St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown

St. Andrew's College is an Anglican high school for boys located in Makhanda, Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It was founded in 1855 by the Right Reverend John Armstrong, the first Bishop of Grahamstown. It is a semi boarding school, with a number of day boys. St. Andrew's College caters to 480 pupils from around the globe. The school is also a member of the G30 Schools group and closely associated with its brother school, St. Andrew's Preparatory School, and its sister school the Diocesan School for Girls.

St Andrew's College
St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown logo.jpg
St Andrew's College school crest
Somerset Street

Coordinates33°18′30″S 26°31′07″E / 33.30833°S 26.51861°E / -33.30833; 26.51861
TypePrivate & Boarding
MottoLatin: Nec Aspera Terrent
(Difficulties do not dismay us)
Patron saint(s)St. Andrew
Established15 August 1855; 166 years ago (1855-08-15)
FounderJohn Armstrong, Bishop of Grahamstown
Sister schoolDiocesan School for Girls
HeadmasterMr Alan Thompson
Exam boardIEB
Age14 to 18
Number of students490 boys
Schedule07:30 - 15:00
  • Armstrong
  • Espin
  • Graham
  • Merrimen
  • Mullins
  • Upper
Colour(s)  Blue
SongJesus Calls Us, O'er the Tumult
AlumniOld Andreans
School feesR 305 550 p.a. (Boarding)
R 136 578 p.a. (Day Scholars)
St. Andrew's College clock tower


In a letter dated August, 1855, Bishop Armstrong writes:

The last event I have to record was the laying of the foundation stone of our infant college, which I dedicated to St. Andrew, as on St. Andrew's Day I received consecration. It was a bright day in our annals. The clergy in their surplices, with Archdeacon Merriman at their head, moved in procession with a large body of lay people to the site of the chapel, where the Lieutenant-Governor and his Staff were waiting.

The laying of the foundation stone took place on 15 August 1855. Prior to this there existed a grammar school, founded by Bishop Robert Gray in 1849 on the site currently occupied by the Good Shepherd School, under the management of Mr. M.C. Bendelack, who was soon succeeded by the Rev. F. Bankes. Bankes was appointed principal of the new college, retaining also the title of Head-Master of St. Andrew's College Grammar School, as his school and all funds belonging to it were merged into the new institution. The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge gave £1000 towards the building to which they added £500 in 1857, and a like sum in 1860. A supplementary sum was subscribed by friends of the Bishop.

St Andrew's College was incorporated by an Act of the Cape Parliament in September 1887, this Act was amended in 1932 and 1985. It has since been controlled by a council composed of communicant members of the Anglican Church, administering the school in terms of a trust deed, leaving its internal economy and discipline in the hands of the principal, who in terms of the 1887 Act was required to be a cleric. The Bishop of Grahamstown is ex officio Visitor to the college.[1]


A general plan showing the layout of the school building and fields as drawn by the architectural practice of Sir Herbert Baker

The school campus straddles the main road from Cradock, Eastern Cape into Grahamstown and is an open campus with buildings, sports fields and other facilities spread over a number of city blocks.


The chapel, dedicated to St. Andrew and designed by Sir Herbert Baker, is at the heart of the school.[2]

Chapel, St Andrew's College, Somerset Street, Grahamstown

The foundation stone of the new chapel was laid by the Rt Revd Charles Cornish, bishop of Grahamstown on St. Andrew's Day, 1905, the jubilee year of the college. But chiefly owing to lack of funds the stone remained built into a buttress at the back of Espin Cottage, and no start was made until 1913 when the building was begun on plans by Messrs. Herbert Baker & Kendall of Cape Town. A corner stone, to commemorate the building, was laid by the Hon. Sir Lewis Mitchell, C.V.O. on 8 September that year.

The design for the new chapel is in the early Gothic manner, but in order to suit the comparatively sunny climate of the Eastern Cape, there is just that suggestion of Italian treatment which prevents it from being a direct copy of an English type. The form is that of a central nave of six bays, spanned by an open timber roof with massive beams, king posts and struts, the prototypes of which form such an attractive feature in: so many old English churches. There are two narrow side aisles to serve as passages, each having space for one row of additional seats in case of emergency. The chancel has an apsidal east end, and is to be covered by a groined roof constructed in concrete, the sanctuary windows being kept high in such a way as to cut into the semi-circular line of the vault in an effective manner. Instead of transepts, the plan provides a projecting vestry on the north side so as to preserve the cruciform plan, while the side aisles at the west are terminated against small projecting porches.

At the west end the-baptistry is placed projecting westward of the wall and forming a semi-circular recess, which is to be covered with a grained ceiling. Springing from the projecting baptistry are buttresses which are carried up with diminishing outline and form a picturesque bell cote to terminate the west end of the roof. As far as possible local material was used. The walls throughout were built in Grahamstown stone with a rough face, both inside and out. This stone demands a simple treatment for the dressings-so that most of the windows are plain-but those around the apse include some effective tracery.

The roof is covered with tiles made in the province on the Broseley pattern, and laid to a steep pitch. The aisles are paved with red tiles, while the floor of the chancel is paved in somewhat the same manner, and the floor under the seats is, of course be boarded in the ordinary way.

The nave is about 70 feet (21 m) × 20 feet (6.1 m) irrespective of the side aisles; the chancel and sanctuary 37 feet (11 m) × 20 feet (6.1 m); from the floor of nave to ridge of roof about 35 feet (11 m) The total accommodation is for 330, of which number about 30 may be seated in the choir. Contrary to the custom of college chapels, the seats are all arranged facing the east instead of being placed down the two sides, facing one another.

The contractors were Messrs. Carr & Co., Paarl.[3]

Boarding housesEdit

Six houses comprise the school:


The school follows the curriculum set by the Independent Examinations Board (IEB), which is the curriculum followed by most private schools in South Africa. In 2019 the school also implemented the Cambridge Assessment International Education A Level curriculum as an alternative syllabus to the IEB.

Extracurricular activitiesEdit

The school has an active pipe band. The band is an important part of the traditional life of the school, the pipe band leads the cadet corps during parades. St Andrew's College is one of the few schools in South Africa that still trains a cadet corps. The cadet corps is attached to the First City Regiment

The school has three cultural societies whose membership is by invitation:

  • Alchemists meet twice a term to discuss matters of general, non-scientific interest.
  • Astronomers meet 6 times a year where boys present papers of a scientific nature to the club which is discussed over supper.
  • Cornish for a selected group of boys who share a love of poetry.

Rugby Union is the most played sport at the school, the school has produced at least two Springbok rugby players, Ryan Kankowski and Nick Mallett. Rowing is a popular and well supported competitive sport, the school has produced at least one Olympic rower, James Thompson.[6]

School hymnEdit

The school hymn is "Jesus Calls Us, O'er the Tumult", the office hymn for the feast of St. Andrew.

Notable Old AndreansEdit


Engineers, scientists, lawyers and medical menEdit


Musicians, actors, authors and artistsEdit

Nobility and politiciansEdit


Soldiers, sailors and airmenEdit

Victoria Cross holdersEdit

Two Old Andreans have been awarded the Victoria Cross:

Notable staffEdit



See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Ivan Mitford-Barberton is listed as Barber, Ivan Gray in the Register of S. Andrew's College, Grahamstown, from 1855 to 1914 (Laurie 1914, p. 62)
  1. ^ Laurie 1914, p. 5.
  2. ^ Poland 2018, p. 21.
  3. ^ Laurie 1914, p. 26.
  4. ^ a b Laurie 1914, p. 23.
  5. ^ Biography of John Espin at the S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science
  6. ^ Penney 2012.
  7. ^ "Andrew Birch". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e "ST ANDREW'S COLLEGE". rugby365. 8 June 2005. Archived from the original on 8 May 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Michael Price". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  10. ^ Poland 2008, p. 279.
  11. ^ a b Poland 2008, p. 117.
  12. ^ Obituary of Kim Bailie in the Sunday Times
  13. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica article on Kim Bailie
  14. ^ Obituary of Stanley Rees in the Telegraph
  15. ^ Simpson, Frankie (March 2002). "P.E. Church Net - Iindaba". Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  16. ^ "Executive Members : Members : Business Leadership South Africa". Business Leadership SA. 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  17. ^ Hogg, Alec (30 May 2012). "Upper Echelon Podcast: Antony Ball – non executive director, Brait SA - Moneyweb". Moneyweb. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  18. ^ Mittner, Maarten (20 January 2002). "Doors open for Myles Ruck". News24. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  19. ^ Gale 1974, p. 16.
  20. ^ Grove-White at British Military History.
  21. ^ Poland 2008, p. 407.
  22. ^ Burke 1917, p. 171.
  23. ^ Currey 1955, p. 117.
  24. ^ Michael De-la-Noy (4 March 2002). "Obituary: The Rt Rev Roger Wilson". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h Laurie 1914, p. 17.
  26. ^ a b c Currey 1955, p. 184.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 33°18′30″S 26°31′07″E / 33.308400°S 26.518480°E / -33.308400; 26.518480