Godolphin School

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Godolphin School
Godolphin School.jpg
Milford Hill


Coordinates51°04′08″N 1°47′07″W / 51.0688°N 1.7853°W / 51.0688; -1.7853Coordinates: 51°04′08″N 1°47′07″W / 51.0688°N 1.7853°W / 51.0688; -1.7853
TypeIndependent day and boarding
MottoFranc ha leal eto ge
Frank and loyal thou art
Established1726; 297 years ago (1726)[1]
FounderElizabeth Godolphin[2]
Department for Education URN126519 Tables
HeadmistressJenny Price
Age3 to 18
Enrolmentc. 450
Websitewww.godolphin.org Edit this at Wikidata

Godolphin School is an independent boarding and day school for girls in Salisbury, England, which was founded in 1726 and opened in 1784. The school educates girls between the ages of three and eighteen.


Godolphin was founded by Elizabeth Godolphin using her own money and some from the estate of her husband, Charles. She created the school originally for the education of eight young orphaned gentlewomen. According to the terms of the will, the beneficiaries were to be daughters of members of the Church of England,[2] between eight and twelve years of age, born in Salisbury or some other Wiltshire town, and to have had "some portion left to them but not exceeding £400".

The girls were to be taught to "dance, work, read, write, cast accounts and the business of housewifery".[3] This was a fairly advanced curriculum for its time, since girls of this class were expected to be able to read but not necessarily to be able to write. The new charity was initially to be administered by her nephew William Godolphin and his heirs,[2] The dean and chapter declined to take on the task[2] on the grounds that the idea of educating women was "mere foolery and dreaming". Every year, in November, the school commemorates its founder Elizabeth Godolphin when the head girl, accompanied by members of the upper sixth, lay a wreath on her tomb in the cloister of Westminster Abbey. This ceremony is known to girls past and present as "Commem."[citation needed]

The school did not open its doors until 9 August 1784, when it was set up in Rosemary Lane, in the Cathedral Close, Salisbury.[2] It later occupied various houses in the vicinity, including Arundells, more recently the home of Sir Edward Heath, and finally the King's House. A prospectus of 1789, written by the headmistress, Mrs Voysey,[who?] promised a regime of early rising, "agreeable exercise" and a diet of wholesome books "such as enlarge the heart to Virtue and excellency of Sentiment".

Following an outbreak of cholera in 1848, the school moved to Milford Hill, where for nearly half a century it occupied various premises, including Fawcett House on Elm Grove, which was later to become the Swan School. Under the leadership of Miss Polhill[who?] (1854–1857) and M. T. Andrews (1875–1890), numbers were small and the curriculum narrow. Then, in 1890, Mary Douglas arrived. Described variously as a 'headmistress of genius' and 'the second founder of the School', her headship saw a tenfold increase in numbers from 23 in 1890 to 230 in 1920, the year she retired. In 1891, the distinctive red-brick building on the top of Milford Hill was opened at a cost of £4000, and in the years that followed several new boarding houses were added. During the 1890s school fees were 4 guineas per term for pupils under 12, 5 guineas for pupils from 12 to 15, and 6 guineas for pupils over 15.

In 1904 an additional six acres were purchased to extend the school grounds, which were then landscaped on the side facing Laverstock. In 1914 oak panelling, which gives the hall its unique atmosphere, was installed; and in 1925 an open-air swimming pool was opened. Additions to the school since the Second World War have included a new library building, several new boarding houses, a science and technology block, a prep school, a performing arts centre, an indoor swimming pool with fitness centre, a new boarding house and a Sixth Form Centre.[citation needed]

The arms and motto of the school are those of the Godolphin family. The motto Franc ha leal eto ge is Old Cornish and means 'Frank and loyal art thou'.

The formal uniform includes a blazer, skirt, shirt, a traditional "pinny" and boater.

Godolphin was awarded the Sunday Times Southwest Independent Secondary School of the Year 2019.[citation needed]


Mary Alice Douglas surrounded by colleagues
  • Mrs Voysey
  • 1784–: Miss Giffard (Mrs Davis)
  • 1815–: Anna Maria Alford
  • 1829–: Miss Emily
  • 1832–1854: Margaret Bazeley
  • 1854–1857: Miss Polhill (Mrs Cother)
  • 1857–1875: Emma Polhill
  • 1875–1890: M. T. Andrews
  • 1890–1919: Mary Alice Douglas
  • 1920–1935: Cecily Ray Ash
  • 1935–1940: D. M. M. Edwards-Rees
  • 1940–1958: G. May Jerred
  • 1958–1967: Miss Engledow
  • 1968–1980: Veronica Fraser
  • 1980–1989: Elizabeth Prescott-Decie (Hannay)
  • 1989–1996: Hilary Fender
  • 1996–2010: Jill Horsburgh
  • 2010–2013: Samantha Price
  • 2014–2022: Emma Hattersley
  • 2022– : Jenny Price

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ School, Godolphin (3 September 2020). "The 1726 Society". Godolphin School. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Godolphin, Elizabeth (bap. 1663, d. 1726), benefactor". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/95354. Retrieved 3 September 2020. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ "About Godolphin: Our History". godolphin.org.
  4. ^ "Sheila Theodora Elsie Callender". Munk's Roll Volume XII. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  5. ^ Atiyah, Lily (November 1998). "Obituary: Dame Mary Cartwright 1900–1997". The Mathematical Gazette. The Mathematical Association. 82 (495): 494–496. doi:10.1017/S002555720016262X.
  6. ^ a b "Jilly Cooper and Minette Walters Return to Godolphin". godolphin.org.
  7. ^ Bramlett, Perry C.; Ronald W. Higdon (1998). Touring C.S. Lewis' Ireland & England. Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc. p. 80. ISBN 1-57312-191-6.
  8. ^ Hill, Alison (2022). Pauline Gower, Pioneering Leader of the Spitfire Women. Cheltenham. ISBN 978-1-80399-148-1. OCLC 1337943261.

External links[edit]