History of Chard Prep School

Chard Prep School has a long and unique history. Its main building is a beautiful sixteenth-century town house, which is listed Grade II*, putting it in the top 5% of buildings of historic and architectural importance. Built in 1583 for a wealthy local merchant, John Symes, the house was donated to the town of Chard as a Grammar School by his successors in 1671, and there has been a school on the site continuously ever since. It remained the town’s grammar school until 1890, when it became a public boarding school. In 1972 the present school was established, as an independent co-educational preparatory school.

Over the years other adjacent buildings were added, including the thatched Elizabethan chapel, the eighteenth-century Monmouth House, also Grade II* listed, and more recently the gymnasium and a purpose built science laboratory. The school’s classes are named after figures who are prominent in the history of Chard and the school – Symes, Horner, Monmouth, Wyndham, Harris and Cerdic.

The school song reflects the importance that the school attaches to its history and tradition:

We thank you, God our Father,
For days that long have gone,
When our own school was founded
In sixteen seventy-one.
King Charles was King of England,
And how the world has changed;
Three hundred years and more have passed,
But still our school remains.

O Horner, Symes and Monmouth
Are names we use each day.
With Cerdic, Harris, Wyndham
At work and in our play.
These men have been our founders –
They laboured long and hard
To forge a place in history,
And build our school in Chard.

O God, let us remember
Throughout these long, long years,
That girls and boys have worked here
With laughter, and with tears.

Let us, like those before us,
With God to be our guide,
Sing loud and clear our motto now,
United in our pride …….. UNITI VIREAMUS