Bromsgrove School

Bromsgrove School is a co-educational independent boarding school in the Worcestershire town of Bromsgrove, England. Founded in 1553, it is one of the oldest public schools in Britain, and one of the 14 founding members of the Headmaster's Conference. Bromsgrove School has both boarding and day students consisting of three schools, Pre-Prep Nursery School (ages 2–7), Preparatory School (ages 7–13) and the Senior School (13–18). Bromsgrove charges up to £12,430 per term, with three terms per academic year.[1]. 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.

Spread across 100 acres, the main campus is located in the heart of the town of Bromsgrove. However, Bromsgrove School has also expanded overseas, with an additional boarding school in Bangkok (Bromsgrove International School Thailand) and a new school within the Mission Hills complex in Shenzhen, China[1]

Bromsgrove School
Bromsgrove School Crest of Arms
Crest of arms 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
day and boarding school
Coeducational school
Motto‘’Deo, regi, vicino’’
(Latin: “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.
Staff599 (200 Teaching Staff)
Age2 to 18
Houses11 (Senior School)
4 (Preparatory School)
3 (Pre-Preparatory)
Former pupilsOld Bromsgrovians
MapsSchool Grounds


Bromsgrove School
Thomas Cookes House, founded by Sir Thomas Cookes in 1693, is the oldest building on the site

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.

Second World War

During the Second World War the entire School was temporarily moved to Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales, as the School buildings were requisitioned by British government departments for the War effort. Many former pupils and members of staff were killed during the Second World War, and their names are commemorated at the War memorial of the town. In 2007, the school was granted the Freedom of Llanwrtyd Wells.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4]


In 2002 the school established Bromsgrove International School Thailand (BIST) in Thailand. Then in 2016, the school opened Bromsgrove School Mission Hills, in Shenzhen, China[1].

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 a 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, beginning with School House (the senior house of the School), in turn then moves forward and every pupil shakes hands with their House staff, the Heads of School and then the Headmaster and his wife. The final ceremony is the lowering of the School flag by the Heads of School who hand it to the Deputy Head who then 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.

Bromsgrove School 01
Main Worcester Road entrance

The school website states that the pass rate at grades A* to C (exams at age 16) is 96%.[5] Bromsgrove also started teaching the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) in 2009, with Sixth form students having the choice between IB, BTEC and A-Levels. The rugby match against King Edward's School, Birmingham, that has been played annually since 1875,[6] is thought to be the oldest continuous Rugby fixture between two schools in England.[7]

Heads of School and Monitors

Similar to most public schools in Britain and the Commonwealth, Bromsgrove has a system of school leaders known as Monitors. As representatives of the school, Monitors' jobs are mostly based around keeping the school running at its best level of quality and tradition, with chapel and lunch duties being an example of this. Pupils who belong to any of these categories, in addition to other leadership roles, are entitled to a certain set of privileges, such as Monitor ties, brown shoes, and waistcoats/cardigans.

In addition to the Monitors, Bromsgrove has a set of Heads of School featuring a Head Boy and Girl, and their respective deputies.

Monitors and Heads of School are chosen towards the end of their penultimate Lower Sixth year; the decision is made from a combination of both a student poll and teacher vote.


Bromsgrove School 03
North Gate entrance, with the Dining Hall seen behind to the right

The preparatory school houses of Boulton (Matthew Boulton), Darby (Abraham Darby), Telford (Thomas Telford), Watt (James Watt), are named after famous British industrialists.

Perry Hall, Home of A.E. Housman
Housman Hall, one of the school's senior boarding houses, was formally the home of poet A.E. Housman

The senior school is divided into eleven houses; 6 for boys, 4 for girls and one mixed.

Boarding Houses

Mary Windsor, named after the daughter of Thomas Hickman-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 and Elmshurst 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 Housman. During an exclusive opening ceremony in 2014, Housman Hall was reopened after the School had completed a brand new refurbishment which significantly improved the boarding accommodation.[8]

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 2018. Elmshurst now has an additional annexe known as Webber, which is located by the Conway Road entrance.

Day Houses

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, is also a boys day house.

Thomas Cookes and Hazeldene are two girls day houses that are situated in the original and oldest building on the school's site.

School House is the most senior house of the school, and is now a boys day house. It leads the final call over during the end of year Commemoration Day ceremony.

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          

House Structure

Each House has a team of tutors led by a Houseparent and supported by Housemothers who have no academic role and are there purely for the pastoral care of the young people in the House. The Houseparent is also supported by a Head and Deputy Head of House, who is then supported by a group of House Monitors built up of pupils in their final Upper Sixth year. There is great loyalty to the Houses and much competition between them, known as 'Inter-House' events.[9]

School Terms

There are three academic terms in the year.[10]

  • The Michaelmas term, from early September to mid December. New pupils are now admitted only at the start of the Michaelmas, unless in exceptional circumstances.
  • The Lent term, from early January to late March.
  • The Summer term, from late April to late June or early July.

Within each term, there is a break known as a 'Half Term', in which all pupils return home and the school closes.


  • 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

Old Bromsgrovians

Official portrait of Lord Jones of Birmingham crop 2
Sir Digby Jones, former businessman and Minister of State for Trade and Investment, was educated at Bromsgrove School.[12]
Alfred Edward Housman.jpeg
A.E Housman, classical scholar and poet, went to Bromsgrove School.[13]
John Illsley 1985
John Illsley, bass guitarist of band Dire Straits, was a former student of Bromsgrove School.

Former pupils of Bromsgrove School are known as Old Bromsgrovians.

Medals for gallantry

Five Old Bromsgrovians won the Victoria Cross for valour in the face of the enemy:[14]

One old Bromsgrovian won the George Cross:[15]

There have been many notable Old Bromsgrovians. They include AE Housman, David Arculus, Digby Jones, Ian Carmichael,[16] 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. 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. ^ a b "Campus and Facilities- Bromsgrove School Mission Hills". Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  2. ^ Unique Honour For Town School (from Bromsgrove Advertiser)
  3. ^ Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees, The Times newspaper, 10 November 2005 (subscription site) Alternative site
  4. ^ The Office of Fair Trading: OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement Archived 10 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Isbi staff, Bromsgrove School, Worcestershire, [Which School Ltd.], archived from the original on 3 April 2009
  6. ^ 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."
  7. ^ School staff, Senior School Sports Rugby, Bromsgrove School, archived from the original on 21 November 2008, retrieved 7 August 2008
  8. ^ "Official Re-Opening of Housman Hall". Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Boarding and Day Houses". Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Term Dates". Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Bromsgrovians Connected". Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Digby Jones, Baron Jones of Birmingham", Wikipedia, 20 December 2018, retrieved 5 January 2019
  13. ^ "Digby Jones, Baron Jones of Birmingham", Wikipedia, 20 December 2018, retrieved 5 January 2019
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ Ashcroft, Michael (2010). George Cross Heroes. London: Headline Review. p. 365. ISBN 978-0-7553-6082-6
  16. ^ Barker, Dennis (6 February 2010). "Ian Carmichael obituary". London: Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 6 February 2010.

External links

Andy Goode

Andrew James Goode (born 3 April 1980) is a sports pundit and retired rugby union player. Goode had an 18-year professional career playing over 400 games and scoring over 3,000 points. He played professionally in England, France and South Africa featuring for Leicester Tigers, Saracens, Worcester Warriors, Wasps and Newcastle Falcons in England's Premiership Rugby, CA Brive in France's Top 14 and for Super Rugby's Sharks in South Africa. Goode represented England 17 times between 2005 and 2009 scoring 107 points.

Goode is the second highest scorer of all time in Premiership Rugby, having previously been the record holder. During his career he won five Premiership titles (1999–2002 and 2007) and two European Cups (2001 and 2002) all with Leicester; he also won the RFU Championship with Worcester Warriors.

Arthur Darvill

Thomas Arthur Darvill (born 17 June 1982) is a British actor and musician. He is known for playing Rory Williams, one of the Eleventh Doctor's companions in the television series Doctor Who (2010-2012), Rip Hunter in Legends of Tomorrow (2016–2018) and as Rev. Paul Coates in Broadchurch (2013–2017). From 2013 to 2014 he appeared in the lead role in the theatre musical Once in the West End and on Broadway.

Ben Foden

Benjamin James Foden (born 22 July 1985) is a rugby union player who plays for Rugby United New York (RUNY) and England. He plays at fullback or scrum-half, but can also operate on the wing. He scored his first try for England against France in the 2010 Six Nations.

He gained his nickname of "Pop Idol" or "Pops" by missing the first day of pre-season with the Sale Sharks for an audition on the programme.

Bromsgrove International School Thailand

Bromsgrove International School Thailand (BIST) is a British curriculum day and boarding school with two campuses in Min Buri District, Bangkok, Thailand, catering for students between the ages of 2 and 18. The school is located within the grounds of a 36-hole golf course within 15 kilometres (9 mi) of Bangkok International Airport (Suvannabhumi) and 30 kilometres (19 mi) from central Bangkok. It provides an alternative for students in Southeast Asia to study in a UK boarding school closer to home.

The school has two campuses which cater for students from Early Years to Year 13 (3–18 years old) including IGCSE and since 2008, A levels. It is affiliated with Bromsgrove School in England, founded in 1553.

Craig Parnham

Craig Parnham (born 13 July 1973 in Bridgnorth, Shropshire) is an English field hockey defender and coach. He represented Great Britain in two Summer Olympics in 2000 and 2004, and played club hockey for Stourport, Bridgnorth and Cannock.

Parnham made his debut for Great Britain in 2000, shortly before being included in the team for the 2000 Summer Olympics. The following year he made his debut for England, where he was appointed captain.He sustained a near-fatal throat injury in 2002, when he was caught in the throat by a flying stick while playing for England in Malaysia. His larynx required rebuilding.In total, Parnham won 64 caps for Great Britain and 51 for England. He is now a coach, and has taken the Great Britain women's team to the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. In January 2013 he was appointed head coach of the USA Women's National Team.

Edward Seagar

Edward Leslie Seager was Archdeacon of Dorset from 1955 to 1974.Born on 5 October 1904, he was educated at Bromsgrove School and Durham University, becoming ordained in 1929. At Durham he was a member of Hatfield College and served as President of the Durham Union for Easter term of 1927. He was Chaplain at Wellington School from 1931 until 1939; and a Chaplain to the Forces from then until 1946. He was Vicar of Gillingham, Dorset from 1946 to 1979, Rural Dean of Shaftesbury from 1951 to 1956; and a Canon of Salisbury Cathedral from 1954 to 1968.

He died on 2 November 1983.

Fyfe Dangerfield

Fyfe Antony Dangerfield Hutchins (born 7 July 1980) is an English musician and songwriter, best known as the founding member of the indie rock band Guillemots.

Ian Carmichael

Ian Gillett Carmichael, OBE (18 June 1920 – 5 February 2010) was an English actor. He had roles in the films of the Boulting brothers, including Private's Progress (1956) and I'm All Right Jack (1959), and later played Dorothy L. Sayers's gentleman detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, on television and radio. Carmichael also had a career on stage.

Jennie Bimson

Jennie "Bimmo" Bimson (born 13 October 1976 in Wordsley, West Midlands) is a retired English field hockey player. A former member of the England and Great Britain women's field hockey team during the late 1990s and 2000s, she played in midfield and as a forward.

She retired from hockey after the 2008 Olympics.

John Rose Holden

John Rose Holden (sometimes called Rose-Holden) (27 September 1821 – February 25, 1879) was a Canadian politician and lawyer. He was mayor of Hamilton, Canada West in 1851.

Born in Daventry, Northamptonshire, England, John Rose Holden was the son of a wealthy Church of England clergyman. Little is known of his early life, but he is believed to have come to Canada at an early age. He was well educated in both English and French, and studied law with Judge Campbell at Niagara, Upper Canada. After being called to the bar, he entered a partnership with Richard Oliver Duggan (for whom Whitehern was built) in Hamilton, enjoying a lucrative practice. He was married to Mary Emily Roach and had two sons and three daughters.

Holden served on the city council for many years. He was elected mayor in 1851, the year in which a new system of elections was introduced; two aldermen, two councillors, one inspector of houses of public entertainment, and one school trustee were elected for each ward. As mayor, Holden represented Hamilton at the Boston Jubilee. A freemason, Holden became affiliated with Barton Lodge on 27 November 1844. He was active, along with his wife, in the Wentworth Historical Society. He was also a member of St. Mark's Church (Anglican), donating its first communion vessels. The church contains a plaque to him and his wife.

He died in Hamilton, Ontario in 1879.

John Rowlands (priest)

Daniel John Rowlands (known as John; 1925 – 13 September 2004) was an eminent Anglican priest in the 20th Century.

Rowlands was born in 1925 and educated at Bromsgrove School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was ordained in 1952. He was a Curate at Mary, Woodford and then with the Mission to Seaman until 1975 when he left to become vicar at St Mary's church, Woodbridge, Suffolk. In 1983 he became Dean of Gibraltar, a post he held for 3 years. In 1985, he returned to his home in West Wales where he was Rural Dean of Glyn Aeron until his retirement in 1995. He died on 13 September 2004.

Lucilla Wright

Lucilla Mary Wright (born 24 December 1979 in Birmingham, West Midlands) is an English field hockey international, who was a member of the England and Great Britain women's field hockey teams during the late 1990s and 2000s.

Matt Mullan

Matthew James Mullan (born 23 February 1987) is an English rugby union player playing for and co-captaining Premiership side Wasps. He is a loosehead prop but can also play at hooker.

Nick Miles

Nicholas "Nick" Miles is an English actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Jimmy King in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale.

Noel Johnson

Noel Frank Johnson (28 December 1916 – 1 October 1999) was an English actor.

He was the radio voice of Dick Barton special agent on BBC radio and Dan Dare on Radio Luxembourg.

Richard Wattis

Richard Cameron Wattis (25 February 1912 – 1 February 1975) was an English actor.

Robert Layton

Robert Edward John "Bob" Layton, (December 25, 1925 – May 9, 2002) was a Canadian politician.

Soweto Kinch

Soweto Kinch (born 10 January 1978) is a British jazz alto saxophonist.

Trevor Eve

Trevor John Eve (born 1 July 1951) is an English film and television actor. In 1979 he gained fame as the eponymous lead in the detective series Shoestring and is also known for his role as Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd in BBC television drama Waking the Dead. He is the father of three children, including actress Alice Eve.

Further education colleges

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