Cheltenham College

Cheltenham College is a co-educational independent school, located in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. One of the public schools of the Victorian period, it was opened in July 1841. A Church of England foundation, it is well known for its classical, military and sporting traditions, and currently has approximately 640 pupils.

Cheltenham College
Bath Road

, ,
GL53 7LD

CoordinatesCoordinates: 51°53′30″N 2°4′30″W / 51.89167°N 2.07500°W / 51.89167; -2.07500
TypePublic school
Day & Boarding
MottoLatin: Labor omnia vincit
("Work Conquers All")
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
EstablishedJuly 1841; 179 years ago (1841-07)
FounderG. S. Harcourt, J. S. Iredell
Local authorityGloucestershire
Department for Education URN115795 Tables
President of the CouncilW. J. Straker-Nesbit
HeadNicola Huggett
Age3 to 18
Former studentsOld Cheltonians (OCs)
PublicationThe Cheltonian & Floreat


Two Cheltenham residents, G. S. Harcourt and J. S. Iredell, founded Cheltenham College in July 1841 to educate the sons of gentlemen. It originally opened in three houses along Bays Hill Terrace in the centre of the town.

Within two years it had moved to its present site—with Boyne House as the first College Boarding House—and soon became known simply as Cheltenham College. Accepting both boarding and day boys, it was originally divided into Classical and Military sides until the mid-twentieth century. The 1893 book Great Public Schools by E. S. Skirving, S. R. James, and Henry Churchill Maxwell Lyte contained a chapter on each of what they considered England's ten greatest public schools; it included a chapter on Cheltenham College. It is now an independent fee paying school, governed by Cheltenham College Council. A few girls were admitted in 1969 and then in 1981 when the first girls' house opened, the Sixth Form became fully co educational. In 1998, girls were admitted to all other years, making the College fully co-educational.

In 1865, a Junior Department was added to the main College buildings. In 1993 it opened its doors to girls and also opened a pre-Prep department, Kingfishers, for 3–7-year olds.

Work and serviceEdit

Cheltenham College chapel and library (Big Modern)

In the First World War 702 Old Cheltonians (former pupils) were killed in the service of their country, and a further 363 died in World War II. Cheltenham's military past is recognised by the fact that it is one of only three schools in England (the others being Eton College, founded in 1440, and the Duke of York's Royal Military School, founded in 1803) to have its own military colours (last presented in 2000 by The Princess Royal). Queen Victoria School in Dunblane, Scotland, also has Colours.

The names of those Old Cheltonians killed in World War I are recorded in the College Chapel, completed in 1896, which to a degree resembles King's College Chapel, Cambridge and is one of the chapels of an English public school. The names of those killed in the World War II are displayed on the memorial in the College's dining hall.

Cheltenham has approximately 640 pupils (a fifth being day pupils) between the ages of 13 and 18.[3] The fees are upwards of approximately £30,000 per annum, making it amongst the most expensive schools in the United Kingdom.[4] The school is now co-educational and maintains a strong academic reputation, with the majority of pupils going to The Russell Group Universities, and around 7% going on to Oxford and Cambridge universities. Both GCSE and A Level results are among the highest in Gloucestershire.[5][6]

There is also a prep school, Cheltenham College Preparatory School, most of whose pupils go on to the senior school.

Cheltenham has links with the Wynberg Boys' High School in Cape Town, South Africa—an all-boys boarding school coincidentally established in 1841, the same year as Cheltenham.


Cheltenham College consists of a preparatory school and senior school and educates students from ages 3 to 18. The boarding programme is also available to preparatory school students.




Cheltenham compete with larger single gender schools. The first inter-school rugby football match was played between Rugby School and Cheltenham College, Cheltenham beating Rugby; and the "Cheltenham Rules" were adopted by the Rugby Football Union in 1887. Cheltenham's rugby XV was undefeated in the 2008 and 2017 season.[8]Eddie Butler, former Welsh, Babarian and British Lions International Rugby player, taught French at the school. The schools Director of Rugby is former Gloucester Rugby and England Rugby player Olly Morgan.


The Boat Club was founded in 1841. The Boat House itself is located at the foot of Tewkesbury Abbey on the banks of the River Severn. Key events in the rowing calendar are; Schools' Head of the River Race, The National Schools Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta. At the 2013 National School's Head of River, the 1st IV+ came first in their division.[9]


Cheltenham College plays Rackets where, at times, they have dominated the Queen's Club Public Schools Competition; Cheltenham has been National Champions three times from 2003 to 2011. Chris Stout won the Foster Cup (the individual championship for public schools) at Queen's Club in December 2011. The current World Champion, Jamie Stout (Chris' brother), is an Old Cheltonian as well .[10]


Cheltenham were National Schools Champions in 1997, 1998, 2004, & 2005 and Arena Champions in 2004, 2005 & 2006.[11]


Cricket is one of the main sports that is played in summer. Cheltenham College enjoys a longstanding tradition of cricket and is the home of the Cheltenham Cricket Festival. Gloucestershire County Cricket Club played its first game at the College cricket ground in 1872, making this the longest running cricket festival on an out-ground, in the world (Canterbury Cricket Week was first played in 1842, but the St Lawrence Ground is now Kent County Cricket Club's headquarters).[12]


There are eleven houses, two of which are day houses: Southwood for the boys and Queens for the girls. Ashmead, Chandos, College Lawn and Westal are the girls' boarding houses. The boys reside in Boyne House, Christowe, Hazelwell, Leconfield, and Newick House. Leconfield also hosts day students. The Senior Housemaster is Richard Penny


Cheltenham College was used to film the majority of the school scenes in the popular 1968 British film If...., starring Malcolm McDowell, although an agreement between the school's then Headmaster, David Ashcroft, and the film's director, Lindsay Anderson (who was a former pupil and Senior Prefect), prevented the filmmakers from crediting the school. Additional interior scenes were filmed at Aldenham School in Hertfordshire, which gained sole accreditation in the film's closing credit. Two Surrey public schools, Charterhouse School and Cranleigh School, had also negotiated to appear, but pulled out of negotiations once the subject matter of the film became clear.[citation needed]

Old CheltoniansEdit

Victoria Cross recipientsEdit

Fourteen Victoria Crosses (VCs) have been won by Old Cheltonians,[13] with only Eton College (37), Harrow School (20), Haileybury College (17), and Wellington College (15), having higher totals.(Although it should be taken into account that the Duke of York's Royal Military School does not publish lists of recipients of bravery awards in order not to diminish the service of those several thousand former pupils who have fought in battle and not received the VC, but only lesser awards for gallantry).[14]

The list of names, with age and rank at the time of the deed that merited the award of the VC, is as follows:

George Cross recipientEdit


Notable former pupils in other fieldsEdit

Principals, Headmasters and HeadEdit

The current Head of Cheltenham College is Nicola Huggett.

The full list of past principals and heads is contained in Cheltenham College Who's Who 5th edition, 2003, and is as follows:

  • Principals (1841–1919)
    • Rev. Alfred Phillips, D.D. 1841–44
    • Rev. William Dobson, D.D. 1845–59
    • Rev. Henry Highton, D.D. 1859–62
    • Rev. Alfred Barry, D.D. 1862–68
    • Rev. Thomas William Jex-Blake, D.D. 1868–74
    • Rev. Herbert Kynaston (né Snow), D.D. 1874–88
    • Rev. Herbert Armitage James, D.D. 1889–95
    • Rev. Robert Stuart de Courcy Laffan D.D. 1895–99
    • Rev. Reginald Waterfield, D.D. 1899–1919
  • Headmasters (1919–2019)
    • Henry Harrison Hardy 1919–32
    • Richard Victor Harley Roseveare 1932–37
    • Arthur Goodhart Pite 1937–38
    • John Bell 1938–40
    • Alan Guy Elliott-Smith 1940–51
    • Rev. Arthur Godolphin Guy Carleton Pentreath 1952–59
    • David Ashcroft 1959–78
    • Richard Martin Morgan 1978–90
    • Peter David Vaughan Wilkes 1990–97
    • Paul Arthur Chamberlain 1997–2004
    • John Stephen Richardson 2004–2010
    • Dr Alex Peterken 2010–2018
    • Crispin Dawson (Acting Headmaster – 2018)
  • Head (2019- )
    • Nicola Huggett 2019 –
  • Heads of the Junior School (1863–2013)
    • Rev. Thomas Middlemore Middlemore-Whithard 1863–65
    • Francis Joseph Cade OC 1896–1910
    • Charles Thornton OC 1911–23
    • Basil Allcot Bowers OC 1923–33
    • William Donavan Johnston 1933–46
    • Hugh Alan Clutton-Brock 1946–64
    • William Philip Cathcart Davies 1964–86
    • David John Allenby Cassell 1986–91
    • Nigel Iain Archdale 1992–2008
    • Adrian Morris 2008–2010
    • Scott Bryan 2010–2012
    • Noll Jenkins 2012–2013 (Acting Head)
  • Heads of the Preparatory School (2013-present)
    • Jonathan Whybrow 2013–2018
    • Tom O'Sullivan 2018 –

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Facts & figures". Cheltenham College. Archived from the original on 22 August 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
  2. ^ "Welcome". Cheltenham College. Archived from the original on 9 August 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
  3. ^ [1] Archived 22 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Fees 2011/2012". Cheltenham College. 10 September 2008. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  5. ^ "2006 GCSE and A-level results: Gloucestershire | Schools special reports". Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  6. ^ Education (25 September 2008). "Town vs Gown: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Languages and rugby – an interview with Eddie Butler". Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 1 September 2020. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  8. ^ School Sport (15 December 2008). "Cheltenham College 1st XV remain undefeated throughout school rugby season". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 26 March 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Rowing – Cheltenham College". Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  10. ^ "Rackets". Cheltenham College. 10 September 2008. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Success for College Polo Teams". Cheltenham College. 24 February 2011. Archived from the original on 12 May 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  12. ^ "Cricket". Cheltenham College. 10 September 2008. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  13. ^ Michael Croke Morgan, (1968), Cheltenham College: The First Hundred Years, page 219, (published for the Cheltonian Society by Sadler)
  14. ^ Fully referenced cited article on number of VCs, school by school, can be found at List of Victoria Crosses by School
  15. ^ "The Life of Duncan Boyes, V.C". Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  16. ^ George Cross Database Recipient: Andre Gilbert KEMPSTER, GC (Posthumously) Archived 23 August 2004 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Philip Astley-Sparke". Replimune.
  18. ^ a b c d David Robson (25 September 2008). "Town vs Gown – Cheltenham, Gloucestershire". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 October 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  19. ^ Who Was Who 1981-1990. A & C Black, London. 1991. ISBN 0-7136-3336-0.
  20. ^ "Insight into Hargreaves Lansdown's top talent acquisition as IG Group exec Christopher Hill becomes CFO – FinanceFeeds". 29 October 2015. Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  21. ^ C. Hayavadana Rao. "The Indian Biographical Dictionary (1915)". Archived from the original on 21 September 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  22. ^ Robinson, David (20 July 2005). "Gavin Lambert: Incorrigibly witty Hollywood writer". The Independent. Archived from the original on 14 April 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  23. ^ ”Posthumous Kenya Award” in Flight, 9 July 1954, p. 64
  24. ^ "Politics - Lord Richard obituary". The Guardian. 22 March 2018. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  25. ^ "Iain Sinclair – poet, novelist, editor, filmmaker, publisher, playwright, book-dealer". Archived from the original on 2 October 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2017.


  • Cheltenham College: The First Hundred Years by Michael C. Morgan [Chalfont St. Giles: Richard Sadler, for the Cheltonian Society, 1968]. A formal history, starting with the meeting on 9 November 1840 of Cheltenham residents (presided over by Major-General George Swiney) who decided to set up a 'Proprietary Grammar School' and appointed a committee to achieve this. ISBN unknown/unavailable.
  • Then & Now: An Anniversary Celebration of Cheltenham College 1841–1991 by Tim Pearce, (Cheltonian Society, 1991). The author explains in the Preface that this is "more of a scrap book than a formal history, and like all scrap books it reflects the tastes and interests of its compilers and depends on what in the way of pictures and documents may be available to them". ISBN 0-85967-875-X
  • Cheltenham College Who's Who, 5th edition ed. John Bowes, (Cheltonian Society, 2003) No ISBN on book.
  • Floreat, A collection of photographs of College life from the 1960s and early 1970s compiled by the late M.F. Miller, a Physics master at the school

External linksEdit