Blundell's School

Blundell's School
Motto Pro Patria Populoque
(For the country and the people)
Established 1604
Type Independent day and boarding school
Head Nicola Huggett
Chairman of the Governors C. M. Clapp
Founder Peter Blundell
Location Blundells Road
EX16 4DN
Coordinates: 50°54′23″N 3°27′58″W / 50.906499°N 3.466174°W / 50.906499; -3.466174
DfE URN 113575 Tables
Staff 66
Students 550 (senior school approx.)
/300 (preparatory school approx.)
Gender Co-educational
Ages 2½–18

Francis (Boys)          
Gorton (Girls)          
North Close (Girls)          
Old house (Boys)          
Petergate (Boys)          
School (Years 7 and 8)

Westlake (U6th)          
Colours red & white          
Former pupils Old Blundellians

Blundell's School is a co-educational day and boarding independent school located in the town of Tiverton in the county of Devon, England. The school was founded in 1604 by the will of Peter Blundell, one of the richest men in England at the time, and relocated to its present location on the outskirts of the town in May 1882. Until the 19th century it was known as Tiverton Grammar School.

Whilst the annual full boarding fees are £31,755 per year, the school offers a range of scholarships and bursaries, and provides flexi-boarding. The school has 350 boys and 225 girls, including 107 boys and 65 girls in the Sixth Form, and is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

The Good Schools Guide calls Blundell's a "distinguished rural school of ancient lineage."[1]


Old Blundell's

Peter Blundell, one of the wealthiest merchants of Elizabethan England, died in 1601 having made his fortune principally in the cloth industry. His will set aside considerable money and land to establish a school in his home town "to maintain sound learning and true religion". Blundell asked his friend John Popham, Lord Chief Justice of England, to carry out his wishes, and appointed a number of local merchants and gentry as his first trustees (known as feoffees). The position of feoffee is no longer hereditary, but a number of notable local families have held the position for a considerable period: the first ancestor of the current Chairman of the Governors to hold that position was elected more than 250 years ago, and the Heathcoat-Amory family have a long tradition of service on the Governing Body, since Sir John Heathcoat-Amory was appointed in 1865.

The Old Blundell's School was built to be much larger and grander than any other in the West Country, with room for 150 scholars and accommodation for a master and an usher.[2] The Grade 1 listed building is now in the care of the National Trust and the forecourt is usually open to visitors. One ex-Blundell's boy was the writer R. D. Blackmore —in Lorna Doone he used the Blundell's triangular lawn as the stage for a fight between John Ridd and Robin Snell.[3]

Peter Blundell's executors established links with Balliol College, Oxford, and with Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and large sums were settled to provide for scholarships for pupils of the school to attend those colleges.[4] The first Sidney Sussex scholar was nominated in 1610 and the first Blundell's Balliol scholar in 1615. The links with these colleges still continue today, although without the closed scholarships.

In 1645 Thomas Fairfax used the School for his headquarters during the siege of Tiverton Castle.

Recent history

Blundell's school clocktower and chapel

In 1882 the school moved to the present Horsdon site, one mile from the original location. The new buildings were designed by Hayward & Son of Exeter, and built in red Halberton stone, the foundation stone was laid by the William Courtenay, 11th Earl of Devon, chairman of the governors, in June 1880.[5]

Reginald Blomfield, the architect and garden designer, was responsible for the 1901 additions to the school.

The School's War Memorial was carved by the school's sculpture teacher, Estcourt James Clack and is a replica of the Celtic Cross in Eyam churchyard, but with the missing part intact.

The clocktower contains a statue by Alain John, a pupil of the School and aspiring sculptor, who joined the RAF as a navigator and was killed during the Second World War. The statue was subsequently re-cast at the commission of Neville Gorton, then Bishop of Coventry, and stands in the ruins of the old Coventry Cathedral as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the war.

In recent years Blundell's has undergone some reorganisation and development.[6][7]

In 1989 Ondaatje Hall was opened, following a donation by OB Christopher Ondaatje for its construction. Among its many facilities is a 150-seat professional theatre, which as well as putting on in-house productions is also used for public performances.

Girls were admitted at 13 in 1993 making the school fully co-ed, and to make room for them the boys' boarding house North Close (NC) was converted into a girls' house.

In 1997 School House (SH) became a junior house for pupils aged 11–13.

The prep school St Aubyn’s was moved to the Blundell's campus in 2000,[8] taking over the dayboy house Milestones (M) and the Sanatorium, and was renamed Blundell’s Prep School, it currently has about 300 pupils from two and a half years to eleven. The current Headmaster is Andy Southgate.

A change to the way the U6 boarders are housed took place when the old Westlake (W) was sold off and the new Westlake was built on the site of the CCF parade ground. Opened in 2004, the new Westlake houses all boys and girls who are in their final year.

The two latest developments to have been completed were the extension to the Music school, and the building of the Popham Academic Centre, which houses the new Economics and Business School department, the new server for the school intranet and a dedicated IT teaching area.



Rugby is the main sport played at Blundell's in the Autumn and Spring terms. The earliest mention of ‘football’ in the Blundellian was in 1861 and the first recorded ‘rugger’ match played by boys at Blundell’s was in 1868 against Tiverton Rugby Club, making the school one of the oldest anywhere to formally play the game. The Blundell’s crest still proudly hangs in the main room at Twickenham in recognition of this.[9]

The first OB to gain International Honours was R.S. Kindersley for England in 1884 and on 1 January 1908 Thomas Kelly captained England to a 19-0 victory over France.

The strongest years for Blundell’s were the two decades post WW2, when Clem Thomas gained 26 caps for Wales 1949-59 (Captain 1958-9), Richard Sharp won 14 caps for England 1960-67 (Captain 1963 & 1967) and David Shepherd won 5 caps for Australia 1964- 66. Both Thomas and Sharp played in two tests for Britain in South Africa.

Also of note was Charles Kent who played for Rosslyn Park and England, having previously won four Blues playing for Oxford including one as captain in 1974.

Blundell's won the Rosslyn Park National Sevens title in 1981 and won the second ever Open Final 28-0 against Dulwich College, in 1940. The Blundell’s XVs continue to compete at the highest level amongst the public schools of the South West, with Bryanston, Millfield, Cheltenham College and Clifton College among their regular opponents.

OBs Dave Lewis and Matt Kvesic, both Gloucester Rugby, and Will Carrick-Smith Exeter Chiefs, are all currently playing in the Aviva Premiership.[10]

Currently Jack Maunder (pupil) is playing for England U16 Rugby

The Russell

One annual tradition is the school's cross country run known as the Russell, named after OB Jack Russell. It was first run in 1887,[11] and 2009 saw the 129th run.[12] The Russell has changed over the years with different courses introduced to accommodate the different ages and sexes of pupils at the school. The current senior course is 4.85 miles.

Cricket at the 1900 Olympics

Four Old Blundellians played in the gold medal winning Great Britain cricket team at the 1900 Summer Olympics, the only time cricket has featured in the Olympics. Great Britain was represented by an unofficial touring club team, the Devon & Somerset Wanderers Cricket Club (formed by William Donne in 1894 and made up from Old Blundellians and members of Castle Cary Cricket Club).

Southern Railway Schools Class

932 Blundell's Schools Class 4-4-0 at Eastleigh in 1948.

The School lent its name to the thirty third steam locomotive (Engine 932) in the Southern Railway's Class V of which there were 40. This Class was also known as the Schools Class because all 40 of the class were named after prominent English public schools. Blundell's, as it was called, was built in 1934. The locomotive bearing the School's name was withdrawn from service in January 1961. In 2009 Hornby produced a model of this particular Schools class locomotive. As the product photograph shows, while the name of this locomotive has been variously quoted as Blundells or Blundell's the apostrophe does actually appear on the nameplate.[13]

Old Blundellians

The first known society of former pupils, known as Old Blundellians (OBs), was established as early as 1725.[14]

William Hogarth engraved the Letterhead for the invitation to a dinner for former pupils of the School in 1725 and the Ticket for Tiverton School Feast in 1740, (image of print courtesy of[15]

Notable former pupils include the following and those on the separate page at Old Blundellians.

A to D

E to K

L to R

S to Z


  • 2013–present: Nicola Huggett
  • 2012–2013: Randall Thane
  • 2004–2012: Ian Davenport
  • 1992–2004: Jonathan Leigh
  • 1980–1992: A.J.D. Rees
  • 1971–1980: A. Clive S. Gimson
  • 1959–1971: J.M. Stanton
  • 1947–1959: J.S. Carter
  • 1943–1947: R.L. Roberts
  • 1934–1942: Neville Gorton
  • 1930–1933: Alexander Wallace
  • 1917–1930: Arthur Edwin Wynne
  • 1874–1917: A.L. Francis
  • 1847–1874: John Hughes
  • 1834–1847: Henry Sanders
  • 1823–1834: Alldersey Dicken
  • 1797–1823: William Richards
  • 1775–1797: Richard Keats, rector of Bideford and King's Nympton, father of Richard Goodwin Keats (1757–1834)[18] and of Martha Keats (1753–1833), mother of Lewis William Buck (1784-1858), MP.[19]
  • 1757–1775: Philip Atherton
  • 1740–1757: William Daddo
  • 1734–1740: Samuel Wesley
  • 1733–1734: John Jones
  • 1730–1733: Samual Smith
  • 1698–1730: William Rayner
  • 1684–1698: John Sanders
  • 1669–1684: George Hume
  • 1651–1669: Henry Batten
  • 1648–1651: Henry Osborne
  • 1604–1647: Samuel Butler

Notable former masters

Former masters of Blundell’s have included:


  1. "Blundell's School | Tiverton | LEA:Devon | Devon". The Good Schools Guide. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  2. GENUKI/Devon: Tiverton 1850
  3. Lorna Doone, A Romance of Exmoor - CHAPTER II
  4. Balliol Archives - Blundell's School
  5. Mike Sampson (2004) A history of Tiverton. ISSN 0305-8549
  6. Prospectus History 2004 011106:Prospectus History 2004 100304
  7. Blundell's Foundation Archived 27 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. Eteach - Education Recruitment Vacancies, Supply Teaching Jobs
  9. - Rugby
  10. "OB Club - Sport". 2011-11-26. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  11. - Headmasters
  12. OB Club - Sport Archived 25 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. Archived 19 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. Report & Transactions, Volume 23, Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art, 1891
  15. "Search object details". British Museum. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  16. Frederic Boase, Modern English Biography, vol. 4 (Netherton and Worth, 1906), p. 2,007
  17. "Captain John Marrack - Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. 3 January 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2012. John Alexander Marrack was born on February 10, 1921 in Barnet and educated at Downsend School, Leatherhead, and Blundell's. He joined the Navy as a special entry in September 1938.
  18. Gentleman's Magazine, 1834, p.653, obituary of Admiral Keats
  19. Vivian, J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, Stucley & Buck pedigree, pp.723

External links

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