Charterhouse is a public school (English boarding school for pupils aged 13–18) in Godalming, Surrey, England. Originally founded by Thomas Sutton in 1611 on the site of the old Carthusian monastery in Charterhouse Square, Smithfield, London, it educates over 800 pupils, aged 13 to 18 years. Charterhouse is one of the original nine English public schools reported upon by the Clarendon Commission in 1864 leading to its regulation by the Public Schools Act 1868.

Charterhouse School in 2013
Charterhouse Road

, ,

United Kingdom
Coordinates51°11′48″N 0°37′21″W / 51.196552°N 0.622504°W / 51.196552; -0.622504
TypePublic school
Private boarding school
MottoLatin: Deo Dante Dedi
(God having given, I gave)[1]
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Established1611; 413 years ago (1611)
FounderThomas Sutton
Department for Education URN125340 Tables
ChairmanVicky Tuck
HeadmasterAlex Peterken
Second MasterAndrew Turner
Age13 to 18
Colour(s)Pink, grey and maroon    
PublicationThe Carthusian
The Charterhouse Review
The Greyfriar
The Greyhound
Former pupilsOld Carthusians
School songCarmen Carthusianum

Charterhouse charges full boarders up to £47,535 per annum (2023/2024)[5] and is among the most expensive Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) schools in the UK.[6] It educated the British Prime Minister Lord Liverpool and has a many notable alumni.

History edit

Statue of Thomas Sutton on Founder's Court

In May 1611, the London Charterhouse came into the hands of Thomas Sutton (1532–1611) of Knaith, Lincolnshire. He acquired a fortune by the discovery of coal on two estates which he had leased near Newcastle upon Tyne, and afterwards, removing to London, he carried on a commercial career. In 1611, the year of his death, he endowed a hospital on the site of the Charterhouse, calling it the hospital of King James, and in his will he bequeathed moneys to maintain a chapel, hospital (almshouse) and school. He died on 12 December, and subsequently the will was hotly contested but upheld in court, and the foundation was finally constituted to afford a home for eighty male pensioners (gentlemen by descent and in poverty, soldiers that have borne arms by sea or land, merchants decayed by piracy or shipwreck, or servants in household to the King or Queen), and to educate forty boys.

Brooke Hall at Charterhouse

Charterhouse established a reputation for excellence in hospital care and treatment, thanks in part to Henry Levett, an Oxford graduate who joined the school as a physician in 1712. Levett was widely esteemed for his medical writings, including an early tract on the treatment of smallpox. Levett was buried in Charterhouse Chapel and his widow married Andrew Tooke, the headmaster of Charterhouse.[7][8]

The school was moved to its present site in 1872 by the then headmaster, William Haig Brown – a decision influenced by the findings of the Clarendon Commission of 1864.[9]

The school bought a 68-acre (28 ha) site atop a hill just outside Godalming. In addition to the main school buildings (designed by architect Philip Charles Hardwick), they constructed three boarding houses, known as Saunderites (once the headmaster's house, pronounced "sarnderites" rather than "sornderites"), Verites and Gownboys (for scholars, who were entitled to wear gowns). The school was built by Lucas Brothers,[10] who also built the Royal Albert Hall and Covent Garden.

As pupil numbers grew, other houses were built alongside the approach road, now known as Charterhouse Hill. Each was titled with an adaptation of the name of their first housemaster, such as Weekites, Daviesites and Girdlestoneites. The last of these is still referred to as Duckites, reflecting the unusual gait of its original housemaster, even though he retired well over 100 years ago.[citation needed] There are now the original four 'old' houses plus ten 'new' houses (currently three girls' houses), making fourteen boarding houses in total. These fourteen Houses have preserved a unique identity (each with its own tie and colours) and pupils compete against each other in both sports and the arts. Two new boarding houses were opened upon their completion ahead of the start of the 2021–22 academic year. This was done by former pupil and sitting MP Jeremy Hunt.[11] This made the total number of houses reach fifteen.[14+2=15?]

The school continued to expand over the 20th century. Further land was bought to the north and west, increasing the grounds to over 200 acres (81 ha), and a new school chapel was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (perhaps best known for designing the red telephone box) and consecrated in 1927 to commemorate almost 700 pupils who died in the First World War, making it the largest war memorial in England. Around 350 names have been subsequently added to commemorate those who died in the Second World War and other more recent conflicts.[12][13]

An addition to the campus was seven new Houses, built in the 1970s, replacing late Victorian boarding houses which were demolished in 1977. Other newer buildings include the Art Studio, the John Derry Technology Centre, the Ben Travers Theatre, the Ralph Vaughan Williams Music Centre, the Halford Hewitt Golf Course, the Queen's Sports Centre, the Sir Greville Spratt athletics track and Chetwynd, a hall of residence for girls. In 2003, the School renovated its onsite Library. 2006 saw the opening of The Beveridge Centre for the Social Sciences. In 2007, a £3m Modern Languages building was completed.

Charterhouse students playing Cricket in 2006

The school has a top 60 placing in the A level league tables, and in 2011 over 80% of pupils are awarded an A* or A grade at GCSE.[citation needed] In 2009, the school announced its decision to switch from A Levels to the International Baccalaureate and Cambridge Pre-U.[14] In 2012 Charterhouse had its best set of Cambridge Pre-U results with 96% of examinations taken awarded Distinction or Merit grades. Seventy-eight pupils achieved Distinctions (or their A level equivalent) in all subjects taken and twenty-one achieved the equivalent of A level A* grades in all their subjects. Twenty pupils were offered places at Oxford or Cambridge.[15]

In 2007, Roy Hattersley, former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and minister, reported on a visit to Charterhouse in the Guardian newspaper. After describing his impression that "[The chapel]'s geometric spires and minarets proclaim complete confidence that Charterhouse educates men who are destined to rule the universe", he said: "Academically and pastorally, it is near to beyond criticism. And after only a brief glimpse of the school, I have no doubt that I would have been ecstatically happy there. But its existence allows the rich and the powerful to ignore the world beyond its boundaries." He therefore concluded that his aspiration to abolish private education in the 1970s was "totally justified".[16][promotion?] The 2009 Ofsted Social Care Inspection Report noted that 'The provision for "Helping children achieve well and enjoy what they do" is rated as outstanding.' and 'This is a good school, in which boarders' welfare is promoted by a strong approach to countering bullying and child protection. Boarding staff have good relationships with the boarders, and boarders can list a range of people who they can talk to if they are worried or have concerns.'[17][promotion?] The 2011 Independent Schools Inspectorate Report noted that 'The quality of pupils' achievements is excellent. Pupils are extremely well educated. They attain extremely high standards in external examinations and make exceptional progress in their learning because of their positive attitudes to study, dedicated and often inspiring teaching, and an academically challenging curriculum that is adapted to suit all needs. The curriculum is enriched by an outstanding range of activities'.[18][promotion?] The 2017 ISI Educational Quality Inspection Report noted that ‘Pupils' academic and other achievements are high and often exceptional. Pupils' successes in external competitions, in academic distinctions and in sport, music and the creative and aesthetic arts are exceptional. Pupils' social development is outstanding. Pupils are polite, courteous and respectful of one another and of the adults who care for them. Relationships between pupils and staff are excellent. Pupils mature into independent and self-motivated pupils over the course of their time at school and are extremely well prepared, not only for the next stage of their lives, but also to contribute to society at large.’[19]

Charterhouse originally accepted boys only. The school began accepting girls in sixth form in 1971.[20] In 2017 the school announced that it was moving to full co-education from the age of 13, and welcomed the first girls into Year 9 in September 2021. Since September 2023 there have been girls in every year group.[21]

Houses edit

There are four old boarding houses and eleven new houses in the White Book (a directory of names) order. In Charterhouse vocabulary an old house is one which was founded before the school’s move to Godalming in 1872, as opposed to the new houses which were created later and are situated away from the main school. They are all distinguished by the colour of the pupils' ties, umbrellas and football team's stripes.

House Abbr. Type Colour
Saunderites S Old Boys Orange[22]
Verites V Old Boys Light blue[23]
Gownboys G Old Boys Maroon[24]
(known as 'Duckites')
g New Boys (will be all girls by 2027) Silver[25][26]
Lockites L New Boys (transitioning to all girls by 2028) Light green[27]
Weekites W New Boys (will be all girls by OQ 2025) Light red[28][29]
Hodgsonites H New Boys Dark blue[30]
Daviesites D New Boys Dark green[31]
Bodeites B New Boys Old gold[32]
Pageites P New Boys Lilac[33]
Robinites R New Boys Purple[34]
Fletcherites F New Girls Turquoise-blue[35]
Sutton Su New Girls Pink[36]
Chetwynd C New Girls Grey[37]
Northbrook N New Girls Green [38][39]
South African Cloisters

In Autumn 2010, a new house was opened for sixth-form pupils, called Fletcherites, named after Frank Fletcher, a former headmaster. The house moved into the old Great Comp building, now renovated. Verites, Saunderites and Gownboys predate the move to Godalming in 1872 and are known as the "old" houses. Saunderites is named after its first Housemaster Dr. Saunders (Headmaster 1832–53) and it was the Headmaster's house, in that the headmaster would run not only run the school but also one of the houses. Gownboys was named not after their original housemaster, but because it was the scholars' house, although scholars were distributed across all the houses after the transfer to Godalming.[citation needed] As was tradition, scholars wore gowns with their uniform and were treated as superior to other boys. There is no longer such a tradition and the scholars are now distributed throughout the various houses, on a random but numerically equal basis. There are still scholars in Gownboys, but in no greater proportion than any other house.

All new Houses apart from Bodeites are named after their founders (although Robinites was originally Robinsonites). Bodeites was originally Buissonites, named after the Head of Languages at the time. He ran off with the matron, and so the house was renamed Bodeites after the replacement, Mr Bode.[40]

To keep up with the increasing number of female applicants to the school, Charterhouse began transitioning former boys' houses Weekites and Girdlestoneites into girl only houses. Weekites became coeducational at the start of OQ 2022 with 36 girls joining in Year 9, Year 10 and Lower Sixth.[41] Girdlestoneites also became coed in OQ of 2023.[42] In 2024 it was announced that Lockites would become an all girls house by 2028.[43]

Uniform edit

  • Under School

The Under School consists of the first three years of attendance at Charterhouse, being the Fourth Form, the Removes and the Fifth Form (GCSE year). Pupils in Under School wear a weekday uniform consisting of a white or blue shirt, house tie, grey trousers, optional blue or black jumper or sweater-vest, dark grey jacket and black leather shoes. A waistcoat is optional. Variations include various society and school honours' ties.[44]

Transition from the Under School to the Upper School occurs upon successful completion of the GCSE exams.

  • Specialists ('The Upper School')

The Specialists (Lower and Upper Sixth Forms) constitute the last two years of attendance at Charterhouse, and form the Upper School. Having completed the GCSE exams successfully, 'First & Second Year Specialists' (as they are colloquially referred) spend two years studying for their A-Level or Pre-U examinations, usually in three subjects, although some students will read for four, or their IB exams. The grey jacket is replaced by a grey blazer with pink squares and shirts may be pink or of striped patterns.

Whether in Under or Upper School, any pupil who has been awarded his House or School 'Colours' for sport or culture, may wear his 'Colours' tie in place of his house tie. School monitors may also wear their monitor tie instead of a house tie, if they so choose. For further on this, please see below, under "School Honours".

  • Summer dresses

During Cricket Quarter, the school uniform can vary slightly from that of the two preceding terms. Boys may wear cravats in house colours instead of ties and are permitted to wear straw boaters similar to the 'Harrow Hat' found at Harrow School, but these are almost never worn by the majority of pupils. Boys in the Under School may also wear navy blazers similar to those worn by the Specialists. As well as these variations, boys may roll up their sleeves in hashes unless asked not to by a beak. Members of the 1st XI Cricket Team have their own variation on summer dress which is described later in the article.

  • School Honours

School Honours is the Colours system rewarding pupils in various fields with variations on school dress. They are as follows:

House colours – House colours are a variation on the house tie. Colours awarded for house sport prowess have thicker stripes in the House colour, whereas those awarded for cultural prowess have thin doubled striped.

School colours – School colours are awarded for services to School sport, culture and other areas deemed worthy. They all have a similar design of a solid colour and are covered in the crest of Thomas Sutton, the school's founder. However, they come in varying colours: The Head of School – The Heads of School (head boy and deputy, as well as the head girl and deputy head girl) is permitted to wear a Pink tie adorned with Sutton Crests. 1st XI Major Sports – Members of the 1st Team in major school sports (football, hockey and cricket) are permitted to wear maroon ties. Minor Sports – Holders of colours in Minor Sports are permitted to wear a silver ties. Academic/Scholars – Holders of Academic or Scholars colours are permitted to wear a green tie. Culture – Those deemed worthy enough in cultural fields are permitted to wear a purple tie. Service – Brown ties are awarded for commendable service to the school community. Most frequently they are awarded by the CCF.

1st XI Cricket – Members of the 1st XI Cricket team are permitted to wear pink blazers with Sutton's Crest on the front pocket to Hashes on match days (usually Saturdays).

Greyhounds – Every year a few Carthusians are given Greyhound awards for outstanding service to the school. Those awarded the prize are permitted to wear a navy blue tie with rampant gold greyhounds, the greyhound being a notable feature of the coat of arms of Thomas Sutton.

Academic – Pupils who have gained distinctive academic achievements are awarded the Academic Tie and may be referred to as Scholars of the school. They are permitted to wear a green tie adorned with the Sutton Crest.

Culture – Pupils who have contributed to the school distinctively in terms of culture (music, drama etc.) are awarded the Culture Tie, which has a deep purple colour with the Sutton Crest.

Sports edit

Origins of football edit

Association Football is the main Winter sport at the school. During the 1840s at both Charterhouse and Westminster School pupils' surroundings meant they were confined to playing their football in the cloisters, making the rough and tumble of the handling game that was developing at other schools such as Rugby impossible, and necessitating a new code of rules. Dingley Dell, the most active non-school team in the London area in the five years before the Football Association was established in 1863, played Charterhouse eight times between February 1860 and February 1863.[45] During the formulation of the rules of the Association Football in the 1860s representatives of Charterhouse and Westminster School pushed for a passing game, in particular rules that allowed forward passing ("passing on"). Other schools (in particular Eton College, Shrewsbury School and Harrow) favoured a dribbling game with a tight off-side rule. It is claimed that Stoke Ramblers was formed in 1863 when former pupils of Charterhouse School formed a football club while apprentices at the North Staffordshire Railway works in Stoke-on-Trent.[46] By 1867 the Football Association had chosen in favour of the Charterhouse and Westminster game and adopted a "loose" off-side rule that permitted forward passing.[47] The modern forward-passing game was a direct consequence of Charterhouse and Westminster football.

Cricket ground edit

The first recorded match on the school cricket ground came in 1859, when the school played Marlborough College. From its inception, the school has used the ground to take on a number of colleges in England.[48] The cricket ground has held a single List-A match, which was played between Surrey and Warwickshire in the 1972 John Player League.[49] Starting in 2006, the ground has held a number of Surrey Second XI fixtures in the Second XI Championship and Second XI Trophy.[50][51]

Herbarium edit

The School's Herbarium carries the Index Herbariorum designation GOD and is maintained as The Charterhouse School Herbarium[52] in the University and Jepson Herbaria, University of California, Berkeley.

The scope of the collections is mainly the British Isles, although some plants are from Europe, South Africa and eastern North America. The principal collectors were James Edward Moxon, Rev. George Brown Moxon, Rev. Tullie Cornthwaite, Rev. Samuel Titmas (first curator of Charterhouse Museum), Frederick Yorke Brocas, Andrew Bloxam, William Gardiner, James Buckman and John Drew Salmon. The collections are currently being digitised and being released by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, on the herbaria@home[53] website.

Carthusian language edit

Known as Lingua Carthusiana, the terminology of this language or idiolect has evolved over the centuries of Charterhouse's existence and is used within the Charterhouse community on a daily basis.[54]

Term Meaning
Adsum A roll-call, taken in house after breakfast and dinner
Banco Homework (also a set period for academic work from 7.00 pm to 8.45 pm)
Beak A member of the teaching staff
Brooke Hall The teaching staff's Common Room
Crown The School tuck shop. It is situated on the Long Walk facing Under Green. It is also sometimes referred to as Crack
Exeat Half term break in the middle of each Quarter when all pupils go away from Charterhouse. Exeat in LQ is known as Queen's Exeat
Hash A lesson
Hashroom A classroom
Homebill The evening meal for pupils
Pontifex The annual inter-House cross-country races held in LQ
quarter The mid-morning break, which is generally after the first two or three lessons (hashes)
Quarter The word used to describe terms.
Yearlings Pupils in their first year in the School who are also known as Fourths

Fees edit

In any given year, there is some contention about which is the most expensive public school in England, depending on whether one compares day fees or boarding fees. In 2019, Charterhouse was reported to be among the most expensive schools for boarding pupils.[55] Charging up to £11,415 per term in 2014/15, Charterhouse is the 7th most expensive HMC boarding school in the UK.[6] For the 2022/23 academic year, day boarding fees are £36,540 and boarding is £44,220.[56]

Controversy edit

School fees cartel (2005) edit

In November 2005, the school was one of fifty of the country's leading independent schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, exposed by The Times newspaper, although the schools made clear that they had not realised that the change to the law (which had happened only a few months earlier) about the sharing of information had subsequently made it an offence.[57] 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.[58] Mrs Jean Scott, the head of the Independent Schools Council, said that independent schools had always been exempt from anti-cartel rules applied to business, were following a long-established procedure in sharing the information with each other, and that they were unaware of the change to the law (on which they had not been consulted). She wrote to John Vickers, the director-general of the Office of Fair Trading saying: "They are not a group of businessmen meeting behind closed doors to fix the price of their products to the disadvantage of the consumer. They are schools that have quite openly continued to follow a long-established practice because they were unaware that the law had changed."[59]

Gary Lineker accusations (2010) edit

In August 2010, former English footballer Gary Lineker publicly accused Charterhouse of failing his son, George, in his bid for a place at university.[60] Lineker claimed that the school had used him as a 'guinea pig'[61][62] by ditching A-Levels for the new Cambridge Pre-U. The school reacted by saying it was proud of its students' results.[63] John Witheridge, then headmaster, defended the choice of the Pre-U as being more academically rigorous and educationally valid than the current A-Level standard in an article in The Spectator in August 2010.[64]

Historic sexual abuse edit

In March 2012, it was reported that a 16-year-old had filmed fellow pupils while they showered, and stored the images on his laptop. The boy was taken into custody by Surrey Police for questioning. A police inquiry was subsequently established.[65]

In April 2013, a physics teacher, Dean Johnson, resigned after allegations of an 'inappropriate relationship' with a former teenage girl pupil led to a police investigation. A police investigation followed, and resulted in a conviction after trial by a jury for the teacher who was found to be in possession of extreme pornography, which depicted a woman being hanged, in 2015; he was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.[66] A professional misconduct panel later found:

  • that he had sex with her in the classroom at the school;
  • that he had communicated his fantasies to the girl over Facebook;
  • that he had asked what her underwear size was before buying stockings and presenting them to her gift-wrapped;
  • that the relationship became sexual weeks after the girl turned 18.[67]

As a result, in 2017, Johnson was made the subject of a prohibition order, prohibiting him from teaching in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children's home in England; the order was made with no provision for him to apply for any future restoration of his eligibility to teach.[68]

In 2018, Cathy Newman, who attended the school on a scholarship said that she was humiliated and sexually harassed while a pupil at the school. Other ex-pupils told The Times about experiences including a humiliating initiation ceremony at the school and flashing and groping incidents.[69][70][71] Rebecca Willis, commenting on similar themes around the time reiterated these themes, but also commented on racism which resulted in Asian children leaving.[72] The school has subsequently contacted former pupils to ask them to share concerns.[70]

Film location edit

The school is occasionally used as a film location. It was used as a filming location for Jules Shear's music video for his 1983 single Whispering Your Name, in which Shear visits the school as a guest music teacher and a group of British schoolchildren mime to the chorus. The song would eventually be a hit for Allison Moyet 11 years later. It was used to represent the Palace of Westminster in the 2018 BBC drama Bodyguard[73] and in seasons 4 and 5 of Netflix's The Crown where the Memorial Chapel and South African Cloisters are made to represent the House of Commons as well as the film Peterloo which used the chapel as the House of Lords. In addition, a location outside Brooke Hall was used in the filming of The Crown season 5. It has previously been used in The Boys are Back, Jupiter Ascending, St Trinians 2, The Mystery of Edwin Drood (an adaptation of a Charles Dickens novel), Foyle's War, An Ideal Husband, and Vampire Academy.[74][75][76]

Headmasters edit

  • 1614–1624: Nicholas Grey
  • 1624–1628: Robert Grey
  • 1626–1628: William Middleton
  • 1628–1643: Robert Brooke
  • 1643–1651: Samuel Wilson
  • 1651–1654: Thomas Bunkley
  • 1654–1662: Norris Wood
  • 1662–1679: Thomas Watson
  • 1679–1728: Thomas Walker
  • 1728–1731: Andrew Tooke
  • 1731–1748: James Hotchkis
  • 1748–1769: Eberard Lewis Crusius
  • 1769–1791: Samuel Berdmore
  • 1791–1811: Matthew Raine
  • 1811–1832: John Russell
  • 1832–1853: Augustus Page Saunders
  • 1853–1858: Edward Elder
  • 1858–1863: Richard Elwyn
  • 1863–1897: William Haig Brown
  • 1897–1911: Gerald Henry Rendall
  • 1911–1935: Frank Fletcher
  • 1935–1947: Sir Robert Birley
  • 1947–1952: George Turner
  • 1952–1964: Brian W. M. Young
  • 1965–1973: Oliver van Oss
  • 1973–1981: Brian Rees
  • 1982–1993: Peter Attenborough
  • 1993–1995: Peter Hobson
  • 1995–1996: Clive Carter
  • 1996–2013: John Witheridge
  • 2014–2017: Richard Pleming
  • 2017–2018: Andrew Turner
  • 2018–present: Alex Peterken

Old Carthusians edit

Former pupils are referred to as Old Carthusians, and current pupils as Carthusians.

Victoria Cross holders edit

Three Old Carthusians have won the Victoria Cross:

See also edit

References edit

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  2. ^ "The Senior Leadership Team – Charterhouse".
  3. ^ "The Governing Body – Charterhouse".
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  5. ^ Charterhouse. "Fees" Archived 23 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 29 February 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. ^ The Roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London – Royal College of Physicians of London –. Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts. 1861. p. 21. Retrieved 7 April 2015 – via Internet Archive. henry levett charterhouse.
  8. ^ The Roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London: 1701 to 1800 – William Munk, G. H. Brown –. The College. 1878. p. 22. Retrieved 7 April 2015 – via Internet Archive. henry levett charterhouse.
  9. ^ "Charterhouse History". Charterhouse School. Archived from the original on 23 April 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
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  20. ^ "Charterhouse set open a sixth-form day house". The Independent. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
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  38. ^ "Houses – Charterhouse".
  39. ^ "Northbrook – Charterhouse". Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  40. ^ Dann, John (2017). Maud Coleno's Daughter: The Life of Dorothy Hartman, 1898–1957. Troubador Publishing. p. 166. ISBN 978-1785899-713.
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  42. ^ "Girdlestoneites – Charterhouse". Retrieved 10 January 2023.
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  48. ^ "OTHER MATCHES PLAYED ON CHARTERHOUSE SCHOOL, GODALMING (287)". Archived from the original on 28 May 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
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  53. ^ "herbaria@home project homepage". Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  54. ^ "Charterhouse Terminology" (PDF). Retrieved 21 December 2022.
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