Wellington College, Berkshire

Coordinates: 51°21′51″N 0°48′24″W / 51.3643°N 0.8067°W / 51.3643; -0.8067
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Wellington College
Wellington College crest.png
Dukes Ride

, ,
RG45 7PU

Coordinates51°21′51″N 0°48′24″W / 51.3643°N 0.8067°W / 51.3643; -0.8067
TypePublic school
Private boarding and day school
MottoVirtutis Fortuna Comes
('Fortune favours the bold')
Heroum Filii
('The children of heroes')
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
FounderQueen Victoria
Department for Education URN110125 Tables
Chairman of the
board of governors
Peter G. C. Mallinson
MasterJames Dahl
Second MasterCressida Henderson
Staff150 (approx.)
Age13 to 18
Enrolment1200 pupils (approx.)
Houses17 (15 boarding, 2 day)
Colour(s)  Gold
  Light blue
PublicationThe Wellingtonian
Former pupilsOld Wellingtonians
(most commonly) OWs
Campus400-acre (1.6 km2) rural campus
AffiliationsG30 Schools
The Rugby Group
View of some of the College buildings from the South Front.

Wellington College is a public school (English fee-charging boarding and day school) in the village of Crowthorne, Berkshire, England. Wellington is a registered charity[1] and currently educates roughly 1,200 pupils, between the ages of 13 and 18.[2] The college was built as a national monument to the first Duke of Wellington (1769–1852), in whose honour it is named.[3] Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1856 and inaugurated the School's public opening on 29 January 1859.

Many former Wellington pupils fought in the trenches during the First World War, a conflict in which 707 of them lost their lives, many volunteering for military service immediately after leaving school.[4] A further 501 former pupils were killed in action in the Second World War.[citation needed]

The school is a member of the Rugby Group of 18 British public schools and is also a member of the G20 Schools group. For the academic year 2022/23, Wellington charged boarders up to £15,030 per term, or £45,090 per annum.[5]


Wellington College was granted a royal charter in 1853 as The Royal and Religious Foundation of the Wellington College, and was opened in 1859. Its first Master, which is the title of the headmaster, was Edward White Benson, who later became Archbishop of Canterbury. The college's Visitor was H.M. the Queen.[6]

Originally, the school educated sons of deceased officers who had held commissions in the Army. In 1952 a Supplementary Royal Charter extended the privilege of eligibility to the orphan sons of deceased officers of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force. By the 1960s, the school was considering becoming co-educational, but for some years the lack of financial resources prevented it from doing so. The first girls were admitted into the Sixth Form in the 1970s, and the school became fully co-educational in 2005. A recent change to the scheme of reduced fees early in 2006 extended the privilege to the orphan children of deceased servicemen or servicewomen of His Majesty's Armed Forces irrespective of rank, and to the orphan children of persons who, in the sole opinion of the Governors, have died in acts of selfless bravery. However, only a minority of the children at the school now come from military families.

On 6 September 2013, readers of The Week magazine voted Wellington College "The Most Forward-Thinking School in the UK", and four days later Tatler magazine chose Wellington College as the "Best Senior School in Britain", at its Schools Awards evening in London.[7]

The Wellington Academy[edit]

Wellington has sponsored the founding of a new independent state school in Wiltshire, The Wellington Academy,[8] which opened in 2009.

Wellington College International[edit]

Wellington is in partnership with Wellington College International Tianjin, in the city of Tianjin in mainland China, modelled on the buildings and ethos of the college, and which opened in August 2011. Wellington is also partnered with Wellington College International Shanghai and Huili School Shanghai in the city of Shanghai, and Wellington College International Hangzhou and Huili School Hangzhou in the city of Hangzhou (also in mainland China), and Wellington College International Bangkok in Thailand.[citation needed]


The college buildings were designed by John Shaw, Jr., who had previously worked as an architect for Eton College. For its time, the design of the College was unusual compared to the popular form, but Prince Albert, who assisted in choosing the architect, was more interested in Shaw's classical approach, having already seen the architect's design for the old Royal Naval School in New Cross, London.[9] The main buildings were designed in a style loosely termed "French Grand Rococo",.[10] The chapel, notably only half its originally intended size, was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott.[11] There have been several modern buildings, the best of which follow Shaw's grand rococo style: for example, the new Nicholson modern foreign-languages building.

The college was used as a filming location for the Netflix series The Crown as a stand-in for Kensington Palace (designed by Sir Christopher Wren) in seasons 2, 3, 4 and 5 first as the home of Princess Margaret and then of Diana, Princess of Wales. One of the college's original mottos Heroum Filii is visible in a scene of the Queen arriving at the palace and the college's official motto, Virtutis Fortuna Comes, is visible in a scene of the Queen leaving the palace.


Wellington College stands on a 400-acre (160 ha) estate in South-East England, near Reading and Sandhurst. The grounds of the college include a 9-hole golf course, extensive woodland, and many playing fields, particularly those for cricket and rugby. The woodland area of the college is listed as a local nature reserve called Edgbarrow Woods.[12] The grounds also contain a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Wellington College Bog.[13]

Academic results[edit]

In 2022, 84.2% of pupils scored A*-A or 7/6 for their A-Level or IB examinations, with 97.6% scoring A*-B or 7-5 grades. In the same year, 75% of pupils scored 9 or 8 grades in their GCSEs. The school had an average IB score of 41.3 in 2022, the highest recorded in the College's history.[citation needed]

Masters of Wellington College[edit]

The first Master, E. W. Benson,
by Hubert von Herkomer.

Former pupils[edit]


Wellington College was one of the 21 founding members of the Rugby Football Union, and pupils at the school have historically played schoolboy rugby to the highest standard. In 2008, the College became the first school to win the Daily Mail Cup at both U15 and U18 level in the same year, beating Millfield School and St Benedict's School, Ealing in their respective finals at Twickenham on 2 April 2008.[29]

A number of Old Wellingtonians play professional rugby union, including: James Haskell (England), Paul Doran-Jones (England), Max Lahiff (Bath Rugby), Max Evans and Thom Evans (Scotland), Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins), Rory Brand (London Irish), Max Lahiff (Bristol Bears), and Madison Hughes (USA 7s).[citation needed]

The school has one of only around 20 racquets courts in the UK,[30] one of 27 real tennis courts in the UK and until recently[when?] three Eton Fives courts, now a café bar as part of the sports club.[31]


The school has been the subject of reports on bullying.[32] In response to criticism, in 2006, it introduced 'well-being lessons' to the curriculum, in conjunction with a team at Cambridge University.

In 2005 the school was one of fifty of the country's leading independent schools found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, exposed by The Times newspaper, which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents.[33] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000 and all agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling three million pounds into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared.[34]

Mrs Jean Scott, the head of the Independent Schools Council, said that independent schools had always been exempt from anti-cartel rules applied to business, were following a long-established procedure in sharing the information with each other, and were unaware of the change in the law (on which they had not been consulted). She wrote to John Vickers, the OFT director-general, saying, "They are not a group of businessmen meeting behind closed doors to fix the price of their products to the disadvantage of the consumer. They are schools that have quite openly continued to follow a long-established practice because they were unaware that the law had changed."[35]


There are 17 houses at Wellington. The majority are composed of boarders with a small number of day pupils also, although two, Wellesley and Raglan, are day-pupil exclusive.[36] Each house is either an 'in-house' or an 'out-house': in-houses are located within the main school buildings and quads while out-houses are located elsewhere on the college grounds. Each house has aspects distinguishing it from other houses, such as its own colours, insignia, and crest (with the crest of each house being incorporated into one of each of the stained glass windows of the college chapel). Each house was named in honour of a significant figure in history, usually although not exclusively figures associated with the Duke of Wellington.

House Colours Insignia Gender Boarding or Day Housemaster or Housemistress Named for
Anglesey Maroon and Blue A Star F Boarding E-J Haining Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey
Apsley Blue and Black A Pineapple F Boarding A. C. Christodoulou Henry Bathurst, Lord Apsley, later the 2nd Earl Bathurst
Benson Blue and Silver A Rose M Boarding S. Allcock Edward White Benson
Beresford Medium Blue and Black A Horseshoe M Boarding G. M. Bilclough William Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford
Blücher Black and White A Fleur-de-lis M Boarding S. A. S. Owen Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Prince of Wahlstatt
Combermere Gold and Brown A Lion F Boarding S. M. L. Mackenzie Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere
Hardinge Green and Brown An Anchor F Boarding (Sixth Form only) S. N. Y. Jobson Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge
Hill Purple and White A Skull and Crossbones M Boarding P. R. Mann Rowland Hill, 1st Viscount Hill
Hopetoun Yellow and Blue A Moon and Star F Boarding P. P. & S. C. D. Gutteridge John Hope, 4th Earl of Hopetoun
Lynedoch Navy Blue and Black An Iron Cross M Boarding M. J. Cawdron Thomas Graham, 1st Baron Lynedoch
Murray Purple and Black A Moon M Boarding O. J. Peat Sir George Murray
Orange Orange and Black A Double-headed Eagle F Boarding N. C. & E. M. Hughan William, Prince of Orange, later William II of the Netherlands
Picton Pink and Brown An Eagle M Boarding J. D. Murray Sir Thomas Picton
Raglan Red and Grey A Panther M Day G. D. Carr FitzRoy Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan
Stanley Maroon and Light Blue A Unicorn M Boarding C. M. Sutton Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby
Talbot Maroon and White An Iron Cross M & F Boarding A. E. Brown Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 2nd Earl Talbot
Wellesley Pink and White A Pelican F Day S. L. F. Candappa Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

The Orange, Combermere, Hopetoun, and Anglesey were all formerly boys' houses but converted to girls' houses between 2005 and 2011. The Talbot is currently converting from a boys' to girls' house. [37]

The Old Wellingtonian Society[edit]

The Old Wellingtonian Society is the alumni society for the college and was founded in 1890. The Old Wellingtonian Society was set up to further the interests of the college and its past and present members, and to keep former pupils in touch with each other and with the school.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Wellington College". Charity Commission. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Wellington's History". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  3. ^ Roberts, Andrew (17 February 2011). "The Duke of Wellington: Soldiering to Glory". BBC History. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Wellington College pupils lie down in tribute to WWI fallen". BBC News. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Visit by Her Majesty the Queen". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 11 June 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  7. ^ Two Awards in One Week - Wellington College. ISBI Schools. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  8. ^ The Wellington Academy.
  9. ^ Johnson, Paul. "John Shaw, Junior (1803-70): A Brief Biographical Introduction". Victorian Web. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
  10. ^ "History". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 24 August 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
  11. ^ "Chapel At Wellington College With Porch Colonnade And Gateway Adjoining West End". Historic England. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Magic Map Application". Magic.defra.gov.uk. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Wellington College Bog SSSI". Natural england. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  14. ^ Gallagher, Brendan (11 February 2009). "Thom and Max Evans named in Scotland's Six Nations team to face France". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  15. ^ Reed, Paul (28 February 2017). Walking Ypres. Pen and Sword. ISBN 978-1-5267-0942-4.
  16. ^ "Wellingtonian Christmas Edition 2014 (copy 1)". Issuu. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Speech Day Programme 2015". Issuu. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Wellington Today Michaelmas 2019". Issuu. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  19. ^ Kitchen, The Web (5 June 2019). "Dragons' Den". Wellington College. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  20. ^ "Wellington College Community Report". Issuu. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Wellington College Community Report". Issuu. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Speech Day Programme 2015". Issuu. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  23. ^ Pharand, Michel; Hawman, Ellen L.; Millar, Mary S.; Otter, Sandra den; Wiebe, M. G. (1 January 1982). Benjamin Disraeli Letters: 1868, Vol. X. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4426-4859-3.
  24. ^ Reed, Paul (28 February 2017). Walking Ypres. Pen and Sword. ISBN 978-1-5267-0942-4.
  25. ^ Walford, Edward (1 January 1860). The county families of the United Kingdom; or, Royal manual of the titled and untitled aristocracy of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Dalcassian Publishing Company.
  26. ^ "In pictures: famous British public schools with branches abroad". The Telegraph. 22 February 2016. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  27. ^ "Prince William's godson Prince Constantine-Alexios of Greece starts university". HELLO!. 25 August 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  28. ^ Pek, Chloe (15 July 2019). "21 European Royals You Should Follow On Instagram". Tatler Thailand. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  29. ^ Baines, Huw. "Wellington College record historic double". Scrum.com. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
  30. ^ "Racket Courts". Tennis & Rackets Association. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
  31. ^ "Fives Courts". Wellington College Sports Club. Archived from the original on 12 May 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  32. ^ "School takes bullying 'seriously'". BBC News. 11 April 2005. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
  33. ^ Halpin, Tony (10 November 2005). "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees". The Times. London. (subscription required)
  34. ^ "OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement" (Press release). Office of Fair Trading. 21 December 2006. Archived from the original on 10 June 2008.
  35. ^ "Private schools send papers to fee-fixing inquiry". The Daily Telegraph. London. 1 March 2004. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  36. ^ "Houses". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
  37. ^ "Ten Year Development Plan". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
  38. ^ "The Old Wellingtonian Society". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 24 August 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2008.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]