Wikipedia school entries around Combe Down

Prior Park College

Prior to Now on Combe Down link: Bishop Baines

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    Prior Park College
    Prior Park College logo.svg
    Prior Park College.jpg
    Ralph Allen Drive

    , ,
    BA2 5AH

    Coordinates51°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
    TypePublic school
    Independent school
    Day, full boarding & weekly boarding school
    MottoLatin: Deo Duce Deo Luce
    (God our Guide, God our Light)
    Religious affiliation(s)Catholic
    Established1830; 193 years ago (1830)
    FounderCongregation of Christian Brothers
    Department for Education URN109347 Tables
    ChairMr A M H King
    HeadmasterBen Horan
    Age11 to 18
    • Allen
    • Arundell
    • Burton
    • Clifford
    • English
    • Fielding
    • Roche
    • St Mary's
    • Baines
    • Brownlow
    Colour(s)Navy and Cyan   
    PublicationPrior Knowledge
    AlumniOld Priorites

    Prior Park College is a mixed Roman Catholic public school for both boarding and day pupils. 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]

    The adjoining 57-acre (23 ha) Prior Park Landscape Garden was donated by Prior Park to the National Trust.

    The Prior Foundation consists of Prior Park College, the Paragon Junior School (Bath) and Prior Park School Gibraltar.[2]


    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.[3]

    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".[4] His successor was James Murphy-O'Connor, nephew of former Prior Park pupil Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. Since 2019, Ben Horan has been the headmaster,[5] after James Murphy-O'Connor took up a new position at the Monmouth Schools.[6]

    The school is part of the Prior Park Foundation which includes the Paragon Junior School, also in Bath, and Prior Park School Gibraltar, which is in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar.


    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".[7]

    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.[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 is 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 St. Philippe-du-Roule 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] A 1991 fire gutted the interior, except for parts of the basement;[15] rebuilding took four years and cost about £6 million. Unusually, the blaze started on the top floor, and spread downwards. The school operated in the stables and former servants' quarters during the renovation.[16]


    Prior Park leases The Monument Field from the National Trust. The field is named after a triangular Gothic building with a round tower erected by Bishop Warburton, demolished in 1953;[17] it had a circular staircase and contained a tablet inscribed in Latin in honour of Ralph Allen.[18]

    Since 2000, improvements include an indoor swimming pool,[19] an Information and communications technology centre, and classroom extensions including the Mackintosh Dance Studio and Theatre (2006), the Design Centre (September 2016)[20] and the Bury Sports Centre (April 2015).[21] All sports facilities are located on site.

    Former 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 was the late-19th century Manor House, with extensive grounds.[22] At first a boarding school for boys, the school admitted day boys in the 1970s. After the Brothers left Bath and Cricklade in 1980, the school was sold and came under lay management but kept its name, Prior Park Preparatory School. Later, girls were admitted, and the school catered for ages 3 to 13, with boarding available from age 7.[23][24] In January 2015 there were 205 pupils.[25]

    Since September 2017, the school is no longer a member of the Prior Park Schools Educational Trust, although it retains strong links with the college. Its name changed to Cricklade Manor Prep and it is one of the Wishford Schools group of preparatory schools.[26]

    Notable alumni


    1. ^ Historic England. "Prior Park College (1394453)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
    2. ^ "The Prior Foundation". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
    3. ^ "Education League Tables — Performance results from Prior Park College". BBC News – Education. 15 January 2009.
    4. ^ "Pupils, parents and staff honour longest-serving headteacher". Bath Chronicle. 8 July 2009. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
    5. ^ "Appointment of new Head". Prior Park Schools.
    6. ^ "Monmouth Schools Appoint New First Principal". Archdiocese of Cardiff.
    7. ^ "Ralph Allen Biography". Bath Postal Museum. Archived from the original on 7 June 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2009.
    8. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Paul, with West Wing (1394459)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
    9. ^ "Green Priorities for the National Trust at Prior Park".[dead link]
    10. ^ "Prior Park Landscape Garden". National Trust. Archived from the original on 13 April 2009. 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". The Independent. London. Retrieved 7 April 2009.
    16. ^ Elgee, Emma (16 May 2021). "The day a Bath college burned to the ground - revisiting the Prior Park College fire". Bath Chronicle. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
    17. ^ Lunt, Tim (2018). "Monument Field, Prior Park, Bath" (PDF). Bath and Counties Archaeological Society. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
    18. ^ Tunstall, James (1847). Rambles about Bath, and its neighbourhood. p. 128.
    19. ^ "Prior Park College on". Independent, Private, Boarding, Special, Day and International School directory. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
    20. ^ "New art and design centre at Prior park College is full of big artistic visions". Bath Chronicle. 22 January 2015. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
    21. ^ "Prior Park College opens £5 million sports centre". Bath Chronicle. 22 April 2015.[permanent dead link]
    22. ^ Historic England. "The Manor House (1356093)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
    23. ^ "Prior Park Preparatory School, Cricklade". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
    24. ^ "Prior Park Prep School". Prior Park Educational. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
    25. ^ "EduBase details for Prior Park Preparatory School". Department for Education. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
    26. ^ "Cricklade Manor Prep". Retrieved 24 January 2018.
    27. ^ "Stephen comes home in glory after Brit Award". 26 September 2011. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
    28. ^ Fairall, Barrie (3 February 1995). "Cronin reborn as the demolition man". The Independent. London, UK. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
    29. ^ "Psalm of Lydia Sweeps". YouTube. 28 January 2008.[dead YouTube link]
    30. ^ a b "Prior Park College". Retrieved 25 August 2009.
    31. ^ a b "Prior Park Gossip Bowl 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 15 March 2008.
    32. ^ "Sir Cameron opens the Macintosh Studio at Prior Park College". cliftondiocese. Archived from the original on 11 December 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
    33. ^ Thomson, Alice; Sylvester, Rachel (14 February 2009). "Cardinal Comac Murphy-O'Connor:Recession may be jolt that selfish Britain needs". London, UK: Retrieved 25 August 2009.
    34. ^ "Former prior park students win bafta". 14 February 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
    35. ^ Stanford, Peter (28 March 2007). "The Rt Rev John Ward". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 25 August 2009.

    External links

    Monkton Combe School

    Prior to Now on Combe Down link: Monkton Combe School

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    Monkton Combe School
    Monkton Combe (Somerset) School Chapel - - 67831.jpg
    The Chapel, Monkton Combe School
    , ,
    BA2 7HG

    Coordinates51°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
    TypePublic school
    Private boarding school
    MottoLatin: Verbum Tuum Veritas
    (Thy Word is Truth)
    Established1868; 155 years ago (1868)
    FounderThe Revd Francis Pocock
    Head MasterChristopher Wheeler (Senior School), Catherine Winchcombe (Prep School)
    Age2 to 18
    Enrolment711 (all three schools from September 2015)
    HousesEddystone (MSS Boys)

    Farm (MSS Boys)

    Grange (MSS Girls)

    School (MSS Boys)

    Clarendon (MSS Girls)

    Nutfield (MSS Girls)

    Hatton (MPS Mixed):

    • Easterfield (MPS Mixed)
    • Kearns (MPS Mixed)
    • Howard (MPS Mixed)
    • Jameson (MPS Mixed)
    Colour(s)Red, white, blue
    Former pupilsOld Monktonians

    Monkton Combe School is a public school (English fee-charging boarding and day school), located in the village of Monkton Combe near Bath in Somerset, England. It is a member of the Rugby Group of independent boarding schools in the United Kingdom.[1]

    The senior school in Monkton Combe village admits pupils aged from 13 to 18 (pupil numbers are around 500); the Preparatory School in Combe Down village admits children aged from 7 to 13; and the adjacent Pre-Preparatory has classes in nursery (ages 2–3), kindergarten (3–4), reception (4–5) and years 1 and 2 (5–7). The Senior School and Preparatory School have always admitted boarding pupils although day pupils now (2021) comprise one third of the Senior School and are in the majority in the Preparatory School. Since 1992 when it merged with Clarendon School for Girls the school has been fully co-educational although it first admitted girls in 1971. The Senior School operates three boys' boarding houses and three girls' boarding houses, all in the village of Monkton Combe.


    Monkton Combe School was founded in 1868 by the Revd. Francis Pocock, the vicar of Monkton Combe and former chaplain to John Weeks, the Bishop of Sierra Leone. It became known for its evangelical Christian approach to education and attracted many sons of vicars and overseas missionaries as well as those from a broader background.[2] The school retains its strong evangelical Christian heritage.

    During the mid-20th century Monkton was regarded as one of the UK's strongest rowing schools; one-fifth of the 23-strong men's GB rowing squad at the 1948 Olympics consisted of students: I. M. Lang, M. C. Lapage, A. Mellows, W. G. R. M. Laurie, P. C. Kirkpatrick.[citation needed]

    The School became progressively co-educational in the late 20th century. In 1971, girls were admitted to the sixth form. In 1989, Nutfield House was built to accommodate them in the village. In 1992, the school became fully co-educational, merging with Clarendon School for Girls, an all-girls' school founded in 1898 that shared a similar Christian ethos to Monkton Combe School.

    The Junior School

    The Junior school was established with four pupils in 1888 in Combe Lodge, a private house in Church Road, Combe Down, by Revd. Charles Howard, the son-in-law of the then Senior School Principal, the Revd. R.G. Bryan. The Junior school moved into purpose-built premises in Combe Down in June 1907, which it still occupies. After expanding rapidly, the Junior school purchased another large house in Church Road (Glenburnie/Alma Villa) in the early 1920s, which it occupied initially as a boarding house. In 1937, Monkton Pre-Preparatory School was founded in Glenburnie, before transferring to a bespoke building in the grounds of the Junior School in 2016. In 2006 the Junior School was renamed Monkton Preparatory School.


    The official history of the school's first hundred years was published in A Goodly Heritage: A History of Monkton Combe School 1868–1967 by former Senior School master A.F. Lace, published in Bath by Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1968.[3] This was updated in 2017 by the former Junior School headmaster Peter LeRoy to form an official history of the school's first 150 years, entitled A Delightful Inheritance.[4] The history of the Junior School to 1955 was written by schoolmaster Johnnie Walker, in a pamphlet entitled Three Score Years and Ten, published in 1956 by Fyson & Son of Bath.

    Sports awards

    The school has produced six Olympic rowing medalists. Each represented Great Britain and three won gold medals. Students row as the Monkton Bluefriars Boat Club.

    One Old Monktonian achieved an Olympic Gold Medal representing Great Britain at men's hockey. Another Old Monktonian captained the England Netball Team which won Gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

    Facilities and buildings

    The School maintains a range of sporting facilities including an indoor swimming pool, sports halls with fully equipped gymnasia, three artificial turf pitches (two full size and one half size), nine grass and three hard tennis courts, two boathouses with access to the River Avon and many acres of grounds. Many buildings are of Bath stone, in the same style as those in and around the city of Bath, and in keeping with the traditional architectural style of the area.

    Many of the school's facilities are made available for the use of local schools, such as Combe Down Primary School and local children's sports clubs.

    Several of the school's buildings are listed, including the main Senior school block known as The Old Farm,[5] and the part of the Terrace Block known as The Old Vicarage.[6] In 2008 the Senior School completed a £5 million project which involved re-building, extending and re-furbishing its mathematics and science departments. In June 2012, a new £3.2 million Music center was opened by Dame Felicity Lott. A new Art & Design center was opened in 2016.


    Many of the pupils are either weekly or full-time boarders. The Senior school maintains six boarding houses, three of which are for girls (Nutfield, Clarendon and Grange) and three for boys (Eddystone, School and Farm).[7] The Preparatory school operates one boarding house with a floor for boys and a floor for girls (Hatton). There are many 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.

    Head Masters/Principals

    The following have been Head Masters or Principals of Monkton Combe School:

    Name Years as Head Master
    The Revd F. Pocock 1868–1875
    The Revd R.G. Bryan 1875–1895
    The Revd W.E. Bryan 1895–1900
    The Revd N. Bennett 1900
    The Revd J.W. Kearns 1900–1926
    The Revd E. Hayward 1926–1946
    D.R. Wigram 1946–1968
    R.J. Knight 1968–1978
    R.A.C. Meredith 1978–1990
    M.J. Cuthbertson 1990–2005
    R. Backhouse 2005–2015
    C. Wheeler 2016–Present

    Notable members of staff

    Notable alumni

    19th Century

    Early 20th Century

    Late 20th Century

    21st Century


    1. ^ "Monkton Combe School". Monkton Combe School website. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
    2. ^ Lace, A F (1968). A Goodly Heritage. ISBN 0950368806.
    3. ^ "Senior School History". Monkton Combe School. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
    4. ^ LeRoy, Peter (2017). A Delightful Inheritance. Monkton Combe School Enpterprises. ISBN 978-1999869809.
    5. ^ "Monkton Combe School, the main or old block known as The Old Farm". English Heritage. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
    6. ^ "Monkton Combe School, the part of the Terrace Block known as The Old – Vicarage". English Heritage. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
    7. ^
    8. ^ p.9.
    9. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Edmund Charles Peirse". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942.
    10. ^ David Ellis (17 May 1994). "Obituary: David Adeney". The Independent Features. p. 14.
    11. ^ Secretary, Office of the Home; Sciences, National Academy of (21 November 2003). Biographical Memoirs. National Academies Press. ISBN 9780309527699.
    12. ^ Burgess, Kaya (22 December 2008). "Adrian Mitchell Shadow Poet Laureate dies aged 76". The Times. London.
    13. ^ "The Right Reverend Ian Cundy". The Daily Telegraph. London. 11 May 2009.
    14. ^ Ryan, Peter G. (1 July 2013). "Phil Hockey (1956-2013)". Ibis. 155 (3): 698–700. doi:10.1111/ibi.12058.

    External links

    Ralph Allen School

    Prior to Now on Combe Down link: Ralph Allen School

      Add links

      Ralph Allen School
      Ralph Allen School.JPG
      Claverton Down Road

      , ,
      BA2 7AD

      Coordinates51°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
      MottoRespect, Teamwork, Personal best
      Local authorityBath and North East Somerset
      Department for Education URN138522 Tables
      Chair of GovernorsRussell Franks
      HeadteacherAndy Greenhough
      Age11 to 18
      Enrolment1,200 pupils
      • Hippogriff
      • Pegasus
      • Dragon
      • Phoenix

      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 Bath and the surrounding area.


      The school was built and named in 1957 to commemorate Ralph Allen (1693-1764).[1][2] 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.[3]


      The school is part of the Bath Education Trust,[4] working closely with other local schools, colleges, universities and businesses. It also works closely with the James Dyson Foundation,[5] and is part of the Active Transport to Schools project.[6]

      Notable alumni


      1. ^ "Ralph Allen School". Monkton Combe. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
      2. ^ "About us". Ralph Allen School. Archived from the original on 10 September 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
      3. ^ "Ralph Allen School Spotlight Report" (PDF). Bath and North East Somerset. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
      4. ^ "Bath Education Trust Our Academies". Bath Education Trust. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
      5. ^ "Technology". Ralph Allen School. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
      6. ^ "Transport Getting to Ralph Allen School". Ralph Allen School. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
      7. ^ "Jeremy Guscott". Bath Rugby. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
      8. ^ "Sinclair joins Blues on loan". Bath Chronicle. 7 January 2009. Archived from the original on 21 July 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
      9. ^ "Alumni - Ralph Allen School". Retrieved 6 February 2022.
      10. ^ a b "Alumni". Ralph Allen School. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
      11. ^ Jackson, Jamie (11 March 2007). "Holloway hails his 'magnificent' loan-star Sinclair". Guardian. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
      12. ^ "Parents e-news 7 March 2014" (PDF). Ralph Allen School. Retrieved 5 August 2018.

      External links