King Edward's School, Witley

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King Edward's School, Witley
King Edward's School Witley Logo.png
Motto "A foundation for life"
Established 1553
Type Independent day and boarding school
Religion Church of England
President The Duchess of Gloucester
Headmaster John Attwater
Chaplain The Rev'd Dr. David Standen
Deputy Headmasters/mistress Stephen Pugh, James Hole, and Delvin Poulter
Founder King Edward VI
Location Petworth Road
51°08′15″N 0°38′40″W / 51.137365°N 0.644500°W / 51.137365; -0.644500Coordinates: 51°08′15″N 0°38′40″W / 51.137365°N 0.644500°W / 51.137365; -0.644500
Local authority Surrey
DfE number 936/6103
Staff c.60 teaching
Students c.400
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Houses 8 boarding houses
Colours Blue and Navy          
Publication Kestrel
Former pupils Old Witleians

King Edward's School, Witley is an independent co-educational boarding and day school, founded in 1553 by King Edward VI and Nicholas Ridley. The School is located in the village of Wormley (near Witley), Surrey, England, having moved to its present location in 1867.[1] The School became fully co-educational in 1952.[1] As of September 2010, the school has joined the small number of independent schools in the UK which offer the IB Diploma Programme in place of A-Levels in the Sixth form. The School is re-introducing A-Levels as part of the curriculum from September 2015.


King Edward VI, the school's founder awarding the charter

The School was founded as Bridewell Royal Hospital, after Nicholas Ridley preached to Edward VI to give some of his empty palaces over to the City of London (governed by the City of London Corporation) to house homeless women and children.

The school was commandeered by the Royal Navy during the Second World War to test and develop the use of radar. The school still remembers this with a plaque in the central area, a junction of corridors known as 'Piccadilly'. The President of Bridewell Royal Hospital (the title was kept after the move of location) is now The Duchess of Gloucester, appointed from 1 January 2006. The Queen Mother held the title from 1953 to 2002. The school's creation was sanctioned by the same charter as that of Christ's Hospital and St Thomas' Hospital. The school maintains strong links with the City of London, and is still supported by it, with some students on bursaries funded by the City. As of the academic year 2013/14 Senior School day fees are £19,470 per year, with Senior School boarding fees £27,825 per year, though a number of bursaries and scholarships are available.[2]

Boarding houses[edit]

There are eight functioning houses in total, four male and four female. The boarding houses at the school are paired, and, in the case of the senior pupils, conjoined in the centre of the buildings. This central area (known as the 'Accy Area', from activity area) allows the boys and girls from the paired houses to meet in the evenings and during spare time; to chat, watch television or a DVD, or play pool or table football. The right-hand half of the iconic front building of the school is used as Copeland House, the junior girls boarding house, while Queen Mary House was formerly a care home for the mentally ill and then the school sanatorium, until later becoming the junior boys boarding house.

The senior houses were built in the 1970s, and the plans can be seen in the School Museum, housed in the History Department. Boarders moved into these new buildings in Autumn 1976 and the inauguration was commemorated by a visit from HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

The houses, in their pairs, are:


  • Queen Mary House - Queen Mary was President of the school from 1940 until 1953. The junior boys' house, known as QMH.
  • Copeland – The junior girls’ house, named after Lt. Col. Alfred J. Copeland, Treasurer from 1885 to 1896, and again 1900 to 1920. This forms part of the façade of the school.


King Edward's School, as viewed from Petworth Road
  • Wakefield – After Charles Wakefield, 1st Viscount Wakefield, President and benefactor from 1916 to 1940.
  • Elizabeth – After Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, President of Bridewell Royal Hospital from 1953 to 2002. She visited the school four times; 1958, 1965, 1976 and 1991.
  • Edward – After King Edward VI, the founder.
  • Tudor – After The House of Tudor, the current royal family at the time of the school's founding.
  • Grafton – After Richard Grafton, MP, printer and historian. The first Treasurer of Bridewell Royal Hospital.
  • Queens' - After the two queens who have been Presidents (Mary and Elizabeth).
  • Ridley – Named after Bishop Nicholas Ridley, who preached to King Edward to request Bridewell Palace to be given to the City of London for charitable purposes. This house was unused for a number of years, but re-opened September 2013 having undergone extensive refurbishment.
  • St Bridget’sSaint Brigid of Kildare was a 5th-century Irish saint who is associated with a well which gave its name to the church of St. Bride and then to the palace, Bridewell Palace, built by Henry VIII. Currently not in use pending renovation or reconstruction.

The school has a very competitive atmosphere between all of the houses. They compete in different competitions and challenges such as House Drama, House Music, Sports Day and other various sporting and academic events. These all allow the winning houses to accumulate points for the Cock House Cup, which is awarded to the house with the most points at the end of the School Year.

The current holders of the Cock House Cup are Grafton House and Queens' House.

School publications[edit]

The school has its own magazine, The Edwardian, which it publishes yearly. There is a short school newsletter, KEStrel, published bi-annually, that incorporates recent school events and news.

Notable Old Witleians[edit]

Former students of King Edward's are referred to as Old Witleians.


  • Joseph Myall ( –1856)
  • Edward Rudge (1856–1886)
  • The Revd Gerard Mason (1886–1900)
  • The Revd Charles Raynham (1900–1926)
  • The Revd Alfred Bellerby (1926–1951)
  • Gordon Humphreys
  • John Hansford (1969–1980)
  • Richard Wilkinson
  • Rodney Fox (1988–2000)
  • Kerr Fulton-Peebles (2000–2010)
  • John Attwater (2010– )

Notable associations[edit]

Aerial view of King Edward's School


  1. ^ a b "History of King Edward's School, Witley". Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  2. ^ "King Edward's School, Witley Fees 08/09". Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 April 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  3. ^ Goldgar, Anne; et al. (2004). Anne Goldgar, Robert I. Frost, ed. Institutional Culture in early modern Society. Brill Academic Publishers. p. 116. 

Further reading[edit]

  • King Edward’s School: Bridewell to Witley 1553-2005, Bertie Mawer, 2000. ISBN 0-7110-2776-5
  • Bethlem Hospital 1247-1997, Patricia Aldridge
  • The City of London, Mary Cathcart Borer, 1977
  • Bridewell Royal Hospital and King Edward’s Schools, Alfred J. Copeland, 1912
  • The Last Tudor King, Hesther W. Chapman, 1958
  • Chronicle, Richard Grafton
  • Old Bridewell (Monograph), R.S. Mylne, 1905
  • Bridewell Hospital Palace, Prison, Schools, E.C. O’Donoghue, 1929
  • Henry VIII, A.W. Pollard, 1905
  • Nicholas Ridley, Jasper Ridley, 1957
  • Works of Nicholas Ridley, Parker Society Cambridge, 1953

External links[edit]