Salisbury Cathedral School

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Salisbury Cathedral School
Salisbury Cathedral School, from Catherdal tower.jpg
Motto Domine dilexi decorem domus tuae
(Lord I have loved the habitation of thy house)[1]
Established 1091
Type Independent preparatory day and boarding school
Choral foundation school
Religion Church of England
Headmaster Mr Clive Marriott
Chair of Governors The Very Rev June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury
Founder Saint Osmund
Location The Close
England Coordinates: 51°03′50″N 1°47′45″W / 51.063777°N 1.795966°W / 51.063777; -1.795966
DfE number 865/6022
DfE URN 126518 Tables
Staff 38
Students 250
Gender Mixed
Ages 3–13
Houses 4

Salisbury Cathedral School is a co-educational independent school located in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. It was founded in 1091 by Saint Osmund at Old Sarum.[2][3] It was moved 150 years later to the newly built Salisbury Cathedral. In 1947 it was relocated to the former Bishop's Palace in the grounds of the cathedral. The building is designated as a Grade I listed building by English Heritage.[4] The choristers of Salisbury Cathedral are educated at the school.

The school featured in a BBC television documentary entitled Angelic Voices: The Choristers of Salisbury Cathedral, first broadcast in March 2012.


The school was founded by Osmund, the Bishop of Old Sarum and Earl of Dorset, who was recognized for his good works when he was canonised several hundred years later in 1456.[5][6] Osmund was born in Normandy and was a first cousin of William the Conqueror, King of England: William's father, Robert the Magnificent, Duke of Normandy, was the brother of Isabella, Countess of Séez, the mother of Osmund.[5]

The first known graduate of the school was John of Salisbury who served Archbishop Thomas Becket until the latter was murdered in 1170. John was quoted by Eleanor of Aquitaine.[7]

After 150 years, the school was moved to the newly built Salisbury Cathedral where it remained for hundreds of years. However, in 1947 it was relocated to the former Bishop's Palace in the grounds of the cathedral. This building was designated as a Grade I listed building by English Heritage on 28 February 1952.[4] In 1987, the first girls were admitted. In a landmark move, the cathedral became the first in England to allow female choristers when it opened its choristership programme to girls in 1991.[8]

More recently, a library partly funded by the former bookstore chain, Ottakar's, was opened in October 2002. Two members of the Heneage family who owned the company were former pupils.


Salisbury Cathedral School (below left of centre)

Salisbury Cathedral School is located entirely within the Cathedral Close in the city of Salisbury. The school occupies 27 acres[9] in the south end of the Close, which at 80 acres (320,000 m2) is the largest Cathedral Close in Britain.[10] The main school building is the former Bishop's Palace, parts of which date from the building of the cathedral in the 13th century. The pre-preparatory part of the school is located in newer buildings adjacent to the palace. The pre-prep is a self-contained unit, though children have lunch in the main school, and also use some of the main school facilities such as the chapel, library and ICT suite. The school's boarding house is also located in the Close. Sports facilities on the school campus include football, rugby and cricket pitches, athletics track, tennis courts/hockey pitches and a swimming pool. It is adjacent to Bishop Wordsworth's School.


Pupils generally take the Common Entrance Exam at the end of Year 8 and many progress to top independent schools.[11] Scholarships are also offered.


The school continues to serve its original function of educating choristers of the cathedral choir. Every year auditions are held for children between ages 7 and 9 and successful applicants receive scholarships to attend the school.[12] The choir is unique as its choristerships are open to girls as well.[13] It was the first English cathedral to allow girls to become choristers. All choristers board in a large boarding house located near the school.[14]

Notable former pupils[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Salisbury Cathedral. "Domine dilexi decorem domus tuae". A sermon given at Salisbury Cathedral by Canon Jeremy Davies, Precentor on Sunday 23 July 2006
  2. ^ 'The cathedral of Salisbury: From the foundation to the fifteenth century', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3 (1956), pp. 156–183. URL: Date accessed: 28 January 2008.
  3. ^ Nicholas Orme, 'School founders and patrons in England, 597–1560', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edn, Oxford University Press, Oct 2006, accessed 28 Jan 2008
  4. ^ a b English Heritage Images of England reference no. 318958
  5. ^ a b Powicke Handbook of British Chronology p. 81
  6. ^ A history of the choir school and of the choristers of Salisbury Cathedral
  7. ^ Power of a woman:Memoirs of a turbulent life: Eleanor of Aquitaine p.339 by Robert Fripp. ISBN 097806210 accessed 24 January 2008
  8. ^ History
  9. ^ Salisbury Cathedral School. Pre-Prep School prospectus, accessed January 2008
  10. ^ "Visitor Information, Salisbury Cathedral". Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  11. ^ Curriculum
  12. ^ Choristers
  13. ^ Choristerships
  14. ^ Boarders
  15. ^ Blacking, John Anthony Randall (1928–1990), social anthropologist and ethnomusicologist, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  16. ^ Brown, (Elizabeth) Iona (1941–2004), violinist and conductor in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  17. ^ "Iona Brown - Telegraph". London: 11 June 2004. Retrieved 2013-04-24. 
  18. ^ DANIEL, Nicholas in Who's Who 2007 (London, A. & C. Black, 2007)
  19. ^ Earle, William Benson, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  20. ^ Barker, Sebastian. Obituary: David Gascoyne. The Independent. 28 November 2001.
  21. ^ Burrows, Donald and Dunhill, Rosemary. 2002. Music and Theatre in Handel's World: The Family Papers of James Harris 1732-1780. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-816654-0.
  22. ^ Harris, James, first earl of Malmesbury (1746–1820), diplomatist by H. M. Scott in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  23. ^ HILLS, Air Vice-Marshal David Graeme Muspratt in Who's Who 2007 (London, A. & C. Black, 2007)
  24. ^ KEY, (Simon) Robert in Who's Who 2007 (London, A. & C. Black, 2007)
  25. ^ MATES, Lt-Col Rt Hon. Michael (John) in Who's Who 2007 (London, A. & C. Black, 2007)

External links[edit]