Page revised 28 May 2002




Within the independent sector of the British educational system are a number of schools which are members of the Headmasters' Conference which was founded in 1869. These schools, the number of which varies (14 in 1869; 125 in 1914; 242 in 2000) are known as public schools though, perversely, many of the best known are 'private' fee paying schools.

Many of the schools are of very early foundation. Shown below are just a few of the many school and college crests from the collection, mainly from the ranks of the lesser known: Eton is dealt with elsewhere and some of the better known establishments may receive attention in due course.

Rossall, Fleetwood, Lancashire, founded in 1844.   Felsted School, Essex, founded 1564 by Richard Lord Riche. A founder member of the Headmasters' Conference.
Bedford School, founded in 1552 by King Edward VI and endowed in 1566 by Sir William Harper.   Blundell's School, Tiverton, Devon, founded 1604 by the will of Peter Blundell. This crest is probably from a set.
Sherborne, Dorset, refounded in 1550 by King Edward VI.   Highgate School, London, founded 1565
Abingdon School, Berkshire, in existence in 1256. Refounded in 1563 by John Roysse.   Mill Hill School, London, founded in 1807 as a Protestant Dissenters' Grammar School.
Chigwell Grammar School, Essex, founded 1629 by Samuel Harsnett, Archbishop of York.   Bromsgrove School, Worcestershire, refounded 1553 by King Edward VI. A founder member of the Headmasters' Conference.
Durham School, refounded 1414 by Cardinal Langley and again in 1541 by King Henry VIII.   Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith, London, founded 1624 under the will of Edward Latymer.


The most amazing man in the public school movement must have been Nathaniel Woodard. Whilst still a curate he established his first public school, Lancing College, in 1848, and others followed until his death in 1891 when the work was taken on by the Woodard Corporation. By 1911 the group comprised thirteen schools, by 1984, thirtytwo and currently thirtynine! This grouping is represented here by the crests of Ardingly College, on the right, founded 1870, and Denstone College founded in 1873.


Letterheading of Bradfield College, Berkshire, a Victorian foundation.


Most of the public schools are in England, but a small number are to be found in other parts of the British Isles with others in the Commonwealth countries. Shown below are crests for Trinity College, Glenalmond, Scotland; St. Columba's College, Dublin, now Republic of Ireland; King William's College, Isle of Man; Coleraine Academical Institution, Northern Ireland; Victoria College, Jersey; and Fettes College, Edinburgh, Scotland.


St Peter's, York.

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or view the ETON CRESTS

Sevenoaks School, Kent.

The information on Woodard is drawn from English Public Schools by James McConnell.