took approximately three years. Unusually, the blaze started on the top floor, and spread downwards.


Prior Park uses The Monument Field, a previously National Trust-owned site[16] named after a triangular Gothic building with a round tower erected by Bishop Warburton. It has a circular staircase and contains a tablet inscribed in Latin in honour of Ralph Allen.[17]

Since 2000, improvements include an indoor swimming pool,[18] an Information and communications technology centre, and classroom extensions including the Mackintosh Dance Studio and Theatre (2006), the Art & Design Centre (September 2014)[19] and the Bury Sports Centre (April 2015).[20] Sports facilities are located on site.

Prior Park Preparatory School

In 1946 the Congregation of Christian Brothers opened a preparatory school linked to Prior Park College, at Calcutt Street, Cricklade, Wiltshire. The school's main building is the late-19th century Manor House, with extensive grounds.[21]

At first a boarding school for boys, the school admitted day boys in the 1970s. After the Christian Brothers left Bath and Cricklade in 1980, the school was sold and came under lay management. Later, girls were admitted, and today the school caters for ages 3-13, with boarding available from age 7.[22][23] In January 2015 there were 205 pupils.[24]

Notable former pupils


  1. ^ Historic England. "Prior Park College (1394453)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Prior Park (Now Prior Park College)". English Heritage Images of England. 
  3. ^ "The Prior Foundation". Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "Education League Tables — Performance results from Prior Park College". BBC News - Education. 15 January 2009. 
  5. ^ "Pupils, parents and staff honour longest-serving headteacher". Bath Chronicle. 8 July 2009. 
  6. ^ "Ralph Allen Biography". Bath Postal Museum. Archived from the original on 7 June 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  7. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Paul, with West Wing (1394459)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "Church of St Paul". English Heritage Images of England. 
  9. ^ "Green Priorities for the National Trust at Prior Park". Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  10. ^ "Prior Park Landscape Garden". National Trust. Retrieved 7 April 2009. 
  11. ^ "Brief History". Diocese of Clifton. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Prior Park, Bath, England". Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Pevsner N, 1958, North Somerset and Bristol, page 115
  14. ^ Colvin, Howard; Mellon, Paul (2008). A biographical dictionary of British architects, 1600-1840 (4 ed.). Yale University Press. p. 1143. ISBN 978-0-300-12508-5. 
  15. ^ Gillie, Oliver (6 April 1994). "Craftsmen restore country house to former glory: Sculptors use delicate skills to recreate rococo ceiling destroyed by fire". London: The Independent. Retrieved 7 April 2009. 
  16. ^ "Prior Park Garden". National Trust. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  17. ^ Tunstall, James (1847). Rambles about Bath, and its neighbourhood. p. 128. 
  18. ^ "Prior Park College on". Independent, Private, Boarding, Special, Day and International School directory. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  19. ^ "New art and design centre at Prior park College is full of big artistic visions". Bath Chronicle. 22 January 2015. 
  20. ^ "Prior Park College opens £5 million sports centre". Bath Chronicle. 22 April 2015. 
  21. ^ Historic England. "The Manor House (1356093)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  22. ^ "Prior Park Preparatory School, Cricklade". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  23. ^ "Prior Park Prep School". Prior Park Educational. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  24. ^ "EduBase details for Prior Park Preparatory School". Department for Education. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  25. ^ "Stephen comes home in glory after Brit Award". 26 September 2011. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  26. ^ Fairall, Barrie (3 February 1995). "Cronin reborn as the demolition man". London: Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  27. ^ "Psalm of Lydia Sweeps". 28 January 2008. 
  28. ^ a b "Prior Park College". Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  29. ^ a b "Prior Park Gossip Bowl 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 15 March 2008. 
  30. ^ "Sir Cameron opens the Macintosh Studio at Prior Park College". cliftondiocese. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  31. ^ Thomson, Alice; Sylvester, Rachel (14 February 2009). "Cardinal Comac Murphy-O'Connor:Recession may be jolt that selfish Britain needs". London: Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  32. ^ "Former prior park students win bafta". 14 February 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  33. ^ Stanford, Peter (28 March 2007). "The Rt Rev John Ward". London: Retrieved 25 August 2009. 

External links

Monkton Combe School

Prior to Now on Combe Down link: Monkton Combe School

Monkton Combe School

Monkton Combe School
Monkton Combe (Somerset) School Chapel - - 67831.jpg
Motto"Verbum Tuum Veritas (Thy Word is Truth)"
TypeIndependent, Boarding
HeadteacherChristopher Wheeler (Senior School), Martin Davis (Prep School), Catherine Winchcombe (Pre-Prep)
LocationMonkton Combe, Near Bath
51°21′25″N 2°19′37″W / 51.3569°N 2.3270°W / 51.3569; -2.3270Coordinates: 51°21′25″N 2°19′37″W / 51.3569°N 2.3270°W / 51.3569; -2.3270
Students711 (all three schools from September 2015)

Eddystone (MSS Boys)          

Farm (MSS Boys)          

Grove Grange (MSS Girls)     

School (MSS Boys)     

Clarendon (MSS Girls)     

Nutfield (MSS Girls)     

Hatton (MPS Mixed) (Subhouses of Hatton:)

Easterfield (MPS Mixed)     

Kearns (MPS Mixed)     

Howard (MPS Mixed)     

Jameson (MPS Mixed)     
ColoursRed     , White     , Blue     
Former pupilsOld Monktonians

Monkton Combe School is an independent boarding and day school of the British public school tradition, near Bath, England. The Senior School is located in the village of Monkton Combe, while the Prep School, Pre-Prep and Nursery are in Combe Down on the southern outskirts of Bath. Founded in 1868, the school maintains many strong traditions with a particular emphasis on high academic and sporting achievements. The school also has a strong Christian ethos within the Anglican tradition. The school is also a member of the Rugby Group of independent schools in the United Kingdom.[1]

The Senior School (current pupil numbers are around 380) admits children from age 13 through to 18; the Prep School admits children from age 7 to 13 and the Pre-Prep has classes in Kindergarten (3 – 4), Reception (4 – 5) and Years 1 and 2 (5 – 7). The Nursery-based within the Prep School grounds provides pre-school care (ages 2 – 3). The Senior School and Prep School both have a strong boarding tradition; however, day pupils comprise one third of the intake of the Senior School and are in the majority in the Prep School. Since 1992 the school has been co-educational, having merged with Clarendon School for Girls.


The Senior School was founded in 1868[2] by the then Vicar of Monkton Combe, the Reverend Francis Pocock. The Junior School was established with four pupils in 1888 in a private house in Church Road, Combe Down [2] by a Mrs Howard (the daughter of the Senior School Principal) and moved into its current purpose-built premises in June 1907. The Pre-prep was added in 1929.[2] In 1992, the School became fully co-educational, merging with Clarendon School for Girls, Bedford. In 2006 the Junior School was renamed Monkton Prep School. The school is currently transferring its Pre-prep to a newly constructed building, sited much closer to the Prep school than the old building (Glenburnie).

The school has many historical traditions and a strong religious heritage, with particular emphasis on sporting and academic achievements, and has produced some important society figures through the years.

The official history of the school's first hundred years can be found in A Goodly Heritage: A History of Monkton Combe School 1868-1967 by A. F. Lace, published in Bath by Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1968.[3]

Sport and other activities

Monkton Combe School maintains a strong sporting tradition. Both the Senior and Junior schools have a wide range of sporting and other extra curricular activities. The main sports played are Rugby, Rowing, Hockey, Tennis and Cricket (and more recently, Football) for boys and Hockey, Netball, Rowing and Tennis for girls. A range of "minor sports" are also available (named in this way as they are generally not played competitively against other schools).

The school has produced six Olympic rowing medallists to date, each of whom represented Great Britain, and three of whom won Gold, and an Olympic Gold Medallist who represented Great Britain at men's hockey. The school's boat club is famous for being one of the most successful small clubs in the UK, and frequently competes against many of the UK's best teams. The school trains in only the Lent and Summer terms in rowing, while the Michaelmas term is dedicated exclusively to the rugby club, although pupils in the upper 6th form may make their own choice to do rowing if they wish.

The school has a strong musical and theatrical tradition with the majority of pupils learning an instrument and taking part in school plays. The school operates a big band, who regularly play at a variety of venues throughout the year. They have also been on tours to Canada and France. Other major activities include the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and various clubs and societies. There are also annual (optional) visits overseas, such as an adventure course picked each year for the 3rd Form, Skiing in Austria and a Rowing training camp in Nantes-France, as well as academic trips such as foreign language exchange trips.


The School maintains a range of sporting facilities including outdoor and indoor swimming pools, sports halls with fully equipped gyms, three astroturf pitches (two full size and one half size), nine grass and three hard tennis courts, a boathouse with access to the River Avon and many acres of grounds. All buildings are made of Bath stone, in the same style as many buildings in and around the city of Bath, in order to keep with the traditional architectural style around Bath.

Several of the buildings are listed, including the main Senior school block known as The Old Farm,[4] and the part of the Terrace Block known as The Old Vicarage.[5] In 2008 the Senior School completed a 5 million pound project which involved re-building, extending and re-furbishing its Mathematics and Science departments. In June 2012, a new 3.2 million pound Music centre was opened for use by Dame Felicity Lott.


Many of the pupils are either weekly or full-time boarders. The Senior school maintains six boarding houses, two of which are for girls (Nutfield and Clarendon) and four for boys (Grove-Grange, Eddystone, School and Farm). The Preparatory school only operates one boarding house with a floor for boys and a floor for girls (Hatton). There are many strong traditions in each house, as well as many inter-house competitions throughout the year. Students are allowed to visit the City of Bath each weekend. Lessons take place on Saturday mornings with sporting matches against other schools taking place on most Saturday afternoons.

Notable former pupils


  1. ^ monktoncombeschool. com
  2. ^ a b c "History". Mokton Combe School. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  3. ^ "Senior School History". Monkton Combe School. Retrieved 2010-10-04. 
  4. ^ "Monkton Combe School, the main or old block known as The Old Farm". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  5. ^ "Monkton Combe School, the part of the Terrace Block known as The Old - Vicarage". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  6. ^ David Ellis (17 May 1994). "Obituary: David Adeney". The Independent Features. p. 14. 
  7. ^ "The Right Reverend Ian Cundy". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2009-05-11. 
  8. ^ Secretary, Office of the Home; Sciences, National Academy of (2003-11-21). Biographical Memoirs. National Academies Press. ISBN 9780309527699. 
  9. ^ Burgess, Kaya (2008-12-22). "Adrian Mitchell Shadow Poet Laureate dies aged 76". The Times. London. 
  10. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Edmund Charles Peirse". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. 
  11. ^ p.9.

External links

Ralph Allen School

Prior to Now on Combe Down link: Ralph Allen School

Ralph Allen School

Ralph Allen School
Ralph Allen School.JPG
MottoA learning institution, working in partnership towards excellence for all.
HeadteacherTim Withers
Chair of GovernorsRussell Franks
LocationClaverton Down Road
51°21′48″N 2°19′46″W / 51.3633°N 2.3295°W / 51.3633; -2.3295Coordinates: 51°21′48″N 2°19′46″W / 51.3633°N 2.3295°W / 51.3633; -2.3295
Local authorityBath and North East Somerset
DfE URN138522 Tables
OfstedReports Pre-academy reports
Students1,100 pupils
HousesCrescent, Milsom, Holburne and Pulteney

Ralph Allen School in Combe Down, Bath, England, is a co-educational, comprehensive secondary school with academy status. Located on the south-eastern edge of Bath, the school educates 11- to 18-year-olds from the whole of Bath and the surrounding area. In June of 2017, the school was accused of "Sexualising young girls" after telling parents to measure the length of their daughter's skirts in the morning so that they are appropriate.

In June 2009, Steve Rose won the Teacher of The Year in a Secondary School award in the South-West regional finals. Steve, a Lancastrian by birth, applied for the post of teacher of Physical Education and Technical Studies at Ralph Allen School in June 1980, and worked in Ralph Allen for 37 years until he left at the end of the 2016 school year. In 1984, Steve was promoted to a Head of Year and in 1986 he was promoted to Head of Upper School, taking on responsibility for school transport amongst other responsibilities, a task which he still carried out until his retirement in 2016. By 1995 Steve was on the Senior Management Team of the school,and in 1999 he took on the role of Acting Deputy Headteacher during the Headteacher’s secondment. He then became Assistant Headteacher in 2000. He was Acting Deputy Headteacher again during the academic year 2008-09, reverting to the permanent role of Assistant Headteacher in 2009-10. Since 1985 he led the school annual ski trips to Austria, Switzerland, Canada and France, and also led the sixth form art and photography trips to New York which started back in 1999.


The school claims good academic results:

However the most recent Ofsted report found that "Disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs and those supported through additional funding do not make as much progress as others", the report also commented that "There is not enough outstanding teaching. Teachers sometimes give work that is too easy or too hard and marking does not always help pupils to improve their work"


The school was built and named in 1957 to commemorate Ralph Allen (1693-1764).[3][4] It opened in 1958.


In 2004, the school gained specialist Science College status, and has also been recognised by Artsmark Silver, Investors in People, Investors in Student Careers, Schools for Health, Partnership Promotion School and Sportsmark Gold awards.[5]


The school is part of the Bath Education Trust,[6] working closely with other local schools, colleges, universities and businesses. It also works closely with the James Dyson Foundation,[7] and is part of the Active Transport to Schools project.[8]

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "GCSE results". Ralph Allen School. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "A level success 2013". Ralph Allen School. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Ralph Allen School". Monkton Combe. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  4. ^ "About us". Ralph Allen School. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  5. ^ "Ralph Allen School Spotlight Report" (PDF). Bath and North East Somerset. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Bath Education Trust Our Academies". Bath Education Trust. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Technology". Ralph Allen School. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Transport Getting to Ralph Allen School". Ralph Allen School. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Bath schoolboy scoops part in TV drama". Bristol Evening Post. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "Jeremy Guscott". Bath Rugby. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  11. ^ "Sinclair joins Blues on loan". Bath Chronicle. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  12. ^ "Back to Bath for writer Danny". Bath Chronicle. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  13. ^ "Sporty pupils get their just rewards". Bath Chronicle. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "Former students involved in the making of the film Gravity". Ralph Allen School. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Ralph Allen School opens sixth form centre". Bath Chronicle. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 

External links

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