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Monkton Combe School

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Monkton Combe School
Arms of Monkton Combe School
The Chapel, Monkton Combe School
, ,

Coordinates51°21′25″N 2°19′37″W / 51.3569°N 2.3270°W / 51.3569; -2.3270
TypePublic school
Private boarding school
MottoLatin: Verbum Tuum Veritas
(Thy Word is Truth)
Established1868; 156 years ago (1868)
FounderThe Revd Francis Pocock
Head MasterChristopher Wheeler (Senior School), Catherine Winchcombe (Prep School)
Age2 to 18
Enrolment711 (Senior, Prep and Pre-Prep)
Houses6 Senior, 5 Prep
Colour(s)Navy Blue & White    
Former pupilsOld Monktonians

Monkton Combe School is a public school (fee-charging boarding and day school), located in the village of Monkton Combe near Bath in Somerset, England.

It is a member of the Rugby Group of major independent boarding schools in the United Kingdom.[1]

Monkton Combe School was founded in 1868 by the Revd. Francis Pocock, a former curate to the Bishop of Sierra Leone in the 1850s.[2]

Buildings and Grounds

Several of the school's buildings are listed, including the main Senior school block known as The Old Farm,[3] and the part of the Terrace Block known as The Old Vicarage.[4]

The school has extensive grounds at both the Preparatory and Senior schools. The Senior cricket pitches (Longmead and Landham) with their thatched pavilion are described as among of the most picturesque in England,[5] regularly featuring in the Wisden Cricket Calendar’s ‘loveliest grounds’ lists.[6][7]

School Cricket Pitches at Longmead

The school maintains two boathouses, both on the River Avon. The older is situated on the edge of the Senior school grounds, sitting below the Dundas Aqueduct and is used mainly for junior rowing. In 2014 the school opened a new boathouse in the nearby village of Saltford, which benefits from a wider and straighter stretch of river, as well as more spacious land facilities.[8] Students row as part of the Monkton Combe School Boat Club, while all current and alumni rowers are members of the Monkton Bluefriars Boat Club.

Dundas Aqueduct, behind which sits the older boathouse


At the Senior school there are three boys houses: Farm, Eddystone and School; and three girls houses: Grange, Clarendon and Nutfield. Each house mixes day and boarding pupils.

Clarendon house continues the traditions of Clarendon School for Girls, a former independent girls school which merged with Monkton in 1992, at which point the school became coeducational.[9]

The Preparatory school has four day pupil houses: Howard, Easterfield, Kearns and Jameson; in addition to Hatton house, a mixed boarding house.

Achievements & Artefacts

Olympic Medalists

The school’s has produced five Olympic rowing medalists. Each represented Great Britain and three won gold medals.[10]

In addition an OM achieved an Olympic Gold Medal representing Great Britain at men's hockey, while another captained the England Netball Team which won Gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.[11]

HMS Magpie

The school has ties to the Royal Navy ship HMS Magpie, a Black Swan-class sloop which was commanded by then Lieutenant-Commander, later Admiral of the Fleet the Duke of Edinburgh. The ties were established when the ship took the Junior school’s badge, a magpie (designed by the art mistress, Miss Bulmer), as its ship’s emblem.

The ship's bell was presented to the Junior School upon its decommissioning. The link is maintained with the current HMS Magpie, a survey ship, which continues to use the magpie emblem.[12]

Marshall Sledge

OM Lieutenant Colonel Eric Marshall, who served as surgeon during the 1907 British Antarctic Nimrod Expedition donated a sledge and flag used on the expedition to the school, where it remained on display for many years. Due to its deteriorating condition the school sold it at auction in 2018,[13] replacing it with a replica sculpture, ‘Discovery & Endeavour’.[14]

Head Masters/Principals

The following have been Head Masters or Principals of Monkton Combe School:[15]

Name Years as Head Master
Revd F. Pocock 1868–1875
Revd R.G. Bryan 1875–1895
Revd W.E. Bryan 1895–1900
Revd N. Bennett 1900
Revd J.W. Kearns 1900–1926
Revd E. Hayward 1926–1946
D.R. Wigram 1946–1968
R.J. Knight 1968–1978
R.A.C. Meredith 1978–1990
M.J. Cuthbertson 1990–2005
R. Backhouse 2005–2015
C. Wheeler 2016–Present

Notable members of staff

Notable alumni (Old Monktonians)

19th Century

Early 20th Century

Late 20th Century

21st Century


  1. ^ "Monkton Combe School". Monkton Combe School website. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  2. ^ Lace, A F (1968). A Goodly Heritage. ISBN 0950368806.
  3. ^ "Monkton Combe School, the main or old block known as The Old Farm". English Heritage. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  4. ^ "Monkton Combe School, the part of the Terrace Block known as The Old – Vicarage". English Heritage. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  5. ^ "England's most picturesque cricket ground". BBC News. BBC.
  6. ^ "Monkton Cricket". Schools Cricket Online.
  7. ^ "Wisden Loveliest Grounds Competition". The Telegraph. Telegraph.
  8. ^ "New Boathouse at Saltford". Duchy of Cornwall.
  9. ^ "History of Clarendon and Monkton". Monkton Combe School.
  10. ^ "Monkton Olympians". British Rowing. British Rowing.
  11. ^ Monkton Combe School. "Sports".
  12. ^ "HMS Magpie" (PDF). Comms Museum.
  13. ^ "Nimrod Sledge Sold at Auction". The Guardian.
  14. ^ "Discovery & Endeavour". Monkton.
  15. ^ "Monkton Combe School - History".
  16. ^ p.9.
  17. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Edmund Charles Peirse". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942.
  18. ^ David Ellis (17 May 1994). "Obituary: David Adeney". The Independent Features. p. 14.
  19. ^ Secretary, Office of the Home; Sciences, National Academy of (21 November 2003). Biographical Memoirs. National Academies Press. ISBN 9780309527699.
  20. ^ Burgess, Kaya (22 December 2008). "Adrian Mitchell Shadow Poet Laureate dies aged 76". The Times. London.
  21. ^ "The Right Reverend Ian Cundy". The Daily Telegraph. London. 11 May 2009.
  22. ^ Ryan, Peter G. (1 July 2013). "Phil Hockey (1956-2013)". Ibis. 155 (3): 698–700. doi:10.1111/ibi.12058.
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Monkton Combe School
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