Monmouth School

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Monmouth School
Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School (coat of arms).png
Monmouth School.jpg
The main buildings, seen from across the A40
Motto "Serve and Obey"
Established 1614 (1614)
Type Public school
Independent day and boarding
Religion Protestant[1]
Headteacher Dr Andrew Daniel
Founder William Jones
Location Monmouth
NP25 3XP
Coordinates: 51°48′42″N 2°42′40″W / 51.8117°N 2.7110°W / 51.8117; -2.7110
DfE URN 402007 Tables
Students 600 (approx.)
Gender Boys

Gold and Chocolate

Former pupils Old Monmothians

Monmouth School is an HMC boys' boarding and day school in Monmouth, Monmouthshire in south east Wales. It was founded in 1614 by William Jones. It is run as a trust, the William Jones's Schools Foundation, by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, one of the Livery Companies. The Foundation's returned accounts for 2008/9 show an income of £19,605,000, against an expenditure of £19,116,000.[2]

Monmouth School is the senior institution of the Haberdashers' Monmouth Schools.[3] Together with its sister school Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls, they collaborate for certain activities such as drama productions and Sixth Form courses.[4] They also share a coeducational pre-prep, Agincourt School.[5]


Plaque describing the foundation of the school

In 1613, William Jones, a prominent merchant and haberdasher, gave the Haberdashers’ Company £6,000, followed by a further £3,000 bequeathed in his will on his death in 1615, to "ordaine a preacher, a Free-School and Almes-houses for twenty poor and old distressed people, as blind and lame, as it shall seem best to them, of the Towne of Monmouth, where it shall be bestowed".[6] Jones was born at Newland, Gloucestershire and brought up in Monmouth, leaving to make a sizeable fortune as a London merchant engaged in the cloth trade with the continent.[7] Jones' motivations for his bequest appear partly philanthropic and partly evangelical; "the priority given to the preacher illustrates his concern to convert an area in the Marches which was still, when the school opened in 1614, strongly recusant."[8]

Postcard from the 1930s showing the main building of the school

Nothing remains of the original buildings. In 1865, and on the same site, the school was substantially rebuilt (see below). By 1872, and under the headmastership of the Rev. Charles Manley Roberts, Monmouth had become a member of the prestigious Headmaster's Conference (created by Edward Thring of Uppingham in 1869), a mark of its increasing reputation and status as a public school. As a result of rising revenues from investments - Monmouth's endowment was one of wealthiest of any school by the mid-19th century - the original foundation was re-organised in 1891 to support a new girls’ school and an elementary school in the town, as well as a boys grammar school (West Monmouth School) in Pontypool.[9] The elementary school was transferred to County Council control in 1940 with West Monmouth School at Pontypool following in 1955.[10] This left the William Jones’s Schools Foundation responsible for Monmouth School and Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls - also known as HMSG - both of which joined the Direct Grant scheme in 1946.[11] In 1976, and with the ending of Assisted Places, the school returned to full independence.[12]

On 19 March 2014, some 1,200 pupils and staff from the school, and from Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls, celebrated the four hundredth anniversary of the foundation of Monmouth School with a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Prior to Keith Kissack's 1995 volume, three earlier histories of the school had been published: the History of the Charities of William Jones at Monmouth and Newland of 1899, by the Reverend W M Warlow; Monmouth School in the 'Sixties and 'Seventies, by the Reverend K M Pitt; and Monmouth School, 1614-1964 of 1964, by H A Ward.[13]


Interior of Monmouth School Chapel, 1865

The rebuilding of the school (1864–1878) was mostly undertaken by William Snooke who built the chapel, two schoolrooms and a classroom in 1864-5, followed in the 1870s by the library, Headmaster's House and the buildings which now form Monmouth House and Hereford House.[14] Snooke also redeveloped the Monmouth Alms Houses, on Almshouse Street, now part of the school and which incorporate a large inscription panel describing the benefactions of the Jones Foundation.[14] School House, with its ceremonial arched entrance and coat of arms facing the Wye Bridge, was designed by Henry Stock in 1894-5.[14] It is a Grade II listed building as of 8 October 2005.[15] The war memorial, of 1956, is by Francis W. Stephens.[14]

More modern developments include the Hall of 1961, redeveloped in the early 21st century and now the Blake Theatre, the Red Lion Block of the same date (currently being redeveloped), and the Science Block of 1981-4.[14] In November 2008, a £2.3 million sports pavilion was completed and opened by the former Welsh and British Lions captain, Eddie Butler, an old boy of the School. It was designed by the architects Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams. In January 2011, work began on 'The Heart Project,' which will see the main site redeveloped over the coming years. The project began with the redevelopment of The Grange into a new sixth form boarding house. Following this, a new classroom block, housing 20 classrooms along with administrative facilities, will be constructed. This is to be named 'The William Jones Building' and will replace the 'Red Lion Block'.[16] Chapel House is to become the new lower school boarding house whilst St James House is to be sold.

The School today[edit]

With 600 pupils Monmouth School offers boarding and day places as well as preparatory departments in a single-sex environment. To enable a wide range of A and AS level subjects to be taken, there is some mixed-sex teaching in the Sixth Form with the sister school, Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls (HMSG).


The rear of Chapel House, Monmouth away from the town in 2001

There are three main age divisions in the school; lower (forms I and II) middle (forms III, IV, and V) and sixth form (forms VI.1 and VI.2). Within these divisions, pupils are members of different houses as follows: Wye and Dean Houses, the lower school day houses, which are incorporated under one roof in a building at the south of the campus; St James House has been recently moved to Chapel house, the lower school boarding house, located off-site nearby in St James Square; Severn House, the newest of the middle school day houses, located on the ground floor of the middle school house complex at the north of the campus; Town House; Monmouth House, one of the original day houses, located below Hereford House in a building which also houses the Classics and Religious Studies departments and is connected to Severn and Town Houses; Hereford House, another of the original day houses; New House, a boarding house, located next to the administrative buildings in the centre of the campus; Weirhead House, a boarding house, located at the south of the campus; School House, a boarding house, located next to the middle school house complex at the north-east of the complex; Chapel House, Monmouth, a Grade II* listed building, located offsite on the Hereford Road to the north of the town and Tudor, Glendower and Buchanan Houses, which comprise the sixth form centre and V1.2 boarding.

Academics and extra-curricular[edit]

Monmouth School offers a range of subjects, over 30 being available for study to AS and A Level, through collaboration with HMSG. This selection is supported by facilities such as the School Library, Science laboratories, computer suites, and design technology workshop.

In 2004 The Blake Theatre, was opened. Funded by Bob Blake, it is used as a venue for performances by both the boys' and girls' schools, and by external performers. It was officially opened by HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.[17]

The school also possesses a large music school (Glover Music School) with an auditorium, teaching rooms and practice rooms.

Extra-curricular activities include foreign expeditions, music and drama events as well as the school newspaper, The Lion, a creative writing leaflet, The Lion's Tale, and an annual school magazine, The Monmothian. The School also has a CCF (Combined Cadet Force) which has both an Army and RAF Section and is operated in collaboration with HMSG.


The school's three main sports are rugby, rowing and cricket. The sports facilities include a new sports complex[18] which houses a six-lane swimming pool, indoor sports facilities, a weight and fitness suite, tennis courts, and a full size astroturf pitch which can be used for a variety of activities. The school's sporting tradition is reflected in the fact that many boys play at county or national level, especially in rugby, rowing, and cricket. In addition to rowing and rugby the school offers a range of other sports which include Association football, basketball, athletics, canoeing, climbing, cricket, cross country, fencing, fitness training, hockey, golf, sailing, shooting, squash, sub-aqua, swimming, tennis, and water polo.[19]


In June 2009, the school paid out £150,000 to settle a landmark pensions rights case brought by female catering and support staff who claimed that, as part-time workers, they had been unjustly excluded from the school's pension scheme.[20]


  • 1615 John Owen
  • 1617 Humfrey Crewys
  • 1639 Nathaniel Taynton
  • 1657 Robert Brabourne
  • 1658 Robert Frampton
  • 1663 John Harmer
  • 1663 Charles Hoole
  • 1664 William Morrice
  • 1672 Thomas Bassett
  • 1687 Thomas Wright
  • 1691 Thomas Bassett (restored)
  • 1713 Andrew Cuthbert
  • 1723 James Birt
  • 1738 Baynham Barnes
  • 1758 John Crowe
  • 1780 Thomas Prosser
  • 1793 John Powell
  • 1823 William Jones
  • 1828 John Oakley Hill
  • 1832 George Monnington
  • 1844 John Dundas Watherston
  • 1859 Charles Manley Roberts
  • 1891 Edward Hugh Culley
  • 1906 Lionel James
  • 1928 Christopher Fairfax Scott
  • 1937 Wilfred Roy Lewin
  • 1941 Noel Chamberlain Elstob
  • 1946 Cecil Howard Dunstan Cullingford
  • 1956 John Robert Murray Senior (married to the novelist Susan Pleydell)
  • 1959 R H S Hatton
  • 1959 Robert Finlay Glover
  • 1977 Nicholas Bomford
  • 1982 Rupert Lane
  • 1995 Peter Anthony
  • 1995 Timothy Haynes
  • 2005 Steven Connors
  • 2015 Andrew Daniel

Notable alumni[edit]

Angus Buchanan (1894–1944), holder of the Victoria Cross.[22]
John Vassall (1924–1996), civil servant and Soviet spy
Eddie Butler (born 1957), rugby player / TV commentator.[23]
John Gwilliam (born 1923), rugby player.[24]
Steve James (born 1967), cricketer.[25]
Keith Jarrett (born 1948), rugby player.[26]
Charles Wiggin (born 1950), Bronze Medallist Oarsman in the Men's Coxless Pair at the Moscow 1980 Olympics.
Tom Lucy (born 1988), Silver Medallist Oarsman in the Men's Eight at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.[27]
Richard Parks (born 1977), rugby player
Hallam Amos (born 1994), rugby player
Kyle Tudge (born 1987), cricketer.[28]
Huw Waters (born 1986), cricketer.[29]
David Broome (born 1940), International and Olympic showjumper
Wayne Barnes, (born 1979), International rugby union referee
William Marsh (1917–1978), cricketer
Robin Williams, MBE, Team GB rower and world silver medalist. Coach to 2012 Olympic Champions and 2013 World Champions in the women's coxless pair.
Public Life
Derek Ezra (1919-2015), former chairman, National Coal Board
John Josiah Guest (1785–1852), industrialist
Christopher Herbert (born 1944), ecclesiastic (the former Bishop of St Albans).[30]
Mark Porter, born 1962, GP and medical correspondent
Colin Moynihan (born 1955), politician and sportsman (4th Baron Moynihan).[31] Coxed the Great Britain silver medal winning Men's VIII at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games
Cliff Tucker (1912–1993), politician
Paul Langford (born 1945), historian.[32]
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Marner (1921–2004), actor best known for his role as Colonel von Strohm in the sitcom 'Allo 'Allo!.[33]
Richard Pearson (1918-2011), actor - famous for his character roles, but who also undertook leading parts, including opening Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party in 1958.
Grant Nicholas (born 1967), guitarist and singer with rock band Feeder
Gavin Plumley (born 1981), writer and broadcaster
Tom Price (born 1980), actor and comedian
Victor Spinetti (1933-2012), actor.[34]
Glyn Worsnip (1938–1996), actor and broadcaster
Paul Groves (born 1947), poet


  1. ^ The Designation of Schools Having a Religious Character (Independent Schools) (Wales) Order 2009
  2. ^ The Charity Commission Annual Accounts 8 June 2009
  3. ^ "The family of Haberdashers' Monmouth Schools". South Wales Argus. 8 January 2007. 
  4. ^ "Links with Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls". 
  5. ^ Agincourt School
  6. ^ K. Kissack, Monmouth School and Monmouth 1614-1995, p.12
  7. ^ Thomas Fuller The Histories of the Worthies of England 1662
  8. ^ K. Kissack The Lordship, Parish and Borough of Monmouth pgs. 125-6
  9. ^ K. Kissack Monmouth School and Monmouth 1614-1995, p.79
  10. ^ K. Kissack Monmouth School and Monmouth 1614-1995, p.125
  11. ^ K. Kissack Monmouth School and Monmouth 1614-1995, p.102
  12. ^ K. Kissack Monmouth School and Monmouth 1614-1995, p.130
  13. ^ Ward, p. preface.
  14. ^ a b c d e J. Newman The Buildings of Wales: Gwent/Monmouthshire pgs. 402-3
  15. ^ Good Stuff IT Services. "Old Entrance Gateway, River Wall and secondary Gate of Monmouth Boys School - Monmouth - Monmouthshire - Wales". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Prince stages a visit". Newsquest Media Group Newspapers. 2005-04-21. Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  18. ^ "Monmouth School Sports Club". Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  19. ^ "Guide to Independent Schools - Monmouth School". Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  20. ^ Professional Pensions Magazine 8 June 2009
  21. ^ K. Kissack Monmouth School and Monmouth 1614-1995 p.140
  22. ^ Hill, A. V. "J. D. Griffith Davies, 1899-1953 (Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society, 1937-1946)", Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 11, No. 2 (March 1955), pp. 129-133. Accessed September 22, 2008.
  23. ^ "Eddie Butler", The Observer. Accessed September 22, 2008.
  24. ^ "Personnel Profile - John Gwilliam", Newport RFC. Accessed September 22, 2008.
  25. ^ Llewellyn, David. "BOOK OF THE WEEK: Third Man To Fatty's Leg - An Autobiography by Steve James", The Independent, July 26, 2004. Accessed September 22, 2008.
  26. ^ "Personnel Profile - Keith Jarrett", Newport RFC. Accessed September 22, 2008.
  27. ^ "Olympics 2008", BBC, August 13, 2008. Accessed September 22, 2008.
  28. ^ Staff. "Tudge makes his first-class debut", Glamorgan County Cricket Club, August 2, 2006. Accessed September 22, 2008.
  29. ^ Llewellyn, David. "Cricket: Glamorgan chances ebb after Waters' flow; KENT 587 GLAMORGAN 306 & 96-5", The Independent, August 6, 2005. Accessed September 22, 2008.
  30. ^ "Bishop of St Albans", Cathedral & Abbey Church of St Alban. Accessed September 22, 2008.
  31. ^ "Moynihan in call to state schools to provide morecompetitors for Britain’s 2012 Olympic team", Inside the games, Newsletter 34, July 10, 2006. Accessed September 22, 2008.
  32. ^ Swain, Harriett and Williams, Lynne. "Paul Langford", Times Higher Education. Accessed September 22, 2008.
  33. ^ Barker, Dennis. "Richard Marner: Actor best known for his role as the German Colonel Kurt von Strohm in the TV sitcom 'Allo 'Allo", The Guardian, March 25, 2004. Accessed September 22, 2008.
  34. ^ Massingberd, Hugh. "'My pages were pinned to poor Irene's mound of Venus'", The Daily Telegraph, December 11, 2006. Accessed September 22, 2008.


  • Keith Kissack, Monmouth School and Monmouth 1614 - 1995, Lapridge Publications, 1995
  • Keith Kissack, The Lordship, Parish and Borough of Monmouth, Lapridge Publications, 1996
  • Michael Eveleigh, Hitting the Right Note - A Review of Music at Monmouth School 1946 - 1986, Dovecote Press,1992
  • John Newman, The Buildings of Wales: Gwent/Monmouthshire, Penguin Books, 2000, pages 402-3
  • Gwent Record Office, Monmouth School Board Records, Reference code(s): GB 0218 CE.SB.28
  • Ward, H.A. (1964). Monmouth School: 1614-1964. The Haberdashers' Company. 

External links[edit]