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Our Heritage

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Berkhamsted School was founded in 1541 by John Incent, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The school flourished for 100 years but, as with many public schools, the next two centuries brought difficult times. The school was re-established in 1841 and the year 1888 saw the establishment of the Girls’ Grammar School in Berkhamsted. In 1996, the move was made to merge the two schools.

The 475th anniversary of Incent’s foundation was celebrated in 2016 and a series of events marked this milestone, including an historic visit to the school by our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen.

Although the anniversary was linked to the foundation of the Boys’ School, we celebrated the anniversary as the Berkhamsted family of schools of today, from Pre-Prep and Prep, through to Heatherton, Boys’, Girls’ and Sixth.

Our 475th Anniversary celebrations began in October 2015 with a 475th Anniversary launch dinner that saw current and past Heads and Principals, head boys and head girls, governors and long-serving staff come together for a memorable evening.

The launch dinner featured the first sight of the book ‘Berkhamsted School: A 475th Anniversary Portrait’, written by former English Master John Davison.

During the 2015-16 academic year we also marked the 125th anniversary of what is now known as the Combined Cadet Force, as well as the centenary of the introduction of competitive rugby at Berkhamsted.

The Berkhamsted of today is, for the most part, unrecognisable from the school of Incent’s vision. His ambition was for a school of just 144 boys, yet there are enduring features.

Our original school hall was completed in 1544 and still stands as a symbol of the strength, character and resilience of both the school and those associated with it.

We continue to foster a tradition of developing remarkable people with a spirit of adventure and we remain firmly rooted in the local community.

Our Christian Foundation

Our Christian Foundation derives from the founding of the school in 1541 by John Incent, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.

We are reminded of our Christian Foundation by the presence of the chapels on our Castle and Kings campuses, which are overseen by our Chaplain and two full-time chaplaincy staff.

Faith, prayer, thanksgiving and the worship of God have been part of the tradition of Berkhamsted from its very beginning.

To remain true to our Christian Foundation we strive to be a community in which this ethos is clear. This is embodied in regular chapel services, house assemblies and confirmation classes. Our aim is to give young people the opportunity to embrace these values in order to serve others as they leave school and go out into the wider world with a sense of compassion.

Some Berkhamstedians are members of other faiths and every consideration is given to their needs, but parents of prospective pupils should bear in mind that all pupils must attend chapel as part of their school week. Our chapel services are Christian in their focus, yet accessible to those of other faiths and none.

Berkhamsted Archive

The Archive and Historic Collection of Berkhamsted School preserve and make available for research and enquiry a permanent establishment of records, memorabilia and artefacts relating to the history of Berkhamsted School (Boys and Girls).

Throughout the website you will see items from the collections, some of which have been donated by Old Berkhamstedians.

You may also wish to browse through the Berkhamsted Digital Archive which currently has copies of Berkhamstedians and Girls Chronicles from the Great War (entries from 1913-1920).

To enter the page please use the following:

Username: history; Password: 154115

WW1 Centenary

234 Old Berkhamstedians lost their lives in service to their country during World War One.

As we mark the centenary of the start of the Great War, Berkhamsted School remembers the 232 boys and 2 girls who made the ultimate sacrifice.

 

On 17 September 2014, Principal Mark Steed began a tribute to the Old Berkhamstedians who fell in the Great War. He announced, 100 years on, the deaths of OBs in the school assembly following the day they fell.

A Berkhamsted Twitter feed was set up to individually commemorate those who fell on the 100th anniversary of their death in the instances where the details are known. The first OB remembered was Lt. Miller of the Immediate Reaction Force, who died of his wounds on 13 September 1914, aged 21.

The Principal wrote a personal tribute to former headmaster Charles Greene, who lost 232 of his pupils to death in service during World War One.

On Friday 19 September, an art exhibition opened in the school chapel, with an Act of Reflection attended by members of the school community.

The exhibition featured work from Sixth Form art students, alongside pieces from Berkhamsted Head of Art, Caroline Ferguson, who was inspired by a school history trip to the battlefields.

Images from the school archive were displayed in the exhibition, with poignant photographs of pupils from that era, some of whom were soon to lose their lives. Photos of two of the school’s three Victoria Cross recipients – Brett Mackay Cloutman and George Randolph Pearkes, along with descriptions of how they earned the highest military honour – are also a feature of the exhibition, which was displayed until Remembrance Sunday.