ST. GROTTLESEX: AMERICA’S ANSWER TO ENGLAND’S TRADITIONAL “PUBLIC SCHOOLS”
“St. Grottlesex” is a moniker used to describe and elite grouping of quintessential New England boarding schools that were established to emulate the great British schools in the English public school tradition. Most of the schools were or remain aligned with the Episcopal faith and espoused the muscular Christianity approach of their English counterparts.
The term is a portmanteau derived from the names of a select group of the most prestigious schools in the United States with international reputations and who are amongst the global top-tier both in terms of academic excellence and in terms of the facilities and opportunities offered. The term is often used by schools admissions advisors and aspiring pupils.
With the exception of Middlesex School, all of the schools were founded in the Episcopalian (Anglican) faith as the descendants of America’s great families increasingly followed the Episcopal Church unlike their Puritan forefathers for whom the famous Academies of New England and the Mid-Atlantic States were founded. Each of the schools borrows heavily from the English public school model popular in the latter part of the 19th Century and spearheaded by Thomas Arnold of Rugby. These schools would consider each other to be peer schools and often have a close relationship with one another.
All of these schools are regarded as being amongst the most prestigious in the United States and are included in our Great Schools group. All schools are members of the Independent School League and were included in E. Digby Baltzell’s Select 16 schools as being the preferred destinations for aspiring Philadelphia gentleman.
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