The Prebendal is the oldest school in Sussex and probably dates back to the foundation of Chichester Cathedral in the 11th century. It was also one of the first schools to become co-educational in the 1970s. It was re-founded in 1497 by Bishop Edward Storey who attached it to the Prebend of Highleigh in Chichester Cathedral and thus gave its present name.
The charming 13th century school house with its historic narrow tower still stands in West Street. Long Dormitory, on the top floor contains 300 year old panelling and three adjoining 18th century houses have been added. Over the years the School has added further extensions and also uses the East Wing of the Bishop's Palace which is next door to the main school buildings. Since September 2012 the Pre-Prep has been housed in a modern, purpose built, building on the main site called Highleigh.
Historical Facts about The Prebendal School
1. At the synod of London in 1075 it was decided to move the Cathedral from Selsey to Chichester.
2. The building that houses Long Dorm and below was built in the 13th century.
3. In 1497 Bishop Storey re-established the School by statute. A standard charge of 8d per quarter or boarders 1 shilling per week.
4. The School possesses a papal bull from 1253 (the time of St Richard).
5. In 1384 the Chancellor of the Cathedral bequeathed his green robe to the Master, Romsey.
6. Romsey becomes the second Headmaster of Winchester College.
7. In 1402 Bishop Robert Reade found "the master was not diligent in teaching the Choristers grammer".
8. In 1462 the Head Master was imprisoned for debt. This is significant because Bishop Edward Storey (Bishop of Chichester 1477-1503) then re-establishes the School giving the Head Master the living of Highleigh as an income.
9. The Prebendal School statutes date back to 1497.
10. John Holt was Head Master before becoming tutor to Prince Henry in 1502.
11. The Head Master William Hone was also tutor to Prince Henry and Princess Mary from 1504 after the death of Holt.
12. The Choristers may well have been present in 1555 during the burnings of the two protestants during the reign of Bloody Mary.
13. Old Boy William Juxon was Chaplain to Charles I and was by his side at his execution in 1649. He went on to be Bishop of London and then Archbishop of Canterbury.
14. William Cawley attended the School and is one of the regicides.
15. The poet John Seldon is an Old Boy and was also the first lawyer to try Charles I. He declined and returned to his country home. He was also a friend of the five MPs whom Charles I tried to arrest in 1642.
16. In 1634 Archbishop William Laud requested the city aldermen give a playground to the School.
17. It was the siege of Chichester in December 1642. The parliamentary forces preserved the School and appointed a new Head Master.
18. The great plague of 1665. The School was closed during the summer months.
19. The Revd James Hurdis (poet) was at the School from 1771 to 1780.
20. The Duke of Richmond attended in the early 1800s. His brother, Lord Henry Lennox, was a future Cabinet minister in the Earl of Derby's administration and then was a good friend of Disraeli. He left in 1835.
21. The School was mentioned in Hansard in the latter 1880s.
22. In 1886 Bishop Durnford revised the statutes (was also part of the group who established the Oxford Union Society).
23. There is a reference to the School in the Victoria County History in 1890.
24. The Revd C Pierpont Edwards (former teacher) conducted a funeral service as an army padre at Gallipoli. The funeral was shelled, yet he carried on.
25. Prebendal boys served at Graylingwell Military Hospital receiving the service badge.
26. In 1931 the boys returned to West Street after a short closure.
27. In 1931 the West Gate fields became the School playing fields, given by the old organist's widow.
28. In 1931 the uniform changed from Eton suits and mortar boards.
29. The School's Memorial Garden was donated by Canon Lowther Clark (proprietor of Hymns Ancient & Modern).
30. On 30th July 1956 Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited.
31. In 1961 the School's swimming pool was photographed in The Times.
32. In 1965 it was the first performance of Bernstein's Chichester Psalms (Bernstein was present).
33. In 1965 the School formed an Honour Guard for the Queen Mother's visit.
34. The Choir sang for Princess Margaret, Lord Snowdon and Sir Laurence Olivier.
35. In 1967 the film Angel Voices was screened by the BBC - it was about life as a chorister in Chichester.
36. The novelist John Harris taught History at the School.
37. In 1963 the King's Singer, Anthony Holt, was a member of staff.
38. Sheridan Morley was a member of staff between school and university.
39. In 1974 the Duke of Richmond and Gordon opened the School Hall.
40. Airey Neave visited in 1975.
41. In 1977 Oliver Philpot of Stalag Luft III fame (The Wooden Horse) came to speak.