St Bees School and the surrounding village boast a rich and varied history. The school was founded in 1583 by Edmund Grindal, who was born in the village and went on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1535, there would have been little opportunity for formal education in this area. As a result, the Archbishop petitioned Elizabeth I to establish a school on the basis that “Cowpland (now known as Copeland, the area around and including St Bees) is the ignorantest part in religion and most oppressed of covetous landlords of any part of this realm to my knowledge.”
St Bees School has therefore been an integral part of this picturesque costal village for many centuries. Parts of the original buildings are still in use, following significant expansion in 1844, and above the door of the famous Quadrangle is inscribed the Latin school motto, “Ingredere Ut Proficias: Enter so that you may make progress.”
History and heritage provide the firm foundations for our school – leading the way for the innovative future ahead at St Bees School.