The History of Spratton Hall
The history of Spratton Hall dates back almost 250 years to when it was first built in 1770 and owned by the Clark family as a private home.
The Clark family owned the Hall until 1888 when it was sold, along with the estate, to Captain Theophilus Gist after which it passed through the hands of several owners until it lay unoccupied between 1949–1950. The Hall and one field was bought by Mr K C Hunter in 1951 who opened it as a school.
Mr & Mrs Hunter had spent the period 1940-1947 in the Middle East, during which time Mr Hunter was Head of the British Community School in Jerusalem. On returning to England, they decided to set up their own school and set about finding a suitable property. Mr Hunter assumed the role of Teaching Head and Mrs Hunter taught maths and ran the boarding side of the school.
Many of the original features can still be seen today in this impressive Georgian building including the mahogany staircase, mantelpieces in the Drawing Room and main office and the mosaic tiled floor.
|1760||George III comes to the throne|
|1770-73||Spratton Hall built, owned by the Clark family|
|1776||American War of Independence|
|1805||Battle of Trafalgar|
|1815||Battle of Waterloo|
|1820||George IV comes to the throne|
|1830||William IV comes to the throne|
|1837||Queen Victoria comes to the throne|
|1888||Hall & Estate bought by Capt. Theophilus Gist|
|1896||Hall owned by the Erskine family|
|1914-18||World War I|
|1939-45||World War II|
|1947||Hall & Estate bought by Mr Cazenove for £10,000 inc. a farm, 7 cottages & 137 acres of land|
|1948||Bought by Mr Darling|
|1951||Hall and one field bought by Mr K C Hunter who opened it as a school|
Aerial View – 1956
The Hunters also had the idea for the Spratton Hall’s school badge which comes from the story of Saint Hubert, Patron Saint of Hunters. The story goes that on one Good Friday, in the year 693, Hubert was out hunting in the Forest of Freyr in Belgium. It is said that he saw a vision – a stag with a shining crucifix between its antlers, and from that day, he became a devout Christian. Not surprisingly, therefore, the school hymn has always been, ‘As Pants The Hart’.
When KC Hunter and his wife, Joan, made the decision to retire in 1975, Mr Piers Bickley arrived at a time when most teaching took place in three leaking huts, which gave the impression of the aftermath of World War II. However, even at that time, there was a happy, easy-going ambience which pervaded the school. It was very obvious and apparent that the children were happy. In 1972 the Charitable Trust was established, administered by a board of governors, and in those days a Head’s job was that of Jack of All Trades. For a time they would clear the drains, clean the toilets, cut the grass, mark the rugby fields and mow the cricket square. However, the school was fun! Over two decades later the key was professionalism and, under Piers Bickley’s Headship, the school expanded rapidly. Pupil numbers increased and in 1975 girls were introduced and it became a day-only school in 1991. New facilities were built, including the Science and Music blocks, the Art Room and the Pre-Prep department. Further sports fields were acquired and a large classroom block (The Bickley Building) was opened shortly before he retired and named appropriately after him. The School’s reputation flourished and a strong foundation was laid for Dr Barlow to take over the reins in September 1996.
Dr Barlow was Head Master from 1996 – 2004. The development of Spratton Hall continued and on 3 October 2000, Matthew Dawson, officially opened the latest addition to the classroom facilities at Spratton Hall (The McAra Building). The new split-level building provided the Year 1 classes with wonderfully light and airy rooms. At the lower level of the building were three new teaching rooms for Year 4. The £450,000 project was successfully completed during the Spring and Summer of 2000, despite the difficulties of the site being at the heart of the School.
In 2005 Stephen Player joined the school as Head Master and orchestrated a 5-year development plan which saw hugely impressive improvements. The Hall, and the school estate as a whole, underwent many alternations and additions with the most recent additions of the newly refurbished Hunter Hall, a purpose-built sports dome (the Jubilee Dome), the Townsend Media Library, ICT Suite, Design & Food Technology Department and the Astroturf, as well as new Science Laboratories, newly built Dining Room and Kitchens. All classrooms had Smart Boards installed.
In June 2011 Spratton Hall celebrated its Jubilee Anniversary and pupils and parents, past and present, were invited back to mark the occasion with an Open Air Concert, ‘Prom in the Park’, held on the school grounds. During the afternoon our Old Boys and Girls had the opportunity to tour the buildings and grounds, and then to join present staff and pupils for a traditional Spratton Hall tea. We were delighted to welcome so many who were pupils and teachers at the school during the 1950s and 1960s.
In 2013 Stephen Player retired as Head Master and Simon Clarke was appointed Head Master.
The school continues to thrive with the grounds covering over 50 acres and the pupil numbers swelling from 20 boys in 1951 to 400 boys and girls aged between 4-13 years.
In November 2016 Spratton Hall’s successes and dedication to its pupils were confirmed by an ‘excellent’ and ‘outstanding’ school inspection report by the Independent School’s Inspectorate. The ambience of happy children learning continues today.