History & Heritage

Sedbergh Senior School - History and Heritage Roger Lupton Stained Glass Window

The Historic School is established

Sedbergh School was founded in 1525 by Roger Lupton, the Provost of Eton College. Lupton sought to replicate the high levels of scholarship found at Eton in a new school close to his birthplace. Sedbergh was founded as a chantry school with religion and morality at the heart of the teachings.


Boarding has long been integral to Sedbergh life. The earliest boarding began in the 1780’s as Headmaster Christopher Hull took in pupils to Evans House, at that time his private home. The opportunity to board close to the prestigious school proved so popular that after Hull’s death the governors purchased Evans House to enable to practice to continue in a more formal way.  In the 1800’s as the school expanded four new boarding houses were created. School House was built to be the new Headmaster’s home as well as accommodation for boys and a bell tower was integrated in to the design to mark it as distinct from the other boarding houses. During the early twentieth century several more houses were created as first Powell House was converted from a masters hostel to accommodation for boys and later the purpose built Winder House was created. Lupton House was converted to accommodate the first girls when the school became co-educational in 2001 and Robertson House opened soon afterwards as the numbers of girls blossomed. Carus House is the youngest of the nine Sedbergh houses, named in honour of Carus Wilson, founder of Casterton School.


From its earliest inception Sedbergh School has been associated with high levels of scholarship. The foundation deed, signed in 1527, bounded the School to St John's College, Cambridge and gave the College power over the appointment of Headmasters. This link to St John's College played a key role in saving Sedbergh from closure in 1546-48 when most chantries were dissolved and their assets seized by Henry VIII's Commission. Many of the early scholars went on to study at St John’s College, Cambridge and in the early 1700’s Lady Betty Hastings made Sedbergh School one of the beneficiaries to a set of tied exhibitions to Queen’s College, Oxford.


Sedbergh alumni have held the highest positions in law, diplomacy, sport and business. Amongst the notable alumni are Adam Sedgwick, known as the founder of modern geology and mathematician James Inman, a pupil in the 1790’s. Inman was Professor of Mathematics at the Naval School, Portsmouth and wrote several technical treatises including Navigation and Nautical Astronomy which became the standard text for nautical navigation for nearly 200 years. More recently Thomas Bingham, Baron Bingham of Cornhill was educated at Sedbergh. He was a British Judge who served as Master of the Rolls, Lord Chief Justice and Senior Law Lord. He was recognised as the greatest judge and lawyer of his generation and was a generous supporter of the school. Multi award winning screen writer Simon Beaufoy gained his first theatrical experience at Sedbergh School performing in The Revengers Tragedy. His first Academy Award was given for his screenplay The Full Monty. More recently his screenplay adaptation of Slumdog Millionaire saw him win a further Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe and a Bafta. Sedbergh alumni have long excelled in sport with Rugby being perhaps the team sport most commonly associated with the school. Will Carling O.B.E. played for Rosslyn Park and Harlequins alongside a long career with England which saw him gain 72 caps between 1988 and 1996 and captain the squad 59 times. In women’s rugby Abbie Scott currently plays for Harlequin Ladies and England. During the 2018 Quilter Internationals she gained her first captaincy leading the team to a 57-5 victory against USA.

Recent alumni are supported by the vibrant Old Sedberghian Club, which was first recorded in school documents in 1890. The club facilitates internships and career development opportunities within the alumni network as well as hosting sporting and social events.

Sedbergh Senior School - History and Heritage Library 1934


The Archive is home to a vast collection of historic material. The oldest items in the collection date from 1527 and the newest items are being created by staff and pupils now to record the historic achievements of current pupils.

The archive holds much material that captures the history of the school, its’ pupils and the manorial land across Yorkshire that Sedbergh School managed over several centuries.

The diverse collection also includes a Sedbergh School rugby ball that has orbited the earth on the NASA discovery shuttle, a WW1 Infantry Sword and a bound collection of speeches given by Franklin D. Roosevelt and inscribed by hand by President Roosevelt to Winston Churchill.

The archive can be visited by appointment. For more information please contact the archivist Katy de la Rivière at kdlr@sedberghschool.org or 01524 239410.

Recent alumni are supported by the vibrant Old Sedberghian Club, which was first recorded in school documents in 1890. The club facilitates internships and career development opportunities within the alumni network as well as hosting sporting and social events.

school songs

Sedbergh has a rich history in terms of traditional songs that represent the school, for more information click here.