St Gabriel's School

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St Gabriel's School
Sandleford Priory (west front), Sandleford, Greenham, Newbury, Berkshire, England.jpg
Sandleford Priory (west front), 2014.
Established 1947
Type Independent day school
Religion Church of England
Principal Richard Smith[1]
Chair of Governors Nigel Garland
Location Sandleford Priory
RG20 9BD
Coordinates: 51°22′39″N 1°19′00″W / 51.3776°N 1.3166°W / 51.3776; -1.3166
Local authority West Berkshire
DfE number 869/6004
DfE URN 110128 Tables
Students 500+
Gender Mixed[2]
Ages 3–18
Colours Yellow and blue
GCSE results 482.5 points/student[3]

St Gabriel's School is an independent day school located in Sandleford Priory at Sandleford, two miles (3 km) south of Newbury, in the English county of Berkshire. Boys attend the nursery and junior school, up to age 11 (Year 6).



The Priory of St John the Baptist at Sandleford was founded for the Augustinian Canons Regular by Geoffrey, Earl of Perch and his wife Maud some time between 1193 and 1202.[citation needed]

In 1274, Maud de Clare, Countess of Gloucester and Hertford made arrangements to refound it as a double house for Fontevrault Benedictine nuns and brothers, but this did not come about. It was dissolved in 1478 and abandoned by the remaining monks after years of mismanagement by a prior. The ownership fell into the hands of the Bishop of Salisbury, and circa 1480 passed to the Dean and Chapter of Windsor. The old priory chapel is the present library. The remains were converted to a country house which was leased out to a number of wealthy citizens during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, these included:

  • the Pitt family of Strathfield-Saye;[4]
  • John and Henry Kingsmill, from c. 1685 and 1706 and 1710, until circa 1715-1717. John Kingsmill, JP (Newbury, 1685) was a younger son of Sir Henry Kingsmill (1587-1625), and husband to Rachael daughter of JP and sometime MP Edward Pitt (c.1592-1643), of Steepleton Iwerne, Dorset and later of Stratfield Saye (which he bought for £4,800 in 1629),[5] by Rachael (d. 1643) daughter of Sir George Morton, Bart., son of Sir William Pitt, kt. 1618, Comptroller of the Household. Their sons Robert and Henry Kingsmill died without issue in 1697 and 1710. George Pitt the brother of Rachel Pitt, Mrs John Kingsmill, married Jane, the daughter of John Savage, 2nd Earl Rivers;[6][4][7] Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea, daughter of Sir William Kingsmill of Sydmonton Court, was a niece and first cousin.[8]
  • William Cradock (died 1736), of Gainford Hall, Gainsford, Durham. He married in 1715 Mary daughter of Gilbert Sheldon of St. Andrew's, Holborn, and bought the lease in 1717, disposing of it in 1729;[4]
  • Edward Montagu, grandson of Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich, leaseholder from 1730, married Elizabeth Robinson in 1742. Sandleford had been in possession of the first cousin (Rachael Pitt, Mrs. John Kingsmill) of his first cousin (Sir Edward Wortley-Montagu (1678 –1761), the father of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu);[4]
  • Matthew Montagu (1762-1831), MP, 4th Baron Rokeby;[4]
  • Edward Montagu, the 5th Baron Rokeby, who parted with the lease in 1835, to William Chatteris, and died in 1847;[9]
  • William Pollet Brown Chatteris (1810-1889), JP, DL (1852, Berks), educated at Brasenose college, Oxford, and son of a London banker, who eventually bought the freehold, enfranchised the estate, in 1875 from the Dean and Canons of Windsor. His first wife (married 1833) was Anne eldest daughter of Alexander Arbuthnot, Bishop of Killaloe;[4]
  • Chatteris' nephew Alpin Macgregor (died 1899) son of Sir John Atholl Macgregor, bart., nephew of Chatteris' second wife, daughter of Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy;[4]
  • Macgregor's niece Miss Agatha Thynne (died 1962), (descended from Thomas Thynne, 2nd Marquess of Bath), wife of the 3rd Baron Hindlip. Her mother (died 1934) and father John Charles Thynne (1838-1918), sometime receiver general to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, were living at Sandleford Cottage in 1907. Her sister Joan E. M. (1872-1945) was the mother of John Campbell, 5th Earl Cawdor.[10][11]
  • Mrs. Myers, aka Evelyn Elizabeth Myers, who wrote A History of Sandleford Priory, with plates, Newbury District Field Club, Special Publication. no. 1, published between 1900-1931, was tenant from before 1898 to at least 1911.[12]
  • Major Aubrey Isaac Rothwell Butler, (1878-27.9.1930), son of Isaac Butler (1839-1917), JP (Sheriff of Monmouth 1910), of Panteg House,[13] Griffithstown, Torfaen, near Newport. It is claimed that the first sheet steel in Britain was rolled in Staffordshire in 1876 from a bloom made in Panteg by Isaac Butler. Aubrey Butler was sometime manager of Baldwin's Ltd branches in Monmouth & Midlands, Baldwins having taken over the family firm, Wright, Butler and Co Ltd, in 1902.[14] Later he was Sheriff of Monmouthshire, 1924, and by the time of his early death was described as formerly of Sandleford Priory and of 13, Porchester Terrace, London.[15]

Country house[edit]

Edward Haytley's portrait, The Montagu Family at Sandleford Priory, circa 1744.

The present Sandleford Priory is a Grade I listed building in 54 acres (22 ha) of parkland landscaped by Capability Brown. It was erected around the old priory buildings between 1780 and 1786 by James Wyatt, for Elizabeth Montagu, the social reformer, patron of the arts, salonist, literary critic and writer who helped organise and lead the Blue Stockings Society. It was later inherited by her nephew, Matthew Montagu, 4th Baron Rokeby. Her friend Hannah More was there often and described it in 1784.[16]


The house became a school in 1947. There is now a school community of over 460 pupils, 60 teaching staff and 20 support staff. It is associated with traditional Church of England values.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ GCSE results
  4. ^ a b c d e f g A History of the County of Berkshire, Volume four, edited by William Page and P H Ditchfield, Victoria County History, London, 1924, pages 84-87.
  5. ^ The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, edited by Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
  6. ^ Anecdotes of the life of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, vol. iii, London, 1810.
  7. ^ A treatise enumerating the most illustrious families of England, who have been raised to honour and wealth by the profession of law together with the ... court, and barons of the Exchequer, Fleet Street, London, 1686.
  8. ^ The Peerage of England, by Arthur Collins, Esq., volume 8, London, 1779.
  9. ^ Samuel Lysons, 1806
  10. ^ Kelly's Directory of Berkshire.
  11. ^ Ditchfield, P.H.; Page, William, eds. (1924). A History of the County of Berkshire: Vol. 4. Courtest of British History Online. pp. 84–87. 
  12. ^ Kelly's
  13. ^ later of Bryngomer, Pontrhydyrun
  14. ^ Malvern school list
  15. ^ London Gazette
  16. ^ Climenson, 1906

External links[edit]