Sherborme’s history is closely linked to schooling. In Saxon and Medieval times Sherborne’s cathedral and later its monastery would have provided education. Early references to scholarships and rents confirm this, as does a misericord in the abbey showing a schoolmaster beating a boy!
Sherborne School. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 came the licensing of the Free Grammar School of King Edward VI, originally for poor boys from the town but gradually enlarged and enriched by fees from boarders until in 1871 it became an independent public school with a wider curriculum and recruitment. www.sherborne.org
In 1640 Richard Foster, a prosperous gentleman, made funds available for the school named after him. Originally called the Blue Coat School and intended by him for young boys and girls, it became a boys’ secondary school with boarding facilities in Hound Street and from 1939 new buildings in Tinneys Lane.
Lord Digby’s School, started in 1743 in Westbury but later moving to Newland and in 1932 to Sherborne House, was the equivalent for girls.
After 1944 both schools were selective grammar schools, serving bright children from the primary schools of the district. They increasingly worked together until in 1992 they, together with Saint Aldhelm’s, the Church of England Secondary Modern School opened in 1959, joined to form the Gryphon Comprehensive School, or The Gryphon. The school is a specialist Business and Enterprise College. www.gryphon.dorset.sch.uk
Sherborne Prep School was founded in 1885 and, with its more latterly Pre-Prep addition, caters for children from 3 to 13.
It is set in 12 acres of very attractive grounds in the middle of Sherborne and has been described as the town’s best kept secret. Recent inspections have placed it in the Outstanding category. www.sherborneprep.org