The Crypt School

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The Crypt School
, ,

Coordinates51°50′22″N 2°15′07″W / 51.8394°N 2.252°W / 51.8394; -2.252Coordinates: 51°50′22″N 2°15′07″W / 51.8394°N 2.252°W / 51.8394; -2.252
School typeGrammar school;
MottoFloreat Schola Cryptiensis
Established1539; 481 years ago (1539)
FoundersJohn and Joan Cooke
Department for Education URN136578 Tables
Head teacherNicholas Dyer
GenderFully coeducational from September 2018 (mixed)
Age11 to 18
Number of students1050
HousesBrown, Whitefield, Moore, Raikes and Henley
Colour(s)Maroon, Primrose
John and Joan Cooke by an unknown artist. In the collection of Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery.
The old Crypt School, next to St. Mary de Crypt church.
Plaque at the site of the old Crypt School.

The Crypt School is a grammar school with academy status for boys and girls located in the city of Gloucester. This school has become the only coeducational selective school in Gloucester. This school has been an all boys school for almost 500 years but in 2018, it became coeducational. The sixth form has been coeducational for about 30 years and soon the crypt school will be fully coeducational. In 2018 (the first coeducational year) the school allowed about 1/3 year seven girls, and 2/3 year seven boys, allowing 150 new students into the school. The school was founded in 1539 by Joan Cooke with money inherited from her husband John.[1]



John Cooke (d. 1528) was a wealthy brewer and mercer of Gloucester, one of the City's earliest aldermen, serving as sheriff in 1494 and 1498. He held the office of mayor four times, in 1501, 1507, 1512 and 1518. He was a great benefactor of the City. His will started the process in motion for the establishment of a grammar school in Gloucester, and the scheme was finally given effect by his wife Joan who survived him by 17 years, dying in 1545. It was Joan therefore who created the tripartite deed of 1539, deemed to be the founding charter. The school remains today the most ancient in Gloucester.[1] A full account of the couple and their good works is contained within the book by Roland Austin published in 1939 "Crypt School". A contemporaneous portrait of the pair, John in his mayoral robe, shaking hands in union, is held within the collection of Gloucester City Council.[1]


In the school's 500-year history it has been sited in three different locations within the city of Gloucester. The original school was part of St Mary de Crypt Church in Southgate Street and the schoolroom can still be seen there.[2] Later, in 1889, the school moved to Greyfriars, known better as Friar's Orchard,[3] and in 1943, to its present site at Podsmead. The site on which the modern school is situated is land given to the school by Joan Cooke in 1539.


Despite attempts to change the school, notably in the 1960s with the move to comprehensive schools, the Crypt remains a selective boys grammar school. In 1987, there was the admission of girls in the sixth form entering in at the age of 16.[4] Since April 2011, the school has been an academy independent of local authority control. The school has been fully co-educational since 2018.[5]

Primary school[edit]

In May 2018, the school announced plans to create a primary school, linked to the secondary school being built on the current Podsmead site. The new primary school would, unlike main school, be unselective and would be a free school.[6]


Facilities at the school include:[7]

  • Largest non-commercial stage in Gloucestershire
  • Sixth Form Centre (also known as John and Joan Cooke Centre)
  • Sports hall[7]
  • Modern Pavilion
  • New Tennis and Netball courts as of 2019/20
  • 3 full-size rugby pitches
  • 2 football pitches
  • 2 cricket fields (1 natural green, 1 artificial green)
  • Engineering Block, also known as E block

Notable former pupils[edit]

Alumni of the school are known as Old Cryptians.[8]







School song[edit]

'Carmen Cryptiense', written in April 1926 with words by D. Gwynne Williams (Headmaster) and music by C. Lee Williams.[9]


  1. ^ a b c John and Joan Cooke. Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine Living Gloucester, 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  2. ^ "Gloucester: Education Pages 335-350 A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 4, the City of Gloucester". British History Online. Victoria County History. Archived from the original on 24 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Gloucester: Sites and remains of religious houses Pages 288-292 A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 4, the City of Gloucester". Victoria County History. Archived from the original on 6 October 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  4. ^ "The Crypt School : Gloucester". Archived from the original on 28 May 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  5. ^ "The Crypt School : Gloucester". Archived from the original on 8 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  6. ^ Lane, Ellis (21 May 2018). "Historic secondary school plans to open feeder primary". gloucestershirelive. Archived from the original on 27 May 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  7. ^ a b "The Crypt School : Gloucester". Archived from the original on 27 May 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  8. ^ "The Old Cryptians' Club – Home". Archived from the original on 25 April 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2006.
  9. ^ "School Song – Scanned Front Page «  Old Cryptians". Archived from the original on 27 May 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2018.

External links[edit]