Portrait of a Parish - Page 12

Monkton Combe School

The School was founded in 1868 by the then vicar of the parish, the Reverend Francis Pocock, when six boys arrived for the Lenten Term to be taught in his home. Most of his early pupils were sons of missionaries who came largely to be trained to follow the same vocation, thus from its beginning, the school had a strong Christian ethos. The boys attended the village church on Sundays until the school chapel was opened in 1927 and the year 2000 has seen a major extension and refurbishment with a complete rebuilding of the organ. The first girl joined in 1971. As it has grown and developed, many buildings have been acquired or purpose built, most of them fitting sympathetically into the character and style of the original village architecture. From its humble beginnings, the school is now a superbly equipped centre for education, embracing a wide curriculum and a range of musical, dramatic and sporting activities. Villagers are often invited to school events, some sing with the choral group and enjoy the use of the outdoor pool in summer vacations.

sketch of Monkton Combe School

How has the school changed since 1900? More pupils, nearly half of them are girls, better food, better facilities, more subjects .... but Latin and Greek are still on the curriculum. chapel is still compulsory and cricket, rugby, hockey and rowing, along with the combined cadet force, are as important as they ever were. In 2000, about 40 people living in the village are employed by the Senior School. Ancillary staff drive in every day and several retired employees still live in the village: a former pupil of the school is landlord of the Wheelwrights Arms as is the Angel Fish proprietor at the canal centre. There are 320 pupils, three quarters of them boarders, with many coming from overseas, Asia, Africa and other countries.

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