Down High School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Coordinates: 54°19′52″N 5°43′08″W / 54.331°N 5.719°W / 54.331; -5.719

Mount Crescent

, ,
BT30 6EU

TypeGrammar School
MottoFloreat Dunum , Absque dole
Labore Nihil
School districtSEELB
PrincipalMrs M. Perry
Age11 to 18
Enrollment1080 (Approx.)
HousesDown     , Lecale     , Rathkeltair     , Mourne      and Strangford     
Colour(s)Green and yellow          
NicknameDHS and Green High

Down High School, also called DHS and Down High Grammar School, is a controlled co-educational Grammar School located in Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland. The school encompasses students from the ages of eleven to eighteen in the senior school—of which there are approximately 950 pupils. On 21 July 2014, Education Minister John O'Dowd approved a development proposal to close the Preparatory Department of Down High School. On 30 June 2014 the Preparatory Department closed. There are roughly 250 pupils engaged in A-level study in the Sixth Form.[1] In July 2015 some £20 million was granted by the Education minister to begin the new build project in 2017.[1]


The Gate House and stone walls surrounding the school were originally part of the County Gaol. The stone walls were lowered to the deck when the school was established. It was argued that removing the walls completely would allow fog from the nearby River Quoile to rise into school grounds. There were tunnels beneath the school and grounds (that now are sealed off) which were used to transport prisoners to and from the court house on English Street. Convicts sentenced to death would often be hanged in the main gateway in front of the school. The large granite gatehouse is a prominent feature of the Mount Crescent area, and lies unused. Many of the classes are taught in temporary classrooms.

School Crest[edit]

The school's crest, designed by the late RWH Blackhood of Loughinisland near Downpatrick, is a reminder of another link with the past, dating back to the 12th Century. The design itself is based upon the supposed badge of John De Courcy, the Norman soldier who captured Downpatrick in 1177 and established himself as the ruler of the North East of Ireland. The colours of the crest are taken from the arms of the Anglo-Irish aristocrat, Lady Elizabeth Cromwell (1674–1709), the daughter of the 4th Earl of Ardglass, and owner of the Downpatrick estate. Lady Elizabeth was wife of the Rt Hon Edward Southwell, MP for Kinsale, and Principal Secretary of State for Ireland in the reigns of King William III and Queen Anne. Southwell was a well known benefactor of the town.

The school's motto Floreat Dunum, Absque Labore Nihil means 'May Down Flourish, nothing is achieved without effort'. 'Floreat Dunum' appears on the blazer badge of the school.[2] Previous pupils are known as "Old Dunumians".

School Houses[edit]

Students, upon entry into the secondary school, are placed in a specific house. They can be placed in either:

  • 'Down' (House colour: Purple)
  • 'Lecale' (House colour: Blue)
  • 'Rathkeltair' (House colour: Red)
  • 'Mourne' (House colour: Green)
  • 'Strangford' (House colour: White)

Notable alumni[edit]


The current headteacher is Mrs M Perry, the deputy headteacher is Mr K Dawson. The Vice-principals are Mr G McKillen and Mr R Daniells.


  1. ^ About Down High School Down High School Archived 12 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ History of the School Crest Down High School Archived 12 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Official 'Ash' website Archived 8 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine The author references Down Highs [sic] detention cue [sic]
  4. ^ Alister McGrath Biography Archived 1 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine University of Oxford
  5. ^ "Player profile: Thomas James Taylor Patterson". CricketEurope. Retrieved 27 October 2018.