Lancing College

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Lancing College
(formerly College of St Mary and St Nicolas)
Lancing logo.jpg
, ,
BN15 0RW

TypePublic school
Independent day and boarding
Motto'Beati Mundo Corde'[1]
(Blessed are the pure in heart)[2]
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Established1848; 174 years ago (1848)
FounderNathaniel Woodard
Department for Education URN126108 Tables
ChairmanMartin Slumbers
Head MasterDominic Oliver
Age13 to 18
Houses10 (Gibbs', School, Teme, Head's, Second's, Handford, Sankey's, Field's, Manor, Saints')
Colour(s)Blue and White and Gold      
PublicationThe Quad
Former pupilsOLs
AffiliationWoodard Corporation

Lancing College is a public school (English independent day and boarding school for pupils aged 13–18) in southern England, UK. The school is located in West Sussex, east of Worthing near the village of Lancing, on the south coast of England. Lancing was founded in 1848 by Nathaniel Woodard and educates c. 600 pupils between the ages of 13 and 18; the co-educational ratio is c. 60:40 boys to girls. Girls were admitted beginning in 1971. The first co-ed, Saints’ House, was established in September 2018, bringing the total number of Houses to 10. There are 5 male houses (Gibbs, School, Teme, Heads, Seconds) and 4 female houses (Fields, Sankeys, Manor, Handford).

The college is situated on a hill which is part of the South Downs, and the campus dominates the local landscape. The college overlooks the River Adur, and the Ladywell Stream, a holy well or sacred stream within the College grounds, has pre-Christian significance.[3] Woodard's aim was to provide education "based on sound principle and sound knowledge, firmly grounded in the Christian faith," and the discipline of the prefect's cane. However John Dancy was appointed headmaster in 1953 to improve academic standards, which had taken second place to prowess in sport. Lancing was the first of a family of more than 30 schools founded by Woodard. Other schools include Ardingly College, Bloxham School, The Cathedral School, Denstone College, and Ellesmere College.

Roughly 65% of pupils are either full or weekly boarders, at a cost of £37,065 per year; 35% are day pupils, at a cost of £25,320 per year. Occasional overnight stays are available to day pupils at an additional cost of £50 per night.[4]

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

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

In 2003, it was one of fifty of the country's leading independent schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents.[5] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000 and all agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling three million pounds into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared.


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

The foundation stone of the college chapel was laid in 1868, but the chapel itself was not finished in Woodard's lifetime. It stands at about 50 metres (with foundations going down 20 metres into the ground), but the original plans called for a tower at the west end which would raise the height to 100 metres. The apex of the vaulting rises to 27.4 m (90 ft).[6] It was designed by R. H. Carpenter and William Slater, and is built of Sussex sandstone from Scaynes Hill.

The chapel was dedicated to St Mary and St Nicholas in 1911, although the college worshipped in the finished crypt from 1875. St Nicholas is the patron saint of children. Inside can be found, among other things, the tomb of the founder, three organs, and a rose window designed by Stephen Dykes Bower, completed in 1977, and the largest rose window in England, being 32 ft in diameter. People acknowledge it as the largest school chapel in the world, despite the fact that there appears to be no study or survey publicly available that can confirm that.

The eastern organ is a two-manual mechanical organ built by the Danish firm Frobenius and was installed and voiced in situ in 1986. That year also marked the completion of the rebuild of the four-manual Walker organ at the west end of the chapel[7] – both of which were showcased in the opening concert by the American organ virtuoso, Carlo Curley.

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

The unfinished west end of the chapel, which had remained bricked up since 1978 (bricks replaced the previous corrugated iron), was completed in the summer of 2021 with the addition of an open three-arched porch designed by Michael Drury.

The chapel was closed to visitors during the coronavirus pandemic and, subsequently, during the completion of the west end porch and refurbishment work on the school kitchens opposite, reopening to the public on 25 April 2022.


During World War II, students were evacuated to Downton Castle in Herefordshire.[8] Both the main college and the prep school buildings were requisitioned by the Admiralty and became part of the Royal Navy shore establishment HMS King Alfred.


Upper quadrangle view from Great School

In 1856 Lancing created its own code of football which (unlike other school codes) was regarded as a means of fostering teamwork.[9]

Notable alumni[edit]

Memorial Cloister
The College Drive



Broadcasting, theatre and film[edit]

Politics and law[edit]

Diplomatic service[edit]


The Church[edit]

Armed forces[edit]




Notable former staff members[edit]

South West side of the College


Headmaster from 1909 to 1925 Henry Thomas Bowlby
  • Henry Jacobs (Aug–Dec 1848)
  • Charles Edward Moberly (1849–1851)
  • John Branthwaite (1851–1859)
  • Henry Walford (1859–1861)
  • Robert Edward Sanderson (1862–1889)
  • Harry Ward McKenzie (1889–1894)
  • Ambrose John Wilson (1895–1901)
  • Bernard Henry Tower (1901–1909)
  • Canon Henry Thomas Bowlby (1909–1925)
  • Cuthbert Harold Blakiston (1925–1934)
  • Frank Cecil Doherty (1935–1953)
  • John Christopher Dancy (1953–1961)
  • Sir Erskine William Gladstone KG Bt (1961–1969)
  • Ian David Stafford Beer (1969–1981)
  • James Stephen Woodhouse (1981–1993)
  • Christopher John Saunders (1993–1998)
  • Peter M. Tinniswood (1998–2005)
  • Richard R. Biggs (acting, 2005–2006)
  • Jonathan William James Gillespie FRSA (Sept 2006–2014)
  • Dominic Oliver (2014–present)[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Matthaeus 5 Latin: Biblia Sacra Vulgata". Archived from the original on 25 February 2017. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  2. ^ "Matthew 5:8 Multilingual: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  3. ^ Map, The Megalithic Portal and Megalith. "Our Lady's Well (Lancing)". Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Fees". Archived from the original on 14 January 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  5. ^ Gray, Sadie. "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees – Times Online". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 7 October 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2008.
  6. ^ "Visit Worthing – Lancing College Chapel". Visit Worthing. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  7. ^ The History of the English Organ. Stephen Bicknell, Cambridge University Press, 1999
  8. ^ Calder, Jonathan (12 July 2005). "Liberal England: Shropshire on the screen". Archived from the original on 9 January 2017. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  9. ^ J. Lowerson and J. Myerscough, Time to Spare in Victorian England (Brighton: Harvester, 1977) pp 119–20, cited in Football: The First Hundred Years. The Untold Story. Adrian Harvey, Routledge, 2005
  10. ^ Haddon, E. B. (1946). "Mr. J. H. Driberg". Obituary. Nature. 157 (3983): 257–258. Bibcode:1946Natur.157..257H. doi:10.1038/157257b0.
  11. ^ Mitchell, Andy (2012). First Elevens: The Birth of International Football. Andy Mitchell Media. pp. 78 & 106. ISBN 978-1475206845.
  12. ^ Sholto Marcon Archived 4 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine at, accessed 20 December 2011
  13. ^ 'Dr. H. C. Stewart: Music at Oxford' (Obituary). The Times, Wednesday 17 June 1942 (Issue 49,264); p. 7 Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Jean Stewart. Obituaries. The Independent. 17 January 2003.
  15. ^ Lancing College History. Archived 14 January 2020 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°50′47″N 00°18′15″W / 50.84639°N 0.30417°W / 50.84639; -0.30417