Kelly College

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Kelly College
Kelly College Landscape.jpg
Motto Fortiter Occupa Portum
("Defend your harbours bravely")
Established 1877
Closed 2014
Type Independent school
Day and boarding school
Religion Church of England
Head Master Graham Hawley BSc. PhD.
Chairman of the Governors Rear Admiral Christopher Snow CBE DL
Founder Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly
Location Tavistock
Staff c.66
Students 310
Gender Co-educational
Ages 3–18

School (Boys)      Marwood (Girls)      Russell (Girls)      Courtenay (Boys)      Newton (Boys)     

Conway (Mixed) 1st & 2nd years only
Colours Navy & white          
Publication Kelly College Chronicle (Annual)
Former pupils Old Kelleians
Ofsted Good

Kelly College was a coeducational independent school situated in the outskirts of Tavistock, Devon, with around 350 students ranging from ages 3 to 18; there was an associated preparatory school for primary school children, Kelly College Preparatory School, nearby. In June 2014, the school formally merged with Mount House School to form Mount Kelly School.[1]

The college had twenty acres (eight hectares) of landscaped grounds, including playing fields, set on the edge of Dartmoor and including a stretch of the River Tavy, and four separate senior boarding houses, and a junior house, each with its own facilities.

The last headship was of Mr Mark Semmence who joined the college in 2013. The college's motto is fortiter occupa portum - "defend your harbours bravely", a quotation from Ode XIV from the first Book of Odes by Horace.(1)

It offered many extracurricular activities, such as the CCF (Combined Cadet Force) and the DofE Scheme; in addition to a wide variety of sporting activities.


The school was founded in 1877 after Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly left the great part of his real and personal estate to Trustees, founding a charity which he directed should be called "The Kelly College", which should be for the education of the "sons of Naval officers and other gentlemen". The school opened in October 1877, under the Headmastership of Robert West Taylor, late fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, with twelve boys on the school roll. It became co-educational in the early 1970s, initially with entrants into the Sixth Form, and in September 1991 welcomed thirty one girls into the First Form, fourteen of whom became Kelly Veterans in 1998.[2]


The School had six houses;

School house (Girls Year 9-11 boarding/day House) (founded 1877), Courtenay House (Senior Boys House boarding /day) (founded 1901), Newton House (Boys Year 9-11 boarding/day house) (founded 1939), Conway House (Junior house, 1st and 2nd form only) (founded 1975), and Marwood House (Senior Girls House) (founded 1983),

Notable attendees[edit]