Dauntsey's School

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Coordinates: 51°16′55″N 1°59′53″W / 51.282°N 1.998°W / 51.282; -1.998

Dauntsey's School
Dauntsey's School.svg
Motto Honor Deo
(Motto of the Worshipful Company of Mercers meaning "Honour God")
Established 1542
Type Independent day and boarding school
Religion Church of England

Mark Lascelles

Visitor The Most Rev The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury
Founder William Dauntesey
Location West Lavington
SN10 4HE
DfE URN 126532 Tables
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses 5 Boarding houses and & 7-day houses
Colours Black & White & Red & Blue                    
Publication The Dauntseian
Former pupils Old Dauntseians
Website www.dauntseys.org

Dauntsey's School is a co-educational independent day and boarding school in the village of West Lavington, Wiltshire, England. The school was founded in 1542, in accordance with the will of William Dauntesey, a master of the Worshipful Company of Mercers.

The School

The front of the school

The school was moved to its current site in 1895. The school occupies approximately 25 acres (100,000 m2) of land at the main school campus, though this was recently increased by the acquisition of a field behind the school. However, the school has yet to develop this land, and it is now being used as playing fields. The school also owns land at Market Lavington, approximately 15 minutes' walk (or a mile's drive) from the main school. Here the Manor House[1] is used as a Lower School boarding house and there are sports facilities in its grounds.


Most houses are named after former headmasters, the exceptions being Manor, Farmer, and Mercers (named after a building, a generous donor and the Worshipful Company respectively).[2] All houses are on the main school site, except Manor.

Lower School houses

In the Lower School, houses are mixed gender and each day pupil house has its own room where pupils have a locker and where they must be for registration. For Lower School boarders, the Manor House is the only boarding house available, and is where they live, sleep and eat breakfast and dinner.

The house a pupil is in does not affect their academic class groups but the houses compete against each other in sporting and other events.

Day Boarding[3]
Forbes Manor
Opening of the relocated Senior Day Boy houses in November 2005, hosted by ex-headmaster Stewart Roberts and ex-Governor J.P.G. Wathen Esq.

Upper School houses

In Upper School, houses are single gender, and the eight houses are divided equally among day, boarding, female and male pupils.

Day Boarding[3]
Girls King-Reynolds Jeanne
Lambert Evans
Boys Hemens Mercers
Farmer Fitzmaurice

Strong Cup

Strong Cup is the annual point-system senior house competition for boys at Dauntsey's School, so Farmer, Fitzmaurice, Hemens and Mercers are the only houses that are involved. Farmer won it recently in 2011, and again in 2013. Hemens won the cup most recently in 2014. The points are awarded from inter-house events throughout the academic year. Such events include athletics, swimming, rugby, cricket, tennis, hockey, football, general knowledge quiz, tiddlywinks, basketball, water polo, music and a minor sports festival which includes badminton, squash, skittles, chess and table tennis.

Jolie Brise

Jolie Brise, a gaff rigged pilot cutter owned and operated by the school, is sailed by Dauntsey pupils throughout the year.[4] In summer 2000 Dauntsey crews took part in The Tall Ships' Race 2000, which took her from Southampton to Hull, Brixton, Sunderland, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Boston (Lincs) and Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, Jolie Brise was declared the overall winner of this prestigious international race. She also won The Tall Ships' Races 2002, which took her from Alicante to Malaga. In 2009 the Jolie Brise came second, in its class, of the Tall Ships Race, the final destination of which, was Belfast, where the ships were greeted, after a transatlantic race, by an estimated 400,000 people. Jolie Brise also won the Tall Ships Race in 2015 and 2016.


The school was founded in accordance with the will of Alderman William Dauntesey, Master of the Worshipful Company of Mercers.[5]

Dauntesey was himself from West Lavington, the son of John Dauntesey, and when he died in April 1542, he left money in his will dated 10 March 1542 for the founding of the School. He gave the Mercers' Company lands in London so that they could build a schoolhouse for a grammar school at West Lavington and also support seven poor persons in an almshouse, within the same charity. The master of the school was to be appointed by the heir of Dauntesey's brother Ambrose Dauntesey, but the company was to have the power of dismissal. In 1868, a Schools Inquiry Commission noted that "By ancient custom, the owner of the Dauntesey estate at West Lavington, now Lord Churchill, appoints".[6]

Three and a half centuries after the school's foundation, the school moved to its current site at the north end of West Lavington, Wiltshire. The new school buildings were designed by the architect C.E. Ponting and in May 1895 the Rt. Hon. Joseph Chamberlain officially opened them and inaugurated Dauntsey's Agricultural School.

In 1929 the school bought the Manor House estate at Market Lavington, which now provides accommodation for lower school borders. In 1930, the school changed its name to Dauntsey's School although it remained largely dedicated to an agriculture-based education. At that time it fulfilled the role that the County Agricultural Colleges fill today, the latter partly sponsored by the state. The intake of pupils in the 1930s was a broad cross-section of the Wiltshire farming community, from farm labourers' children to those of wealthy gentlemen farmers. It continued thus, with the addition of sons of commissioned officers in the armed forces, until 1971.

In 1967, the 'Olive Block' opened, which is now Fitzmaurice House. 1970 saw the foundation of the sailing club, while, in 1971, the first girls were admitted. In 1972, the farm buildings were closed and the school became a primarily academic institution. In 1977, the school acquired Jolie Brise. The school continues a wide range of building and expansion projects to this day, including the recent building of the Upper School girls' day houses, and a re-vamp of the sports hall. More recent developments have included an astroturf for hockey purposes.[7]

The school's affiliation with the Mercers Company remains, and the Master Mercer is a regular guest of honour or speaker at school events. The company also helps with the financial support of students' individual ventures, including gap years and sporting tours, where the company sees fit.

In 2005, Dauntsey's School was one of fifty of the country's leading private schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents.[8] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000 and all agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling three million pounds into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared.[9]

Recent headmasters

  • Mr. G.E. King-Reynolds (1969 to 1985)
  • Mr. C.R. Evans (1986 to 1996)
  • Mr. Stewart B. Roberts (1997 to 2012)
  • Mr. Mark Lascelles (2013 to present)

Bike park

The school used to have a bike park, which featured in MBUK in 2004 when they held the 'Backyard Jam'. Where the Osiris BMX team did a show there, though the park has since been bulldozed by the school to avoid lawsuits as the local residents took to using it without permission.

Fees and charges

Fees for 2016/17:

Day pupils £17,940 (£5,980 per term)

UK boarders £29,700 (£9,900 per term)

International pupils £34,290 (£11,430 per term).[10]

Old Dauntseians



See also


  1. ^ "Market Lavington Manor". Market Lavington Museum. 9 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  2. ^ Dauntsey's School
  3. ^ a b Boarding
  4. ^ "Jolie Brise - Jolie Brise". Jolie Brise. Retrieved 2016-02-21. 
  5. ^ Wiltshire notes and queries (1899), vol. 2, p. 537: "William Dauntesey, Alderman of London, the well-known benefactor of school and almshouses to his native parish of West Lavington".
  6. ^ Schools Inquiry Commission, Report of the commissioners (1868), p. 55 online
  7. ^ http://www.kennet.gov.uk/wlavington_lpanell_-_approved_statement.pdf
  8. ^ Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees - Times Online
  9. ^ The Office of Fair Trading: OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement Archived 10 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Dauntsey's School | Admissions | Fees |
  11. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-anthony-huxley-1476489.html

External links

  • Official website
  • Jolie Brise website
  • Dauntsey's School at Wiltshire Community History
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