|Motto||Pro Patria Populoque
(For the country and the people)
|Type||Independent School; Boarding School|
|Head Master||Ian Davenport BA|
|Chairman of the Governors||E.D. Fursdon DL MA (Oxon) FRICS|
|Students||550 (senior school approx.)
/300 (preparatory school approx.)
|Ages||2½ to 18|
|Colours||Red & White|
|Former pupils||Old Blundellians|
Blundell's School is a co-educational independent boarding school (public school) located in Tiverton in the county of Devon, England. The school was founded in 1604 by the will of Peter Blundell, one of the richest men in England at the time, and relocated to its present location on the outskirts of the town in May 1882.
Annual boarding fees are £25,080 per year, however the school also offers flexi-boarding. The school has 350 boys and 225 girls, including 107 boys and 65 girls in the Sixth Form, and is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.
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 Sir John Popham, the 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).
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. 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 —in Lorna Doone he used the Blundell's triangular lawn as the stage for a fight between John Ridd and Robin Snell.
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. The first Sidney Sussex scholar was nominated in 1610 and the first Blundell's Balliol scholar in 1615. The links with these colleges still continue today, although without the closed scholarships.
In 1645 Fairfax used the School for his headquarters during the siege of Tiverton Castle.
The clocktower contains a statue by Alain John, a pupil of the School and aspiring sculptor, who joined the RAF as a navigator and was killed during 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 Sir Christopher Ondaatje for it’s 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 at 13 in 1993 making the school fully co-ed, and to make room for them the boys boarding house North Close (NC) was converted into a girls house.
In 1997 School House (SH) became a junior house for pupils aged 11–13.
The prep school St Aubyn’s was moved to the Blundell’s campus in 2000, taking over the dayboy house Milestones (M) and the Sanatorium, and was renamed Blundell’s Prep School, it currently has about 300 pupils from two and a half years to eleven. The current Headmaster is Nick Folland.
A change to the way the U6 boarders are housed took place when the old Westlake (W) was sold off and the new Westlake was 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 have been completed were the extension to the Music school, and the building of the Popham Academic Centre, which houses the new Economics and Business School department, the new server for the school intranet and a dedicated IT teaching area.
One annual tradition is the school's cross country run known as the Russell, named after OB Jack Russell. It was first run in 1887, and 2009 saw the 129th run. The Russell has changed over the years with different courses introduced to accommodate the different ages and sexes of pupils at the school. The current senior course is 4.85 miles.
Four Old Blundellians played in the gold medal winning Great Britain cricket team at the 1900 Summer Olympics, the only time cricket has featured in the Olympics. Great Britain was represented by an unofficial touring club team, the Devon & Somerset Wanderers Cricket Club (formed by William Donne in 1894 and made up from Old Blundellians and members of Castle Cary Cricket Club).
See main article: Cricket at the 1900 Summer Olympics
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.
The first known society of former pupils, known as Old Blundellians (OBs), was established as early as 1725.
Notable former pupils include the following and those on the separate page at Old Blundellians.
Former masters of Blundell’s have included: