Downside School

Downside School is a co-educational Catholic independent school for children aged 11 to 18, located in Stratton-on-the-Fosse, between Westfield and Shepton Mallet in Somerset, south west England, attached to Downside Abbey. It has both boarding and day pupils.

Originally a school for English Catholic boys, it was established in 1617 by English and Welsh monks living in exile at Douai, France.[2] The monastic community returned to England in 1795, with both the community and its school initially housed in the Shropshire home of Sir Edward Smythe, a former pupil. By 1814 the abbey and school had been re-established at its present site in Somerset. Downside School became fully co-educational with boys and girls in all year groups in 2005.

In 2017 the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) began an investigation into the English Benedictine Congregation, including Ampleforth College and Downside School. Ten individuals from the two schools, including monks, were convicted or accepted a caution for abuse. The final report released in August 2018 said that the abuse had been inflicted on pupils for over 40 years, but the schools had tried to cover up the allegations. Downside School has since instituted measures for protecting and safeguarding its students and appointed a new headmaster.[3]

Downside School
Downside School logo
Location
, ,
BA3 4RJ

England
Coordinates51°15′18″N 2°29′42″W / 51.255°N 2.495°WCoordinates: 51°15′18″N 2°29′42″W / 51.255°N 2.495°W
Information
TypeIndependent day and boarding school
MottoApud bonos iura pietatis
(Amongst good people, there are rules of piety [worth more than riches] Justinus, or :- "Among the Good, Piety is the Law".)
Religious affiliation(s)Catholic
Established1617
FoundersEnglish Benedictine Monks in exile
Department for Education URN123910 Tables
ChairDom Leo Maidlow Davis OSB
HeadmasterAndrew Hobbs
Staffc. 100
GenderCo-educational
Age11 to 18
Enrolment348[1]
HousesBoys:
Roberts
Barlow
Smythe
Powell
Girls:
Caverel
Isabella
Colour(s)Maroon and Gold         
SongPatriae domus decorem
AlumniOld Gregorians
Website

The school

Downside School
Downside School

Downside is run by lay staff and the Benedictine monks of Downside Abbey.[2] Several monks work in the school as teachers and chaplains. It has a board of governors consisting of a chairman and seven others. Of the latter three are members of the Benedictine community.[4] However the school does not have a separate legal status from the abbey, so the monastic trustees have financial and executive control of the school. The governors provide general direction and management.[5][6]

The school is divided into six houses; five senior houses and one junior house, with both day pupils and boarders in the same houses. Each house takes its name from the Community's martyrs or benefactors:

  • Powell House although in the senior school is a Junior House for all boys in Third Form before they join their senior house in Fourth Form. It is named after the Martyr Blessed Philip Powell, a monk of St Gregory's at Douai.
  • Barlow House (Boys) is situated on the south side of the main quad. It is named after the Martyr, Ambrose Barlow who was also a monk of St Gregory's at Douai. The house colours are black and white.
  • Caverel House (Girls) was formerly a boys' house but was re-furbished and changed to a girls' house following the admission of girls to Downside in September 2005. Caverel is named after the Benefactor, Abbot Philippe de Caverel. The house colours are green and white.
  • Isabella House (Girls) was founded in 2007 as a second girls' house in the senior school. The house is situated in a purpose built building in the south-east of the school grounds. Isabella is named after a Benefactor, Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain and Portugal. The house colours are gold and blue.
  • Roberts House (Boys) is situated in the north and west sides of the main quad. It is named after the Martyr and monk of St. Gregory's in Douai, St. John Roberts. The house colours are red and white.
  • Smythe House (Boys) is situated in the east side of the main quad, and is named after the major Benefactor Sir Edward Smythe. The house colours are yellow and black.[7]

History

Downside School - geograph.org.uk - 395625
Downside School

Monks from the monastery of St Gregory's, Douai in Flanders, came to Downside in 1814.[8] In 1607, St Gregory's was the first house after the Reformation to begin conventual life with a handful of exiled Englishmen.[9] For nearly 200 years St Gregory's trained monks for the English mission and six of these men were beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929. Two of these monks, SS John Roberts and Ambrose Barlow, were among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970.[10]

Imprisoned then driven from France at the Revolution, the community remained at Acton Burnell in Shropshire for 20 years before finally settling in Somerset in 1814.[9] The Monastery was completed in 1876 and the Abbey Church in 1925, being raised to the rank of a minor basilica in 1935 by Pius XI.[11] Attached to the Monastery, the School provides a Catholic boarding education for boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 18 years. During the 19th century Downside remained a small monastic school. It was Dom Leander Ramsay who founded the modern Downside and planned the new buildings, designed by Leonard Stokes, that opened in 1912 and now form two sides of the "Quad".[12]

The 20th century brought about changes for Downside in the expansion of the school buildings and school numbers — over 600 boys at one point.[13] Over the decades the number of pupils had been falling but development drives and renewed demand for boarding education has seen numbers rise.[13] As part of the renewal, girls were admitted in 2004.[14] Since the opening of Isabella House in 2007, approximately 60% of the pupils are boys and 40% are girls.[1]

Air crashes

On Saturday 15 May 1943, during a cricket match between the school and an army team, two Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft appeared over the playing fields at around 3 pm. They proceeded to circle the fields, performing manoeuvres as they did so, an eyewitness describing them "diving over the field and banking steeply". In what would be the final pass, at around 3:20 pm, both aircraft flew across the cricket ground at an extremely low altitude, and then climbed rapidly to clear the tall fir trees bordering the field. The second aircraft appeared to clip the trees with its tail and nose-dived straight into the ground, crashing and bouncing, the burning debris finally coming to rest amongst the schoolboys watching the cricket match from an embankment. The pilot and nine people on the ground were killed, with 15 others injured, ten of them seriously.[15]

In September 2013 a single-person aircraft crashed in the school grounds, causing the death of the pilot.[16][17][18]

Child abuse

Downside School - geograph.org.uk - 395624
The school entrance

The IICSA, following investigation into the English Benedictine Congregation, including Ampleforth College and Downside School, amongst other institutions, published a report in August 2018.[6] Ten individuals from the two schools, including monks, were convicted or accepted a caution for abuse. The report said that appalling abuse was inflicted on pupils over 40 years, but the schools tried to cover up appalling allegations. The Chair of the Inquiry, Prof. Alexis Jay, said that the schools for decades tried to avoid giving any information to police or authorities, with monks being "secretive, evasive and suspicious of anyone outside the English Benedictine Congregation", prioritising "the reputation of the Church and the wellbeing of the abusive monks" over safeguarding. After new procedures were introduced in 2001 following the Nolan Report, which recommended that abuse should be referred to the statutory authorities, monks gave the appearance of co-operation and trust, but in reality continued to cover up the abuse.[3][19] A 2018 statement on the school's website embraced the findings of the Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE) audit, completed in March 2018, and released a revised and stringent Child Protection Policy. Andrew Hobbs, formerly the Acting Head and designated safeguarding lead during the audits and the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), was appointed Head Master of Downside in September 2018.[20]

Sports

Members of the school compete in a range of sports from rugby, football, netball, hockey, cricket, golf, polo and even the Downside Ball Game, a variation on Fives played on a purpose-built outdoor court. Sports are played most afternoons at Downside with every pupil expected to participate at least three times a week.[21]

Cricket ground

Geograph 1869121 Downside Cricket pavilion
The cricket pavilion

The first recorded match on the school's cricket ground was in 1898, when the school played Lansdown.[22] In 1934, the ground hosted a single first-class match between Somerset and Glamorgan.[23]

In media

In 2003, Downside was the setting for a television show A Second Chance, in which a teenager from London, Ryan Bell, was sent to Downside to see if a 'difficult' student would do better in the independent sector. After excelling at Latin, biology, and on the rugby field, Bell was eventually expelled after being caught drinking.[24][25]

Notable alumni

Alumni are known as Old Gregorians in honour of St Gregory, the School's Patron Saint.

References

  1. ^ a b "Downside School - Absence and pupil population". Compare a school. UK Government. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b "School History". Downside School. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Child abuse inquiry: School 'reputations put before abuse victims'". BBC News. 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  4. ^ "School Governors" Downside School.
  5. ^ Gledhill, Ruth (9 August 2018). "Damning catalogue of sex abuse at top Catholic schools". The Tablet. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  6. ^ a b Ampleforth and Downside (English Benedictine Congregation case study) - Investigation Report (PDF) (Report). Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  7. ^ "House Structure". Downside School. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  8. ^ "Downside School". Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  9. ^ a b "Archives of Downside School" (PDF). National Archives. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  10. ^ "Sermon of Paul VI on the occasion of the canonisation of forty martyrs from England and Wales, 25 October 1970 (largely in Italian)". The Vatican. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  11. ^ "Downside". English Benedictine Congregation. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  12. ^ "Obituary". The Tablet. 23 March 1929. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  13. ^ a b Turner, Graham (1 February 2003). "Faith in the future". Telegraph. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Witness Statement of Andrew Hobbs" (PDF). Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  15. ^ "ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 75858". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Land Mines and Fighter Plane Crashes!". WW2 Peoples War. BBC. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  17. ^ "Flying Accident, Downside School". Hansard. UK Parliament. 18 May 1943. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  18. ^ "THE DOWNSIDE DISASTER Eye-witness's Description". Catholic Herald. 21 May 1943. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  19. ^ Harriet Sherwood and Rob Evans (9 August 2018). "Report damns culture of acceptance of sexual abuse at two Catholic schools". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  20. ^ Downside School (2018). Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  21. ^ Sporting Life Downside School
  22. ^ Other matches played on Downside School
  23. ^ First-Class Matches played on Downside School
  24. ^ Riddell, Mary (2003-05-11). "Young, gifted, but black". London: The Observer. Retrieved 2006-10-28.
  25. ^ Amelia Hill and Kamal Ahmed (2003-05-11). "Who is to blame for Ryan's fall?". London: The Observer. Retrieved 2010-12-09.

External links

Alexander McDonnell, 9th Earl of Antrim

Alexander Randal Mark McDonnell, 9th Earl of Antrim, (born 3 February 1935) is the son of the late Randal John Somerled McDonnell, 8th Earl of Antrim (1911–1977). As the heir to his father's titles, he was styled Viscount Dunluce from his birth until 1977. He lives mostly at his ancestral home, Glenarm Castle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Brian Cotter, Baron Cotter

Brian Joseph Michael Cotter, Baron Cotter (born 24 August 1936) is a politician in the United Kingdom. He was Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Weston-super-Mare from 1997 to 2005.

Charles Owen O'Conor

Charles Owen O'Conor, O'Conor Don PC (Irish: Cathal Eóghan Ó Conchubhair Donn; 7 May 1838 – 30 June 1906), was an Irish politician

Damian Harris

Damian David Harris (born 2 August 1958) is an English film director and screenwriter. He is the son of the actor Richard Harris and socialite Elizabeth Rees-Williams.

Denis Maurice O'Conor

Denis Maurice O'Conor (Irish: Donnchadh Muirgheas Ó Conchubhair Donn; 1840–26 July 1883) was an Irish politician, Member of Parliament in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The second son of The O'Conor Don, O'Conor was educated at Downside School and the University of London, gaining an MA in 1861 and LLD in 1866. A barrister, he was called to the bar at Middle Temple, 1866. He was a member of the Reform Club.

O'Conor served as a Liberal (pro-Home Rule) MP for County Sligo from December 1868 until his death. He was appointed High Sheriff of Roscommon for 1865.

He married Ellen Isabella, the eldest daughter of Rev. W. T. Kevill Davies of Croft Castle, Herefordshire with whom he had a son.

Eugene Simon

Eugene Michael Simon (born 11 June 1992) is an English film and television actor. He is best known for his roles as Jerome Clarke in the Nickelodeon's mystery television series House of Anubis (2011–2013) and as Lancel Lannister in the HBO's fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones (2011–2012; 2015–2016).

Jamie Harris (actor)

Jamie Harris (born 15 May 1963) is a British actor. He is best known for his role as The Hook-Handed Man in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Rodney in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Gordon in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

Jared Harris

Jared Francis Harris (born 24 August 1961) is a British actor, best known for his roles as Lane Pryce in the television drama series Mad Men, David Robert Jones in the science fiction series Fringe, King George VI in the historical series The Crown, Anderson Dawes on the science fiction series The Expanse and captain Francis Crozier in the AMC series The Terror. He has also had significant supporting roles in films such as Mr Deeds (2002), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), Lincoln (2012), and Allied (2016).

Jenico Preston, 17th Viscount Gormanston

Jenico Nicholas Dudley Preston, 17th Viscount Gormanston, 4th Baron Gormanston (born 19 November 1939), is an Anglo-Irish peer.

Lord Gormanston is the only son of Jenico William Preston, 16th Viscount Gormanston (1914–1940), and Pamela Hanly, daughter of Captain Edward Hanly and Lady Marjorie Feilding (daughter of The 9th Earl of Denbigh). A Roman Catholic Anglo-Irish aristocrat, he is the Premier Viscount of Ireland. Like his forebears, Lord Gormanston attended the Benedictine academy of Downside School. His great-grandfather was Sir William Francis Butler of Bansha Castle, County Tipperary, and his great-grandmother was the celebrated Victorian artist Elizabeth Thompson, a.k.a. Lady Elizabeth Butler.

He succeeded to the title before his first birthday, when his father died in action at Dunkirk during the Battle of France, 1940. He is a connoisseur of art and lives in Kensington, London. His ancestral seat is Gormanston Castle in County Meath, Ireland, though it is no longer in the family's possession. The castle is fully maintained by the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor (OFM), bought c. 1950. Shortly after its purchase, the order opened a boarding school for boys, Gormanston College, in the adjacent grounds; the college has since become a coeducational day school.

John Eric Drummond, 9th Earl of Perth

John Eric Drummond, 9th Earl of Perth (born 7 July 1935) the son of John David Drummond who in 1951 became the 8th Earl of Perth, and his wife Nancy Seymour Fincke, an American with roots in colonial British North America. He is also known as the titular (Jacobite) 15th Duke of Perth, 14th Viscount of Strathallan. He succeeded to the titles of 18th de jure Earl of Perth, 12th Lord Drummond of Cromlix, 14th Lord Maderty and 22nd Lord Drummond on 25 November 2002.

He was educated at Downside School and graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge with a B.A. degree and from Harvard University with an M.B.A. degree.

On 7 January 1963 he married Margaret Anne Gordon, daughter of Robin Gordon. They had three children before divorcing in 1972. He married secondly in 1988 Mrs. Marion Verity Grey Elliot, née Eton.

Annabella Margaret Drummond (b. 18 Jun 1964, d. 21 Jun 1964)

James David Drummond, Viscount Strathallan (b. 24 Oct 1965)

Hon. Robert Eric Drummond (b. 7 May 1967)When his father died in 2002, he became the Earl of Perth.

John Lytton, 5th Earl of Lytton

John Peter Michael Scawen Lytton, 5th Earl of Lytton, 18th Baron Wentworth, (born 7 June 1950), styled Viscount Knebworth between 1951 and 1985, is a British surveyor and House of Lords member.

Michael J. Alexander

Michael Joseph Alexander (born 1941) is a British translator, poet, academic and broadcaster. He held the Berry Chair of English Literature at the University of St Andrews until his retirement in 2003. He is best known for his translations of Beowulf and other Anglo-Saxon poems into modern English verse.He was educated at Downside School, read English at Oxford University, then spent a year in France and in Italy, attending the University of Perugia. He then spent some years working in the publishing industry in London, interrupted by attending Princeton University. Before taking up his post at St. Andrews he was a lecturer at the University of Stirling.For many years he was a member of the Scottish team in Radio 4's Round Britain quiz show.

Patrick Mason

Patrick Mason (born 1951 in London) is a theatre director.

Mason was educated at Downside School and trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. He was appointed fellow in drama at the University of Manchester in 1974 and then lecturer in performance studies. He joined the Abbey Theatre in Dublin as a resident director in 1977 but later left to become a freelance theatre director. In 1992 he won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award as director of Dancing at Lughnasa on Broadway. He returned to the Abbey Theatre as artistic director from 1993–1999.Mason has been in a relationship with his partner Sean McCarthy(a former schoolteacher)for over three decades.The couple met through the Abbey Theatre.

Pete de Freitas

Peter Louis Vincent de Freitas (2 August 1961 – 14 June 1989) was an English musician and producer. He was the drummer in Echo & the Bunnymen, and performed on their first five albums.

De Freitas was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and educated by the Benedictines at Downside School in Somerset, south-west England. His father, Denis, was a copyright lawyer. He joined the Bunnymen in 1979, replacing a drum machine.He funded, produced and played drums under the name Louis Vincent in the first single of The Wild Swans "The Revolutionary Spirit" 1982, for the Zoo Records label.

In 1985, de Freitas temporarily left the band. He spent several months drinking in New Orleans, while attempting to form a new group, The Sex Gods. By 1987 he returned to the Bunnymen to record their fifth album, though only as a part-time member. He was married in the same year and his daughter Lucie Marie was born in 1988.He died in a motorcycle accident in 1989 at the age of 27, on his way to Liverpool from London. He was riding a 900cc Ducati motorcycle on the A51 road in Longdon Green, Staffordshire and was in collision with a motor vehicle at approximately 16:00. His ashes are buried in Goring-on-Thames.His sisters Rose and Rachel were founding members of the band The Heart Throbs. His brother Frank is the bass player of The Woodentops.

Peter Morgan

Peter Julian Robin Morgan, (born 10 April 1963) is a British film writer and playwright. Morgan is best known for writing the historical films and plays The Queen, Frost/Nixon, The Damned United, and Rush. He is the creator of the Netflix series The Crown.

In 2008, Morgan was ranked number 28 in The Telegraph's list of "The 100 most powerful people in British culture". In February 2017, he was awarded a British Film Institute Fellowship (BFI).

Philip Pope

Philip R. J. Pope is a British composer and actor. He was educated at Downside School and New College, Oxford.

Robert Walker, Baron Walker of Gestingthorpe

Robert Walker, Baron Walker of Gestingthorpe, PC (born 17 March 1938) is an English barrister and former Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He also serves as a Non-Permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.He sits in the House of Lords as a crossbencher.

Simon Halliday

Simon John Halliday (born 13 July 1960 in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales) is a former English rugby union international. He also played nine first-class cricket matches. He was educated at Downside School, Somerset and St Benet's Hall, Oxford.

Simon Tolkien

Simon Mario Reuel Tolkien (born 12 January 1959) is a British barrister and novelist. He is the grandson of J. R. R. Tolkien, and the oldest child of Christopher Tolkien.

Independent
houses
Dependent houses
Schools
Former houses
Primary
Middle
Secondary
Independent
(preparatory)
Independent
(secondary)
Special
Former
Sixth form
and FE colleges

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.