School Songs

For many Old Sedberghians the songs of Sedbergh School will evoke memories of Sedbergh traditions and ‘the hills that have stood around us’. The earliest school songs were written by Lupton Housemaster  R. St. J. Ainslie in 1880’s with music by P. A. Thomas. During the 1880’s music blossomed at Sedbergh. The first school band was formed and regular concerts were performed in classroom 21 with contributions from masters and pupils. The first school song ‘Sedberghiam nactus es, hanc exorna’ written in 1884 was sung at the end of concerts and other formal school events. Other early songs included ‘Football Song’, ‘The Sledge Song’ and ‘The Long Run’ which was written in around 1890. ‘Sedberghiam nactus es’ was replaced by ‘Floruit Floreat’ as the school song in 1893.


‘Winder’ was written in 1911 by Headmaster F. B. Malim with music composed by A. W. Ogilvy who was director of music at the time. ‘Winder’ was quickly adopted as the school song although both of the previous school songs continued to be sung for several decades at school events.

Sedbergh Senior School - Songbook


Oh, Eton hath her river,

And Clifton hath her Down,

And Winchester her cloisters

And immemorial town;

But ours the mountain fastness,

The deep romantic ghylls,

Where Clough and Dee and Rawthey

Come singing from the hills.

For it isn't our ancient lineage -

There are others as old as we;

And it isn't our pious founders,

Though we honour their memory;

'Tis the hills that have stood around us,

Unchanged since our days began;

It is Cautley, Calf and Winder,

That make the Sedbergh man.

Not ours the crowded highway,

The dust, the heat, the glare;

We see a vaster prospect,

We breathe a larger air;

We watch the heather redden,

We hear the curlew cry,

About us is the moorland,

Above the windswept sky.

For it isn't...


Oh! Stout and strong his sinew,

And clear and cool his brain,

Who knows the joy of facing

The mountain wind and rain,

Beneath him in the valley

He hears the motor hoot,

But none may stand on Winder

Save him who goes on foot.

For it isn't...

So when in days hereafter

In tamer lands you dwell

Or in some fevered city

Far off from beck and fell,

As boyhood's days grow dimmer,

The memory will not die

Of Winder's clear-cut outline

Against an evening sky.

For it isn't...

F.B. Malim                                    A.W. Ogilvy


At Olympia, far away,

In the boyhood of the world,

There were glorious games, they say -

                Discs were thrown, and spears were hurled;

Came the athletes, strong and stately,

Leapt and ran, and wrestled greatly,

While a nation stood and wondered,

And a shout to heav’n was thundered:

                Strain and struggle, might and main;

                Scorn defeat and laugh at pain,

                Never shall you strive in vain

                                In the Long Run!


Sedbergh in the hardy north,

                She her runners, too, can show;

Sends her fleet Athenians forth;

                Trains her Spartans in the snow!

Herald march the blast is sounding –

Rugged hills the course surrounding –

Don your jerseys, make you ready,

Up and off, lads, swift and steady!

                Strain and struggle, etc.

Not so fiercely as at first,

                Toiling on to Cautley Bridge;

Down the hill-side with a burst,

                On to Baugh Fell, up the ridge;

Plunging through the tangled heather,

Garsdale finds ye less together;

Panting breast and straining sinew –

Set your teeth, lads, and show what’s in you!

                Strain and struggle, etc.

At Olympia, far away,

                When the victor wore the crown,

Breathing marble, burning lay,

                Made immortal his renown.

What tho’ Fate hath given to Winder

No Praxiteles and Pindar,

Yet her sons, who bravely bear them,

Sedbergh in her heart shall wear them!

                Strain and struggle, etc.

Words: R St J Ainslie

Music: P A Thomas