In 1557 Sir Antony Browne, the Lord Chief Justice, acquired the land on which Brentwood School was first built. During Mary Tudor's reign, hundreds of Protestants were burned at the stake and a well-known Brentwood Protestant, William Hunter, was ordered by Sir Antony Browne to be executed. This act may have led Sir Antony Browne to found Brentwood School.
The School statutes were signed by John Donne in 1622 who was Dean of St Paul's and remains one of England's finest poets. The statutes declared that pupils should be instructed in Virtue, Learning and Manners, which are values still embodied today.
When Charles Tower took over as School Master in 1806 the School had only 12 boys, but under Dr West's leadership from 1851, the school experienced growth and the foundations were set for future development.
The Chapel was built in 1868 and in the 1870s the School gained its reputation for sport, producing an international rugby player and cricketer. In recent years, pupils have represented their country in fencing, football, skiing, music and drama.
In 1891 Dr. Bean encouraged boys from local state primary schools to join the School through scholarship examinations. He founded the Preparatory School in 1892 and in 1907 wrote the words to the School song to mark its 350th anniversary. The Bean Library was opened in 1929 as a memorial to him.
Evelyn Heseltine developed the School site with the purchase of adjoining land, eventually becoming the sports fields dedicated in his name. His wife laid the foundation stone for the Main School building in 1909. In 1914 James Hough, as Headmaster, increased pupil numbers from just over 200 pupils when he took over to almost 900 pupils when he retired in 1945.
In 1957 the Queen opened the Science building during the 400th anniversary. Further buildings have since been added, including the Hardy Amies Design Centre in 1999, the refurbishment of the Courage Hall including a new swimming pool in 2002 and a cutting-edge Sixth Form Centre in 2011.
The first girl joined the School in 1974 and the first all girls' class began in 1988. The Pre-Preparatory School was founded in 1996 while John Kelsall was Headmaster; girls became more integrated into the School as a whole in 1999 and single-sex classes continue today. The school is thriving in the 21st Century with nearly 1500 students benefiting from education through the Pre-Prep, Prep and Senior Schools.
In 2007 the school celebrated its 450th anniversary and a short booklet outlining the school's history, tradition and lasting values was written to provide information for current pupils and Old Brentwoods.
See the Old Brentwoods section of this website for more about our history.
For more information about our new Sixth Form Centre, opened by HRH Prince Edward, click here.
Download the School's Values Booklet by clicking on the link below:
Old Brentwoods Drinks in the City
Thu 20 June 2013