Our History

The history of our school

The early years

The earliest mention of the Church, which stands alone in the grounds, is in 958AD when it was referred to as ‘The old Church, Eastleigh’.

The ha-ha to the south of the main lawn around the Mansion House may well have been a Saxon ditch built as a fortification before it was turned into an ornamental structure.

The basic layout of the medieval courtyard is still evident, with the Round House reputed to date from the 14th century and is variously referred to as an old granary, an ice house, and a game larder.

A rural, relaxed mixed school set in a Bridgerton-esque stately home.”

Muddy Stilettos

On to our founding

The estate passed through many owners, some of whom met unpleasant ends. The Lovell family owned the estate in medieval times. Former owner Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor and Keeper of the Great Seal, was beheaded in 1535; on his execution the title and estate reverted to the Crown. The lands were then granted to Henry Norreys who also lost his head after allegedly having an affair with Anne Boleyn.

The house has hosted many famous literary and political figures in its time, including: Pope, Gay, Prior and Swift. Queen Anne visited in 1713 and gave the impressive panelling in the Corinthian Room.

The current school was established on the site in 1957 by Dr Francis Brown.

The footage below was provided by Old Cokethorpean Steven Pudney (1965-1968). Taken by Mr Pudney’s father, it shows Cokethorpe School during the summer of 1968, including the end of term Prize Giving.

Up to the present day

Cokethorpe School was founded as a boarding school for boys aged thirteen to eighteen, with its founder, Dr Francis Brown, as the first Headmaster. In total the School has had seven headmasters, with the current incumbent, Mr Damian Ettinger, joining Cokethorpe in 2002. 

The Prep School was established in 1994, whilst boarding ceased in 2003, and a series of capital investment projects over the last fifteen years have all combined to craft the School you see before you today. 

Read a history of Cokethorpe Park

Where next?

Cokethorpe Senior pupil kayaking - exceptional breadth on offer - A co-educational Prep and Senior School
Outdoor Education

Our dedicated Head of Outdoor Education leads an increasingly popular pathway for Games and AOB options, with an exceptional range of facilities to support the programme from Prep to Sixth Form.

Approaches to Learning

Whether at the earliest stages of learning or in the final preparations for A Levels, expert consideration is given to the approaches to learning at each stage of a pupil’s academic development at Cokethorpe.

Cokethorpe Parents Association Event
Parents' and Friends' Association

The Cokethorpe Parents’ and Friends’ Assocation are an important part of the School community, producing a marvellous events programme for parents, families and staff to enjoy.

Book your tour today

Come and visit Cokethorpe, whether for an Open Morning or a personal Tour, and Discover Your Cokethorpe.