Monkton Combe School

Monkton Combe School is a public school (English independent day and boarding school), located in the village of Monkton Combe near Bath in Somerset, England. It is a member of the Rugby Group of independent boarding schools in the United Kingdom.[1]

Monkton Combe School
Monkton Combe (Somerset) School Chapel - - 67831.jpg
The Chapel, Monkton Combe School
, ,

Coordinates51°21′25″N 2°19′37″W / 51.3569°N 2.3270°W / 51.3569; -2.3270Coordinates: 51°21′25″N 2°19′37″W / 51.3569°N 2.3270°W / 51.3569; -2.3270
TypePublic school
Independent school
Boarding school
MottoLatin: Verbum Tuum Veritas
(Thy Word is Truth)
Established1868; 153 years ago (1868)
FounderThe Revd Francis Pocock
Head MasterChristopher Wheeler (Senior School), Catherine Winchcombe (Prep School)
Age2 to 18
Enrolment711 (all three schools from September 2015)
HousesEddystone (MSS Boys)

Farm (MSS Boys)

Grange (MSS Girls)

School (MSS Boys)

Clarendon (MSS Girls)

Nutfield (MSS Girls)

Hatton (MPS Mixed):

  • Easterfield (MPS Mixed)
  • Kearns (MPS Mixed)
  • Howard (MPS Mixed)
  • Jameson (MPS Mixed)
Colour(s)Red, white, blue
Former pupilsOld Monktonians

The Senior School in Monkton Combe village admits children aged from 13 to 18 (pupil numbers are around 500); the Preparatory School in Combe Down village admits children aged from 7 to 13 and the adjacent Pre-Preparatory has classes in Nursery (ages 2–3), Kindergarten (3–4), Reception (4–5) and Years 1 and 2 (5–7). The Senior School and Preparatory School have always admitted boarding pupils although day pupils now (2021) comprise one third of the Senior School and are in the majority in the Preparatory School. Since 1992 when it merged with Clarendon School for Girls the school has been fully co-educational although it first admitted girls in 1971. The Senior School operates three boys' boarding houses and three girls' boarding houses, all in Monkton Combe village.


Monkton Combe School was founded in 1868 by the Revd Francis Pocock, the vicar of Monkton Combe and former Chaplain to John Weeks, the Bishop of Sierra Leone. It became known for its evangelical Christian approach to education and attracted many sons of vicars and overseas missionaries as well as those from a broader background.[2] The School retains its strong evangelical Christian heritage.

During the mid-20th century Monkton was regarded as one of the UK's strongest rowing schools; one-fifth of the 23-strong men's GB rowing squad at the 1948 Olympics consisted of Old Monktonians: I.M. Lang, M.C. Lapage, A. Mellows, W.G.R.M. Laurie, P.C. Kirkpatrick.[citation needed]

The School became progressively co-educational in the late 20th century. In 1971, girls were admitted into the Sixth Form. In 1989, Nutfield House was built to accommodate them in the village. In 1992, the School became fully co-educational, merging with Clarendon School for Girls, an all-girls' school founded in 1898 that shared a similar Christian ethos to Monkton Combe School.

The Junior SchoolEdit

The Junior School was established with four pupils in 1888 in Combe Lodge, a private house in Church Road, Combe Down, by Revd Charles Howard, the son-in-law of the then Senior School Principal, the Revd R.G. Bryan. The Junior School moved into purpose-built premises in Combe Down in June 1907, which it still occupies. After expanding rapidly, the Junior School purchased another large house in Church Road (Glenburnie/Alma Villa) in the early 1920s, which it occupied initially as a boarding house. In 1937, Monkton Pre-Preparatory School was founded in Glenburnie, before transferring to a bespoke building in the grounds of the Junior School in 2016. In 2006 the Junior School was renamed Monkton Preparatory School.


The official history of the school's first hundred years was published in A Goodly Heritage: A History of Monkton Combe School 1868–1967 by former Senior School master A.F. Lace, published in Bath by Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1968.[3] This was updated in 2017 by the former Junior School headmaster Peter LeRoy to form an official history of the school's first 150 years, entitled A Delightful Inheritance.[4] The history of the Junior School to 1955 was written by schoolmaster Johnnie Walker, in a pamphlet entitled Three Score Years and Ten, published in 1956 by Fyson & Son of Bath.

Sports awards to Old MonktoniansEdit

The school has produced six Olympic rowing medallists. Each represented Great Britain and three won Gold medals. Old Monktonians row as the Monkton Bluefriars Boat Club.

One Old Monktonian achieved an Olympic Gold Medal representing Great Britain at men's hockey. Another Old Monktonian captained the England Netball Team which won Gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Facilities and buildingsEdit

The School maintains a range of sporting facilities including an indoor swimming pool, sports halls with fully equipped gymnasia, three astroturf pitches (two full size and one half size), nine grass and three hard tennis courts, two boathouses with access to the River Avon and many acres of grounds. Many buildings are of Bath stone, in the same style as those in and around the city of Bath, and in keeping with the traditional architectural style of the area.

Many of the school's facilities are made available for the use of local schools, such as Combe Down Primary School and local children's sports clubs.

Several of the school's buildings are listed, including the main Senior school block known as The Old Farm,[5] and the part of the Terrace Block known as The Old Vicarage.[6] In 2008 the Senior School completed a £5 million project which involved re-building, extending and re-furbishing its Mathematics and Science departments. In June 2012, a new £3.2 million Music centre was opened by Dame Felicity Lott. A new Art & Design centre was opened in 2016.


Many of the pupils are either weekly or full-time boarders. The Senior school maintains six boarding houses, three of which are for girls (Nutfield, Clarendon and Grange) and three for boys (Eddystone, School and Farm).[7] The Preparatory school operates one boarding house with a floor for boys and a floor for girls (Hatton). There are many traditions in each house, as well as many inter-house competitions throughout the year. Students are allowed to visit the City of Bath each weekend. Lessons take place on Saturday mornings with sporting matches against other schools taking place on most Saturday afternoons.

List of Head MastersEdit

The following have been Head Masters of Monkton Combe School:

Name Years as Head Master
The Revd F. Pocock 1868–1875
The Revd R.G. Bryan 1875–1895
The Revd W.E. Bryan 1895–1900
The Revd N. Bennett 1900
The Revd J.W. Kearns 1900–1926
The Revd E. Hayward 1926–1946
D.R. Wigram 1946–1968
R.J. Knight 1968–1978
R.A.C. Meredith 1978–1990
M.J. Cuthbertson 1990–2005
R. Backhouse 2005–2015
C. Wheeler 2016–Present

Other notable mastersEdit

Notable Old MonktoniansEdit

19th Century birthsEdit

Early 20th Century birthsEdit

Late 20th Century birthsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Monkton Combe School". Monkton Combe School website. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  2. ^ Lace, A F (1968). A Goodly Heritage. ISBN 0950368806.
  3. ^ "Senior School History". Monkton Combe School. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  4. ^ LeRoy, Peter (2017). A Delightful Inheritance. Monkton Combe School Enpterprises. ISBN 199986980X.
  5. ^ "Monkton Combe School, the main or old block known as The Old Farm". English Heritage. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  6. ^ "Monkton Combe School, the part of the Terrace Block known as The Old – Vicarage". English Heritage. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  7. ^
  8. ^ p.9.
  9. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Edmund Charles Peirse". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942.
  10. ^ David Ellis (17 May 1994). "Obituary: David Adeney". The Independent Features. p. 14.
  11. ^ Secretary, Office of the Home; Sciences, National Academy of (21 November 2003). Biographical Memoirs. National Academies Press. ISBN 9780309527699.
  12. ^ Burgess, Kaya (22 December 2008). "Adrian Mitchell Shadow Poet Laureate dies aged 76". The Times. London.
  13. ^ "The Right Reverend Ian Cundy". The Daily Telegraph. London. 11 May 2009.

External linksEdit