Archbishop Tenison's Church of England School

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Archbishop Tenison's School, Lambeth
Established 1685
Type Voluntary aided school
Religion Church of England
Headteacher Elizabeth Sims
Chair of Governors Simon Tenison
Location 55 Kennington Oval
SE11 5SR
Coordinates: 51°28′57″N 0°06′58″W / 51.4826°N 0.1160°W / 51.4826; -0.1160
Local authority Lambeth
DfE number 208/5403
DfE URN 100640 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 533
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Colours      Navy and      Red
Diocese Lambeth
Website Tenison's School
For the school of the same name in Croydon see Arcbishop Tenison's School, Croydon

Archbishop Tenison's C of E School, commonly known as Tenison's, is a Church of England mixed secondary School located in the London Borough of Lambeth.


Tenison's is now an 11–18 voluntary aided, boys and girls in September 2015 comprehensive school, part of the educational provision of the Anglican Diocese of Southwark and the London Borough of Lambeth. Girls are admitted to the sixth form. Tenison's became a specialist arts college in 2003. The school caters for around 530 pupils, of whom 80 are in the sixth form. The school is located directly opposite The Oval cricket ground, home of Surrey County Cricket Club.


Thomas Tenison, an educational evangelist and later Archbishop of Canterbury, founded several schools in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. A boys' school now at the Oval was founded in 1685 in the crypt of St Martin's in the Fields and relocated by 1895 in Leicester Square on the site previously occupied by the Sabloniere Hotel. The school moved to The Oval in 1928, with the new building being opened by the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII). A girls' school was formally established in 1706 for 12 girls and in 1863 a new school building was erected at 18 Lambeth High Street. The girls school closed in 1961, when it amalgamated with Archbishop Temple's Boys School to form a mixed VA school. The building was used by Temple's as a first-year annex from 1968 to 1974, when Archbishop Temple's School closed. Archbishop Tenison founded another school in nearby Croydon in 1714.

Archbishop Tenison's at The Oval became a grammar school, then a comprehensive. Tenison's became a Grant-Maintained school in 1993, and a Voluntary-Aided School in 1998.

School badge[edit]

The badges of both the schools founded by Thomas Tenison are based on his personal coat of arms, which consist of the arms of the see of Canterbury impaling the Tenison family arms. The former, placed on the dexter side of honour, are blazoned as: Azure, an archiepiscopal cross in pale or surmounted by a pall proper charged with four crosses patee fitchee sable. The arms of Tenison, placed on the sinister side of the escutcheon are blazoned as: Gules, a bend engrailed argent voided azure between three leopard's faces or jessant-de-lys azure. In standard English: a red field bearing a white (or silver) diagonal band with scalloped edges, and a narrower blue band running down its centre. This lies between three gold heraldic lion's faces, each of which is pierced by a fleur-de-lys entering through the mouth.


Arms of Denys of Gloucestershire, 13th century: Gules, three leopard's faces or jessant-de-lys azure over all a bend engrailed of the last

These arms are a difference, or variant, of the mediaeval arms of the Denys family of Siston, Gloucestershire, (Gules, three leopard's faces or jessant-de-lys azure over all a bend engrailed of the last) and may have been adopted by the Tenison family because its name signifies "Denys's or Denis's son". The arms without the bend were originally those of the Norman de Cantilupe family, whose feudal tenants the Denys family probably were in connection with Candleston Castle in Glamorgan. St Thomas Cantilupe (d.1282), Bishop of Hereford, was the first to adopt these jessant-de-lys arms in place of his former arms of three fleurs-de-lys, visible on his seal. He gave a reversed (i.e. upside down) version of the new Cantilupe arms to the See of Hereford, which uses them to this day. A version of the Denys arms was also adopted by the family of the poet laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson, not known to have been a descendant of Archbishop Thomas Tenison. The bend engrailed correctly "debruises" the leopard's faces, that is to say it is superimposed on them, as a heraldic difference. However this image was later on occasion "tidied-up" to show the bend passing between the leopard's faces, for example on a 17th-century mural monument to the Denys family in Pucklechurch Church.

Academic performance[edit]

The school achieves well above average GCSE results.

Notable Old Tenisonians (OTs)[edit]

Archbishop Tenison's Grammar School[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]