Blundell's School

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Blundell's School
Blundells School Crest.png
Blundells Road

, ,
EX16 4DN

Coordinates50°54′23″N 3°27′58″W / 50.906499°N 3.466174°W / 50.906499; -3.466174Coordinates: 50°54′23″N 3°27′58″W / 50.906499°N 3.466174°W / 50.906499; -3.466174
TypePublic school
Independent day and boarding school
MottoPro Patria Populoque
(For the country and the people)
Established1604; 419 years ago (1604)
FounderPeter Blundell
Department for Education URN113575 Tables
Chairman of the GovernorsNigel Hall
HeadBart Wielenga
Age3 to 18
Enrolmentc. 615 in senior school
c. 251 in preparatory school
HousesFrancis House (Boys)

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

Westlake (Sixth Form)
Colour(s)Red & White    
Former pupilsOld Blundellians

Blundell's School is a co-educational day and boarding independent school in the English public school tradition, located in Tiverton, Devon. It was founded in 1604 under the will of Peter Blundell, one of the richest men in England at the time, and moved to its present site on the outskirts of the town in 1882.

While the full boarding fees are £38,985 per year, the school offers several scholarships and bursaries, and provides flexi-boarding. The school has 360 boys and 225 girls, including 117 boys and 85 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, who in the novel Lorna Doone set the stage for a fight between John Ridd and Robin Snell on the Blundell's triangular lawn.[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 continue today, although without the closed scholarships.

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

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 1880.[5] Reginald Blomfield, the architect and garden designer, was responsible for the additions to the school, which were completed in 1901.[citation needed]

The School's war memorial was carved by the school's sculpture teacher, Estcourt J. Clack and is a replica of the Celtic cross in Eyam churchyard, but with the missing part intact.

The clock tower contains a statue by Alain John, a pupil of the School and aspiring sculptor, who joined the RAF as a navigator and was killed in 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 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 from the age of 13 in 1993, to make the school fully co-educational. To make room for them, the boys' boarding house North Close was changed into a girls' house. In 1997, School House became a junior house for pupils aged 11–13.

The prep school St Aubyn's was moved to the Blundell's campus in 2000,[6] taking over the day-boy house Milestones and the Sanatorium, and was renamed Blundell's Prep School. It has about 250 pupils aged from three years to eleven. The headmaster is Andy Southgate.

A change to the way the UVI boarders are housed took place when the old Westlake was sold off and a new Westlake 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 be completed are an extension to the Music School, and the building of the Popham Academic Centre, which houses the new Psychology, Economics and Business Studies departments, as well as the new server for the school intranet and a dedicated IT teaching area.


1740 ticket for Blundell's School Feast by William Hogarth


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 formally to play the game. The Blundell's crest still hangs in the main room at Twickenham in recognition of this.[7]

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 after World War 2, when Clem Thomas gained 26 caps for Wales in 1949–59 (in 1958–59 as captain), Richard Sharp won 14 caps for England 1960-67 (Captain 1963 and 1967) and David Shepherd won five caps for Australia in 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 among the public schools of the South West, with Bryanston, Millfield, Cheltenham College and Clifton College among their regular opponents.

OBs Dave Lewis Gloucester Rugby, Matt Kvesic and Will Carrick-Smith Exeter Chiefs all currently play in the Aviva Premiership.[8]

Jack Maunder is an English rugby union player who plays scrum-half for Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership.

Sam Maunder, brother of Jack Maunder, plays for England U18 squad.[9]

The Russell[edit]

One annual tradition is the school's cross-country run known as the Russell, named after OB Jack Russell, a vicar and dog-breeder. It was first run in 1887,[10] and 2009 saw the 129th run.[11] The Russell course crosses both public and private land with the permission of local landowners. As such, the route has undergone numerous changes throughout its history. The current senior course is 4.85 miles and includes a notorious’Heartbreak Hill’. Although the junior race and a ‘fun run’ follow shorter routes, all participants encounter the muddiest sections. Parents, staff and OB’s may participate in the ‘Open’ which follows the senior route.

Cricket at the 1900 Olympics[edit]

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

Southern Railway Schools Class[edit]

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.[12]

Old Blundellians[edit]

The first known society of former pupils, known as Old Blundellians (OBs), was established as early as 1725.[13]

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[14]

Notable former pupils include:






  • 2018-present: Bart Wielenga
  • 2013–2018: 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),[17] Martha Keats (1753–1833) and of Lewis William Buck (1784–1858), MP.[18]
  • 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[edit]

Former masters of Blundell's have included:


  1. ^ "Blundell's School | Tiverton | LEA:Devon | Devon". The Good Schools Guide. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  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. ^ "Eteach – Education Recruitment Vacancies, Supply Teaching Jobs". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
  7. ^ - Rugby
  8. ^ "OB Club - Sport". 26 November 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2013.[non-primary source needed]
  9. ^ "RFU".
  10. ^ - Headmasters
  11. ^ OB Club - Sport Archived 25 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ [1] Archived 19 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Report & Transactions, Volume 23, Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art, 1891
  14. ^ "Search object details". British Museum. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  15. ^ Frederic Boase, Modern English Biography, vol. 4 (Netherton and Worth, 1906), p. 2,007
  16. ^ "Captain John Marrack - Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. 3 January 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2012. John Alexander Marrack was born on 10 February 1921 in Barnet and educated at Downsend School, Leatherhead, and Blundell's. He joined the Navy as a special entry in September 1938.
  17. ^ Gentleman's Magazine, 1834, p.653, obituary of Admiral Keats
  18. ^ 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[edit]

Media related to Blundell's School at Wikimedia Commons