Chigwell School
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Coordinates51°37′30″N 0°04′52″E / 51.6250°N 0.0810°E / 51.6250; 0.0810
TypePublic School
Private day and boarding
Mottoaut viam inveniam aut faciam
(Find a way, or make a way)
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Established1629; 394 years ago (1629)
FounderSamuel Harsnett
Department for Education URN115392 Tables
HeadmasterDamian King (2022)
Age4 to 18
Houses(Senior School)
(Junior School)
Stuarts, Tudors, Hanovers.
Chigwell School

Chigwell School is a co-educational independent boarding and day school in the English public school tradition located in Chigwell, in the Epping Forest district of Essex. It consists of a pre-prep (ages 4–7), Junior School (ages 7–11), Senior School (ages 11–16) and sixth form. A pre-preparatory department for children aged 4–7 was constructed starting for the 2013–14 academic year.[1]

The school is situated in 100 acres of land between Epping Forest and Hainault Forest, ten miles from London. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) and the Junior School is a member of the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS).

The school motto is aut viam inveniam aut faciam, a Latin phrase which translates literally as “Find a way or make a way”.

There are four day houses, named Caswalls', Lambourne, Penn's, and Swallow's after alumni. The school owns several artifacts which belonged to each of the alumni after which the houses are named. The boarding houses are Church House, Harsnett's, Sandon Lodge, and Hainault House, although all boarders are members of one of the day houses. In the Junior School there are another four houses, named Windsors, Hanovers, Stuarts, and Tudors.


Chigwell School in 1904

Chigwell School dates back to 1619 when a schoolhouse was erected on the site. The first headmaster Peter Mease was appointed in 1623. It was formally founded in 1629 by Samuel Harsnett, Archbishop of York and Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, and began with 16 "poor, clever" scholars.

In 1868, the school was split into two sections. The English section for local children studying arithmetic, reading and writing was housed in a building behind the King's Head public house, which was mentioned in Charles Dickens' novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty. The Latin section (for Latin scholars only) remained in the original building. Rather unusually for a boys' school at that time, in 1873, it started a bursary programme for girls to attend other schools.

Following a trend set by many HMC schools (which were mainly all-boys), the sixth form section became coeducational and its first girls were admitted in the summer term of 1974. In 1997 coeducation was extended to the rest of the school. [2]


Chigwell School Chapel -Pilgrim's Progress

The War Memorial Chapel was dedicated by the Bishop of Chelmsford on 10 October 1924 to the 78 Old Boys and one Master who had lain down their lives in the Great War and on each side of the altar, plaques record the names of the dead. There were only a total of 80 boys attending the school in 1914.[3] Reginald Hallward took the theme of the Pilgrim's Progress for the windows of the chapel.[4] He depicted schoolboys as Christian's companions on his pilgrimage.

Notable alumni

See also: Category:People educated at Chigwell School

This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. Please improve this article by removing names that do not have independent reliable sources showing they merit inclusion in this article AND are alumni, or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations. (April 2021)

Head Masters

Michael Punt (2007-2022)

Damien King (2022-Present)

This list is incomplete

Notable masters


  1. ^ "A prep school for Chigwell". Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  2. ^ "School History". Archived from the original on 6 November 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  3. ^ Photographs and notes on Memorial Chapel Chigwell School courtesy School Archivist M.F. Delfgou.
  4. ^ Bentley, James and Nikolaus Pevsner. (2007). The Buildings of England – Essex. Yale University Press. pp. 228–229. ISBN 978 0 300 11614 4.
  5. ^ "Teams Steriker Hare played for". CricketArchive. Retrieved 27 October 2011.