Fonthill School

Fonthill School

Past pupils and staff of Fonthill School, Saint Hill, East Grinstead who served in the First World War. Fonthill was first established in 1808 as a rectory-based school for young gentlemen in Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire. It was owned by the Radcliffe family, first known as Radcliffe's before becoming Fonthill in ca 1820, and remained in Wiltshire until a death in the family meant the living in Wiltshire had to be given up. A new location was found at Rockwood Park in East Grinstead, and the school moved there in 1886. Fonthill was a prep school for the children of the aristocracy and wealthy landowners, professional families and industrialists. It sent many pupils to Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Wellington, Rugby, Charterhouse and other public schools. It also prepared boys for careers in the Royal Navy and Army and sent a number of boys to the naval colleges. Fonthill had many well-decorated and well-known pupils who fought in WWI. Of these, many survived to have successful careers in public life. Sadly, more than sixty men died. These included young men who had foregone university studies or early careers to serve their country. The youngest to die was Vernon Hector Corbyn, a naval midshipman who was 16 when he died on HMS Cressy in September 1914. Lord Rothermere's sons Vere and Vyvyan, whose deaths are commemorated on a tablet inside the entrance to IWM London, and their close friends Neville Woodroffe and the Hon. Henry Palmer Howard were four poignant young deaths. The Radcliffes lost three family members, as did the Selwyns. This community brings together some school-related information about as many Old Fonthillians as possible in the hopes that this will be of interest to family researchers. Fonthill Lodge, the surviving school in the Fonthill educational trust, closed in 2011. Fonthill School had already closed in 1985. If you would like information about family members who attended Fonthill, contact me at [email protected]

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