School History and the Future | Repton School History and the Future | Repton School

School History and the Future




YEAR of  c660

Anglo Saxons - Shortly after Christianity came to the Saxon kingdom of Mercia, an Abbey was founded in Repton, one of its most important settlements. It was ruled by an abbess and was open to both men and women.

YEAR of  874

Vikings - After a significant period of use, in which the Abbey witnessed the arrival of Saints Guthlac and Wystan, it was destroyed by ‘The Great Heathen Army’ of Vikings, who overwintered on the future site of the School.

YEAR of  1086

The Domesday Book suggests that Repton was settled by Danes. A new church, dedicated to St Wystan, was built on or near the site of the old Abbey.

YEAR of  1172

Augustinian Priory founded by Maud, the Countess of Chester, whose guesthouse stands today as ‘The Old Priory’ of the School.

YEAR of  1250

The Priory Gatehouse was built, of which the Southern arch survives as the entrance to the School.

YEAR of  1538

Henry VIII dissolution of the monasteries - Repton Priory was dissolved following a visitation and unfavourable report by two of his commissioners. The Priory estate was purchased (for less than £700) by Thomas Cromwell’s steward, Thomas Thacker and henceforth the Thackers became Lords of the Manor of Repton.

YEAR of  1557

Founding of Repton School - The death of Sir John Port, Knight and Member of Parliament. His will provided funds for the creation of a ‘Grammar School in Etwalle or Reptone’ and for the expenses of ‘poor scholars’. The executors (who included the Harpur family of Calke Abbey) purchased the remaining Priory buildings from the Thacker family for £37 to house the school, its master and its ‘usher’.

YEAR of  1621

The School receives a charter of incorporation from King James I. This is preserved with its case in the Undercroft. At this date, there were 300 scholars in the school, with many boarding in the Priory and as ‘Tablers’ in the village.

YEAR of  1768

The School took out a lease on the Hall (which had passed from the Thackers to the Burdetts in 1710) and thereafter it became the Headmaster’s place of residence.

YEAR of  1854

Dr Steuart Adolphus Pears (who had been a colleague of Arnold’s at Rugby) became Headmaster of Repton and transformed the School with a series of reforms and building projects, including The Chapel. On his arrival in 1854 there were only 49 boys, but at his departure this had expanded to over 260. He is rightly known as Second Founder of the School.

YEAR of  1866

The first issue of The Reptonian, the school’s annual magazine, was published.

YEAR of  1883-1900

Under the headmastership of William Mordaunt Furneaux many of Repton’s familiar buildings were constructed, including Pears School, The Chapter Block, the Sanatorium (now the Music School), The Porter’s Lodge and the red-brick classrooms overlooking the Paddock.

YEAR of  1901-1910

Headmaster Lionel Ford continued with the expansion of his predecessor, building a Science block, Gymnasium, Armory, Swimming Pool, Grubber, and a School Shop. There were significant improvements to the curriculum, great sporting successes, the establishment of the OR Society, and celebrations to mark the School’s 350th anniversary.

YEAR of  1922

The dedication of the Memorial Cross and Roll of Honour in The Garth. Four Repton headmasters were present that day - Geoffrey Fisher, William Temple, William Furneaux and Lionel Ford.

YEAR of  1938

‘Goodbye Mr Chips’ - Repton has served as a set for at least two films. The most famous of these was the MGM classic ‘Goodbye Mr Chips’ some of which was filmed at the School in August 1938 with Repton pupils as extras.

YEAR of  1944-1961

The Headmastership of Theodore Lynam Thomas saw an increase in numbers of pupils and a welcome boost to the quality of life at School, brought about by a programme of improvements to the boarding houses and the curriculum.

YEAR of  1947

Foremarke Hall (now Repton Prep) opened in 1940 with 8 boys, and was housed in both Cross and Latham before it moved to its permanent home at Foremarke Hall in September 1947.

YEAR of  1947, 1953 & 1957

Geoffrey Fisher (Repton Headmaster and Archbishop of Canterbury) officiated at the marriage of the Queen in 1947 and crowned the Queen at her coronation in 1953. 

As part of the celebrations of Repton School’s quartercentenary in 1957, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the School. They toured the buildings, had lunch with some of the boys, and planted two trees in the new precinct. 

YEAR of  1970

Repton becomes co-educational with the first two girls, Carole Blackshaw and Sally Keenan, joining the school roll in the Sixth Form.


YEAR of  2007

Repton School marks its 450th anniversary in 2007 with a royal visit from Prince Edward.


YEAR of  2007

Repton becomes one of the first British schools to establish an overseas branch with the opening of Repton Dubai. Over the next four years, three more Repton Schools were opened across the UAE.

YEAR of  2011

The award-winning 400 Hall Theatre was opened by actor Dominic West. The theatre was built in the horseshoe form developed for the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre at RADA. 

YEAR of  2013

The state-of-the-art Science Priory was opened by His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent. The Science Priory remains a hub of learning at Repton with its university-style lecture theatre, laboratories, observatory, and GreenPower racing car workshop.

YEAR of  2019

The Sports Centre was opened by Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty MBE showcasing a new sports hall, strength and conditioning suite, squash courts and conference and café facilities.

YEAR of  2020

Repton’s international outlook continued to grow with schools opening in China, Malaysia and Egypt. In September 2020, Foremarke Hall officially merged with Repton to become Repton Prep, allowing children access to the very best education from pre-prep through to Sixth Form.


Repton today is undoubtedly modern
in terms of practice and outlook. The School continues its strong educational vision whilst maintaining sector-leading pastoral care and producing rounded, culturally aware young adults. The Strategic Plan sets out Repton’s objectives for the next five years.






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