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Independent school, day & boarding
|Motto||Latin: Persto et Praesto|
(I stand firm and I stand first)
|Religious affiliation(s)||Church of England|
|Established||11 May 1923|
|Department for Education URN||110548 Tables|
|Chairman of governors||Simon Creedy-Smith|
|Age||13 to 18|
|Former pupils||Old Stoics|
Stowe School is a public school (English independent day and boarding school for pupils aged 13–18). It opened on 11 May 1923, initially with 99 schoolboys, and with J. F. Roxburgh as the first headmaster. The school is a member of the Rugby Group, the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, and the G30 Schools' Group. Originally for boys only, the school is now coeducational, with some ≈550 boys and ≈300 girls, with 837 students enrolled in the school as of September 2021.
It is considered one of the most prestigious schools in the world with its own golf course, 1000 acres of land, top-end Science and Music facilities with a stunning stately palace. The school has 15 houses: Bruce, Chandos, Chatham, Cheshire, Cobham, Grafton, Grenville, Temple, Walpole, Lyttelton, Nugent, Queens, Stanhope, West and Winton. Cheshire and Winton are newly opened 'day houses' primarily just for day-pupils though day-pupils do not need to be in these new houses.
The school has been based since its beginnings at Stowe House, formerly the country seat of the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos. Along with many of the other buildings on the school's estate, the main house is now a Grade I Listed Building and is maintained by the Stowe House Preservation Trust.
Stowe School opened with its first 99 pupils, mainly aged 13, on 11 May 1923. There were two boarding Houses, Bruce and Temple, then both in the western part of the mansion. The following term Grenville and Chandos Houses were formed in the eastern wing, with Cobham and Grafton following soon afterwards as further parts of the house were converted into accommodation and classrooms. Chatham was the first purpose-built house, designed by the school's first architect, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. He had been instrumental in developing a vision for saving Stowe as a new centre of learning to match its crucial role in national culture and politics of the 18th Century. He had personally bought Stowe Avenue in 1922 before old Etonians presented it as birthday gift to the new school in 1924.
Helped by Harry Shaw, who had bought the estate the previous year, the new school succeeded in saving Stowe House and landscape gardens from demolition at their sale in October 1922. The school boasted a double foundation. Edward Montauban chaired the preparatory school committee seeking to found a new leading public school after the First World War and was the first to envisage the new school at Stowe. The finance came later through the Rev. Percy Warrington and the Martyrs Memorial Trust, giving rise to the group of Allied Schools. The Martyrs Memorial Trust appointed the first Governing Body, whose Chairman from August 1922 was Lord Gisborough.
J. F. Roxburgh was Stowe's founding Headmaster. His aim was to produce a modern public school concentrating on the individual, without the unpleasantness of fagging or arcane names then common in other schools. Instead, he sought to instil a new ethos enthused with the beauty of Stowe's unique environment where the best of traditional education would be tempered by liberal learning and every pupil would "know beauty when he sees it all his life". Pupils and staff would relate in a civilized and open way, showing confidence and respect based on Christian values. Such was Roxburgh's success in developing this vision that he was recognized as a formative figure in 20th-century English education, "greater than Arnold" in Gavin Maxwell's words, who was a pupil at the school.
Stowe's early success led to its rapid expansion. Walpole House was added in 1934 and the school reached 500 pupils by 1935. The art school, sports pavilion, and staff housing date from this period too, when the Legal & General Company provided financial support during the recession. Stowe made rapid progress academically too; in 1939 Charles Graves commented in the Daily Mail that "nearly 60% of the boys go to Oxford or Cambridge, which is said to be a higher percentage than that of any other public school". Teachers included T. H. White, author of The Once and Future King, and the Marxist historian George Rudé. Among sporting feats Old Stoic Bernard Gadney captained England's rugby team to take the triple crown in 1936, while in the early 1930s Laddie Lucas and John Langley were both national boy golf champions while still in Grenville House, helped by the golf course originally laid out in 1924. Sir Robert Lorimer's magnificent Chapel was opened in 1929 by Prince George, while in 1933, on the school's 10th anniversary, the Prince of Wales launched the repair of the garden buildings with the restoration of the Queen's Temple as a Music School.
The Second World War saw 270 Old Stoics killed in active service. There were also 242 decorations. These included the Victoria Cross for two former contemporaries in Chatham House, Major Jack Anderson and Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire, the later founder of the Cheshire Homes.
In 2016, a Daily Telegraph investigator posing as a parent of a Russian pupil was told by the then school registrar that while pupils would always be expected to pass the entrance exam, it would help secure a place if a borderline child's parents were able to donate "about £100,000 or something like that."
There are 13 boarding houses: 8 boy houses, 4 girl houses and 1 mixed Sixth Form house. These boarding houses are mostly named after members of the family of Duke of Buckingham and Chandos. Each house has a number or letter assigned to it.
|Name||Named After||House Number/Letter|
|Bruce||Lady Mary Bruce (1710–1738), the daughter of Charles Bruce, 4th Earl of Elgin, and the wife of Henry Brydges, 2nd Duke of Chandos.||1|
|Temple||Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham; Earl Temple||2|
|Grenville||George Grenville, the husband of Hester Temple, 1st Countess Temple, mother of Richard Grenville-Temple, 2nd Earl Temple, and sister of Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham||3|
|Chandos||Duke of Buckingham and Chandos; Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos||4|
|Cobham||Viscount Cobham;Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham, had a large renovation after construction of a new building, opened in early 2019, with the old Cobham location being used as the site for Winton and Cheshire||5|
|Chatham||William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, husband of Hester Grenville, sister of Richard Grenville-Temple, 2nd Earl Temple||6|
|Grafton||There is no known family connection, the name coming from the local fox hunt, the Grafton Hunt, which takes its name in turn from the Duke of Grafton. Grafton also has a history of supplying the Stowe Beagles with talented Masters and Hunt Staff, many of whom have continued to become Masters of packs around the Country.||7|
|Walpole||This is not a family name. Named after Horace Walpole, who wrote some famous letters about his visits to Stowe in the 18th century. It was his father, Robert Walpole, who was the more notable Walpole in Britain's and Stowe's history, however. Viscount Cobham's political life started under Walpole but his subsequent opposition to him led Cobham to found a political dynasty that played a major part in politics until Victorian times (producing four Prime Ministers). To be named "Nugent" originally.||8|
|Nugent (Girls)||Lady Mary Nugent, daughter of Robert Nugent, 1st Earl Nugent, married to George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham. Nugent was originally the 'waiting house' that some new boys entered until their preferred house had a space.||N|
|Lyttelton (Girls – formerly Boys)||Baron Lyttelton,succeeded to the Viscounty of Cobham since Charles George Lyttelton, 5th Baron Lyttelton, after the death of the Richard Plantagenet Campbell Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, and into which title the Barony is now merged. Originally "Stanhope House", which became the Careers, International, and Skills Development departments of the school. Named after Lady Hester Stanhope, niece of William Pitt the Younger, who was the niece of Richard Grenville-Temple, 2nd Earl Temple||0|
|Queen's (Girls)||Opened in September 2007 and officially opened by the Queen in November 2007 and thus named after her.||A|
|Stanhope (Girls)||Opened in May 2009 and officially opened by Sir Nicholas Winton.||B|
|West (Girls - formerly mixed)||Opened in September 2014 as a Sixth Form House.||W|
|Winton (Boys)||Opened in September 2019 as a day house for boys. Named after Sir Nicholas Winton.||9|
|Cheshire (Girls)||Opened in September 2019 as a day house for girls. Named after Leonard Cheshire.||C|
- 1923–1949: J. F. Roxburgh
- 1949–1958: Eric Reynolds
- 1958–1964: Donald Crichton-Miller
- 1964–1979: Robert Drayson
- 1979–1989: Christopher Turner
- 1989–2003: Jeremy Nichols
- 2003–present: Anthony Wallersteiner
This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. (September 2019)
- Michael Alexander (1920–2004), prisoner of war
- Major Jack Anderson (1918–1943), recipient of Victoria Cross
- Lord Annan, (1916-2000), author and Provost of King's College, Cambridge
- 3rd Earl Attlee, (born 1956), grandson of Clement Attlee
- George Barclay, (1920-1942), Battle of Britain pilot
- Alexander Bernstein, Baron Bernstein of Craigweil, (1936-2010), television executive, Labour Party member of the House of Lords
- Oliver Bertram, (1910-1975), motor racing driver
- Richard Boston, (1938-2006), English journalist and author
- John Boyd-Carpenter, Baron Boyd-Carpenter, British Conservative Party (1908-1998), politician
- Sir Richard Branson, (born 1950), businessman
- Lyndon Brook, (1926-2004), actor
- Jack Brooksbank, (born 1986), husband of Princess Eugenie
- Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, (born 1937), law lord
- Florence Brudenell-Bruce, (born 1985), actress and model
- Martin Buckmaster, 3rd Viscount Buckmaster (1921-2007)
- James Burnell-Nugent, (born 1949), Admiral
- Henry Cavill, (born 1983), actor
- Leonard Cheshire, VC (1917-1992), airman and founder of the Cheshire Foundation
- Oliver Churchill, (1914-1997), SOE officer during World War II
- Simon Clegg, (born 1959), former CEO of the British Olympic Association and former CEO of Ipswich Town Football Club
- Peter Coke, (1913-2008), playwright
- Oliver Colvile, (born 1959), Conservative Member of Parliament
- John C. Corlette, (1911-1977), architect and later teacher at Gordonstoun, founder Aiglon College, Switzerland, in 1949
- John Cornford, (1915-1936), poet
- Andrew Croft, (1906-1998), explorer and SOE agent
- Chelsy Davy, (born 1985), former girlfriend of Prince Harry
- Michael Deeley, (born 1932), Academy-Award-winning film producer
- Simon Digby, (1932-2010), oriental scholar
- Roly Drower, (1953-2008), poet, musician, satirist, broadcaster and activist
- Ben Duckett, (born 1994), English cricketer (Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire).
- John David Eaton, (1909-1973), Canadian merchant
- Hugh Dundas, 1920-1995, RAF Wing Commander
- John Dundas (RAF officer), (1915-1945), RAF Officer
- Alex Farquharson, Curator and Director of Tate Britain
- Thomas Firbank, originator of P company
- Reg Gadney, (1941-2018), thriller-writer, painter and screenplay-writer
- Howard Goodall, (born 1958), musician
- Michael Grade, Baron Grade of Yarmouth (born 1943), TV executive
- Harry Gregson-Williams, (born 1961), composer and 1st music scholar 1975
- George Haig, 2nd Earl Haig (1918-2009)
- Edward Hardwicke, (1932-2011), actor
- Peter Hayman, (1914-1992), British diplomat and paedophile
- Sir Jack Hayward, (1923-2015), entrepreneur and former owner of Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Robert Heber-Percy (1911–1987), eccentric
- Sir Nicholas Henderson, (1919-2009), British diplomat
- Nigel Henderson, (1917-1985), artist, asked to leave after burning a Union Flag
- John Henniker-Major, 8th Baron Henniker, (1916-2004), British diplomat
- Annabel Heseltine, (born 1963), journalist and broadcaster
- Roger Hodgson, (born 1950), founding member and vocalist of Supertramp
- Oscar Humphries, (born 1981), journalist
- Robert Kee, (1919-2013), broadcaster, journalist and Ireland historian
- Danny Kinahan, (born 1958), Ulster Unionist Member of UK Parliament for South Antrim
- Adam King (born 1999), cricketer
- Marc Koska, (born 1961), designer K1 auto-disable syringe and credited with saving in excess of one million lives
- Laddie Lucas, (1915-1998), airman, golfer, author and Member of UK Parliament
- Nicholas Walter Lyell, Baron Lyell of Markyate, (1938-2010), former Solicitor-General and Attorney-General
- Gavin Maxwell, (1914-1969), author and naturalist
- Alistair McAlpine, Baron McAlpine (1942-2014), businessman, politician and author
- George Melly, (1926-2007), jazz singer and art historian
- Crispian Mills, (born 1973), musician
- Christopher Robin Milne, (1920-1996), bookseller and son of A. A. Milne
- George Monbiot (born 1963), journalist and political activist
- Iain Moncreiffe (1919-1985), herald
- Chandos Morgan (1920-1993), priest
- David Niven (1910-1983), actor and author
- Toby O'Brien (1909-1979), journalist and public relations expert
- Marilyn Okoro (born 1984), athlete
- Dalton Philips (born 1968), chief executive of Morrisons
- Anthony Quinton (1925-2010), philosopher
- Rainier III, Prince of Monaco (1923-2005)
- Miranda Raison (born 1977), actress
- James Reeves (1909-1978), poet
- Graham Riddick (born 1955), Conservative Party politician
- Geoffrey Russell, 4th Baron Ampthill (1921-2011)
- John Sainsbury, Baron Sainsbury of Preston Candover (born 1927), grocer
- David Shepherd, (1931-2017), artist
- Tilly Smith (born 1994), 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake tsunami rescuer
- David Stevens, Baron Stevens of Ludgate (born 1936), UKIP peer
- Henrik Takkenberg (1967-2006), singer and songwriter
- Karan Thapar, (born 1955), journalist
- Matthew Vaughn (born 1971), director and producer
- Michael Ventris (1922-1956), linguist who deciphered Linear B
- J. O. N. Vickers (1916-2008), trade unionist
- Rollo Weeks, (born 1987), businessman and actor
- Laurence Whistler, (1912-2000), artist
- Graeme White, (born 1987), cricketer, Northamptonshire
- Sir Nicholas Winton, (1909-2015), humanitarian, nicknamed the British Schindler
- Sir Peregrine Worsthorne, (1923-2020), journalist
- David Wynne (1926-2014)
- George Zambellas, (born 1958), Royal Navy Admiral
- Theodore Acland, housemaster 1924–30, later headmaster of Norwich School
- T.H. White, English Teacher 1932–36, known for his sequence of Arthurian novels, The Once and Future King, first published together in 1958.
- Harry Gregson-Williams, Composer in Residence 2012–13, Old Stoic and Hollywood composer.
The first recorded match on the school cricket ground came in 1928 when Stowe School played St Paul's School. Buckinghamshire played their first Minor Counties Championship match there in 1947, when the opponents were Berkshire. Between 1947 and 1982 the ground held five Minor Counties Championship matches, the last of which saw Buckinghamshire draw against Bedfordshire. The ground has also hosted a single MCCA Knockout Trophy match which saw Buckinghamshire play Bedfordshire.
The ground has also held a single List A match for Northamptonshire in the 2005 totesport League, against Gloucestershire. and has held fourteen Second XI fixtures for the Northamptonshire Second XI in the Second XI Championship and Second XI Trophy.
In popular culture
In the 2014 spoof documentary series The Life of Rock with Brian Pern and Brian Pern, a Life in Rock, Brian Pern and his fellow band members in the progressive rock group Thotch are depicted as having met at Stowe School.
- List of schools in the South East of England
- List of independent schools in the United Kingdom
- List of boarding schools
- Aitchison College
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- Denis Greenhill (11 April 1992). "Obituary: Sir Peter Hayman". The Independent. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- Other matches played on Stowe School Ground Archived 4 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Cricketarchive.com.
- Minor Counties Championship Matches played on Stowe School Ground Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Cricketarchive.com.
- Minor Counties Trophy Matches played on Stowe School Ground Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Cricketarchive.com (7 August 1983).
- List-A Matches played on Stowe School Ground Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Cricketarchive.com (19 June 2005)
- Second XI Championship Matches played on Stowe School Ground Archived 4 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Cricketarchive.com.
- Second XI Trophy Matches played on Stowe School Ground Archived 4 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Cricketarchive.com.
- "Filming Locations for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)".
- "Stowe School". Archived from the original on 5 May 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
- "Stowe filming for Slaughterhouse Rulez".