Situated in an idyllic green valley in the Yorkshire countryside, Ampleforth College has a proud history as the leading Catholic boarding school in the English Public School tradition. The school has long been considered the “Catholic Eton”, alluding to its status as a magnet for the children of the aristocratic classes and noble families. The school is famous for its beautiful campus, its embrace of the traditional country lifestyle, and for the eminent Amplefordians who have walked its hallowed halls. The school has undergone a significant recent transformation, seeking to restore its status as one of the world’s great boarding schools and a shining example of best practice in pastoral care and safeguarding. The school remains a bastion of the Roman Catholic elite, having been a preferred school for Roman Catholic boys since its foundation by the Benedictines in 1802.
Ampleforth has a proud heritage having emerged as one of the country’s leading schools for the British upper classes, particularly since the erection of Ampleforth as an Abbey in 1900. The school continues to hold this reputation today, attracting applications from across the world with many pupils attending as legacy admissions and whose parents and even multiple generations of the same family attended the school. It is known for a tradition of refined gentility but with an increasingly international focus. Today, the school welcomes boys and girls from all backgrounds with adherence to the Catholic faith no longer a requirement for admission.
The history of Ampleforth College is forever intertwined with that of Ampleforth Abbey. Both were established by the English Benedictine Congregation in 1802 when a property on the current site was given over to the order from the estate of the Viscount Fairfax of Emley, a title in the Peerage of Ireland.
The English chapter of the Order of Saint Benedict traces its lineage back to a community established in 1216 and which was forced to relocate when Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries during the Protestant Reformation.
The English Benedict Congregation was amalgamated with French and Italian Benedictine communities, particularly the community at Douai in France (that would found Douai College and Downside School) and the Cassinese Congregation of Italy. The English Benedictine Congregation was re-established when Mary I refounded Westminster Abbey preceding the amalgamation of these various groups as the English Benedictine Congregation and they formed the monastery of St Laurence which found itself relocating regularly within England since their arrival from France in 1793 (having been expelled as a response to the French Revolution). Many English Benedictines had been located at Lamspringe Abbey in Germany too.
The order found a more permanent home when Lady Anne Fairfax, whose father was the 9th Viscount Fairfax of Emley, transferred property in Yorkshire to Father Anselm Bolton of the Benedictines. The Fairfax family was a prominent Anglo-Irish Catholic family that had been active proponents for Catholic Emancipation in Ireland and Great Britain. Whilst their title related to a seat in Ireland, their family seat proper was at Gilling Castle in Yorkshire (which would later become the preparatory school attached to Ampleforth College – St. Martin’s Ampleforth). When the 1st Viscount Fairfax was created in 1629, invested in Thomas Fairfax, son of Sir William Fairfax, a new family house was built at Bishophill in York before the family seat moved to Castlegate (Fairfax House still stands here today). He married Catherine Constable in 1650 and they had 11 children together. The marriage marks the Fairfax reversion to Catholicism. Despite prohibitions for doing so, they hired Catholic staff to man their homes and they sent two of their sons overseas to Catholic schools – a cause that the Fairfax dynasty was firmly committed to. Starting with the 1st Viscount, the Fairax family tradition maintained that chaplains to their clan would be appointed from the Benedictine Order, with most having come from Lampspringe Abbey.
The last Benedictine chaplain to the Fairfax family was Father Anselm Bolton who served Lady Ann Fairfax for thirty years until her death in 1793. In her will, she left him the use of Ampleforth Lodge as his residence and as a mission house. He passed the property to Dr. Brewer and the Benedictine chapter under his stewardship. In 1802, the English Benedictine Congregation finally had a base from which they could flourish.
The Benedictines would use Ampleforth Lodge as a monastic house for their order and, immediately, a school for the education of young Catholic men. Catholic Emancipation had made significant progress by the early part of the 19th Century, and Catholic religious institutions were increasingly allowed to provide education. Various Benedictines had been involved in the effort to successfully lobby for greater religious freedoms for Catholics throughout the British Isles resulting in Catholic Emancipation in 1829 and the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in 1850. Benedictines, particularly, were active participants in the restitution of rights of Catholic students to be admitted to Oxford and Cambridge in 1871.
Prior to settling at Ampleforth, this particular set of Benedictines under Dr. Brewer had maintained small schools in the various homes that they had occupied across England for nearly a decade. Many of the boys in their charge transferred to the new site and many more would join with some 70 pupils enrolled at Ampleforth in 1803. The school would begin to develop a powerful reputation as an excellent school for young men and various well-to-do Catholic families would opt to send their boys to Ampleforth in preference to schools in France and Spain (as had been the tradition for some centuries).
The school fared well for the first century of its existence, however, it wasn’t until 1890 that Ampleforth would transform into the Abbey and School that became so famous. In 1890, by way of a Papal Bull ‘Die Quidem’, the monastery at Ampleforth was to be elevated from a Priory to an Abbey. The Benedictines at Ampleforth began construction of new buildings to further this transition, with the monastery facilities having been upgraded and completed by 1897 and various new facilities to support a larger school and expanding monastic order to follow. The initial plans proposed the development of a new church, many more classrooms and science laboratories, libraries, dormitories, an infirmary, a new refectory, a grand hall, and even a guest house. However, cost overruns on the construction of the new Monastery meant many of these plans had to be put on hold. In addition, no agreement could be reached as to how big the future Abbey and School would need to be and how many persons the designs would therefore need to cater for. Some initial estimates suggested 40 monks and 200 pupils. The arrival of the North Eastern Railway made Ampleforth considerably more accessible. This was supported by a horse-drawn gauge tramway from Ampleforth to Gilling Station launched in 1895. Thus, Ampleforth became an Abbey in 1900 with 100 monks and its first Abbot, Father Oswald Smith.
The monks had largely moved to the new monastery building, save for the Refectory and Common Room which they would continue to share with the school. The school, by now, had full use of Ampleforth Lodge as its own facility. Under Father Smith and his successor, Father Edmund Matthews, a formal boarding school was instituted, and, anticipating the growing needs of the school, plans for expansion and development were made. New buildings and facilities were slowly added to the growing complex.
With Father Matthews as Abbot, Father Paul Nevill was appointed Headmaster in 1924. He had attended Ampleforth as a boy and was keen to lift Ampleforth’s standing to that of the great Public Schools such as Eton, Winchester, Harrow, Shrewsbury, and Rugby. He was a well-mannered, well-connected, and well-born young man who had committed himself to ecclesiastical life with aplomb.
Catholic Emancipation had allowed a number of Roman Catholic schools to flourish, and the ‘Die Quidem’ Bull had seen various priories elevated to Abbeys, bestowing greater standing on their own attached schools. Schools such as Downside and Stonyhurst. Other schools such as The Oratory and Priory Park were making significant inroads in demonstrating their credentials as the preferred schools for noble Catholics. Stonyhurst perhaps stood above them all when Father Nevill attended Ampleforth and remained, arguably, the most famous when he would be appointed Headmaster. Father Nevill set about redefining Ampleforth as the “Catholic Eton”, looking to the illustrious school near Windsor for his inspiration.
Indeed, some similarities already existed between the two schools, particularly the class of families who opted to enroll their sons in both colleges. Ampleforth at the time even required that boys wear a uniform similar to the Eton jackets famously worn at Eton College. Father Nevill first sought to ensure that the school offered a curriculum and ethos similar to that of the great Public Schools and to move away from the strictly classical, faith-based approach that had been common to Catholic schools (whose primary purpose was to prepare educated young men for a life in the priesthood). He began syllabus programmes that included classics, languages, literature, history, and modern sciences. He borrowed heavily from the House system (a Public School tradition designed to maintain discipline and competitive spirit amongst boys and to prepare them for life in the great Collegiate universities). It was his intention to cement Ampleforth’s reputation as the leading supplier of highly-capable, high-born, young Catholic men for entry into the Oxbridge Colleges.
It was, after all, Ampleforth Abbey that had established St Benet’s Hall, a Permanent Private Hall (similar to a College) at the University of Oxford in 1897, ostensibly to support monks undertaking higher-level study. The Benedictine tradition at Oxford had been particularly strong, the Benedictines at Gloucester Abbey had founded Gloucester College in the 13th Century (refounded as Worcester College following the Reformation), Durham Abbey had founded Durham College in 1291 (now Trinity College), and Christ Church Priory in Canterbury founded Canterbury College in 1362 (now Christ Church). Father Nevill intended to send up many Amplefordians to St Benet’s and other Oxbridge Colleges in the custom practiced by many of the great Public Schools who shared a common foundation with such colleges.
Under Father Nevill, Ampleforth underwent its great metamorphosis, with significant refurbishment and expansion whilst transforming the culture, ethos, and practices essential to becoming a world-class school. This change had already begun somewhat with developments that preceded his appointment to the Headmaster role, however, his tenure heralded the biggest shift in the school’s capacity to attract pupils from many of Britain’s great families.
The school’s preparatory department began life in 1908. The school added a theatre in 1909 and had begun to embrace a burgeoning performing arts tradition with its first performances shown in 1910. A gymnasium was set up in 1911, the same year that the school’s previous Headmaster, Mr Laffan, would be invited to join the Headmasters’ Conference (HMC). Early admission to this organisation was limited to the most exclusive boys’ schools with a demonstrable tradition of excellence and an established pedigree sending boys up to Cambridge, Dublin, and Oxford. Membership of the HMC would mark Ampleforth’s recognition as one of England’s Public Schools (typically faith-based schools had been excluded from the definition and thus had not been considered amongst their number previously, albeit many had always been considered as Public School equivalents). The Fleming Report of 1944, assessing the interplay between endowed grammar schools and the state education sector, would list Ampleforth as one of the independent Public Schools of England.
In 1916 the school’s preparatory department moved to dedicated facilities on the campus, having abandoned efforts to explore options around the country for these purposes. A cinema system was installed in 1922 and, in 1926, the first of the various Boarding Houses was established. In a curious case of serendipity, the Fairfax’s Gilling Castle became available and was acquired in 1929 by Ampleforth where the preparatory school would be transferred. Launched as Gilling Castle Prep, the school would continue there, changing its name to St. Martin’s, Ampleforth, until it closed in 2020.
By this time, Ampleforth had firmly established itself as the pre-eminent Catholic boarding school in the Public School tradition, overtaking its closest rivals Stonyhurst and Beaumont. It would continue to flourish throughout the 20th Century, refining its country gentleman character where boys would wear tweed jackets and engage in noble sporting pursuits on horseback or with rifles slung carefully over their shoulders. The school became known as a bastion of Catholic wealth with the genteel and understated approach that defined the English Upper Classes. The school became the preferred destination too for wealthy and noble Irish families, despite a number of significant Irish schools having been established to cater to the same, such as Castleknock College and Clongowes Wood. Such was the success of Ampleforth in attracting well-to-do Irish families, that the Benedictines would establish a peer school at Glenstal Abbey and a girls’ school at Kylemore Abbey.
Ampleforth would undergo various further changes throughout its history, increasingly transferring roles and responsibilities into the hands of lay persons. In 2002, girls were admitted into Ampleforth’s Sixth Form for the first time. This marked the gradual transition into a co-educational boarding school and, as of 2011, the school is fully mixed in all year groups. The school has come under recent criticism over historic safeguarding issues which have seen sweeping reforms at Ampleforth and other faith-based schools across the country. Ampleforth has responded strongly to the criticisms and has re-established the school as one that is under the control of a professional laity with a limited role for the Benedictine monks of the Abbey. The school has undertaken to bring in world-class safeguarding policies and procedures and seeks to be a leading example of best practice in boarding school management. These moves have been welcomed by current and prospective parents alike and the school appears to be re-emerging from this difficult period as strong as ever.
The school has been celebrated as one of Britain’s elite Public Schools since its great resurgence in the early part of the last century. References to Ampleforth were commonly included in popular schoolboy publications like ‘The Boy’s Own Paper‘ and the ‘Chums Annual‘. The ‘Boys’ Own Paper’ regularly displayed the colours and arms of the leading Public Schools, a number of such features would be made into postcards and lithographic prints, including the ‘Rugby Football Colours of Our Public Schools’, the ‘Football Colours of Our Public Schools’ (which actually correspond identically) and the ‘Cricket Caps of Famous Clubs and Schools’. Ampleforth College has been included in all of these. The school has also been recognised in a number of collectible series’ postcards as dipslayed here.
Ampleforth College has often been referred to as the “Catholic Eton”, a nickname garnered for the school’s distinctive charm and character and its reputation for educating the Catholic nobility and gentility with Eton College sharing a similar reputation as a preferred school for well-bred young men. The large number of international pupils at the school, many of whom have come from wealthy families has lead some to disparagingly refer to the school as “Ample wealth”. Indeed, the school has long been associated with the wealthier classes and fees are high, but Ampleforth is often considered to be one of the best value-for-money independent schools in the United Kingdom. An accolade bestowed on the school in recognition of the broad range of opportunities offered at its beautiful sprawling countryside campus and for the success of Amplefordians in their lives after school.
Ampleforth has a decidedly unique identity that embraces its rural location and a tradition of country sports and pursuits. The school’s history and status have been heavily influenced by the Abbey at Ampleforth and the Benedictine Order that founded the school.
Faith and tradition underpin much of life at Ampleforth and are essential aspects of the architecture behind this great school. Whilst the Benedictines are much less involved in the day-to-day life of the school today, their legacy has greatly shaped the school’s mission and culture. It is a member of The English & Irish Benedictine Schools’ Centre for Benedictine Education (alongside peer schools: Downside School; Glenstal Abbey School; St Benedict’s School; and Worth School). Central to the order’s teachings are the ideas of charity and service, requiring piety and sacrifice from its adherents. Such attributes are key tenets of Ampleforth’s teaching and pupils are taught, from an early age, to understand that with great privilege comes great responsibility. Amplefordians are actively encouraged to participate in charitable life and the school has a strong and proud tradition of supporting charitable endeavors overseas and at home.
Ampleforth College is co-located with Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire and spiritual life at the school is still overseen by the Dean, a senior monk appointed from the Abbey. In addition, each House has a chaplain assigned to it to support spiritual development and act as a figure of support for the members of that House. Mass is read each day on campus and daily life begins with morning prayers in-House. The entire school body is invited to celebrate Mass together on Sunday mornings. The school also facilitates sacramental life and the essential rites of passage into Catholic life for pupils seeking the same. However, the school also recognises that many pupils may not practice the Catholic, nor indeed, Christian faith and aims to be a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive environment for pupils of all faiths and none.
The school has always been a boarding school and, even today, the vast majority of pupils attend on a full-boarding basis. Much of school life is built around accommodating the needs of the boarding community with a big emphasis on pastoral care and the school’s guardianship responsibilities, acting in loco parentis.
All pupils, both day pupils and boarders, are assigned to a House. The lower years (Years 7 and 8) are assigned to the Junior House, known as St Edward’s & St Wilfrid’s. The rest of the student body (Year 9 – Sixth Form) is assigned to one of the seven Senior Houses. The Senior Houses each are home to a population of about 60 pupils and are under the leadership of a Housemaster or Housemistress who resides in-House (often with their family). They are supported in this role by the Assistant Housemaster/Housemistress, a resident Tutor (a member of the teaching faculty who is appointed to the House to support the learning journey of each House member), Matron, and Housekeeping staff who oversee the maintenance of the House. Day pupils have their own study areas within the House for their use and are able to participate in evening Prep and, if necessary, they have their own boarding facilities for overnight or flexi-boarding style stays.
The House system at Ampleforth was introduced to emulate that of the great English Public Schools (notably Rugby School) and is designed to emulate the collegiate system of the ancient universities. This system is intended to prepare pupils for entry to those universities and to foster a sense of camaraderie and family within the school, especially for pupils who are away from their own families and communities. The Houses are all named for Saints. They have their own Coats of Arms and their own representative colours which are displayed in Inter-House competitions. Within each of the Houses pupils are aligned to a Deanery (a House within a House) which is comprised of members from each of the Year Groups and which act as a small family unit, often meeting and eating together. Of the Houses at Ampleforth, only St Edward’s & St Wilfrid’s is co-educational with boys and girls having their own Senior Houses. The Houses maintain their own vibrant communities, fielding teams against one another in the school’s major sports and competing for House honours. Each House hosts their own major events and traditions, including House Punch (a celebratory dinner that traditionally allowed for the consumption of wine in the Senior Houses that would be served, perhaps rather too liberally, by Lower Sixth Formers as Servers).
THE HOUSES OF AMPLEFORTH COLLEGE
One of the original four Houses established at Ampleforth in 1926 under the direction of Father Paul Nevill. It is a Senior House that became, exclusively, a House for girls in 2001 when it was given over to the girls first admitted into the Sixth Form. The House was initially located in the main school building but now has its own dedicated facilities in its own building in 2002 and expanded to include girls from Year 9 and up by 2011. Girls in the House share rooms until Sixth Form when they have their own rooms. The House is named for St Aidan of Lindisfarne, a pivotal figure in British and Irish Christianity and the founder of the legendary monastic site at Lindisfarne. St Aidan’s House Colour is a golden yellow, often paired with white. House “Colours” are awarded in the form of a pashmina in the House Colours. The House is known by the abbreviation “A”.
Another of the original four Houses of Ampleforth College, St Bede’s is now a girls’ Senior House that was originally located in the main building but now occupies purpose-built accommodations on Aumit Hill alongside its sister House, St Aidan’s. The House is named for the ‘Venerable Bede’, St Bede, a significant contributor to Anglo-Saxon scholarship and a renowned intellectual who had joined the Benedictines as a young man and remained in Benedictine monastic life at Jarrow until his death. St Bede’s girls may be identified by the sky blue colours of their House (with pale blue and white hoops being the House’s sporting colours). The House is known by the abbreviation “B”.
St Cuthbert’s & St Thomas’
Located in Hume House alongside St Edward’s & St Wilfrid’s, St Cuthbert’s & St Thomas’ is a Senior House for boys and is the amalgamation of two distinct Houses, St Cuthbert’s and St Thomas’ which was founded in 1946. The Houses are named for St Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne in 685, and St Thomas, Thomas Beckett was the Archbishop of Canterbury, respectively. Cuthbert’s boys are identified by their green and white House Colours and Thomas’ by their green and white House Colours. St. Cuthbert’s is known by the abbreviation “C”, and St Thomas’ by the abbreviation “T”. “CT” is the abbreviation that refers to the amalgamated House.
St Dunstan’s & St Oswald’s
These two boys’ Senior Houses have effectively merged to form a single House that occupies the Bolton House building. The House is named in honour of St Dunstan, a revered Benedictine who founded Westminster Abbey, and St Oswald who had been the Archbishop of York. St Dunstan’s Colours are brown and white and St Oswald’s are maroon and white. The House is known by the abbreviation “DO”.
St Edward’s & St Wilfrid’s
The Junior House at Ampleforth that is home to the entirety of Years 7 and 8. St Edward’s & St Wilfrid’s is a large House accommodating the school’s youngest pupils, both boarders and day pupils. They occupy a purpose-built complex called Hume House. A small cadre of Year 8 pupils may be appointed to a prefect role, known at Ampleforth as House Monitors. When the pupils graduate from Year 8 they move to one of the various Senior Houses. The House is an amalgamation of two separate Houses, St Edward’s (named after St Edward, Edward the Confessor, who was King of England before his death in 1066) and St Wilfrid’s (whose eponymous patron is St Wilfrid, the Archbishop of York who died in 709). The House Colour is red. The House is known by the abbreviation “EW”.
St Hugh’s is a Senior House for boys at Ampleforth. It shares a facility with St Margaret’s in Fairfax House. St Hugh’s was founded in 1956 and was in Aumit House which is now home to St Bede’s girls’ House. St Hugh was a Benedictine monk who served as Bishop of Lincoln. St Hugh’s House Colours are light blue and maroon. The House is known by the abbreviation “H”.
Founded in 1957, St John’s is a Senior House for boys in the main school buildings. The House is named in honour of St John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester and a famous martyr in Catholic history. The House Colours are grey and maroon. The House is known by the abbreviation “J”.
St Margaret’s is a girls’ Senior House that shares Fairfax House with the boys of St Hugh’s (in segregated facilities). The House was founded in 2004 and was named for St Margaret Clitheroe of York who was executed for providing safe harbour to Priests during the persecution of Catholics in the Middle Ages. St Margaret’s House Colours are navy blue and pink. The House is known by the abbreviation “M”.
Ampleforth has a prefect system typical of English Public Schools. Prefects are known as Monitors at Ampleforth, in keeping with the Benedictine system. Typically, they are appointed from the school’s Sixth Form body, however, a small cohort of Year 8 pupils ate appointed as prefects in St Edward’s & St Wilfrid’s House. Prefects in the Sixth Form are known as Probationary Monitors and undergo a dedicated leadership training course that awards the Institute of Leadership and Management’s Level 3 qualification. Ampleforth was the first school to embark on such a scheme. Heads of school (Head Boy and Head Girl), their respective Deputies, Heads of House, Chaplaincy Monitors, and Sport Monitors are selected from the group of Sixth Formers who have successfully attained this qualification. Other pupils are appointed as Eucharistic Ministers (an honour rarely bestowed on a person under the age of 18 but for which Ampleforth has special dispensation), the Head of School, Head of Green Room, and Lectio Leaders. Other senior student leader roles include the Deans who are heads of the deanery groups within each House. Monitors are allowed to wear a red v-neck jumper. All other pupils are strictly prohibited from wearing the same, despite the school’s rather relaxed uniform policy.
The school’s uniform policy is one of the quirks for which it is best known. The historic black Eton Jacket is no longer a part of the school’s uniform. Instead, pupils are required to wear dark-coloured tailored pieces with appropriate light-coloured shirts. Many pupils opt to wear tweed jackets in keeping with the English country traditional aesthetic. Pupils are, however, required to wear a plain black necktie. All pupils must maintain a dark-coloured tailored suit in their wardrobes for wearing to Mass services (especially on a Sunday). This is known as the Mass Suit. Pupils may wear House Colours.
Traditional country life is important to Ampleforth’s community and the school has a strong equestrian tradition as well as a strong country sports pedigree (including shooting and fishing). The school’s Rifles are regularly in attendance at Bisley competing against other renowned Public Schools and the school’s Combined Cadet Force is an active component in preparing candidates for Officer positions in the British Armed Forces.
Ampleforth has achieved great honours in a number of varsity sports and sport is a major part of life at the school. The school is well-known as a Rugby powerhouse having produced a number of international players, including a future captain of the English team. Cricket is also an important sport at the school with many Amplefordians having represented County and Country after graduating. The school’s annual fixture against Emeriti Cricket Club (a wandering club comprised of past pupils of the Catholic independent schools). Every pupil is expected to participate in at least one sport each term with the representative sports (the major “skyscraper” sports) being: Association Football (Soccer); Athletics (Track & Field); Cricket; Hockey (Field); Netball; Rugby Union; and Tennis. Other sports which are heavily played at Ampleforth include: Cross Country; Fives; Golf; Squash; Swimming & Diving. Ampleforth also offers Badminton; Dance; Fencing; and Water Polo as well as various fitness programmes.
Ampleforth embodies the Public School ethos of creating well-rounded characters and future leaders, recognising sport, service, and academic excellence as essential pillars of such character. Ampleforth has a broad curriculum based on the English National curriculum with pupils undertaking G.C.S.E and A-Level exams. Ampleforth has its own proprietary programme for the Junior School (Years 7 and 8) known as the Ampleforth College Junior Certificate. A bespoke course known as Liberalis is undertaken in Year 9 (1st Form) which aims to raise pupil’s awareness of major global issues and to enable them to flourish. Pupils at Ampleforth may opt to study any of a broad range of subjects which ranges from Greek to Computing and includes many subjects dedicated to advancing Christian understanding. Ampleforth has a similarly broad co-curricular offer designed to enrich student lives, minds, and understanding. This includes a range of clubs and societies covering various interests and subjects with many affording national competition opportunities. any of at Ampleforth may also undertake the Duke of Edinburgh Award, may join in with the Model United Nations initiative, or take part in national and global debating events.
Art and music complement Ampleforth’s programme with the school maintaining a number of choirs and orchestral groups, music groups, and dance and performing arts troupes. Pupils engaged in the arts may avail of world-class facilities at the College.
Ampleforth has a strong track record of sending pupils up to Oxbridge Colleges and Russell Group universities. The school has a large international community and many boarders seek to return to their home countries to study at third-level or attend universities elsewhere overseas. A great many Amplefordians have also entered Sandhurst as officer cadets or have undertaken study at the Royal Agricultural College. Many Old Amplefordians have led successful lives in religious, public, imperial, and military service or have won great recognition in professional, artistic, and commercial pursuits. Many famous artists, actors, and musicians once called Ampleforth home.
The school’s community has also developed a lexicon of its own, typical of an English Public School. Pupils still must obtain chits to pay for provisions from the tuck shop or to purchase alcoholic drinks at The Windmill. Prefects are known as Monitors and Form Groups as Deaneries. The year groups also have their own naming convention with Years 7 and 8 known as Juniors, Years 9 and 10 as 1st and 2nd Form, Year 11 as The Remove, and Years 12 and 13 as the Middle (also Lower) and Upper Sixth respectively.
THE UNIQUE SLANG, JARGON, AND TERMINOLOGY OF AMPLEFORTH COLLEGE
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Ampleforth offers a modern, progressive education based on Christian fundamentals of charity, service, and conscientious citizenship. A school that combines unique tradition and heritage with globally-minded, character-based educational programmes. Ampleforth is one of only a handful of elite schools that occupies a unique revered place in the public eye and which is renowned as a producer of astute, capable young leaders.
Campus and Facilities
Ampleforth’s campus sits in a verdant valley between Ampleforth and Oswaldkirk in North Yorkshire on the edge of the North York Moors National Park. The school’s grounds are home to the various boarding Houses for the school’s residents and a host of world-class academic and sporting facilities that have allowed Ampleforth to become the leading school that it is today.
The school’s amenities include cutting-edge science and technology laboratories, performing arts facilities, classrooms and study halls, and music studios. Ampleforth also has ample sporting facilities, including rugby, hockey, football, and cricket pitches (including an all-weather pitch), all-weather tennis courts, batting cages, an athletics track, dedicated Fives Courts, and an equestrian arena The school also has a purpose-built indoor sports centre, the St Alban’s Sports Centre. Pupils often avail of the public forested land and moors for adventuring and orienteering activities or attend local golf courses.
The various Houses on campus are designed to offer state-of-the-art dormitories and bedroom facilities for pupils and resident staff. Each has its own Common Room, breakfast facilities, and activities and games rooms. Sixth Formers also have access to a dedicated social centre known as The Windmill which includes a limited weekend bar service.
The College is co-located with Ampleforth Abbey although it no longer shares amenities (such as The Refectory or Infirmary) with monks at the Abbey. Nonetheless, pupils and monks alike share a collegial relationship and regularly attend services alongside one another at the Church. The Abbey also maintains a cider mill and orchard on the grounds of the College complex.
Ampleforth operates a selective admissions policy requiring prospective pupils to undergo prescribed entrance examinations (in maths and English) and to attend an interview assessment. Pupils who perform exceptionally in these examinations or who are able to demonstrate outstanding achievement in academic, athletic, or artistic efforts may be eligible for a scholarship or means-tested bursary.
Ampleforth favours pupils who are practicing Catholics but is not exclusive in this respect. Pupils of all faiths and none are welcome to apply to the College but must respect and be sympathetic to the Benedictine ethos that underpins life at Ampleforth. Ampleforth is fully co-educational but boarders are segregated from Year 9 and up.
The school no longer operates its own preparatory school (St. Martin’s, Ampleforth closed in 2020). The school has strong relationships with a number of leading preparatory schools that have historically acted as feeder schools, most notably St Bede’s Preparatory School, Bishton Hall which closed in 2018. Current top schools feeding into Ampleforth include Aysgarth, Beeston Hall, Belhaven Hill, Farleigh, Mowden Hall, and various Oxford Group schools.
Ampleforth has a very distinguished list of past pupils and has been the preferred school for multiple generations of some of the United Kingdom’s most eminent Roman Catholic families. Its alumni list includes a veritable who’s who of British society with various Old Boys and Old Girls occupying prominent positions in public life and the arts.
For many Ampleforth pupils, their time at Ampleforth College was a time that they look back upon with fond memories. The Ampleforth Society brings together many Old Amplefordians to participate in various events, reunions, and social and sports clubs. Old Amplefordians may use the post-nominal letters OA in correspondence with one another. Many OA events take place back at the “Shack” allowing current and form Amplefordians to engage with one another. Many still maintain close friendly relationships with the monks of the Abbey who played a significant role whilst at the school.
Old Amplefordians are invited to join their peers at the Old Amplefordian Golfing Society, which is a member of the prestigious Public Schools Golfing Society competing annually for the Halford Hewitt Cup. Cricketers may join the Old Amplefordians Cricket Club which competes for The Cricketers Cup (the independent schools’ alumni tournament). Rugger types may join the very active Old Amplefordian RFC which was founded in 1985 and has achieved success in the RFU Surrey Leagues. Footballers may join the Old Amplefordians FC which takes part in The Arthurian League and competes for the prestigious Arthur Dunn trophy. Nautical OAs may join the Old Amplefordian Sailing Club which was established in 2008 and which has seen some yachts entered into the Arrow Trophy.
Eligible OAs may also join The East India Club (incorporating the Public Schools’ Club) in London’s St James and which has reciprocal arrangements with various gentlemen’s clubs across the United Kingdom and overseas.
Ampleforth has a very distinguished list of past pupils and has been the preferred school for multiple generations of some of the United Kingdom’s most eminent Roman Catholic families. The Ampleforth Society brings together many Old Amplefordians to participate in various events, reunions, and social and sports clubs. Old Amplefordians may use the post-nominal letters OA in correspondence with one another. Old Amplefordians are invited to join their peers at the Old Amplefordian Golfing Society, which is a member of the prestigious Public Schools Golfing Society competing annually for the Halford Hewitt Cup. Cricketers may join the Old Amplefordians Cricket Club which competes for The Cricketers Cup (the independent schools’ alumni tournament). Rugger types may join the very active Old Amplefordian RFC which was founded in 1985 and has achieved success in the RFU Surrey Leagues. Footballers may join the Old Amplefordians FC which takes part in The Arthurian League and competes for the prestigious Arthur Dunn trophy. Nautical OAs may join the Old Amplefordian Sailing Club which was established in 2008 and which has seen some yachts entered into the Arrow Trophy. Eligible OAs may also join The East India Club (incorporating the Public Schools’ Club) in London’s St James and which has reciprocal arrangements with various gentlemen’s clubs across the United Kingdom and overseas.
ADDRESS: THE DEVELOPMENT & ALUMNI OFFICE, AMPLEFORTH COLLEGE, AMPLEFORTH, NORTH YORKSHIRE YO62 4ER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
Accreditations and Affiliations
Ampleforth is an accredited independent school subject to oversight by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) and the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED). It is a recognised “Association” school, with its Heads traditionally being members of The Heads’ Conference (HMC). The school is a member of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA), the British and Irish Schools’ Centre for Benedictine Education (CBE), the Catholic Independent Schools Conference (CISC), and the York Boarding Schools Group (YBSG). The school’s officers and executives are members of the Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools (AGBIS), the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association (ISBA), and the Independent Schools’ Modern Languages Association (ISMLA). Ampleforth was a member of the informal Sevenoaks Group, an admissions policy survey group comprised of the top tier of independent schools (Public Schools) in the United Kingdom.
CO-EDUCATIONAL / MIXED (FORMERLY BOYS ONLY)
BOARDING & DAY
11 – 18
YEAR 7 – SIXTH FORM
SELECTIVE ADMISSIONS. CANDIDATES MUST SIT ENTRANCE EXAMINATIONS AND ATTEND AN INTERVIEW
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
IN LINE WITH NATIONAL GUIDELINES
ENGLISH NATIONAL CURRICULUM
INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS INSPECTORATE
ROLL NO: 6197
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION
FAITH / ETHOS
ROMAN CATHOLIC (BENEDICTINE)
PEDAGOGY / PHILOSOPHY
COUNTRYSIDE / RURAL
ST AIDAN’S | ST BEDE’S | ST CUTHBERT’S & ST THOMAS’ | ST DUNSTAN’S & ST OSWALD’S | ST EDWARD’S & ST WILFRID’S | ST HUGH’S | ST JOHN’S | ST MARGARET’S
DUKE OF EDINBURGH
MODEL UNITED NATIONS
VARIOUS CLUBS AND SOCIETIES
ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL (SOCCER)
ATHLETICS (TRACK & FIELD)
SWIMMING & DIVING
ST LAURENCE EDUCATION TRUST
PATRON / VISITOR
EDWARD SPARROW (CHAIR OF TRUST)
HEAD OF SCHOOL
PETER ROBERTS (HEAD)
455 PUPILS (368 BOARDERS)
AVERAGE CLASS SIZE
9 – 16 PUPILS
GBP £30,870 – £43,290 PER ANNUM
ADDITIONAL FEES AND CHARGES APPLY
SCHOLARSHIPS, BURSARIES & FINANCIAL AID
A VARIETY OF SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES EXIST FOR ACADEMICALLY, ARTISTICALLY AND / OR ATHLETICALLY GIFTED CANDIDATES
BLACK, CHARCOAL GREY OR NAVY MASS SUIT WITH WHITE SHIRT AND CHOICE OF TIE FOR SUNDAY WEAR OR OCCASION MASSES.
EVERYDAY WEAR INCLUDES CHOICE OF BLACK, NAVY BLUE OR TWEED (TYPICALLY BROWN) BLAZERS FOR EVERYDAY WEAR, LIGHT COLOURED SHIRT (PLAIN OR SUBTLE PATTERN), DARK V-NECK JUMPER, DARK-COLOURED TROUSERS OR SKIRT AND DARK-COLOURED SHOES AND THE BLACK SCHOOL TIE OR, WHERE AUTHORISED THE OFFICIAL MONITOR TIE, HOUSE TIE OR COLOURS TIE).
JUNIORS MAY WEAR THE NAVY BLUE SCHOOL JUMPER, NAVY BLUE TROUSERS AND LIGHT BLUE SHIRT.
BOAT CLUB COLOURS
ACCREDITATIONS, ASSOCIATIONS AND AFFILIATIONS
ATHLETIC CONFERENCES & SPORTS LEAGUES
SISTER SCHOOLS & PARTNER SCHOOLS
DIEU LE WARD (GOD THE PROTECTOR)
CELEBRATED ALUMNI & FACULTY
MICHAEL ABNEY HASTINGS, 14TH EARL OF LOUDOUN; MICHAEL ANCRAM, 14TH MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN; HON. SIR DOMINIC ASQUITH; JULIAN ASQUITH, 2ND EARL OF OXFORD AND ASQUITH; RAYMOND ASQUITH, 3RD EARL OF OXFORD AND ASQUITH; ANTHONY BAMFORD, BARON BAMFORD; PETER BERGEN; FRA’ ANDREW BERTIE, 78TH PRINCE AND GRAND MASTER OF THE KNIGHTS HOSPITALLER; RICHARD BERTIE, 14TH EARL OF LINDSEY; JOHN BURNETT, BARON BURNETT; EDWARD O’DONOVAN CREAN; LORD ANTHONY CRICHTON-STUART; JOHN CRICHTON-STUART, 6TH MARQUESS OF BUTE; JOHN CRICHTON-STUART, 7TH MARQUESS OF BUTE; LAWRENCE DALLAGLIO; GUY EASTERBY; SIMON EASTERBY; ROBERT DAVID “LU” EDMONDS; RUPERT EVERETT; JULIAN FELLOWES, BARON FELLOWES OF WEST STAFFORD; ALEXANDER FERMOR-HESKETH, 3RD BARON HESKETH; ANDREW FESTING; FRA’ MATTHEW FESTING, 79TH PRINCE AND GRAND MASTER OF THE KNIGHTS HOSPITALLER; EDWARD FITZALAN-HOWARD, 18TH DUKE OF NORFOLK AND EARL MARSHAL; MAJ. GEN. LORD MICHAEL FITZALAN-HOWARD; MAJ. GEN. MILES FITZALAN-HOWARD, 17TH DUKE OF NORFOLK AND EARL MARSHAL; MAURICE FITZGERALD; FRANCIS FITZHERBERT, 15TH BARON STAFFORD; SIR HUGH FRASER; MAJ. GEN. SIR CHRISTOPHER JOHN GHIKA; SIR ARTHUR GOODALL; SIR ANTONY GORMLEY; MAJ. GEN. SIR FRANCIS WILFRED “FREDDIE” DE GUINGAND; DAVID HENNESSY, 3RD BARON WINDLESHAM AND LORD PRIVY SEAL; AUBERON HERBERT, MP; EDWARD HOLCROFT; PETER HOPE, 4TH BARON RANKEILLOUR; H.E. BASIL HUME, CARDINAL HUME; DON AGUSTÍN JERÓNIMO DE ITURBIDE Y HUARTE, PRINCE IMPERIAL OF MEXICO; LT. COL. SIR JOHN JOHNSTON; PETER KERR, 12TH MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN; ANDREW KNIGHT; KING LETSIE III OF LESOTHO; BRIG. SIMON LOVAT, 15TH LORD LOVAT AND 4TH BARON LOVAT; HRH GRAND DUKE JEAN OF LUXEMBOURG; JOHN MICKLETHWAIT; GEORGE REDMOND “RED” FITZPATRICK MORRIS, 4TH BARON KILLANIN; KING MOSHOESHOE II OF LESOTHO; GEORGE NELSON, 8TH EARL NELSON; MICHAEL NOLAN, BARON NOLAN; JAMES NORTON; RICHARD NORTON, 8TH BARON GRANTLEY; JAMES O’BRIEN; TIMOTHY OULTON; BRIG. ANDREW PARKER BOWLES; WILLIAM PEEL, 3RD EARL PEEL AND LORD CHAMBERLAIN; MAJ. GEN. A. PETER GRANT PETERKIN; MAJ. GEN. SIR SEBASTIAN ROBERTS; JOHN HORNE ROBERTSON, MP; JOHN SCOTT, 4TH EARL OF ELDON; JOHN SCOTT, 5TH EARL OF ELDON; COL. SIR DAVID STIRLING; CHARLES STOURTON, 26TH BARON MOWBRAY; EDWARD STOURTON, 27TH BARON MOWBRAY; SIR SWINTON BARCLAY THOMAS
NORTH YORKSHIRE YO62 4ER