St. John's School, Leatherhead

Infobox UK school
name = St John's School

size = 100px
latitude =
longitude =
dms =
motto = Quae Sursum Sunt Quaerite (Latin: "Seek those things which are above")
established = 1851
approx =
closed =
c_approx =
type = Public School
religion = C of E
president =
head_label = Head Master
head = NJR Haddock MBE MA
r_head_label =
r_head =
chair_label =
chair =
founder = Ashby Haslewood
founder_pl =
specialist =
street =
city = Leatherhead
county = Surrey
country = Englandflagicon|England
postcode =
ofsted =
staff =
enrollment = 470 (approx.)
gender = Mixed (6th Only)
lower_age = 13
upper_age = 18
houses =
colours = Green and White
publication =
free_label_1 = Former pupils
free_1 = Old Johnians
free_label_2 = Visitor
free_2 = The Most Revd & Rt Hon The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury
free_label_3 = Patron
free_3 = HRH The Duchess of Gloucester CVO
website =
website_name =

St. John's School, Leatherhead is a public school in Surrey, England. It has about 420 male pupils and 60 female pupils. Originally formed for the sons of the Clergy in the 1850s, it has relocated from St. John's Wood, London to its current residence in Leatherhead. Founded in 1851, originally as a boarding school for the sons of Clergy, it moved to its present site in 1872. On the edge of Leatherhead, it comprises 50 acres of grounds dominated by the late-Victorian Gothic buildings. There have been some modern additions providing excellent facilities and accommodation, most recently a sixth form girls' house and a performing arts centre. Although the school looks for all-rounders, the aim is for academic excellence and examination results are good. It is a Church of England foundation with a lively chapel life that supports the strong pastoral framework of the house system; attendance at worship is both compulsory and encouraged. The music, drama and art departments are very active and many pupils are involved in theatrical presentations each year. The school has a long-standing reputation for achievement in games and sports, and games are held 5 days a week. There is substantial commitment to local community schemes and an outstanding record in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and CCF.


The school was founded in 1851 as St John's Foundational School for the Sons of Poor Clergy. Its founder was a clergyman, Ashby Haslewood, who was vicar of St Mark's, Hamilton Terrace in St John's Wood, north London. He had a dual purpose in founding the school - to offer free education for the sons of poor clergymen and to provide a choir for his large church.

The school was a success but the dual purpose imposed restrictions. So in 1854 the school moved outside the parish boundaries of St Mark's into neighbouring Kilburn. This was the first of three moves before the school moved to Leatherhead in 1872. Reverend Edward Connerford Hawkins was one of the first headmasters, when the school was still at Clapton in north-east London. He and his wife Jane Isabella Grahame (an aunt of Kenneth Grahame, author of "Wind in the Willows") brought up their family there; their son Anthony Hope, who also grew up to be an author, was educated at the school until he was old enough to be sent to Marlborough College.

Despite much progress, it remained essentially a charity school until the significant headmastership of Arthur Rutty (HM 1883 - 1909) when the school developed all the characteristics of a public school.

The school began to attract fee-paying parents while remaining loyal to the sons of poor clergymen. The school expanded throughout the twentieth century despite the problems faced by all public schools due to the Depression. After the Second World War, St John's was fortunate to attract the interest of Bernard Law Montgomery, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, himself the son of a clergyman, who was chairman of the governing body from 1951 to 1966. Monty's contribution to the development of the school was enormous - he promoted it, raised money for it and gave generously of his own time and wealth.

Since the 1970s St John's, while maintaining a substantial boarding community, has taken in an increasing number of day pupils and in 1989 the first Sixth Form girls entered the school.

Distinguished old boys of the school include the eminent contemporary architect Lord Rogers and the legendary dance band leader, Victor Sylvester. It is currently a community of 450 pupils. It continues to remain loyal to the principles of its foundation and offers subsidised education to the sons and daughters of clergymen. The school is well known for its impressive architecture (including several listed buildings), intimate atmosphere and strong public school ethos, it is also one of the few remaining schools to operate a 6-day week.

Sports and Co-Curricular Activities

The main sports of the school are rugby, football and cricket, while it also competes strongly in target rifleFact|date=September 2008|you are joking?, name something that John's have won., tennis, squash, badminton, hockey, swimming and athletics. There is strong rivalry with local schools such as Epsom College, Charterhouse and Cranleigh, most matches are played on Saturdays after academic school. The main school pitches are located adjacent to the estate in the heart of Surrey. St John's has a keen competitive edge to its play and the annual House Games are often very heated. Its is also one of only a handful of schools to have a Fives court.

St John's also is a participant in the CCF (compulsory for four terms) and the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Music and Drama are also for a part of school life with a new multi-million pound Performing Arts Center constructed in 2003.

Feeder Schools

St. John's is fed by by a wide range of schools, including: Homefield Preparatory School in Sutton, Downsend School. Kingswood House School, Aberdour School, and The Priory School, Banstead.


* The School has provided a setting for a number of television programmes including the Inspector Lynley Mysteries.
* The School song is "Seek those things which are above" composed by Howard Goodall was commissioned for the school centenary.
* The Quad of Johns is reserved exclusively for Masters, Mistresses and guests, any pupil who strays onto the quad faces severe disciplinary action, this has given rise to the 'Quad Run' a practice traditionally undertaken after house competitions.
* The present library of the school was formally the chapel, still visible on the walls of the library are the carvings of names and sayings of former pupils who during chapel services chose to 'leave their mark'.
* The head boy by historic appointment is allowed to graze sheep on the school quad, grow a beard and/or smoke a pipe. This tradition has not been exercised in recent years (bar a leavers prank in 1998 when sheep did indeed graze on the school quad).

Notable Old Johnians

* David Alesworth, ARBS, distinguished artist, based in Pakistan.
* Sir Paul Bryan DSO MC, Conservative MP who came into politics after distinguished service in the Second World War [ cite web |url=|title=Daily Telegraph Obituary|accessdate=2007-08-28 ]
* Kenneth Durham
* Peter Drury
* David Hatch
* Gavin Hewitt
* Sir Anthony Hope, author of adventure novels such as "The Prisoner of Zenda"
* Humfrey Malins CBE MP
* Christopher Matthews, "online dating millionaire" [ cite web |url=|title=Jet-set aide dies with dating tycoon|publisher=The Daily Telegraph|date=11/08/2004|accessdate=2007-08-28 |quote=For the past four years Mr Matthews had lived on his 115ft £5 million yacht Tosca III. He spent six months in the Mediterranean and six months in the Caribbean. He was once an undistinguished pupil at St John's School, Leatherhead, Surrey, and last year he found two friends from the primary (sic) school on the Friends Reunited website and invited them to the Mediterranean for a get-together.]
* The Right Reverend Morris Maddocks [cite web |url=|title=Obitury Morris Maddocks|publisher=The Daily Telegraph|date=05/02/2008|accessdate=2008-02-18 |quote=The Right Reverend Morris Maddocks, who died on January 19 aged 79, was suffragan Bishop of Selby from 1972 to 1983, then adviser to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on the ministry of health and healing.]
* Guy Michelmore
* Father Vivian Redlich, a missionary in Papua New Guinea when the Japanese invaded in 1942. The decision to remain at his post led to his beheading in August that year. The Chapel is dedicated to the martyr who attended St John's from 1916 to 1917. The island's Martyr's Memorial School was founded in 1948 as a memorial. In a new development on September 2, 2006, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that it is now believed that Vivian, instead of dying at the hands of the Japanese, may have been murdered by the tribal people he had sought refuge with. [ [ After a lifetime, the shocking truth - World - ] ]
* Lord Richard Rogers
* Victor Silvester OBE
* Simon Thomas (television presenter)
* The Venerable Ted Ward, Archdeacon of Sherborne and Chaplain of the Royal Chapel in Windsor Great Park [ cite web |url=|title=Daily Telegraph Obituary|accessdate=2007-08-28 ]
* Sir Leonard Woolley

Notable (ex-)staff

* Sir Arthur Bowley, Mathematics Master
*Tim Crooks, Olympic Rower and BBC Superstars Champion 1977, Craft Design and Technology [ [ YouTube - The Superstars - Challenge of the Champions Titles/Intro ] ] [cite book|title=Those Things Which Are Above: The History of St John's School, Leatherhead|author=Richard Hughes]

outhern Railway School's Class

The School lent its name to the fortieth example of the Southern Railway's V Class steam locomotive, no. 939. This Class was known widely as the Schools Class because all 40 of the class were named after prominent English public schools. 'Leatherhead', as no. 939 was called, was built in 1934. The locomotive bearing the School's name was withdrawn in the early 1960s. A nameplate survives in the reception at the school, along with a small model of the engine.


Due to the School's location in the middle of a very affluent county and the demographic of the surrounding area the school's fees are some of the highest in the country. Fees for the 2008/09 season are as follows:

Boarding Per Term£7,960

Day Per Term£5,790

External links

* [ Official website]


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