Winchester College is one of the most renowned schools in the Commonwealth. This school is located in the City of Winchester which is in the United Kingdom. Winchester is in the County of Hampshire. Hampshire is on the southern coast of England. It is a very historic city. In the 9th century it was the capital. The royal treasury was held there for centuries afterwards.
Winchester College is for boys aged 13-18. The word ‘college’ can mean a secondary school in the UK.
William of Wykeham (pronounced WIK um) was a bishop in 14th century England. He was known as ‘of Wykeham’ because he came from the town of Wycombe (pronounced ‘WIK um’). A bishop is a high Christian religious leader. Well-educated people were almost all clergy (religious leaders) in those days.
Richard II was the king at the time. He decided to found a new school. He gave a charter to the school set up by William of Wykeham. The college was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The motto is ‘manners maketh the man.’ This is ‘manners make the man’ in modern English. Richard II founded New College, Oxford. Boys from Winchester would finish the school and go on to New College, Oxford to complete their education. Those who attended Winchester were called Wykehamists because of the founder.
There is a large chapel in Winchester College. This is because the purpose of the school was partly religious. The school mainly taught Latin and Ancient Greek. It was founded for poor scholars. However, soon wealthy boys were allowed to attend but had to pay fees. In time other subjects gained more importance such as Modern Languages, Science and Mathematics.
This school developed its own form of football. It was known as Winchester College Football. People call it Win Co Fu. Cricket and mainstream sports are popular there.
By the 18th century it was a very distinguished school. However, it did not have as much cachet at Eton and Harrow. Aristocratic families tended to have their sons at one of the duopoly or Westminster School. Moreover, Winchester was too far from London.
Only one Prime Minister attended Winchester. He was Joseph Addington. He was the son of a doctor. Physicians were not considered upper class back then. They had to touch patients and do unhygienic things. Addington went on to Brasenose College, Oxford. From there he was called to the bar. Addington was mocked for his father’s profession. He was eclipsed by Pitt the Younger who was a far more celebrated Prime Minister. There was some doggerel about him ‘Pitt is to Addington / As London is to Paddington.’
In the 19th century the college became known for producing senior civil servants by the dozen. Solicitors, accountants and solid but unimaginative people were said to attend Winchester. New College, Oxford started taking non-Wykehamists in the 1860s. Now there is not much of a connection between New and Winchester.
In the early 20th century some leading socialist intellectuals emerged from Winchester College. Among these were Tony Crosland and Stafford Cripps. They were Labour Party politicians.
John Betjeman wrote a ditty about Wykehamists ‘Broad of church and broad of mind/ Broad before and broad behind’.
Sir Oswald Moseley attended the college. He served with enormous heroism in the First World War. He was elected to Parliament aged 22. He then founded the British Union of Fascists. Moseley was imprisoned during the Second World War. Moseley was a hate figure for many. The college would prefer to forget that he ever attended.
In recent years the college has been short on star names. Geoffrey Howe was there. He was Deputy Prime Minister under Thatcher. There is one Hollywood actor who attended and that is your lot.
The school is exceedingly academic. It is not thought to be fabulous at sports or theatre. There are some Chinese pupils. This is a boys only school. Most pupils are boarders.
- Which country is Winchester in?
- Which county is Winchester in?
- When was Winchester the capital?
- Why was it important after the capital shifted to London?
- What is a bishop?
- Which bishop founded Winchester?
- Which king granted a charter to the college?
- What is Win Co Fu?
- In which century was the college founded?
- Are there boys at the school?
- What other subjects are studied there?
- Which Oxford college was connected to Winchester?
- Which prime minister went to Winchester?
- Name two Labour MPs who went there?
- Which fascist went there?
- Which deputy prime minister went there?
- How do you pronounced Wykeham?
- What is the motto of Winchester?
- Are there day pupils?
- Are there any Chinese there?’
- What is your opinion of this college?