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
Ralph Allen Drive

, ,

Coordinates51°21′52″N 2°20′35″W / 51.3644°N 2.3431°W / 51.3644; -2.3431
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 Edit this at Wikidata

Prior Park College is a mixed Catholic public school for both boarding and day pupils in Bath, south-west England. Its main building, Prior Park, stands on a hill overlooking the city and is 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 school's parent body is Prior Park Schools, which also runs the Paragon Junior School (Bath) and Prior Park School Gibraltar.[2]


Founded in 1830 to be England's first Catholic university, Prior Park College was established by the Benedictine, Bishop Baines, as a seminary. To the present, it has remained a Catholic school, 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 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, 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 Catholic grammar school.[12]

The chapel was designed by J. J. Scoles in 1844 but not completed until 1863. It followed 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 19 May 2023.
  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

Media related to Prior Park College at Wikimedia Commons

Monkton Combe School

Prior to Now on Combe Down link: Monkton Combe School

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Monkton Combe School
The Chapel, Monkton Combe School
, ,

Coordinates51°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 (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]

Monkton Combe School was founded in 1868 by the Revd. Francis Pocock, a former curate to the Bishop of Sierra Leone in the 1850s.[2]

Historic buildings

Several of the school's buildings are listed, including the main Senior school block known as The Old Farm,[3] and the part of the Terrace Block known as The Old Vicarage.[4]

Head Masters/Principals

The following have been Head Masters or Principals of Monkton Combe School:[5]

Name Years as Head Master
Revd F. Pocock 1868–1875
Revd R.G. Bryan 1875–1895
Revd W.E. Bryan 1895–1900
Revd N. Bennett 1900
Revd J.W. Kearns 1900–1926
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

Sports awards

According to the school's website, it 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.[6]

Notable members of staff

Notable alumni (Old Monktonians)

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. ^ "Monkton Combe School, the main or old block known as The Old Farm". English Heritage. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  4. ^ "Monkton Combe School, the part of the Terrace Block known as The Old – Vicarage". English Heritage. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  5. ^ "Monkton Combe School - History".
  6. ^ Monkton Combe School. "Sports".
  7. ^ p.9.
  8. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Edmund Charles Peirse". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942.
  9. ^ David Ellis (17 May 1994). "Obituary: David Adeney". The Independent Features. p. 14.
  10. ^ Secretary, Office of the Home; Sciences, National Academy of (21 November 2003). Biographical Memoirs. National Academies Press. ISBN 9780309527699.
  11. ^ Burgess, Kaya (22 December 2008). "Adrian Mitchell Shadow Poet Laureate dies aged 76". The Times. London.
  12. ^ "The Right Reverend Ian Cundy". The Daily Telegraph. London. 11 May 2009.
  13. ^ 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

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Ralph Allen School
Claverton Down Road

, ,

Coordinates51°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 GovernorsChristopher David Mason
HeadteacherNathan Jenkins
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 former pupils


  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. ^ a b "Alumni". Ralph Allen School. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Alumni - Ralph Allen School". Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Jeremy Guscott". Bath Rugby. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
  10. ^ "Parents e-news 7 March 2014" (PDF). 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. ^ "Sinclair joins Blues on loan". Bath Chronicle. 7 January 2009. Archived from the original on 21 July 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2016.

External links