Bromsgrove School

Bromsgrove School, founded in 1553, is a co-educational independent public school in the Worcestershire town of Bromsgrove, England. The school comprises kindergarten, primary, and secondary sections for a total of around 1,600 boarding and day-school pupils and a teaching staff of 200. It is a founder member of the Headmaster's Conference.

Bromsgrove School
Bromsgrove School arms
School Crest of Bromsgrove School
Worcester Road

, ,
B61 7DU

Coordinates52°19′43″N 2°03′48″W / 52.328611°N 2.063333°WCoordinates: 52°19′43″N 2°03′48″W / 52.328611°N 2.063333°W
TypePublic School Independent day and boarding school
MottoDeo, regi, vicino
(For God, for King, for Neighbour)
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Established1553 (established)
1476 (first recorded)
FounderSir Thomas Cookes
Local authorityWorcestershire
Department for Education URN117012 Tables
Chairman of the GovernorsPaul West QPM
HeadmasterPeter Clague M.B.A. B.A.
ChaplainRevd. Paul Hedworth B.Ed. B.A.
Age2 to 18
Houses11 (Senior School)
4 (Preparatory School)
3 (Pre-Preparatory)
Former pupilsOld Bromsgrovians
MapsSchool Grounds


Bromsgrove School
Bromsgrove School, founded in 1553, is a co-educational independent public school in the Worcestershire town of Bromsgrove, England.

The school was first recorded in 1476 as a chantry school now 540 years old, and was re-established as a Tudor grammar school between 1548 and 1553. The financial endowment of Sir Thomas Cookes in 1693 produced the first buildings on the present site and the historic link with Worcester College, Oxford which has a similar coat of arms, based on those of Thomas Cookes of Norgrove. John Day Collis became head-master in December 1842. The tercentenary of the grammar school was celebrated on 31 March 1853. In 1856 Collis had the chapel and new school rooms built, and existing buildings enlarged and improved.

In 1869 Bromsgrove was one of the fourteen founding schools of the Headmasters' Conference. During the Second World War the school was moved temporarily to Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales, and its buildings used by British government departments. In 2007, the school was granted the Freedom of Llanwrtyd Wells.[1] In 2002 the school established Bromsgrove International School Thailand (BIST) in Thailand.

In 2005 the school was one of fifty of the country's leading private schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, exposed by The Times, which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents.[2] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000 and all agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling three million pounds into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared.[3]

Commemoration Day

Commemoration Day (known colloquially as Commem) is the Senior School's traditional end of year celebration. It is a very special day for the School and especially for the Upper Sixth Leavers. When Sir Thomas Cookes re-endowed the School in 1693, he enjoined that once a year a sermon should be preached to the Scholars of the School in St John’s Parish Church. It is this that the School commemorates as well as celebrating the end of the academic year with prizegiving

Following a very small private ceremony in the Cookes Room celebrating the founder Sir Thomas Cookes where the Heads of School lay a wreath beneath a portrait of Cookes, the whole School (except the Lower Fourth) then proceeds to St John’s Church for the Commemoration Service. Unusually the school does not have its own school song, however, Charles Villiers Stanford’s setting of Te Deum Laudamus in B flat has been sung at the service since 1989, becoming an unofficial school song.

After the Church Service everyone returns to School and takes their place in the speeches’ marquee. The School and parents are addressed by the President of the School and the Headmaster. Prizes are awarded to Upper Sixth Leavers and other pupils.

At 4.15pm the Chapel Bell begins to toll, calling the School to Final Call Over. All the pupils line up in Houses with their Houseparents, Housemothers and Tutors on the Parade Ground between Kyteless and the Chapel. Each House in turn then moves forward and every pupil shakes hands with their House staff, the Heads of School and the Headmaster. The final ceremony is the lowering of the School flag by the Heads of School who then hand it to the Deputy Head who hands it to the Headmaster for safekeeping until the start of the next academic year.


Bromsgrove School has boarding and day students and consists of three schools, Pre-Prep Nursery School (ages 2–7), Preparatory School (ages 7–13) and the Senior School (13–18). The School has a total of 200 teaching staff, with 1,660 pupils, including 220 in the Pre-preparatory School, 500 in the Preparatory School and 940 in the Senior School, of whom 60% are male and 40% female, 60% boarding and 40% day. As well as British students, there are more than three hundred from 49 different countries, especially Russia, Germany, China and Hong Kong.

The school website states that the pass rate at grades A* to C (exams at age 16) is 96%.[4] Bromsgrove also started teaching the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) in 2009, with Sixth form students having the choice between them and A-Levels. A Rugby match against King Edward's School, Birmingham, that has been played annually since 1875,[5] is thought to be the oldest continuous Rugby fixture between two schools in England.[6]


The preparatory school houses of Boulton (Matthew Boulton), Darby (Abraham Darby), Telford (Thomas Telford), Watt (James Watt), are named after famous British industrialists.
The senior school is divided into eleven houses; 6 for boys, 4 for girls and one mixed. Thomas Cookes and Hazeldene are two girls day houses that are situated in the original and oldest building on the school's site. Mary Windsor, named after the daughter of Thomas Windsor Windsor, 1st Earl of Plymouth and his wife Anne Savile is for girl boarders. In 2012, Mary Windsor was moved into a new building as part of the new developments around the south gate. Oakley House is the largest house, home to both boarding and day girls. It is also situated alongside Mary Windsor in the new developed area by the south gate. Housman Hall for Sixth Form girls and boys was opened in 2005, after the school bought the Ramada Perry Hall Hotel for 3 million pounds. The building was formerly the home of A.E. Housman, an old Bromsgrovian, and was expanded in 2009 into the neighbouring building, subsequently renamed Houseman. Lupton, named after Lupton House, Sedbergh School, and Lyttelton, named after the school's links with Baron Lyttelton, a local Lord are houses for day boys located in the centre of the campus. Walters, named after the school's wartime headmaster, and School House are also day boys houses. School House leads the final call over during the end of year Commemoration Day ceremony as it is the senior house of the school. Wendron Gordon with over 100 pupils in 2009-2010 due to merging with School House, (Formerly the original Gordon House combined with the "out house", Wendron), is for boy boarders. Elmshurst is also for boy boarders and was named after the original house that was located at 17 New Road. Elmshurst was sold in the mid-1970s and the students relocated within the school campus to the current building which was refurbished in 2009.

House Abbr. Gender Type Colours
Elmshurst E Male Boarding          
Hazeldene Hz Female Day     
Housman Hall HH Mixed Boarding          
Lupton Lu Male Day          
Lyttleton Ly Male Day          
Mary Windsor MW Female Boarding     
Oakley O Female Mixed          
School S Male Day          
Thomas Cookes TC Female Day     
Walters Ws Male Day               
Wendron Gordon WG Male Boarding          


  • 2014- Peter Clague
  • 2004-2014 Christopher Edwards
  • 1986-2004 Timothy Taylor
  • 1970-1985 Rev Nick Earle
  • 1953-1970 Lionel Carey
  • 1931-1953 David Walters
  • 1912-1931 Robert G Routh
  • 1901-1912 Frederick Hendy
  • 1873-1901 Herbert Millington
  • 1867-1873 Dr George Blore
  • 1842-1867 John Day Collis
  • 1832-1842 George Jacob
  • 1819-1832 John Topham
  • 1817-1819 No Headmaster
  • 1816 Thomas Davies (sent to Fleet Prison)
  • 1813-1816 No Headmaster
  • 1812 Joseph Fell (Writing Master)
  • 1810-1812 No Headmaster
  • 1804-1810 Hugh Price
  • 1799-1804 Jeremiah Roberts
  • 1788-1799 Charles Shipley
  • 1776-1788 John Best
  • 1756-1776 John Bennett
  • 1735-1756 Charles Wilmott
  • 1721-1735 Thomas Wilmott
  • 1693-1721 John Barney
  • 1690-1693 Robert Durant
  • 1687-1690 Samuel Lloyd
  • 1679-1687 John Barney
  • 1678-1679 Samuel Lloyd
  • 1667-1678 James Orton
  • 1665-1667 No Headmaster
  • 1664-1665 William Broughton
  • 1650-1664 William Suthwell
  • 1643-1650 William Spicer
  • 1625-1643 John Crumpe
  • 1622-1625 James Purcell
  • 1616-1622 Thomas Flavell
  • 1611-1616 William Binion
  • 1606-1611 Henry Duggard
  • 1597-1606 Humphrey Roe
  • 1577-1597 Arnold Hancox
  • 1562-1577 Robert Kymberley
  • 1558-1562 Thomas Palmer
  • 1545-1558 William Foonys

Notable students

There have been many notable alumni, called Old Bromsgrovians, including five Victoria Cross recipients, and one George Cross holder. They include AE Housman, David Arculus, Digby Jones, Ian Carmichael,[8] Richard Wattis (of Hancock's Half Hour, Sykes, Father Dear Father), Trevor Eve (of Shoestring), Nick Miles (of Emmerdale) and Arthur Darvill (of Doctor Who). The author Nicholas Evans who wrote The Horse Whisperer and journalist Chris Atkins, while in music, John Illsley of the band Dire Straits (who got their name from Mr Gunton, John's housemaster), and Guillemots member Fyfe Dangerfield and jazz saxophonist Soweto Kinch. Well known sports people including Matt Neal the motor racing driver, who attended during the 1980s. Andy Goode, Ben Foden and Matt Mullan who have since played Rugby Union for England. Peter Spence, an English journalist and writer perhaps best known for creating and writing the British sitcom To the Manor Born and Benjamin John Key (Vice-Admiral Ben Key CBE), is a Royal Navy officer who currently serves as Fleet Commander. More recently, Iskra Lawrence (an English model, global role model and brand ambassador) attended the School.

Medals for gallantry

Five Old Bromsgrovians won the Victoria Cross for valour in the face of the enemy:[9]

One old Bromsgrovian won the George Cross:[10]

Rear-Admiral Sir David William Haslam (1923–2009) was educated at Bromsgrove School, had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy, returned to Bromsgrove School as a governor and lived opposite the school in Worcester Road until his death.

See also


  1. ^ Unique Honour For Town School (from Bromsgrove Advertiser)
  2. ^ Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees, The Times newspaper, 10 November 2005 (subscription site) Alternative site
  3. ^ The Office of Fair Trading: OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement Archived 10 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Isbi staff, Bromsgrove School, Worcestershire, [Which School Ltd.], archived from the original on 3 April 2009
  5. ^ Bromsgrove & KES Birmingham.
    • Thomas Winter Hutton, King Edward's School, Birmingham, 1552-1952, Blackwell, 1952. p. 148 "The first Bromsgrove game was in 1875, and 121 games have been played—two in a season at one period."
    • Henry Icely, Bromsgrove School through four centuries, Blackwell, 1953. pp. 69,99. "Rugby football, hitherto an unregulated and unsatisfactory game, was by 1875 a far better occupation for October half-holidays than wooding." "In the seventies the Rugby game was still twelve a side. There were School matches. KES, Birmingham, was an early fixture; SES, Oxford, was played for the first time in 1882."
  6. ^ School staff, Senior School Sports Rugby, Bromsgrove School, archived from the original on 21 November 2008, retrieved 7 August 2008
  7. ^ "Bromsgrovians Connected". Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  8. ^ Barker, Dennis (6 February 2010). "Ian Carmichael obituary". London: Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
  9. ^ Lovell, Nicholas (1996). V.C.s of Bromsgrove School: The Stories of Five Victoria Crosses Won by Old Bromsgrovians. Bromsgrove: Bromsgrove School Enterprises. ISBN 0-9521362-3-6
  10. ^ Ashcroft, Michael (2010). George Cross Heroes. London: Headline Review. p. 365. ISBN 978-0-7553-6082-6

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