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Hurstpierpoint College

Hurstpierpoint College
File:Hurstpierpoint college.jpg
Motto Latin: "Beati Mundo Corde"
(Blessed are the pure in heart)
Established 1849
Type Independent School
Religion Church of England
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Mr Tim Manly
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Rear Admiral Simon Moore CB
Founder Canon Nathaniel Woodard
Location College Lane
West Sussex
Local authority West Sussex
DfE number 938/6206
Students c.1,085
Gender Mixed
Ages 4–18
Houses 11
Colours Red and White         
Former pupils Old Johnians
Affiliation Woodard Corporation

Hurstpierpoint College is an independent, co-educational, day and boarding school for pupils aged 4–18, located just to the north of the village of Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex in the lee of the South Downs. The College was founded in 1849 by Canon Nathaniel Woodard and is a member of the Woodard Corporation.[1]

History and overview

The school was originally established in 1849 as St John's Middle School, based in Shoreham. Its first headmaster, Rev. Edward Clarke Lowe, had worked with Woodard at Lancing College and stayed at Hurstpierpoint for 22 years until 1872. The school moved to Mansion House in Hurstpierpoint and then, thanks to the local benefactors the Campion Family, on 21 June 1853 made its final move to its present site. Intended to resemble the collegiate system at Oxford and Cambridge, Nathaniel Woodard designed the College to have adjoining Inner and Outer quads and the chapel and dining hall not adjacent to each other.

The College has grown significantly in recent years and now provides education for boys and girls aged between 4 and 18 years. Tim Manly BA(Oxon) MSc(LSE) is Headmaster of Hurstpierpoint College, with overall responsibility for all four of the College's schools:

Of these 1085 pupils, 497 are girls and 589 boys. All four schools share the facilities available in the College's Script error: No such module "convert"., country campus.

The school was most recently inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in early 2011.[2]

Creative Arts

Drama, Dance, Art and Music all feature prominently in life at Hurst, as the College has a strong emphasis on the extracurricular.

The College has a strong tradition of Drama, with the oldest Shakespearian Society in existence. In 2009 Hurst mounted a total of 18 separate productions, which between them put on 40 performances. These included various student directed and lead productions, the annual Shakespeare production, the Shell Shakespeare Festival, the annual musical, the House Drama Competition, the Drama gap student's production, other staff directed productions and an annual contribution to the Hurst Festival. There have also been regular theatre trips abroad. Most recently the College toured China with King Lear for two weeks.[citation needed] There are also a number of evening workshops, including "Acting in Front of a Camera", which used HD video cameras and playback on a projector to teach the students.

Art at Hurst is housed in the Art Department opened by David Shepherd in 2003. The department runs various art workshops, activities and evening sessions including Life Drawing held by Royal Academy of Art School graduate Peter Harrap

Musical life, too, has something of a tradition in the college with old masters including Thomas Fielden (musician) and Nicholas Chisholm (current Headmaster of the Yehudi Menuhin School).[citation needed]There are regular concerts and recitals and an annual House Music Competition called the "House Shout". There is a large school choir of 125, as well as a smaller group that make up the Chamber Choir, which performs choral evensong in various cathedrals during the year. Their most recent performance was at Salisbury Cathedral.


Sport features heavily in school life at The College. Hurst's main sports for boys are rugby, in the Michaelmas term (September - December), hockey in the Lent term (January - March) and cricket and athletics in the Summer term (April - June). Association Football is also played during the Michaelmas and Lent terms. Principal sports for girls are Hockey in the Michaelmas term (September - December), netball in the Lent term (January - March) and athletics and swimming in the Summer term (April - June). Other sports include: Girls' Cricket, Girls' Football, Swimming, Cross Country, Triathlon, Riding (The College has a close relationship with Hickstead, and founded many riding events there such as "The Hurstpierpoint College Schools' Team Show Jumping Competition" and "The Hurstpierpoint College National Schools & Pony Club Championships"- giving the College a strong reputation in Equestrian sports), Dance, Aerobics, Weights-training, climbing and other forms of Outdoor Pursuits, Gymnastics, Squash, Tennis and Croquet. Hurst has a long and strong sporting tradition and fields teams, often getting out teams from A to D. It has recently travelled further afield to maintain a high level of competition. This has given Hurst a reputation as a sporting school.


The senior school comprises 10 houses and then, whilst retaining affiliation to their former houses, all students in their last year (Upper Sixth) join the 11th house, the co-educational day and boarding 'hall of residence', St John's House.

Name   House colour   Type  
Chevron Orange/Black Boys, day house
Crescent Black/White Boys, day house
Woodard Maroon/White Boys, day house
Fleur De Lys Sky Blue/Yellow Girls, day house
Phoenix Orange Girls, day house
Pelican Purple Girls, flexi boarding house
Martlet Green/White Girls, boarding house
Shield Pink/Black Girls, boarding house
Eagle Green/Black Boys, boarding house
Red Cross Red/Black Boys, boarding house
Star Navy/Sky Blue Boys, boarding house
St Johns Maroon/Grey All Upper Sixth


The school still preserves a number of ceremonies, which for the most part were taken from other schools such as Winchester College, in order to give the school a feeling of tradition back in its early Victorian days.

During the year there are a number of banner processions, each house having a banner. St Etheldreda's (Æthelthryth) day - the day on which the chapel was dedicated - is Old Johnian day, the day when all the old Pupils are invited back to the school to participate in various events.

On Ascension Day, every member of the College climbs the nearby Wolstonbury Hill nicknamed Danny Hill - after the Campion family home, Danny House, located at the bottom of the hill on the South Downs. Once the whole school is assembled on top of the hill the choir sings the 17th century Hymnus Eucharisticus. After singing the hymn the Headmaster hands out the Lowe's Dole - money left by the first Headmaster, Canon Lowe, for the choir and sacristans.

The most exotic tradition is the boar's Head Procession and Feast this occurs at the end of the Michaelmas Term. The sacristans and the choir accompany a boar's head that is borne through the cloisters. As they go they sing the 15th century carol 'Caput Apri Defero' (Boar's Head Carol) and then attend the feast.

'Hurst' has traditionally performed a Shakespeare play every year since 1854, beginning with 'Richard III' after the first headmaster, Dr Lowe inspired the first players onto stage. This means that 'Hurstpierpoint College' boasts the oldest Shakespeare society in existence,[3] older even than that of the Royal Shakespeare Company which was not formed until 1875.[4]

The Hurst Johnian, the school magazine, founded in May 1858 is the vital source for the School's history. Its policy has been to maintain the annals of the school, and it continues to publish current reports and articles on the past. Evidence from the national archives suggests that it is the oldest school magazine in the country.[5]

Notable Masters

  • Sabine Baring-Gould: Novelist and composer of hymns, the most notable being "Onward, Christian Soldiers". He was a Master of the College from 1855 to 1864. Baring-Gould had an eccentric reputation, and archives tell how he would teach with a bat on his shoulder and took weird holidays, bringing home a pony from Iceland, which lived for years in the North Field. Whilst the Hymn is thought to have been written in Yorkshire in 1865, a story recounts how Baring-Gould (known as"Snout") on one occasion gave a pupil of the College thirty-six (sic) cuts, and then washed his hands and sat down and wrote "Onward Christian Soldiers." A talented artist, he made and painted (well heraldically) the coat of arms of the Prince of Wales, which for many years appeared in the proscenium. Baring-Gould designed the cover of the Johnian (the College's publication), and designed the bookshelves and cases with their wrought iron, originally red and gold, in the Boys' Library. He also painted the window jambs with scenes from the "Canterbury Tales" and the "Faery Queen", and probably did work for the Fellows' Library. In 1860 he was one of the "Hurst Rifle Volunteers," who used to drill at the New Inn, which lead Hurst to be one of the founding Combined Cadet Forces schools.

He lived in the Shield rooms opposite to Rev. John Gorham. They mutually plagued each other. One put the huge Ammonite in the Fellows' Library into the other's bed. The response to this was the secretion of various cuckoo clocks in the room opposite, which heralded spring unintermittingly through the night hours.

Notable Old Johnians

Past students of Hurstpierpoint College are referred to as Old Johnians.


Diplomatic Service


Media and arts





Headmaster from 1873 to 1879 William Awdry
  • The Revd Edward Clarke Lowe (1849–1872)
  • The Rt Revd William Awdry (1873–1879)
  • The Revd Charles Cooper (1880–1902)
  • The Revd Arthur Coombes (1902–1923)
  • The Revd Henry Bernard Tower (1924–1937)
  • Walter Dingwall (1937–1945)
  • The Revd Canon Ronald Howard (1945–1964)
  • Roger Griffiths(1964–1986)[9]
  • Simon Watson (1986–1995)
  • Stephen Meek (1995–2004)
  • Tim Manly (2005–present)

Facilities, buildings and development

File:Hurstpierpoint College.JPG
Close set flint walls


The College has recently undertaken a lot of development.

  • The College has recently renovated and extended the Science Block, first opened by the Duke of Edinburgh.
  • Fleur De Lys Girls' house has been moved into a wing of the Cloisters in the Outer Quad, with a bold use of modern architecture in the old part of the school. The house is formed by a large glass wall, cut to the arch of the cloisters roof, and accessed through an automated door.
  • Pelican Girl's house was built in place of the Old Prep School boarding house.
  • Recently completed is the New £4.5 million Classroom Block that now forms the New Academic Quad.
  • Phoenix House was developed from the former Library at the start of the 2013 academic year.
  • A new library was built and opened in 2014.

Art facilities

Extracurricular activities are an essential part of life at Hurst. The Art School is housed in the new Art Department opened by artist David Shepherd (artist) in 2003. It has 3 large studios, a computer room with photo and video editing software, a ceramics room and a Photographic studio and dark room. In addition, there is a staff room.

Drama facilities

The Bury Theatre The Bury Theatre is the principal theatre at Hurst.

Southern Railway Schools Class

The school lent its name to the nineteenth steam locomotive (Engine 918) in the Southern Railway's Class V of which there were 40.[10] This Class was also known as the Schools Class because all 40 of the class were named after prominent English Public Schools. 'Hurstpierpoint', as it was called, was built in 1934 and was withdrawn in 1961.[10] Its nameplate is now housed in the School's Science Block.


External links

Coordinates: 50°56′35″N 0°09′54″W / 50.94306°N 0.16500°W / 50.94306; -0.16500{{#coordinates:50|56|35|N|0|09|54|W|type:edu_region:GB |primary |name= }}