Sedbergh School

Sedbergh School

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.

Chapel Organ

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.

School song

Winder 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.

Verse 1 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!

Refrain 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

A former teacher at the school was Henry Watson Fowler, the writer of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage

External links

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