Heath Mount School
|Headmaster||Chris Gillam BEd (Hons)|
|Houses||Galahad, Tristram and Percival|
|Colours||Green and Blue|
Heath Mount School is a Church of England co-educational independent prep school near Watton-at-Stone, Hertfordshire admitting pupils aged 3 to 13. Originally founded as Heath Mount Academy in Hampstead in 1796 it was not until later in 1934 that it relocated to the Georgian Mansion, on the Woodhall Estate in rural Hertfordshire. As of 2014 there are 442 children in attendance at the school and this figure is split between boarding pupils and day pupils and girls and boys.
Heath Mount was initially started as a boarding school in 1796 for the schooling of ‘boys and young gentlemen’.The first Headmaster, Reverend John Hunter, let a house on Heath Street in Hampstead , the school gained its name Heath Mount due to the original site’s closeness to the summit of the Heath in Hampstead. In 1875, Mr Bush, the fifth headmaster, moved to a school he established in the early 1860s at New End in Hampstead.
By the early 1930s the Hampstead School rapidly grew and the New End site no longer met requirements. In January 1934 the Headmaster, Reverend Arthur Wells, moved the school again with its 32 pupils to the present location at Woodhall Estate in Watton-at-Stone in Hertfordshire.
Heath Mount thrived in its new surroundings and even endured as a school during The Second World War with a few girls admitted as a temporary measure. Girls did not fully join until 1976. Continuing in expansion, the sports hall was built in 1984 and a preparatory school building established in 1990.
There are records of a house at Woodhall since 1372. However, the original structure named Woodhall was a large Tudor Manor that was positioned at the top of the Avenue and was home to The Boteler Family until the 1770s.
It was Philip Boteler (d.1592), who gained the warrant to create a common around the house and thus founding Woodhall as an estate. This original park enlarged during the early and late seventeenth century, but, it was not until 1838 that a herd of fallow deer were introduced and that the park wall, park railings, lodges, gatehouses and ha-ha in front of the house were built.
In 1771 the original House was partly devastated in a fire and Thomas Rumbold purchased the estate in 1777. He demolished the remnants of the house and built a new one devised by Thomas Leverton in 1775. This neo-classical house is still extant today, although it was enlarged some years later. The house with the surrounding land was then purchased by Samuel Smith (1754–1834), a banker and a Member of Parliament, from Nottingham, in 1801. Four generations of Smiths occupied the house until 1930 after the death of the fourth, Colonel Abel Henry Smith. The contents of the house were dispersed and it became a school, later called Heath Mount School, in 1934.