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Bishop Wordsworth's School is a Church of England boys' grammar school in Salisbury, Wiltshire for boys aged 11 to 18. The school is regularly amongst the top-performing schools in England, and in 2010 was the school with the best results in the English Baccalaureate.[2][3] It was granted academy status in March 2011 and is an Additional Member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. It is within the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral, adjacent to the Cathedral School.

Bishop Wordsworth's School
BWS Badge.jpg
The Close

, ,

Coordinates51°03′53″N 1°47′51″W / 51.0647°N 1.7975°W / 51.0647; -1.7975Coordinates: 51°03′53″N 1°47′51″W / 51.0647°N 1.7975°W / 51.0647; -1.7975
TypeGrammar school;
MottoVeritas in Caritate
Truth in Charity
Truth in Caring
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
FounderRt. Rev. John Wordsworth
Department for Education URN136500 Tables
Chairman of the Governing BodyN. A. Beer
HeadmasterDr. S. D. Smallwood
ChaplainRev. Andrew Gough
GenderBoys (Mixed Sixth Form)
Age11 to 18
Enrolment1200 As of 2017
HousesJewell, Martival, Osmund, Poore, Ward[1]
Colour(s)Dark Blue and Silver/White
PublicationWordsworth magazine
Former pupilsOld Wordsworthians/BoBs

Sixth form teaching is in collaboration with South Wilts Grammar School for Girls; from September 2020, the school will admit girls to its sixth form.[4]

The school's full name is Bishop Wordsworth's Church of England Grammar School for Boys, shortened to BWS, known colloquially as Bishop's, and its students as Bishop's Boys. The school's motto is Veritas in Caritate, translated as "Truth Through Caring" or "Truth Through Charity", and originates from the epitaph of Bishop Wordsworth's father.



Bishop Wordsworth's School, No. 11 The Close. The cathedral spire is visible in the background.

The foundations of the school came in June 1889, when the Bishop of Salisbury, John Wordsworth, announced to his friend Canon Woodall, "I should like to see Salisbury a great educational centre. I should like to found a school which shall be equal to the greatest and best of our public schools."[citation needed] His initial desire that working class boys were not to be admitted caused much controversy. Fees were initially set at £1.10s.0d, and boarding fees were £2 per term; however, the fees were raised to £9 in 1894 to meet the unexpected costs of the school. During the first year, classes were taught in the bishop's palace of Salisbury itself. Bishop Wordsworth personally donated £3000, which was used to purchase an area of land in the cathedral close and to build the school's first buildings. After Bishop Wordsworth's death, the school was renamed Bishop Wordsworth's School, having been previously known as "The Bishop's School".

In 1905, the school became a grammar school, its buildings consisting of the current Chapel Block and Bishopgate. Between 1905 and 1927 the School also used buildings in the Friary and also on New Street in Salisbury. Until 1928 the school admitted both boys and girls, but from 1927, with the founding of a girls' grammar school in the city called South Wilts Grammar School, the school admitted boys only.

In 1931 a hall, science laboratories and a library were built. By the 1930s, the school had achieved a reputation for pioneering educational work,[citation needed] and in 1936 became a public school. In 1948 the governors accepted voluntary controlled status, which meant being funded by Wiltshire County Council as local education authority and accepting its supervision. Boarding at the school in the Bishopgate buildings ended in the 1950s, and the buildings were used for teaching thereafter. During the Second World War, pupils from the Priory School in Portsmouth moved to BWS to avoid the bombing of the city.

The school now educates boys aged 11 to 18. Sixth form classes are shared with students from South Wilts Grammar School as part of a large-scale collaboration.

In 2002, a major redevelopment of the school's site and buildings commenced. A new classroom block and drama studio were followed by an extensive sports hall and physical education facilities, and a sixth form block was finished in July 2010. The old sports hall was converted to house the art department, and the design technology block has been expanded. In 2011 a new cookery room was completed.

In 2004 the school was awarded its first specialism in Languages. In 2008 the school achieved an additional specialism in Science. As part of its specialist work the school has supported all of the city primary schools in Salisbury in Languages, and many with Science too.[citation needed]

The school converted to academy status in 2011. It has five houses, named after Bishops of Salisbury: Poore, Osmund, Jewell, Martival and Ward.


Entry to the school is regulated by the 11-plus.[5] Applicants sit the test in Year 6, at the age of 10 or 11. The exams are held in September at the school itself. There are also limited twelve plus and thirteen plus admissions, similarly by examination. Sixth Form admission is administered by the head of Sixth Form, and is granted on the basis of GCSE results, a personal statement and recommendation from the candidate's former head of school. Current pupils must achieve more than six A*–Bs (including Maths and English) in their GCSEs to continue their studies in Sixth Form, as well as a relatively high grade in the options they propose to take.[6]

Notable staffEdit

Sir William Golding, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, was a schoolmaster teaching Philosophy and English in 1939, then just English from 1945 to 1962. Lord of the Flies was Golding's first book, written in 1954, and it is widely believed that its main characters were based on Golding's students.

Golding also regularly sang with Bishop Wordsworth's School choir. He was known affectionately as "Scruff" by the pupils due to his sometimes unkempt hair and beard and his carefree dress sense.[7] After Golding's death in 1993, the school choir sang at his memorial service in Salisbury Cathedral. In March 2005 a plaque was placed at the school to commemorate Golding's time as a teacher.[8]

Headmaster Happold was also noted for the foundation of the "Company of Honour and Service". Father Kenelm Foster O.P. wrote:

"[the Company is] a sort of modernist Grail (for Boys) or Solidarity which Dr Happold founded in 1935 at Bishop Wordsworth's School, Salisbury. This is his nucleus, his 'order', his new aristocracy, which is to permeate England: a little cohort of leaders, of seers, of doers." (Cited in Happold, 1964, pp. 33).

Alan Harwood was a notable organ scholar and taught music at Bishop Wordsworth's School. After Harwood's death in 2003, composer Sam Hanson MA ARCO (organist/director of music at St Peter's Church, Bournemouth, formerly organ scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge), dedicated a requiem to him.

Former headmaster Clive Barnett HMI (who left the school in 2002) is patron of the charity EdUKaid, a role he shares with Baroness Kinnock.


1890–1928 Mr. Reuben Bracher

1928–1960 Dr. Frederick Crossfield Happold D.S.O.

1960–1964 Mr. Ernest Ethrin Sabben-Clare

1964–1974 Mr. Robert Cabot Rowsell Blackledge[9]

1974–1992 Mr. Glyn Evans

1992–2002 Mr. Clive Barnett

2002– Dr. Stuart Smallwood

Notable alumniEdit

The "Old Wordsworthian" AGM and lunch is traditionally held after the Cathedral service and Founder's Day celebrations in July.








  • David Munro, Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey 2016-2020
  • Tom Copley, Labour Party London Assembly Member





  • Happold, Frederick Crossfield, Bishop Wordsworth's School 1890 – 1950. Privately printed for Bishop Wordsworth's School, 1950, 124pp.
  • Happold, Frederick Crossfield, Religious Faith and Twentieth-Century Man. Pelican Original, 1964.
  • 'Roman Britain in 1954: I. Sites Explored: II. Inscriptions', The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 45, Parts 1 and 2. (1955), pp. 121–149.
  • United Kingdom Census 1901
  • British Army Medals & Honour Rolls 1914-1920


  1. ^ "The House System At BWS". School Website. Archived from the original on 26 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Performance tables 2010". Department for Education.
  3. ^ "Performance tables 2011". Department for Education.
  4. ^ "City's grammar schools end single sex tradition". Your Valley News. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Admissions Overview". BWS website. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Admissions – Sixth Form Entry". BWS website. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  7. ^ Ramtuhul, Claire (13 March 2012). "Preview: The Dreams of William Golding". Cultural Capital. New Statesman. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Famous Wordsworthians". School Website. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Alumni Publications - The Record 2007" (PDF). Keble College, Oxford. p. 48.
  10. ^ "Memorable Manitobans: Walter Edward Maxfield (1877-1964)". The Manitoba Historical Society. 18 June 2011.
  11. ^ "Canadian Mounted Rifles - 'Pop'".
  12. ^ a b c "Old Wordsworthians killed in the Second World War 1939-1945" (PDF). School Website. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2011.
  13. ^ "Taukkyan War Cemetery".
  14. ^ Reading Room Manchester (24 July 1945). "Casualty Details". Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
  15. ^ "Tom Edwin Adlam's family dedication". 27 September 2003. Archived from the original on 20 April 2005.
  16. ^ "Tom Edwin Adlam's burial location". The Victoria Cross. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012.
  17. ^ "Old Wordsworthians killed in the First World War 1914-1918" (PDF). School Website. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2011.
  18. ^ "Lieutenant-Colonel George Woolnough obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 26 February 2012.
  19. ^ "Administration: Students To Celebrate Success At Degree Congregations". University of Leicester. 21–23 July 1999.
  20. ^ "ROM Communal Cemetery (Deux Sevres France)". In Memory by Pierre Vandervelden.
  21. ^ Thomas, Andrew (2003). Hurricane Aces 1941-1945. Osprey Publishing. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-84-176610-2.
  22. ^ "Tom Heathcote". Bath Rugby official website. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012.
  23. ^ "Daily Telegraph". Newspaper.
  24. ^ "Channel Swimming Association".
  25. ^ "New Trade Envoys and Business Investment to Boost Trade Links". The National Archives. 12 November 2012. Archived from the original on 3 March 2013.
  26. ^ Berens, Jessica (26 April 2003). "Down to a Fiennes art". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney.
  27. ^ "Notable People". Inside Wiltshire.
  28. ^ "Tony". Klitz Family History. Archived from the original on 18 March 2013.
  29. ^ "Canon's son acts evil" (PDF). Salisbury Cathedral website. November 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 March 2013.
  30. ^ Robinson, David (16 February 2005). "Otto Plaschkes obituary". The Guardian. London.
  31. ^ Hassan, Mamoun (5 March 2005). "Old-school film producer". The Independent. London.
  32. ^ Bones, James (7 March 2005). "Film producer whose 'Georgy Girl' helped to set the tone for Sixties Swinging London". The Times.
  33. ^ "Andy returns to his roots". Salisbury Journal. 30 April 2009.
  34. ^ "Nigel Shore Bio". Berlin.
  35. ^ Light, Vivienne (20 February 2011). "Peter Thursby obituary". The Guardian.
  36. ^ Nice, David (20 December 2016). "Crowe, La Nuova Musica, Bates, St John's Smith Square". TheArtsDesk.
  37. ^ "Staff List - Prof. Andrew Copp". UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. London. Archived from the original on 19 April 2005.
  38. ^ "Professor Andrew Tym Hattersley FRS". The Royal Society.
  39. ^ "Head of The Exeter Diabetes Genetics Centre". University of Exeter Peninsula Medical School.
  40. ^ "Staff Profiles". University of Exeter - Medical School.
  41. ^ "Contact Us". Diabetes Research dept. and the Centre for Molecular Genetics at the Peninsula Medical School and Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
  42. ^ Vallis, David (19 April 2007). "Scientist helps find 'fat' gene". Salisbury Journal.
  43. ^ "Chis Sangwin". University of Edinburgh - School of Mathematics.
  44. ^ Vallis, David (4 January 2007). "New Years Honours For Local People". Salisbury Journal.
  45. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette, 20 July, 1943 - Pg. 3270" (PDF).
  46. ^ "The Very Reverend Frank Curtis obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 30 May 2005.
  47. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette, 4 June, 1934 - Pg. 3559" (PDF).
  48. ^ Streat, Sir Raymond; Dupree, Marguerite (1987). Lancashire and Whitehall: The Diary of Sir Raymond Streat. Manchester University Press. p. 263. ISBN 0-719023-90-4.
  49. ^ McNeal, Peter (14 August 2002). "Sir Graham Smith obituary". The Guardian. London.

External linksEdit