Sedbergh School is a co-educational boarding school in Sedbergh, Cumbria for boys and girls, between the ages of 13 and 18 inclusive. Nestled in the Howgill Fells, it is renowned for strong sporting sides, especially its Rugby Union 1st XV.
The school was founded in 1525 by Roger Lupton
, Provost of Eton College
Until 2001, when girls were admitted, the school's original single-sex status led to the school motto Dura Virum Nutrix (A Stern Nurse of Men), still in use today. Since then the number of girls attending has grown dramatically. The current headmaster, Christopher Hirst, brought in the change to co-educational schooling from single-sex. This has led to some criticism, especially from old boys, as he publicly stated that he "would resign before allowing Sedbergh to admit girls".
The school is structured into a system of eight 'houses': Hart, Evans, Winder, School, Sedgwick and Powell (boys' houses), Lupton and Robertson (girls' houses). The students eat and sleep in their boarding houses and house pride is encouraged.
The school song, Winder, is named after the hill which dominates the skyline to the North. It is rarely sung, mainly at the end of a term, but is an important tradition nonetheless.
The school is particularly proud of its cloisters, one of the few officially listed War memorials located in schools. Every known name of an old boy who died during the first and second world wars is recorded on its walls.
With the aid of the Robertson Foundation the school has been able to give many scholarships to less well-off pupils. The school maintains a strong sporting rivalry with Ampleforth College and (to a lesser extent) with Stonyhurst College.
The Wilson Run
One of the unique aspects of the school is the Wilson Run
, also known as the "Ten Mile". The race distance is just over 10 miles (10 miles 385 yards), about 7 miles of which crosses over the surrounding fells with the rest going along roads. Pupils however must now qualify to take part in the race over an 11 mile training route which covers most of the race route. The race is one of the longest, hardest and most gruelling school runs in the country and has been a tradition for well over 100 years. The run has been cancelled only three times, owing to epidemic (1936), snow (1947) and the Foot and Mouth epidemic
. The record time for the race stood unbroken at 1 hour, 10 mins and 16 seconds for almost a hundred years until it was dramatically broken by Charles "Chuck" Sykes in 1993 with a time of 1 hour, 8 minutes and 4.1 seconds. His record still stands today.
The Wilson Run holds a great mystique for Sedbergh's pupils. Pupils generally run in all types of weather, be it torrential rains and mud baths, or even bright, sunny clear days. The day of the race is a major event in the calendar and is commemorated by a large and often emotional concert on the evening of the race day. A special song, "The Long Run", is dedicated to the race and is traditionally sung only on this occasion.
Anti-Assassins Rugby Club
The Anti-Assassins Rugby Club (A-As) was founded in 1950 when Sedbergh Old Boys’, Stewart Faulds, Geoff and Arthur Kenyon were invited to pick a Northern team to play against the masters and Old Boys (The Assassins) of Sedbergh School. Now, this invitational team plays as SpoonAAs, raising funds for the Wooden Spoon charity.
The chapel organ was acquired from the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Hucknall
. It was built by Nigel Church and moved to the school by David Wells in 1994.
is the School song for Sedbergh School, named after the fell that dominates the northern skyline of the school. The hill is a gateway to the Howgill Fells
and climbing it is something that school tradition dictates every pupil must do.
The song is sung at all major school events such as the Wilson Run.
Oh Eton hath her River and Clifton hath her down,
And Winchester her cloisters and immemorial town.
But ours the mountain fastness, the deep romantic ghylls,
Where Clough and Dee and Rawthey,
Come singing from the hills!
For it isn't our ancient lineage, there are others as old as we.
And it isn't our pious founders, though we honour their memory.
'Tis the hills that are stood around us, unchanged since our days began.
It is Cautley, Calf and WINDER, that make the Sedbergh man.
Notable Old Sedberghians
- Colonel Freddie Spencer Chapman DSO , naturalist, mountaineer, explorer, war hero
- John Arden, dramatist
- Thomas Bingham, Baron Bingham of Cornhill, Senior Law Lord, former Master of the Rolls and Lord Chief Justice
- Sir Christopher Bland, Chairman of B.T. Group, businessman and former Chairman of the BBC
- John Charles Campbell, VC, a commander of the 7th Armoured Division
- Kenneth Campbell VC
- Robert Swan, OBE, Polar explorer, the first man in history to walk to both the North and South Poles
- Logie Bruce Lockhart, rugby union: Scotland, headmaster of Gresham's School
- Will Carling, OBE, rugby union: England Captain
- Will Greenwood, MBE, rugby union: England
- James Simpson-Daniel rugby union: England
- Wavell Wakefield, 1st Baron Wakefield of Kendal rugby union: England
- Ewan Dowes rugby league
- Adam Sedgwick, Founder of modern geology.
- Brendan Bracken, 1st Viscount Bracken, Politician, businessman and associate of Winston Churchill.
- John Dawson, Surgeon and mathematician.
- Sir Jock Slater, GCB, LVO, DL, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff.
- Sir Giles Shaw, Politician.
- Michael Shaw, Baron Shaw of Northstead, Politician.
- Simon Beaufoy, Screenwriter, (The Full Monty).
- Adam Rickitt, Actor, singer, model and aspiring Conservative M.P.
- David Waddington, Baron Waddington, British Home Secretary, Lord Privy Seal, Leader of the House of Lords, Governor of Bermuda.
- Edward John Eyre, Explorer and Governor of Jamaica.
- Phillip Coe
- Sir Thomas Russell Fairgrieve, politician
- James Wilby, Actor
- William George Clark, English classical and Shakespearean scholar.
- Stephen O'Brien, Conservative Party Member of Parliament.
- John Hammersley, British mathematician.
- Christian Bjelland, Norweigan businessman and chairman of the National Gallery of Norway
- Edward Max Nicholson, Founder of the World Wildlife Fund.
- Tom Wright (theologian), Bishop of Durham and a leading British New Testament scholar.
- Frank Duxbury, Founder of Sedbergh School, Québec, Canada
- Brian McConnell, Baron McConnell, Northern Ireland politician and member of the House of Lords.
- Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, Baron Bruce-Lockhart,OBE, Chairman of The Local Government Association
- Freddie Tait, golfer
- Sir Robert Rhodes James, politician and author
- F. A. Ridley, historian and Marxist
- Mandy Mitchell-Innes, England cricketer
- Robert James Thomas Digby-Jones, awarded the Victoria Cross
- George Ward Gunn, awarded the Victoria Cross
- Henry Lowther Clarke, first Archbishop of Melbourne
- H. Montgomery Hyde, author and politician
- Colin Blakely, British character actor
- Henry Colin Gray Matthew, historian and the first editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- John Cranke, mathematician and mentor
- JB Blanc, Hollywood film actor
- George Birkbeck, doctor, academic, philanthropist and early pioneer in adult education.
- William John Woodhouse, classical scholar and author
- Hugh l'Anson Fausset, literary critic, biographer, poet and religious writer.
- Robert Willan, the father of modern dermatology
- John Haygarth, physician who discovered the benefits of segregating/quarantining sick patients.
- Mark Umbers, Actor - theatre and film
- Anthony Askew, Physician and book collector
- Francis Llewellyn Griffith, Eminent British Egyptologist
- Adam Applegarth, Ex-CEO of Northern Rock bank
- John Bruce-Lockhart, Scottish cricketer and acclaimed schoolmaster
- Major General Henry Templer Alexander, DSO, CBE, Army Commander
- Venerable John Duckett, Catholic priest and martyr
- Archibald Strong, Australian scholar and poet
- John Spencer, England rugby captain
- Wilfred Eade Agar, Anglo-Australian zoologist
- Maj. Gen. Michael J. H. Walsh, CB DSO, British Army and Chief Scout
- Edmund Sharpe, Architect and engineer
- Dr. Digby McLaren, Geologist and palaeontologist
- Roger Vignoles, International piano accompanist
A former teacher at the school was Henry Watson Fowler, the writer of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage