The Crypt School, Gloucester
The Crypt School is a grammar school for boys with a mixed Sixth Form, located in the city of Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

, England, founded in 1539 by Joan Cooke with money inherited from her husband John.

The original school was part of St Mary de Crypt Church
St Mary de Crypt Church
St Mary de Crypt Church, Southgate Street, Gloucester GL1, is an Anglican house of worship, which was first recorded in 1140 as The Church of the Blessed Mary within Southgate. It is in the Diocese of Gloucester and is located adjacent to the ruins of Greyfriars. It has also been known as Christ...

 in Southgate Street and the schoolroom can still be seen there. Later, in 1889, the school moved to Greyfriars, known better as Friar's Orchard, and in 1943, to its present site at Podsmead. The site on which the modern school is situated is land given to the school by Joan Cooke in 1539. Despite attempts to change the school, notably in the 1960s with the move to comprehensive schools, the Crypt remains a selective boys grammar school.


John Cooke (d. 1528) was a wealthy brewer and mercer of Gloucester, one of the City's earliest aldermen, serving as sheriff in 1494 and 1498. He held the office of mayor four times, in 1501, 1507, 1512 and 1518. He was a great benefactor of the City. His will started the process in motion for the establishment of a grammar school in Gloucester, and the scheme was finally given effect by his wife Joan who survived him by 17 years, dying in 1545. It was Joan therefore who created the tripartite deed of 1539, deemed to be the founding charter. The school remains today the most ancient in Gloucester. A full account of the couple and their good works is contained within the book by Roland Austin published in 1939 "Crypt School". A contemporaneous portrait of the pair, John in his mayoral robe, shaking hands in union, is held within the collection of Gloucester City Council.

Foundation deeds

The following documents, founding the School, are held by the Gloucestershire Records Office (Gloucester Archives):

D3270/1 Conveyance(1528): John Cooke of Gloucester, mercer and alderman, to Thomas Messynger the elder, Thomas Bell the elder
Thomas Bell (Mayor of Gloucester)
Sir Thomas Bell the Elder was an English cap manufacturer, mayor of Gloucester and MP. He was a manufacturer of caps in Gloucester and one of the city's largest employers and wealthiest citizens and a great benefactor of the city and its people. He is described in contemporaneous documents as a...

, John Hawkyns, Thomas Payne, Richard Halyday, Richard Perkyns (clerico), Thomas Bell the younger
Thomas Bell (Mayor of Gloucester)
Sir Thomas Bell the Elder was an English cap manufacturer, mayor of Gloucester and MP. He was a manufacturer of caps in Gloucester and one of the city's largest employers and wealthiest citizens and a great benefactor of the city and its people. He is described in contemporaneous documents as a...

, William Pyrry, Thomas Pirry and Lewis Leysant. Conveyance of lands in Ebley, Stonehouse, Oxlynche, Ranwyke, Chaxhill, Rodley, Westbury, Badgeworth and Gloucester 12 May 20 Henry VIII (1528). In trust for the purposes of his will and foundation of a grammar school at Gloucester. Robert Stynchcombe is also appointed as his attorney. Signed by John Cooke.

D3270/2 Grant(1529) 6 October 21 Henry VIII (1529) of Richard prior of Llanthony
Llanthony Secunda
Llanthony Secunda Priory is a ruined former Augustinian priory in Hempsted, Gloucester, England. Miles de Gloucester, 1st Earl of Hereford, founded the priory for the monks of Llanthony Priory, Vale of Ewyas, in what is now Monmouthshire, Wales, in 1136....

 to Thomas Messenger and others of part of the burial ground of the church of St Mary Crypt for the erection of a school house thereon, rendering yearly to the rector a red rose if demanded. Seals:- (1) Llanthony Priory (2) R.S. (3) Vicar General of the diocese of Worcester

D3270/18 Conveyance(1535) Joan Cooke of Gloucester to Thomas Bell, Thomas Payne (aldermen of Gloucester), Thomas Bell the younger, John Hawkyns, brewer, Richard Halyday, Thomas Pury, Thomas Messyng, Richard Perkyns, clerk, Lewis Lysent and John Partridge of Poddesmede. Conveyance of lands (as described in conveyance dated 22 Nov. 1529) in Badgeworth etc. 8 March 26 Henry VIII 1554/5. With part seal of Corporation of Gloucester

D3270/3 Grant of Letters Patent(1538)12 May 30 Henry VIII, 1538, to the Corporation of Gloucester to hold lands in mortmain not exceeding £50 annual value for the performance of trusts of the will (dated 18 May and proved 19 October 1528) of John Cooke. With great seal (the second seal, used 1532–1541) of Henry VIII. With copy, and translation.

D3270/4 Tripartite Deed(1539/40)11 January 31 Henry VIII, 1539–40, between Dame Joan Cooke, the Mayor and Burgesses of Gloucester, and the Bailiffs and Citizens of Worcester, as to the endowments made for the benefit of the Crypt Grammar School, Gloucester, and for the proper administration of the school lands. Seal: Common Seal of the City of Worcester.

D3270/5 Copy of Grant of Annuity(1540) Lady Joan Cooke of Gloucester, widow of John Cooke, to the Bailiffs and citizens of Worcester. Copy grant of annuity of 6s 8d out of lands for overseeing the provision of her trust for the grammar school is carried out.

Academic record

The Crypt School has been awarded an 'Artsmark' Award by the Arts Council of England for the quality of provision in creative and performing arts (i.e. music, drama and art itself).

In 2003, the school was granted Specialist Status in Science
Science College
Science Colleges were introduced in 2002 as part of the now defunct Specialist Schools Programme in the United Kingdom. The system enabled secondary schools to specialise in certain fields, in this case, science and mathematics...

. It remains the only school in Gloucester with this distinction. This award was, in part, awarded in recognition of the quality of science provision at the school – it remains one of a very select group of schools which teaches all of the sciences in depth as separate subjects.

In 2009, The Crypt School was further designated as a Specialist Language College
Language College
Language Colleges were introduced in 1995 as part of the Specialist Schools Programme in the United Kingdom. The system enables secondary schools to specialise in certain fields, in this case, modern foreign languages...

, this status has become active as of the 2009/2010 academic year.

At the end of every academic year, usually on the second Thursday of July, pupils, staff and former Cryptians gather at Gloucester Cathedral for Founders Day, a day when the school remembers its past and how the school was founded. The Headmaster of the school, the School Captain and the president of the Old Cryptian's Club pay the Rector of St Mary De Crypt Church a quit rent of one red rose.

There are four school houses; Whitfield, Moore, Brown and Henley, named after notable former students.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Crypt gained a reputation for the quality of its Shakespearean productions. The plays were directed by Charles Lepper, English teacher at the Crypt, and former RSC actor. Lepper's last production at the Crypt was "Much Ado About Nothing" in 1966.

School song – Carmen Cryptiense

Pio cantu celebremus

Scholam, pie memoremus

Conditores, quis debemus

Tot Musarum munera.

Laus Ioanni tribuenda,

Laus Ioannae concinenda.

Vivat schola Cryptiensis,

Vivat in perpetuum!

Stat per annos domus crescens

Fortiorque fit senescens,

Laeta prole revirescens

Dum labuntur saecula.

Viget prisca fide plena,

Viget nova spe serena.

Vivat schola Cryptiensis,

Vivat in perpetuum!

Notable former pupils

Alumni of the school are known as Old Cryptians.
  • John Gordon A'Bear‎, international rugby union player with the British and Irish Lions
    British and Irish Lions
    The British and Irish Lions is a rugby union team made up of players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales...

    , and Gloucester's youngest ever captain.
  • Roland Austin, Professor of Latin at the University of Liverpool
    University of Liverpool
    The University of Liverpool is a teaching and research university in the city of Liverpool, England. It is a member of the Russell Group of large research-intensive universities and the N8 Group for research collaboration. Founded in 1881 , it is also one of the six original "red brick" civic...

     from 1954–68
  • Prof Ernest Baldwin
    Ernest Baldwin
    Ernest Hubert Francis Baldwin was an English biochemist, textbook author and pioneer in the field of comparative biochemistry....

    , Professor of Biochemistry at University College London
    University College London
    University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

     from 1950–69
  • Peter Bayley, Berry Professor of English at the University of St Andrews
    University of St Andrews
    The University of St Andrews, informally referred to as "St Andrews", is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford and Cambridge. The university is situated in the town of St Andrews, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It was founded between...

     from 1978–85, and the first Principal of Collingwood College, Durham
    Collingwood College, Durham
    Collingwood College is a college of Durham University in England. It is the second largest of Durham's undergraduate colleges. Founded in 1972 as the first purpose-built, mixed-sex college in Durham, it is named after the mathematician Sir Edward Collingwood , who was also for a time Chair of the...

     in 1972
  • Prof Frank Bell, Professor of Chemistry at Heriot-Watt University
    Heriot-Watt University
    Heriot-Watt University is a university based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The name commemorates George Heriot, the 16th century financier to King James, and James Watt, the great 18th century inventor and engineer....

     from 1950–66
  • Capel Bond
    Capel Bond
    Capel Bond was an English organist and composer.He was born in Gloucester, the son of William Bond and the younger brother of painter and japanner Daniel Bond . He received his education at the Crypt school with his uncle, Rev...

    , organist
  • Prof Derek Brewer
    Derek Brewer
    Derek Stanley Brewer was a medieval scholar, author and publisher.-Life:Born in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a clerk with General Electric, Brewer read English at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was taught, among others, by C.S. Lewis...

    , Professor of English at the University of Cambridge
    University of Cambridge
    The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

     from 1983–90, Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge
    Emmanuel College, Cambridge
    Emmanuel College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge.The college was founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay on the site of a Dominican friary...

     from 1977–90, and President of the English Association
    English Association
    The English Association is a British association dedicated to furthering the study of English language and literature in schools, higher education institutes and amongst the public in general....

     from 1982–3 and 1987–90
  • Thomas Edward Brown
    Thomas Edward Brown
    Thomas Edward Brown , commonly referred to as T.E. Brown was a Manx poet, scholar and theologian.Brown was born at Douglas, Isle of Man. His father, the Rev. Robert Brown, shared with the parish schoolmaster in tutoring the clever boy until, at the age of fifteen, he was entered at King William's...

     (1830–1897) – poet and scholar, former head-master
  • Sir James Bruton, Conservative MP for Gloucester
    Gloucester (UK Parliament constituency)
    Gloucester is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was established in 1295 to return two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons but in 1885 representation was reduced to one member under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885...

     from 1918–23
  • Andrew Clements, Music critic of The Guardian
    The Guardian
    The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

    since 1993 and of the Financial Times
    Financial Times
    The Financial Times is an international business newspaper. It is a morning daily newspaper published in London and printed in 24 cities around the world. Its primary rival is the Wall Street Journal, published in New York City....

    from 1979–93, and Editor of The Musical Times
    The Musical Times
    The Musical Times is an academic journal of classical music edited and produced in the United Kingdom. It is currently the oldest such journal that is still publishing in the UK, having been published continuously since 1844. It was published as The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular until...

    from 1987–8
  • Harold Collison, Baron Collison CBE, General Secretary of the National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers
    National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers
    The National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers was a trade union in the United Kingdom.It was established as the Eastern Counties Agricultural Labourers & Small Holders Union at a conference of Norfolk agricultural workers at the Angel Hotel, North Walsham on 20 July 1906...

     from 1953–69
  • Robin Day
    Robin Day
    Sir Robin Day, OBE was a British political broadcaster and commentator. His obituary in the Guardian stated that "he was the most outstanding television journalist of his generation...

     (1923–2000) – journalist, broadcaster and political commentator
  • Ian Dench
    Ian Dench
    Ian Dench is a British songwriter and musician. Dench was the guitarist and principal songwriter for EMF, who scored a major international hit reaching number 1 in the United States with "Unbelievable" in 1991....

     - Songwriter and musician, best known as the guitarist from EMF
    EMF (band)
    EMF were an indie dance band from the United Kingdom. The band, from the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, came to prominence at the beginning of the 1990s. During its initial eight year run , EMF had released three studio albums and had gone on hiatus and reformed twice...

  • Dr David Fletcher CBE, Chief Executive of British Waterways
    British Waterways
    British Waterways is a statutory corporation wholly owned by the government of the United Kingdom, serving as the navigation authority in England, Scotland and Wales for the vast majority of the canals as well as a number of rivers and docks...

     from 1996–2002
  • Group Captain
    Group Captain
    Group captain is a senior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. It ranks above wing commander and immediately below air commodore...

     Dickie Haine DFC
  • Andrew Henderson
    Andrew Henderson (diplomat)
    Andrew David Forbes Henderson is the current British Ambassador to Algeria; a post he has held since 2006.Henderson joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1971 and worked in the West African Department...

    , Ambassador to Algeria since 2007
  • William Henley
    William Ernest Henley
    William Ernest Henley was an English poet, critic and editor, best remembered for his 1875 poem "Invictus".-Life and career:...

     (1849–1903) – poet and editor
  • Geoffrey Herridge CMG, Chairman of Iraq Petroleum Company
    Iraq Petroleum Company
    The Iraq Petroleum Company , until 1929 called Turkish Petroleum Company , was an oil company jointly owned by some of the world's largest oil companies, which had virtual monopoly on all oil exploration and production in Iraq from 1925 to 1961...

     from 1965–70 and Managing Director from 1957–63
  • Rt Rev Michael Wrenford Hooper
    Michael Wrenford Hooper
    Michael Wrenford Hooper is a retired Anglican bishop in the Church of England. He was the suffragon Bishop of Ludlow from 2002 to 2009.Hooper was educated at the Crypt School, Gloucester and the University of Wales, Lampeter...

    , Bishop of Ludlow
    Bishop of Ludlow
    The Bishop of Ludlow is an episcopal title used by a suffragan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Hereford, which is within the Province of Canterbury, England. The title takes its name after the market town of Ludlow in Shropshire....

     from 2002–9
  • Michael John Hurd
    Michael John Hurd
    Michael John Hurd was a composer and musicologist principally known for his choral music.He was born in Gloucester on 19 December 1928 and educated at The Crypt School, Gloucester and Pembroke College, Oxford.He was also a composition pupil of Lennox Berkeley...

    , composer
  • Michael Jones, Political Editor of The Sunday Times
    The Sunday Times
    The Sunday Times is a British Sunday newspaper.The Sunday Times may also refer to:*The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times...

    from 1984–95
  • Prof H. D. F. Kitto
    H. D. F. Kitto
    Humphrey Davey Findley Kitto was a British classical scholar of Cornish ancestry. He was born in Stroud, Gloucestershire....

     – classicist and Professor of Greek at the University of Bristol
    University of Bristol
    The University of Bristol is a public research university located in Bristol, United Kingdom. One of the so-called "red brick" universities, it received its Royal Charter in 1909, although its predecessor institution, University College, Bristol, had been in existence since 1876.The University is...

     from 1944–62
  • Air Vice-Marshal
    Air Vice-Marshal
    Air vice-marshal is a two-star air-officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in...

     John Lawrence CB, Station Commander of RAF Wittering
    RAF Wittering
    RAF Wittering is a Royal Air Force station within the unitary authority area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Although Stamford in Lincolnshire is the nearest town, the runways of RAF Wittering cross the boundary between Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire....

     from 1964–6
  • John Moore
    John Moore (Archbishop)
    John Moore was a bishop in the Church of England.-Life:Moore was the son of George Moore, butcher, and his wife Jane.He was born in Gloucester and was educated at the Crypt School there...

     (1730–1805) – Archbishop of Canterbury
    Archbishop of Canterbury
    The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

  • Grahame Parker
    Grahame Parker
    Grahame Wilshaw Parker OBE was an English sportsman who played first-class cricket for Gloucestershire and represented the England national rugby union team....

    , cricketer
  • Terence Price, Secretary-General of the Uranium Institute (now called the World Nuclear Association
    World Nuclear Association
    The World Nuclear Association , formerly the Uranium Institute, is an international organization that promotes nuclear power and supports the many companies that comprise the global nuclear industry...

    ) from 1974–86
  • Robert Raikes
    Robert Raikes
    Robert Raikes was an English philanthropist and Anglican layman, noted for his promotion of Sunday schools...

     (1736–1811) – publisher and founder of Sunday School Movement
    Sunday school
    Sunday school is the generic name for many different types of religious education pursued on Sundays by various denominations.-England:The first Sunday school may have been opened in 1751 in St. Mary's Church, Nottingham. Another early start was made by Hannah Ball, a native of High Wycombe in...

  • James Roose-Evans
    James Roose-Evans
    James Roose-Evans is a British theatre director, script-writer, priest and writer on experimental theatre, gesture, ritual and meditation. In 1959 he founded the Hampstead Theatre Club, in London; and in 1974 the Bleddfa Centre for creativity and spirituality, in Powys.-Biography:James...

    , theatre director and priest
  • Wayne Thomas – professional footballer (Doncaster Rovers)
  • George Whitfield (1714–1770) – a leader of the Methodist movement
  • James Frederick Wood
    James Frederick Wood
    James Frederick Bryan Wood was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the fifth Bishop and first Archbishop of Philadelphia, serving between 1860 and his death in 1883.-Early life:...

    , Archbishop of Philadelphia
    Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia
    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in southeastern Pennsylvania, in the United States. It covers the City and County of Philadelphia as well as Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. The diocese was...

    between 1860–83
  • Reverend Dr. John Paddock, Dean of Gibraltar and Europe
  • Charlie Hannaford: England International Rugby Player

External links

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