Winchester College is a public school (a fee-charging independent school) in Winchester, Hampshire. It was founded by William of Wykeham in 1382 and has existed in its present location ever since. It is the oldest of the nine schools considered by the Clarendon Commission. The school is currently undergoing a transition to become co-educational and to accept day pupils, having previously been a boys' boarding school.
|Type||Public school |
Independent boarding school
|Motto||Manners makyth man|
|Religious affiliation(s)||Church of England|
|Founder||William of Wykeham|
|Department for Education URN||116532 Tables|
|Age||13 to 18|
|Houses||11 (10 Commoner Houses plus college)
A. Chernocke House (Furley's)
B. Moberly's (Toye's)
C. Du Boulay's (Cook's)
D. Fearon's (Kenny's)
E. Morshead's (Freddie's)
F. Hawkins' (Chawker's)
G. Sergeant's (Phil's)
H. Bramston's (Trant's)
I. Turner's (Hopper's)
K. Kingsgate House (Beloe's)
|Colour(s)||Blue, brown & red|
|Publication||The Wykehamist, Quelle, The Spirit Lamp, The Trusty Servant|
|Former pupils||Old Wykehamists|
|School song||Dulce Domum|
According to its 1382 charter and final statutes (1400), the school is called in Latin Collegium Sanctae Mariae prope Wintoniam, or Collegium Beatae Mariae Wintoniensis prope Winton, which translates as St Mary's College, near Winchester, or The College of the Blessed Mary of Winchester, near Winchester.: 9, 45–47 It is sometimes referred to by pupils, former pupils and others as "Win: Coll:", and is more widely known as just "Winchester".
Current pupils of Winchester College are known as Wykehamists, in memory of the school's founder, William of Wykeham; former pupils are known as Old Wykehamists, or amongst themselves as Old Woks.
Winchester College was founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor to both Edward III and Richard II, and the first 70 poor scholars entered the school in 1394. In the early 15th century the specific requirement was that scholars come from families where the income was less than five marks sterling (£3 6s 8d) per annum; in comparison, the contemporary reasonable living for a yeoman was £5 per annum. It was founded in conjunction with New College, Oxford, for which it was designed to act as a feeder: the buildings of both colleges were designed by master mason William Wynford. This double foundation was the model for Eton College and King's College, Cambridge, some 50 years later.
At first only a small number of pupils other than scholars were admitted; by the 15th century the school had around 100 pupils in total, nominally the 70 scholars, 16 choirboys known as "quiristers", and the rest "commoners". Demand for places for commoners was high, and though at first restricted, numbers gradually rose. From the 1860s, ten boarding houses, each for up to sixty pupils, were added, greatly increasing the school's capacity. By 2020, the number of pupils had risen to 690.
The seventy Scholars live in the original buildings, known as College; an individual scholar is known as a "Collegeman". College is not usually referred to as a house: hence the terms 'housemaster of College' and 'College house' are not used. The schoolmaster in charge of College is now known as the Master in College, although these duties formerly belonged to the Second Master. The same title, Master in College, is also used by the housemaster of the King's Scholars at Eton. The Collegemen wear black gowns, following the founding traditions of the school. Within the school, 'College', without 'the', means both the body of scholars and their buildings; 'Winchester College' and 'the college' refer to the school as a whole. The scholars, called 'Collegemen', enjoy certain privileges compared to the Commoners, such as having open fires and being allowed to walk across Meads, the field outside School.
|Official Name||Informal Name||House Letter|
Every pupil at Winchester, apart from the Scholars, lives in a boarding house, chosen or allocated when applying to Winchester. It is here that he studies, eats and sleeps. Each house is presided over by a housemaster (who takes on the role in addition to teaching duties), assisted by house tutors. Houses compete against each other in school sports. Each house has an official name, usually based on the family name of the first housemaster, which is used mainly as a postal address. Each house also has an informal name, usually based on the name or nickname of an early housemaster. Each house also has a letter, in the order of their founding, to act as an abbreviation, especially on laundry tags. A member of a house is described by the informal name of the house with "-ite" suffixed, as "a Furleyite", "a Toyeite", "a Cookite" and so on. College does not have an informal name, although the abbreviation Coll is sometimes used; its letter is X.
Winchester has its own entrance examination, and does not use Common Entrance like other major public schools. Those wishing to enter a Commoner House make their arrangements with the relevant housemaster some two years before sitting the exam, usually sitting a test set by the housemaster and an interview. Those applying to College do not take the normal entrance examination but instead sit a separate, harder, exam called "Election": successful candidates may obtain, according to their performance, a scholarship, an exhibition or a Headmaster's nomination to join a Commoner House. Admission to College was historically coupled to remission of fees but this has ceased; instead, means-tested bursaries of from 5% to 100% of the school fee are provided according to need. From 2022, Winchester will admit girls into their 6th form (year 12) as day students, with girls boarding from 2024.
In addition to normal lessons, all boys throughout the school are required to attend a class called Division (known as "Div") which focuses on parts of history, literature, and politics that do not lead to external examinations; its purpose is to ensure a broad education that does not focus solely on examinations.
From year 9, pupils study for at least nine GCSE and IGCSEs. Every pupil studies English, mathematics, Latin, French or German, and at least two sciences at this level, as well as "Div". Pupils then study three A-levels, "Div", and an Extended Project Qualification.
At Pre-U, 49.3% of grades achieved were D1 or D2, and 86.4% of grades achieved were D1-M1 in 2018. 68.4% of GCSEs were graded A* or equivalent (9 or 8), in comparison to 62.5% in 2017; 92.1% were graded A*/A or equivalent (9,8 or 7), in comparison to 90.5% in 2017. There were 36 Oxbridge offers; 18 at Oxford and 18 at Cambridge.
Situated on the south side of Chamber Court, the chapel is part of the original college buildings; it retains its original wooden fan-vaulted ceiling, designed by Hugh Herland, carpenter to Richard II. A striking feature of the chapel is its stained glass. The East window depicts the Tree of Jesse. Down the chapel's north and south sides is a collection of saints. Little of the original medieval glass, designed by Thomas Glazier, survives. A firm of glaziers in Shrewsbury, Betton and Evans, was tasked with cleaning the glass in the 1820s. At that time there was no known process for cleaning the badly deteriorated glass and so it was copied, while most of the original glass was scattered or destroyed. Some pieces have been recovered. The art historian and Old Wykehamist, Kenneth Clark, bought back the Tree of Jesse section of the east window, now housed in Thurburn's Chantry. Further figures have been returned; they form the east window of Fromond's Chantry. The Chapel Choir sings regular services in the chapel, as well as other venues. This consists of sixteen Quiristers (who attend The Pilgrims' School) and a similar number of senior boys and a few dons (masters).
Situated to the west of Meads, this cloister serves as a memorial to the Wykehamist dead of the two World Wars. It was designed by Herbert Baker and dedicated in 1924. It is a listed building. A bronze bust of Old Boy Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding sits on the west side of the cloister.
The College's South Africa Gate on Kingsgate Street commemorates the Wykehamist dead of the 1899–1902 Boer War. It leads to the War Cloister. Another older war memorial in the school is the entry chamber to Chapel, known as "Crimea" after the Crimean War of 1853–56, and bearing the names of Wykehamists who died at the siege of Sebastopol.
Winchester College has its own game, Winchester College football (also known as "Win: Co: Fo:" or "Winkies"), played only at Winchester. It is played in the spring term with a competition between the school's houses; it is largely managed by the boys.
The school has an active rowing club called the Winchester College Boat Club which is based on the River Itchen. The club is affiliated to British Rowing (boat code WIN) and was twice winner of the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup in 1949 and 1954, at the Henley Royal Regatta.
Combined Cadet ForceEdit
The organisation was founded in 1860 as "The Winchester College Rifle Volunteer Corps" by various boys in their top year as a result of the perceived threat of Napoleon III after the Orsini plot, and remained entirely autonomous until it was taken over by the Second Master in 1868. It was enrolled as a Cadet Corps in the 1st Hants Volunteer Battalion. In 1908, the Officer Training Corps was established, and by 1914, through the request of the War Office that Senior Cadets be given appropriate training for the war effort, almost every student became involved in the Corps, though it was never explicitly compulsory. In the Second World War, it was renamed as "The Junior Training Corps", though its function was still to prepare boys for Officer responsibilities. Montgomery remarked on inspecting the Corps in 1946 that there was "latent leadership in all ranks". In 1948, the "Junior Training Corps" became known as the "Combined Cadet Force" (CCF) which incorporated RAF and RN sections. In 1963, "Alternative Service Activities" were introduced for boys who did not want to join the CCF. Pupils were made eligible to opt out of the CCF at the end of their second year after starting at the beginning of the year: this is still the school's policy. In 2010, Winchester's Combined Cadet Force received the Queen's Colours, a regimental decoration.
Notions: the School LanguageEdit
A notion is a specialised term peculiar to Winchester College. The word notion is also used to describe traditions unique to the school. An example of a notion is "toytime", meaning homework, from the notion "toys", a wooden cubicle that serves as a pupil's workspace in a communal room, known as "mugging hall" in Commoner Houses or a "chamber" in College. 
Domum: the School SongEdit
The school song is entitled "Domum" and is sung at the end of the summer term, known as Cloister Time. The origin of the song is unknown; it was described as "an old tradition" in the 1773 History and Antiquities of Winchester. The traditional tune was composed by John Reading. A new tune, by Malcolm Archer, was officially adopted by the school in about 2007.
According to legend, the text was written in the 17th century by a pupil who was confined for misconduct during the Whitsun holidays. (In one account, he was tied to a pillar.) It is said that he carved the words on the bark of a tree, which was thereafter called "Domum Tree", and cast himself into Logie (the river running through the school grounds). There is still a "Domum Cottage" in that area. The author of the text apparently wrongly treated domum as a neuter noun.
A "Domum Dinner" is held at the end of the summer term for leavers. It was formerly restricted to those former scholars of Winchester who were also scholars of New College, and distinguished guests. Until the reforms of the 19th century, there were three successive Election Dinners held during Election Week, culminating in a Domum Ball. Originally these festivities occurred around Whitsun, as suggested by references in the song to early summer such as "See the year, the meadow, smiling" and "Now the swallow seeks her dwelling".
The Trusty Servant: the School MascotEdit
The Trusty Servant is an emblematic figure in a painting at Winchester College, that serves as the unofficial mascot of Winchester College, and the name of the school's alumni magazine. A painting of The Trusty Servant and accompanying verses both devised by the poet John Hoskins in 1579 hangs outside the college kitchen. The current version was painted by William Cave the Younger in 1809. The painting depicts a mythical creature with the body of a man, the head of a pig, with its snout closed with a padlock, the ears of an ass, the feet of a stag, and tools in his left hand. The verses are on the virtues that pupils of the college were supposed to have. The college arms are shown in the background of the painting.
Manners makyth man: the School MottoEdit
Since the foundation, Winchester College has had numerous words and phrases directly associated with it, including its motto, its graces, and a prayer. A grace is read before and after every lunch and formal meal in College Hall. Two separate graces are traditionally sung during Election, the scholarship process.
O, Eternal God, the Life and the Resurrection of all them that believe in Thee, always to be praised as well for the Dead as for those that be Alive, we give Thee most hearty Thanks for our Founder, William of Wykeham; and all other our Benefactors, by whose Benefits we are here brought up to Godliness and the studies of good Learning; beseeching Thee that we, well using all these Thy Blessings to the Praise and Honour of Thy Holy Name, may at length be brought to the Immortal Glory of the Resurrection, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
– "Thanksgiving for the Founder", a prayer used an numerous religious services at the school
Benedic nobis, Domine Deus, (Bless us, Lord God,)
Atque iis donis tuis, (And those Thy gifts,)
Quae de tua largitate (Of which through Thy bounty)
Sumus Sumpturi,'' (We are about to partake,)
Per Jesum Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen. (Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.)
– Grace, read before meals (with an English translation in brackets)
Agimus tibi gratias, (We return thanks to Thee,)
Omnipotens Deus, (Almighty God,))
Pro his et universis donis tuis (For these and all Thy gifts,)
Quae de tua largitate (Which through They bounty)
Accepimus, (We have received)
Qui vivis et regnas, (Who livest and reginest,)
Et es Deus, (And art God,)
In saecula saeculorum. Amen (World without end. Amen.)
– Grace, read after meals (with an English translation in brackets)
Benedic nobis, Domine Deus, (Bless us, Lord God,)
Atque iis donis tuis, (And those Thy gifts,)
Quae de tua largitate (Of which through Thy bounty)
Sumus Sumpturi,'' (We are about to partake,)
Per Jesum Christum, Dominum nostrum. (Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.)
– Grace, traditionally sung before meals during Election (with an English translation in brackets)
Benedictus sit Deus in donis suis. (Blessed be God in His gifts.)
Response: Et sanctus in omnibus operibus ejus. (And holy in all His works.)
Adjutorium nostrum est in nomine Domini. (Our help is in the name of the Lord.)
Response: Qui fecit coelum et terram (Who made heaven and earth.)
Sit nomen Domini benedictum (Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Response: Ex hoc nunc usque in saecula saeculorum (From this time henceforth and for evermore.)
– Grace, traditionally sung after meals during Election (with an English translation in brackets)
- 1373 Richard Herton
- 1388 John Melton
- 1394 Thomas Romsey
- 1407 John Pole
- 1414 Thomas Romsey
- 1418 Richard Darcy
- 1424 Thomas Alwyn
- 1430 William Waynflete
- 1441 Thomas Alwyn
- 1444 William Yve
- 1454 John Barnard
- 1459 John Grene
- 1465 Clement Smyth
- 1467 Richard Dene
- 1484 John Rede
- 1490 Robert Festham
- 1495 William Horman
- 1501 John Farlyngton
- 1507 Edward More
- 1515 Thomas Erlisman
- 1525 John Twychener
- 1531 Richard Twychener
- 1535 John White
- 1542 Thomas Bayly
- 1547 William Everard
- 1553 Thomas Hyde
- 1561 Christopher Johnson
- 1572 Thomas Bilson
- 1579 Hugh Lloyd
- 1588 John Harmar
- 1596 Benjamin Heyden
- 1602 Nicholas Love
- 1613 Hugh Robinson
- 1627 Edward Stanley
- 1642 John Pottinger
- 1653 William Burt
- 1658 Henry Beeston
- 1679 William Harris
- 1700 Thomas Cheyney
- 1724 John Burton
- 1766 Joseph Warton
- 1793 William Stanley Goddard
- 1810 Henry Dison Gabell
- 1824 David Williams
- 1836 George Moberly
- 1867 George Ridding
- 1884 William Andrewes Fearon
- 1901 Hubert Murray Burge
- 1911 Montague John Rendall
- 1924 Alwyn Terrell Petre Williams
- 1934 Spencer Leeson
- 1946 Walter Fraser Oakeshott
- 1954 Henry Desmond Pritchard Lee
- 1968 John Leonard Thorn
- 1985 James Paley Sabben-Clare
- 2000 Edward Nicholas Tate
- 2003 Thomas Richard Cookson
- 2005 Ralph Douglas Townsend
- 2016 Timothy Roderick Hands
The college knew in 1982 of allegations of sadomasochistic abuse of boys and young men attending summer camps run by the Iwerne Trust in the 1970s, "to ensure that future members of the establishment were committed Christians". These were known as “Bash camps” after the nickname of their founder, E. J. H. Nash. Neither the college nor the Trust reported these bare-buttocks beatings to the police. The perpetrator, John Smyth QC, now deceased, was warned off and moved to Zimbabwe and then South Africa where abuse continued. Hampshire police are investigating and the college is cooperating.
In 2005, Winchester College was one of fifty of the country's leading independent schools which were found guilty of running an unlawful price-fixing cartel by the Office of Fair Trading ("OFT"). All of the schools involved agreed to make penalty payments totalling three million pounds into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in which fee information was shared. The OFT offered both Winchester College and Eton a fifty percent reduction in their penalties in return for their full cooperation with the investigation. However, 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 OFT director-general, 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."
In 2017 Winchester College suspended a member of the staff for providing students with information about questions on an upcoming public exam. The headmaster of Winchester confirmed that the school had treated the matter "very seriously" and that no boy was responsible for the "exam irregularity". The information was widely distributed resulting in their papers being disallowed.
Southern Railway V (Schools) Class Locomotive No. 901Edit
As with other prominent public schools, a locomotive of the Southern Railway V Class was named after Winchester College. The second of the class, No. 901 Winchester was constructed by Southern at the nearby Eastleigh Works; it entered service in 1930. It was selected by the railway's new chief mechanical engineer Oliver Bulleid for rebuilding with a Lemaître multiple-jet blastpipe and wide-diameter chimney from 1939 onwards. Upon passing into British Railways ownership in 1948, it was renumbered 30901. It was withdrawn from service in 1962.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Winchester College.|
- Official website
- "Winchester College, registered charity no. 1139000". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
- Ackermann, Rudolph; Combe, William (1816). "The History of the Colleges of Winchester, Eton, and Westminster: With the Charter-House, the Schools of St. Paul's, Merchant Taylors, Harrow, and Rugby, and the Free-school of Christ's Hospital". Google Books.
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