Giggleswick School

Giggleswick School
Established 1499
Type Independent boarding school
Religion Church of England
Headmaster Mark Turnbull
Location Settle
North Yorkshire
BD24 0DE
DfE URN 121740 Tables
Students 464 pupils
Gender Coeducational
Ages 3–18
Former pupils Old Giggleswickians
Giggleswick School

Giggleswick School is an independent co-educational boarding school in Giggleswick, near Settle, North Yorkshire, England.

Early school

In 1499, Giggleswick School was founded on half an acre of land leased by the Prior and Convent of Durham, to James Carr, the chantry priest at the Parish Church of St Alkelda, to enclose and build, at his own expense, one 'Gramar Scole'. By 1512 the school consisted of two small, irregular buildings, next to the parish church. The school was run by the chantry priests until Edward VI dissolved the position. The school was saved by the petition of the King's Chaplain, John Nowell, and in 1553 it received its royal charter. The charter granted land and endowed it with the title: The Free Grammar School of King Edward the VI of Giggleswick. There is some evidence that there was a school on the same site from an earlier date. Giggleswick was one of 27 schools listed in the Public Schools Yearbook of 1889, and has claims to be one of the oldest public schools, although claims vary depending on the criteria used. In 2012 the school celebrated its 500th anniversary with numerous events throughout the year, including a ball, an outside concert and fireworks display.

Victorian period

The school continued in its original location until 1867, when it moved out of the village centre up the hill to its present location. At this point, a major expansion of the school and its facilities began. Boarding accommodation was added, playing fields were laid out, and new classrooms built.

The only remaining part of the second school, the covered courtyard, was converted into a shooting range, used by the school's Combined Cadet Force contingent and other Territorial Army units.

School chapel

In 1897, work began on the school chapel, a gift from local landowner and school governor Walter Morrison (MP). The architect, T.G. Jackson designed the building to Morrison's unusual specifications: a Gothic structure with a dome, that fitted into the surrounding landscape as naturally as possible. It was Morrison's wish that the building should be completely fitted and furnished inside, to allow for no unsympathetic alteration in the future.

The interior was filled with expensive fixtures and fittings. The pews were made of imported cypress wood, the floors covered in marble, and the organ was made by Henry Willis & Sons, a leading organ makers at the time. It was rebuilt in 2005 by GO-Organ Builders Ltd. The chapel's dome was covered in copper which developed a distinctive green verdigris colour, reverting to the original bronze colour after restoration in the late 1990s. The interior of the dome was decorated with mosaics depicting angels playing musical instruments, with the four gospel writers at each corner of the base. The altar furniture is made of sterling silver and Brazilian rosewood. It was presented to the school in memory of Sir Douglas Glover, an old boy and school governor.

Modern school

In 1934, the school was enlarged by the addition of a preparatory school, Catteral Hall for pupils aged 7–13, a new boarding house was created from the Georgian Beck House in the village (Style House), and in 1966 another boarding house, Morrison, was opened. In the 1970s the school became co-educational, the first public school in the north of England to do so. In the late 1990s a pre-preparatory school, Mill House for children aged 3–7 was opened in the grounds of Catteral Hall, and more recent expansion at the school has created a library, dining hall, sports facilities and science laboratories and refurbished the boarding accommodation.

In the 2000s, Giggleswick School (senior, 13-18), Catteral Hall (prep, 7-13) and Mill House (pre-prep, 3-7) were reorganised to create Giggleswick Junior School (3-11) and Giggleswick School (11-18) under a unified Giggleswick brand.

Giggleswick is one of only 18 schools to possess a Royal Marine cadet force, which became affiliated with HMS Bulwark in the autumn of 2004.

Pupils from the school (and pupils from Cranleigh School and Charterhouse School) operate the manual scoreboards at the Open Championship golf tournament. These pupils receive recognition on television each year from golf broadcaster Peter Alliss, on both the BBC in the UK and on ESPN and ABC in the United States.

In September 2014 a new headmaster (Mark Turnbull) was to replace the then current headmaster Geoffrey Boult who was retiring after 14 years at the school.

Boarding houses

There are four boys' boarding houses:

Nowell, Paley and Shute are located in the main body of the school (called the Hostel), while Morrison, the most recently built is further from the main school campus.

The two girls' houses are:

There is a mixed junior boarding house for pupils in years 4–8 which is also the house for day pupils in years 7 & 8, called Catteral House.

1927 eclipse

The grounds of Giggleswick School near the chapel were selected as the official observation post for the 1927 solar eclipse from where Sir Frank Watson Dyson, the Astronomer Royal, had an uninterrupted view of the flaming corona of the sun through the 23 seconds of its total eclipse. In 2014 the school was rebuilding its own observatory.

Notable alumni

Notable alumni, who are known as Old Giggleswickians, include:

IndyCar & W.E.C. Driver James Jakes


  • 1499–1518 James Carr, Founder of the Rood Chantry.
  • 1548–1560 Richard Carr, Incumbent of the Rood Chantry.
  • 1615–1619 Christopher Shute, Vicar of Giggleswick, 1576–1626.
  • 1619–1641 Robert Dockray, Vicar of Giggleswick, 1632–1641.
  • 1642–1647 Rowland Lucas
  • 1648–1656 William Walker
  • 1656-1656 William Bradley (Temporary)
  • 1656–1684 William Briggs
  • 1684-1684 John Parkinson
  • 1685–1712 John Armitstead
  • 1712–1744 John Carr
  • 1744–1799 William Paley
  • 1800–1844 Rowland Ingram
  • 1846–1858 George Ash Butterton
  • 1858–1866 John Richard Blakiston
  • 1866–1867 Thomas Bramley (Provisional).
  • 1867–1869 Michael Forster (Provisional).
  • 1869–1904 George Style.
  • 1904–1910 William Wyamar Vaughan
  • 1910–1931 Robert Noel Douglas
  • 1931–1955 E. H. Partridge
  • 1956–1960 Niale Shane Trevor Benson
  • 1961–1970 Owen John Tressider Rowe
  • 1970–1978 Richard Creed Meredith
  • 1978–1986 Ian Watson
  • 1986–1993 Peter Hobson
  • 1993–2001 Anthony Millard
  • 2001-2014 Geoffrey Boult
  • 2014- Mark Turnbull (from September 2014)

Notable former masters

Allegedly the Three Peaks Walk was invented in July 1887 by two masters at the school ; D. R. Smith and J. R. Wynne-Edwards (father of Sir Robert Wynne-Edwards – see OG's above).

Coordinates: 54°4′20.97″N 2°17′38.20″W / 54.0724917°N 2.2939444°W / 54.0724917; -2.2939444

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