Oswestry School

Oswestry School

Oswestry School
Motto "Non scholae, sed vitae discimus" (Latin: We Learn Not For School But For Life)
Established 1407
Type Public school
Independent Boarding & Day
Headmaster Julian Noad
Chairman of Governors Peter Wilcox-Jones
Founder David & Guinevere Holbache
Location Upper Brook Street
SY11 2TL
United Kingdom
Local authority Shropshire
DfE number 893/6011
DfE URN 123613 Tables
Staff ca.65
Students 440
Gender Coeducational
Ages 4–18
Houses Burnaby, Donne, Oswald and Spooner
Publication The Oswestrian
Patron The Earl of Powis
School song "Gaude plebs redemptionis"
Former pupils Old Oswestrians
Website .uk.org.oswestryschoolwww

Oswestry School is a co-educational independent school, located in Oswestry, Shropshire, England. Founded in 1407 by David Holbache, Member of Parliament for Shropshire and Shrewsbury, and his wife Gwenhwyfar ferch Ieuan, it is one of the county's oldest schools. It is the oldest non-denominational school in England as many other public schools of the time were established or affiliated with the Church of England.

The senior school is located on Upper Brook Street and the junior school is based at Bellan House on Church Street. Bellan House Preparatory School was a completely separate institution until its amalgamation in the 1970s.

The original school building, dating from 1407, is also on Church Street and is currently used as the town's visitor and information centre.[1]


  • History 1
  • Notable Old Oswestrians 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Established in the ancient half-timbered building close to the Parish Church of St. Oswald in 1407, the School later attracted the attention of Queen Elizabeth I and Oliver Cromwell; the former gave to the School an endowment of "forty shillings per annum" to help with its running, and the latter dismissed the headmaster at the time for being a "delinquent" (too "Royalist"). Early archive records show that a small percentage of the subsidised school-fees was set aside to pay for cock fighting, the pupil entertainment of that time.

Changes to the governance of the School in the mid-seventeenth century saw a gradual transition from the lay trustees to a group of lay and clerical governors headed by the Bishop of St Asaph, who, from that time on, would appoint the Headmaster. Henceforth, these would be ordained men, a tradition which would extend into the twentieth century.

Increasing numbers in the mid-eighteenth century meant a move for the School to its present site on land next to the battlefield where, in 642 AD neo-Gothic Victorian chapel, built in 1863, stands looking across at St. Oswald’s Maes-y-llan battlefield, now the School’s extensive playing-fields.[2]

School House of Oswestry School built in the Doric columns.

A major change took place in 1972: with the admission of girls, the School became co-educational. Shortly after this, the local pre-preparatory school, Bellan House, was taken over, thereby eventually allowing the School to offer education spanning the widest possible range – now 4 years up to 18. Previously, Oswestry School solely admitted boys.

Oswestry celebrated its 600th anniversary in 2007.[3] Like many other public schools, Oswestry School has an Old Boys society; they are referred to as Old Oswestrians.

Notable Old Oswestrians

Some notable pupils and staff of the school include:


  1. ^ "Oswestry Visitor and Exhibition Centre". Oswestry Town Council. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  2. ^ A Short Introduction to the History of Owestry School
  3. ^ "Six centuries of school history".  
  4. ^ "Alexander Fletcher Jones: 1854–1878". Historic Redland.  

External links

  • School Website
  • ISI Inspection Reports