Cawston College

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Cawston College
Cawston College crest.jpg
Motto Animo ac Fide (With spirit and faith)
Established 1964
Closed 1999
Type Independent
Religion Church of England
Founder Canon Alfred Woodard
Location Cawston
NR10 4JD
Gender Mixed
Affiliations Woodard Schools and HMC

Cawston College (1964-1999) was a public school in the English county of Norfolk in the United Kingdom.


Elizabeth boarding house and main school building

Cawston College, one of the Woodard Schools, opened in 1964 at the former manor house of Cawston, Norfolk, with Mr. John Asquith as Headmaster. Cawston Manor had been constructed by George Cawston, an American stockbroker, who settled in the area in 1897, beguiled by the fact that the village had his name. Two American students attended in the late 80s and are currently U.S. Marine pilots. It was an independent Christian College with its own Chapel for day and boarding boys and later included girls. It had a good reputation and accommodated dyslexic pupils.

In addition to its academic work, the school was keen to provide as broad a range of activities for its pupils as possible. There were ambitious annual hill-walking expeditions, including destinations in South America and India, an active Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and most pupils were encouraged to join the Combined Cadet Force, all run by members of the school staff. The College grounds included woods, heathland and a lake with boat house (a total of about 135 acres), which aided the provision outdoor education and adventurous activity.

The senior school had two Houses, those of Woodard and School House; when Girls were eventually admitted to the college they were also assigned to one of these houses. Over the course of the schools history the houses remained fairly balanced in terms of sports, however Woodard won Sports Day for 7 consecutive years between 1987-1993.

The number of pupils over the years had fluctuated from 45 at the opening of the college to 145 then to 96 when it closed, 120 pupils were reportedly required for it to survive. The College closed in 1999 after a series of rescue bids were put forward, which were rejected by the school governors, much to the annoyance of parents and staff members.

10 July 1999 was the final day of the summer term and speech day when television journalist Kate Adie, who had a godson at the college was guest speaker. After the school closed there was an auction of its equipment, which was reported on in the local press. In one classroom a simple phrase had been left written on a board, "This was a good school," while in another a message had been left which told another widely felt opinion. A single word. "Betrayed."


  • 1964 John P.K. Asquith
  • 1986 James Berry
  • 1991 John Sutton
  • On the retirement of Mr Sutton, Mrs Barbara Harrison took over and stayed until the College closed.


After closure the main school buildings were used by International Foundation of Inspiration, Spirituality and Healing (IFISH),[1] who used it for the study, promotion and practice of psychic science and spiritual healing until 2003.

The site then became the home of Cawston Park psychiatric hospital.[2] In November 2006 former Tory MP David Prior, non-executive chairman of Cawston Park was arrested among others by Norfolk Constabulary who were investigating allegiations of financial irregularities.[3][dead link] He was cleared of involvement in the alleged fraud on the 15th February 2007 [4] The hospital closed in 2009 in the aftermath of the trial, along with its sister unit Kelling Park near Holt, after owners Chancellor Care went into administration.[5] In 2010 it was sold to the Jeesal Group for use as a specialist hospital providing treatment for adults with learning difficulties and problems including mental-health breakdowns.

The school's old water tower has been converted into a house by former pupil David Forster. This conversion has been featured on Channel 5's "Build a New Life in the Country".[6][7]

Notable former pupils[edit]

  • Nick Youngs, England scrum-half.
  • Herbie Hide, the heavyweight boxer, was a pupil at the College in the 1980s.


Further reading[edit]

  • Cowie, Leonard & Evelyn (1991). That One Idea: Nathaniel Woodard and His Schools. Ellesmere, Shropshire: Woodard Corporation; pp. 143-45: Cawston College, Norfolk

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°46′32″N 1°12′24″E / 52.7755°N 1.2066°E / 52.7755; 1.2066