Godolphin School

The Godolphin School is an independent boarding school for girls at Salisbury in Wiltshire, England, founded in 1726. The school educates some 430 girls between the ages of eleven and eighteen.

Godolphin School
The Godolphin School - geograph.org.uk - 152403
Motto Franc ha leal eto ge
Frank and loyal thou art
Established 1726
Type Independent day and boarding
Headmistress Emma Hattersley
Founders Charles and Elizabeth Godolphin
Location Milford Hill
51°04′08″N 1°47′07″W / 51.0688°N 1.7853°WCoordinates: 51°04′08″N 1°47′07″W / 51.0688°N 1.7853°W
DfE URN 126519 Tables
Students c. 450
Gender Girls
Ages 3–18
Houses Boarding: Walters, Sayers, Cooper, School, Jerred;[1]
Whole school: Douglas, Hamilton, Methuen[2]
Publication Gazette
Website Godolphin School


Godolphin was founded in 1726 by the Hon. Charles Godolphin and his wife, Elizabeth, for the education of eight young orphaned gentlewomen. According to the terms of the Will, the beneficiaries were to be daughters of members of the Church of England, between eight and twelve years of age, born in Salisbury or some other Wiltshire town, and to have had "some portion left to them but not exceeding £400". The girls were to be taught to "dance, work, read, write, cast accounts and the business of housewifery".[3] This was a fairly advanced curriculum for its time, since girls of this class were expected to be able to read but not necessarily to be able to write. The new charity was initially to be administered by William Godolphin, a nephew of the founders, the Dean and Chapter having declined to take on the task on the grounds that the idea of educating women was "mere foolery and dreaming". Every year, on the second Saturday in November, the School honours its founder Elizabeth Godolphin when the Head Girl, accompanied by members of the Upper Sixth, lays a wreath on her tomb in the cloister of Westminster Abbey. This ceremony is known to girls past and present as "Commem."

The School did not open its doors until 1784, when it was set up in Rosemary Lane, in the Cathedral Close, Salisbury. It later occupied various houses in the vicinity, including Arundells, more recently the home of Sir Edward Heath, and finally the King's House. A prospectus of 1789, written by the Headmistress, Mrs Voysey, promised a regime of early rising, "agreeable exercise" and a diet of wholesome books "such as enlarge the heart to Virtue and excellency of Sentiment".

Following an outbreak of cholera in 1848, the School moved to Milford Hill, where for nearly half a century it occupied various premises, including Fawcett House on Elm Grove, which was later to become the Swan School. Under the leadership of Miss Polhill (1854–1857) and Miss Andrews (1875–1890), numbers were small and the curriculum narrow. Then, in 1890, Miss Mary Douglas arrived. Described variously as a 'headmistress of genius' and 'the second founder of the School', her headship saw a tenfold increase in numbers from 23 in 1890 to 230 in 1920, the year she retired. In 1891, the distinctive red-brick building on the top of Milford Hill was opened at a cost of £4000, and in the years that followed several new boarding houses were added. During the 1890s school fees were 4 guineas per term for pupils under 12, 5 guineas for pupils from 12 to 15, and 6 guineas for pupils over 15.

In 1904 an additional six acres were purchased to extend the school grounds, which were then landscaped on the side facing Laverstock. In 1914 oak panelling, which gives the Hall its unique atmosphere, was installed; and in 1925 an open-air swimming pool was opened. Additions to the school since the Second World War have included a new library building, several new boarding houses, a science and technology block, a prep school, a performing arts centre, an indoor swimming pool with fitness centre, a new boarding house (Douglas) and a Sixth Form Centre.

Novelist Elizabeth Lemarchand was deputy headmistress of the school from 1943 until 1960.[4]

The arms and motto of the School are those of the Godolphin family. The motto Franc ha leal eto ge is Old Cornish and means 'Frank and loyal thou art'.

The formal uniform is usual for a girls' school as it includes a blazer, skirt, shirt, traditional "pinny" and boater.


  • Mrs Voysey
  • 1784–: Miss Giffard (Mrs Davis)
  • 1815–: Miss Anna Maria Alford
  • 1829–: Miss Emily
  • 1832–1854: Miss Margaret Bazeley
  • 1854–1857: Miss Polhill (Mrs Cother)
  • 1857–1875: Miss Emma Polhill
  • 1875–1890: Miss M. T. Andrews
  • 1890–1919: Mary Alice Douglas
  • 1920–1935: Miss Cecily Ray Ash
  • 1935–1940: Miss D. M. M. Edwards-Rees
  • 1940–1958: Miss G. May Jerred
  • 1958–1967: Miss Engledow
  • 1968–1980: Miss Veronica Fraser
  • 1980–1989: Mrs Elizabeth Prescott-Decie (Hannay)
  • 1989–1996: Mrs Hilary Fender
  • 1996–2010: Miss Jill Horsburgh
  • 2010–2013: Mrs Samantha Price
  • 2014– : Mrs Emma Hattersley

Notable former pupils

See also


  1. ^ "Boarding". Godolphin School. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Inter-House Activities". Godolphin School. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  3. ^ "About Godolphin: Our History". godolphin.org.
  4. ^ Writers Directory. Springer. 5 March 2016. pp. 735–. ISBN 978-1-349-03650-9.
  5. ^ "Sheila Theodora Elsie Callender". Munk's Roll Volume XII. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  6. ^ Atiyah, Lily (November 1998). "Obituary: Dame Mary Cartwright 1900–1997". The Mathematical Gazette. The Mathematical Association. 82 (495): 494–496.
  7. ^ a b "Jilly Cooper and Minette Walters Return to Godolphin". godolphin.org.
  8. ^ Bramlett, Perry C.; Ronald W. Higdon (1998). Touring C.S. Lewis' Ireland & England. Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc. p. 80. ISBN 1-57312-191-6.

External links

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