Greenways School

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Coordinates: 51°09′37″N 2°03′26″W / 51.16014°N 2.05715°W / 51.16014; -2.05715

Greenways School
Closed 1969
Type Independent prep school
Location Bognor Regis (Until 1940)
Codford (1940-1969)

Gender Boys
Ages 7–13 or 14

Greenways School, also known as Greenways Preparatory School, was an English prep school, founded at Bognor Regis, Sussex, before the Second World War. In 1940 it moved to Ashton Gifford House, Codford, Wiltshire, where it remained until it was closed in 1969.


The school was a prep school for boys, preparing them for the Common Entrance Examination.[1] Boys were divided into two "houses", called Greens and Blues.[2]

In 1928, the school was already established at Aldwick, Sussex, just to the west of Bognor Regis, under Dugald S. Hancock (1897–1963).[3] A modern linguist born in the Transvaal, Hancock had been educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and was a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.[4] In 1929, the school advertised itself in The Times in the following terms:

ALDWICK, SUSSEX, renowned for its bracing climate, possesses a Modern BOYS' PREPARATORY SCHOOL, Greenways; home atmosphere, health, and good food first consideration; sea bathing, riding. — Write Headmaster.[5]

In the 1930s, the school was still operated in Sussex by Dugald and Vivien Hancock, both schoolteachers, but in 1940 it was evacuated to Wiltshire, because of the danger of German bombing on the south coast.[6]

With her husband away from home on Second World War military service,[4] Vivien Hancock took on the role of school principal for the duration of the War, and, as matters turned out, beyond. The daughter of an Oxfordshire clergyman,[7] she became a friend of the poet Siegfried Sassoon, who lived near Codford, at Heytesbury, and was the father of a boy at the school, George Sassoon.[8]

For much of the War the artist Keith Vaughan was stationed at Codford. He painted "The Wall at Ashton Gifford" (1942)[9] "Tree felling at Ashton Gifford" (1942–43), and "The Garden at Ashton Gifford" (1944). He described the school's garden as an "oceanic surging of tangled nettles", with "waist high grass", the wall covered in a "jungle of weed and ivy".[10] The boys' swimming was done in the mill pond at Sherrington.[2]

The pond at Sherrington which served as the school's swimming pool.

When Hancock needed money to buy Ashton Gifford House, Siegfried Sassoon lent her £8,000, and he later waived the agreed interest on the loan. In 1944, Sassoon's wife, Hester Sassoon, accused the two of being too close. She also spread such rumours of Mrs Hancock and a local butcher that the headmistress threatened her with a defamation action.[11][12] The Sassoons separated in 1947.[13]

In 1949 a fire at the school partly destroyed the Victorian service wing of Ashton Gifford House.[14] Vivien Hancock blamed this on an electrical fault, but the cause of the fire was disputed.[15] Shortly afterwards, a Mrs Gibbons took over as the school's headmistress.[2]

In 1956, The Spectator said of Greenways that it was "a Prep School where boys work well because they are treated like human beings and are warm, well fed, and happy."[16] In the 1950s, the school had its own nursery department and kindergarten and was still preparing older boys for Common Entrance and for entrance to high schools.[17]

The school was closed in 1969.

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ The Schools of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, Volume 37 (1948), p. 393
  2. ^ a b c Greenways School, Ashton Gifford House, Codford, at, accessed 8 September 2013
  3. ^ 'A Tsar's Letter To A Friend. DUGALD S. HANCOCK. Greenways Preparatory School, Aldwick, Sussex.' letter to The Times, issue 45045 dated 8 November 1928, p. 17
  4. ^ a b Neil A. Flanagan, ed., Biographical Register 1880-1974 (Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 1988), p. 266: "HANCOCK, Dugald Strangman (1919-21) b Cleveland, Transvaal, S Africa ... HdM, Greenways Sch, Aldwich. Mil ser WW1, 1916-19, Lt, E Kent Regt attd RE Signals; France, N Russia (Arkhangelsk). CCC War Decree 1917; Fail short course Russ 1921. Treasurer, OU Russian Club. FRMetS 1931. HdM, Greenways Sch, Aldwich. Mil ser WW2, Capt."
  5. ^ Classified advertisement in The Times, issue 45182 dated 20 April 1929, p. 1
  6. ^ You never lose that loving feeling, book review of Nicholas Hancock's novel Daniel and Miriam (2004) at, accessed 8 September 2013
  7. ^ Armorial Families : a Directory of Gentlemen of Coat Armour, vol. 1, p. 220: "Dugald Strangman Hancock, Gentleman, b. 1897; m. Vivian Fearne, d. of Rev. M. Bell, of Wheatley, Oxon, and has issue..."
  8. ^ "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Adrian Mitchell, Shadow Poet Laureate", in The Independent dated 26 July 2007
  9. ^ Manchester City Galleries
  10. ^ Osborne Samuel (; and Journal 62-63, 7 December 1975
  11. ^ Max Egremont, Siegfried Sassoon (2006), p. 434
  12. ^ J. M. Wilson, Siegfried Sassoon: the Journey from the Trenches
  13. ^ a b George Sassoon (obituary) at, accessed 8 September 2013
  14. ^ Planning application to reconstruct the service wing, Wiltshire County Council, 1949
  15. ^ a b Ferdinand Mount, Cold Cream: My early Life and Other Mistakes (Bloomsbury, 2008)
  16. ^ The Spectator Vol. 197, Part 1 (1956), p. 160
  17. ^ The Official Guide to the County of Wiltshire (Home Publishing, 1957), p. 23
  18. ^ Adrian Mitchell, Radical poet and playwright (obituary) dated 13 January 2009 at, accessed 8 September 2013