History of Keswick School

With origins dating back to the mid-14th Century when the School was founded by Sir Thomas de Eskhead, Vicar of Crosthwaite church, Keswick School carries with it a rich heritage and numerous traditions still practised today. This link to Crosthwaite church is reflected in the school’s coat of arms which represents the four miracles of St. Kentigern to whom the church is dedicated.

Over the centuries, the school has of course evolved, progressing from an Elementary Boys School to an Ancient Grammar School, refounded for co-education of day and boarding pupils by Canon Rawnsley (Chair of Governors) and his board, obtaining authorisation from the Charity Commission in June 1896.  They appointed Reverend Cecil Grant, a pioneer of co-education, to be the first Headmaster (aged 28) in 1898 and the school opened on the 30th September 1898 along with Bedales as the first co-educational day/boarding school in England.  Since then there have been just seven Headteachers.

In 1946, Keswick School became a voluntary Aided Grammar School and in 1980, the Governors established an enlarged non-selective Keswick School through amalgamation with the former Lairthwaite Secondary Modern School. Finally in July 2011, Keswick became an Academy.

Throughout the School, historical traces and displays can be seen, linking the school to its former pupils such as the World War One and Two memorial board in ‘Queen’s Hall’ and proud portraits of bygone Headteachers lining the walls towards the Headteacher’s Office.

Keen to keep tradition alive, in 1998, staff and pupils assembled and buried a time capsule in order to show the 2098 pupils of Keswick School what Keswick used to be like and to reinforce the school’s philosophy that you should never forget your roots.

Perhaps the greatest, most profound link to Keswick’s past though, is the humbling and somehow settling reflection that all former students, no matter how ancient, would have once sat and gazed at the very same beautiful panorama of the majestic Lake District which surrounds the school still and which has provoked so many creative minds and inspirational thinkers such as William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.