Ashville College

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Ashville College
Ashville College.svg
Green Lane

, ,

Coordinates53°58′26″N 1°33′08″W / 53.97386°N 1.55214°W / 53.97386; -1.55214Coordinates: 53°58′26″N 1°33′08″W / 53.97386°N 1.55214°W / 53.97386; -1.55214
TypePrivate day and boarding school
MottoEsse quam videri
("To be, rather than to seem")[1]
Religious affiliation(s)Methodist
Department for Education URN121758 Tables
ChairmanJ Search
HeadRhiannon Wilkinson
Age2 to 18
Former pupilsOld Ashvillians
Ashville College
Cricket pitches at Ashville College

Ashville College is a co-educational independent school for both day and boarding pupils aged 2–18 in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England.

It was founded in 1877 as a boarding school for boys by the United Methodist Free Churches. It incorporated Elmfield College, Heworth, York and New College, Harrogate in the 1930s. The school maintains a Methodist ethos but is open to non-Methodists and to those of non-Christian religions. The college accepted girls in 1982 and is fully co-educational. It thrives as the oldest independent school in Harrogate and owns an estate of 60 acres (24 ha) on the south side of the spa town.


In 1875 the United Methodist Free Churches Assembly agreed to establish a college that promoted a sound and advanced education. A set of six committee members were appointed to search for suitable premises and thereafter became the founding fathers of the school: Alderman R. Ellis, Rev. E. Boaden, Rev. R. Chew, Rev. J. Garside, W. H. C. Hardy and Rev. K. Kirksop. Ald. Ellis found a small private school and estate called Ashville on the outskirts of Harrogate and purchased it for £5,800. Dr William Richardson was appointed as headmaster and the school opened on 17 July 1877 with 30 pupils and two masters, with school fees being £25 per annum.[2]

In 1889 the school underwent a period of expansion which began with the opening of the East Wing in order to house more boys. By 1902 the school site included a cricket pavilion, tennis courts and a gymnasium. The school's clock tower was built in 1911.

In World War I, 300 of the school's pupils were called up and 38 died in the conflict, including 8 who died in the Battle of the Somme. In 1921 a cenotaph was built, funded by the Old Boys' Association.

In the 1920s and 1930s the school underwent further expansion to include the Memorial Hall, Library, Music Rooms and an open-air swimming pool.

In 1929 Ashville purchased New College, Harrogate for £40,000 which included 27 acres (11 ha) of land. In 1932 the school merged with Elmfield College bringing its student population to 280 boys and making Ashville the largest private school in the north of England.

At the outbreak of World War II, Ashville was requisitioned to the Royal Air Force and the school was evacuated to The Hydro Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere.[3] During the war 465 of the school's pupils volunteered for the forces, 59 were killed and 90 decorations were awarded to Old Ashvillians. The school did not return to its original site in Harrogate until 1946.

In 1982 girls were admitted to the school for the first time, initially only as day pupils until 1989 when the girls' boarding house was opened.

In December 2018 Ashville College was accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Few schools in the United Kingdom hold this status.[4]


All pupils are part of a competitive house, which they remain in throughout their time at Ashville, these are:

  • Ellis (Green)
  • Riverdale (Red)
  • Duckworth (Yellow)
  • Windermere (Blue)


Ashville College offers boarding for pupils in Years 5 (aged 9) and above.[5] Pupils live in three boarding houses:

  • Briggs House (senior boys),
  • Mallinson House (senior boys)
  • Norfolk House (senior girls)

Boarding houses are managed by housemasters or housemistresses who are assisted by a team of residential tutors and matrons.[5]

Current head[edit]

Mrs Rhiannon Wilkinson, former Head of Harrogate Ladies College and Wycombe Abbey, took over from Elspeth Fisher as Head in September 2021. Elspeth Fisher had been the Deputy Headteacher (with specific responsibility for pastoral care) since September 2005. Mr Ian Kendrick held the specific responsibility for the academic side of the school at the time.


  • Dr William Richardson BA LLD (1877–1889)
  • Dr John Bowick BA LLD (1890–1905)
  • Rev. Alfred Soothill (1905–1926)
  • Joseph T. Lancaster MA MLitt (1927–1957)
  • G. Ronald Southam (1957–1977)
  • David Norfolk MA (Oxon) (1977–1987)
  • Michael Crosby (1987–2003)
  • Andrew Fleck (2003–2010)
  • Mark Lauder (2010–2017)
  • Richard Marshall (2017–2020, died 2020)
  • Elspeth Fisher (the 2020–2021 academic year only, owing to Richard Marshall's deteriorating health)
  • Rhiannon Wilkinson (2021–)

Notable Old Ashvillians[edit]


  1. ^ Pine, L G (1983). A Dictionary of mottoes. London: Routledge & K. Paul. p. 65. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ "History, heritage and values". Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Former wartime pupils evacuated from a boarding school 75 years ago set to return to the Lakes". The Westmorland Gazette. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  4. ^ "US International Studies".
  5. ^ a b "Boarding". Ashville Harrogate. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  6. ^ "Oscar nomination for Leeds filmmaker". BBC News. 27 February 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  7. ^ Porter, Henry (22 October 2011). "STUDIES IN POWER; A FAIR COP?". The Independent. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Save Our Boozer". Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  9. ^ "UKPollingReport Election Guide » Redcar". Retrieved 9 November 2011.


  • Booth, William (1990) A History of Ashville and The Ashvillian Society. Harrogate: The Ashvillian Society, to mark their centenary (1890–1990).

External links[edit]