Hereford Cathedral School

Hereford Cathedral School
Motto Floreat Schola Herefordensis
(May the school of Hereford flourish)
Established pre-1384
Type Independent day school
Religion Church of England
Headteacher Paul Smith
Chair of Governors Rob Haydn Jones
Location Old Deanery
Cathedral Close

Coordinates: 52°03′15″N 2°42′50″W / 52.0542°N 2.7139°W / 52.0542; -2.7139
DfE number 884/6004
Students 526
Gender Mixed
Ages 3–18
Houses 4

Hereford Cathedral School is an independent, co-educational day school for pupils of ages 3 to 18 years, from Nursery to Sixth Form. Its headmaster is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. The school's premises are next to Hereford Cathedral in Hereford.[1]


There was probably a school associated with the Cathedral from the time of the foundation of the see in the late 7th century.[1] Thus Hereford Cathedral School is likely to be among the oldest in England. The earliest documentary record of its existence dates from 1384 (some ten years prior to the arrival of the first scholars at Winchester College) when Bishop John Gilbert appointed Richard Cornwaille as school master and authorised him to rule over the school with birch and rod. The school's library is named after Bishop Gilbert.[2]

The school remained relatively small in size until the inter-war period. It attained direct grant status in 1945 and by 1970 had expanded to 370 pupils, all of whom were boys and many of whom were boarders.[1] In 1973, the school became co-educational. It was a direct grant school until 1975, and when this scheme was abolished, it chose to become independent.[3] The school also participated in the Assisted Places Scheme from its introduction in 1980 until its abolition in 1997.[1]

As of September 2006, Paul Smith is headmaster, succeeding the long-serving Dr Howard Tomlinson.[1]


As well as core disciplines, other subjects taught in the school include Ancient History/Classical Civilisation, Art, Design and Technology, Drama, Economics, French, Japanese, Spanish, Greek, Latin, Further Mathematics, History of Art, Music and Textiles.[4]


Among sports practiced in the school are: Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Canoeing, Cricket, Cross Country, Fencing, Fitness Training, Football, Hockey, Netball, Rounders, Rowing, Rugby, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, and Volleyball[4]


Former pupils and members of staff are referred to as Old Herefordians, using the postnominal designation OH.

Although there is no official school song, the de facto school anthem is the hymn Jerusalem (English Hymnal 656A). It has become a school legend that the singing of this hymn during an assembly in the Cathedral on Friday 27 May 1983 was heard outside Marks and Spencers in High Town. The hymn is a popular choice in weddings, memorial services and funerals of Old Herefordians.

House System

It has four houses, named Langford (after Charles Langford, Dean of Hereford and benefactor 1607), Stuart (named after King Charles I, benefactor 1637), Somerset (named after Sarah Seymour, Duchess of Somerset, benefactor 1682) and Cornwall (named after Richard de Cornwaille, first known headmaster of HCS, 1384).

Before the abolition of boarding at the school, there were also separately named houses for boarders, namely: School House, Number 1 (Castle Street) and Old Deanary. In those days, Cornwall, Langford, Somerset and Stuart consisted entirely of day pupils.


1385 Richardus de Cornwaille
1583 — May
1590 Thomas Cooxey
1595 — Povey
1637 Clement Barksdale
1669 Richard Gardiner, DD
1686 Robert Phillips
1687 Thomas Gwillim
1689 Richard Treherne
1711 John Rodd
1731 Thomas Willim
1748 John Stephens
1749 Richard Traherne
1762/3 Reverend Gibbons Bagnall
— Thomas Horne
1778 Abraham Rudd
1784 Robert D. Squire, MA
1803 Reverend Samuel Picart, BD
1807 Charles Taylor, DD
1826 Charles Taylor, Junior, BD
1839 William Henry Ley, MA
1842 John Wooley, DD
1844 Thomas F. Layng, DD
1851 Reverend Thomas Barratt Power, MA
1857 John Woollam, MA
1869 Reverend Eric John Sutherland Rudd, MA
1875 Francis Hey Thatham, MA
1890 Thomas Thistle, MA
1898 Reverend Prebendary William Henry Murray Ragg, MA
1913 Reverend John Henson, MA
1920 Dr J. H. Crees
1940 C. Fairfax-Scott
1944 A. F. J. Hopewell
1956 W. J. R. Peebles
1967 David M. Richards
1975 Barry B. Sutton
1988 Canon Emeritus Dr Howard C. Tomlinson, BA, PhD, FRHistS
2006 Paul Smith, BSc

Extracurricular activities

Combined Cadet Force

The school operates a Combined Cadet Force composed of Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force sections. It is the second oldest school CCF in the country. Recently the organization has had notable success in the CCF (Army) March and Shoot. The unit is currently commanded by Sqn Ldr A D Howell.

The last Biennial Inspection was on 8 May 2014. The inspecting officer was Col Seal, who is the Deputy Commander of 143 Brigade.

The school is linked with a school in the village of Ghachok, Nepal, which is one of the school's chosen charities. Money donated by the pupils has been put into the building of new classrooms, employment of teachers, provision of sports equipment, and the purchasing of computers for the school. Every year, a number of pupils and parents visit Nepal and the school.

Notable former pupils


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Independent Schools Inspectorate Retrieved 19 July 2010
  2. HCS History Retrieved 19 July 2010
  3. |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 22 March 1978. col. 582W–586W.
  4. 1 2 Independent Schools Council Retrieved 19 July 2010
  5. "Arthur Peppercorn". A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. Retrieved 2010-07-26.


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