Lindisfarne College – A Brief History 1891-1991

A long read - By L. Roy Jones

Origins

“Lindisfarne” is the name of the largest island in the Farne group off the coast of Northumberland, sometimes called Holy Island. It is also the name of one of Her Majesty’s fighting ships and of a pop group. It was the first of these which prompted Robert William Grace to call the school he founded in Southend-on-Sea in Essex, “Lindisfarne.” Near to Westcliff, at Bradwell-on-Sea, the Romans had built the fort of Othona. When the Roman Empire began to disintegrate and the tide of Roman occupation ebbed, the fort became the centre of a village known as Ythancesmir, the name which Bede used when referring to it in his Ecclesiastical History. To this community came Cedd in 653 AD with a small group of fellow Christians who had been taught and trained at the monastery school on Lindisfarne Island, most of them from boyhood. Cedd came as a missionary and apostle to the East Saxons at the invitation of King Sigbert. After sailing down the east cost Cedd landed at the same quay which the Romans had used in the third century. Here Cedd built a chapel dedicated to St. Peter using the stones and tiles from the Roman fort. Built across the firm foundation of the Roman wall and the main gateway, it became known as St. Peter’s-on-the-Wall. St. Cedd, regarded today as the Patron Saint of Essex, was consecrated Bishop of the East Saxons in 654 AD and the chapel became his cathedral, the earliest cathedral in England. The chapel was restored and re-dedicated in 1920 and since then it has been a place of pilgrimage for many Christians.

It was Robert Grace’s interest in this old chapel which stimulated his interest in Lindisfarne, which in turn inspired him to name his school Lindisfarne. He hoped that just as St. Cedd and his fellow had gone out from Lindisfarne Island and had brought Christianity to East Anglia, so his Lindisfarne would produce young men of principle and vision who would go out into the world carrying them knowledge of sound spiritual values.

The Founder

Robert Grace was born in Wakefield in Yorkshire in 1861, the third child and eldest son of William Grace, a bank manager. The Grace family was of Norman-Irish extraction and was originally called Le Gros but it is safe to assume that this was soon changed to Grace, the family preferring to be thought of as gracious rather than fat. Robert Grace was one of eight children. He was not a strong child, indeed ill health dogged him all his life. He became articled to a solicitor but his health failed. He took up the piano and organ, thus laying the foundation of his lifelong interest in music. Further illness compelled him to rest for three years, after which he joined the staff of his father’s bank. He remained but a short time and was then sent to Canada for rest and change. Eventually he returned to England and qualified as an accountant. However, his doctor advised him that if his health were not to deteriorate still further, he should turn to a less demanding profession such as school mastering!

Robert Grace at his desk

In the second half of the nineteenth century many philanthropic men and women were founding small private schools providing the secondary education which the state had not yet to undertake. In January 1889 Robert Grace began to tutor two or three boys at his home in London Road and then at Avenue Road, South-on-Sea. It was in Avenue Road that Lindisfarne College was founded in the autumn of 1891. In 1904 Grace purchased larger premises in Valkyrie Road in nearby Westcliff which were to be the school’s home for the next thirty-five years.

Somewhere in the annals of the Grace family there was a motto which Robert Grace decided would be his school’s motto: CONCORDANT NOMINE FACTA, ‘our deeds are in accord with our name.’ He did not intend this to be a pious hope. Concordant is in the indicative and not the subjunctive case. Obviously the motto implied that all members of the Grace family were to be gracious and clearly he intended that Lindisfarne should be friendly, courteous, polite, benevolent, loving, and kindly and gentle, for this is what ‘gracious’ means. But for Robert Grace and his school these words would have another significance. It was the Founder’s hope that the deeds and lives of those who passed through Lindisfarne College would accord with the name Lindisfarne and all that that implied. Throughout the twenty-nine years he controlled Lindisfarne College he owed much to his wife, formerly a Miss Locke of Aylesbury. Together they owned and ran the school. There were no governors. The school’s regime was tough and the education offered was narrow by today’s standards. Very little science was taught and much had to be learnt by heart. There was no library and too little artistic or creative work other than music. Unusually for a school in those days there was a splendid salt water swimming pool. It was a popular venue but since it lacked a filter plant it tended to get increasingly murky as the term progressed. Robert Grace was keen to stimulate an interest in literature, music and art. He was earnest in his Christian beliefs and the Sunday evening service became an outstanding feature in the life of the college. At these Services Mr. Grace could speak of great thinkers and writers as examples of Christianity in action. Music played an important part in his own life and in the life of the school. He erected an organ in the school hall and he established a school orchestra. The bearded, kindly Mr. Robinson – Robby – played the organ and conducted the orchestra. He taught history and was respected and loved by everyone.

Mr. & Mrs. Grace in their garden in Paignton

Mr. Grace’s interests extended beyond the school. He lectured in Westcliff and Southend, mostly on literary subjects, Browning being a favourite topic. He was active in the Westcliff Ratepayers’ Association. He was Chairman of the Finance Committee of Victoria Hospital and in January, 1914 was appointed a Justice of the Peace. Robert Grace retired in August, 1920 and he and Mrs. Grace went to live in Paignton. In June, 1925, he died in his beautiful garden overlooking the blue waters of Torbay. One of his former pupils wrote of him:

“He towered above us; all loved him, but also feared. Did he not know all our little weaknesses? … His industry was remarkable. No scamped work was given or taken. He expected our best, he gave his. His religion was deep-rooted, penetrating every fibre. In him daily we saw the Christ learning to despise all things mean and cowardly. His righteous anger at any sneak or lie exposed, or cribbing, was great, and called to mind the money-changers’ tables overturned.

Ever seeking truth, he taught us to dig deep – it meant work, and work well done brought as reward – more work.

Poet, artist, musician as he was, his Sunday evening services would not fail to impress us. Perhaps there, more than elsewhere, he lifted us nearer his own spiritual level. One feels Anthony’s words apply to him: “Here was a Caesar. Whence comes such another?”

(J. G. Brown)

Westcliff After Grace

Mr. A. E. C. Saunders

When Robert Grace retired he handed over the running of the school to Mr. A.E.C. Saunders, a businessman and prominent Rotarian and Mr. M.S. Gotch, a qualified schoolmaster. The inspirational leadership of the Grace years disappeared. Ownership of the school soon passed to Saunders, his partnership with Gotch lasting only a year. It was rumoured that the partners could not get on. The twenties were prosperous times for boarding schools and the size of the school rapidly grew to over 300 of whom 90 were boarders. Despite this growth and the school’s increasing prosperity the only new building to appear was the library, erected next to the dining room. Undoubtedly the most notable event during the Saunders regime was the arrival on the staff of J.C. McPhail. ‘Mac’ as he was known, joined Lindisfarne to teach English in 1924. He was a gifted teacher, a fine athelete (he was a referee for all throwing events in the 1948 Olympics in London) and soccer player. He was also a brilliant and very original preacher to boys and successfully revived the Founder’s Sunday evenings.

Mr. & Mrs. M. S. Gotch

In 1928 Saunders died and Mrs. Saunders persuaded Mervyn Gotch to return as Headmaster. Educated at Bedales and Trinity College, Cambridge, he was seriously wounded in the head in the First World War and wore a permanent metal headplate but he continued to climb, play games, drive and fly. He was a powerfully built man, full of energy and resolution but gentle, patient and considerate. In 1929 Gotch bought the goodwill of the school though Mrs. Saunders retained ownership of the property. The American slump and the Wall Street collapse, with its inevitable repercussions in Europe, had a disastrous effect on independent schools and the number of pupils declined. Sadly Gotch’s deteriorating health and his serious accident on the Southend Road meant that from 1929 to 1931 the Headmaster was rarely present. Fortunately J.C. McPhail kept the school together. In 1932 Mervyn Gotch resigned and once more Mrs. Saunders had to find a new Headmaster.

Edward Daws

The new Headmaster was Edward Whitfield Daws, an old boy of the school who commenced his duties at the beginning of the summer term in 1932. A history graduate of London University, he came to Lindisfarne from Clayesmore where he had been second master under Aubrey de Selincourt. Previously he had occupied a similar position in Bembridge under the famous J.H. Whitehouse. There he had taught several members of the Foot family, but not Michael, the left Foot of the family. It was largely due to the efforts of Wilfred Grace, nephew of the Founder, that Edward Daws was appointed. His first achievement was to get the school out of private hands. This was accomplished only after difficult and long drawn out negotiations with Mrs. Saunders and with the help of the bank and 33 guarantors. A governing body was formed under the chairmanship of Wilfred Grace and these new arrangements were announced at the first Speech Day in 1933 when the speaker was the Rt. Hon. Isaac Foot, later Lord Foot. Interestingly his son, the present Lord Foot, was guest speaker on Commemoration Day in 1970. The years 1932 to 1939 were to see Lindisfarne develop into one of the most respected schools in Essex. Although largely a day school – on average there were up to 180 day boys and 60 boarders – it became a happy, closely knit but certainly not a self-centred community. That this was so was due entirely to the kindly influence and undoubted business acumen of ‘Dorrie’ – the name by which Edward Daws was universally known – his wife Jean, affectionately known as the ‘Rook’. Jean Daws made an enormous contribution to Dorrie’s success. The daughter of a Black Country doctor named Mitchell she was educated at St. Leonard’s School in Fife and at Lausanne University and was also a trained secretary. Jean was a strict disciplinarian and meeting her for the first time could be a frightening experience for boys and for staff. But she had a gentler side and many old boys have every reason to be grateful to her for her compassion and help.

Mr. & Mrs. E. W. Daws

It is not surprising that Lindisfarne under Dorrie, an old boy of the school, began to resemble in many ways the school that Robert Grace had founded. Dorrie was a fine preacher to boys and Sunday evenings soon assumed the importance they had had in Grace’s days. Lindisfarne established a reputation in Essex for its cricket (thanks largely to ‘Doc’ Young the former Essex and England cricketer who coached the boys), its football, its drama productions and its old boys’ concerts in Westcliff, organised and produced by the much loved Charlie Wood. Charles Thomson, later to become a school governor, had been an outstanding soccer player at Lindisfarne in the twenties and was prominent in the old boys’ team which had an impressive fixture list including games against the school.

‘Dorrie’ at his desk

When Hitler came to power many boys, refugees from Nazi atrocities, came to schools in this country and several came to Lindisfarne. The loyalty and devotion of the Westcliff boys is shown by the many who subsequently became governors of the school. Three of them, Peter Marriner, Geoffrey Noble, and Pat Laurance, became in turn chairman of the governing body.

Evacuation

When war was declared in September, 1939, most people imagined that invasion was imminent and east coast schools were moved inland. Whole families moved out including many Lindisfarne pupils. Few day boys were left. A much depleted school moved to Creeksea Place two miles from Burnham-on-Crouch. This could only be a temporary home for although the setting was idyllic the house had neither gas nor electricity.

In June, 1940 the remnants of the school moved to Newburgh Priory on the outskirts of the village of Coxwold in Yorkshire where they amalgamated with another 32 boys, remnants of Pannal Ash School from Harrogate. For a while the school became known as Newburgh Priory and Lindisfarne School.

A small number of day pupils had been left behind at Westcliff in two houses in Anerley Road under the care of Ben Vincent. He and his wife were outstanding teachers. Vincent was a Quaker and a life-long friend of Dorrie, both being avid chess players of county standard. Some of these pupils now moved to Newburgh and the Vincents moved elsewhere. Subsequently Ben Vincent served on the governing body.

Newburgh

Newburgh Priory, Coxwold

Most of Newburgh Priory had been built by the historian, William of Newburgh, in the 13th century although parts dated back to the 12th century. It had belonged to the Earl of Fauconberg who had married Mary Cromwell, the Protector’s daughter. After the Restoration in 1660 Fauconberg became Charles II’s ambassador in Paris and persuaded Charles to allow him to bury Cromwell’s remains (minus the skull) in the Priory, where they were interred in a stone vault at the top of a steep staircase, never to be opened. In the early 19th century Newburgh became the home of the Peel family. Robert Peel, as Home Secretary, had organised the London Police Force and was also responsible for the repeal of the Corn Laws. When the school leased the premises in 1940 it was owned by the Wombwells. Captain Wombwell, who lived nearby, had inherited the Priory from his uncle, Sir George Wombwell. Sir George had been an avid collector of works of art from the Continent, particularly Italy and from nearer home. Understandably all these, including paintings by Van Dyck, Lely and Kneller, Gobelin tapestries from Italy and rare items of furniture such as a magnificent four-poster bed which Jean and Dorrie shared for a few months, were soon moved out to places of safety. Wombwell himself was a connoisseur of art and no mean artist. He was persuaded to teach art for two or three years.

The Newburgh years saw Lindisfarne develop into a mainly boarding school. The Priory was to be the school’s home throughout the war years and beyond until January, 1950, when it moved to Wynnstay. Newburgh was a ideal place for boys to spend the war years. Half a mile to the north west was the village of Coxwold, a small, sleepy, attractive place. The millstone grit houses and cottages face each other across the broad main street which is flanked by grass verges on either side. Here too is the only pub, the Fauconberg Arms. At the far end of the village, on the Kilburn Road, is Shandy Hall, home of the 18th century author Laurence Sterne. Unfortunately the Priory had many structural defects. The roof leaked and repairs were not easily undertaken in wartime. Heavy snowfalls were not uncommon and when the accumulation on the roofs melted, buckets, tin baths and mops were much in evidence and in the ‘great snow’ of 1946/47 two dormitories had to be evacuated. The redoubtable Harold Simpson, who joined the staff at the end of the war in 1946 as art master, was invaluable in emergencies such as these.

The Priory had an old chapel. This was soon partially restored and was then consecrated by William Temple, the Archbishop of York, later to become one of the most outstanding Archbishops of Canterbury.

Some two miles from the school was a lake, Pond Road, which was used by good swimmers when properly supervised, though too deep and dangerous for non-swimmers. It was at Newburgh that Lindisfarne became a rugby school since none of the neighbouring schools, which included Ampleforth, played soccer. Lindisfarne’s ability and reputation in this game owed much to the French Master, Charles Bendall, who had played in England trials and later to Gerry Cochrane who had played for Scotland and Yorkshire. The ageing ‘Doc’ Young came up to prepare the cricket wicket but was unable to continue coaching. Later he was to prepare the wicket on the bottom pitch at Wynnstay. A feature of life at Newburgh was the exploration of the magnificent countryside around. To the North lay the Yorkshire Moors and on warm sunny days or on crisp, frosty mornings Dorrie would lead the school to the White Horse on the Hambledon Hills above Kilburn or to Rievaulx Abbey above Helmsley.

Academic standards were not easy to maintain in wartime. Young staff were impossible to obtain as more and more men were required for the forces. Textbooks and equipment were difficult to come by. Chalk and talk had to be supplemented with laboriously produced cyclostyled notes. Syllabuses remained static and science particularly suffered. Fortunately the school attracted a fair number of able pupils and most of these were encouraged and helped into universities and professions.

One of the problem which all boarding school faced in wartime was food rationing. Growing boys have healthy appetites and although no one went hungry they were without doubt more susceptible to epidemics. Clothes rationing also presented problems. It was a time of stress in more ways than one. News would arrive of old boys or fathers killed in action or sometimes of parents lost when passenger liners were torpedoed. Senior boys left to join the forces either as volunteers or as conscripts to do National Service. It was to help such boys that an Army Cadet force was formed in 1941, run by an Irish member of the staff named Lannigan and later by Harold Simpson.

After the Great War a memorial to old boys who had given their lives for their country was erected outside the school in Valkyrie Road. It was moved to the grounds of St. Saviour’s Church in Westcliff when Lindisfarne finally departed from Essex and the names of those who had lost their lives in the Second World War were added later. A total of 105 names, 55 from the First World War and 50 from World War II are engraved on white marble. They are also recorded on a tablet in the chapel at Wynnstay which was presented by Reg Perham and his three sons, all old boys of the school. It is hoped to move the memorial from Westcliff to Wynnstay during Centenary Year.

In 1947 it became clear that the school would have to seek a permanent home. Captain Wombwell waivered on whether he would allow the school to remain and build additional premises or would call in the lease. Although the school was small, no more than 120 boys, most of whom were boarders, it was hoped that there would be rapid expansion in the immediate post-war period. It would have been impossible to return to Westcliff where the buildings were unsuitable for boarding and in any case the buildings had been sold. The school was no longer in debt to the bank but apart from items of school furniture and equipment, owned no property. Clearly money had to be raised somehow and suitable premises had to be found. In 1949 Wynnstay in North Wales in the county of Denbigh, the home of the Watkin Williams Wynn family, was advertised in the Times for £​20,000 pounds. This seemed to Dorrie an attractive proposition.

Wynnstay 1950

For over two centuries a Sir Watkin Williams Wynn had lived at Wynnstay. The family had owned extensive estates in North Wales and, as recently as the beginning of the 20th century, Sir Watkin could boast that he could ride on horseback from Wynnstay to Snowdonia without straying off his lands. Members of the family had been leading figures in the public life of the Principality for many years. Denbighshire was represented in Parliament by each Sir Watkin until 1885-86. At least one Sir Watkin was known as the ‘Prince of Wales’. It is thought that the old name of the original house was Wattstay (or Watsstay). It was changed to Wynnstay by the first Wynn to come into possession, Sir John Wynn. Upon his death in 1719 he left his estate to his grandson, Sir William Williams, the clever but not very scrupulous lawyer who prosecuted the seven bishops in the reign of James II.

He married the daughter and heiress of Watkin Kyffin of Glascoed near Oswestry, thus perpetuating the names ‘Watkin’ ‘Williams’ and ‘Wynn’.

Alas the property had been badly neglected and its restoration and upkeep required the expenditure of large sums of money, which probably explains why Sir Watkin was keen to sell it off. The Royal Engineers’ map making division had occupied a large part of it during the Second World War and had found it necessary to install a drainage system leading to a small sewage plant to the east from which water could drain to the Dee. This system is still in operation fifty years later. Wynnstay had only one bath, not all the building was served by electric light and there was virtually no central heating. During the final year of the army occupation a fire had almost completely gutted the interior of the east wing of the old stable block (now occupied by the dining hall). This was the second fire to affect Wynnstay. The first, far more serious, had destroyed the main hall, an attractive Georgian structure, in 1858, leaving only the stable block, the jewel tower and the extensive cellars. The new hall was built in the style of a French chateau. This rambling, neglected structure was to prove costly to restore and convert into a boarding school and its maintenance has been a constant strain on the finances of the school ever since. Negotiations finally fixed the price at £​17,000. The electricity fittings cost £​3,500 and the drainage £​1,000. The interior of the building was painted at a cost of £​700. The move from Newburgh cost over £​500. The total cost to the school was £​22,500 — probably £​450,000 in today’s money. The money was found through the Birmingham Building Society with a loan of £​18,000 at 4%. An army of electricians, plumbers, builders and painters devoted most of 1949 to getting the building ready and the school finally opened at Wynnstay in January 1950.

Lindisfarne In Wales

Dorrie’s Wynnstay

The early fifties at Wynnstay were years of financial difficulty. The purchase of the Hall, the cost of equipping and refurbishing it and the expense of the move from Yorkshire presented serious problems when the only source of income was school fees. Fewer than 150 boys, but all of them boarders, came with the school to North Wales. The task that faced Dorrie was enormous but it was the sort of challenge that he relished. Hadn’t he like Abraham, led ‘his people’ from Westcliff to Newburgh and on to Wynnstay, in days of peace and in times of war? He had an uncanny business sense. When the builders informed him that the lead on many of the outbuildings was in a parlous state he had it stripped off and sold at the high prices lead was fetching in those days. Ruabon roof tiles replaced it. Fortunately two of Sir Watkin’s gardeners remained behind for a few years and tomatoes, vegetables and strawberries were grown in the extensive gardens and apples from the orchard were carefully stored. Taking advantage of a government subsidy, a large field was ploughed and planted with potatoes. Grapes still grew in the greenhouse and each summer Dorrie would present every member of staff with a large bunch. Alas, the quality deteriorated, the gardeners departed, the greenhouse fell into decay and the school’s market gardening had to cease. Numbers steadily increased. By 1963 there were 300 pupils, most of whom were boarders. By 1957 the debt had been paid off and the school began to make a profit so that improvements could be embarked upon.

Lindisfarne College, Wynnstay

The Wynn chapel is situated in the Pleasure Gardens, which were the creation of “Capability” Brown. The chapel was an 18th century building of considerable charm but in urgent need of repair. This was undertaken in 1950 at a cost of around £300 and was dedicated by the Bishop of St. Asaph in November of that year. The Sunday evening service in the chapel was a unique experience. Everybody, boys and staff, was expected to attend. Dorrie’s address was invariably elevating and who forget his prayers at the altar in the candlelight after the main lights had been turned off by the duty prefect?

Undoubtedly Wynnstay’s greatest asset was the grounds, nearly 150 acres of parkland looking out westward towards the Berwyn Mountains, Ruabon Mountain at the southern end of the Clwydian Range and the entrance to the Vale of Llangollen, across an attractive ten acre lake. Although the lake was unsuitable for swimming full use was made of it for canoeing, fishing and skating when the winter months were cold enough and in the sixties John Williams used it for the school sailing club until Canadian pond weed took a hold. Dorrie obtained permission from the Wynnstay Estate to dam the river Afon Eitha which runs in a narrow, steep-sided valley to the west of the school and then joins the Dee. This provided a splendid pool, the cold water not seeming to deter the boys, nor indeed the boys and girls from the village. Afon Eitha proved unpronounceable for Dorrie and most of the pupils so it became known as the Chine, the word used in the Isle of Wight for a deep, narrow ravine. ‘Doc’ Young came up in the spring of 1950 and laid the cricket pitch on the bottom field. Close by the stable block was a single storey building which had been the Estate Office. Eventually this was converted into a staff house though part of it was subsequently used as the school tuck shop for a number of years, with Isobel Cochrane in charge. In 1956 the west wing of the stable block was restored and refurbished thus providing two large laboratories for chemistry and physics and a smaller one for biology. The area above was converted into two dormitories and a staff flat.

In the same year Dorrie suffered a slight stroke and although he made a complete recovery he was laid up for almost a year. Harold Simpson managed the school in his absence.

In 1957 two hard tennis courts were constructed, one by a firm of builders and the second by Harold Simpson and a group of boys. They also built a cricket pavilion alongside the cricket square. The fish were removed from the lake which was then drained and cleared of weed and mud by a Wolverhampton firm using two remarkable old steam engines, one on either side of the lake, dragging two large buckets to and fro. The field alongside was levelled to provide a cricket square and two rugby pitches. Unfortunately the drainage system installed was inadequate and the field becomes very soft in wet weather.

In 1958 work commenced on the restoration of the burnt out east wing of the stable block and on the conversion of the north wing into a theatre/gymnasium. This was named after David Garrick who had been a frequent visitor to Wynnstay in the 18th century and had appeared on the stage of Sir Watkin’s private theatre.

In 1959 the rebuilding of the east wing of the stable block, reduced to a burnt-out shell during the army occupation, was completed and this provided a spacious dining hall and well-equipped kitchen at ground level and above, new dormitories, a linen room and staff quarters. Catering was now in the hands of an outside contractor.

In 1960 the open air, heated, filtered swimming pool was completed in the walled garden where the greenhouses had been. The situation was ideal in that it was a sun trap in summer and it immediately became immensely popular, as it has been ever since. In the following year the area now occupied by Aidan House was built as a study area for senior boys, replacing the scattered common rooms variously named the Salisbury Club, the Cumberland, the Georgian Club, the Six Club and Wombwell.

As a result of the success of the School Army cadet detachment at Bisly in 1961 army presented the school with an indoor .22 rifle range which was erected in one of the walled gardens and officially opened in 1962. Dorrie’s last work of restoration, the conversion of the building alongside the chapel into a Scout headquarters, was completed in the summer of 1963. Subsequently it was to be converted into a music school and more recently into classrooms.

Dorrie began to attract a well-qualified and efficient staff, several of whom were to remain at the school for many years. In 1951 he invited the Oxford and Cambridge Examination Board to inspect the school as a prelude to a full inspection by the Ministry of Education as it was then. The first took place in the spring term and the latter in November of the same year. Both highlighted strengths and weaknesses as all such reports inevitably do. Most of the reconstruction of the fifties came as a result of their recommendations. The provision of new laboratories and additional staff strengthened science teaching throughout the school. In 1952 GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels replace the old School and Higher Certificates and staff had to adapt their teaching to new syllabuses.

Unusually for an independent school in the fifties, Lindisfarne attracted a large number of people from overseas so that it often resembled a mini United Nations. Boys came from Scandinavia, the far and middle east and Africa. Later, in 1965, Lindisfarne participated in the scheme whereby boys and eventually girls came to the school for one year from the United States and Canada on English Speaking Union Scholarships and many Lindisfarne boys won scholarships to spend a year at schools in America.

The school orchestra became an important feature. Thirty to forty boys gave at least one concert a year, usually in the evening of Speech Day and also played once a week at morning assembly. Drama productions included an annual pantomime, a play and a nativity play. Until the completion of the theatre/gymnasium, these were performed in the large room now divided into maths. rooms. One memorable production was “Twelfth Night” in the Pleasure Gardens. This and other plays, some with a nautical flavour, were produced by John Williams.

One important result of the school’s inspection was the setting up of subject rooms for geography and history and the provision of an art room in the old senior dining room once the new dining room had been completed.

In 1961 Dorrie became a founder member of SHMIS, the Society of Headmasters of Independent Schools.

Two of the most popular and successful activities were the Army Cadet Force under Harold Simpson, later assisted by Joe Sellars who was subsequently to take over the detachment, and the Scout Troop which I ran. Former Lindisfarne scouts will recall the annual summer camps run by ‘Geog’ (my nickname), ‘The Owl’ (John Williams) and ‘The Don’ (Donald Anderton). Over a period of ten years the Scout Troop produced a Queen’s Scout every year, a remarkable record. Many Army Cadets and Senior Scouts qualified for the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. Each summer holiday Dorrie and Jean
Daws accompanied by a member of staff took parties of boys to the Continent, visiting such places as the Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Sweden and Italy.

Dorrie & Jean issuing pocket money in Venice

Rugby and cricket continued to be the main games and under Gerry Cochrane the school 1stXV established itself as one of the finest school teams in North Wales. The cricket XI guided by Donald Bowie and later by Len Lay and J. A. Lightowler usually did well, especially when boys from India, Pakistan and East Africa were at the school. For three years running the cricket XI won the much-coveted Hadden Roberts Cup. In both games many boys were chosen to represent North Wales. The school athletics team usually did well at the Denbighshire Secondary School Sports held at Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay.

One school tradition, begun at Newburgh, was continued at Wynnstay. On a fine sunny day Dorrie would enter Assembly and announce a school walk and the whole school would hurry down to Ruabon to catch the 9:30 train to Trevor. The train from Ruabon through Llangollen and on to Barmouth, described by Ruskin as the most beautiful train journey in the world, still ran in the fifties and early sixties. Disembarking at Trevor we would ascend to the Panorama Walk through Garth arriving in Llangollen well before lunch. Staff would refresh themselves in the Royal Hotel while the boys boosted sales in the local chip shop. Reassembling on Llangollen station all (or most) returned to Ruabon for lunch and afternoon school. Occasionally busloads were conveyed to Snowdonia, Cader Idris, the Glyders or Caenarfon to visit the battlements of the castle. Today the authorities would be horrified by the way these mountain expeditions were run. All wore gym shoes and casual clothes and the only instruction they received was ‘no one to go ahead of Mr. Jones’. As geography master and scoutmaster I was presumed to have everything under control! Fortuitously no one was ever lost except once when a boy named King missed the bus in Dolgellau, set off to walk back and spent the night at a farm where he breakfasted in style. The outings were invariably unplanned and usually decided upon the night before when Dorrie would ask Susie Edwards (who was head matron for twenty-five years) and her staff to cut sandwiches and place them in separate packets with cheese and an apple. In the days before sliced bread this was quite an undertaking.

Soon after the move to Wynnstay a party of old boys from Westcliff came to play the school 1st XI at cricket. The Lindisfarne Old Boys Association , which had thrived in the Westcliff days when most former pupils lived in the south east, began to prosper once more. In addition to the annual cricket weekend and the AGM and dinner in London, the rugby weekend in the autumn term became an increasingly popular event. Lindisfarne owes a lot to its Old Boys Association, now known as the Old Lindisfarnians, which in turn owes much of its popularity and success to its permanent secretaries, Bob Hair in Westcliff and Gerry Cochrane in Wynnstay.

Dorrie and Jean retired in August, 1963. It was the end of an era. His influence on generations of boys cannot be overestimated. That the school had survived was entirely attributable to his faith and determination, to the support he had from his wife and also to the wisdom and resolution of Wilfred Grace, the Chairman of the Governors and Dorrie’s lifelong friend. He ran the school as an oversized boarding house. As the school grew in size to 300 this imposed an increasing strain on him and it might have been wiser to have retire before his 69th birthday. But he was loathe to abandon the life he loved. Wolverton Manor at St. Lawrence on the Isle of Wight, his final home, became the holiday home for many overseas pupils from Lindisfarne. Perhaps this made the break easier to bear. Carlos Sancha, the eminent portrait painter and an old boy of Westcliff days, painted a large and impressive portrait of him and a smaller one of Jean. Dorrie’s portrait captures his benign humanity as he looks down on today’s Lindisfarnians, the three buttons of his jacket done up, his glasses peeping out of his breast pocket and his hands gently clasped just as most of us will remember him.

Sadly, Jean died suddenly in January, 1968 but Dorrie lived on until December, 1976 when he died at the age of 82. His final years were made that much happier by his marriage in February, 1971 to Miss Barbara Bliss, a close friend of Jean and Dorrie’s and a former Liberal candidate for the Isle of Wight.

R. W. S. Carrington

R. W. S. Carrington

There were over 80 applications for the Headship. At the final interview in London on 6th December, 1962 Robert Carrington, the senior housemaster at Ardingly College in Sussex was appointed. From the moment of his arrival at Lindisfarne it became obvious that he was a man of energy and drive. Lindisfarne soon began to take on a new image and its way of life changed under the impact of a man who brought to it many new ideas. The house system became the basis of almost every aspect of school life and a new house spirit was born which, initially, made the new regime both exciting and invigorating. Whereas previously the dormitory areas had been divided into junior, middle and senior, each area was now allocated to houses with a resident housemaster and a house tutor in charge. This was but the first of many innovations which he introduced.

The tutorial system and record cards were intended to promote closer contact between boys and staff and the careful monitoring of each pupil’s efforts and progress in his studies. Weekly marks, converted into grades for achievement and industry and recorded on record cards, had to be circled in red if good, green if bad and blue if indifferent. Progress was discussed at regular weekly meetings between tutor and pupil. Neither was ‘extra curricular’ activity neglected, this too had to be recorded on the record card. Free periods became ‘study periods’ properly supervised in the study room. All boys were compelled to lie down quietly on their beds and read for half an hour after lunch. Punctuality was encouraged by the introduction of an electric bell. Considerable attention was paid to the appearance of the school and large sums of money were spent on decoration and on the provision of civilized, carpeted accommodations for resident staff. Certain classrooms were fitted out with toys (i.e. cubicles), one for each senior boy. These were produced on in the woodwork department under the direction of Harold Simpson. Ground maintenance became a compulsory afternoon activity for boys (and staff) not engaged in games and some of them were even employed in building a low stone wall around the front car park. Trees were pruned, grass was cut, windows were painted, paths were laid. Each task was undertaken by a group of boys working under the direction of a member of the staff.

Having been a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, it was not surprising that Carrington encouraged music. Jean Carrington, his wife, was a gifted musician who taught ‘cello and piano. Their two sons were also music scholars at Cambridge, the elder, Simon, subsequently gaining prominence as a member of the very successful King’s Singers. Several music teachers were appointed and at one stage there were three FRCO’s on the staff. Sadly the school orchestra was disbanded and, apart from the teaching of the piano, violin, ‘cello and wind instruments to a relatively small number of boys, it was choral singing which came to the fore, the school choir attaining a higher standard than either before or since. A summer music school attracted a number of young musicians from all over the country during the first fortnight of the summer holidays. Concerts by visiting well-known musicians were held on a number of Sunday evenings during the year. These were in part financed by the Arts Council and by people at school and in the area who were keen on good music. Unfortunately because of Wynnstay’s rural situation and because the temperature in Great Hall in the winter months often approached freezing point, these concerts were rarely well patronized.

Robert Carrington presenting the Stirrup cup to Sir Watkin Williams Wynn

Every boy’s progress throughout the school was recorded meticulously and in detail covering every aspect of his school life and when he left, essential information was recorded about him on a ‘Leaver’s Card.’ Friday afternoon were devoted to services such as cadets, scouts, civil defence, mountaineering and life saving and every boy had to join one of these activities. Sound-proof music practice rooms were installed in the upper floor of the Scout headquarters.

Unfortunately the pace of these changes imposed a considerable burden on the staff and, sad to relate, the initial enthusiasm waned. Many staff moved elsewhere, (ten in the first year), and even more alarming, pupil numbers began to fall. They fell from 300 in 1963 to around 150 in 1966. Large sums of money had been spent despite the fall in income. A serious blow was the sudden death in July, 1964 of Wilfred Grace, the Chairman of the Governors. He was replaced by Peter Marriner, and old boy of the school and probably the most efficient chairman of a meeting the school has ever had. In an effort to control the downward slide, three governors visited the school each term, Peter Marriner, Douglas Gernat, and Leonard Moore, who became know affectionately as the Magi.

In May, 1966 the school was given a full inspection by HMI. Their report commented favourably on the changes that had been made since their last inspection in 1951 and referred to the school’s concern for the individual pupil in all aspects of his education and welfare.

At the end of 1965 an appeal was launched to raise £40,000 to build a classroom block and to extend the dining hall. Although the target was never attained the money raised was to save the school in the very difficult financial climate of the next five years. The classroom block was never built but other improvements and projects were undertaken and completed at a later date, using money to the equivalent amount set aside for that purpose over the succeeding years.

Unfortunately Robert Carrington failed to gain admission to SHMS and undoubtedly this made it more difficult to attract pupils. Carrington had tried to convert the school into a major public school like Ardingly. Lindisfarne was never intended to be this sort of school. It had always been a family prepared to accept boys with learning problems as well as the very bright. In the friendly, helpful and understanding environment that Robert Grace had created and Dorrie had perpetuated there had been remarkable transformations in and achievements by boys who might otherwise have fallen by the wayside, whilst the academically gifted had also prospered. Despite the efforts of the ‘three wise men’ the situation deteriorated and, probably anticipating the possible demise of the school, Robert Carrington departed suddenly in the autumn term, 1966.

Douglas Gernat, a governor and old boy of the school, came up from London and announced my appointment to the Headship. At a full meeting of Council in Ely Place in London under the chairmanship of Peter Marriner, the appointment was confirmed.

Lindisfarne 1966-86

I came to Lindisfarne in January 1951 having been appointed by Dorrie as head of geography. In the following year I became housemaster of Newburgh and, although I have never been a scout, Dorrie asked me to take over the Scout troop and one could never say no to him. I was to remain Scoutmaster for the next fifteen years. Fortunately my training was in the capable hands of John Sweet, a legend in the Scout movement in this country. When I accepted the post at Lindisfarne it was my intention to remain only four or five years in order to experience teaching in an independent boarding school. It could be said that I came out of curiosity and stayed out of conviction. It seemed to me that a boarding school education brought out the best in teacher and pupil and had so much that was worthwhile to offer. I still believe this to be so.

Roy Jones

The immediate task facing me in 1966 was to ensure that the school continued to run smoothly and efficiently, that the high standards and reputation of the school did not suffer and to reassure boys and parents after the sudden and mysterious departure of Robert Carrington. I had had the invaluable experience of serving under two widely different headmasters. Dorrie had been a benign dictator for whom the well-being and happiness of the boys was the prime consideration. Organisation was minimal. Human relationship were paramount. Carrington established a highly organised, carefully planned regime, based on the house system. Certainly the school had taken on a more polished appearance. Unfortunately, despite this new efficiency, public relations declined and boys and staff became increasingly discontented. The ‘atmosphere’ for which the school had been renowned since Robert Grace’s day, disappeared. The experience of these two widely different regimes was of enormous benefit to me. I resolved to combine the best of both worlds.

The morale of the school was considerably boosted by the production in Great Hall at the end of the autumn term of Robert Bolt’s ‘A Man For All Seasons’ – quite the best school production I have ever seen. A glowing review in the Times Educational Supplement and an invitation to put it on in the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool enhanced our reputation.

In the preceding three years numbers had dropped from 300 to 150 and drastic measures were called for as the school sank deeper into the red. Staff numbers were reduced – four left at the end of the first term and every effort was made to increase the number of pupils. The number of boarding houses was reduced from six to three. The house names Wynnstay, Creeksea, Westcliff, Newburgh, Coxwold and Wolverton were replaced with Cromwell, Fauconberg and Peel, the names used when the school was at Newburgh. A Preparatory Department for 8 to 12 year olds was opened in the old Wolverton House area under the experienced J. A. Lightowler, ably assisted by his wife Pat. Initially it consisted of 12 boys but by September, 1969 it had grown to over 60. When J.A. retired at Christmas in 1976, John Williams took over until his retirement in 1986 when he was succeeded by Bob Sanders-Jones splendidly supported by his wife Peggy. Ever since its inception in 1969 the Prep School had prospered and it was one of the liveliest parts of the school.

In the late sixties the financial situation was so difficult that amalgamation with another school was considered but my visit to a school in mid-Wales, accompanied by Dorrie, was so depressing that we decided to ‘soldier on’ alone. The Bursar, John Sim, and I sat down until the early hours to work out how we could cut expenditure by £​15,000, the amount we were losing each year. We were successful. Gradually numbers increase: 158 in September, 1967, 175 in 1968, 200 in 1971. I was fortunate in having a most loyal staff. Looking back I find it remarkable that several came to see me and volunteered a cut in their salaries. One member of staff gave me a sizeable cheque for the school. It was this spirit, displayed by all the staff, which contributed to the school’s survival. Some years later a member of the staff who asked to remain anonymous contributed a portion of his salary each month to a fund which became known as the ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ fund. It was intended to provide money for additions and improvements round the school which we could not otherwise afford. The governors, under Peter Marriner, played an important part. In 1970 Geoffrey Noble took over the chairmanship and it was his resolve to tackle rigorously the financial problems of the school, coupled with the steady growth in numbers, that placed Lindisfarne on a sound footing in the 1970s.

Academic standards began to improve as an increasing number of able pupils entered the school. The introduction of the CSE examination in 1965 enabled us to do much more for the less able pupil. In September, 1970 we opened a Sixth form house in what had been the study room area separate from the rest of the school. The boys themselves chose the name, appropriately AIDAN. It was St. Aidan who had been sent from the island of Iona to Lindisfarne where he built the monastery. Science teaching was expanded and one or two useful CSE Mode 3 syllabuses were introduced, for example an agricultural science course in 1971. Latin continued to be taught until 1975. German began to vie with French as our main modern language and Spanish was a popular alternative. Economics, statistics and commerce were added to the curriculum in 1973 and three years later, business studies. In 1975 special courses in remedial English and for pupils suffering from dyslexia were introduced and in the same year English as a Foreign Language became available for overseas pupils. Control technology made its appearance in 1980, initially at CSE level and, a year later, at ‘O’ level. Geology became an increasingly popular choice at ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels. In 1980 an old boy presented us with our first three computers (undoubtedly the most significant invention since the steam engine) and computer studies became a popular subject at ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels. In 1983 A life skills course was introduced in the 6th Form. The multiplication of subjects and changing syllabuses presented pupils and staff with the problem of choice of subjects and so the academic board was formed in 1982 to discuss subject combinations from Form 3 to Form 5.

Extra-curricular activities also proliferated. In addition to the ACF, the ATC and Scouts, a Police Cadet Corps operated successfully for a number of years. Thanks to the efforts of school governor John Everest the school was presented with a secondhand Heidelburg press which printed the school magazine 1968, the termly calendar in 1969, the school prospectus in 1971 and in 1973 the Order of Service for Commemoration Day. Staff were keen to run societies and clubs that were connected with either their own subject or their own interest or hobby, for example the Apollo society (classical music appreciation), the live steam society, formula 5000, aeronautical society, energy utilization group, chess club, debating society. At one time there were over twenty such clubs and societies. The mountaineering club developed into the fell walking group and was then absorbed into the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

I believe that an independent school like Lindisfarne, the majority of whose members both staff and pupils, come from outside the area, should become involved locally and should be seen to concern itself with local causes. So it was that an important activity each year was a sponsored walk in aid of charity. Between 1969 and 1986 over £10,000 was raised for a variety of charities, the first being the Liverpool Children’s Hospital. In 1981 sufficient money was raised to purchase and have trained a Guide Dog for the Blind. We named the dog Lindy.

Lindisfarne is a part of the Parish of Ruabon and although we have had two resident Chaplains, neither of whom was a great success, our local Vicars, as Honorary Chaplains, have always conscientiously administered to the spiritual needs of the school. B.P. Jones-Perrott, later Archdeacon of Wrexham, Geoffrey Davies and his very enthusiastic curate Glyn Iball, M.C. Donaldson and Bill Pritchard now Archdeacon of Montgomery, who also taught at the school was an authority on the Wynns of Wynnstay. Michael Williamson is Honorary Chaplain at present.

I felt it important that I, as Headmaster, should have some interest outside the school which would bring me into contact with others in the area from very different walks of life. For this reason I was both pleased and honoured to be appointed a Justice of Peace in May, 1971.

In September, 1971 Lindisfarne changed from being an all boys school when seven girls joined as day pupils. In 1981 twenty girls joined as boarders in a specially prepared boarding house in the main building. Although the number of girls never equalled the number of boys, by 1986 there were sufficient for two houses. Girls had become so well established that in 1979 the Lindisfarne Old Boys Association changed its name to the Old Lindisfarnians.

In 1973 Pat Laurance, another old boy of the school, succeeded Geoffrey Noble as Chairman. Ralph Allison, a former Headmaster of Brentwood School, resigned as vice chairman at the same time, a position he had occupied for a number of years. Pat initiated a number of changes, one of which was the movement of Council meetings, traditionally held in London, to Ruabon. New local governors were appointed. John Everest was encouraged to produce his famous and imaginative Everest plan. Many of his ideas have now become a part of Lindisfarne though sadly the exciting plans which Sir Peter Shepheard was persuaded to produce were too costly even to contemplate. His drawings still lie in a drawer at the school. Pat retired at the beginning of my last year at Lindisfarne, 1985, and was succeeded by David Thompson, the present chairman and the first Wynnstay old boy to occupy the position. Pat Laurance had initiated the setting up of various local committees on which local governors, staff and parents – member of the valuable Lindisfarne Association of parents and staff – served and tackled the various day to day problems of the school, reporting back to Council. One of these, the marketing committee, set about the publicising of the school. Lindisfarne had been a member of ISIS since its inception and ISIS ran regular exhibitions at centres throughout the country.

We began to make full use of these at which we set up our own exhibition stand. Successful visits were made by David Dixon and me to Malaysia; by my wife and me to Hong Kong and by Deputy Head, Stephen Moore, and David Dixon to Saudi Arabia. Later on Stephen Brown joined David on visits to the Middle East.

Pat Laurance was also instrumental in securing the appointment of our first woman Bursar, Mrs. Annie Bell, in 1976. So successful was this appointment that we were all saddened when ill health forced her to retire prematurely in 1982. She was succeeded by John Harper who in eight years made an important contribution to the development of the school.

Throughout those years the facilities and internal organisation of the school and its status and reputation had improved considerably. In 1972 Lindisfarne was elected into membership of the Governing Bodies Association. Our representative on this select body was Ralph Allison and subsequently Basil Glover, one of Lindisfarne’s most loyal sons and, until recently a governor. Basil has the advantage of being distinguished and looking it. The school’s progress was confirmed in the report made by Her Majesty’s Inspectors who visited us in 1984 and by my election to membership to SHMIS in 1985.

The Fire

During the night of 5th June, 1973 fire broke out in the room below our flat. Lyn and I and our son, Mark, awoke in the early hours to the sound of breaking glass and the acrid smell of burning formica and paint. We only just managed to escape through thickening smoke. The alarm was raised. Pupils and staff evacuated the building and seven fire engines from Wrexham soon had the blaze under control. One young fire officer, to the cheers of the boys assembled in the Pleasure Gardens, rescued our three dogs through the kitchen window – Tem the German Shepherd dog, Tessa the dachshund and Kit the Yorkshire terrier. Steve Brown organised tea for everybody in the Chemistry lab, and Gerry and Isobel Cochrane kindly accommodated Lyn, Mark and me and the dogs in their cottage for what was the left of the night. Thereafter we lived in a caravan in the Pleasure Gardens until October, by which time the flat has been refurbished, the carpet replaced and the furniture restored. From start to finish we were overwhelmed by the kindness of everybody and what could have been a tragic experience was turned into an uplifting one. The cause of the fire was never determined but an illicit smoker’s cigarette end was suspected. It could have dropped between the floorboards of the classroom where it ignited accumulations of the careless sweeping of generations of boys tidying up after prep.

Improvements

Appeals were launched in 1966, 1978 and 1985. Alas, none of these realised its target but sufficient money was raised to undertake and complete the following improvements: refurbishing of the chapel, restoration of the outside of the stable block with the help of grants from the Welsh Office, installation of showers, tarmacadaming outside the school, re-roofing of parts of the main building, restoration of the 18th century clock on the stable block, erection of a new biology laboratory, installation of fire doors, fire screens and replacement windows, purchase of new beds and Dunlopillo mattresses for the whole school, installation of central heating in all dormitories, insulation of roofs, refurbishing of the dining hall and kitchens, re-sitting, refurbishing and re-equipping the library, in installation of modern washing machines and equipment in the laundry, a new sanatorium with private quarters for the resident Sister, refurbishment of dormitories and common rooms, construction of a large, hard surface play area including two tennis courts and the re-surfacing of the old red ash courts, conversion of the area around the chapel courtyard into classrooms for English, history, English as a foreign language and remedial English. Thanks to a generous gift by old boy and former governor, Langdon Dowsett, a new two-manual Compton-Edwards organ was installed in the chapel.

An old building requires regular maintenance which imposes a constant strain on finances. This and the frequent changes of use of areas of the school call for a skilled and devoted work force and ever since its arrival in Wynnstay, Lindisfarne has been fortunate in having at its disposal such a work force, known affectionately as the ‘maintenance gang’. Their loyalty and devotion has been matched by the matrons and by the sanitorium, kitchen, laundry and cleaning staff without which a boarding school could not hope to survive. Nor must we forget the bursarial staff which from being a small team of Bursar and the likes of Miss Sheard and Miss Burgess, has grown into a much larger department with computers, word processors and photocopiers.

In August, 1986 Lyn (who amongst other things had worked as my secretary) and I retired and handed over something that had been our life for over twenty years and mine for over thirty-five years. There had been years of considerable difficulty but I consider myself fortunate in having been born with a fairly serene temperament and a good sense of humour, without which no schoolteacher can survive. My wife always encouraged me to see the best in the worst of us and in addition was a first class secretary and an expert gardener, lovingly tending the rose-beds on the terrace, the lawn edges and the gardens at the top end of the Pleasure Gardens and around the chapel. Sadly the hydrangea beds she established on either side of the main entrance had to be abandoned when she tired of collecting the underpants, combs and toothpaste tubes which were constantly being discharged from Cromwell dormitories! I suppose that in my early years as Headmaster I had been a benevolent (!) despot, running everything myself but the process of democratisation evidenced by the increasing number committees was inevitable and desirable. I was greatly encouraged and supported in this by my Senior Master, later my deputy, Stephen Moore and by a very loyal staff, including Joe Sellars who succeeded Stephen as Senior Master.

Roy & Lyn Jones

1986-90

In September, 1985 the governors appointed my successor, Trevor Wilson. Trevor and is wife, Gillian, came to Lindisfarne from Italy where Trevor had been headmaster of Sir James Henderson British School in Milan. Like his predecessor he was a geographer. He took over from me in September, 1986 and in the following four years much was done to improve the facilities at Wynnstay. In 1985 an appeal had been launched with the object of raising £150,000 to build a sports complex in the orchard next to the swimming pool. Sufficient money had been raised by the summer of 1987 for work on Stage I, the builing of a sports hall, to begin. The Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, Sir William Gladstone, Bart., cut the first turf on Commencement Day, 23rd May 1987. I was pleased to open officially the new hall on 25th June, 1988 and honoured to have it named after me. Unfortunately insufficient money was raised and sadly the various ornaments on the terrace, most of which had been made in France for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park and had been bought by Sir Watkin, the sixth Baronet, were auctioned at Sotheby’s for £150,000. The realisation of such a large sum of money made it possible not only to complete the sports hall but also to build the new primary school with its separate playing field and adventure playground alongside the new sports hall. This was officially opened by Lady Williams Wynn in March, 1990. It was also possible greatly to improve staff accommodation and to re-develop the art room into a first-rate art and design complex including separate areas for painting and drawing, textiles, photography, sculpture and ceramics. The expansion of the primary school enabled boys and girls from the age of five to attend as day pupils. The Prep School became Wynnstay junior boys’ house.

Business studies and economics, first introduced into the curriculum in 1976, were re-introduced into the GCSE programme in 1988 as business and information studies and in the following year a secretarial studies department was inaugurated.

Increasingly independent schools have had to market themselves to attract pupils and Open Days became a familiar annual event in most schools in the early 1980s. Lindisfarne had had its first Open Day in 1985 but from 1987 these became more ambitious and consequently more successful, three to four hundred people visiting the school.

What had promised to be an exciting new chapter in the history of the school ended abruptly in June, 1990 with the resignation of Trevor Wilson after a series of unfortunate disagreements with the governing body. Deputy Head, Ian Mullins, took over the running of the school and sensibly appointed Stephen Moore as his assistant. Both held the school together during the autumn term. In August John Dobinson, Senior Housemaster at Stowe School, was appointed Headmaster and took up his duties in January, 1991, the beginning of Lindisfarne’s Centenary year. John Harper retired in September, 1990 and Christopher Morrison, a governor and old boy of the school was appointed Bursar in his stead.

Mr. T. R. Wilson

All successful headmasters hope that they can look back with pride at their achievements and these are usually evident in bricks and mortar, in a meaningful and relevant educational programme and in the ethos which they hope they have preserved and handed on. When a former pupil greets you with the words ‘it’s lovely to be back, the old place hasn’t changed a bit’ you don’t know whether to feel flattered or insulted! But there is something which cannot be measured and can only be seen in the lives of those boys and girls who have passed through the school and out into the world over the last hundred years. Only they will know whether it was worth it.

In celebrating our centenary we should be looking back with pride at our past having retained what is valuable in our traditions but at the same time looking to the future, eager to adapt to the needs of the twenty-first century.

Robert Grace frequently quoted Robert Browning and one of his favourite lines used to appear on the cover of the Chronicles, the School Magazine:

‘All we have willed or hoped or dreamed of good shall exist.’

I am sure it will. L. Roy Jones


Lindisfarne College Roll of Honour 1914-1918

S.M. BarberW.V. Jakins
L.H. BarnesL.O. Jones
E.F.L. BeattyH. Jones
O.W. BennA.O. Keen
A.F. BentallH.D. King
W.D. BentallP. Lamb
E.A. BishopF. Languist
C.J. BoneP.E. Hawthorne
C.S. BraineE. Lester
G. BurtR.A. Levey
E.ByrneC.C.E. Lewin
C. CaneyE.B. Livermore
E.P. CorriW.G. Locke
C. DavidsonK.D.C. McFarlane
A.M. DougallD.F. McLean
R.A. DurrantH. Morris
L.R. CaldwellC. Moseley
H.W.H. EwingsC.E. Proctor
E.K.D. FergussonA. Robertson
H. FreemanP. Summonds
P.E. HawthorneR. Tavener
W.H. HartridgeO. Tilley
T.N. HeathA.C. Tolley
C.C.S. HorncastleK.M. Vidler
V. HurdridgeP. Webb
D.H. HurndaleR. Wellington
E.D. JacksonC.H. Whitemill
H. Jakins 

Lindisfarne College Roll of Honour 1939-1945

C.F. AllenB. Lawrence
P.V. BaseA.L. Leach
G.N. BodyC.L. Lewis
A.R. BaxterL.F. Luckling
A. CadizG.W. Martin
T.K. CarterJ. Marriner
G. CockramA. Merritt
T.C.W. CousinsN. Matthews
J.W. CrossleyG. McGrath
W. CorbettH.B. Mitton
E.H.P. CresswellJ.L. Okell
R.W.J. CrookeW. Petty
B. DaveyR.E. Raven
D.A.K. DavisonE.G. Robertson
J.B. DorringtonR. Radcliffe
J. FarmerD, Renvoize
L. FriendR. Scorah
I. KayG.C. Settle
L.R. HillL.Z.T. Simpson
G. HumesD.L. Skinner
J. HuntingdonA.T. Smart
W.A.R. KeddieS. Smith
R.G.D. KeddieJ.L. Tweedy-Smith
J. M. KeddieH. Verrells
D.D.M. LambertD.H. Wicks

Wynnstay

Source: Lindisfarne College – A Brief History 1891-1991 by L. Roy Jones. Lindisfarne War Memorial.