Denstone College

Denstone College
Denstone College
Motto Lignum crucis arbor scientiae (The wood of the cross is the tree of knowledge)
Established 1868
Type Independent School;
day and boarding
Religion Church of England
Headmaster Mr. David Derbyshire
Founder Canon Nathaniel Woodard
Location Denstone
ST14 5HN
Staff 70
Students 560
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Former pupils Old Denstonians
Affiliation Woodard Corporation

Coordinates: 52°57′35″N 1°52′05″W / 52.959613°N 1.868062°W / 52.959613; -1.868062

Denstone College is an independent, coeducational boarding school in Denstone, Staffordshire, England and a member school of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. It is also a Woodard school and as such has a strong Anglo-Catholic tradition. It has continued to show impressive academic improvement in recent years, with results about double the Staffordshire average. A range of academic and sporting scholarships are offered.



Work on the school began in 1868 and it opened in 1873 with 46 boys, under the direction of Edward Clarke Lowe, provost of the midland district of the Woodard Corporation. It was originally called St. Chad's College. The buildings were designed by William Slater and Richard Carpenter in a Gothic style. The school buildings, hall, chapel and war memorial are all listed Grade II.[1] The school's chapel was built in 1879-87 by Carpenter and Benjamin Ingelow in a late 13th century Gothic style; it consists of a four bay nave with polygonal apse.[2] Land for the school was given by Sir Thomas Percival Heywood who owned the nearby Riverside Doveleys mansion.[3] Sir Thomas was the school's first bursar.

Denstone College opened a Preparatory School in 1902, which moved in 1938 to its present site of Smallwood Manor, becoming co-educational and opening a pre-school department in 1983, it also provided boarding accommodation until 1997 but now is a day school for ages 2–11.

The school is divided into the following houses, named after the founders and benefactors of the school: Heywood, Philips, Shrewsbury, Meynell, Woodard, and Selwyn. Previously, there were two other houses: Lonsdale & Lowe, which now no longer exist, and these are also named after benefactors of the school.[4]

The war memorial, representing St George, stands in the Lonsdale quadrangle and was unveiled in 1925. The design was by Sir Aston Webb and Son and the sculptor Alfred Drury.[5]

Expedition to Inaccessible Island

Denstone College is noted for carrying out the most extensive scientific exploration of Inaccessible Island in the South Atlantic.[6] A group of 16 teachers and pupils led by Michael Swales sailed to the island, landing on 25 October 1982 and remained on the island until 9 February 1983, apart from an excursion to the island of Tristan da Cunha at Christmas.[7] The members of the expedition managed to ring 3,000 birds during their stay on the island,[8] and 17 research papers were produced.[9] The hut that they built at Blenden Hall on the island was demolished in 2000.

Film location

The exterior of the school was used as a location for the convent where Novice Joyce Fuddle lived for episode 4 of the 1985 BBC comedy series Happy Families.


Notable staff
  • David Edwards, former physics teacher at the school who was the first man to win a million pounds on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?[10]
  • Barry Trapnell, cricketer, former Headmaster of Denstone College[11]
Other Headmasters
  • 1875-78 W. Bedell Stanford (died 1929)
  • 1879-1903 D. Edwardes (died 1916)
  • 1903-05 J. Ll. Dove
  • 1905-19 F. A. Hibbert
  • 1919-31 Roy M. Grier
  • 1931- T. A. Moxon[12]

Old Denstonians

The College has a number of notable alumni - see Old Denstonians.


  1. ^ "Denstone College". Listed Buildings Online. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "Denstone College chapel". Listed Buildings Online. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Raven, Michael. 2004. Guide to Staffordshire and the Black Country, The Potteries and the Peak. p. 115. ISBN 0906114330
  4. ^ The Denstone Register (1932); pp. 387-89
  5. ^ The Denstonian; July 1925, pp. 71-78
  6. ^ M. K. Swales, C. P. Siddall, N. J. Mateer, H. N. Hall, R. C. Preece, M. W. Fraser. The Denstone Expedition to Inaccessible Island. The Geographical Journal, Vol. 151, No. 3 (Nov., 1985), pp. 347-350
  7. ^ Tristan da Cunha Government and the Tristan da Cunha Association - Inaccessible Island
  8. ^ Denstone Expedition to Inaccessible Island; Denstonian Supplement, Autumn 1983, Page 49
  9. ^ United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Protected Areas Programme - Gough Island Wildlife Reserve
  10. ^ Guardian - How I made a million, April 24, 2001
  11. ^ Cricinfo - Barry Trapnell player profile
  12. ^ The Denstone Register (1932); p. 349

Further reading

  • Greenwood, E. T., ed. (1932) The Denstone Register, 1873-1930. Shrewsbury: Wilding & Son [printers]
  • The Denstonian. (School magazine: one volume a year, vols. 48-53 were published in 1924-1929)
  • Form of Services to be Used in the Chapel of St. Chads [sic], Denstone. Shrewsbury: printed by Wilding & Son, 1922 (includes "Carmen Denstonense" (School hymn) Latin and English versions, pp. 58–59)

External links

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