The Hospital of King James and Thomas Sutton in Charterhouse, or more simply
Charterhouse, is a collegiate independent boarding school between
Chiddingfold and Godalming in Surrey, England.
is among one of Britain's most famous schools alongside Eton,
Harrow, and Winchester.
Thomas Sutton in London in 1611 on
the site of the old Carthusian monastery
Square, Smithfield, it is one of the original nine great English
public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868.
Today pupils are still referred to as Carthusians, and ex-pupils as
The Good Schools Guide
described the school as a "Traditional public school with all the
trimmings," adding: "A class act from top to bottom."
1611 the London Charterhouse came into the hands of Thomas Sutton (1532-1611) of Snaith, Lincolnshire. He acquired a fortune by the discovery of
coal on two estates which he had leased near
Newcastle-on-Tyne, and afterwards, removing to London, he carried on
a commercial career.
In the year of his death, which took
place on the 12 December 1611
, he endowed a hospital on the site of the
Charterhouse, calling it the hospital of King James; and in his
will he bequeathed moneys to maintain a chapel, hospital (almshouse
) and school. The will was hotly
contested but upheld in court, and the foundation was finally
constituted to afford a home for eighty male pensioners (gentlemen
by descent and in poverty, soldiers that have borne arms by sea or
land, merchants decayed by piracy or shipwreck, or servants in
household to the King or Queens Majesty), and to educate forty
Charterhouse early established a reputation for excellence in
hospital care and treatment, thanks in part to Henry Levett
, M.D., an Oxford graduate who
joined the school as physician in 1712. Levett was widely esteemed
for his medical writings, including an early tract on the treatment
of smallpox. Levett was buried in Charterhouse Chapel, and his
widow remarried Andrew Tooke, the master of Charterhouse.
The school was moved to its present site in 1872 by the then
headmaster, the Reverend Dr Haig Brown — a decision influenced by
the findings of the Public Schools Commission of 1864.
The school bought a 68 acre (270,000 m²) site atop a hill just
outside Godalming. In addition to the main school buildings
(designed by architect Philip
), they constructed three boarding houses,
known as Saunderites (once the headmaster's house, pronounced
"sarnderites" rather than "sornderites"), Verites and Gownboys (for
scholars, who were entitled to wear gowns).
School arms including crest and motto, but uncoloured
As pupil numbers grew, other houses were built alongside the
approach road, now known as Charterhouse Hill. Each was titled with
an adaptation of the name of their first housemaster, such as
Weekites, Daviesites and Girdlestoneites. The last of these is
still referred to as Duckites, reflecting the unusual gait of its
original housemaster, even though he retired well over 100 years
ago. There are now the original four 'old' houses plus seven 'new'
houses, making eleven boarding houses in total. The eleven Houses
have preserved a unique identity (each
with its own tie and colours) and pupils compete against each other
in both sports and the arts.
The school continued to expand over the 20th century. Further land
was bought to the north and west, increasing the grounds to over
200 acres (809,000 m²), and a new school chapel
was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
(perhaps best known
for designing the red telephone
) and consecrated in 1927 to commemorate almost 700 pupils
who died in the First World War
it the largest war memorial in England. Around 350 names have been
subsequently added to commemorate those who died in the Second World War
and other conflicts of the
twentieth century. Pupils still attend a short chapel service there
six times a week. The school also keeps a small archives library
opposite the History block, where it is traditional for Fourths to
do an archives project about a particular Old Carthusian killed in
the First World War.
Charterhouse was all male until the 1970s when girls were first
admitted in the sixth form (the final two years), and this
continues to be the case today. Of over 300 sixth formers today,
almost a third are girls.
Google Maps recently marked Charterhouse
School as Bilton
Grange School, a preparatory school near Rugby,
The most significant addition to the campus was seven new Houses,
built in the 1970s, replacing late Victorian boarding houses which
were demolished in 1977. Other newer buildings include the Art
Studio, the John Derry Technology Centre, the Ben Travers
Theatre, the Ralph Vaughan Williams
the Halford Hewitt Golf Course, the Queen’s Sports Centre, the Sir
Greville Spratt athletics track and Chetwynd, a hall of residence
for girls. In 2003, the School renovated its onsite Library. 2006
saw the opening of The Beveridge Centre for the Social Sciences. In
2007 a new state of the art £3m Modern Languages building was
Today, pupils can take part in a wide range of sporting activities,
, rugby union
, water polo
, Golf and climbing
. The 2005 first XI football team also
performed extremely well, having an unbeaten season, barring a
solitary defeat in the ISFA Cup. Cricket also continues to flourish
and Charterhouse is famed for having one of the best batting tracks
in the South of England. The school produced one of England's
finest batsmen and captains in history, Peter May
The school first XI of the year 2006-7 managed to reach the ISFA
cup final, losing narrowly on penalties after a one all draw with
rivals Hampton. Also, one year later, the school first XI again
qualified for the ISFA cup final against rivals Millfield.
poor weather conditions, it was decided that the match would be
played on one of Charterhouse's pitches instead of the usual
Stadium or the replacement at Wokingham F.C.
The team won this match on penalties.
The school has a top 60 placing in the A
league tables, and over 76% of pupils are awarded an A*
or A grade at GCSE
. The school recently
announced its decision to switch from A
to the International
In 2005 the school was one of fifty of the country's leading
private schools which were found guilty of running an illegal
price-fixing cartel, exposed by The
Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of
£10,000 and all agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling three
million pounds into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended
the schools during the period in respect of which fee information
Martin Bicknell, the former Surrey and England seam bowler
joined the school as head of cricket following his retirement from
the sport in 2006.
There are three academic terms (known as Quarters
in the year,
- The Oration Quarter (OQ), from early September
to mid December.
- The Long Quarter (LQ), from mid January to
late March. It therefore traditionally had the distinction of being
the shortest third of the school year, despite its name.
- The Cricket Quarter (CQ), from late April to
late June or early July.
There are four old houses
and seven new
houses in White List (a directory of names) order. They are all
distinguished by the colour of the pupils' ties, umbrellas and
football team's stripes.
The four old houses are
- Saunderites - Orange (S), Housemaster: SPMA. Head of
- Verites - Light Blue (the tie also has broad grey/silver
stripes that make it look grey/silver overall - these were
supposedly added to distinguish it from a tie at another
school)(V), Housemaster: NH. Teaches French, German, Chinese and
- Gownboys - Dark Red (G), Housemaster: MLJB. Director of Choral
- Girdlestonites - Silver (g (not G, see Gownboys)), Housemaster:
BPT. Head of Modern Languages, teaches German and French.
The seven "new" houses (so-called because they are in more modern
(1970s) buildings, which replaced older (1870s) buildings, which
were mainly on the other side of the valley) are:
- Lockites - Light Green (L), Housemaster: AJ. Teaches
- Weekites - Light Red (W), Housemaster: PRS. Teaches
- Hodgsonites - Blue (H), Housemaster: DGW. Head of Brass.
- Daviesites - Dark Green (D), Housemaster: JFAT. Teaches
- Old Gold (B), Housemaster: JSH. Head of Business Studies.
- Pageites - Lilac (As distinguished from the pink in
the official school colours)(P), Housemaster: CJE. Teaches
- Robinites - Purple (R), Housemaster: STH. Teaches physics.
Verites, Saunderites and Gownboys houses predate the move to
Godalming in 1872. However, Girdlestoneites is now treated as one
of the "old houses" because it, along with Verites, Saunderites and
Gownboys, are the only houses still in their 1870s buildings, while
all the rest are in their 1970s replacements. Saunderites is named
after its first Housemaster Dr. Saunders (Headmaster 1832-53) and
it was the Headmaster's house, in that the headmaster would not
only run the school but one of the houses. Unfortunately the
dramatic increase in the size of the school and the increasing
difficulties in running such a school have meant that the
Headmaster can no longer do this. Gownboys was named not after
their original housemaster, but because it was the scholars' house,
although in practice most of them moved to Girdlestoneites on the
transfer to Godalming. As was tradition, scholars wore gowns with
their uniform and were treated as superior to other boys. That
tradition no longer obtains, and the scholars are now distributed
throughout the various houses, on a random but numerically equal
basis. There are still scholars in Gownboys, but in no greater
proportion than any other house.
Verites is a contraction of Oliverites (Oliver Walford, School
Usher 1838-55) and hence 'Verites' is pronounced as if the 'Ver' is
from Oliver not as from 'very'. The records of the house run back
to the start of the last century, but previously it was just called
'Boarders House No.2'. Girdlestonites' first housemaster was
Octavian Girdlestone, who was said to walk like a duck.
Girdlestonites has therefore been unofficially known as 'Duckites'
ever since, but since this was 'insulting' slang it was never
written down or used officially. This latter restriction has now
largely fallen by the wayside and even the school magazine uses
in print occasionally.
All new Houses apart from Bodeites are named after their founders
(although Robinites was originally Robinsonites). Bodeites was
originally Buissonites, named after the Head of Languages at the
time. He ran off with the matron, and so the house was renamed
Bodeites after the replacement, Mr Bode.. At the time of naming
this did lead to some confusion as some housemasters moved to
houses named after their colleagues.
Robinites was a 'passage house' when the school first moved to
Godalming, and boys stayed there for no more than two years until
they could be transferred to one of the other houses. It now has
normal status. There was also another passage house known as
Laleham, but this has ceased to exist.
All pupils belong to one of the 11 houses, and boarding boys will
sleep in their house. Charterhouse has traditionally had few day
boys: in the 1870s the statutes of the school limited them to 10
(excluding sons of masters) and even in the late 1980s the number
was only around 25 (some of whom were the sons of masters).
Boarding girls may sleep in halls of residence (e.g. Chetwynd)
which are not treated as a house (even as a new house, since many
of these halls are more modern than the so-called 'new'
Teachers belong to Brooke Hall
(the teachers' common room
was a temporary house opened in 1872 by Mr
Stewart, the writing and chemistry instructor from the old
Charterhouse. It was closed in 1878 and the pupils redisributed.
The building itself (on Peperharow Road) was bought by a
schoolmaster, and later used by the School as a sanatorium. It is
now masters' accommodation. Mr Stewart named the house because he
likened the valley of the River Wey (where the house lies) with the
valley of the river Usk.
The Memorial Chapel
Memorial Chapel, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
and consecrated in
1927, commemorates the Carthusians who died in action: 700 in
World War I
and 350 in World War II
. The whole School meets here five
days each week for a short service at 8:45 am, and on Sundays for
Evensong, Matins, or a School Eucharist. On Sundays, when there is
an Evening service, Roman
pupils may instead attend Mass in the Founder's
Chapel. Parents are welcome at Sunday services, but tickets are
required for Remembrance Sunday and the Carol Service.
Friday morning chapel is reserved for congregational singing
practice, and Wednesday morning chapel is voluntary. Attendance at
all other chapel services are compulsory, except where individual
exemptions are granted on religious grounds.
Chapel provides a variety of worship experience: hymn-singing;
Psalm chanting; the choir performs a repertoire of Church Music;
Candle-lit Carols; Eucharists in Millennium Chapel; Remembrance Sunday
with the sounding of
The Last Post and The Silence.
Each year there is a Confirmation Service in late January and
pupils from any year group except the Fourths (who hadn't been at
the school when it was open to sign up) can be prepared for
The school retains the old chapel used by the school prior to 1927.
However, when the school first moved to Godalming even this was not
built, and the pupils walked the 2 miles to Shackleford Church.
Pupils ever since have benefitted, because the time taken for the
walk ruled out the continuance of Sunday school, which ran from
10am to 10:30 on Sundays, which have remained a non-teaching day
The Lower School consists of the first three years of attendance at
Charterhouse, being the Fourth Form, the Removes and the Fifth Form
(GCSE year). Pupils in Lower School wear a weekday uniform
consisting of a white or blue shirt, house tie, grey trousers, blue
jumper, tweed jacket and leather shoes. Sunday dress consists of a
dark evening suit of pinstriped or plain design. A waistcoat is
optional. Variations include various society and school honours'
Transition from the Lower School to the Upper School occurs upon
successful completion of the GCSE exams (formerly known as
Boys in the underschool wearing School
Dress during 'Calling Over'
- Specialists ('The Upper School')
The Specialists (Lower and Upper Sixth Forms) constitute the last
two years of attendance at Charterhouse, and form the Upper School.
Having completed the GCSE exams successfully, 'First & Second
Year Specialists' (as they are colloquially referred) spend two
years studying for their 'A-Level' examinations, usually in three
subjects, although some students will read for four or five.
Specialists have their own variations on School Dress. Instead of a
tweed jacket, Specialists wear a navy blue blazer with gold or blue
buttons on the sleeves. Sunday dress remains the same as in the
Lower School. Historically, those in Gownboys were permitted to
wear gowns as a mark of their scholarly status, but this is no
longer permitted, as Gownboys is not the only house in which
scholars reside. Specialists may also wear pink shirts and silver
or nickel cuff-links.
Whether in Lower or Upper School, any pupil who has been awarded
his House or School 'Colours' for sport or culture, may wear his
'Colours' tie in place of his house tie. School monitors may also
wear their monitor tie instead of a house tie, if they so choose.
For further on this, please see below, under "School
During Cricket Quarter, the school uniform can vary slightly from
that of the two preceding terms. Boys may wear cravats in house colours
instead of ties and are permitted to wear straw Boaters similar to
the 'Harrow Hat' found at Harrow School, but these are almost never worn by the majority of
Boys in the Under School may also wear navy blazers
similar to those worn by the Specialists. As well as these
variations, boys may roll up their sleeves in hashes unless asked
not to by a beak.
Members of the 1st XI Cricket Team have their own variation on
summer dress which is described later in the article.
School Honours is the Colours system rewarding pupils in various
fields with variations on school dress. They are as follows
House Colours - House colours are a variation on the house tie.
Colours awarded for house sport prowess have thicker stripes in the
House colour, whereas those awarded for cultural prowess have thin
School Colours - School colours are awarded for services to School
sport, culture and other areas deemed worthy. They all have a
similar design and are covered in Sutton's Crests (The crest of
Thomas Sutton). However, they come in varying colours:
The Head of School: The Head of School (head boy) is permitted to
wear a Pink tie ordained with Sutton Crests, sometimes reversed.1st
XI Major Sports: Members of the 1st Team in major school sports
(Football, Hockey and Cricket) are permitted to wear Maroon
ties.Minor Sports: Holders of colours in Minor Sports are permitted
to wear a silver tie covered in Sutton Hospital
Crests.Academic/Scholars: Holders of Academic or Scholars colours
are permitted to wear a Cambridge
tie or bow tie with Sutton Crests.Culture: Those deemed
worthy enough in cultural fields are permitted to wear a purple
tie.Service: Brown ties are awarded for commendable service to the
school community. Most frequently they are awarded by the CCF
1st XI Cricket
Members of the 1st XI Cricket team are permitted to wear Pink
Blazers with Sutton's Crest on the front pocket to Hashes on match
days (usually Saturdays).
Ever year a few Carthusians are given Greyhound awards for
outstanding service to the school. Those awarded the prize are
permitted to wear a navy blue tie with rampant gold
One of the traditions in Charterhouse is the singing of school
songs. In the vein of the "Eton Boating Song", many were written by
teachers such as William Haig Brown and Old Carthusians such as
Ralph Vaughan Williams
. It is
the tradition to sing Jerusalem
the last Chapel service of term. C.V. Stanford's setting of the
is sung the most
throughout the year.
March around Green at the end of
Bagpipe Players on Leavers Day
Carthusian Day is the main social event of the school calendar. It
is held on day preceding the Exeat
in CQ and
Sunday dress is worn. The day is intended for the Old Carthusians
and the parents of Carthusians to visit the school. Speeches are
made and Sports events played: including the annual Football,
Cricket and Gold matches between Carthusians and Old Carthusians.
It also gives parents the chance to see their sons' and daughters'
work (such as the traditional Archives project done by Fourths on
old Carthusians killed in World War I)
Founder's Day is celebrated every year to commemorate the founding
of the school and to thank the founder and benefactor Thomas
Sutton. It is considered one of the most important days of the year
and is held on the last day of OQ. The day consists of 'clearing
up' in houses before 'Founders Feast', a large feast for the whole
school where Black Tie
is worn. The feast
is followed by games and activities.
St. Andrew's Day is celebrated by an annual ball hosted by the
historical 'Scottish Dancing society. On St. Andrews Day pupils are
permitted to wear traditional Scottish dress including a Kilt
and a Sporran
'The 50 Mile Walk' is an annual event for the 1st Year specialists
held at the end of CQ. It consists of walking a stretch from
Brighton to the Brooke Hall arch and taking regular Hashes the next
day. The March originates from the 1950s when the American Navy
SEALs challenged the School, saying that only they could walk and
go to work the next day. Those who complete the walk in less than
24 Hours are awarded a special '50' tie, which until 2006 consisted
of a navy blue tie with the school crest that has a '50' written
below it. The current tie is a thickly striped affair in Pink (for
the school), Green (for the countryside) and Blue (for the
Leavers Day is the last day of CQ when the Second Year Specialists
come to the end of their school careers. After the Leavers Chapel,
the entire school does 2 lap around 'Green' while several men
dressed in Scottish traditional Scottish dress play the bagpipes.
The leaving Second Year Specialists do an extra lap signifying
their loyalty to the school.
'Lack of Talent' is an annual show of Carthusian musical talent and
sketches run entirely by pupils and held in the BTT during the
start of LQ. It is usually hosted by a two second year Specialists
and acts are selected by a panel of pupils in the Second Year
Specialists. Such acts are predominantly music based, however
comedy sketches have become increasingly popular (as they were a
large part of the original Lack of Talent in 2000) with many of the
staff looking forward to the Brooke Hall parody sketch that has
become a regular feature. It is one of the few productions in the
school's theatre that students and visitors have to pay a fee to
see, originally with the concept this would go to global, less
obvious charities and raise peoples awareness of their
Monitors are chosen pupils who are deemed to have the best
qualities in leadership and achievement. Each house has at least
one monitor, who is appointed Head of House (the most senior pupil
in house). On a school-wide level one monitor is appointed the Head
of School, and a deputy is appointed to assist. Monitors may wear
Navy blue ties and Navy scarves with an embroidered crest. Monitors
are also permitted to ride bikes to and from hashes as well as out
of Hash time.
The Essay Soc
The Headmaster's Essay Society, also known as the 'House Apostles'
is a historical society of twelve elite Carthusians deemed to be
the most intellectual in the school. They are invited by the
Headmaster to present papers on chosen subjects on Monday evenings
and meetings are held in the Headmaster's House. All members wear
Academic ties or
In the traditional ceremony of Calling Over, the form master
presents his class to the Master of the Under School, who praises
those who have shown good effort, and encourages the less
hard-working to greater endeavour. Specialists are also awarded
regular grades for attainment and effort, which are scrutinised by
the Master of the Specialists. Parents receive detailed reports at
the end of each Quarter, and have a formal opportunity to meet
their son’s or daughter’s teachers every year to discuss progress.
The Higher Education and Careers Department provides guidance and
training throughout the process of selecting and applying to
Origins of Football
Charterhouse has an historic joint claim to having founded Association Football
, which remains the
main Winter sport at the school. During the 1840s at both Charterhouse and
School pupils' surroundings meant they were confined to
playing their football in the cloisters,
making the rough and tumble of the handling game that was
developing at other schools such as Rugby impossible,
and necessitating a new code of rules.
formulation of the rules of the Association Football
in the 1860s
representatives of Charterhouse and Westminster School pushed for a
passing game, in particular rules that allowed forward passing
("passing on"). Other schools (in particular Eton College, Shrewsbury School and Harrow) favoured a
dribbling game with a tight off-side rule.
By 1867 the Football Association
in favour of the Charterhouse and Westminster game and adopted a
"loose" off-side rule that permitted forward passing. The modern
forward-passing game was a direct consequence of Charterhouse and
In the early years of the FA Cup
formed of ex-pupils from these schools dominated the competition.
(the name for the team composed of
Charterhouse alumni) won the cup in the 1880/81 season, beating the
Old Etonians in the final, and were semi-finalists in the two years
that followed. The public school system also provided many of the
first England internationals. They included Charles Wreford-Brown
, who is often
credited for inventing the word "soccer
was a pupil at Charterhouse in the early 1880s, and played football
for the Old Carthusians and for the national side in the 1890s,
including several appearances as captain.
During the past few years, Charterhouse has performed well in the
ISFA cup. In 2007, Charterhouse were runners-up but in 2008 they
were able to beat Millfield and win the cup.
Notable Old Carthusians
Former pupils are referred to as Old Carthusians, and current
pupils as Carthusians.
Victoria Cross holders
Three Old Carthusians have won the Victoria Cross