Lancing College

Lancing College
(formerly College of St Mary and St Nicolas)
Motto 'Beati Mundo Corde'[1]
(Blessed are the pure in heart)[2]
Established 1848
Type Independent day and boarding
Religion Church of England
Head Master Dominic Oliver, MPhil
Chairman Dr Harry Brünjes
Founder Nathaniel Woodard
Location Lancing
West Sussex
BN15 0RW
DfE URN 126108 Tables
Students c.550
Gender Mixed
Ages 13–18
Houses 9

Blue and White

Publication The Quad; Lancing Life
Former pupils OLs
Affiliation Woodard Corporation

Lancing College is a co-educational English independent school in the British public school tradition, founded in 1848 by Nathaniel Woodard. Woodard's aim was to provide education "based on sound principle and sound knowledge, firmly grounded in the Christian faith." Lancing was the first of a family of more than 30 schools founded by Woodard (others include Hurstpierpoint College, Ardingly College, Bloxham School and Worksop College).

The school is based in 550 acres (2.2 km2) of countryside in West Sussex, east of Worthing near the village of Lancing, on the south coast of England. The college is situated on a hill which is part of the South Downs, and the campus dominates the local landscape. The college overlooks the River Adur and the Ladywell Stream, a holy well or sacred stream within the College grounds has pre-Christian significance.[3]

The school is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. Girls were first admitted in 1970. The school is dominated by a Gothic revival chapel, and follows a high church Anglican tradition. The College of St Mary and St Nicolas (as it was originally known) in Shoreham-by-Sea was intended for the sons of upper middle classes and professional men; in time this became Lancing College, moving to its present site in 1857.

The school's buildings of the 1850s were designed by the architect Richard Cromwell Carpenter, with later ones by John William Simpson.

Lancing educates c.550 pupils between the ages of 13 and 18; the co-educational ratio is c.60:40 boys to girls. Roughly 60% of pupils are boarders, at a cost of £32,910 per year; c.40% are day pupils, at a cost of £23,130 per year. Occasional overnight stays are available to day pupils at an additional cost.[4]

In 1998 Lancing commissioned the choral piece Triodion to mark its 150th anniversary. In 2003 it was one of fifty of the country's leading independent schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents, although the schools made clear that they had not realised that the change to the law (which had happened only a few months earlier) about the sharing of information had subsequently made it an offence.[5] 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 was shared.[6] Jean Scott, the head of the Independent Schools Council, said that independent schools had always been exempt from anti-cartel rules applied to business, were following a long-established procedure in sharing the information with each other, and that they were unaware of the change to the law (on which they had not been consulted).[7]


Main Article: Lancing College Chapel

The interior facing west
The interior facing east
The chapel viewed from the south east
The organ and stained glass

The foundation stone of the college chapel was laid in 1868, but the chapel itself was not finished in Woodard's lifetime. In fact, the chapel remains unfinished. It stands at about 50 metres (with foundations going down 20 metres into the ground), but the original plans called for a tower at the west end which would raise the height to 100 metres. The apex of the vaulting rises to 27.4 m (90 ft).[8] It was designed by R. H. Carpenter and William Slater, and is built of Sussex sandstone from Scaynes Hill.

The chapel was dedicated to St Mary and St Nicolas in 1911, although the college worshipped in the finished crypt from 1875. Inside can be found, amongst other things, the tomb of the founder, three organs, and a rose window designed by Stephen Dykes Bower, completed in 1977, and the largest rose window in England, being 32 ft in diameter. It is the largest school chapel in the world.[9]

The eastern organ is a two-manual mechanical organ built by the Danish firm Frobenius and was installed and voiced in situ in 1986. That year also marked the completion of the rebuild of the four-manual Walker organ at the west end of the chapel[10] - both of which were showcased in the opening concert by the American organ virtuoso, Carlo Curley.

A stained glass window was commissioned in memory of Trevor Huddleston OL, and consecrated by Desmond Tutu on 22 May 2007.

The chapel is open to the public.


During World War II, students were evacuated to Downton Castle in Herefordshire.[11] Both the main college and the prep school buildings were requistioned by the Admiralty and became part of the Royal Navy shore establishment HMS King Alfred.


Upper quadrangle view from Great School

In 1856 Lancing created its own code of football which (unlike other school codes) was regarded as a means of fostering teamwork.[12]

Notable alumni

The College Drive



Broadcasting, theatre and film

Politics and law

Diplomatic service


The Church

Armed forces




Notable former staff members

South West side of the College


Headmaster from 1909 to 1925 Henry Thomas Bowlby

See also


  1. Vulgate
  2. KJV
  3. Our Lady's Well (Lancing) [Ladywell Spring] Holy Well or Sacred Spring : The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map:
  4. Gray, Sadie. "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees - Times Online". The Times. London.
  5. OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement - The Office of Fair Trading Archived June 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. "Private schools send papers to fee-fixing inquiry". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2004-01-03. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
  7. "Visit Worthing - Lancing College Chapel". Visit Worthing. Retrieved 2014-06-22.
  8. Cities, Events, Accommodation & Attractions in South East England
  9. The History of the English Organ. Stephen Bicknell, Cambridge University Press, 1999
  10. Liberal England blog by Jonathan Calder - "Shropshire on the screen", July 12, 2005
  11. J. Lowerson and J. Myerscough, Time to Spare in Victorian England (Brighton: Harvester, 1977) pp 119-20, cited in Football: The First Hundred Years. The Untold Story. Adrian Harvey, Routledge, 2005
  12. Haddon, E. B. "Mr. J. H. Driberg". Obituary. Nature (journal). Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  13. Mitchell, Andy (2012). First Elevens: The Birth of International Football. Andy Mitchell Media. pp. 78 & 106. ISBN 978-1475206845.
  14. Sholto Marcon at, accessed 20 December 2011
  15. 'Dr. H. C. Stewart: Music at Oxford' (Obituary). The Times, Wednesday 17 June 1942 (Issue 49,264); p. 7
  16. Jean Stewart. Obituaries. The Independent. 17 January 2003.
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Coordinates: 50°50′47″N 00°18′15″W / 50.84639°N 0.30417°W / 50.84639; -0.30417

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