Our Rich Heritage

Prebendal’s roots spread all the way back to the 11th century and the foundation of Chichester Cathedral, making us the oldest school in Sussex.

Re-founded in 1497 by Bishop Edward Storey who attached it to the Prebend of Highleigh in Chichester Cathedral, we would have originally been a ‘Song School’ for the Cathedral Choristers. This tradition remains at the heart of The Prebendal today, with Choristers continuing to live and learn here.

Forward-thinking (and an early demonstration of our commitment to equality), we are proud to have been one of the first schools to become co-educational. Leading the way, girls joined the School in 1972, enriching our thriving school community.

The building itself is a charming 13th century school house, to which three 18th century houses and, over time, further extensions have been added. The original building’s historic narrow tower still stands in West Street, while the panelling in the top floor’s Long Dorm is the oldest of ‘old girls’ at an impressive three-hundred years old.

The Prebendal also benefits from the use of the East Wing of the Bishop’s Palace, which is adjacent to the main school buildings.

Up until 2012 Pre-Prep children were based at Northgate House, just five minutes away in North Street. Today they are based on the main School site in ‘Highleigh’, their own super-modern, purpose-built wing.

Read more historical facts about The Prebendal School.

“The main dorm has an unusual vaulted ceiling and comparisons with Hogwarts are irresistible.” The Good Schools Guide

“As an historian at heart and by training, I was always profoundly conscious of belonging to a school whose origins could be traced back to the Middle Ages, of being heir to traditions that were almost timeless.”
- A History of The Prebendal School, Neville Ollerenshaw